Beam Engine

This was inspired by our friend, Norman Brown, who recently built an immaculate red/green version of this model, first built by Burt Love and featured in his book Model Building in Meccano published forty-two years ago! Norman’s version is pretty much a faithful representation of the original. AS ours was to be the subject of a guess-the-parts competition, it has been strip built.

I set Ralph to work on the boiler. The original used the Meccano boiler but that would have been too easy. The boiler is built around two 12-hole rings, each made up from two 7-hole strips bent into a semicircle and overlapped by one hole at the joins. 9-hole strips were then bolted around them to to form a cylinder. This is then capped top and bottom with wheel flanges to make the top and bottom of the boiler.

While Ralph was busy with the boiler, I set to work on the main body and frame of the model. I set the flywheel one hole higher than the original and used a small bush wheel instead of a double arm crank as the strip building method of construction meant the clearances were reduced. I might have a go at rebuilding that end after the 2013 NELMC exhibition but a lot of unseen support will be needed and that would make estimating the number of parts used much harder and I think a little unfair. As it stands most, and probably all, parts are visible. My model is not powered as it stand but I my fit a motor when I have a go at rebuild the base after the exhibition.

December 2013

The original Bert Love model was powered by an Embo motor and was friction drive to the flywheel via a pulley and rubber tyre. I decided to have a go at powering the model. The friction drive seemed like a good idea but I decided to use a modern geared motor supplied by Stan Baker in New Zealand.

A very simple motor/friction drive was built as shown in the photograph above. This was installed on a threaded pin that was fixed to the inside of the base. This allows the rubberised tyre to swing into contact with the flywheel. It is held in position with an aero collar. This allows just enough float along the axle to allow the tyre to follow the flywheel without binding.

Pressure is applied using a tension spring attached to the drive assembly and anchored to a rod, held in place across the inside of the body by a couple of collars — see not all our parts are shiny! Meccano tension springs are too long for this job so I found one in a selection box of springs I found in one of the cut-price supermarkets — Aldi, I think.

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