The Apocalypse Fairground Ride

I had barely finished tightening the last nuts and bolts on my last model when this new design idea started forming.

The idea was based on creating a base that could anchor an angled tower instead of the usual upright ones.

This initial tubular tower rises about 12’5” from the base and consists of a few circular girders and on top a 118 Hub, in which I fixed a heavy-duty long axle going through it. This was the main part which would later support the planned rotating unit, but on which I then added a flanged ring to rotate in this axle. From here I planned to attach arms that I was yet to build, but I realised that those arms would sit far too high for any attached passenger cars to sit close enough to the base for realistic mounting and dismounting, and so I needed to make some adjustments.

However, with the basic and rather pleasing shape now in place, I instead decided to bolt a second ring 2½” beneath the existing one with the idea of connecting the arms from that point instead.

The eight arms followed and once attached it didn’t take too much pain to get them to sit at the position I wanted.

The bigger challenge at this stage was that these two rings needed to spin round the inner tower, rotating the arms and attached passenger cars with it.

Even as I was going along constructing, I knew that the driving mechanism and rotating movement was going to be more than a little problematic later due the nature of the complex design, but I put the doubt out of my head for the time being while I proceeded with the design of the passenger cars instead.

This design actually also provided another challenge due to the angle that the tower was erected at and how it impacted the way that the cars would sit near the base, and this needed an angled solution too!

By this stage I was starting to think that I had given myself too many obstacles to overcome, and where exactly was I going to be able to attach a motor that would be able drive those large rings?

Once again I kept the blinkers on and set about completing the canopy, followed by the base which actually needed to be elongated by another 12” to give enough space for the entranceway and the access steps etc. This extended the new base dimensions to over a metre in length.

With nothing else now to do, I was left to fully focus on how to make the model fully motorised and functional.

I opted to engage yet another two rings which I bolted to the two already existing. I then added eight bush wheels which were bolted underneath this last ring, with the idea to use a long elastic band if possible or a cord to connect to the motor, once in place.

From the inner tube I bolted two angle girders forming a flat platform where the motor would be attached well underneath all eight arms. This concept felt like it might be a bit too optimistic to successfully achieve, however by this stage I felt I had no other option than to push forward with what felt like a crazy new idea, but eventually, with I don’t know just how many endless adjustments, I was finally able to achieve to fix the motor and a double round cord to engage with a thick pulley.

There is nothing like the feeling that you have climbed over the highest part of the mountain, but I still I needed to test if the design worked or not.

The initial few tests resulted in the cord constantly disengaging and then this continued several times more, until the adjustments finally succeeded in driving the system reliably and to my satisfaction. Perhaps there was still room to tweak the design some more, but for now I was glad to have it spinning!

No one is holding me to account of course, but I myself feel that creating something new in rotating fairground ride based models is getting harder and harder. The more that I chase a new design shape or concept, the bigger the challenge is in finding how to successfully motorise it competently.

In this particular model I encountered several technical obstacles which were mainly at the end of the build process, with the connection from the motor to drive this big, heavy structure. It was made difficult due to the large drum system rotating around an inner drum, which made it almost impossible for me to implement a system of gears, a mechanical drive, or even elastic band.

Having overcome all these design challenges, my thoughts as they always are, were in the amazement of the endless possibilities of this Meccano world and what is surely the world’s most incredible toy.

Surely there is no other invention more ingenious than Meccano in helping you continually improve your abilities and problem-solving skills, and as for as much satisfaction that you can get from creating wonderful scaled models from detailed manuals, I think you can gain even more from pushing past what felt like unsolvable obstacles with nothing more than dogged determination and effort.

I have built bigger models for sure, but this one feels like it challenged me more than the majority.

I finished off the model by adding the usual finishing touches for lighting and instead of the planned heavy arched entranceway I had intended, I decided to keep it more open to better show off the main structure instead.

With the building process over, all that was left was to evaluate the thrill potential of the fairground ride.

The ride position of the cars make for a unique and thrilling passenger ride experience for sure, and the speed the model achieves certainly makes for something more exhilarating than you thought before!

The Apocalypse – One Ride to End Them All. The world may go on, but you’ll be wishing the journey on this ride would come to an end!

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