Rotating Big wheel

Big wheel front

This model of a Rotating Big Wheel was published as the "Model of the Month in the December 1957 Meccano Magazine. Pictures and some information were published in the magazine (see below) but readers had to write in for the detailed instructions and list of parts required.

This Big Wheel not only rotates in the normal way but also horizontally.

The colours I have used are the short lived 1978/79 dark blue and yellow plus zinc finished parts. The Models of the month were not set specific and this model is no exception, requiring 36 of part number 1a ,18 hole strips and 32 of part number 3, 7 hole strips. The cynical might say that this was a ploy by Meccano Ltd. to sell all the extra parts that were required and not found in the required quantities in any of the sets in the range 00-10. They are probably right! When I was building I could not find in my stock of parts the required number of part 1a and made repro parts by cutting down 25 hole strips. Full details of how I did this can be found here.

Simple restoration of Meccano parts.

This is a pleasing and fairly simple model to build and very traditional in its construction using very few flexible plates, very much like a model from the nineteen twenties or or early nineteen thirties. I carried this further by only using two triangular flexible plates to fill in the edge between the turntable and platform. I found the chairs as specified that were made from flexible plates very flimsy, so I made each one from two 5x3 hole flanged plates, strips and angle girders. This also had the advantage of giving them more weight to turn as the wheel rotates. The entrance and steps are of my own design and differ from those in the instructions. The centre green narrow strip spider,used as decoration is a modern non Meccano replica part manufactured by Jack Parsisson in Frankston Australia. The drive for the wheel is by cord passed around long bolts secured to the Big Wheel arms and driven by a 1" pulley .

The horizontal rotation drive in the original instructions consisted of sprocket chain pushed over the large flanged ring and driven by a sprocket wheel, I did not imagine this would work very well as sprocket chain easily stretches. I replaced this with part number 167a toothed quadrants driven by 167c pinion. I do not have one of the Meccano E20 motors so substituted a more powerful non Meccano motor. This had the big advantage of being able to be be speed controlled from a 12 volt model railway controller.

Picture below left shows the base and spider the centre of which has been strengthened by the use of another replica spider part based on the centre part of the hub disc. On the right: is the completed Big Wheel supports and large tooth quadrants.

A later addition I made was to build a payment kiosk, this can be seen below the first picture and at the foot of the page, the Meccano figures are waiting their turns to ride on the Big Wheel, before its taken apart!

December 1957 Meccano Magazine page (626)

Page created April 21 2009 Revised July 18 2014

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