The tips on this page are tips I probably read on spanner and other Meccano websites or discovered through experimentation. All the tips here have been tried by myself. I won't put in something that I have not personally tried.

Meccano Storage room3.jpg (36193 bytes) My solution to limited storage space!

Spraying Racks rack2.jpg (24155 bytes) An idea and pictures by Ian Dickson

Electric Motors mo5.jpg (35641 bytes) How do you make the same electric motor perform so differently?

Diesel Locomotive modelplan fig1.jpg (41106 bytes) A Modelplan of the Diesel Locomotive I designed and built.

Applying Grease grease2.jpg (24177 bytes) An idea to get grease onto Meccano parts and keep it off your fingers.

Part Number 760 part760-003.jpg (58087 bytes) Part Number 760, a 19:1 reduction gearbox for use with the latest MO motor.

Raising Steam steam001.jpg (53030 bytes) A general guideline on running a model steam engine.

Radio Control radio005.jpg (49549 bytes) A guideline for using modern radio control components in Meccano.

Plate and Strip Roller roller1.jpg (61571 bytes) A basic device built in Meccano to roll plates and strips.

LED Flasher led_velleman_mk102.jpg (18996 bytes) LED flasher circuit kits.

Project Trays project-trays.jpg (84134 bytes) A way to help keep your projects and models in progress organized.

Building Tools tools4.Jjpg (138114 bytes) Model building tools to help you with those tricky models and situations.

Spray painting

- The guys who make the stuff can't be wrong ! Read the instructions on the can and you should be fine.
- The paint comes out best if the object being painted and the paint is the same temperature. Room temperature is the best. If it is very cold, warm the paint can in a basin of warm water. Try to leave the object in the sun to warm up or leave it inside the house before taking it to the shed to spray. 
- Use long slow strokes from left to right, keeping a distance of about 25 - 30 cm.

Painting steps :

- Spray the object with one light coat of primer. Grey works best for all colors.
- Leave to dry for 30 minutes at least, longer is better.
- Spray with the first coat of color.
- Leave to dry for 1 hour at least.
- Spray on the last coat of color.
- Leave to dry for 24 hours before handling.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. Baking for longer can make colors darken!
- After baking the object can be put back into your parts drawer. If you don't bake the object, the paint
  will be soft and susceptible to scratches. 
- If you don't bake the object, it is best not to use it for a couple of months until the paint has set or hardened naturally.

Stripping paint

I strip painted parts using caustic soda.

The stuff eats everything, so use eye protective goggles and dishwashing gloves.
I mix about 10 Tablespoons caustic soda with 3 Liters of hot water in a plastic bucket. Drop the parts in and let them soak for a about  2 hours.
The paint just falls off. Scrub the stubborn pieces with a toothbrush. If the paint is still stubborn, I just leave it for longer in the bucket until it is easy to rub off.
Rinse the cleaned parts in running water and dry them straight away.

Stripping Zinc

As above, the stuff eats everything, so use eye protective goggles and dishwashing gloves.

The zinc coated parts I leave in a solution of 50% hydrochloric acid and 50% water in a plastic bucket.
I let them soak for about 4 hours and then scrub and rinse the parts as above.


An interesting note I read on washers :

Inserting a washer reduces wear by absorbing half of the wear itself and also reduces friction by creating two moving interfaces in parallel. If you add a lubricant, having a washer in the joint will mean that there are now two layers of lubricant instead of one.

Meccano Mysteries

Why does a nut rattle loose and not tight?

How long should it take to build a model?

Why do parts dropped off the table disappear?

Why does a model work perfectly at home, won’t work at a show and works perfectly back at home, before you get to fix the problem?

Why, when you move your large model off a table is there a single grub screw or nut just lying there?

Why is it always time for dinner / your turn to wash the dishes just as you line up a difficult nut/bolt?

Why does your Meccano dealer always say:”Oh, I just sold the last one yesterday”?

Why does your cat always come sit on your model instructions, no matter where you move them to?


Removing Sellotape


Marwan Nusair:

Yes, indeed, you can remove old sellotape, and if it hasn't already attacked the paper and changed its color it can be removed without trace. Unfortunately, once the paper has been discolored this can't be undone.
Use lighter fluid, straight out of the plastic bottle. Be generous, start at an edge, wet it and work the edge loose, then very slowly keep wetting under the edge and peel back very slowly. Lighter fluid will be everywhere, but it doesn't hurt paper, so once you're done it will dry out just fine.
You can also remove stickers and labels from cardboard boxes or glass with the stuff. So far, no color has been hurt by it.
For the really old tape, acidity causes the paper to discolor and that seems to be permanent.

Use a hair dryer on high to blow a hot stream (not too hot though) to soften sellotape to remove it.



Remember two points when soldering :

1) The metal must be clean so that it is free of rust, grease, tarnish and moisture.
2) Heat the metal, not the solder

The metal should be hot enough to melt the solder and boil away the flux - a substance that cleans the metal, prevents oxidation, and helps the molten solder to flow and adhere.

Solder is available in spools of hollow wire with resin flux or acid flux in the centre of the wire. Use acid-core solder for galvanized iron and zinc; use resin-core solder for other metals. For some jobs, such as copper plumbing, it is better to use solid solder and apply the flux separately (sweat soldering).
Heat the metal with a soldering gun, soldering iron or propane torch. A soldering gun operates with a trigger, heats up and cools very quickly, and is useful for electrical soldering and other fine work. Use a torch for large jobs.
Before using a soldering gun or iron, file each edge of the tip smooth and clean. Then heat the gun or iron and hold resin core solder to the tip until it is tinned with a coat of solder. Wipe off excess with a damp sponge.

To solder a joint, first clamp the pieces together. Heat the work surface, preferably from below, and apply the solder from the above so that it melts upon contact and runs into the joint. Molten solder will automatically move towards the heat. Wash off excess flux.

Two flat areas can be joined together by sweat soldering. First clean and flux the surfaces to be joined, then tin each separate surface by heating it with a torch and adding a thin, even coat of solder. Let the metal cool, then clean the tinned surfaces and add more flux. Clamp the pieces together and reheat them until a thin line of solder appears along the seam. Let the metal cool again, then wash it.

Electrical work :
To solder a connection or wire, use a Soldering gun or iron. Clean the wire and connectors with very fine sandpaper or steel wool; then hold them together, apply solder to the junction, and hold the tip of the gun to the underside of the terminal / wire.

More tips :
Spread flux on only the areas that you want to get covered with solder. Heat up the flux until it appears to dry out. Gently heat it further until it appears wet again, but don't let it bubble or burn.
Cut a very small piece of solder off and balance it on the solder area. Use solid silver solder that does not have flux in its core.
Keep heating up the workpiece, once the solder gets hot enough it will collapse and runs into the heated areas that you spread flux onto.
Solder will run to the heated workpiece. That's it!