Friday, November 11, 2016

Manufacturing firm footing for Meccano models

The tinkering with the small screws of the Meccano has grown a bit - so has the collection of parts. Even though there is a wide variety of parts to build many different types of models and mechanisms, there was one part lacking that I would have expected. Maybe it is an expectation from working with the older typewriters; the Meccano system did not have rubber feet.

All nice and well when building on a workbench, but having rubber feet would be nice to prevent a small model from marring a tabletop. And as with typewriters, prevent models from skidding all over the table. A pulley fitted with a rubber tire could be used of course, but wanted something more compact - like a collar or bushing.

So we got some made.

With the easy availability of 3D modelling software and easy access to very affordable 3D printing in rubber, getting custom feet manufactured is not only doable - it's probably even less hassle than finding the right part in the hardware store. A quick design was made in Sketchup for a half-inch round by a quarter-inch high foot and a set of these printed locally via 3DHubs in black Ninjaflex at 100 micron layer-height.

These simple rubber feet can be bolted onto a plate or to the angle bracket that Meccano often show as 'foot' of a machine model. Using a longer bolt, adjustable feet are possible too.

The model, trivial as it is, can be downloaded from Thingiverse here.

(The barrier to replacing broken or missing rubber feet on machines is getting lower and lower :-)

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