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About Meccano

The Meccano System

Meccano was invented by Englishman Frank Hornby, who patented his ideas in 1901. The number of different parts in the Meccano system has steadily increased over the years, from simple strips and angle girders, to pulleys, wheels, gears and modern plastic parts. Third parties have also added new parts to the system, many of which are available on the website. All the parts in the system are compatible with each other, retaining the same 4.1mm holes at ½" hole pitch, (although some modern parts now have ¼" pitch) 5/32" Whitworth Threads and 4.06mm (8 SWG - Standard Wire Gauge) diameter axles. Later axles and plastic gears and pulleys used the 'triflat' system, which eliminated the need for a boss, using plastic collars to retain the part on the axle. The standard gears and rack strips all use the same 38DP tooth profile, enabling them to mesh together.

Meccano Uses

Although Meccano is traditionally used to make complete models, there are many other different uses for the parts; anything you construct doesn't need to be completely built from Meccano. The component parts have many other uses such as :-

  • General purpose gearing or reduction and angle drives.
  • Model railway turntables.
  • Pulley systems.
  • Robotics.
  • Prototype assemblies or tooling.
  • Chain or gear drives in other scratch built models or systems.
  • Proof of concept for complex mechanisms or gear trains.
  • An educational tool to demonstrate principles of levers, pulleys, gears, bearings etc.
  • Brackets and plates to secure and locate other components.
  • To adapt and attach personal computer components, such as fans, disk drives etc.
  • Small animal prosthetics.
  • For assessing simple engineering competence.
  • Supporting a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) projects, within  education.

Once you have finished with your application, you can simply unbolt it all and use it again! You are really only bounded by your own imagination!