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Meccano was Invented by 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 and gears. All the parts have remained compatible with each other over the years, retaining the same 4.1mm holes at ½" hole pitch, 5/32 Whitworth Threads and 4.05mm (8 SWG - Standard Wire Gauge) diameter axles. Many engineering principles and mechanisms can be simply modelled with Meccano. The standard gears all use the same 38DP profile, there are also some 'chunky' gears available with 16DP and 20DP tooth profiles.
Meccano produced a colour part chart showing the standard parts, you can download a copy here.
What Can I Use Meccano For?
There are many uses for Meccano parts today, as anything you make doesn't need to be completely built from Meccano. The components parts have hundreds of other uses such as :-
- Gearboxes and reduction gears or reduction drives.
- Model railway turntables.
- Prototype assemblies or tooling.
- Chain drives.
- Proof of concept for complex mechanisms or gear trains.
- A 'Third Hand', for holding small or delicate parts.
- An educational tool to demonstrate principles of levers, pulleys, gears, bearings etc.
- Brackets and plates to secure and locate sensors or other components.
- Small animal prosthetics.
Once you have finished with your application, you can simply unbolt it and use it again! You are really only bounded by your own imagination!