Meccano MEC1

This is a Meccano MEC1 stationary model steam engine, manufactured in England by Mamod for Meccano. It was made in the early 1970’s.

Initially, all we did was give it was wipe with a rag, change the washers in the safety valve and level plug – c/w a thin smear of silicone grease, apply some oil to the pistons & crankshaft, filled the boiler and burner, lit it and sat back and watched! Then we grabbed a common-or-garden, point-and-shoot, stills camera with very rudimentary video capability to shoot this video.


Fast and furious

We are utterly gobsmacked at just what a good little engine the MEC1 is. OK, it’s not as pretty as the Mamods (even though it actually was made for Meccano by Mamod). But boy, what a fantastic little workhorse!

Studying it carefully, it seems to have a lot in common with the Mamod SE2a but with a totally different layout, of course. The bore & stroke are roughly the same ~ 7.91 mm bore x 18 mm stroke approx. The boiler is the same size ~ 44.45 mm diameter x 117 mm long and it uses the same meths burner. Even has virtually the same reverse lever mechanism.

However, we reckon that the combination of the insulating heat shield roughly 3 mm above the boiler, plus a very short pipe run from the boiler to the engine, is what makes the MEC1 so good. I.e. you get proper steam in the cylinder, not just hot water! Runs for over 20 minutes too. Sadly in this steaming, we only captured the first four minutes – the chip on the camera was full!

Unfortunately, after the first steaming, we noticed tiny pinprick holes in one of the boiler end cap. Seems it had suffered the dreaded dezincification. So we dismantled the machine, drilled out the pop-rivets, un-soldered and prised off the old cap, and replaced it, c/w water level plug boss. Today she runs good as new!

More photographs (on a stainless steel plinth)

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