Meccano substitutes?

Oldskool Meccano is wonderful, but ridiculously expensive now, and the modern kits all have silly part you would never use, unless making their models…so is there a substitute out there with such a good system of Strip and Holes?

I had to go look it up (erector set), the ones I see are like you describe, x in 1 model kits, and I remember at some point there was like a "refill kit" but I don't know

Well, there's always Fischertechnik, but that's hardly inexpensive. You might also look into Tamiya components - here's Pololu's site that sells quite a bit of Tamiya's product line:

Here's Tamiya's catalog if you want a more in-depth look at what they carry (lots of cool robotic stuff in their educational series!):

http://www.tamiya.com/english/e-home.htm

Another possibility, if you are needing something stronger, is to look into the Contraptor project:

http://www.contraptor.org/

As well as GridBeams:

http://www.gridbeamers.com/

Hope this helps you, or at least provides inspiration! :slight_smile:

Hmm. I wonder if it would be practical to fabricate meccano-like strips using PCB fab technology (FR-4 fiberglass...) Certainly an interesting idea for all those homebrew CNC machines to try cranking out. Although fiberglass tends to eat tooling at a furious rate...
(or laser-cut colored acrylic. Pretty! (it would probably have to be somewhat enlarged.)

There is also makerbeam (http://www.makerbeam.com/makerbeam.html)

(or laser-cut colored acrylic. Pretty! (it would probably have to be somewhat enlarged.)

It's a bit brittle but it would be ok for small models (or reinforced larger models)

Plasma cut stainless steel/aluminium sheet would be better (but expensive).

Mowcius

Why does Makerbeam mini-T look like 80/20 structural extruded aluminum beams? Is it? How is this new or open-source? I am pretty certain 80/20's stuff is patented/protected, and not an open standard - what am I misunderstanding?

;D here in Chile I found a cheap store (those about "All for $x") with a very cheap chinese metal meccano (2 USD, comes with wheels, screws, everything).

You got all that (minus the electronics presumably) for $2? That's a bargain and a half.

Andrew

Hmm - we have plenty of those $ stores here in the states - I should take a look myself! Thanks for the tip!

yea thats pretty killer for a kit

if one could use just the angle pieces and not the plates you can get similar type of perforated strapping down at the hardware store

@ cr0sh

man I dunno, we have all sorts of that stuff laying around, its very common for modular quick build stuff, like stages and show booths n whatnot

as far as patents go, what I have noticed about them is each system has something different about it besides brand name (usually layout), maybe this system is different enough from the others that they can claim it their own?

Does that single 9vdc battery power the whole rig including the servos? If so what run time do you get from it?

Lefty

Hahaha, Retrolefty, for about 10-20 minutes and then it looks a bit erratic. :frowning:

But I needed years ago for a small demo in university :D, built in one night, and plus I found that goldmine mecano xD

Now I use a 8x alcaline AA (wrapped with electric tape) pack that for arduino testings. This pack last a lot more and 9V are too expensive for arduino

This pack last a lot more and 9V are too expensive for arduino

You got that right, 9vdc batteries have got to be the poorest $$$/capacity ratio there is in the battery world. AA rechargeables can be gotten pretty cheaply on-line.

Lefty

Why does Makerbeam mini-T look like 80/20 structural extruded aluminum beams? Is it? How is this new or open-source? I am pretty certain 80/20's stuff is patented/protected, and not an open standard - what am I misunderstanding?

The Makerbeam stuff is a "shrink" version of the 80/20 stuff. The "beams" are about 1cm on a side. I don't know if they run into patent/IP issues; interesting question! It certainly wouldn't be the first time that someone released (or tried to) protected IP as "open source." (cf. all the file compression software based on LZW compression, for example.)

I wrap 8 AA batteries ($5-6 USD) with a plug every 3-4 months and I use this pack for everything, arduino, seeduino, jyetech oscilloscope,servos, etc.

I dream about a lithium pack for arduino that works as a cellphone. Not like that lithuim backpack from libelium.

1.If you connect the usb to your magic batt pack “mbp”, arduino receives 5V from the PC plus the data as expected. Batteries are automatically recharged
2.If you disconnect the usb from the mbp, batteries provides a stable 5V energy to the pack

But I need a little more knowledge on electronics, everything that I do gets hot (h-bridge, regulators, etc) :-[

westfw:

I think, since I haven’t found anything on the site other than the logo to indicate what the stuff will look like, that they will run into real problems, unless t-slot stuff is more “open” and “standard” than I think. I haven’t seen anything other than 80/20 which has that profile before.

I would love to see something smaller (though 80/20 has a 20mm version; which is only twice as wide as this Makerbeam stuff), but I don’t like seeing anybody ripped off, either. Maybe t-slot is more “open” than I think, and I just don’t know of other manufacturers (I would personally love something cheaper than 80/20 - their stuff is expensive).

Hmm - just did some quick googling, and I did find a few other manufacturers of t-slot stuff; I had always thought that 80/20 was the originator, but I guess it has been around longer than that - so maybe Makerbeam will be ok.

I’ll have to follow this closer…

Hmm - just found this:

kinda pricey (192$ for the small kit)

No, $92 would be "kinda pricey". $192 is "$%&#ing expensive"...

Was there a brand name on that Chinese pseudo-Meccano? I'd like to go hunting for some online (the odds against finding any locally out here in the hinterlands would make a lottery commissioner blush).

Actually, that $192.00 kit is the "pro" kit, not the "starter" kit. It contains 7 pieces of the profiles, which if I read everything right, a single profile is 10mm x 10mm x 900mm - 90cm long! So you would get 630cm worth of the profile (or approx 248 inches - almost 21 feet); you could build quite a lot of prototypes with that amount (more than enough there in that kit to build a small CNC machine, I think).

The starter kit ($89.00) is less than half that quantity, but the profiles themselves are cheap. I don't consider any of this expensive (have you priced t-slot before - it ain't cheap).

Now, it certainly isn't in the Meccano/Erector/Lego arena of price ranges; it probably even has Fischertechnik beat (maybe - Fischertechnik is pretty pricey) - but for what you are getting, I think it is very reasonably priced.