Thursday, 27 August 2015

Display of Bagger 288 to a wider audience – Bagger 288 model is now FOR SALE!

Display of Bagger 288 to a wider audience – Bagger 288 model is now FOR SALE!  Plus – the start of a new Meccano model, Marion 6360

Size comparison (typical 1920's Meccano pose!)

During the time that the Krupp 288 bucket-wheel excavator has been in complete form in my house in Grahamstown it has attracted many visitors, from among both locals and visitors to our town, as well as a fair amount of national and international media interest, resulting in various articles and videos. A universal comment has been that the model should be on display to a much wider audience. Our small town (with a population of about 100,000) is an educational centre, with several schools, both private and state, a university (Rhodes University) and Technical College and is the centre of a farming community. Physical exposure of Bagger 288 is therefore relatively limited.

Accordingly, I have decided to put the model on the market, targeting museums of technology, mining, science, toys, etc.  I am prepared to pack the components of the model in specially designed crates for safe transport by road or sea.  I am willing to consider any reasonable offer as payment.  Interested parties can contact me as per information on this blog site.

Building Bagger 288 has been a great challenge and very exciting to me.  One quickly forgets the tedium (and strain on hands and arms!) of making tens of thousands of parts when one sees the end result come to life powered by its 55 electric motors

I have thus decided to build another excavator in replica Meccano, again making all the parts myself with the help of the same people who supported my BWE!  This time I want to build the Marion 6360 stripping shovel, which worked in the Captain Mine in Illinois from 1965 to 1990.  When it was built it was the largest land-based fully mobile object in the world (this title was taken away by the German 240,000 cubic metre per day bucket wheel excavators – BWEs - like Bagger 288)

The principle of the stripping shovel is completely difference from that of the BWE.  In the former, a single large bucket is rammed into the work face by a crowd mechanism, as it is known in the industry.  The Marion 6360 was the largest such machine ever built, with an all-out weight about 1000 tons lighter that the German BWEs.  Only one was built.  It came to a sad end in 1990 when a fire broke out, thought to have been caused by a ruptured hydraulic line spraying into live electrical power boards.  A substantial amount of grease had built up in the lower works of the machine over the years and this burned fiercely for about a day.  The crew escaped unhurt but fire teams were unable to extinguish the blaze because of the remote part of the mine in which machine was working, and the difficult terrain.  Immense damage was done and it was deemed uneconomical to try repairing it.  It was scrapped din 1992.

My model of the 6360 will be on the same scale as the BWE, 18 to 1, giving it a height of 12 feet and width of about 4½ feet.  Project mass is in the region of 1000 to 1100 Kg. so it is slightly lighter than the BWE (at 1335 Kg).  It also takes up less space that Bagger 288 being a more compact ‘chunkier’ machine.  The working length will be about 17 or 18 feet with dipper arm fully extended.  It will fit in a double garage which I have, which has a high ceiling (as does my lounge).  In fact I sold a collector’s piece motor car, a BMW 3.0 CSL, in order to have the space to build the model and finance it!  I think Meccano models are a more controllable expense than restoring old cars.  I had planned to get the BMW into concourse condition during my retirement by have decided that Meccano models are a bigger challenge and more fun!

With funds from the sale of the car I have been able to have all the parts for the 6360 laser cut at the outset and thus negotiate good prices.  The drilling is going well (about ¾ complete) and the first of the eight crawler units is complete and running. Most of the brass and aluminium parts have been turned as well.  I have included some photographs of it as well as some new views of Bagger 288 taken by my wife from a different angle. The Marion crawlers are larger than the BWE ones since there are only eight as opposed to fifteen on the BWE.

Below are pictures of the beginning of the new project:  Marion 6360 crawler: