This article is from the March 2003 issue of "Canadian MeccaNotes".
During the past months Exacto has been introducing new products and services that widen the scope of their offer for the benefit of Meccano enthusiasts all over the world. From the point of view of Juan Carlos Rovetta, present Managing Director of Exacto, "there is much to be done yet in the development of our paramount hobby and for the benefit and pleasure of so many "adult boys" all over the world." What follows is a review of the main highlights.
CMAMAS members are already acquainted with this new version of the classical finish. Issue 26 of "Canadian MeccaNotes" included an ample description of its development and characteristics. The CMAMAS membership, as well as enthusiasts all over the world, gave a generous response to this new offer.
Many Meccano enthusiasts consulted about their non-Exacto parts, and the decision was taken to provide the service of giving the new blue & gold finish to any part that is not in the Exacto range. This is not a full refurbishing, nothing can be done if the part is structurally damaged since work is done only on the finish. The parts are treated individually, carefully stripped to the bare metal and given the full finishing process leaving them as if new. All this should be great news for those seeking their blue & gold big sets, like 10's and L's. Since these big sets may have some 50 to 70 of such non- Exacto blue & gold parts, then the cost of finishing them falls into a quite affordable range considering the value of the whole set.
Maybe those participating in Spanner have had the chance to read some comments on these motors. Paolo Caravani (Italy) has even qualified them as "jewels", generous and passionate as Italians usually are. But now let's get to the hard facts. Three motors compose the range. The photograph shows models MR4 and MR8, They are provided as a set, including an adapter plate, fasteners, cables (not shown in the photo) and Exacto N° 255 couplings in the bigger sizes with 8mm (5/16") shafts. Each one has a nominal power output that can cover almost every need for a Meccano constructor, from a small model to the wildest and bigger ones. Since they are geared motors, the output speed (RPM's) must be defined upon ordering the set. Their technical characteristics are the following:
In the June 2002 "Canadian MeccaNotes" Exacto officially stated: "we seem to be the only survivors among Binns Road´s licensees. We do feel uneasy when we are mistaken for manufacturers of reproductions or imitations. Hey, we are the real stuff! We strive to keep up a tradition, and are particularly keen on improving and evolving." Interestingly enough, even contradictory as it may seem, Exacto is explicitly offering a reproduction now, though not a simple one.
The engine is 100% identical to the original counterpart, both functionally and dimensionally. This is so to the point that Exacto offers both the complete motor and the spares, in case the happy owner of an original piece needs to repair any broken or deteriorated item. Of course, Exacto can do such repairs too, and the same skilled craftsmen responsible for these reproductions would be refurbishing the original engines.
The only difference is obvious: the imitation rivets, inspection doors and water-level indicator are missing, since these decorative details would have meant a considerable increase in the cost of the engine. All the rest is there: the control lever allowing for forward / neutral / reverse operation, the fine-pitch 76 teeth gear and 26 teeth pinion, the safety valve, the gauge cock, the lamp, the superheating of the live steam, and the thrill of having the engine running and puffing gently at 600 / 650 RPM under a 2 kg/cm2 (28psi) working pressure. The joy will last some 20 minutes, until the methanol is completely burnt-out and continuing with the fun calls for refilling the lamp and the boiler.
During 2002 Exacto started to produce and sell its well-known
version of the classical Crane Set, which met a
more-than-reasonable commercial success and reached every corner
of the Meccano world.
Now the stakes are on a modern version of the N°4 set, 1976 composition. The photo illustrates the set, which can be provided in Liverpool red / green or in Exacto blue / yellow / grey livery. The box was carefully designed so that the parts can withstand even the most careless postal handling. All the parts are firmly positioned inside polyester + EVA rubber sandwich trays, and small items such as fasteners and brackets are contained inside cardboard-and-tin cylindrical boxes. Sets N° 1, 2 and 3 can be delivered in the same packaging.
The first sets are being delivered with a complimentary model book, a surplus of the golden "Meccano Industria Argentina" age. In a way, this is a piece of history adding value to the set.
There are two new members in the Exacto family of helical
gears, as shown in the photo. They are Z60 and Z48 (i.e., 60 and
48 teeth). These gears add greater possibilities to the range,
with transmission ratios from 1:1 to 1:5 between parallel or
orthogonal shafts. Moreover, Z12, Z24, Z36, Z48 and Z60 share a
most practical property: they all mesh at hole distance or at
half-hole distance. See table below for detailed information.
CMAMAS members are well aware of the enormous efforts that the members of the CMAMAS executive do, donating their time in order to process bulk orders which allow for considerable cost reductions. Such tremendous efforts have led to the rational decision of concentrating bulk orders and processing only per year, closing date April 15th. However, as this is being written Exacto is working out an special agreement with CMAMAS which will make it possible for any CMAMAS member to place orders any time during the year and get an special discount on the Exacto price list. The orders will be received and authorized by CMAMAS, who will collect payments too. Exacto will process such orders individually, in the shortest time allowed for by the availability of parts or colours. Prices will be certainly higher than those obtained through bulk orders. But CMAMAS members that are not willing to wait for the yearly bulk order will enjoy the lowest possible prices for Exacto parts and sets through this special benefit. Detailed information on this special agreement may be available soon through the usual channels.
Juan Carlos Rovetta
Copyright 1998-2003 by CMAMAS.