Meccano Heidelberg Platen Press


At a clubmeeting in Leimuiden of the Meccano Guild Netherlands(MGN) in november 2005 the following model of a Meccano Heidelberg platen press was shown:


This model has been constructed by Albert van Oorde, a member of the MGN, whose family owns a printing company for generations.

Research learned, that Albert van Oorde has exhibited his model only once, as in february 2006, he passed away at age 83. Albert van Oorde was not a well known member of the MGN and because of this the model became soon out of sight to the Meccano community.

Our MGN member Meindert Buis was able to get into contact with the van Oorde family. After some brief contacts with the son of Albert it was possible to borrow the machine for a couple of weeks, during which time a VirtualMEC model could be developed.

This was the starting point of my involvement. Based on the van Oorde model I have generated a VirtualMEC model and Meindert Buis is building a replica, based on the VirtualMEC model. This page will be updated in the near future once we can show more results about our efforts.


Analysis of the van Oorde model

First of all, this is the most impressive printing machine I have seen when it comes to making a Meccano equivalent of a printing press. There are only a handfull Meccano printing presses known around the world, varying from Stan Knight’s intriging platen press to cilinder presses of various sizes and complexity. Most of these presses are not capable of actually printing something, They merely give a representation of the general movements of the machine and the synchronity between the different moving components during operation.

The Heidelberg platen press or Heidelberg degelautomaat, shortly HDA as a Meccano model according to Albert van Oorde was a serious attempt in producing a working model of the platen press. It took him years to develop a Meccano model of the HDA. Initially, the colours of the Meccano parts were red and green, but after completion he demolished the model, sandblasted all colourparts and assembled it again.

The model has been filmed in operation somewhere at the beginning of the millenium. Attempts are being made to find this film.

More info will follow

The VirtualMEC model

The first version of the VirtualMEC model is an exact copy of the machine. Non Meccano parts like the camwheels have been replaced by Meccano wheels, which by size come close to each camwheel. These parts were given a red colour to clarify the relationship between the camwheels and the rest of the machine components. The first version took about 2 weeks te generate. If I had to generate a VM model based on photos only it probably would have taken months if even possible to generate all components at all! Some parts of the mechanism proved to be be difficult to put on a photo only. Having the real model next to my computer was thus a great advantage to generate a VM model.

During the making of the first version the machine was analyzed to fully understand all the workings of the model and each component seperately. Based on this analysis a final version has been made. This version has been updated regularly based on the results of the replica.

More info will follow