The Meccano Society of Scotland

Obstacle Climbing

Menstrie Challenge 2014


The challenge is to build a machine from standard and/or compatible Meccano parts that is able to overcome a variable height obstacle constructed from Meccano and placed on the Menstrie Scout Hall floor. The machine should be able to approach the obstacle, overcome it and then continue on its way.

The challenge will determine which machine can overcome the greatest height.

The obstacle will be approximately 18" in length and 5½" in width and of variable height. The height of the obstacle will be raised in ½" increments until no model succeeds in reaching the far side of the obstacle.


  1. The initial height of the obstacle will be 1". This will be increased for each round by a ½" increment until no machine successfully negotiates the obstacle in a particular round.
  2. Two attempts per round per machine are permitted.
  3. Machine settings may be adjusted between successive attempts at overcoming the obstacle.
  4. The power source may be any electric or clockwork motor or spring mechanism. There are no voltage or power restrictions for electric motors but the power source must be carried on the machine. Batteries may be changed, power sources recharged and clockwork motors and springs re-wound as required.
  5. Once set in motion for an attempt at the obstacle no operator intervention is permitted.
  6. Any machine judged to have damaged the obstacle will be disqualified.
  7. There are no size or weight restrictions for the machine's construction (subject to Rule 6).
  8. The machine should be assembled from Meccano or Meccano compatible parts.
  9. At the start of the attempt the foremost part of the machine must be at least 12" from the front edge of the obstacle.
  10. An attempt is not considered complete until the rear most part of the machine is 12" from the rear edge of the obstacle.
  11. A machine which is unable to continue after negotiating the obstacle (e.g. falls over) will be considered to have failed the attempt.
  12. A machine which does not succeed in a particular round may be entered in the next round.
  13. Machines which become inoperable during an attempt will be withdrawn, but if successfully returned to working order, may be re-entered.
  14. The machine should finish the attempt with the same number of parts that it started with.
  15. The maximum duration for two attempts (i.e. a round) should not exceed three minutes per machine.
  16. Entrants may enter more than one machine.
  17. Proxy entrants are welcome.
  18. To aid marshals, commentators, scorers and reporters writing up the event, the entrant's name must be prominently displayed (e.g. a sticky label).
  19. Practice sessions using the obstacle will be allowed until the Secretary announces the competition has commenced.
  20. In the event of a dispute the Secretary will arbitrate.
  21. The winner will be the machine able to negotiate the heighest obstacle height. In the event of a draw, the winner will be determined by which machine can do so in the shortest time.

The Obstacle

The obstacle is a platform 14½" long and 5½" wide. Rack strips line the front and rear of the platform prjecting slightly above the plate level to provide a roungh surface for the tracks, wheels or other propulsion means to grip on to.

The platform is mounted on four rods journalled in vertical U section columns made from 9½" Angle Girders. This arrangement allows the rods to be withdrawn after each round and the platform moved up ½" before they are reinserted.

There will be an adjustable vertical wall at the front of the platform to prevent a vehicle going under the platform and also to provide something for vehicles to grip onto as they try to ascend to the platform.