The Meccano Society of Scotland

Navigate an Obstacle Course

Menstrie Challenge 2019


The challenge is to build a vehicle from standard and/or compatible Meccano parts that is able to carry a quantity of 50 standard (3/8” or 9.5mm) Meccano Ball Bearings in a single Boiler End over an obstacle course. The course will be a flat track 98 holes long x 25 holes wide upon which a number of different obstacles can be placed. The "Start" line will be at 26th hole and the "Finish" line will be at the 92nd hole. The vehicle must fit within a rectangle of size 15 holes wide x 25 holes long. There is no height restriction.

The competition will be comprised of a number of heats with each heat using a different obstacle which will be centred in the track. For each heat the competitor will start with 50 Ball Bearings and 30 seconds on the clock. The score obtained for each heat is the sum of the number of Ball Bearings left in the boiler end added to the number of seconds left on the clock when the vehicle reaches the finish line. The clock will start when the front of the vehicle crosses the Start line and stop when any part of the vehicle crosses the finish line.

The track will incorporate sides 4 holes high to help keep the vehicle travelling in approximately the correct direction should it be thrown off course by the obstacle and will also incorporate a number of magnets to assist in capturing Ball Bearings ejected from the vehicle as it progresses over the obstacle. If the vehicle fails to reach the finish line in the allotted time of 30 seconds no score is entered for that heat.

There will be minimum of 7 different obstacles to navigate, some more difficult than others. The picture below shows the obstacles that have been built thus far. The nominal size of each obstacle is 15 holes wide x 25 holes long and they will be placed lengthwise (i.e., parallel) to the track. Note the rollers in the “roller” obstacle are free to rotate. The winner of the competition will be the vehicle with the greatest aggregate score after all heats have been completed.


  1. Vehicle settings (e.g., gear ratios) may be adjusted between heats.
  2. The power source may be any number of clockwork or electric motors. Motors may be re-wound and batteries replaced as required. The vehicle must carry the batteries for any electric motors.
  3. The vehicle must fit within a rectangle 15 holes wide by 25 holes long. There are no height or weight restrictions for the vehicle’s construction.
  4. The vehicle should be assembled from Meccano or Meccano compatible parts.
  5. No part of the vehicle may extend over the starting line before the heat commences.
  6. Vehicles which become inoperable during a particular heat will be withdrawn but, if successfully returned to working order, may be re-entered in any following heat(s).
  7. If a vehicle completely leaves the course during a heat it will forfeit any score for that heat.
  8. The maximum duration for a heat is 30 seconds.
  9. Entrants may enter more than one vehicle.
  10. Up to 50 Ball Bearings per heat may be used. (A competitor may elect to start with fewer Ball Bearings if so desired).
  11. The use of magnets, adhesive tape, glue or any means other than gravity to retain the Ball Bearings in the Boiler End is not permitted.
  12. Proxy entrants are welcome.
  13. To aid marshals, commentators, fielders, scorers and reporters writing up the event, the entrant’s name must be prominently displayed (e.g. a sticky label).
  14. Practice sessions using the Obstacle Course will be allowed until the Secretary announces the competition has commenced.
  15. In the event of a dispute the Secretary will arbitrate.
  16. The winner will be the vehicle with the highest aggregate score from all heats. In the event of a draw between 2 or more vehicles, the winner will be determined by a further heat using the see-saw obstacle.