Archive for the ‘Erector Sets’ Category

August 7, 2017 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Banks, Jim, Erector Sets, Models

Jim Banks' Skydiver

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I rode on tons of amusement park rides, and one that I always remembered fondly was the infamous “Skydiver”. Resembling a large Ferris wheel with rotating cars, the Skydiver was a rough and intimidating ride. Ride on this thing once and you’ll probably remember the experience for the rest of your life. I’ve never seen an Erector re-creation of the Skydiver so I got the idea to try and make one, thinking it would be a good challenge. I looked at real-life pictures of the Skydiver on the Internet to refresh my memory and provide a guide for how the eventual model should look.

First I prototyped the cars, trying to make them resemble the real thing, along with a small steering wheel on the center axis that the occupants tried vainly to control the out-of-control car. I was able to get the car to rotate on a 7” axle properly. Then I prototyped the large Ferris-type wheel, laying out all the pieces on the floor until I had a good idea of how things would lay out while fitting the 4 cars.

After figuring out the cars and Ferris-type wheel, I had to construct the towers. Since the wheel is larger than the traditional 8 1/2 set wheel, I had to make it taller by connecting two 12” MN base plates. This required extra supports using more 12” DP angle girders for structural strength and rigidity. I also beefed up the tops of each tower where a single “N” long double angle supports the full weight of the Ferris wheel and cars. If that N-part comes loose, it will rotate co-axially and everything will possibly come crashing down, so I added support with 3” MO angle girders and a few other parts and lots of screws. Possibly over-engineered but definitely strong enough to support the weight!

I had a bunch of extra 12” MN base plates so I used them to create the platform. After it was all together and the Skydiver wheel worked as planned, the last thing I did was add the loading and unloading platforms for all the brave souls that wanted to give this ride a try. I felt it adds to the overall effect.

The Skydiver was a colorful, visually pleasing ride, so I painted the MF base plates on the sides of each car blue to give it some color. I also used the red car trucks on the loading ramps, plus the red flat car trucks on the points of the Ferris wheel to add color.

I have to say I’m happy with how the project turned out. The action of the cars — rotating on axis as they moved in a Ferris wheel-type circular movement — mimics exactly how the cars of the Skydiver moved in real life.

View a video of Jim Banks' Skydiver Ferris Wheel
September 25, 2014 · by Michael Foster · Erector Sets

This isn’t news to collectors, but one of A.C. Gilbert’s abilities was creating promotions and advertising. This page has been created to display and make available for download some of his print ads, large and small. Many of these ads make great reference material and often give a lesson in history. If you have an ad or article you would like to share, please send a PDF file to the webmaster. See the new Erector Marketing page

August 5, 2015 · by David Gilbert · Erector Sets, Guidarelli, Greg, Machines

These models are from the 1929 #9 Mechanical Wonders set. The model on the right side of the back plate is the Cone Pulleys model, the first model in the wonders section of the manual and the easiest. The model on the left side of the back plate is part of the rectilinear motion model. All of the parts used are from the late 20’s with the exception of modern machine screws. The six shiny metal car trucks are from a mid-1920s Gilbert Meccano set. Special thanks to Joel Perlin for supplying the parts specific to the 1929 #9 set, those being the eccentric, cone pulleys and gear segment. These models do not really do much, they are more an exercise in getting your gears to mesh, which is not at all a trivial endeavor with sets of this era. I had to use a number of extra washers and brass collars to get smooth gear meshing. The motor is one I rewound, it is running at 3.0 volts and pulling 2.0 amperes in the video. On the front side is a back side is a basic reduction gearbox driven by a worm gear on the motor, the worm gear meshing is the hardest to get right. We then have ladder chain spinning two more gears. On the back side we have a crown gear turning three axels using the cone pulleys with women’s hair bands as the belts. The other side is an eccentric used to rock the gear segment across the saw blade. I really only included it so that one side of the back plate would not be so empty.

– Greg Guidarelli, August 5, 2015

Videos of Greg Guidarelli’s Erector Models:

March 14, 2015 · by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Williams, Russell

Before building this crane, I looked at several crane designs on the Internet and incorporated some of the designs in my model. I have given my crane the name “The Mammoth Crane”, representing the new generation of 200,000 ton heavy lift cranes. These are cranes which are platform twin-rig containerized. In the PTC design of these cranes the boom height is as high as 587 feet. In addition, these cranes can lift in excess of 3,500 tons.

My super heavy lift crane weighs about 125 pounds. Over recent months I have taken it through a number of tests. Upon performing a heavy lift test in August 2014 I successfully lifted 40 pounds. This was done with the use of 5 gallon milk jugs filled with water. The boom height of my crane is 8 feet and it has 4 two-speed hoists and 5 motors.

– Russell Williams, March 8, 2015

The Story of The A.C. Gilbert Company

A film by Thomas B. Barker.

2013 is the 100th Anniversary of the introduction of the ERECTOR SET. This is the story of that event and the company behind it. It also shows the era of the heyday of the company and then its eventual demise and why that happened due to sociological changes.

The film, which is 30 minutes long, focuses considerable attention on American Flyer Trains.

April 16, 2014 · by Michael Foster · Erector Sets
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1929 Zeppelin Set

In February of 2011 I participated in the Bill Bean Stout auction and was very fortunate to be the winning bidder of the 1929 No. 8 Zeppelin set from Bill’s collection that is pictured in Greenberg’s Guide to Gilbert Erector Sets, Volume one on page 105.  Needless to say, I’m quite proud of the set and it has become one of my prized sets.

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Mysterious Mooring Mast parts

When I received the Zeppelin set, there were 2 large black steel tubes and a round base included which I could not find on any inventory sheets I had. Nothing in the instructions referred to them either.  I put the 3 mystery parts together (they screwed together perfectly) and it appeared to me as if this was some kind of alternate “Mooring Mast” for the Zeppelin, as the support rod fit perfectly also into the pipe. Note:  The round black base has the mark “HAYS” on it, if that is a clue to anyone.

I was puzzled and wanted clarification, so I felt it necessary to contact Bill to see if he could shed some light on the mystery parts. Bill explained this was an interesting story. If you look at the graphic inside the Zeppelin box lid at the Mooring Mast you will notice the 3 mystery parts are in the picture.  Bill said he purchased the set from Ted Howard who got it from the original owner and the original owner stated those parts were in the set when he received it from A.C. Gilberts’ factory.

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Mooring mast detail from internal lid graphic

This begs the question, were these parts included in any other Zeppelin sets or was this a one-time experiment by A.C.? Perhaps these were test parts and put in this set by mistake? If you have any knowledge of these parts or have them in your sets, please post a reply.

April 13, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Models, Willard, Craig

Craig Willard writes: “This model was adapted from an original design of Bill Bean and Larry Worley. As we are all from the ACGHS I feel I had to try to copy and modify slightly what these gentlemen had done. The spectacular dimensions are listed at over 3 feet in diameter and 10 inches wide.  It took me just about 3 years to acquire, strip prime and paint (3 to 5 coats) all the parts for this piece. It is quite large and it runs very smoothly thanks to two A-49 Erector motors linked to each side of the Ferris Wheel and driven directly. The joy was building it but watching it is just as satisfying. I’ve installed 8 gondolas and additional EX and EY girders as well as a digitized sound unit of the amusement park sounds which really complete the effect.”

Craig Willard's Ferris Wheel
March 24, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Erector Sets, Machines, Ware, Dave
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