Here is a plan or idea of how to make a construction set for children. To make you understand the principle and to make the start easier, first of all we will present you the plans for three truck scale models. This construction set is very similar to the Meccano system which is, next to Lego bricks, one of the most famous commercial construction systems in the world.
The plans for the construction set have been found in the children's magazine “Юный техник” (Junior Technician) which used to be one of the best magazines for the development of scientific and technical interests in children in the USSR and has also kept its quality in the present-day Russia. The plans were published in several issues under the title “Домашний конструктор” (Home Designer) in 1969. As this idea was very good, we have drawn models and prepared documentation in 3D CAD software in order to enable you to create these models more easily or to start designing your own construction sets. The original plans from the magazines were incomplete, so that certain changes have been made and a few parts newly designed.
The aim of this construction set was to develop children's engineering skills. It was meant for working with children in elementary schools (within the Technical Sciences subject or optional/non-compulsory school activities). The set contained over 1,500 parts that could be assembled and connected to construct such scale models as various devices, vehicles, weapons, labor and agricultural machinery etc. The children constructed all the parts with sheet metal hand tools (sheet metal scissors, saw, drill, tfile...) and, except for assembling the models, another objective of theirs was to design new ones. They had an engineer's access, since one of the main goals was to get the most out of the parts already designed. In this way, the children developed their motor skills, creativity and memory, thus becoming acquainted with the engineering way of problem-solving.
Here are a few guidelines that were published in the texts that accompanied these scale model plans:
- Most of the pieces can be made from aluminum sheet, thickness 0.5-1mm.
- Parts can be assembled with fasteners, sheet metal screws, rivets or a combination thereof.
- Hole diameters can be 3-3.5mm. Fastener/rivet dimensions ((diameter and lenght)) needs to be adjusted to the chosen hole diameter.
- The roof of the truck (part 11 and part 18) can be made by bending, as shown in our plan, or made of two parts connected by rivets.
If you want to design new sheet metal scale models, we recommend that you observe the following advice:
- Think in advance about several scale models at once in order to get the most out of already-designed parts and to make it possible that the new parts to be designed can be used for different models.
- Once you determine some dimensions (e.g. the distance between the wheels, wheel diameter, the distance between holes and the like), always obey them with new models.
- Try to break each complex part into a few simple ones.
- Always work in groups so that the children can develop their communication and cooperation skills.
- From the very beginning, teach the children to draw up the 2D documentation (to give names to parts and make 2D drawings for them).
- Parts should be made strictly according to the drawings.
In the plan, you will find:
- 3D model in stp file format of each truck model
- Assembly drawing (high resolution images) of each truck model.
- Exploded view (high resolution images) and parts list of each truck model.
- Drawings (high resolution images) of all the parts the models are composed of. The models have a large number of common parts so, before you start making them, you need to study the parts list of the chosen model.
Unfortunately, we have to mention that such quality work with school children as described above is very rare nowadays. There used to be various optional/non-compulsive courses at elementary schools which, for some reasons, are non-existent today. Children are denied the creative part because they are presented with commercial construction sets (Lego or Meccano) only to assemble already designed structures based on the guidelines, whereas they do not take part in the very production of parts.
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