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Bill Bryson's Merkur Metal Plate Cutter

Bill writes: "This is a fabulous model and comes from the Merkur Classic C01 kit. This Classic set continues to be one of my favorite metal building kits. It is a functional Metal Plate Cutter. It is made as close as I could to the original plan drawings, with minor deviations to make the model work smoothly. I added a 2 hole extension brace for the cutters 4 corners and lowered the back lift apparatus by one nut width. The model called for a long shaft in the underbelly of the table and since Merkur only had shorter shafts I was forced to use two 3x2 bent couplers as shaft extenders. It worked nicely and the extended shaft turns freely. The unit functions well and the mechanism works great. I spent about 8 or 9 hours on the model.

I took the motor out of my Ferris Wheel Erector Set and installed it in the Metal Plate Cutter. The only things I used from the other set were the motor, worm gear and larger mesh gear. I installed it in a clever way such that the motor is self contained below the cutter deck and looks like it was designed for the model. It is one of the better models I ever built. In action it sounds just like a real cutter in a machine shop.

I got the Merkur 2.2 Geared Motor set in today and installed the Motor and gearing on my Metal Plate Cutter for testing. It went in a lot smoother than the Erector Motor because the hole spacing and motor mounts were designed for Merkur kits. This motor is a geared motor and reversible with two mechanical speeds. It has a kind of internal transmission box that allows the motor to lock into two speeds - depending on shaft position. It is a pretty neat arrangement.

The only thing I didn't like was the rather LARGE battery housing. It holds 3 D cells and the forward reverse switch is a toggle push button with NO lock. That means if you are running the motor you have to be pressing the switch. I will probably redesign the motor housing for surface mounting and 2 AA cells with forward reverse latching switches. But the motor kit is a fine one and it comes with a wide selection of gears and metal hardware including bolts/nuts and triangular, square and rectangular metal pieces.

It is a wonderful kit and I'll use it from now on with all my Merkur motorized models. The Erector Motor in the Metal Plate Cutter seemed to be made for it but it took a lot of effort to get it all installed. The Merkur motor was a snap to install because it is designed for the Merkur hole spacing. I am well pleased with this motor kit. The wide variety of gearing will give me considerable options on a version of a Merkur Mechanical Wonder if I choose to go that route."