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Is Model Engineering in Decline

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Ron Laden19/08/2018 16:19:12
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Posted by Mick Charity on 19/08/2018 16:08:58:
Posted by Ron Laden on 19/08/2018 14:36:09:

Can we ask what you were doing when you were 22, 21, 18, 13 & 9 ?

Were you chasing wimmin in nightclubs after your team won the football or were you stood by your grandad as he spanked a flange on his anvil?

I was doing exactly the same, I was trying to point out that they are typical youngsters and to most youngsters model engineering is probably as interesting as watching paint dry.

Jeff Bates19/10/2019 01:30:16
24 forum posts
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The Midland Model Engineering show this year confirms that model engineering shows have had their glory days

when the likes of Warco, chronos, rotagrip etc stop attending the writing is on the wall

the fees keep rising and you have to sell an awful lot of stock just to break even

Warco say that it would cost them around 25k to attend a show like Warwick. Fuel hotels staff wages etc

Footfall is well down in previous years and the average age of the attendees is about 68, most of which only spend a few quid

there are very few teenage or lads in their 20's 30's or 40's to replace the older generation

ten years and the shows will become a thing of the past.

what a shame i will certainly miss them

JasonB19/10/2019 07:05:08
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Posted by Jeff Bates on 19/10/2019 01:30:16:

Footfall is well down in previous years and the average age of the attendees is about 68, most of which only spend a few quid

there are very few teenage or lads in their 20's 30's or 40's to replace the older generation

I assume you went Thursday or Friday when most people in their 20s, 30s and 40 will be working and teens & kids at school

Old School19/10/2019 09:22:51
260 forum posts
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I can remember the heyday of model engineering shows, being dragged round by my father looking at the clocks and him muttering to himself built by an engineer. We did persuade him to look at the exciting stuff the model aircraft and the model boats. I have never really been a fan of steam loco,s they are nice a huge amount of skill in building one.

To me one of the more interesting and very nicely made exhibits fp was the Gatling gun not to everyone taste but a demonstration of the gunsmiths skill.

I have no idea what the youngsters of today want to see my son has a model engineering workshop he produces parts for his tethered cars and his full size drag racing mini.

The shows are certainly in decline but it's not just the ME shows some are killed by the admission price, but not the MEX.

Just for the record I do have one complete 3 1/2 loco but only really as a dust collector although does have its all the required paper work run. And I rescued a gauge 1 Girton that I am completing made by an Scosman in Switzerland and rescued from going into a Swiss dustbin.

They have an absolutely fabulous gauge one in Witterswill I Switzerland and the guys there say it's in decline, the tether car track next door the reason for me being there is holding its own having a good mixture of ages.

Mike Poole19/10/2019 11:47:29
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I had an interesting chat on the CNC4you stand which I don’t remember having been at a show before. In recent years there have been a few new entrants into the ME market and the shows provide a good chance to demonstrate their wares and knowledge. Younger entrants to ME are very likely to be very savvy with internet shopping and able to find much info and advice online. When Ketan withdrew Arceurrotrade from the show circuit he was brave enough to make his case on this forum and I think most people have great respect for his reasoning. The same reasons are likely to apply to most of the traders and hence we are seeing them fall away from shows and use the internet and their own showroom facilities to market their products. It’s funny how my experience of visiting on Thursday is different from some other posters, I joined the prepaid ticket queue at 9:37 and was through the doors at 10:02, I made a beeline for the balcony restaurant and there was no queue for my full English and coffee. Moving round the show was busy but not too bad, sometimes you have to wait for a gap to emerge to get to the front on some stalls but not a problem, after I came in from the outside exhibits and jet engine demo there was a strong haze of bacon smoke and a longish queue at the catering counter, the haze was unusual and I wonder if cooked food downstairs is new as I thought is was just a coffee cake and sandwich point in the past. We have already seen the demise of the Model engineer show so maybe the writing is on the wall for the others? There are still quite a lot of shows and I suspect the club run shows which strongly feature models and are run by a club with willing members can keep going as long as the members are prepared to make a considerable effort. I imagine the commercial shows will run until they start making a loss and I am sure they are thinking what to do to keep things going. Maybe shows will evolve and some of the criticism is that they are not like they used to be but if it was your first visit would you be happy with the experience. Times they are a changin’.

Mike

Howard Lewis19/10/2019 12:16:16
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The seems to be no decline in the standard of work produced, but I fear that not every club nurtures youngsters as some clubs do.

Although not a member (140 miles away ) Hereford do a good job. They mentor youngsters, even having a workshop specifically for them.

All M E Clubs need to publicise themselves, to show what can be made by a Model Engineer, and then to follow up by making ALL potential members welcome, and helping / advising in any way that they can.

If this does not happen, Model Engineering will decline as older members die off, and no youngsters come in to continue the hobby.

This will be bad news for Society, as practical skills, and understanding declines. Already, I have heard young parents ask "How does that fire make the locomotive go?", leading to an explanation of how a steam locomotive works. Others, apparently have difficulty screwing a nut onto a bolt; which augers badly for the future of the human race! In 1977, in America, I was told that a Master Plumber could name his own price. We do not want to go along that road!, where practical skills and understanding are rare.

Howard

John Alexander Stewart19/10/2019 13:46:14
753 forum posts
51 photos

Looking at my local club - yes it is slowly dying, I think. Certainly member numbers are down, and active model builders has decreased,

However, if I drive 2 hours to another club (Canada - distances like this is close) - the Montreal Live Steamers - is absolutely thriving.

Some of the members are about my parents' age, but the majority that I see out there are young - no grey hair - and ACTIVE. Lots of construction, facility building, track work, locomotive building (from 3-1/2 to 7-1/4). It's incredible to see what they do.

How do they do it? In my opinion,They provide an inclusive atmosphere, and go out of their way to be personable and approachable. No issues with what you are building or buying, any scale, help and guidance is there.

I'm not sure how to bring that attitude to my local club; I've tried, but I think a combination of lack of time, other hobbies, working full time, and (most important) a really outgoing, engaging personality is required. :-|

R Johns19/10/2019 14:12:00
23 forum posts

Interesting posts here. I am planing on taking my 6 year old to Alexandra Palace in January for the model exhibition. He is well into airfix and builds with meccano. We have done some woodwork together but he now wants to do engineering. I am always in the shed making steam engines etc.

He has used under supervision my small unimat lathe to make a couple of components for his models but the thing really stopping progress is his age and wanting something complete after a short session. I am currently toying with the idea of a mamod kit for him to get really started although these do not actually involve making anything.

Elmo

3404619/10/2019 14:18:43
772 forum posts
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Sadly, it seems to be . My friend in Cornwall tells me five years ago there were three clubs in Cornwall, now there is only one.

Bill

Speedy Builder519/10/2019 14:37:15
1833 forum posts
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It’s just too expensive !! My first steam model was a turbine. WOW !!

A Tate and Lyles syrup tin with a bike tyre valve as the nozzle. Turbine cut from tin plate etc. Safety valve was the lid blowing off. But of course, all that is too dangerous now. Just look at any pre war

model magazine - lots of stuff for « model engineers » but tooo dangerous ??? 

Edited By Speedy Builder5 on 19/10/2019 14:38:32

steamdave19/10/2019 16:31:19
415 forum posts
32 photos

From what I saw when visiting the US shows, there was a very good attendance.

One major difference is that there are very few club stands, most exhibitors had their own stand and the great advantage is that any visitor with a question could ask the builder directly, unlike a club stand where the steward probably knows nothing about most of the models on display. There is much more emphasis over there on internal combustion engines and hot air engines rather than steam. There was also an auction sale on site with tools, models, materials an even antique machinery.

When I visited GEARS over in Portland OR, the ladies of the exhibitors were not left out on a limb looking disinterestedly at the engines while hubby was rapt: they had their own display (in the same building) of their crafts, mostly quilting and needlework sort of things. It was very noticeable how many of the men went and viewed them.

Dave
The Emerald Isle

ANDY CAWLEY20/10/2019 07:03:19
145 forum posts
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Can anybody tell me the date for the 2020 Doncaster show?

martin perman20/10/2019 08:14:12
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Wandering around the Exhibition yesterday looking at the various models and tools etc I noticed several tools that had all been given second prize, reading the owners ticket I found the owner was ten years old and the quality of finisish was perfect, this caused me to look at all of the name plates and I found at least one other fifteen years old with tool on display. The youngsters are still out there and if my Daughter will allow my seven month old Grandson will one day join their ranks.

Martin P

Michael Gilligan20/10/2019 08:45:40
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14150 forum posts
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Posted by martin perman on 20/10/2019 08:14:12:

Wandering around the Exhibition yesterday looking at the various models and tools etc I noticed several tools that had all been given second prize, reading the owners ticket I found the owner was ten years old and the quality of finisish was perfect, this caused me to look at all of the name plates and I found at least one other fifteen years old with tool on display. The youngsters are still out there and if my Daughter will allow my seven month old Grandson will one day join their ranks.

Martin P

.

That’s great to know, Martin

May I suggest that if anyone has photos of the above-mentioned exhibits, they post them here.

... Recognition by this community would seem appropriate.

MichaelG.

Journeyman20/10/2019 08:59:23
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622 forum posts
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There were a few exhibits on the competition stand by Luke Mason made, according to the labels, at various ages. This is one, a nice little oscillating engine and boiler:-

luke12.jpg

Here's hoping he maintains the interest and goes on to great things.

John

martin perman20/10/2019 09:11:25
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Posted by Journeyman on 20/10/2019 08:59:23:

There were a few exhibits on the competition stand by Luke Mason made, according to the labels, at various ages. This is one, a nice little oscillating engine and boiler:-

luke12.jpg

Here's hoping he maintains the interest and goes on to great things.

John

Thats the lad, other tickets said he was 10 years old.

Martin P

DMB20/10/2019 09:11:35
928 forum posts

I am a Brighton club member, a thriving club. We have a member so young (11 or 12) that a condition of his membership is to be accompanied by a parent. There are a further 7 of various ages below 18. On the other hand, one member keeps reminding everyone that he will be 90 next year.

Worthing club, of which I am also a long standing member, has no under 18s that I am aware of. This being inspite of running council sponsored model making courses for the school ages during the summer hols. Hopefully, the memory will stick and some will take up the hobby in later years, perhaps when the hormones recede!

If the above is typical the most other clubs will either have no youngsters or several, but it's a start. This sort of discussion has been going on for years and will no doubt continue.

BCPROF20/10/2019 09:21:19
108 forum posts

Andy

Doncaster Show dates for 2020 are given as 8th to 10th of May

Brian

IanT20/10/2019 10:15:37
1345 forum posts
137 photos

We had a very pleasant day out at the Fosse yesterday - at least I did. My wife disappeared with her friend and enjoyed a very good lunch out and ended up at a Garden Centre apparently. They then got lost on the way back but eventually found me waiting (patiently) in the car park.

I decided to upgrade from my usual Bacon Bun to the Full English (very good value) before going for a wander. I had interesting chats with lots of people about all sorts of things from ornamental (Engine) turning, to 1/24th wooden wheel construction (Model Wheelwrights - Thank you Brian) and the challenges of machining cylinder castings for designs they were probably never really intended for (N25GA - nice to see you again John).

And of course Coffee & Cake (and a sit down) with Ted and Roy on the Gauge 3 Society stand - which featured two highly detailed vintage Southern Railway units (part of a set of six - so a 6 PUL?) reputedly built by SR apprentices in 1932. The member who owns them says they have four 24v DC motors and that the third-rail pick up is functional - he is going to try and fit batteries to power them.

I managed to resist buying any new tooling but did 'invest' in various lengths of brass hex & SS rod I seem to have run out of (I was actually organised enough to have done a quick 'stock' inventory this year - before going!) and I also found two 6" lumps of p/bronze (that I could actually afford) for that new regulator I've been meaning to make....

So a good day out for both of us - and the traffic was busy but kept moving and we treated ourselves to a take out when we got home. Is ME in decline? I don't know. There were lots of cars streaming into the Fosse yesterday morning and most of the drivers were 'of a certain age' (just like me).

I can't say I'm too worried. Yesterday was an enjoyable day out but most (99%) of my 'Hobby' is conducted in the solitary confinement of my workshop with just the radio for company. Periodically, nature calls and it's time for Tea and maybe a biscuit (or two) with the wife. It's good to get out and meet people of a similar mind but I will enjoy getting back on with something in the workshop this afternoon.

Regards,

IanT

RMA20/10/2019 13:02:23
200 forum posts
4 photos

Getting back to the original topic, I don't think model engineering is dying out. Our club has more members now than a few years ago, with new recruits mainly over the age of 50. Youngsters can't afford this hobby, they have other demands on their money as I did when I was young, and their interests are vastly different to those when we were that age.

I don't think it's down to clubs to educate youngsters, that's the responsibility of the education system, and that should be revised to include engineering and manufacturing back into the curriculum. I'm afraid that died out during the Thatcher years and I remember going to my boy's school and asking their teacher why he didn't show them how to use all the machines which remained permanently under covers, only to be told that he had too much paperwork to do! I did try to encourage them in my workshop to no avail, but just recently one of them is showing some interest and he's now 42.

What we can do is inspire them on show days etc. but modern laws makes having kids under a certain age on club premises very difficult and parents don't always want to be present.

Edited By RMA on 20/10/2019 13:03:03

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