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Ally Pally Exhibition

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pete hammond16/01/2020 22:09:12
16 forum posts

On the basis of use it or lose it - I attend the two exhibitions relatively local to me each year,

Midland and Ally P ally, like most people I grumble about cost of a tea bag in a paper cup- buy a (very) few bits but generally enjoy the day out and importantly recognise I am not the only person enjoying 'me time' in the shed most days.

I could probably like many of us close my eyes and picture a 'walk round ' the exhibition BUT if I don't go I may miss something new /fail to identify a new project, so I and hopefully many of you will make the effort to support our exhibitions for years to come.

I will be there tomorrow (Friday) and if any one wants to talk engineering from draw filing to bench top CNC- I will be the one with the HAT Fun Union Jack hat. - I talk/listen to all - in fact chatting in the corridor queue is another good reason for going!

Pete Hammond

John Alexander Stewart16/01/2020 22:28:47
803 forum posts
53 photos

Pete - Thanks for the very positive attitude.

I have attended maybe 1/2 dozen exhibitions in the UK over the years; living in Canada, it's a long way to go for a day out; "you guys" have it very good! I hope you meet many other good souls

I hope that the Ally Pally exhibition (and of course, the others around Britain) in 2020 are a great success.


martin perman17/01/2020 09:51:26
1994 forum posts
83 photos

I and friends shall be making our annual visit tomorrow, we usually use the trains but its a bus replacement service this weekend so we are using my friends car.

Martin P

Bazyle17/01/2020 11:11:55
5928 forum posts
220 photos

I will be on the St Albans stand on Saturday much of the time but of course sod's law means I won't be there just at the time you find us. Hope you enjoy our exhibits anyway.

AJW17/01/2020 11:14:12
359 forum posts
135 photos

Been going for decades!

It's a family thing for us, now my Dad is no longer with us I still go with my son.

I do wonder how the expanding 'emission zone' will affect its future? I can imagine it could be the last straw for some traders not willing to fork up another charge in addition to the already expensive weekend.


Paul Kemp17/01/2020 23:41:31
661 forum posts
18 photos

Well I went today. I wouldn't say it was any better or any worse than last year, it wasn't bad but it wasn't great!

There were a lot of good models to look at, the detail on some of the motorcycles on the stand along the back wall was very impressive. Some nice boats too. I would say the balance in model types generally continues to move away from the 'engineering' base towards boats, planes and trucks. Not necessarily a critiscm as I appreciate the different fields and skills involved even if they don't really totally grab my interest. I find the radio control trucks and diggers fascinating to watch but it's not something I ever see myself getting into. Was impressed by the large planes. Was also nice to see some of the 'ordinary' models that obviously have done and still do a days work on the track. Loco's that are not polished to perfection, have the odd brush mark in the paint, file marks on the rods etc. These are more likely to inspire people to have a go I think than the traditional gold medal winning, flawless exhibits. Not decrying perfection before anybody rips my throat out, I just observe it as perhaps intimidating to the ordinary bloke in his shed just starting in the hobby! Full marks to the two bigger club stands, Chelmsford? (Sorry not good with names and places) where I watched a couple of people have a go at firing on the simulator, water on, pressure dropping and the wheels slowing down, coal on to try and bring it back, what a great way to demonstrate boiler management! Also the repair shed, well deserving of their prize. The fellow on the mini lathe on the SMEE stand facing a bit of aluminium worried me when he adjusted the tool post with the chuck spinning. Ornamental turners were amazing, again not something I could see myself doing but very clever stuff!

Traders; well done RDG, with Warco gone they obviously had the edge on engineering tooling, also good to see Tracey tools still supporting the event. Home and Workshop machinery still I see maintaining their gold standard pricing, indicative maybe of the costs that have to be covered by the traders? Metal prices seemed to vary widely, I bought a lump of bronze from Polly Models which College seemed to be selling for twice the price?

I usually travel up with 4 or 5 other club members, this year I was on my own, one having just had an operation, one dog sitting, one not wanting to make the journey, not sure on the others. Usually I meet at least half a dozen people I know, today only one. When I arrived about 11.00 there was a healthy queue still for tickets but inside it didn't seem terribly busy. Buying a coffee at the pizza outlet just inside the door about 14.00 I was the only customer and with the price less than £2 that couldn't have been the reason! I spent about £80 between various traders, a rake of tips from JB Tools, a length of stainless bar, aforementioned bit of bronze, an ER 25 ball bearing nut from RDG and a few other knick knacks to stock up so I didn't make anyone rich! Other than RDG I didn't have to wait to get to the stock for the crowds in front to disperse it was a case of walking straight up to the stands and making the purchase.

Will I go again next year? Probably but because it's what I usually do (and as another said because that's what I did with my dad going back to the Seymour Hall days, then Wembley) rather than because it was a great inspiration and uplifting experience! However if the traders dwindle further I think I will seriously question if the 2 odd hours each way and the cost of travel plus the entrance fee is really worth it! I can't put my finger on why I wasn't feeling it was a really great day out on the way home, I just didn't think it was! It wasn't a bad day out it was just OK.


Tim Meakin18/01/2020 11:42:09
4 forum posts

Excellent summary Paul. Exactly how I felt. I don't think I will go again. 2 1/2 hrs each way for me.



Cornish Jack18/01/2020 12:29:47
1212 forum posts
167 photos

Started going regularly when it was at Seymour Hall - what a 'child in a toyshop' experience that was!. Finally gave up when it moved to Epsom. The enjoyment/satisfaction (and expenditure !) graph was on a constant downward slope. A great shame 'cos it was my annual 'treat'.



John Haine18/01/2020 13:05:09
3958 forum posts
227 photos

Triumph of hope over experience for me. Great sense of deja vu at each except that the number of exhibitors reduces year by year. I went with a friend who cam last year and the year before too, we agreed that this would probably be the last time. Even fewer vendors than before, no SMEE, no clocks that I could see, same old models, distinctly lower attendance on the Friday than previous years.

Mike Poole18/01/2020 13:47:47
3015 forum posts
71 photos

SMEE were there yesterday John, quite a small stand though. I managed a couple of hours but then I was done, it made it very comfortable to walk around as plenty of space in the aisles these days.


John Haine18/01/2020 13:57:29
3958 forum posts
227 photos

Oh dear, I missed them then.

richard markham18/01/2020 15:00:59
27 forum posts
11 photos

Just returned from Ally Pally.

It's been many many years since I last went to the model engineering exhibition.

I must admit, I was rather un-impressed. It's a pain to get to unless you live near. 2 and a half hours drive each way for me, which was, fortunately a great run, no traffic problems, but I wonder if putting it outside London might make it easier to get to and maybe cheaper for exhibitors to attend?

It seems to be a LOT smaller than I remember. Has it been gradually shrinking? I was done and dusted in an hour and a half!

Lots of punters though. It was getting very busy by 11am.

Didn't see much in the way of CNC or 3d printing.

Models on the SMEE stand were outstanding.

Shame so little was running. I didn't see any stationary engines going.

Good if you are looking for odd bits of material or odd bits of tooling, but not sure if bargains could be had.

JasonB18/01/2020 15:28:52
20955 forum posts
2331 photos
1 articles

I best not say too much as I met some bloke named Neil there who asked my to do a write up so need to keep my thoughts for that. I'm sure he went away happy as he was carrying a bag of stuff that he did not have to pay forwink

Yes SMEE were there.

Yes I did see a few stationary(steam) engines running on air

martin perman18/01/2020 17:00:47
1994 forum posts
83 photos

My friends and I arrived at 9:30 and left at 14:00, I ordered the parts from Transwave to convert my lathe to 3ph motor and VFD, chatted to the Victoria pond club about my Grandfather and spotted a picture of his boat on their lap top, visited JB tools for cutter tips and bought some drills off another stall and enjoyed my 4.5hrs wondering around looking at the models etc

Agree it was quieter from both the public and tools but still a good day out.

Martin P

Neil Wyatt18/01/2020 17:39:56
18670 forum posts
727 photos
79 articles

I won't say to much and spoil Jason's review either, but enjoyed the show although I did feel that (as at most shows) shop-made tooling was a bit thin on the ground (you can imagine this is what I'm always looking for).

Not much in the way of larger machines to buy, except two (count 'em) S7s on the Myford stand (not sure if refurb or new), lots of stands selling accessories, tooling & materials, not all familiar faces.

Yes there was a lot of non-model engineering, but some very good club stands, a lot of 'audience interaction' - more kids than I've seen at other shows, many youngsters going hands on.

I thought the SMEE stand was good with a different selection of models many of which I don't recall seeing before. Saw a youngster turning a pulley here as well!




Edited By Neil Wyatt on 18/01/2020 17:40:42

Nicholas Farr18/01/2020 20:20:18
2878 forum posts
1295 photos

Hi, well I've just got home about an hour or so ago from Pally Ally Ally Pally, yes it's a bit leaner than previous years but many of the usual traders were there and still a good day out IMO, much more room to get about but still a bit of bustling at the popular stands. The guy at the Aerospace stand was very busy and I bought three nice medium to large solid carbide end mills off him for a fiver each, also got a fair few other bits and pieces at good prices too. I took a few videos to show my young grandchildren when I see them next, one of which was a rather ingenious working plant, moving plastic balls from one machine to the next and returning them back to the start by a kind of push-me-pull-you train, just about all built with Lego. I also saw a few stationary engines running on air. Oh! and I bumped into and couple of nice chaps who do a fair bit of moderating on here wink 2

Regards Nick.

Bazyle18/01/2020 23:30:32
5928 forum posts
220 photos

I'm less than 20 miles away but it still takes an hour, though it seemed quick to me as I do 15 hours a week commuting. Maybe that's why we need HS2 to get people to Ally Pally quicker! (btw did you know the site used to have a station on site almost in the building at the top of the hill)
I only got a couple of hours away from the club stand but that was not nearly enough really. Don't understand people who can get round a show in less than 4 hours - I guess that would be my tolerance of a .knitting show if I had a spouse dragging me to such a thing. I once made the mistake of giving someone a lift to Sandown MEX and he wanted to leave after an hour but agreed to me having another hour. Never again.

Big traders thin on the ground but I was pleased to see a new metals only stand, just hope they sold enough to make it worth coming again, Axminster had just two minilathes, Myford two too but at least had other spares on their stand, however there were quite a few of the small second hand tools and bits people to take money off me.
No model boat bits which was out of kilter with around half the models being marine. SO different from when it was at Picket's Lock.
The largest traction engine was 2in but few of those.

Although most of the people coming by our stand were Londoners or home counties there were also a fair number from 100 miles away and even a few Europeans perhaps taking advantage of extending a business trip. Didn't see any of you lot though, but did see a previous ME Editor, Mike C on the SMEE stand.

vintage engineer19/01/2020 10:59:57
254 forum posts
1 photos

Very disappointing, won't be going next year. Seems to get smaller every year and real pain to get to!

Clive India19/01/2020 16:14:41
213 forum posts

Did anyone take pictures? Could we see them?

S.D.L.19/01/2020 17:34:53
235 forum posts
37 photos
Posted by Cornish Jack on 18/01/2020 12:29:47:

Started going regularly when it was at Seymour Hall - what a 'child in a toyshop' experience that was!. Finally gave up when it moved to Epsom. The enjoyment/satisfaction (and expenditure !) graph was on a constant downward slope. A great shame 'cos it was my annual 'treat'.



This show never was at Epson this was Pickets Lock then Wembly


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