At Saturday's Making Waves Festival in Welshpool I set up a little demonstration stand next to the Canal & River Trust. With Dan Austin as my co-engineer, it seemed like a good time to try modelling something specific from the Montgomery Canal. In the end we decided to try modelling one arch of the Vyrnwy Aqueduct.
|The Vyrnwy Aqueduct (real not model)|
First we made a layout of the butresses...
Then we used a sliced-in-half tin as our 'centring' structure. Not strictly authentic, and a few visitors to the stand joked about whether the canal engineers would have used giant chocolate tins to form their arches.
Plenty of people stopped to comment on the construction process, and there was much speculation on the design and its stability.
Adults were inclined to observe and pontificate, whereas young people were rather more keen to get stuck in and start adding bricks, and once they got started it proved fairly addictive...
It was a much wider arch than had been attempted with the previous models, so we weren't sure if it would hold firm, but with a bit of extra reinforcement above the arch we managed to remove the support in the end. Ta daaa!
The conversations I had with people during the event lead me to believe that it is a very universal human desire (which we don't grow out of) to make models of things that exist or that we would like to exist out of model bricks. Lego, although fun, is not 'real' or messy enough for many miniature engineers.
The idea that the brick moulds, plus pictures and instructions, might be made available as a 'Model the Monty' kit proved very popular. The model itself survived the journey home and will hopefully soon have another arch added before being photographed for the proposed kit.