BAYKO Floors

BAYKO Floors were always a key component in building good quality models, particularly large ones.
Plastic moulding, particularly pre-war, wasn't the most exact of sciences. Dimensions could vary widely, probably thanks either to cooling problems after parts were released from the mould, or to variations in the amount of material fed into the mould in the first place.
Two standard Bases of very different sizes
This may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but, if you don't believe me, try lining up a few Bases, particularly if you bought them at different times, differences of ⅛ inch [3 mm] are not unknown - just look at the image [left] supplied by Gary Birch.
Combine this with the comparatively flimsy gauge of BAYKO Rods [75 thou = 1.905 mm], and this could lead to instability in large or complex models.
This was recognised as a potential issue from day one - Floors were the solution.
Acting as floors, ceilings or flat roofs in models, they realign Rods and ensure a much more robust, stable structure.
The formula was a success from the start, the only issue being a tendency to chip or break under the influence of careless hands - or feet!
BAYKO Floors were made from Paxolin, very similar to the material used, in more recent decades, for electronic circuit boards. I understand from Gary Birch that Paxolin is a particular brand name for S.R.B.P. - 'Synthetic Resin-Bonded Paper', the resin being none other than phenol formaldehyde of early bakelite fame.
Pre-war Floors were thicker than later versions and had square corners, post-war were thinner and, almost always, had rounded corners, but the basic format was unchanged.
For some reason, lost in the mists of time, Plimpton never published part numbers for Floors, so I assume they [the numbers not the Floors!] never existed.  Mr MECCANO, sensibly, rectified this oversight.
Floor sizes were remarkably consistent throughout BAYKO's 30 year life, though the war caused varying periods when different sizes weren't available.
The largest BAYKO floor ever produced, [15 x 23 holes] was only available for the first year or so, presumably being either too vulnerable or too expensive to produce - I strongly suspect it was the former.
A strange size [11 x 8] only existed in the sheltered world of sets #20 to #23, from 1938 to the war, so they too are not very common. The very similar [11 x 7] was introduced at the same time, but lasted to the end after reappearing in 1948. The only logic that I can think may be behind this is that the two Floors together covered the same area as the standard 11 x 15 hole Floor.
The full range of BAYKO Floor sizes
"Extension Floors 5 Hole" [15 x 5] were introduced in 1935 and reintroduced in 1949, then dropped from their sets by MECCANO, though they were still available separately - being allocated part #B102.
An additional size, [13 x 9] emerged in the later 'New Series' sets, when metal shortages for Tie Bars forced a rethink; then again, from 1947 onwards in set #2 and larger.

"Turret Floors" [7 x 7] were available throughout, though reintroduction was delayed a little after the war, until 1948. The chosen name is interesting in so far as the Square Turrets, which made best use of them, weren't actually introduced until 1938, i.e. four years after their namesake floor.

"Extension Floors 6 Hole" [15 x 6] were also available virtually throughout, from 1935 to the last knockings.
Finally, the variously named Small Floor, Floor or Floor No. 2 [15 x 11] was available throughout, though it didn't re-emerge until 1948 after the war.
 
The other floor metrics are detailed below - oh yes, please remember that BAYKO was produced before 'Metric' measurements took over from their 'Imperial' predecessors : -
 
The Thickness
Pre-war floors are -
1/32nd of an inch
= 0.793 mm thick
Post-war floors are -
1/64th of an inch
= 0.397 mm thick
The Holes
Pre-war holes are -
5/64th of an inch
= 1.984 mm diameter
BAYKO briefly tried -
7/64th of an inch
= 2.778 mm diameter
Peak period onwards -
3/32nd of an inch
= 2.381 mm diameter
     
In my opinion, the pre-war holes were too small, contributing significantly to the routine damage done to Floors, even through careful use. The short-lived, immediately post-war, experiment with big holes was a failure - they were too loose. Goldilocks finally had her way around 1948/1949.
Speaking of holes, there has long been a debate over how the holes were made. Were they drilled or were they punched? Robin Throp has acquired a 15 x 5 Floor where the holes have not been properly formed, answering the question definitively in favour of punching. Sadly, following his death, this Floor seems to have vanished.
 
One of the quirkier aspects of BAYKO Floors is the changing names used for the different sizes. The table below is based on information collated mainly from BAYKO manuals in their various guises. One minor detail, the manual references in the table below, relate primarily to the set contents lists. Older names for floors were then often perpetuated via the model floor plans in later editions of the manual.
 
This entry [below] is strange, even by the standards of other BAYKO Floors! I believe that the "Large Floor Divided (3 sections)" actually comprises 1 x Small Floor [15 x 11 holes] and 2 x Extension Pieces [15 x 6] which, together, are the same area as a Large Floor [15 x 23], though without the same effectiveness of control..
These entries [below] indicate that : -
Either the Floor had yet to be invented - i.e. entries above the typed information.
Or the Floor was no longer produced - i.e. entries below the typed information.
Or, occasionally, that a particular Floor was not included at that time, or in those sets.
 
BAYKO Floor Sizes and the Different Names Used
Manual / Dates
15 x 23
15 x 11
15 x 6
15 x 5
7 x 7
11 x 7
11 x 8
13 x 9
Sets 1 to 5
1934 to 1935
Large Floor
Small Floor
   
Turret Floor
     
Set 6
1935
Large Floor
Large Floor Divided
(3 sections)
 
Turret Floor
     
Sets 1 to 6
1935 to 1938
 
Floor
Extension Piece
Extension Piece
5 Hole
Turret Floor
     
Sets 20 to 23
1938 to 1941
   
Extension Piece
6 Hole
Extension Piece
5 Hole
 
11 x 7
11 x 8
 
'New Series'
1939 to 1940
 
Floor
6-Hole Extension Floor
5-Hole Extension Floor
Turret Floor
     
'New Series'
Shortages 1941?
 
Floor
6-Hole Extension Floor
5-Hole Extension Floor
Turret Floor
Small Floor
 
Medium Floor
Leaflet
1946 to 1947
   
Extension Floor
6-Hole
Extension Floor
5-Hole
Turret Floor
   
Floor
20 Page Manual
1947 to 1948
             
Floor
Set 3 [only] Manual
1948
 
Floor
No. 2
6-Hole Extension Floor
 
Turret Floor
Floor
No. 0
 
Floor
No. 1
Sets 0 to 3 Manual
1949 to 1959
 
15 x 11
15 x 6
15 x 5
7 x 7
11 x 7
 
13 x 9
MECCANO era Manual
Sets 11 to 14
 
15 x 11
15 x 6
 
7 x 7
11 x 7
 
13 x 9
MECCANO era Part #
 
B110
B104
B102
B100
B106
 
B108
Manual / Dates
15 x 23
15 x 11
15 x 6
15 x 5
7 x 7
11 x 7
11 x 8
13 x 9
 
For completeness, shortly before the war put an end to BAYKO production, 2 sizes of Floor, Small and Medium, were added to replace Tie-Bars because no metal was available...
 
How much flooring should you use when building larger models?
There isn't one single answer to this, but, after a fair amount of experience building large BAYKO models, I wouldn't go more than six bricks in height without putting in another layer of Floors, particularly if the model will have to survive the rigours of travelling to and from exhibitions.
 
As a hopefully useful footnote : -
If you're building with lots of Bases and with the structure secured by several Floors you may find an issue with the Floors buckling.
As mentioned above, the problem is caused by inaccuracies in dimensions, almost certainly of the Bases, not the Floors.
The answer is simple : -
Mount the model on a base board [M.D.F. is excellent].
Remove every second or third row of Base Links [in both directions].
Carefully spread the model to find its correct shape and size so that the Floor buckling disappears.
Screw the Bases to the base board to keep the model rigid - no need to screw each Base, 2 screws per group of Bases is perfectly adequate.
Problem solved!
Prevention is better than cure : -
If you are reading this while still at the planning stage, you can pre-empt the problem by organising the Bases in 'blocks', 2 or 3 Bases wide, spacing these accurately using Floors, and fastening the 'blocks' to a baseboard.
Problem prevented!
 
Below here are links to related info : -
 
Click on any of the links below for related information.
     
 
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