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April / May 2011
Impact drivers PDF Print E-mail

Impact driversCordless impact drivers are the cinderellas of power tools. These unassuming, almost modest-looking drivers pack quite a punch when it comes to driving fasteners of all kinds.
A cordless impact driver performs just like a drill/driver up to the point where the
torque required to continue driving a fastening is more than the torque generated from the rotational power of the drill alone. Then the impacting mechanism of the cordless impact driver is activated. A hammer mechanism attached to the motor pounds on an anvil fixed to the shaft that drives the bit. The impact driver derives its name from this rapid hammering action.
Striking at speeds of up to 50 blows per second, the hammer delivers the torque required to drive home or release the most stubborn fastenings whether screws, carriage screws or nuts.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Rainwater harvesting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Snow   

Rainwater harvestingWater. After the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan, after any emergency or disaster, an immediate call comes for supplies of water. Vital water is often the most instantly affected central supply when pipes and supply channels crash and the search for this life-sustaining substance is on immediately.
Stan Abbott, Director of the Roof Water Research Centre at Massey University Wellington and an acknowledged expert on roof-harvested rainwater, has frequently advocated the use of rainwater tanks for many reasons to do with supplementing the water from mains, providing households in areas of scarce supply or ensuring those in the country have a self-supporting water supply.
Now one of the compelling reasons for back-up water—an emergency or disaster—has come to the fore.
Many-coloured modern tank shapes available today. The common materials are concrete, galvanised steel and polyethylene. They can be round, oblong, oval, fat or slim, tall or flat. There’s even a tough bladder-style flexible “tank.”

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Making a violin, Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Panting   

Making a violin, Part 2After the first part in the Feb / Mar 2011 issue (Making a violin) it’s time to finish the construction, placing the bass bar on the underside of the belly, installing the linings on the ribs which provide a structure for gluing the top and the back to and then completing the assembly. This includes the fingerboard, neck with its scroll and tuning pegs, bridge and tailpiece.
Despite the myths that the fabulous tone of violins by Stradivari and other classical makers come from the almost-alchemical properties of the varnish, the facts are more prosaic. Violin varnish is either an oil or spirit type. Early recipes, as far back as the 12th century, were almost all simple combinations of resin and a drying oil (walnut, then later linseed) cooked and diluted with a solvent which was usually vegetable turpentine or an essential volatile oil such as spike lavender. Dyes and pigments were added.

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Building a Stirling engine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ross Purdy   

Building a Stirling engineThe Stirling engine is a fascinating engine that magically converts an external heat source into rotary motion. It was invented by a Scotsman named Robert Stirling in 1816 as an alternative to the steam engine. The Stirling engine is safe, runs on low pressures and can be made quite efficient (up to 40 percent). Any source of heat will make it run—I’ve even seen one running on dry ice. All you need is a temperature difference between the ends of the displacer which facilitates the exchange of hot air and cold air to provide the motive power.
I always get a thrill at seeing one of my engines running for the first time. It was especially true for this one because I had had no previous experience in making such an engine. The engine runs at about 600 RPM with a good differential between the hot and cold ends of the displacer tube. Over time, the heatsink gets hot and the engine slows but by this time the burner is out of meths anyway.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Recycled Rimu outdoor chair PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Blackwell   

Recycled Rimu outdoor chairI made a simple rustic outdoor chair for all seasons. I have almost always used recycled rimu for my chairs as it is easy to obtain and relatively cheap to buy. It seems to last for ever and once the finish has weathered a little it has that rustic look.
While I have used a planer, a thicknesser, a mortiser, a bandsaw, a drill press and a saw bench, you could very easily just cut them on a saw bench and use a hand plane to remove the saw marks and then complete the chair with basic handtools.
My chairs are all made with mortise-and-tenon joints which I really enjoy making. But they also ensure the chair stays more or less square when you are gluing up, as well as creating very strong joints because of the total gluing area.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

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