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April / May 2012
Bathroom renovation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Bathroom renovation
For that important bathroom makeover we all face at some stage with older houses, The Shed magazine is here to help as we follow two bathroom renovations in this issue. The tales of what these renovators faced and solved should be helpful to any homeowner. With the case studies, there are hints, tips, questions answered and discussion on timber and tiling for the bathroom. This article is an overview of general steps in renovating a bathroom and is intended as a broad illustration of the process rather than a complete guide.
The importance of planning in one of the most-used and crucial rooms in the house cannot be over-stated. Too late when the tiles are down to decide on underfloor heating, or to buy a smaller vanity once the cavity has been fixed in the plasterboard.
The wise householder will sit down and work out as many steps as possible and a good way to get into the planning is to ask yourself lots of questions that cover everything you can think of.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Natalia’s hovercraft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Natalia Golding   

Natalia’s hovercraft

Ever since I have known my husband Nigel, I wanted him to build a small hovercraft for me so that I can drive and handle it myself. But Nigel has been always so busy building larger hovercraft for his company Hoverworks that he did not have time.
One day we were looking online at what one of our friends in South America was doing (he is a  hovercraft manufacturer as well) and we saw this little craft which looked like a flying pillow—it looked amazing and in the video went really well.
I thought, rather than waiting for Nigel to find time and build a craft for me, I could just import this one. If it was as good as the video showed, I could drive it myself and offer it to other people interested in a “flying pillow.”
The second time I drove the QT Hovery on a lake. The transition from land to water is perfect—you can not feel any difference in the craft motion over different surfaces. This is what I love the most about hovercraft—it can operate in combination of three areas: on land, on water and in air.
I have been teaching physics at high school for nine years and I have noticed that my students think mechanics is the most boring topic of the whole physics curriculum. I so want to prove them wrong and I am going to. The hovercraft is brilliant as a case study.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Milling 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Woodford   

This is Part 2 of our milling machine series and focuses on restraining movement by clamps and fixed abutments or supports.
In the first article of this series on the milling machine ( “Time for a milling machine?” the Shed Feb/Mar 2012) we put the milling machine in the workshop and had it levelled. Now comes understanding the importance of preparing the workpiece. Work to be milled or drilled on the milling machine has to be set up so that it does not move during the job. This is one of the most important things you can do if you don’t want an important component or workpiece to end up as scrap because it moved.
There are two ways to accurately position every workpiece and secure it. They are
•    fixed abutments (solid supports or rests); and
•    friction (clamps).
Restraint of movement is achieved by a combination of these two methods.
Securely clamping a workpiece before machining is the part of this process you have the most influence on. The more rigidly you can clamp the workpiece
•    the more material you can remove at one time; and
•    the less likely workpiece-induced chatter will occur.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Jewellery in hi-tech mode PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Minturn   

Jewellery in hi-tech mode

In the changing jewellery world, our school like all progressive institutions is a work in progress. Because our industry is subject to the vagaries of fashion, it occasionally requires new approaches to the way things are made. The honest truth is that jewellery-making, or as we prefer to call it goldsmithing, has not been subject to much in the way of original technical processes for a very long time. The most sophisticated mass-production tool the goldsmith has, lost wax casting, was invented long before history was capable of recording it.

In the last ten or fifteen years, a whole new technology has come into being that is revolutionising this ancient creative tool, Computer Aided Design or CAD. This has made it possible to create shapes in gold or silver that would have once been either too complex to make, very time-consuming or incredibly wasteful of very expensive material. CAD has changed all that. It has given the designer freedom to design more complex shapes and structures, with either no-solder joins or very many fewer than would be the case with a hand-made version of the product.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Fieldays PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   


In this issue of The Shed, we present our regular Fieldays Bonus pullout. The 44th National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton should be the best in years. At long last, the sheep and beef sectors are getting some reward for their labours. Dairy has continued to enjoy high commodity prices in spite of the recession and most dairy farmers are well-loved by their bank managers. If the weather gods are smiling, a big turnout will ensure some record sales.
National Fieldays is always a great event, though. For city people, it’s a way to get a feel for the industry that is our biggest producer of commodities. It’s also a great place to get really good deals on tools, outdoor clothing, boots, chainsaws, welders… and that’s probably the motivation of many people who make the trip from cities and towns to Fieldays.
The event has a special atmosphere, too. It is quintessentially kiwi. From the mud and gumboots to the whitebait fritters, it’s probably one of the few unselfconscious celebrations of New Zealand.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Wipe, wipe that classic windscreen PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Wipe, wipe that classic windscreen

In this article about the uses of Arduino in our continuing series on electronics, a classic car gets variable-speed wipers run by Arduino.
I own an American classic car and there are a few mod cons that are missing. I’ve added central locking because crawling over seats was a pain, but I thought the Arduino could add a few features that aren’t available in the shops. This is the first of two parts which uses the same piece of Arduino hardware to do two different tasks—run variable-speed wipers and a temperature gauge. Each can be used on their own as it makes no difference to the software.
Most modern cars have a mode that allows the wipers to wipe at a selectable interval. I seem to find the time between wipes is either too fast, or too slow, resulting in the need to change the setting or turning it off and then on. It would be much better if it was infinitely variable. The basis for this project lies in a circuit I built many years ago, but never installed. It used a number of discrete integrated circuits (ICs) and a bunch of other components. This version uses an Arduino Controller and a few other low-cost parts.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Shed of the Month: Bruce Alexander PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

Shed of the Month: Bruce Alexander

From tank-based hedge cutter to restored tractors, Taranaki farmer and contractor Bruce Alexander has seen it all. It was after World War II in the late 1940s, when a stint of back-breaking work raised the idea that created a lifetime’s work in a shed for Bruce Alexander.

It was a day when Bruce and his father George were cutting back overgrown boxthorn hedges on a Taranaki farm. George had only an axe to cut the huge hedges and Bruce, aged about 13, was having to drag the large branches out. It was then they realised there had to be a better way of getting the job done.

The subsequent machinery the father and son constructed to cut farm hedges used true Kiwi ingenuity. This involved some remarkable home-made tractors, a massive hedge cutter built onto a World War II Valentine tank and a contracting business that gradually evolved into one of the biggest collections of farm and army machinery in the country.

Bruce is now 76, his father has gone and he still lives on the farm near Eltham where he grew up. He no longer milks cows but all around his house are farm sheds, like the old 12-bale walk-through milking shed and the hay shed, most containing tractors in various states of restoration or waiting in line to be brought back to their former glory.

Bruce is passionate about tractors and has owned about 100 of them.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed