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Aug / Sept 2014
A drone of your own PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Snow   

A drone of your own

Drones are in the news these days, both at the higher geo-political level and in the backyard. In the in-between sphere—where they are better known as aerial robots—they work for commercial photographers, farmers, search and- rescue teams, real estate agents and the fire service. All round, these handy pieces of technology are becoming more affordable and usable. In this article we follow the simplest means of putting together a mini aerial robot from kitset parts.

These parts make an aerial robot that is safe and strong because of the carbon-fibre construction and brushless motors; they are manageable because of the software being available both commercially and as Open Source. The mini aerial robot has been put together by Aeronavics in Raglan, an innovative New Zealand company specialising in aerial robots and distributing them both locally and internationally (see “High-fliers in the Waikato” The Shed, Feb/Mar 2014).

The company is self-described as a manufacturer of advanced multi-rotor airframes, RTF (ready-to-fly) craft and related accessories and was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Innovators Awards with a reconnaissance aerial robot. Among clients who have bought their machines are Channel 9 in Australia, National Geographic, Disney,Master Chef, Red Bull, DreamWorks animation, Ericsson and the BBC.

The four-motor version we are making here is a hobby craft specifically designed by Aeronavics for The Shed.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Tig Welding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   

Tig welding

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)—also known commonly as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding—is a welding process that produces an electric arc between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the parent metal that is being welded.

TIG can be used to weld mild steel, high-tensile steels, stainless steels of all grades, nickel chrome alloys, Monel nickel copper alloys, Inconel, titanium, aluminum, magnesium, brass, bronze, copper and many space-age metals. Even gold can be TIG-welded. You can even weld dissimilar metals: copper to brass, stainless steel to mild steel, stainless steel to copper (great for still making).

I enjoy TIG welding. TIG welding produces clean, precise welds on almost any metal and the weld pool can be easily manipulated.

The TIG process can produce temperatures of upwards of 19,000 °C, a lot hotter than oxy-acetylene welding at 3150 °C. Although it is much like fusion welding with oxy-acetylene, only the flame is created by an arc off the tip of the tungsten electrode. For those who enjoy a bit of oxy-acetylene welding, don’t be surprised if you suddenly become a big TIG fan.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Furniture - Raised Panel Door PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sid Aksoy   

Furniture - Raised Panel Door

Basic cabinetry: Part 3 Raised Panel Door

Our carcase has now been finished, glued and assembled (see Furniture, The Shed, April/May 2014 and Jun/Jul 2014). Next, we move onto making a framed door with a raised and fielded panel, located in a rebate and fixed into place with a bolection moulding.

There a few general tips and considerations to take into account. As in every other aspect of furniture and cabinetmaking, the basic three principles of

  • square
  • parallel
  • flat

also apply to the door. A door that is not parallel, not square or is twisted, will cause you major discomfort when you are trying to hinge it and allow it to close flush.

When constructing the door for this project, we need to know the rebate size that will hold the panel. The rebate width does directly influence the off-set for the cosmetic shoulder. If we do not take this into consideration, the rebate may cut into the tenon, biscuit or dowel and weaken the joint considerably. For this reason, it is good practice before you start and attempt any joints to know what your tooling capacities are.

If you are a beginner, consider making the door to the exact opening size. You can plane, cut or sand it to fit with appropriate spacing after.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Fastec: Three Phase Grunt PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

Fastec: Three Phase Grunt

When a friend at Metpresco Engineering offered Jason Clarke an old, universal tool and cutter grinder for his garage workshop, Jason had to think about how he could power it.

The machine had five (yes, 5) three-phase motors wired in a mixture of wye (star) and delta powering:

  • the main spindle,
  • internal grinding spindle,
  • hydraulics,
  • coolant pump, and
  • vertical axis.

It was looking like a very expensive exercise to get it running on Jason’s single-phase home supply. Three-phase motors are smaller, cheaper and more efficient than single-phase motors of the same power. They also offer greater reliability and smoother running.

Things were looking a bit hopeless until Jason came across Fastec, makers of the Fastec Start. Designed and manufactured in New Zealand, the device can cleverly optimise a low-capacity, single-phase power supply to enable starting and running of three phase motors.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

My Shed: The Art of Motorcycles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

My Shed: The Art of Motorcycles

Most people have separate places for work, play, accommodation and their hobbies but Malcolm Anderson has successfully managed to combine them all into one. His factory unit, nestled in a quiet street in east Auckland, has comfortable living accommodation, a comprehensive engineering and fabrication workshop and a display space showcasing his collection of motorbikes and associated memorabilia.

Malcolm has engineers’ blue running through his veins. His grandfather started Anderson’s Garage in 1933 in what is now the heart of Remuera in upmarket Auckland. Malcolm’s father Bruce took over the family business and, after hours, hosted meetings for the motorcycle division of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand. While cars paid the bills, Malcolm’s father’s passion was collecting and restoring motorbikes to the highest standard.

One of his projects, a 1929 Harley-Davidson OHV Two-port Special that he restored from a pile of parts, now resides in the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee in America. Bruce also supported Malcolm and his brother in motocross racing during their teenage years

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Stu's Shed: Router Bowl PDF Print E-mail
Written by Claire Benge   

Stu's Shed: Router Bowl

There are a number of proverbs in life, that don’t hold up under scrutiny. Such as, “the grass is always greener…”, “no pain, no gain” and “you need a lathe to make a wooden bowl.” Oh, and “all bowls need to be round.”

If you have a router, you have another perfectly good method available. One of the distinct advantages of this technique is that the resulting bowl does not have to be round (although it can be if you want—it can be any shape you like).

Using a router to make a bowl is a hand-held router technique and although I am generally not the biggest fan of using a router hand-held, routing a bowl is a particularly easy evolution. I know of classes where this technique is taught to vision-impaired students who come up with stunning creations.

To create this bowl, you need the following materials and tools:

  • A selection of timber.

Although you may think you need a large lump of timber for the full depth of the bowl you want to make, it can be quite visually impressive to glue different timbers together. The timber needs to be dressed flat, particularly if you are gluing multiple pieces together.

  • A plunge router.

Fortunately Down Under, this is the standard sort of router available. The amount of plunge depth of the router will dictate the maximum depth of bowl possible. A ½” router is preferable—there are some significant lateral forces involved in removing so much material, so having a heavy-duty bit is suggested.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed