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Dec / Jan 2011
Building the 50 cc mini-kart PDF Print E-mail

Building the 50 cc mini-kartThis is a project to build an economical go-kart designed primarily for a Year 12-13 secondary school engineering programme. The good news for boys is the 50cc mini-kart does perform well with a top speed of 35-50 km/h depending on the engine.
The kart is economical to construct, achievable and straightforward for average Year 12 students. With some guidance.
The design is not intended to be a high-performance, go-anywhere vehicle. It is a school project and therefore there are a few compromises in the design. It is also intended that most, if not all, of the Tools4work Level 2 mechanical engineering standards can be assessed against this project.

Installing a double-hung window PDF Print E-mail

Installing a double-hung windowIn this project for doing up an old villa, the homeowner wanted to install a window into an outside wall to match another window that was there originally. The most effective method was to buy a window that was made by a joinery firm to match the existing window. The is project is how to install when you have the hole in the wall to match.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is installing the lintel. For the standard double-hung sash window here, you can put in the lintel first, punch in skew nails then place the trimming studs (they are also called jack studs or under-studs). They bear the weight of the new lintel.

Scan your own weather PDF Print E-mail

Scan your own weatherEveryone has heard of weather satellites, millions of dollars’ worth of technology circling the globe. Little known is the fact it is relatively simple to listen in to these satellites and produce your own weather satellite pictures, using a bit of technology and a cheap home-made antenna.
This project started with my low-cost Uniden UBC93XLT radio scanner that allows you to listen to radio transmissions. That quickly became boring so I wondered what else this little scanner could do. I did want to try receiving weather satellite transmissions.
The NOAA satellite signals are easy to receive so my setup is designed for them. To receive the pictures you need three things:

  • a receiver.
  • an antenna.
  • a PC (with a sound card and some software to do the decoding).

The scanner I began playing with (or indeed any normal scanner) isn’t suited for doing more than hearing the signals but it was enough to let me work on the second piece, the antenna.

Affordable 3D drawing programs PDF Print E-mail

Affordable 3D drawing programsBeyond making first-hand drawn sketches, visualising one’s ideas in 3D models on a computer can be useful for getting a design right before you tackle the physical construction of costly prototypes or finished works. But for some “sheddies” it is understandable that just getting to “square one” with industrial-strength, 3D software tools can be prohibitive on a range of fronts.
Two starter CAD drawing programs that make drawing 3D models easier are Google SketchUp and Alibre. Both are available for free trial downloads and come with decent Help sections online.

Has a good throwing arm PDF Print E-mail

medieval trebuchetDave Hunger of Stratford is one of those Kiwis-in-sheds happy to tackle projects they know nothing about in the first place. For his latest project, his shed was his whole dairy farm.
In the wide open spaces, he has built a medieval trebuchet from scratch. The awesome medieval throwing machine-cum-catapult, with a 13-metre-long throwing arm and a two-tonne counterweight, can toss a 20-litre drum of water a distance of 100 metres.
Dave built it with no specs or diagrams to work from, just a few pictures on the internet and lots of trial and error. He dropped a few trees and used old tractor parts to create a massive machine that cost him only $300.
He has thrown a couch, flaming projectiles and pushbikes and he’s working on increasing the range of the fearsome machine. It’s the ultimate boy’s toy, not much use but a lot of fun.

Make a simple rocker PDF Print E-mail

simple rockerDavid Blackwell writes that he saw the general concept of this rocker in the background of a magazine photograph and it always stuck in his mind as something he wanted to make.
With no idea of the finished size at the beginning, he found it important to do two or three mock-ups using 12 mm MDF and his then-one-year-old granddaughter as the guinea pig. Developing the concept of an item through the mock-up stage he says is one of the rewarding parts of the whole process; it allows fine-tuning before you use the more expensive woods.
This rocker can be made with the most basic of hand tools although a bandsaw, a drill press and a stationary belt-sander do speed up the process considerably.
For the template, 5 mm MDF was cut and sanded used until the shape flowed smoothly. Hardwood ply was used for the rocker but you could use almost any sort of ply you wish. If you decide to use a softer lighter ply, maybe you should use a thicker width.