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dec / jan 2015
Homemade kontiki PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Jeffares   

Homemade kontiki

Over the years I’ve tried sails, kites, giant bags, kayaks and surfboards to get hooks out where the fish are. After watching torpedos on the beach, I find it is now obvious that there really is only one way and it requires 12 volts and a motor.

Of course every challenge is only really about what you can learn in the process, so I set about building a kontiki torpedo and winch from scratch for as little as I could. I had to enlarge my capabilities especially in aluminium casting, plastics forming and in electronics.

The kontiki was divided into three parts:

  • the hull including the motor guard, tow point and rudder;
  • the motor assembly; and
  • the power supply and electronics.


The standard 7.2Ah battery required 150 mm PVC pipe and while this profile offered the standard fittings, it presented challenges in having to fit everything to a round. I settled on a one-metre length of pipe…

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Welding technique PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   

Welding technique

Part 5: Basics of welding technique

The fifth in a series of how to weld

Over the last four issues of The Shed magazine, we have explored the basics of the main types welding commonly available to sheddies. This has ranged from manual arc welding (stick welding) to MIG and TIG welding with aluminium welding in between.

We plan to go further with this series but this is a good time to consolidate what has been covered to date with a short summary of some general tips on welding, welding safety and techniques. These are aimed at the novice welder and focus on practice and what to aim for.

One of the keys to successful welding is penetration—good penetration where the weld enters the joint. Good penetration means just the right amount. In many cases the requirement may be “full pen” of the joint. This means that the weld metal runs right through to the other side of the joint. This gives the weldment, the complete assembly whose parts are formed by welding, full unity. Provided you haven’t over-welded the joint. This can cause metal fatigue

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make a barbecue trolley PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stuart Lees   

Make a barbecue trolley

BBQ season seems to come around faster and faster each year—not that it is a bad thing. Each time I head out to the barbecue, it takes multiple trips to carry the meat, the vegetables, the implements, sauces and marinades and obligatory chef’s beverage. Then there are never enough flat surfaces in the vicinity of the barbecue to keep everything organised.

The current weekend project is a BBQ trolley, one with preparation surfaces, all the storage you could want and importantly, storage for the raw meats so they are kept well separated from the preparation areas. As time is a premium for everyone, this project can be knocked over in a single weekend, ready for a test run on the Sunday night.

Step one as always, is dressing the timber so it is straight, square, and a consistent thickness. Ideally, you want to be able to do this yourself, with a planer/thicknesser combo (either as separate machines, or a combo machine, of which there are some pretty interesting examples available these days).

would donate its organs to my slotter project.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Bedside cabinet PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sid Aksoy   

Making a bedside cabinet in radiata pine, Shaker style

Basic Cabinetry, Part 5: Making a bedside cabinet in radiata pine, Shaker style

We are now on the home stretch to the finish of our Shaker-style bedside cabinet. All we need to do is put in a backing panel, put a top on and give it a surface finish.

Backing panel

First we need to house the backing panel and to do so, we must cut a rebate all around the back of the carcase. You can do this best on the table router. With a rebating cutter that allows a certain width of cut (9 mm) by means of a ball-bearing, this is not only an easy task but also quite a safe application. The specific cutter I am using has several exchangeable ball-bearings supplied with it and allows cuts at every 2 mm. A very handy cutter indeed.
However, to achieve a crisp and tidy cut, it does pay to adjust the height of the cut initially to 5 mm and then to re-cut it at 7-8 mm. It is quite alright to house the backing panel slightly deeper. This will prevent the backing touching a wall, thus creating air-flow and preventing mould.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Casting from printed moulds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vik Olliver   

Casting from printed moulds

“So can you print in metal?” This is one of the oft-asked questions from people who have just discovered 3D printers. The glib answer is “Yes, but the machine costs half a million bucks.” But that's not the whole story. If you consider a 3D printer as a machine for printing the first stage of what can then be cast as tools, jigs and moulds, then making metal objects with even a low-end 3D printer becomes possible. Here we're going to use 3D printing to do a modern twist on “lost wax” casting.

It's a trick that's more than 5000 years old: make something in wax, bury it in clay or plaster leaving a hole in the shell. Bake the heck out of it to remove the wax and then pour molten metal down the hole. If everything stays together, you get a metal replica of your wax object.

Our modern version is very similar. You first print objects in pure, clear PLA rather than sculpt or print them in wax—though wax is actually used by jewellers and the like who have special 3D printers. You can use a tinted, clear PLA too, as that uses dye rather than pigment. A pigment is a powdered colour that would transform into undesirable muck in your mould when baked. The dyes, on the other hand, are used in far smaller quantities and usually get destroyed by the heat.

We've used DiamondAge's New Zealand-made Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire filaments, with great success, casting objects ranging from pewter rings to high-tensile steel components weighing several kilos.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Ready to Fly Warhawk PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rod Kane   

Ready to Fly Warhawk

This article follows a more traditional aircraft build which looks and flies just like the real thing but takes a variable amount of input of your own to construct, from mere days to years in fact. These have been around for a very long time and you can still buy plans for a “scratch build” of almost any plane you can name.

Or you can buy a kit with all the bulkheads, ribs etc pre-cut but still have to spend months over a plan meticulously building them. Both sorts of build are hugely satisfying, let me assure you, and more addictive than a crate of cold ones on a hot day.

Then there is the relatively new kid to the block: the ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) model.

These come all packaged up in a huge box, beautifully built and packed, with all the hardware. But you do need to assemble them which can take up to a week. It isn’t quite “instant plane” but it does provide some building satisfaction and a sense of achievement, albeit a rather shallow one, a bit like a healthy walk down to the bakery to buy a pie or taking Viagra.

To the supplied kit, you need to add various glues, an engine and electrical components (servos, relays, wires) to operate elevator, rudder, ailerons, throttle, flaps, undercarriage etc. The engine these days could be glow plug, 4-stroke or 2-stroke, electric or petrol.

This part of the hobby is now huge and the range and quality of products is astounding.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed