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Dec / Jan 2013
Build the ultimate smoker PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rod Kane   

Build the ultimate smoker

As a keen try-hard fisherman and someone who lives for spicy food, I wanted to get into smoking fish and salamis as well as cheese, sausages and hams, with taste and preserving the product being the main goals. A smoker was the answer.
But I found the smokers out there mostly either industrial-size or too small or too hot...or whatever. Nearly all lack character. I wanted something big enough to smoke the mythical catch, yet small enough to smoke a few kgs of salamis well. It had to be a hot and cold smoker.
I also wanted something economic to build, using off-cuts and bits and pieces. The 0.5 cubic metre interior volume I chose for the smoker box, conveniently, could be made from just two sheets of ply, one treated, one untreated.
I wanted the smoker to break into three parts for easy transport to the bach, to be compact, strong, weather-resistant, fully insulated, on wheels, have a cold smoke source outside the box for fish smoking and a separate heat source inside for salamis. It had to have everything on board, be easy to control delicate temperature ranges at the low end, be simple to build and most of all be a fun project. Happily it is all of those things.
It also embodies all the elements of smoke, flame, whirring fans and even a hint of steam which almost places it in the worship category.
A few years ago I would have added a fridge, bar, TV and boat-washing station but time, evolution and an uncooperative liver has put paid to those days.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Grid-tie solar, making power pay PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

Grid-tie solar, making power pay
While the summer sun beats relentlessly on the roof, shed owners must dream of ways to capture this wasted energy. Early pioneers of solar power enthusiastically spent vast sums on expensive, low-power photovoltaic panels that turn solar energy into electricity and battery banks with no hope of a realistic return and the real possibility of being left in the dark on winter nights.
Two things have changed. They are: 1. a boom in solar panel production has brought down costs; 2. you can now have panels and remain connected to the grid, selling back your excess solar power. Solar power is now becoming an economic way to not just make an environmental statement but to save money.
A grid-tied system keeps you connected to the power company which will buy your excess power from you on sunny days and sell you power when your panels cannot keep up with your demand.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
When your home is alone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

When your home is alone

How do you keep your home secure when you are away? Get a microprocessor to manage the lights as if someone is home. This project uses an Arduino and wireless remote-controlled power outlets (plugged into your wall sockets) to create an illusion to an outside observer that someone is in the house.
It’s been designed to offer security if the house is empty, to be set up by anyone and run on its own. You don’t need to interfere with your house wiring and there are no hazardous voltages to worry about when putting it together.
The inspiration for this project came from a phone call. The other person said he had used a number of timers to make it look as if someone was home when he was away from the house but the cheap timers stopped. I suggested this would be a perfect starting point for some “home automation.”
At the same time, we could introduce certain random events but control when they occur— using plug-in lights to light a room or shine on the curtains will be enough to fool most people. Introducing random “events” such as the bathroom or toilet light turning on at various times will add to this illusion.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Arduino 101 Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Arduino 101 Part 3

In this article, we show how an arduino microprocessor is complex enough to exercise variable control, not just the expected computer approach which is that something is working, or it is not.
Digital devices have only two states: on or off. An analogue device on the other hand can have a near infinite range of states. Think of a light; it can be dimmed or brightened by adjusting the current. Arduino can provide an analogue output.
It’s called analogueWrite( )and it is used to control the brightness of a LED, the volume of an audio output or the speed of a motor. It does this with a technique called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). PWM is available on pins: 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11.
In the first article Arduino In the first article Arduino 101 Part 1 (The Shed, Aug/Sept 2012) we made a LED work so fast that its blinking ceased and it appeared became a constant light source. We did so by changing the delay between the pulses. This is what PWM does.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Mosquito buzz PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

Mosquito buzz

There was a definite buzz in aviation and historical circles when a restored Mosquito aircraft took to the skies in Auckland this year.
Back in October 2009 we gave our last update of the progress of Glyn Powell and his Mosquito project. While he is still working hard on his own plane, his second fuselage and wing was sold to American enthusiast, Jerry Yagen who entrusted the Ardmore-based company Avspecs to complete it. This year in September, 50,000 man-hours later, the Mosquito finally flew, the first one to do so since 1996.
Completing the plane to flying condition was no easy mission for Avspecs’ owner Warren Denholm and his team. With most other planes there has been a restoration industry built up around them with advice and remanufactured spares available from around the world.
“We had to re-manufacture every perishable component,” explained Warren. For example, each leg of the landing gear has 13 rubber suspension blocks that had to be made with just the right amount of compression. Every rubber oil-line and hydraulic oil seal also had to be re-manufactured to suit mineral oil rather than the vegetable oil used in the original planes.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Kiwi design students impress the world PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Kiwi design students impress the world

A New Zealand student design exercise, using an expensive but traditional 100-year-old clay modelling technique, received the tick of approval from a multinational corporation in 2012. The students working on a transport design paper at Massey University’s Auckland School of Design modelled a new-look motorbike, a bike for GenZ, supported by Honda Research and Development (Europe) in Rome.
The project was triggered by research collaboration between Massey University senior industrial design lecturer Oliver Neuland and Paolo Cuccagna, chief designer and manager at the motorbike manufacturer’s R&D department in Rome. Cuccagna was invited to visit and collaborate with Massey University’s College of Creative Arts.
The brief was to design an entry-level motorbike to re-attract 16 to 22-year-olds to “the two-wheeled bike market and life style.” Based on a 125 cc motorbike, the design was to promote the two-wheeler as viable and sustainable transport in the urban environment. The designers also had to consider “the deep emotional connection such products are driven by” as well as the complex technical requirements.
In the course of the 2D design work and three-dimensional clay modelling exercise, students ran blogs so that Paolo and his colleagues in Italy and Japan could follow and comment. At the end, each student presented a full-scale printout of their concept and a video presentation which was sent to Europe for review and marking.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed