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Feb / Mar 2012
Sealander Terry Roycroft’s floating car PDF Print E-mail
Written by Clare de Lore   

Awhitu farmer, mechanic and inventor Terry Roycroft may be on the brink of international fame. The prediction comes from multi-millionaire entrepreneur Alan Gibbs, currently working on a range of high-speed amphibious vehicles, all of which incorporate Roycroft’s ingenious wheel retraction system.
The two men worked together for a number of years to try to come up with a commercially viable, mass-production high-speed amphibious car. That project, Aquada, is now over, commercially shelved, and the two men have gone their separate ways. However, Gibbs says the breakthrough Roycroft made with the innovative suspension mechanism is still acknowledged. He says Roycroft will always be recognised for his ingenious design.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Introducing Arduino PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Introducing Arduino

Hardware, software, sketches and help

After looking at Arduino microcontrollers, I’ve worked out the best description is “Arduino is a programmable microcontroller that can be used to take inputs from a variety of switches, sensors and other devices, and control LCDs, lights, motors and other physical outputs. It can either act as stand-alone, communicate or control other intelligent devices or interact with a computer. It helps to control more of the physical world than your desktop computer.”
Once I knew of a supplier, I immediately ordered a board. Figuring that it was time to see just how deep was the pool that I’d jumped into, I decided to have a look at the website
According to the Introduction there, Arduino is “…an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board and a development environment for writing software for the board…”

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Time for a milling machine? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Woodford   

Time for a milling machine?
First in a series on the milling machine for your workshop
In a typical home engineering workshop progression, you buy a bench vice, some hand tools then possibly a bench grinder. After you buy a small pillar drill then comes a big leap—buying a centre lathe. Along the way you acquire more small tooling, drills, turning tools etc. You make many useful items and produce a fair bit of scrap.
But then you find the lovely pieces you are turning out on your lathe require other features, especially holes more accurately positioned than you can mark out and drill on your pillar drill. As good as you have become with a file, that flat section needed on the shaft really needs to be machined. And how are you going to make a slot for that keyway?
Another even bigger leap is now required—a milling machine. With this, you will be able to accurately pitch out holes, machine flat, machine slots, machine angles, square-up edges and maybe start that model steam loco you promised yourself.
This leap often seems to be very daunting and it may be in part due to the different milling machine types.
In the first article of our introduction to milling, we will look at the most useful type for the home workshop, the vertical milling machine. So, once you have made the case for buying a vertical milling machine, new or secondhand, what should you be looking for?

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

How to make jandals PDF Print E-mail
Written by John D Craig   

How to make jandals
In this leather craftsman’s take on Kiwi summer footwear, John D Craig says that it is within the capabilities of any good craftsman/handyman to make a pair of leather jandals (or thongs).
The name “jandal” appeared back in late October 1957 referring to a style of summer footwear that has become synonymous with Kiwis and BBQs. Not many New Zealanders have never owned a pair of jandals. The name Jandal is trademarked and refers to the original rubber thong variety with its specific rubber formula which sets it apart from jandals made in other materials.
First we need a pattern for the sole. For yourself, stand on a suitable-sized piece of paper and have someone draw around your foot. It’s best to do so while you stand erect to give the maximum silhouette of your foot. The person marking must hold the pen perpendicular and be careful not to slant the pen under the arch of the foot or the heel.
Mark between your large toe and second toe for the slot where the front strap anchorage will be located. Also mark on the template where the ankle bone is as this will be location of the strap slots.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

A test of compound mitre saws PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Panting   

A test of compound mitre saws

An experienced woodworker checks out two saws
I’ve been looking at compound mitre saws over the last year or so thinking to replace my trusty, 15-year-old Hitachi C10 with one that is a little more compact and with better ergonomics. The opportunity came up before Christmas, courtesy of The Shed magazine, to try two of my favoured contenders: the Festool Kapex and the new Bosch Glide mitre saw.
Both saws share a design feature I am seeking. I have a fairly small workshop and I wanted a saw with no mechanism (rails, tubes) behind the footprint of the saw so that I could use the saw on a bench or stand it hard up against a wall. I needed all saw movements from the back to the front to be limited to a total depth of 83 cm.
The Kapex has been on the market for a couple of years now and has a big reputation worldwide for its versatility and quality construction. The Bosch saw was launched with a lot of publicity about its unique glide movement and proud claims for its accuracy and robustness. It does not use tubes for the saw assembly to move on but instead has an ingenious system of two articulated arms at right angles.
My short time with the two saws didn’t coincide with any major building projects but I was able to make variety of cuts to try out the ergonomics. I could get a feel for the differences in operation and reach some preliminary conclusions as they related to my intended use.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed