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Feb / March 2014
Build a deck PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Build a deck

Decks are still the most popular addition to a home. Adding a deck area to your property is the most cost-effective way to add square metres to your home. A new deck can cost up to around $350 per square metre for a hardwood deck professionally installed and obviously less for just materials in a DIY project.

As long as your deck is under 1.5 metres high you do not need a building consent. Decks are included in Exemption (g) of Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 that says a building consent is not required for decks, balconies, platforms and bridges, and similar structures that are less than 1.5 metres above cleared ground level.

Whether it’s a new outdoor area, extension to the veranda or a surround for the pool several factors will determine the design of your deck: what you will use it for; how many people live at the property; how the new deck will harmonise with house and garden; whether it has a view. A deck leading from ranch sliders or French doors will give a nice indoor/outdoor flow to the property.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
High-fliers over the Waikato PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Snow   

High-fliers over the Waikato

Thousands of remotely controlled small flight craft carrying cameras and video are operating around the world from Aeronavics (formerly Droidworx), a 15-person operation that works out of a small warehouse, a couple of sheds—one with a CNC machine— and a double-garage attached to a farmhouse in Raglan in the Waikato. But from this base directors Linda Bulk and Rob Brouwer have built a tech-savvy business that combines equal helpings of entrepreneurial vision and technical ingenuity.

Self-described as a manufacturer of advanced multi-rotor airframes, RTF (ready to fly) craft and related accessories, and a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Innovators Awards with a reconnaissance aerial robot, the Aeronavics team creates, assembles, packs and dispatches kits or fully assembled versions of the four-, six and eight-engined multirotor aerial robots or copters to the world from their rural Waikato base. They number among clients who bought their machines Channel 9 in Australia, National Geographic, Disney, Master Chef, Red Bull, DreamWorks animation, Ericsson and the BBC. They are at the internationally high-tech end of the spectrum.

The airframes are made of industrial-grade carbon fibre and polymers and include titanium engine mounts and fasteners for the quick foldaway engine-supporting booms (up to 540 mm long), and vibration dampeners to isolate the quick-release camera mount on gimbals. The carbon propellers can be up to 15 inches (381 mm) long but can be up to 29 inches (736 mm) long. A typical 2-6 cell electronic stability controller (ESC) can have a smooth continuous 40 amp output or 60 amp output burst for up to 10 seconds.

With the capacity to take small point-and-shoot or tiny GoPro cameras (biggest dimension 60 mm), thermal imaging equipment or digital RED cinema cameras up to five kilograms in weight, these machines are being used for multiple applications from movie making to structure inspections

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Make an acoustic guitar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob Bentley   

Make an acoustic guitar

Building an acoustic guitar is a very satisfying project that is within reach of most people with a modicum of woodworking experience. I have speed-built a guitar within a week, but for a more considered approach it is more usual to take three to four weeks.

Most tools required are in the general woodworking shop; some simple ones that are luthiery-specific can be easily made or adapted from other tools.
Access to a thickness sander is almost essential, but with patience there's not much that can't be achieved by planing/ scraping/sanding.
Tonewoods are named for their ability to contribute their own tonal character to the sound that your guitar produces and should be selected to suit the overall sound that you are looking to produce from your guitar.

Traditionally the back and sides are made from the same timber (usually a dense hardwood). Commonly used exotic woods for back and sides are East Indian rosewood (bias towards lush dark tones), mahogany (brighter than rosewood, quite punchy sounding), maple (can sound a bit thin and trebly) and walnut (somewhere between mahogany and rosewood).
Native New Zealand timbers could also be used if you can find a wide enough quartersawn plank. For example matai, totara or even rimu can make a fine sounding guitar.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Make a full mash brew PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Childs   

Make a full mash brew

Craft beer is on the rise as people think more about what they are drinking and drink more for flavour, instead of just to get drunk. Correspondingly, many new craft brewing companies are introducing different styles and flavours to their beers. Craft brewing really is a craft. We are at the very early stages of this in New Zealand. We have around 100 New Zealand brewing companies now, up from 40 only a few years ago. Australia has around 200 and there was only a fraction of that number a few short years ago.

The My Chur! brew here is being made by Allister from Home Brew West who has done several beers for The Shed magazine. This is a full mash brew which craft brewers like to make because they know exactly what all the ingredients are that go in.
Grain for beer consists of malted barley and perhaps some malted wheat The grains themselves are crushed finely enough so that they are cracked and the starches inside are exposed, but not so finely that the husks are crushed.

Hops is the ingredient that makes craft beer so special and New Zealand hops are coming into their own. We produce only about one percent of the world’s hops but they are some of the most in-demand hops.

Hops are used for bitterness and flavour. The level of bitterness is decided by the alpha acids in the hops. There are different compounds in the hops that give you different flavour levels (different types of Beta acids such as cohumulones).
There are several distinctive types of New Zealand hops.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Night sight with Raspberry Pi PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Night sight with Raspberry Pi

Now you can have an infrared home security camera with your Raspberry pi (Raspi). Raspberry pi have released two cameras to work with the Raspi. One is a straighforward camera that can capture stills or video and the other is a camera with no IR (infrared) filter— hence the acronym NoIR. Without the filter, it can function as an IR camera. The camera plugs directly into a connector on the board.

With the NoIR camera, low-light filming becomes easier so that you’d have to consider it for home security/monitoring. Using a Raspberry Pi, NoIR camera and a WiPi to connect, means it’s possible to fit into a shed or garage and have both control and downloading of the recorded images. The size and low power requirements also mean you can consider using 12v power from a battery, ensuring power outages don’t render it usel
I’ve seen security surveillance that requires lighting to produce a semidecent image; but adding an infrared light means it will illuminate the subject without them even being aware they are being filmed.

Some form of detection is required to trigger the recording (and illumination) and this can be a door switch, alarm or PIR (passive infrared) sensor. I chose to use a modified outdoor sensor since it provided protection, mounting and they are cheap at most hardware stores.
The choice of 12v allows the use of a battery and solar panel, and with the wireless connection, means that remote locations can be monitored. It could run from a suitable 12v power pack and Ethernet connection if you wish.

Because the boot time of the RPi is too long, it needs to be powered and running all the time. A script checks the GPIO pin 23 and if it changes, will turn on the IR light, take a still image, and then start recording until the input has restored.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Steam engine success PDF Print E-mail
Written by Graeme Quayle   

Steam engine success

A replica steam engine that made its first appearance at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway near Auckland last year was much more than just another piece of interesting machinery. Built to mark 300 years since what was believed to be Thomas Newcomen’s first engine, made in 1712, it celebrates an invention that contributed significantly to the industrial revolution.
No Newcomen engine was ever installed in the Southern Hemisphere, until now. It had been superseded by improved designs when colonisation was happening.

This splendid 21st-century example, named Gloribelle, was built by a group of volunteers in Auckland. It’s the first outside the UK, the USA and continental Europe and made its public debut at Glenbrook’s Steam and Vintage Country Festival.
The 19 or so enthusiasts who built the Newcomen were mostly members of the Auckland Steam Engine Society, including a core of six led by Ken Pointon, the former Steam Section leader at MOTAT.

Ken Pointon and his son, André, designed the Kiwi Newcomen as no complete drawings or instructions were available. The team only had original construction drawings of a side elevation and an end elevation showing the framework.
The rest was worked out, often from just a sketch of the general idea. A basic requirement was the need for the engine to be transportable for display at different venues; most of the originals were built as part of the engine house.

This engine’s name comes from a nickname of Ken’s wife, Gloria. Sadly, Gloria died after a six-year battle with cancer, just three weeks before the engine ran for the first time.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed