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June / July 2012
Build a log splitter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Nielsen   

Build a log splitter

This project uses the basics of what a log splitter used to be: a beam with a hydraulic cylinder attached to force an axe-head through the log. Splitter gurus will argue about the merits of their different log-splitters but I believe the vertical table splitter is the most practical.

To build a log-splitter, where do you start? Is it for commercial use or just the occasional weekend job? Do you already have a lot of components lying around? Unless you have a large budget, there will always be a need to compromise somewhere.

At CC Hydraulics, we do not build log-splitters. In fact, we do not design log-splitters or profess to be experts as there are excellent commercial log-splitter builders around. But we sell plenty of hydraulic equipment to people who design and build their own log-splitters and through doing this well, we have gained a lot of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. Believe me, there is a huge amount of misinformation out there.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make a king-single bed PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Blackwell   

Make a king-single bed

Making a bed just has to be one of the simplest exercises that a hobbyist woodworker can undertake. The basic design principles are fairly well-established but there is great scope for personal flair in how the final product looks. It is just four posts and something to hold the mattress.

The bed in this step-by-step article was made specifically for one of my grandsons; I have previously made similar beds for my two other Christchurch-based grandchildren. To match other furniture in my daughter’s house, I have made it out of beech and finished it with three coats of Danish oil. Almost any type of timber can be used, depending on the look you require for the finished product. My daughter asked for a “chunky look” and, as it was a boy’s bed, I wanted it to be able to withstand almost anything thrown at it.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Home brewing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Snow   

Home brewing

In a previous issue of The Shed, we went gone through the full range of making a brew starting with all the raw ingredients such as grains and hops (“Something brewing in the shed” The Shed, Oct/Nov 2011). Here, we see both a stout and a wheat beer made using a 23-litre home brew container suitable for a smaller workshop or shed and with kit ingredients for which 24-year-old Allister van Mil of Home Brew West claims a degree of superiority over more mass-produced kits.

Allister explains the standard recipes for these brews which he has adapted at Home Brew West for his own purposes. He explains: “We are going to make about 15 litres of stout which will be nine percent alcohol. If you want to take the quantity up to say 18 litres then it would be seven percent and if you want to make as much as possible then you would go towards 23 litres. The more water, the less the alcohol content. Stout is the first brew I made because I like Guinness but I had some awesome problems with it. The first time I didn’t have a big enough pot and it boiled over—still got the stains there today. A brew of stout I made in March 2010 is drinking better than ever as the flavour improves. I don’t think you can keep a lager-type beer for very long.”

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Shed of the Month: A perfect racing shed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

A perfect racing shed

Fast on the track, well-organised on the ground, a racing team has to have a well-organised workshop behind them. All shed owners at some time dream about their perfect shed. The workshop at M3 Racing may not be everyone’s dream, but it certainly would be close to perfect for almost anyone interested in motorsport.

Set up to maintain the V8 SuperTourer cars of the three Ms—Greg Murphy, Paul Manuell and Richard Moore—the workshop in East Tamaki is a very special shed.

Looking more like an art gallery, the place is immaculate. Tools are kept out of sight under stainless steel topped benches that can be wheeled into the transporter and taken to the racetrack.

For Paul Manuell who set up the workshop, having a dream shed is not a luxury, it’s all part of today’s motorsport package.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

World champs in robotics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

World champs in robotics

An Onehunga High School team of three students who are robot designers, engineers and programmers has won the VEX High School World Robotics Champions title for the first time after four years of trying and amassing 11 other titles on the way.

The 17-year-olds Zac Sutcliffe, Mitchell Longair and Matthew Dunbar worked hundreds of hours on the robot in their own time and ran sausage sizzles to raise money for the robot parts and to pay for the trip to Anaheim, California, in April.

Some 600 teams from high schools and universities from 20 countries were among 10,000 at the final event, the New Zealanders qualifying through local competition here.

Teacher Doug Bryan says he is proud of the effort by the boys. The Onehunga boys, as SymbiOHsis, were allied with teams from California and Vancouver. The Onehunga strategy of building a tough 5kg robot with a gearing ratio of 1:1 for maximum torque was well backed up by the Canadians. They lived up to their name Robosavages by having a “wallbot,” a 20kg monster which folded arms out to double the 133 mm maximum allowed width of the original robot to form a defence wall like the Crusaders rugby team.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Arduino-run water temperature light PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Arduino-run water temperature light

I own an American classic car and it comes with the usual 1960s instrumentation—speedo, fuel gauge but only warning lights for oil, alternator, and water temperature. The alternator light comes on when you turn on the ignition, but the water temperature light is designed to come on only when the water temperature reaches 120-125 °C which is usually too late. To fix that, I have devised this program powered by an Arduino micro-controller that will operate the temperature light when the engine powers up and light it up again to warn the driver as the temperature approaches 100 °C. It uses a readily available sender that will fit most vehicles.

The software is configured to operate the light for five seconds when the ignition is turned on, just like modern car warning lights. As the vehicle warms up, the light is continuously brightened until the engine reaches normal temperature, when the light goes out.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed