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June / July 2013
V8 ride-on mower PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

V8 ride-on mower

Normanby must be the V8 capital of NZ event the lawn mowers sound different there. Colin Evans has what appears to be a standard Murray mower with two SU carbs sticking
out each side of the top of the bonnet on an angle, V8 style. This sparkling red, ride-on sitting outside his engineering shop in Normanby is turning a few heads. Yes, it’s a mower with a V8 engine and it’s hot to trot.

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V8-powered log splitter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rick Proctor   

V8-powered log splitter

Because I wanted more speed and power, I decided to build a log splitter with a V8 car engine. I read your magazine on the log splitter and enjoyed the article ((“Building a log splitter” by Ray Nielsen, Jun/Jul 2012) so thought I would share my interpretation of a DIY splitter. I would have to agree with the article that too many people start at the wrong end and it’s best to start with the pump and work backwards. This is my second log splitter and most of the mistakes you mention I made in my first attempt.
I agree with some of the things Ray has said in his article, but as I have proven, car engines can work as a power source for log splitters. The first log splitter I built used a 1600 cc Corolla motor and it worked well but I decided I wanted more speed and power. I also decided it had to be a V8. No exceptions. Now I can split four cubic metres of wood per hour by myself or six cubic metres plus with three people. The splitter is very fast and powerful and it isn't all that thirsty either.

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Raspberry Pi 101: Introducing Pi Face PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Raspberry Pi 101: Introducing Pi Face

Last year I reported that I had managed to purchase one of the first 10,000 Raspberry Pi boards. I’m still in a learning process, so hopefully we should all gain something useful at the end. My intentions were to interface this with the outside world and the more I read the more I become convinced that the old saying about “ good things come with time...” is right.
The Raspberry Pi has GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) pins that allow the processor to directly interface with external things. Most computers have no GPIO and require a special card for external connections. Because this GPIO is directly connected to the processor there is NO PROTECTION, and consequently the risk of damaging (referred to as “bricking”) your board is fairly high, along with limits on the current capabilities of the pins.
PiFace Digital is an add-on board that eliminates most of the above problems, It fits neatly on top of the Raspberry Pi and can be powered from the Raspberry Pi or provide power to the Raspberry Pi.

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The Shed doodler—drawing with plastic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vik Ollive   

The Shed doodler—drawing with plastic

Do you want to make an Arduino-driven “glue gun” with a trigger so you can draw with plastic? Crafters and makers have been using glue guns to create ad hoc structures for some time now, but recently a Kickstarter project managed to raise $US2.3 million to develop a “3D printing pen.” It's just a glue gun with a motor, right? $2.3 Megabucks? How hard can a fat glue gun be?
The sticks of soft, flexible EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) in glue guns are clumsy and produce annoying spider-webby strings; not good for drawing with. The plastics used in 3D printers are better and come in conveniently long “sticks” for continuous drawing in tints and fancy colours.
PLA (polylactic acid, a polyester that can be produced as fibre or film) has a reasonably low melting point, but it's still 180 °C or so compared to the 90 °C of glue sticks—an obvious burn hazard there. ABS ( HYPERLINK "" acrylonitrile b HYPERLINK "" \o "Butadiene" utadiene  HYPERLINK "" styrene plastic) has an even higher melting point and stinks of burning polystyrene so we'll stick with PLA and 3 mm filament is cheaper per kilo[*].
I use the inside of a MIG welder as a model. MIG wire is driven by a pinch-wheel (the “wire drive motor”) down a hose and into the hot bit on the handle. Plastic filament doesn't conduct electricity like MIG wire so instead of zapping it at the end we need a hot nozzle à la glue gun.

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Make a simple vacuum former PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Borrows   

Make a simple vacuum former

A vacuum former is a very handy piece of equipment to have around the home workshop. It works quite simply: heated plastic is sucked rapidly and strongly over a pattern or formed shape. As soon as the plastic has set again, it retains the shape. You can see this most commonly in food packaging blisters and packaging that contains nearly everything in the hardware aisles. Over the years, I have been asked to produce sample plastic shapes for various packaging companies that supply mass-produced plastic containers for their goods, for everything from food to farm equipment and power tools to electronic items.
The vacuum former is simply a table with a hole in the centre through which the air is forcibly sucked. For a lot of my work which is commissioned, I use an industrial vacuum pump. For smaller model items, a small box is useful and the air can be extracted simply by a strong domestic vacuum cleaner.
I produce patterns of the various forms – often carved from a piece of builder’s bog with a Dremel tool or out of wood – and then I vacuum-form a plastic shape. Once this is approved, the manufacturers re-create the form pattern by pouring resin and aluminium powder into the prototype forming. The aluminium powder allows the form to be used for longer. These are the patterns that industrial-scale vacuum-forming works on

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Coffin-making fun PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Coffin-making fun

As the saying goes, there are only two certainties: death and taxes. While we can do little about the latter, we can at least be prepared for the former. That is the motivation behind the group that gathers every Wednesday in a former warehouse in Rotorua. The Kiwi Coffin Club, self-described makers of fine underground furniture, is open for business.
Established in 2010, the club has grown from four members to having more than 40. The primary aim is for each member to make and decorate their coffin. By 8.00am on a clear Rotorua morning, the carpark is beginning to fill up and the doors to the former warehouse are opened. People are moving trestles. Drop sheets are spread and large boxes are carried out carefully and set up on the trestles. Paintbrushes are readied. From within comes the familiar whine of power tools.

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Tool test PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Tool test

Improvements in battery technology and motor technology for power tools (especially in the area of Li-ion batteries and brushless motors) find convergence in cordless impact drivers. With any new developments, it’s to be expected that purchasers want some sort of assurance that the product will do what it claims—the claims for the 4.0 Ah batteries are impressive, some claiming up to twice the run-time of previous models and 20 percent more power. Impact drivers have just one function—to drive fastenings and this makes them a good choice for testing battery life.
Once again we looked to the University of Auckland Uniservices division to help us undertake the testing. We tested five models: Hitachi, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Panasonic and for the first time we have a Metabo tool.
The usual method of testing these tools has been to drive large numbers of screws into a dense board and that is precisely what we decided to do to. But we also decided to test the torque claims of the manufacturers. To that end we engaged the services of Air-Mech Ltd in West Auckland, who repair all brands of airtools including impact wrenches (rattle guns) for the likes of Atlas Copco. They have torque-testing machines that can give accurate torque reading.

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Hot stuff in Taranaki PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

Hot stuff in Taranaki

Hot rods—we see them rumbling round the highways and byways, big V8s burbling, immaculate finished body and paintwork and obviously someone’s pride and joy. Many people don’t realise the work that goes into customising one of these gleaming machines. Some are old cars reshaped and rebuilt, and some are made from scratch, often using the classic designs and lines of cars built in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
In the little town of Normanby in South Taranaki there’s a workshop set up to create these beasts. We caught up with guys from three businesses in a row having smoko together. An upholstery business, a custom fabrication shop and an engineering shop. All mates who work in together in a way that can only happen in a small town.

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Installing a kitchen PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Installing a kitchen

From planning to finish, here is a feature describing what you need to know. Kitchens are the heart of a house, the control room around which everything revolves. This is room that gets a lot of use, more so than any other. It’s also a workplace where meals are prepared and often consumed. It’s a hard traffic area that gets a lot of abuse. Kitchen styles are evolving constantly but always represent a trade-off between functionality and design. How do you integrate oven, hob, fridge, sink, pantry and all the implements that grow to fill the space available and still have the stylish environment you want?
We followed a rebuild of a somewhat tired 1980s kitchen as it was transformed into a modern, spacious and efficient kitchen for a growing family.

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