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June / July 2014
Welding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   


Part 2: Basics of MIG welding, the second in a series of how to weld.

The basics of MIG welding are easy to learn and you can easily be bitten by the MIG welding bug. Once you start making little projects and admiring your workmanship, your confidence will grow. You will discover how simple it is and your machine will get used more and more. I can’t count the number of times happy customers (women, too) have come back looking for a machine the next size up, because the skills and range of their welding have improved.

The term MIG welding comes from Metal Inert Gas. This technique of welding is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW. The welding is done with a shielding gas which comes either from a gas bottle in one case, or from the wire itself in the second case.

In the MIG welding process, there is an electrical arc process in which a continuous wire electrode is sent through a MIG welding torch via a set of motorised rollers and into a weld pool. At the same time, a shielding gas of either argon mixed with CO2 or straight CO2 can also be sent through the welding torch to create an inert cover to protect the weld pool from atmospheric contamination

MIG welding compared to stick or arc welding appears relatively complex until the basics have been mastered. With stick welding we have amperage power settings, and electrode size and type as our main factors in setting up.

With MIG we have:

  • amps (which control our wire speed);
  • volts;
  • a choice of wire size and type;
  • gas or gasless wire;

shielding gas and the types and flow.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Furniture PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sid Aksoy   

Basic cabinetry: Part 2

Basic cabinetry: Part 2

From the first part of constructing our bedside cabinet in radiata  pine, Shaker style, (The Shed, April / May 2014), so far we have the two side panels and legs assembled and have the bottom shelf in rough sizes. In this part, we want to concentrate on the three rails, the bottom shelf, the joints between the components, and then the assembly of the carcase.

Our three rails are all the same dimension at 360 mm x 55 mm x 18 mm and the bottom shelf is 360 mm x 428 mm x 18 mm (see cutting list in Part 1). All four components are now cut to above sizes and we are ready to create the cut-out at the ends.

These cut-outs are necessary to fit the rails and bottom around the legs of the sides. The internal off-set between side panel and leg should be 12 mm, but check once again. The other dimension ruling the cut-out is the actual leg width of 35 mm. This means we need to cut rails and bottom out by 35 mm x 12 mm.

My favourite option to do the cut-outs on the rails and bottom shelf is my table saw. It is the most accurate and easiest to adjust. To make this foolproof for myself, I adjust the rip-fence to the cut-out mark at 12 mm.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

The art of the blacksmith PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

The art of the blacksmith

Joe Parkes is a blacksmith and as a youngster learned his trade the hard way. In 1958, aged 12, he was apprenticed to his grandfather and he quickly learned not to make mistakes. His giant Scots grandfather, Jack James, was a smithy of the old school. If young Joe got something wrong he had his head dunked in the half barrel of water used for cooling steel from the forge. He learned quickly.

“My grandfather, I called him Pop, was a big bugger, standing 6 ft 11 inches (1.8 metres) tall and weighing in at 20 stone (127 kg). He was a hard bastard, but he was my mentor. I once saw him pull a man through a high hedge and throw him over the top. You didn’t mess with him. If the blacksmiths got into a scrap you kept well clear.

“If I got anything wrong I had to fix it in my own time. If I did OK he might allow me to join him in the pub and have one beer. He was still smithing in his 80s. I hope I’m still going at that age.”

Today Joe, who lives in Stratford, Taranaki, has a deep love of the art of blacksmithing and has 56 years of smithy experience under his belt. He is a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, rated as an Eminent Master Blacksmith with a Silver Medal to his name.

He gave us a good look at his “shed,” a well set-up forge, showed us a gate he was making and told us a few yarns along the way.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Working with Software Defined Radio PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simon Jansen   

Working with Software Defined Radio

A couple of years ago I wrote about receiving weather satellite images at home using a home-made antenna and a commercially available receiver kitset. The antenna can be made quite easily with simple to find materials. The custom receiver kitset was more difficult to manage as it needed to be bought, then assembled to be used.

In the last few years advances in technology have provided a much simpler, and cheaper, method for receiving the satellite signals. This is called SDR or Software Defined Radio.

Software Defined Radio is the use of radio-receiving hardware that is connected to and controlled by a computer. The computer itself can perform a lot of the tasks that were previously done in hardware. The receivers then become very simple and cheap to produce.

In recent years such hardware has been produced to allow computers to receive digital television signals, such as Freeview. These little receivers typically connect to the PC via a USB port and they just need an aerial connection and appropriate software to drive them. These devices are referred to as dongles.

It turns out that it is extremely cheap and easy to do SDR on a normal PC using USB digital television dongles by repurposing them.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Instead of watching TV PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ian Stewart   

Instead of watching TV

“You must have too much time on your hands.” That’s what people often say when they see my model cars. Making models is time-consuming but I'm never really sure what to reply, because it's something I do instead of watching television or building the real thing.

But the question I get asked the most is how long it took to build. The answer is that I don't know. Sometimes I make a start and then find that it's too cold in the shed or I'm not happy about what I'm doing, so go back inside for the evening and start again when I feel like it.

I’m a mechanic, have always been interested in motorsport and have tried to help our good friends, the Wade family of Hamilton, with their super stocks. I got to know these cars very well.

The main reason I started to build model cars was because my son, Andrew, who owns his own graphic design company, AWS Graphics, needed a large model on which to show a graphic design for his final university assignment. After hunting everywhere to find the correct type and size of car, we decided to build one just for the job.

A suspension is always hard to make. Obviously, I can't make up the small ball joints but still try to make it look as authentic as possible. I decided to make the suspension non-working because I didn't want components flopping about at strange angles. I use 100 mm nails to make the arms, turning small ball ends and then cross-drilling them for mounting pins.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make an outrigger canoe PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stuart Reid   

Make an outrigger canoe

During a visit to Aitutaki, we found the lagoon irresistible for boating. The resort we were at had numerous plastic canoes, paddle boards and wind surfers. I borrowed the plastic two-person canoe, paddled for a few metres with wife as extra power and we both gave up after a few strokes of the paddle.

Then we spotted a rather rough-looking plywood canoe with an outrigger. It was brilliant. We sat up straight and it was quick when paddled. It was great for looking at the coral reefs because calm was created between the outrigger and the hull. We went on to cruise the lagoon, visiting lagoon-side restaurants, had a great time and were both sold on what is known as a “waka ama” or canoe with outrigger.

To build it, I concentrated on the advice of most waka ama advocates: that the canoe should be made of locally available materials, quick to assemble on the launching area and very cheap to make.

My waka is made from two sheets of 7 mm-thick construction ply and almost one litre of polyurethane waterproof glue. The timber was old house-framing timber that was going to be firewood. I had this idea of a box with a point at each end with seats to add strength. The basic box is 300-mm wide and 400-mm high. The middle part is 1200 mm-long and then the ends are put on. So I have a five-metre-long boat from two sheets of 7 mm-thick construction ply that cost $64.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed