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October / November 2010
Gold fish PDF Print E-mail

Gold fishTo make a shubunkin fish pendant in silver and gold, I used a copper template to mark two exact copies of the fish body onto 0.8 mm sterling silver plate, and joined both plates Rounded punches impressed the fish shape on lead cake and the two-plate silver shape was hammered into this impression. A jeweller’s piercing saw cut out top-plate scales with reference to drilled holes. Nail polish protected the  silver during electroplating and uncovered areas were gold-plated.
The shubunkin goldfish is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s koi” and in China the koi carp is often used to represent yin yang. I have drawn the body of the shubunkin goldfish fish to look like one half of the Chinese yin yang symbol. I then added the fins to suggest and give movement to the piece.
* Wayne Hooper, a first-year student at Peter Minturn’s Goldsmithing School created the shubunkin fish pendant as a “design-and-build” project where the jewellery had to have movement or was articulated.

Installing sliding doors in a villa PDF Print E-mail

French doorsFrench doors give a house much readier indoor-outdoor flow, especially when they open onto a deck. The old villa being renovated for this project had existing French doors leading from the back of the house to the outside. However, the owner wanted a wider, more user-friendly opening and the answer was a bigger set of sliding doors.
With older villas or similar houses, there will be some adjustment when fitting a new door, as it is likely the floor has become uneven. On a bigger budget, you could level the whole area which might include adjacent rooms.
There are also places where the chisel and hammer will do better than a skill saw. For builders, this underlines the importance still of learning how to use hand tools where you remain effectively in charge of what’s going on. Obviously, builders are only as good as how sharp the chisel blade or pencil is, or how true the square. With a skill saw you can make a mess pretty quickly.

A toddler’s table and chairs PDF Print E-mail

A toddler’s table and chairsWhen my children were very young, their grandfather, my father, made them a small table and chairs. Now my grandchildren are at a similar age, I felt the time was right to follow that tradition. Once you have absorbed some of the basics of furniture-making, there is a great sense of satisfaction in designing and making your own.
When I started, I had recently read a chapter in a book on ergonomics. To get the fit right, I decided to take the long way round by building a mock-up of an adult-sized chair before I attempted to scale it down to a child’s size. My first mock-up was a very basic wobbly MDF version that allowed me to get the curvature of my back to fit the chair. After some fiddling around, I managed to get things close to a stage where I could build a rough pine version.
Once the adult version was correct, I drew the child’s version as per the finished product. I used Southland beech finished with three coats of Danish oil but you could use almost any type of timber that you wish. Pine would almost certainly be the cheapest and probably the easiest to work with.

DIY rocket and submarine PDF Print E-mail

DIY submarineWhen the fuel refused to fire and rocket refused lift at the launch of the Danish DIY rocket Tycho Brahe 1 on September 5, flight director Kristian von Bengston still wrote on his blog “Wow.” (Engineers or Ingeniǿren at This former NASA scientist was referring to the sense of achievement which he and Danish compatriot Peter Madsen feel so far in the volunteer-run, donation-supported project under the umbrella name, Copenhagen Suborbitals.
Not only are they building a DIY rocket to carry a human into sub-orbital space, but they have already made a DIY submarine, using Open Source software and hardware.
The only certain reason the rocket refused to launch, Kristian writes in his blog, is that the liquid oxygen (LOX) fuel valve froze solid. (DIY alert—the failure was with a hairdryer the team was using to keep the valve heated.) The next rocket launch is planned for June 2011.

Make a telescope PDF Print E-mail

Make a telescopeBuilding the popular Newtonian  reflector telescope with a Dobsonian mount. The simple, stable Dobsonian mount was created by American John Dobson who wanted to popularise astronomy with a telescope on a simple base that could virtually be taken out onto the footpath for use. This mount can be built with woodworking tools. It consists of side that hold the telescope and turns on two flat wooden discs pivoting on a central bolt with pieces of Teflon or PTFE plastic to help the discs rotate round 360°.
The Newtonian telescope consists of two mirrors, a curved primary mirror and a small flat mirror called the secondary. Here they are placed in standard plastic tube with the appropriate holding mechanisms. We recommend you buy the mirrors as grinding them yourself is time-consuming and requires great expertise.

Race cars made in NZ PDF Print E-mail

Race cars made in NZCraig Greenwood went from racing cars and being a champion driver (Formula Vee) to making cars and letting other people race them. Craig bought his first car but soon decided to build his own, working nights and weekends in a cramped single garage with little more than an oxy-acetylene welder, a hacksaw and a hand-held drill.
He has now built 23 Formula Firsts and developed a reputation for building quick and reliable cars, most of which are still racing. By 1999 Craig had come up with a new design, Formula Challenge. Powered by a Suzuki GSXR 1100 cc motorcycle engine, the car sports wings, spoilers and a demountable nose section, has hard suspension hard in typical race-car style and generates an impressive 150 brake horsepower with a top speed of 230 km/h. It is capable of 0-100 km/h in 3.8 secs.

Take a lap below!