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Oct / Nov 2012
Making a die nut PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Hulme   

Making a die nut

A die nut is a useful workshop item for repairing threads. You have a bolt or screw with a damaged thread. What to do? There are various way of fixing the damage but one of the best is to use a die nut.
A die nut is a created with interrupted sections of thread around its internal diameter. Die nuts are simply screwed onto the threaded part. As they are wound down, they cut away any of the screw thread that is bruised (bent over) or out of line.
Our project is to make one but why not buy one? For small sizes, price may not be an issue. For larger sizes and to restore a thread for which a die nut is not readily available then making your own is an attractive option. (The price of die nuts typically ranges from $30 to over $400 each). There is also the challenge of making your own.
The number of times a die nut can be used depends upon the material it is used on and the quality/hardness of the material it is made from. In our project, the die nut should have a useful life of around a dozen times on mild steel or high-tensile bolts.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Arduino 101 Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry King   

Arduino 101 Part 2
This is the second in a series of articles to introduce the versatile and extraordinary Arduino system to people with no prior knowledge of programming or electronics.
We will take you step-by-step through how to set up, program and use the Arduino and provide a series of projects that will help you gain the knowledge you need to free your imagination and work with this revolutionary device.
So far we have begun to get acquainted with the Arduino and IDE, the “sketches” or programs that make it work, and we have got it working blinking an LED on and off.  In this article we will delve a little deeper preparatory to diving right in with a fully fledged project with some real-world applications in the next issue.
We have set up a page on The Shed website to hold all the arduino sketches we are discussing here. You can simply copy and past them into your own IDE.
To begin you need to understand a bit about electricity and how that translates into the digital scheme of things.
Often an actual circuit (like the YourDuino and Breadboard hookup) gets to be a confusing bunch of wires and components going in all directions. To keep it simple we draw circuit diagrams to show what we're trying to do.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Two more brews for the home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Snow   

Two more brews for the home

After the two beers made so The Shed magazine could follow the process (Home brewing: two recipes, Jun/Jul 2012) brewer Allister van Mil is advancing the brewing here. In this issue we are looking at two brews. The first is what Allister styles a “French lightly hopped pale lager.” The second brew is a darker beer along the lines of the classic English porter but with a touch of sweetness added from honey. We think of it as The Shed honey porter.
Allister reports that the stout The Shed magazine followed earlier is still aging in a demijohn. “The last sample I had to see how it’s going was awesome, the smoothness and texture plus depth in flavour was quite intense. The other beer made for The Shed magazine, the wheat beer, is amazing and has been one of the most popular beers, given the samples available in the fridge. The stout I'm very likely going to keep for three-six months to age it appropriately.”
Now in the two new brews, he will go through the stage of creating different characters and flavour to the mixes, using hops in one case and barley grains as a mash addition in the second case.
He explains “My thought was that we were looking to a progression, from simple boiling-the-beer kit and using plain ingredients to using more items, doubling up in yeasts, hops, additions and grain or outside ingredient additions, even to the extent of a full mash brew eventually. The process would take a beginner to the stage of being a senior or serious hobbyist.”

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make this handy router table PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Blackwell   

Make this handy router table

If you do not have a table for your router then you are only using a fraction of the potential of this unique piece of machinery. To use this table, the router is inverted and screwed under a router plate with the cutter protruding above the surface of the plate.
The table allows you to machine stock that would be difficult if not impossible to machine in the hand-held mode. A good example would be long lengths of door moulding/trim and picture framing.
It also gives you much more accuracy with components for projects such as drawers, chairs and curved or odd shapes because you only need to hold the work piece down while making the cut. I use my router table regularly to cut a small radius on the edges of such things as kitchen cutting-boards.
My router table is probably one of the most-used machines in my workshop after the bench saw. I am sure once you have had one for a while you will wonder how you ever completed a project without one.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Installing an automatic gate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Installing an automatic gate

When Karl Bishop had finished fixing and painting the fence on his newly acquired house he knew he needed to finish it with a gate. A gate would allow the dog to roam safely and it would add an element of security.
He wanted an automatic gate. It would mean no more getting out in the wet to open and close it. There are many ways of operating the gate other than the remote key. You can install a keypad at the gatepost for visitors and pedestrians. Depending on your model, it’s even possible to operate the gate via a smart phone. Most of these are optional accessories that can be purchased from your motor drive supplier.
The gate would be galvanised and powdercoated. With the benefit that he worked for an engineering workshop, he knew that making the gate wasn’t likely to be a problem. He didn’t want an elaborate gate, rather one in keeping with his house that would tone in with the wooden fence. He was able secure all the parts he required from Richmond Materials Handling including the drive motor and the wheels for the gate.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Create a backyard brazier PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   

Create a backyard brazier

Over the last couple of decades I have made my share of braziers, fire pits, and pizza ovens out of anything from old truck rims to LPG cylinders. But my hands-down favourite for source material for fire containers is CNG cylinders.
I cut them in half, then cut the sides into strips that pull part to form a basin for the fire.
CNG cylinders are thick and really throw the heat out. Based on the price of steel these days, they are an economical option too. The one I am using for this project to make a brazier cost me $10 on Trade Me.
This project could prove to be very dangerous. Safe practice and common sense must take first place here. I cannot stress this enough. When I pierce this tank using a plasma torch, an arc that is 20,000-plus degrees centigrade will shoot through the wall.
So, before welding or cutting any tank or vessel that has contained flammable or hazardous material, it is vital to ensure that the cylinder is made non-explosive and non-flammable. Even a non-volatile oil or grease can release a flammable or explosive vapour when heated.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed