Site Registration

Create an accountCreate an account

Latest Issue

Like Us On Facebook

Oct / Nov 2013
Make a simple 3D printer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vik Olliver   

Make a simple 3D printer

3D printers are wonderful tools to have and they're not really that hard to put together. So why then, asked my mate Tim, do we import them at great expense rather than have a Kiwi-made, simple kit created with Kiwi ingenuity?
He had a point and I got stuck in. Ironically, the first move was to kick out all the parts I'd usually make on a 3D printer. They're too slow for mass production unless you want to run a building full of the things. The parts they make need bolting together with hundreds of fasteners if you want to make large structures with them. We wanted something simpler...much simpler.
In essence you just need

  • a sturdy frame that allows a “deposition bed”—the building platform—to move around underneath;
  • an extruder that squirts out plastic like an automated glue gun; and
  • a mechanism to increase the distance between the bed and the extruder so your object can grow.

All the technology is well sorted and available as off-the-shelf modules that drive accurate stepper motors. You just need a good method of making a frame to house it all.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

Raspberry Pi 101: Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Beckett   

Raspberry Pi 101: Part 3

Connecting sensors and peripheral devices

In this issue I want to introduce the GPIO (General Purpose Input Output), and how it can be used to control devices. We will use a Python script, discuss the limitations and some things to watch out for when using the GPIO.

One of the advantages the RPi has over normal computers is ready access to dedicated hardware pins, referred to as the GPIO. These can be configured for Input or Output, and be used for I2C, PWM and other functions. Unlike the Arduino, they are 3v3 and are not protected, so care is needed as you could destroy your RPi.
Pin Numbering
The GPIO is located at the same end as the power socket, but on the other side, and the numbering has the even pins on the outer edge.  Hence the two 5v pins (2 and 4) are near the outer corner of the board.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

Bookcases for a “wall of books” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hugh McCarroll   

Bookcases for a “wall of books”

My daughter wanted a “wall of books” in her lounge. The wall is 4900 mm wide by 2440 mm high, with a non-working fireplace in the middle and 1700 mm-wide spaces each side. I promised to build a bookcase for her as a birthday present, or rather two birthday presents; I would do one side the first year, the other plus a centre unit for the fireplace the following year.
A bookcase is probably the most basic DIY project there is, and I thought little about the job until the time came to actually start work. My daughter wanted real timber rather than laminated or painted MDF and I wanted it to be a well-finished and high-quality piece of furniture as it is in the lounge.
I also wanted moveable shelves for maximum flexibility and the best use of the bookcases. This introduced the need for accuracy as moveable shelves sit on pins and I wanted a neat fit between the vertical sides so the shelves could not move when they were in place (I bought a bookcase once where the shelves were very loose and kept collapsing).
The more I thought about it, the more important that accuracy became.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

The future of TV PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

The future of TV

Raspbmc –XBMC comes to Raspberry Pi

I have seen the future of TV. I have believed for some time now that free-to-air TV as we know it is a dead man walking. My 19-year-old daughter rarely watches it as she gets all her TV from the web. In some cases she has seen whole series long before they reach our screens. If she is typical—and I think she may be—then free-to-air TV is doomed.
But on the bright side the future looks promising. I have been given a Raspbmc kit from element14. It is named XBMC and is another inspired use of the Raspberry Pi as a media centre.
XBMC was developed originally as a hack of the Xbox operating system to create a media centre and is an acronym of XBox Media Centre.
The beauty of the system, quite apart from it being Open Source, is its ability to be used across Android, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
XBMC can play TV programmes downloaded from the internet or movies stored on a hard disk. It can search the internet for content and either stream that or download it. It comes provisioned with hundreds of apps that will allow you to access content from around the world.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

A shed full of dirt bikes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

A shed full of dirt bikes

My shed: Steve Gallichan

The history of dirt bike racing in New Zealand is being preserved in possibly New Zealand’s biggest collection of classic dirt bikes.
Getting off road on a motorbike and racing against others on the dirt is an adrenalin sport and fun activity that’s been enjoyed by many for the last 100 years. It’s nothing new; the thrill of dirt bike racing goes back to before World War I, when motorbikes first became popular.  
The bikes have evolved from those early chugging machines into the high-performance bikes we see today, but the excitement is the same. The big difference is that high speed racing today means a bigger adrenalin rush.
One rider in Taranaki has a huge shed with a collection of restored vintage motocross bikes, a gleaming record of these machines that blatted across paddocks and tracks in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Steve Gallichan began riding dirt bikes when he was aged seven. He used to roar around his family’s two-hectare farmlet in Hawera on a Honda SL70. At age 12, he began competing at meets in Taranaki on that little 70cc bike with other young lads and when no kids turned up he rode with the adults.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

Sharing skills in the men’s shed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Helen Frances   

Sharing skills in the men’s shed

Sounds of grinding, sanding and sawing at 292 Wicksteed Street announce that work is in full swing at the Whanganui Men’s Shed.
Through the open door, you can see men bending over machines, cutting and turning various lengths, shapes and colours of wood. There’s an airbrushing of dust and the scent of freshly worked timber.
The machine shop is a high, cavernous space overlooked by a brightly lit mezzanine smoko room—the first project the men built together. A draw saw near the entrance is the most popular machine, says secretary Barry Boardman. He and Garth Stevenson show me around during a couple of visits.
The shed is very well equipped with machinery thanks to the previous occupants, the former Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic.
The inaugural meeting of this men’s shed on July 22, 2010 drew 25 attendees, double the number that founder George Bowers expected when he ran a small advertisement in the Wanganui Chronicle. They met under the auspices of Age Concern where he was chairman for a number of years. George has quite a track record in the central North Island community.

Read more in the Oct - Nov 2013 issue of The Shed

Makerspace all go
Written by Terry Snow   

Makerspace Wellington all go

Makerspace Wellington which was set up in February 2012 runs a slightly different model from the usual creative ideas hotbed and all-in hacker room—it’s a business on one floor by day and one floor upstairs it’s Makerspace in another guise by day and by night.

Founder Lee Bennett and his partner Steven Almond have established a friendly space in Vivian Street for everyone from school and university students to hackers and makers.

Swarf sump
Written by Gary Farquhar   

Swarf sump

It’s a hassle to clean out my workshop vacuum cleaner bag. Metal swarf tends to clip itself onto the fabric and I spend a lot of time picking off the bits individually.
Question: How to pick up small swarf in the workshop without sharp metal or other rubbish going into the vacuum cleaner bag?
Answer: Make a swarf sump which catches the swarf away from the vacuum bag. Only the dust gets through.
This is a quick little, easy-to-do project, one of those “Why didn’t I do this years ago?” jobs.