Turning to wood
Our cover story this April/May 2023 issue 108 proves that it's never too late to take up a new interest.
Whanganui sheddie Peter Loidl is a home renovator from way back and when he met some members of The Whanganui Woodturner’s Club at an exhibition, they encouraged him to join their club and have a go at woodturning. The results of Peter’s efforts on the lathe are really quite outstanding.
“In Peter Loidl’s living room, a 1:2 scaled-down Model T Ford made from various timbers does duty as a liquor cabinet. The bonnet and tank lift up to reveal a stash of spirit and wine bottles that have accumulated for years — they are mostly unopened, Peter tells us. He has wired up the headlights, back lights, and dashboard. He has also installed concealed colour-changing lighting where the bottles sit. There’s no drink-drive message intended; the car bar serves a functional purpose and is also an unusual decorative feature.”
Which air compressor?
When choosing an air compressor, you need to know the free air delivery (FAD)
Here’s a guide to learning all there is to know about compressed air delivery and the enormous range of tools that you can use with this powerful and efficient system.
“Selecting the correct air compressor for a particular job should be a relatively painless exercise. The right choice will provide you with a useful machine that can last for many years, provided you maintain it well.
However, far too often, choosing a compressor can come down to a random weighing up of price, cosmetic appearance, or misinformation about the compressor’s specifications. In fact, the most important thing to consider is the air consumption of any tool to be used with the compressor.”
Building a budget chicken tractor
Taking on a new-build is a special challenge for someone with upcycling/recycling in the blood
Have you noticed the price of eggs these days? Well some sheddies see this as an opportunity to head to the shed and get creating. Our Off The Grid columnist Murray Grimwood did just that and shows us how to build a chicken coop from scratch to save and even make some $s from the current egg supply shortage.“Tractors — for chickens on the move. Chickens should be kept in tandem with a food garden. They are comfortably carnivorous, and will turn food scraps into fertiliser in short order. With a fixed-in-place coop, you are limited to scooping/scraping out the poop; how much better to let them drop it straight onto the soil, shift the coop, and plant behind them in rotation?”
Alexa — what’s it all about?
Alexa and similar devices can both simplify and complicate our lives
Like it or loathe it technology is now a huge part of all our lives so we need all the info we can get on this tech that surrounds us constantly. Here Mark Beckett walks us through all there is to know about Alexa, how to install and the help and information it can provide us all.
“By now, many readers will have heard the term ‘Alexa’ and wondered what it is, how you use it, and if they need it. Alexa is a Virtual or Voice Assistant that connects to the internet via your Wi-Fi and listens for your command. This gets processed and Alexa responds verbally or by activating a smart device or devices.”
My shed - The Garage Mahal
An Aladdin’s cave of creative possibilities
You could say Bodhi Hegan is living the dream. He has created his own unique man cave where he lives, sleeps and eats with his workshop full of Harley Davidson motorbikes all around him. COVID helped him create his ideal world in an empty old Auckland shed.
“Promoting Bodhi’s place would stretch the most creative estate agent to breaking point.
“Enjoy generous vistas of shipping containers. Privacy guaranteed by a three-metre-high hurricane wire fence topped with razor wire. Superb indoor-outdoor flow by way of four metre by six metre sheet iron front entrance doors.”
It even has its own distinctive aroma, perhaps best described as Fleurs du Political Incorrectitude, with top notes of toasted Virginia tobacco and sawdust, a tantalising hint of lager, and a musky bass note of engine oil — not that it lingers long, thanks to that indoor-outdoor flow.”
A $10 challenge - Imagination and a dose of Kiwi ingenuity
Every sheddie knows that being idle is a state we all despise. John Priest saw an old lawnmower in his backyard and thought, “now what can I do with that for little or no money” The result is a fun wee pedal car for the grandkids.
“The long and rather wetter than usual winter that even the East Coast suffered left him with a quandary. What do you do to while away the cold winter nights in a quiet country town? If you are John Priest, you set yourself a challenge to turn a pile of scrap into something delightfully whimsical. On top of the obvious difficulties, John set himself the further challenge of a limit of $10 on the cost of auxiliary parts.”
Alibre 101 part 5
Learn how to create complex shapes that would be difficult to draw by hand
Our long term columnist Bob Hulme certainly is enjoying using this Alibre software. He is discovering more and more ways to make complex plans and drawings for tools and parts creation, a thing of the past.
“In part five of this series about learning the basics of the Alibre Atom 3D digital design program, we are going to lift our skills to lofty heights by tackling lofting. This is how complex shapes are formed that would be difficult to draw manually. With CNC machining now commonplace, a digital drawing can be used directly to program the machine tools, such as lathes and milling machines, to create the shape needed.”
Building a shed — part one
Work begins on an envy-inducing, ultimate shed
Des Bromilow is a very, very busy sheddie so when he decided the time had come to build his ultimate workshop, it needed a lot of thought. Separate zones for different tasks, good light, storage and benches. Des has put a lot of effort into this build and shares with us how he went about it, pitfalls and all.
“The shed design involved the floor plan, storage options, height of door, mezzanines, and hot-works area. It started with determining what space I had available on my house block, and the constraints of shed construction imposed by the local council and planning regulations. I then started modelling shed layouts using grid paper and some small-scale footprints of the machines I expect to use — milling machine, lathe, shaper, drill press, bench for desktop machines, and so on.”
The Shed shrink - Fill up the tank! 2023
Some of us can go it alone successfully, but, to thrive, most humans need social interaction
There’s a place where men meet and socialise in Christchurch called ‘The Fuel Tank’ and it's proving to be somewhere that really all of us need at some time or other.
“I have been delighted by the response shown by the men who attended the monthly men’s group, ‘Fuel tank’, here in Christchurch at the Throttlestop Cafe. The most outstanding aspect for me has been the generosity of encouragement towards each other when clearly everyone is there because they have stuff going on or they have experienced personal hardships. Despite this, these men have found the capacity to listen and offer support without judgement or criticism. The blokes themselves agree it has been worthwhile, relevant, and effective for them.”
Electronics — tales for makers, part 5
The Sand Machine
The creation of the Sand Machine — also called the Mandala Machine — turned out to be quite complex. To describe the project as simply and clearly as possible, creator Enrico Miglino will explain it with images, whereby the captions describe in detail the procedure, tools, and site references he has used. The software components and the SVG designs for laser cutting are available as open source on GitHub.
Trailer mods: A trailer coupling lock for off-road trailers and caravans
Prevention is preferable to cure
There is always someone out there who wants to take what is rightfully yours. When we leave a trailer or caravan we need to make sure it's there when we return. Coen Smit shows us how he made a useful trailer lock to deter those folks who want to drive off with your possessions.
“I haven’t seen anything suited to the more robust off-road couplings now used on caravans. These are particularly vulnerable if you are camping in a remote area and need to use the towing vehicle whilst wanting to leave the caravan in situ. The alternative — taking the caravan with you — might mean you lose your precious site to another visitor or simply make a short sojourn into town for supplies more of a hassle.”
Whether it’s birds or planes, first-time aircraft builder, Arjen Visser, admits to getting a real buzz from watching something in the sky that flies
Arjen has been flying solo for a few years and figures the time is right to have a go at building his own small plane. He chose a four-seater Sling TSi light sport aeroplane, ordered the components and started to build it in his home garage. Being a first time plane builder did not deter this man.
“As well as pursuing a lifelong interest in flying machines, Arjen is a software developer, director of his own company, and once harboured dreams of being a jazz guitarist. In his 20s he studied computer science, to “get a degree in something useful, as a backup plan”.
Back o’ The Shed - Infrastructure blues
A plea for some sturdy roads built by knowledgeable road-makers
The Shed magazine’s founder Jude Woodside’s column this issue is on the weather and more. He suggests that as a direct result of the recent storms, we need to change tack and start doing a lot of things better. Building sturdier roads seems like a good place to start.
“These events have demonstrated that our infrastructure is not in any shape to deal with what could become regular occurrences. If these recent devastating weather events don’t convince you that the climate has changed and it’s overdue time we did something, then nothing will. I, for one, won’t be queuing to buy a house with an uninterrupted ocean view unless it sits on a hill well back from the shore.”