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Engineering

Going glamping

What do you do if you want a caravan but drive a Mini? You make one to fit. That’s just what Michael Wolfe of New Plymouth did – turning out a real dinky little teardrop-shaped caravan that matches his 2004 Cooper S and has all the mod cons for a decent holiday.
Michael saw pictures of little campers on the net and decided that was what he wanted – a cross between a caravan and a tent.
“I got some ideas from little caravans online and decided to go a bit more high-tech,” he says.
He built it to have the same lines, wheels and colour as his car and it looks just the part.
“I never really planned it in detail. I sketched it out originally and a lot of the construction I worked out as I went along.”

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Video of Austins Foundry’s final pour

This is video of a family firm that has provided a good living for at least two generations, building up an impressive skills base while manufacturing essential farm machinery for more than 90 years. The Austin family has run a foundry in Timaru for 93 years. Ken Austin, grandson of the founder, says the business has faced increasing headwinds since the Covid-19 pandemic, so he has tested the winds of change and decided to close down. The Shed visits to celebrate their technical foundry skills, the likes of which we may never see again in New Zealand.

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Life in the fast lane

He might describe himself as a larrikin biker, but former world motorcycle racing champion Graeme “Croz” Crosby is really more of a modern Renaissance man.
Put simply, a Renaissance man is defined as a very clever person who is good at many different things. So check the Croz record thus far: Champion motorcycle racer, commercial pilot, successful author, businessman, house builder, skilled motorcycle mechanic, enthusiastic cook, raconteur – the list goes on. He can speak a little Japanese, bake a soufflé or lace up a wire-spoked bike wheel. And even though he turns 62 this year there’s still quite a bit of the larrikin left.
It almost goes without saying that Graeme has a shed. Well, it started out as a hobby shed, somewhere to tinker with old bikes and other motorised toys. In typical Crosby fashion, though, it has become the headquarters for a thriving business restoring and exporting classic Japanese motorcycles. Graeme and his wife Helen bought a 12 acre (4.8 ha) block in the picturesque Matakana countryside an hour north of Auckland more than eight years ago, built a spectacular house, the shed and, across the road, Helen’s The Vivian art gallery.

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Build a hydro power plant

Ever thought of creating your own electricity? It’s a challenge a number of New Zealanders aspire to these days, as rising power  prices and possible insecurity of supply bring out the Kiwi leanings towards independence and DIY. 
And how to do it? A small stream, a broken washing machine, a shed and you’re away. Well almost.

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Top gears

Contrary to what the poets say, its gears, not love, that make the world go round. The magic of an exquisitely constructed timepiece with its myriad whirring cogs is an eternal delight. Horology has always fascinated me, and it has long been an ambition of mine to build the mother of all clocks, an orrery. Named for the 4th Earl of Orrery who commissioned George Graham to make the first modern device in 1704, they mark not just the passing of the hours, but the exact movements of the planets as they beat out Kepler’s laws.

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This offroader project is a beaut

Over the last couple of years, my son Kurt and I have built a few basic go-karts which not only gave him a taste of very basic engineering, but also allowed us to pile up valuable hours of quality time working together in the shed. This new project had a bit of a twist to it as, this time, my son was the chief designer and engineer and I was relegated to labourer. Like all the previous projects, he let me fund it.

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Classic Manx Norton flourishes

The legendary Manx Norton was
the first single-cylinder motorcycle
to lap the famous Isle of Man TT
circuit at an average speed of 100 miles per hour (160 km/hr).
Made from 1946 until 1962, the bikes became a favourite of privateer racers and in more modern
times, a popular choice for classic
motorcycle racing.
Today, half a world away from the original Birmingham factory, a small Kiwi company is restoring and supplying parts to Manx Norton owners around the globe.

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Positive trends for gender balance in the electronics and engineering industries

A new survey on global trends affecting women in the engineering/electronics industry has revealed that, although they still face major challenges, there are positive trends that highlight a continued movement towards equal treatment, regardless of gender.
This is the second survey element14 has conducted that is aimed at shedding light on women’s experiences, career paths, wider challenges, and opportunities in the engineering/electronics industry.
The results show that inequality needs to be addressed to achieve the equal treatment of all, and that women around the world remain underrepresented in the industry and continue to experience various forms of sexism and discrimination.
New questions covering discrimination, sexism, and equality were added to the 2022 survey, as these critical issues were noted as key areas in the original 2021 survey analysis.

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A Primer In Hydraulics

Now that you have a basic overview of some of the components that go into making up a hydraulic system, let’s take a look at a practical application. The wood splitter is a good example.
First you need to determine what you are trying to achieve. In the case of our log splitter :
* How much force is required to split the timber?
* How fast do you want to complete a full cycle i.e. ram full out and full return?
* How much horsepower is available to power the pump?
We will illustrate an example using a single-stage pump with a safety margin of 200 bar (pressure
in bar: 1 metric bar = 14.5 lb/in²).
It must be emphasised that an oil pump does not pump pressure, but flow. Pressure is created by the load on the actuator

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How to repair a thread

Damaged and pulled threads can be an annoying inconvenience, especially a stripped spark plug thread. They can also be expensive if the equipment you are working on is vital or difficult to replace. But there are now systems with which you can repair even completely destroyed threads quickly and at a reasonable cost, so saving time and money.
Existing undamaged threads can also be significantly strengthened using these types of repair systems.

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Video of a restored 1910 Atlas power hammer

One of our favourite sheddies here at the magazine is Rudi Buchanan Strewe whose engineering shed we featured in issue 102. When we visited Rudi, he was restoring a 1910 Atlas power hammer. Here it is, restored, and up and running as good as new.

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Milling Part 3, cutting, clogging, and cleaning

Once your component is securely clamped (see “Showing restraint” Part 2, www.the-shed.nz), ensure the cutting tool is held correctly in its chuck or collet holder, keeping tool overhang or stick-out to a minimum. Being rigid and stable applies as much to tooling as it does to the workpiece. Drill chucks are NOT designed to take side loads induced by milling and are exclusively for drills. Milling cutters should be held in a collet chuck or other suitable holder.

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Milling – showing restraint

In Part One of this series on the milling machine we put the milling machine in the workshop and had it levelled. Before you use the machine, it is important to check the alignment of the spindle. Then comes understanding the importance of preparing the workpiece. Work to be milled or drilled on the milling machine has to be set up so that it does not move during the job. This is one of the most important things you can do if you don’t want an important component or workpiece to end up as scrap because it moved.

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Time for a milling machine?

In a typical home engineering workshop progression, you buy a bench vise, some hand tools, and possibly a bench grinder. After you buy a small pillar drill then comes a big leap — buying a centre lathe.
Along the way you acquire more small tooling, drills, turning tools, etc. You make many useful items and produce a fair bit of scrap.
But then you find the lovely pieces you are turning out on your lathe require other features, especially holes more accurately positioned than you can mark out and drill on your pillar drill. As good as you have become with a file, that flat section needed on the shaft really needs to be machined. And how are you going to make a slot for that keyway?

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Build a portable barbeque

At home, I have a big barbecue in the backyard and a little barbecue upstairs on the balcony that I use when there are just two of us. This hibachi or portable barbecue would be ideal for just two although the grill rack is big enough for four or five steaks or chops and sausages. It can be made with scrap mild steel and a piece of cut pipe. You will find scrap bins at your local engineering works. Most pieces of metal under a metre seem to go in there. You could ask and many companies would be happy to help out, perhaps for a couple of beers.

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