Metalwork

Burning bright

Making a brazier is one of those things that I am sure every sheddie has at the back of their minds to create one day. It’s just that, as we know, “one day” takes its time arriving.
I have to admit that I am no exception to that rule. Even when the component parts presented themselves to me it took a while before I found the time to put into the project. Six truck brake drums that had outlived their useful life were the starting point, donated by the owner of a fleet who only asked that one of the braziers be made for him.

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Polish query ‘Autosolved’

If you haven’t heard of Autosol, you can thank us later.
This revolutionary, ammonia-free product is the go-to cleaner and polish for uncoated aluminium surfaces. It leaves a clean sheen without scratching or hazing. The distributors say users describe it as “a product that does everything the advertising says it does”, “my go-to polish for aluminium”, and “perfect for alloy wheel rejuvenation”. It is available in a 75ml tube with screw caps from automotive, engineering, and hardware stores across New Zealand.

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Sharpen up your blades

When honing a cutting edge on a steel blade, you are progressively over three or four stages reducing the size of the scratches on the two faces which meet up to make the sharp point.
The much-vaunted “mirror” edge simply refers to the stage where we cannot easily see the scratches with the naked eye and hence it looks smooth and shiny. This process, therefore, requires several sharpening stones with finer and finer surfaces (325 grit, then 1200 grit, then 6000 grit).

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A dead accurate optical punch

An optical punch consists of a brass body with two holes through it, one for use, the other for storage, because there are two rods. One rod is the punch, the other a vertical magnifying glass made of a plastic rod. You look down the viewing rod at a dot marked on its base. You then move the whole apparatus around until you can see the point where you want to put a punch mark. Holding the brass body, you remove the plastic rod and drop the steel punch back into the same hole, then hit it. Result: a perfect, vertically punched mark, precisely on the spot.

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Pleasant Point Railway photo gallery

We visited and wrote about the impressive Pleasant Point Railway & Historical Society in South Canterbury, in The Shed September/October 2020 Issue 92.
Sadly, we just couldn’t squeeze in all the great photos we shot for the article into the magazine. As you will now see, these unpublished photographs are just too good to leave sitting on our hard drive so we felt we just had to share them with readers.
Enjoy.

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Spotless shine

Polishing metal isn’t a task for which you want to be ill-equipped, especially when you’re chasing that perfect shiny finish! That is why Autosol has been the most trusted name since forever. The new Autosol 3in1 for Stainless Steel is specially developed to clean, protect, and leave a shiny streak-free finish on stainless steel surfaces — with anti-fingerprint effect.

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Is it a beer keg? No, it’s a hangi

It’s not every day that you come across a blindingly brilliant and deceptively simple use for a piece of gear that you just knew would come in handy one day.
When sheddie Stan Scott showed me his prototype portable beer keg hangi, I knew it was something that the world needed right now… like world peace.

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Video of the weird and wonderful world of Andrew Hall

A visit to Andrew Hall’s shed — a single garage in suburban Henderson, West Auckland — is a portal into another dimension. In this realm, a sense of humour is essential.
For the past two decades, Andrew has been working full time at turning society’s cast-offs into three-dimensional cartoon gargoyles, aliens, monsters, and effigies of mirth.

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Make a camper trailer

American teardrops first became common in the 1930s after DIY magazines such as Popular Mechanics published plans to build your own. The ultra-lightweight concept normally only sleeps a maximum of two adults in the cabin and has a small outside galley or kitchen at the back of the trailer. Often these campers weighed little more than 450kg and were very streamlined so were ideal for towing behind small cars or for long road trips.

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Making a ring roller

The solution was to use the offcuts and a cheap bottle jack to make a set of rollers that can bend the material into wide arcs. Since I had to buy the $39 jack, the budget was well and truly blown. But this ring roller will be useful for future projects.

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Building a 50cc mini-kart

The design is not intended to be a high-performance, go-anywhere vehicle. It is a school project and therefore there are a few compromises in the design. It is economical to construct, achievable and straightforward for average Year 12 students. I might add, with some guidance.
It is also intended that most, if not all, of the Tools4work Level 2 mechanical engineering standards can be assessed against this project. Some of the techniques described may seem unnecessary, such as using a surface plate and scribing block for marking out, the design of the bearing retainers, or the generous use of a Bramley tube bender.

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The Shed July/August 2020 Issue 91, on sale now

The July/August 2020 issue of The Shed, No. 91, has got something in it for every sheddie.
Even though there is something of a nautical theme to this issue, our cover story is on building a very powerful, vertical, hydraulic log splitter. Bill Stevenson from Christchurch walks us through the construction of his trailer-mounted log-splitting machine that was started prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, worked on during, and completed immediately after. A great effort.

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Building a Stirling engine

I always get a thrill at seeing one of my engines running for the first time. It was especially true for this one because I had had no previous experience in making such an engine. The engine runs at about 600 RPM with a good differential between the hot and cold ends of the displacer tube.

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Video of Cowper Trucks from The Shed Issue 90

In this issue of the magazine we featured the trucks and workshop of Dan Cowper of Cowper Trucks in his shed just outside Whanganui.
Check out this video where Dan gives us the background to his business and how he builds his go anywhere, do anything, V8-powered, 4×4 vehicles.

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Make useful trammels

A trammel is a really useful item to have when you need to mark a curve onto sheet metal, plywood, MDF, plasterboard, or even a paved surface when painting lines for a netball court.
Sure, you can use a pencil and a piece of string but there can be a variation due to the angle that the pencil is held and differing tensions on the string. A trammel will easily produce an accurate arc.

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