An amazing bargain!

Posted on February 19th, 2009 in Driving Emotion,Materials,tools by Julian Edgar

The other day I made a purchase that can only be considered an amazing bargain.

I first saw the goods (and then bought them) on Australian eBay, but by going direct to the manufacturer’s site, you can get them even cheaper.

So what am I talking about? Hose clamps – no less than 150 of them!

For just AUD$64.90 you get 150 stainless steel hose clamps to suit hoses from 6mm to 60mm. The clamps are packaged in boxes and appear to be of good quality.

And not only that, but you also get a flexible drive screwdriver (complete with three different sized socket bits to suit the clamps), a travel mug and a carry bag!

The company claims the retail value to be $240 – and that sounds about right.

The $64.90 cost includes postage to anywhere in Australia, and mine came delivered in a good quality cardboard box.

The deal is ‘while stocks last’ so you’d better get in fast!

Go here for the details.

A stunningly useful design tool

Posted on February 17th, 2009 in Electric vehicles,Materials,pedal power,testing,tools by Julian Edgar

Over the years I have built plenty of simple structures that I’ve wanted to be both light and strong.

Those structures vary from little brackets that might be holding something in the engine bay, to complete human-powered vehicles that I trust my life to.

In all cases, the starting point for the design is to consider the forces involved. How does the force of gravity act on the structure? What direction do braking loads act in, or short-term transient loads like suspension forces? Will this tube be placed in bending (not so good) or is it being subjected to compression (good) or extension (better)?

Bad, bad medicine…

Posted on January 20th, 2009 in Driving Emotion,Opinion,tools by Julian Edgar

I recently bought 300 old model engineering magazines.


As a novice owner of a mill and a lathe and an oxy acetylene set, I thought I could potentially get a lot out of these magazines. Plus, when I was a kid some 30 years ago, I was a member of a 5-inch gauge live steam model railway society – I have always maintained a very high affection and regard for model engineers.


But I think I’ll have to give up on reading these magazines.


Why? Well, they are just so damn depressing!


I always knew that model engineers were talented, but these guys (and they’re almost all ‘guys’) are just so good that they make me feel utterly ineffectual, ignorant and incompetent.

The Search for a Drill…

Posted on July 17th, 2008 in Opinion,tools by Julian Edgar

As I write this, I am building a shed.

Well, no, for pedants, not literally as I write this, but on the day of writing this. But even that’s not true – it is taking more than a single day; in fact probably 12 days.

But anyway, I am building a shed.

It’s a big shed; 14 metres by six metres by 3 metres wall height. It is made of Colourbond and Zincalume steel, and Cee sections and Top Hat purlins and Girts. I’ve also come across Knee Braces and Mullions and Cleats.

Which is probably as much Arabic to you as to me: I’ve never built a shed before.

But one thing I figured I really needed was an electric drill. But not any old drill; nope one with a clutch and a bit that could drive the four million Tek screws that hold the shed together. I’d already bought a new electric drill, one that plugged into the wall and could hammer – sufficient you see, for drilling the holes in the concrete for anchoring the Columns to the Slab.

Beginnings of a New Workshop

Posted on April 7th, 2008 in Driving Emotion,Opinion,tools by Julian Edgar

Today it’s been rather hard to concentrate on work.

Instead of the sounds of birds, my home office has been filled with the noise of an excavator working in the front garden. The roar of the diesel; the grinding of its scoop teeth on rocks; the clatter as the driver changes buckets.

After living in this house for about eight years, I am finally having a decent workshop built. The shed is going to be (I hope) 14 metres x 6 metres, a huge area of floor space for my pan-brake, lathe, mill, bandsaw, oxy acetylene – and all the rest of the gear.

That equipment currently resides in the space under my (elevated) house – but that area is not weatherproof and has low ceiling clearance. It’s also not anywhere near 84 square metres in size…

The excavator is smoothing and levelling, creating the pad for the shed. It might be in the front yard but the unusual shape of the block actually tucks it into a space scarcely visible from the road, and on an area of land we seldom – if ever – used. The block is steeply sloped so quite a lot of earthmoving work is needed: today another level was scooped out for a shed rainwater tank, a rock retaining wall was built, and an area was built up and compacted.


Posted on April 1st, 2008 in Driving Emotion,tools by Julian Edgar

I loved buying tools and relish for years afterwards their effectiveness. I am not talking tools like spanners and screwdrivers, but things that are much less common.

One example is my tube bender. Small benders for tube and pipe come in two complexions: those that use a hydraulic jack and inside formers, and those that use hand power and inside and outside dies. The hydraulic benders are designed to be used with thick-walled pipe and the latter, hand-operated, designs are for smaller diameter, thin-wall tube.

Primarily to help build my recumbent pedal trike, about 9 months ago I bought one of the hand machines. It has dies for 3/8 – 7/8 inch round tube and ¾ – 1 inch square tube.

And, for a cheap machine, it works very well. When bending high tensile 7/8 inch chrome-moly tube (something it’s not meant to do!), I place an extension on its handle to apply greater leverage. However, for smaller tube sizes, the standard handle is sufficient.