Turned Aluminium Precision Screwdriver.

I have seen around some really neat precision screwdrivers, from brass and aluminium. They look great, but they are rather pricey so I wanted to have a go at creating my own version.

Ordinarily, I would have probably used a 1/4 inch hex bit, but the little 4mm hex holder / bits that I used for this project were lying around, So I decided to use that for my project.

This is my very rough measurements of the sizes of the hex bit driver. I explain things a bit in the video down below.

I have also made a video explaining some of the build process. It is a bit long, as I am also using it as a test of some live-stream capabilities, but I hope it provides enough info about how I’ve created it.

The driver has turned out really well. I’m going to trial it for a little while, and decide how I like it. If it works out OK, but needs some more tweaks, I’m tempted to attempt making another one. One thing I would probably change is the overall length. I would probably shorten it a little.

Thanks for tuning in, I’ll See you all next time.


Christmas Gifts – Hand made Knives

For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with making knives, having made a few knives for myself. There is a thriving online community in knife making, and it is gaining popularity as a hobby.

For Christmas this year, we decided to make some presents for people, and I decided to make some knives for different members of our family.

Today’s blog is more of a display of what  I have made. I do have quite a few process photos, so I hope to make a couple of individual process threads for some of these knives. This post is just a overall look at all of them.


For my three sisters and my Mum, I made Kiridashi’s from 1075 high carbon steel. Two are straight steel, Two had a wood scale, held in with brass pins.


Fixed blade Knives

For my Dad, and one of my brother in law, I made fixed blade knives.

I made a sheepsfoot kitchen chopper style knife for my dad, with scales made of wood that he and mum found in their travels.

Again, they are made from 1075 high carbon steel.



My Brother in law got a sheepsfoot knife of a different design, with black G10 handle scales.


Slipjoint Folding knives

My Father in law, and other brother in law both got hand crafted slipjoint folding knives, They are linerless, with G10 scales, brass pins, and screw pivots. Again, the steel used is 1075 high carbon steel.



All the designs were new, and It took a lot of work, and I tried a lot of new things, and I think they came out great. I hope the recipients enjoy their new gifts, as while it was a lot of work to get them finished, I enjoyed making them!

Ozito belt grinder to stand alone 2x48inch grinder

I started this blog post ages ago, and add bits to it occasionally. Now I’m almost happy with the way it runs, I figure I should post it up and let you all see it in all it’s hideous glory.

This story begins with a $69 bench grinder with attached belt grinder. THIS one to be specific.

This is the grinder from Bunnings.


There is nothing similar for close to this  money. However, of course, you get what you pay for.

To start with, its very underpowered. That was kind of expected, but I thought it might do. The biggest problem though was getting it to track correctly.

The tracking mechanism was horrendous, and it would take 10 to 15 minutes to get the thing to track right if you changed belts etc… and the pressed sheet metal parts would bend all the time.

I tried to use it as is, but fairly quickly started modifying it to make it suit my needs better.


Modifications Phase One – Simple tweaks

The grinder before any modifications

Here is the grinder before I begin any modifications on it

I began by modifying the grinder to work suitably with my needs, rotating the belt so it ran vertically, and adding a new work support that was nice and large.

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier


The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

This worked OK, but the issue of belt tracking still existed, so on went the modifications.


Modification Phase 2 – Fixing the tracking, and going bigger

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts.


Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Now, I was getting sick of how hard it is to get the grinder to track right. the mechanism was so bad, it was almost impossible to get it to run right. So I set out to make a new tracking system, and while I was at it, extend the length, so I could fit the longer 48 inch belts.

The tracking system is made from angle iron, and uses some parts left over from the previous tracking system, mainly the tension spring.

Now, this tracking system is not perfect, but Its a heck of a lot better than the original system.


Modification Phase 3 – chuck everything out and start again.

Belt Grinder

OK, at this point, its hard to call it a modification, its basically a new grinder. All that remains of the original grinder are the drive and tracking wheels. They seem to be holding up so far.

I had a 400 watt electric motor from a pool filter pump I had kicking about, which I originally picked up to make a disk grinder out of. I noticed that its shaft is exactly the right diameter for the drive wheel of the Ozito grinder.

Using some scrap metal which I salvaged from a wall support from a CRT TV as the basis for this grinder, I’ve constructed a more traditional style belt grinder.

Belt grinder


This grinder now works much better than any iterations before it. It does still have its ideosyncracies though.

The gas strut I’m using is too strong, and puts way too much tension on the belt. Unfortunately, due to construction, I can’t move the location further down the pivot point, to reduce its leverage effects, as the main support gets in the way.


Modification Phase 4 – Further Improvements.

So at this point, I decided to change directions with the way I was doing the belt tensioning. I moved to a telescoping pillar style method, using vertical shaft of the grinder as the outer  motion point. It uses the same gas strut for tension, but this way it provides less force on the belt, and things run pretty nicely.

The grinder as it stood before receiving the wheel and platten update.


After that, I felt what was holding me back was the wheels on the grinder. The skateboard wheels I have been using have a slight taper in one direction, that makes keeping the belt straight a little difficult. I could try and correct the taper, but in the end, I chose to simply replace them with proper grinder wheels.

The wheels I’m using came from Ebay, all the way from Poland from THIS store  (no affiliation, just bought them from here). Being custom made for the purpose, they are a lot more solid, and are actually square compared to the slight taper the skateboard wheels had.


This is the wheel set that I bought for the grinder. Currently I’m not using the drive wheel.


My current frame for the skateboard wheel assembly wasn’t going to work for the new wheels, so I went back to the drawing board, and  started fresh. Some more scrap steel from the brackets and bits & pieces I had lying about, and I had a one piece frame, and I didn’t have to worry about welding bits of steel together in the same plane like I did with the original.


Laying out the new platten / wheel assembly


Getting things lined up on the new platten assembly


Here I align the work platform and receiver before welding it on.


Here is the grinder with its new wheels. I’m yet to mount the actual platten in this image, but you can see how it looks at least.

It’s been quite a journey from a crappy, overly cheap bench grinder with attached belt sander, all the way through to a slighly more powerful grinder that functions a whole lot better. There are things I’d change. If I were starting again, Ideally, I’d avoid the bench grinder all together, and just start with a set of the wheels I posted, a motor that suits the wheels and a nice pile of fresh steel. Its always good to use what you have lying around, but often you get nicer results by investing some money and doing things properly.

Now I’m fairly happy with it’s layout and operation, I’m happy to let the grinder’s evolution to rest here for a little bit. It’s working as well as could be expected, but there is always something else to tweak. What I want to do now is USE my grinder to get making some things, specifically a few knives.

And for you all that read though to the end, here is a video of me talking about the grinder, and it running:

My wife is so wonderfu!

It’s my birthday today, and my awesome wife Diana bought me some awesome presents.

First off was the Cigweld Weldskill 170. That’s the one I knew about. It was already awesome!

What I wasn’t expecting is the iPod
Touch I was presented with when I woke up this morning! OMFGZ I wasn’t expecting that!

So here I am, writing a blog post on the touch, just to test it out!


I love you sweetie! You blow my mind every birthday!


Mr Fire Safe

It’s always best to be prepared for things such as fire especially when you ar doing things with welders and grinders like I have been lately. When I noticed Aldi were selling Fire extinguishers, and fire blankets for cheap, I decided to pick myself up some.

Extinguisher and Blankets

$15 for a 1kg extinguisher, and $5 for Fire blankets, How could I refuse!

The Fire Extinguisher is for my welding cart, and one fire blanket is for the kitchen, and the others for my shed / Welding cart.

I could have shown a step by step process of mounting the extinguisher, but it was so easy, there isn’t much point.

After Choosing where on the cart I wanted the extinguisher, I got out the drill, and with 2 self drilling metal screws through the slots in the mounting bracket, the extinguisher is mounted. The process was so simple and short, I didn’t document it.

Welding cart with fire extinguisher

Here is the cart, with the fire extinguisher mounted! Too easy!

So there we go, now I’m ready if I set anything on fire!

Welding references

The way I look at things, if you want to do something like learn to weld, there are a couple of ways you can do it.

1. Get a welder, and start welding – You might have some success, you might get frustrated and stop. You might get OK at welding on flat pieces You won’t have much of an idea on what you are doing wrong, and how to fix it

2. Get a welder, get a book, and start welding, and reading when you have a spare moments. This is the way I’m doing it so far. My book is actually more than one book. Its the whole internet. One the internet, there are many forums, and many websites, some helpful, some less than helpful. If you look hard enough, you can find books and PDFs with valuable information in them that can help you

3. Get a welder, get a book, and get an education. This is probably the best way to do it, and really the only way in this day and age if you want to earn a living from it. You’ll have someone to give you feedback, to tell you what you are doing right / wrong. You’ll have access to equipment that you couldn’t get to use otherwise. You’ll learn much more, and experience much more than you could just at home.

The actual references:

For the time being, I’m taking the #2 option, of welding, and trying to read. Trying to take in what I can. I thought I would do this post to show others wanting to learn to weld were I’m finding my information. Some of the references I’ve found are posted below:

Books / PDFs

CIG’s The Manual Arc Welding Handbook. This is a pretty old book I belive, but seeming the process hasn’t changed much, if at all over the last 20 – 30 years (or longer) I figure its still a very handy book to have a look through.

welding manual normal




The Miller Arc welding guide is a great reference which you can download from their website.

The Miller Arc welding guide is a handy reference. You can download it from their website HERE. It could also be worth taking a look at their  website, especially if you are looking for info on TIG or MIG welding, as they have guides for those too.

Web References

The tutorials at www.mig-welding.co.uk are a fantastic place to start with your learning. There is an stick/arc tutorial as well as a MIG tutorial. I’ve seen them linked to quite a bit on the net when people are asking how to weld. They also have a great forum which is definitely worth a look.

The  Welding Web forum is also a great source of information. It is an american welding forum, populated by a lot of very experienced welders from all over the world. If you ask well thought out questions, and can post welder settings etc… and photos, they seem to be fairly happy to offer feedback. I’m yet to post my practice welding on it, but at some point I think I probably will, to get some feedback on how I’m going. I think at the moment I’m still learning from my own critical review process.

So, that’s a start. There are other references out there, there are books and videos out there that could be informative, you just need to do a bit of research. I’m a bit short for time this week due to our honeymoon, uni work, regular work, and another trip, so I couldn’t  add more of what I have, but I’ll try to tell you all about more info when i can find it.

Learning to Silver Solder

I got it to flow!

My first successful effort. not neat, but it worked. This piece is just the brass pipe sitting on the brass strap.

So, before I can make my new exhaust header, I need to learn how to join the pipe, and the piece of metal.

I thought I would investigate brazing the pieces together, as it seems like the best way to join the two relatively small and thin pieces together.

Upon doing some reading online, there appeared to be 2 categories, Silver Soldering, and Brazing. Both seemed to be a very similar process, but there seems to be some difference between silver soldering and brazing, and my understanding those are:

  • Silver Soldering uses filler rods which contain, as the name suggests, Silver, whereas actual brazing uses bronze filler rods.
  • Brazing requires more heat, due to the bronze filler rods having a higher melting point, and as thus, you really want oxy/acetylene gas.
  • Silver Soldering isn’t very good at filling gaps, close fit up is needed. Brazing is much better at filling gaps in a workpiece.

Now, that may, or may not be completely accurate, but that’s my current understanding of the differences. I’m always willing to learn more if you are knowledgable of the matters.

the 2% sliver rods are what i'm using

These are the silver solder rods that I'm using. 2% seem to work. Higher silver content makes them melt at lower temperatures.

So, off to Bunnings to take a look at what they have. They are selling flux coated brazing rods suitable for what I want to do for $14 for a pack of 4 maybe 6, or much longer lengths (about a meter i think) of 2% silver rods for about $2 a length. Then, of course you have to add flux to the cost of the unfluxed rods, which adds about $15, but a small container of flux will last a long time, and is a lot cheaper if you are using more than a few lengths. I went with the 2% rods, and a container of flux.

Ezi-Weld flux

Ezi-Weld flux 602 silver soldering flux. You need to make sure you get Silver Solder flux, not soft solder flux, otherwise it won't work.

My first attempt didn’t go very well, I couldn’t really get the brazing rod to flow, But the next day I tried again, and things seemed to work much better.

I put my initial problem down to not enough heat. My first go I was trying to heat the brass on a 3/4 of paver brick, which I guess I needed to heat up too, before it would stop stealing heat from the brass. I also worked out there is a sweet spot in the gas torch where the most heat is generated. The first day I was playing around trying to work out that position.

My second go was done mostly on the other  1/4 of the paver, which seemed to heat up quicker. I’d learnt from the day before on where to hold the flame, and everything was great.

The second successful attempt, with the pipe mounted in a hold drilled in the plate.

After having some initial success, I decided to take it one step closer to the likely final product (the exhaust pipe for my nitro car).  I drilled a hole the same size as the pipe in the piece of brass, and inserted it to make sure it fit.

Cleaning up the pieces with a wire brush, i then fluxed both pieces, before refitting them together, and resting the workpiece on my paver brick.

Bottom of the thru hole

This is the bottom side of the thru hole joint. All of the solder was applied to the top, and was sucked thru to this side

I fired up the gas torch, with my new flint lighter, which is so much easier, as well as safer, then using matches. I’m so glad I picked up one of these bad boys. The silver solder flowed nicely and made its way right thru to the other side, as you can see from the picture above.

Flint lighter

I always thought these were just for oxy/acetylene torches, but they work perfectly for LPG too!

So, that’s the state of my silver soldering. Next will be having a go at trying to get the tight bends needed in the pipe. I’m still trying to decide if I want to do this in brass, or have a go at the aluminium, or just plain steel. Before I make that decision, I’ll have to do some weighing up, mostly of being able to get the right sized metal.

Anyway, that’s all from me for this week. Stay tuned till next week, when I find something else to talk about.

The gallery:

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Learning to Arc Weld

So, I’ve been on a bit of a learning to weld mission lately. Over the years, I’ve done a little welding, but never anything of any kind of quality, or quantity. 


For the last couple of years, I have had an old, beaten up arc welder which was given to me by my father. It was a handy little unit, but only having minimal adjustment of the amperage was a bit limiting to my learning. Fairly quickly, it became aparent that if I wanted to learn more about welding, I was going to need something with aperage adjustment. The old welder is a Cigweld Compact 2. The minimal controls consist of a switch that selects between 2.5 and 3.2mm Welding Electrodes. It seemed to work ok, and give reasonable results doing practice welds on thick plate, but I find I wanted a bit more control, especially when I’m welding on thinner metal and tube.

More after the jump:

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Lecci Pocket Sized DJ mixer

While browsing the pages of thinkgeek I stumbled across this little guy:

the Lecci mixer opened on my desk

The little mixer open on my desk

Incase you hadn’t already guessed, it is a little DJ mixer that runs on 4x AAA battery’s. Branded with Lecci in embossed Letters on top of the lid.

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Sharpening Knives

I have come to enjoy the pleasure of using a sharp knife in the kitchen. I’m sure most people have heard the old saying “A blunt knife is a dangerous knife“, which is a bit of a half truth. A sharp knife is just as dangerous if not used carefully, but a sharp knife is a pleasure to use.

For a long time, I’ve muddled my way thru with various sharpening techniques, and I could usually come up with a sharp knife, but they never really stayed sharp for long, so I wanted to learn more, get to know if I’m doing it the right way, and make sure I’m not causing damage to my blades.

So, in order to learn more, I headed off to the knowledge collective of the internet, reading thru stuff on the knife forums, and found a few videos on YouTube that helped me.

The first video I’m going to link to briefly demonstrates a range of methods, including the Lansky system, diamond stones, ceramic rods, and stropping. unfortunately the sound isn’t the greatest, but if you are looking where to start, It could be worth enduring the audio, as it’s a good video.

The next video focuses on Whetstones, and the technique is the same for the diamond stones.

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