Archive for August 2010

Castlepoint trip

We wandered off for a weekend outside Wellington. Yup, apparently there’s a whole world out there.

First stop was Tinui, where there’s a pub, a church, a tennis court, and an electricity substation. Much time was sliding around in the mud and hoping over electric fences to avoid scaring day-old lambs. Whatever it was we were looking for from the top of Tinui Rock, I think we found it.

If you look carefully, there’s a rivetnz next to NZ’s first ANZAC cross.

William Edwin Lucius Sneed-fforbes-smythe is camera-shy:

Castlepoint is the only half-way safe harbour for about three hundred kilometres of seriously nasty coastline. That’s the harbour down there. Well, it’s more a lagoon and a spit of sand, but the rest of the coast is nothing but cliffs.

Roughly under the lighthouse there’s a cave running all the way through the peninsula. You can’t quite see all the way through, but there’s enough light from the other end that you can see the waves rolling into the cave. It’s primally scary.

This coast regularly gets hammered and the lagoon here isn’t well sheltered, the fishing boats are drawn up onto the beach on huge trailers.

This particular trailer was made from steel from Dorman Long, in Teeside, back in the UK. They made the steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, amongst others. They also got taken over in the late 60s, so either this steel is pretty old, or this trailer is pretty old.

Castlepoint itself is pretty small, in an architypal NZ coastal town kind of way. Here’s the fire station.

Anyway, much fun was had by all, “all” being the usual suspects.

Spitting Image- I”ve never met a nice South African

Apropos of nothing at all, and mainly just cos the chorus is annoyingly catchy, even if it doesn’t scan:

It’s gratuitously vulgar and luckily no longer true (indepth analysis of the lyrics if this makes little sense to you).

Spitting Image was entirely powered by hatred of Thatcher, and stopped being funnny when she stopped putting the boot into most of the nation. Still, you’ve got to admire them for getting straight to the point.

Monthly house pics update – lots of pics this time

Houses, eh? Who’d be daft enough to try to build a whole one?

View of the house, from down in the lower paddock. tieke seemed pleased to be up there, in the sunshine and out of the muck.

Much time was sorting out the drainage in the lower paddock. Oh god, this was a job and a half. In fact, it ended up being a collaborative effort (that’s my tactful way of saying I didn’t get it all done and Kyle had to finish it).

I found buried treasure in the marsh. Sadly no Viking long-ships.

The hole slowly grew deeper and wider. By this point, getting out of the hole was a problem. It still managed to refill itself overnight. At the bottom is the pipe we needed to connect to.

Quiet detailing for the corners of the outside beams and fascia. Made from copper sheet left from old hot water cylinders.

The Doctors Weston & Knox present their Patented Portable Apparatus for the Selection and Sorting of Rounded Stones, Such as One would Fossick for on a Beach and Embed in the Tiled Floor of a Bathroom:

Sigh. Yup, it still looks like a building site.

Other house job – I’m making some copper light shades. You can get uplighters for $18 with a decent shape, but in horrible frosted glass. So, plan is to make a mould from the glass, beat reclaimed copper sheet over that, bingo, uplighters that will suit the house for less than silly money. This seems feasible, so one job last weekend was making the mound.

The neighbour’s cat didn’t help much.

Nails from wood into concrete are to hold it in place once I start hammering on it. That’s the theory, I have no idea if this will work.

Now to wait for concrete to set. This is not exciting.

The neighbour’s cat just sat there, as some cats do. (Unlike the cat who left its paw-prints in the house foundations.)

In other news, I can make LEDs turn on and I’m a sucker for lens flare. Still, haven’t got the big LEDs on, yet.

On the left we have the LED driver chip with the pad underneath, what you are supposed to connect to the heatsink on your PCB. When you haven’t got a PCB to connect it to, coz you’re just prototyping the bugger, this is a pain in the arse. Instead, here’s some copper tape as a heatsink. We’ll see if it works on not…

On the right is the MAX608 step-up converter that I’m trying to prototype. Assorted gubbins, resistors, caps, inductors, have to be less than not many millimeters or milliOhms away from the chip, or it doesn’t work. It seems the only way to get everything close enough is to make a proper printed circuit board, like you would if you were making it for real. In which case, it’s not really a prototype any more. So this one didn’t work.

And a big post on poured earth floors will be along soonish, when I’ve more pics. But it’s starting to look pretty…

Starting on the earth floor for the house

This Saturday we will be pouring the first of the earth for the earth floor. This will be a tactile experience. It also marks the start of the end – we’ll be making finished inside surfaces, which makes a welcome change from just digging big holes or putting structure together.

Zero skill needed here, just the ability to play with mud.

Help definitely appreciated for this job. We’d like to get together a small team of people who’ll definitely be there, morning or afternoon or both. We’ll also be debugging the process, so there may be some standing around drinking tea, or maybe even sitting down. Or fighting with chainsaws, if we’re feeling super-keen (err… we will be fighting the chainsaws, not fighting each other with chainsaws).

So if you’re keen, let me know, and we can sort out planning and transport and tea requirements.

USB Hub

Anyone in Wellington got a USB hub lying around? 4 port is all we need. I know they’re only $20, but would rather put an existing one to good use.

In other news, our nefarious plans have been greatly assisted by and .

Now to dig the rest of this hole, starting by digging out the water with a bucket.