About the Author

 

 

About Mitch

 

Hi there I'm Mitch from the Manning Valley, New South Wales, Australia.

My areas of technical expertise include website construction, audio and video editing and DVD production.

In my spare time I like to muck around on the computer... I'm interested in website construction mostly but I also enjoy the odd LAN game or two with mates. I enjoy the outdoors; and when I get the chance to, I enjoy going on 4WD expeditions, it gets the adrenalin going - and yes, I have gotten bogged before!

I am a vintage and veteran car enthusiast. My biggest passion would have to be my 1925 Ford Model T vintage car which I purchased from Detroit, MI, and imported it into Australia.

 

Workshop

 

Below, you'll find some of the projects I have been working on in my spare time, although this hobby is somewhat a historic one now, since my Model T is my biggest interest now.


Over time I have experimented building everyday machines and tools from scratch to see if I could effectively build one myself. Some of them have been put to everyday use, such as the TV antenna and the lab power supply.
Every item shown on this page was constructed from materials I had lying around in the shed, or items that were rescued from going to the recycling bin.

Items currently on this page:

 

  • January 2012 - Electric Desk Fan - Revised Build

  • April 2010: iPod Pouch

  • October 2009: Electric Light Bulb - Second Build

  • October 2009: iPod Speaker System

  • October 2009: Electric Boiler

  • October 2009: Lab Power Supply - Third Build

  • January 2009: Electric Dryer Cabinet

  • December 2008: Electric Desk Fan - First Build

  • December 2008: Amateur FM Transceiver & AM Receiver - First Build

  • December 2008: Amateur FM Transceiver & AM Receiver - Second Build

  • November 2008: Lab Power Supply - Second Build

  • January 2008: Electric Light Bulb - First Build

  • September 2008: Hard Drive Enclosure

  • March 2008: Loudspeaker

  • June 2008: Hurricane Lantern

  • June 2008: Television Antenna

  • June 2008: Theatre Followspot

  • December 2007: Lab Power Supply - First Build

 

Electric Light Bulb

 

Built: January 2008

Status: Decommissioned

 

Voltage: 12 Volts

Filament: Single strand, non coiled, Nickel Chromium Alloy

Bulb: Glass Jar

Filament Mountings: Tin

Insulator: Fibreglass

 

The filament has been changed a few times, to experiment with different lengths.

 

The current filament has lasted 4 months (as of June 13, 2008).

Update: Filament Blown, November 2008, new filament to be installed.

 

To slow the process of the filament burning out, the jar had to have the oxygen removed, which was accomplished by burning a candle inside with the jar upside down.

 

Lab Power Supply First Build

 

Built: December 2007

Status: Decommissioned

 

Number of Supported Power Sources: 3

Supported Power Sources: (1) 240v AC, (2) 12v DC via external battery or cigarette lighter plug, (3) 12v DC via Internal Gel-Cell Battery

Outputs 1 & 2: 12v DC

Peak Output: 150w

Short Circuit Protection: AC Only

Overload Protection: Yes (AC Circuit only)

Thermal Overload Protection: Yes

Circuits Protected: AC Only

AC Connectivity Indicator: No

Load Meter: Yes

Cooling: Yes, 2 Fans

Emergency Light: No

 

Built to make power delivery to experimental 12 volt devices easier.

 

Lab Power Supply Second Build

 

Built: November 2008

Status: Decommissioned

 

Number of Supported Power Sources: 3

Supported Power Sources: (1) 240v AC, (2) 12v DC via external battery or cigarette lighter plug, (3) 12v DC via Internal Gel-Cell Battery (not currently installed)

Outputs 1 & 2: 12v DC

Peak Output: 400w (Upgraded power supply unit)

Short Circuit Protection: AC Only

Overload Protection: Yes (Dual Protection: built into AC Circuit, DC Circuit via Fuse)

Thermal Overload Protection: Yes

Circuits Protected: AC & Auxiliary DC

AC Connectivity Indicator: Yes

Load Meter: No

Cooling: Yes, 3 Fans

Emergency Light: Yes

 

Built to make power delivery to experimental 12 volt devices easier.

 

Status Update October 2009: Decommissioned, new unit to be built with multiple voltage outputs.

 

Lab Power Supply Third Build

 

Built: October 2009

Status: Decommissioned

 

Number of Supported Power Sources: 1

Supported Power Sources: (1) 240v AC

Outputs: (All DC) 3.3V @ 20A, 5V @ 20A, 8.3V @ 0.5A, 10V @ 0.5A, 12V @ 10A, 15.3V @ 0.5A, 17V @ 0.5A, 24V @ 0.5A

Peak Output: 400w @ 12v DC

Short Circuit Protection: AC Only

Overload Protection: Yes

Thermal Overload Protection: Yes

Circuits Protected: AC & DC

AC Connectivity Indicator: Yes

Load Meter: No

Cooling: Yes, 3 Fans

Emergency Light: Yes

 

Built to make power delivery to experimental DC devices easier.

 

Hard Drive Enclosure

 

Built: September 2008

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Main Material: Cardboard

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 40Gb

Interface: USB 2.0

Idle/Busy Indicators: Yes

Power Indicator: Yes

Cooling: Yes, 1 Fan

 

Needed an enclosure for a hard drive but didn't want to waste money on an enclosure when the hard drive is only 40Gb!!

 

 

 

Loudspeaker

 

Built: March 2008

Status: Decommissioned, Burnt Out

 

Cone Material: Paper

Frame Material: Cardboard and Plastic

Impedance: 8 Ohms (approx)

 

Decided to try my hand at making a working loudspeaker, it works, the sound quality is exceptional, but even driving it with a 100 watt amplifier, it's not very loud! It tends to overheat when the power input exceeds 70 watts.

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Lantern

 

Built: June 2008

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Light Source: Candle

Windshield: Glass

Handle: Coat-Hanger Wire

Body: Tin

 

Built because of numerous blackouts where I live.

 

 

 

Television Antenna

 

Built: June 2008

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Frame: Pine

Antenna: Coat Hanger

Cable: Coaxial

Contacts: Tin

Paint: Grey Primer

Detectable Bands: UHF, VHF

 

Built because of poor reception on a shop-bought antenna.

This antenna replaced the old one and also the signal splitter which was attached. The signal splitter is no longer required, since this home-made antenna can receive both VHF and UHF signals.

I have tested this antenna and compared it to a shop-bought model and it yields an almost satellite quality TV picture on 5 different channels. The shop-bought antenna yielded a picture with significant noise.

 

Theatre Followspot

 

Built: June 2008

Status: Decommissioned

 

Lamp: 100w ladder type

Cooling: Fan

Power: 240v AC

Effective Range: 10 - 20 metres

Iris: Fixed Sizes (interchangeable)

 

Built as a stand in for photographing small objects where a camera flash is too harsh. Works great as a followspot for small stage productions.

 

Has 5 interchangeable iris filters for short to long range spot lighting.

 

Mains operation with 100w ladder bulb and fan for cooling.

 

Shown alone in pictures, but I have since mounted it on a tripod.

Amateur FM Transceiver & AM Receiver - First Build

 

Built: December 2008

Status: Decommissioned, Modified for second build

 

Power Supply: Shared Power Supply - 12v DC to Transmitter via step-down transformer from 240v AC, 9v DC to Receiver via secondary step-down transformer from 240v AC

Receiver Bands: FM 88.0 - 108.0 MHz, AM 540.0 - 1600.0 KHz

Broadcast Frequency: 104.2 MHz

Broadcast Range: 40-50m

Audio Input(s): 3.5mm Male Stereo Jack

Antenna Type: Telescopic

Cooling: Yes (1 Fan)

Clock: Yes, Digital

 

Always had a keen interest in amateur radio ever since I soldered together my first FM 'bug' transmitter when I was in high school. This transceiver incorporates both radio transmission and reception all in one box, with a home-made radio transmitter and an AM/FM Band radio circuit pulled from an old clock-radio.

 

Amateur FM Transceiver & AM Receiver - Second Build

 

Built: December 2008

Status: Decommissioned

 

Power Supply: Shared Power Supply - 12v DC to Transmitter and CD Player via step-down transformer from 240v AC, 9v DC to Receiver via secondary step-down transformer from 240v AC

Receiver Bands: FM 88.0 - 108.0 MHz, AM 540.0 - 1600.0 KHz

Broadcast Frequency: 104.2 MHz

Broadcast Range: 40-50m

Audio Input(s): 3.5mm Male Stereo Jack, 3.5mm Female Stereo Jack

Antenna Type: Telescopic

Cooling: Yes (2 Fans)

Clock: Yes, Digital

 

Always had a keen interest in amateur radio ever since I soldered together my first FM 'bug' transmitter when I was in high school. This transceiver incorporates both radio transmission and reception all in one box, with a home-made radio transmitter and an AM/FM Band radio circuit pulled from an old clock-radio.

This is the second version, this time with a built-in CD player which was removed from an old computer. The CD player is connected to the transmitter circuit along with the newly installed input jack. See below for the list of modifications and additions to this version.

 

Additions / Modifications since First Build

  • Added CD Player, connected directly to transmitter

  • Added 3.5mm Female Stereo Jack for audio input to transmitter

  • Added Audio clipping indicator LED

  • Added 'On Air' indicator lamp

  • Added 'Power On' indicator lamp

  • Added secondary cooling fan for receiver step-down transformer

  • Relocated speaker to top panel

  • Front panel colour changed to black.

Electric Desk Fan

 

Built: December 2008

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Operating Voltage: 240V / AC ~ 50Hz

Speed Controller: 3 Speeds

Reversible: Yes

 

Built in an attempt to make the hot, humid Queensland nights more bearable!

 

 

 

Electric Dryer Cabinet

 

Built: January 2009

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Operating Voltage: 240V / AC ~ 50Hz

Heater: Heat Lamp

Power Consumption: 630w

Fan Forced: Yes

Nominal Operating Temperature: 70C / 150F

Safety Features: Internal Heat Shields. Heater will not start unless fan is running.

Construction Material: White Melamine

 

Built for my sister, she is into art and needed a quicker means to dry her work.

 

 

Electric Boiler

 

Built: October 2009

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Operating Voltage: 12v DC

Heating Element: Nickel Chromium alloy

Tank capacity: ~ 200ml

Time to Boil from Cold: 20 - 30 minutes

Max. Recorded Boiling Temp.: 99.6C

'Power On' Lamp: Yes

 

Construction Materials:

  • Water Tank: Coffee Tin

  • Lid: Plastic with Aluminium top

Built as a prototype for a water distillation plant. Note the digital thermometer being used to test temperature at boiling point (99.6C)

Minor problems experienced with early models - heating element over-heating and subsequent burnouts due to air bubbles trapped around the element. Since rectified by changing the alignment of the heating element.

 

iPod Speaker System

 

Built: October 2009

Status: Complete, Operational

 

Power Requirements: 6V Lantern Battery or USB Cable

Power Rating: 0.5W x 6 (3W per channel / RMS)

Impedance: 4x 8 Ohms + 2x 4 Ohms

Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz

Speaker Drivers: 6 (2x high definition aluminium drivers, 2x PC drivers, 2x 50mm small drivers

 

Updated: 17th March, 2010.

Two additional speaker drivers (50mm small drivers) added at ends of unit to enhance distinction between left and right channels.

 

 

Electric Light Bulb - Second Build

 

Built: October 2009

Status: Burned Out

 

Voltage: 12 Volts

Filament: Single strand, non coiled, Nickel Chromium Alloy

Bulb: Glass Jar

Filament Mountings: Steel

Insulator: Fibreglass

 

Design modified since first build. Now has air vents at top. Issues with air expansion on first model caused original bulb to explode.

New model has additional filament support.

 

 

 

iPod Pouch

 

Built: April 2010

Status: Complete, In Use

 

Material: Denim

Designed For: iPod Touch / iPhone

 

 

 

 

Electric Desk Fan (Revised)

 

Revised: January 2012

Status: Complete, Needing Attention

 

Operating Voltage: 240V / AC ~ 50Hz

Speed Controller: 5 Speeds

Reversible: Yes

Power Indicator: Yes

Construction:

  • Blades; plastic

  • Blade Hub; heavy cardboard and plastic

  • Body; cardboard

Initially built in an attempt to make the hot, humid Queensland nights more bearable! Living in New South Wales now, and the summers are almost as hot!

 

Has new controller as previous controller had burnt out. Added a red power indicator lamp on the front, (see left picture below).