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extra DIY
In association
with MICA

RSA: R38,90

Other countries:
R34,12 excl VAT

special we take apart
> A clean, well-lit workshop a DIRT bikes!
> Completely cordless arsenal 1 302 piece
> Hassle-free home network
> a concrete canoe how to:
> motorised chandelier make
making a BETTER SUV
the two ways to cook meat udge R
The Gr
We go
FOR KIDS: Lego boost hands-on
with home
VOLUME 16, NO. 3



 Underwater power tools?  Drones for
schoolkids  TVs that hang like paintings


“THAT’S QUITE AMBITIOUS,” a colleague muttered the new mobility. A month later,
as he sidled past while I was admiring the proof of this I return to Japan for the first
month’s cover, emblazoned with “How to make any- time in a while, to the Tokyo
thing”. Motor Show, where once again
“It’s what we do,” I shot back. the emphasis is not just on cars,
Hyperbole aside, members of the Popular Mechanics but on how the streetscapes of
family are well acquainted with the act of creation. Even tomorrow will look.
when we’re breaking stuff, it’s with the aim of finding Best of all, our line-up for
out how it’s made (example: “Things come apart”, page year-end includes how to make
26) and, when we turn our hands to hobbies, we tend an ice cream maker (and how to
to make things more complicated than they need to make ice cream). Now that’s the
be, just because we can (see Letters, page 7). kind of creation we really like.
To tap into that can-do approach, this month we’ve
bumped up the usual page allocation to include more
DIY. Some of it of the more traditional kind and some
is a little more… uh… unconventional. What I mean is
this: to many of us, DIY is all about tools and building anthony@ramsaymedia.co.za
stuff, but often these days it’s about dealing with things
you can’t even see: making Wi-Fi networks work better Make ice crea
and creating ways for smart tech to communicate, for
instance. That’s why, in among the cordless drills, we’ve
included a guide to the hassle-free home network. Try
it – it’s easier than you think.
Speaking of tech, in this issue we take our first ten-
tative steps towards occasional coverage of a hitherto
little explored area: home appliances. And no, I don’t
mean making a dishwasher. (Although this may yet
come; we’re debating whether to repair or replace, after
a heating element failure in the family’s dishwasher.)
The Grudge report comes as a direct result of our recent
survey, which identified areas of particular interest to
our readers. In the first instalment, we go hands-on
with a washing machine that’s packed with cutting-
edge tech that demands it be taken very seriously
indeed. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have only
yourself to blame when your whites turn out grey
and your colours are terminally dull.
Looking ahead, we’ve got some meaty content
scheduled for the run-in towards summer. As the days
get sunnier and longer, in November and December
we will be taking an in-depth look at South Africa’s
favourite outdoor cooking lifestyle and accessories,
tell you everything you ever wanted to know about
mountain bikes and get up close and personal with a
local builder of bespoke wooden surfboards.
On a more tech-oriented note, Lindsey Schutters
will be visiting Germany to immerse himself in the
details of a new SUV at more or less the same time
I will be returning from the Frankfurt Motor Show,
hopefully with insights into the connected world of

COMPETITION WINNERS Details online at www.popularmechanics.co.za

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 1



10 Underwater power tools 26 Things come apart
Water and electricity can mix Disassembling a dirt bike
Solar-powered drone 35 DIY Special (cover)
Will it fly? How to make anything
Boosting Li-ions 56 Total Recall (Pt 2)
Does silicon hold the key? Ford’s Kuga, revisited
Bee tech 70 How to make plutonium
Honey, i fexed the cable The stuff of war – and peace
Easy rider 74 How to stop the wind
High-tech bike saddle Building a house stronger than a tornado
Tech industry, meet Donald 80 The two ways to cook meat
What US industry leaders think of their Testing tasty techniques
new(ish) president 86 The Grudge Report
Lessons from an assassin Washday blues? Here’s the answer
How a pro would do it 90 The new lawn
I stink at email Drought-busting alternatives
Communicating better 92 Toy review: Lego Boost 28
The inflatable man
Saving bikers with airbag jackets DRIVING
Me and my tech 58 Launches: Audi Q5, Renault Captur,
Jason Goliath on his must-have gadgets Honda CR-V
TVs that hang like paintings Split decision: coil vs leaf spring
Tech updates The art and pitfalls of the smart SUV
Flights of fancy Drives: Toyota Fortuner, Range Rover
Going to drone school Evoque convertible
Your own monster truck
32 Foscam smart security camera MONTHLY
1 From the editor
6 Letters
8 Time machine
9 Calendar
25 Ask Roy
32 28 Great New Stuff
104 Do it your way

10 22

2 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

extra DIY
In association with


Cover caption: Our October issue comes packed with 18 DIY

pages. Learn how to make anything from a paper plane to a
bike light, discover the cordless tools to use for your DIY projects
and separate fiction from fact when it comes to smart homes.
Above: The Tentalux is an interactive chandelier. Find out how it
was made in our DIY special.

86 92 70

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 3


EDITOR: Anthony Doman GROUP PUBLISHER: Neil Piper

Senior associate editor Lindsey Schutters
Journalist Lumka Nofemele
Digital content manager Nikky Knijf
Proofreader Margy Beves-Gibson


Production manager Judy Romon
Art director Thea Woodman

TECH » SCIENCE » DRIVING » DIY » LIFE Designer Sharon Gunst

extra DIY
In association DIGITAL
with MICA
Group digital business manager Wendy Lucas
Group developer and support manager Cicero Joseph
RSA: R38,90 Campaign manager Nawhaal Fakir

Other countries:
R34,12 excl VAT
Group digital designer Bianca Liebenberg
Webmaster Stacey Hannie

Group national sales manager André Stadler
Commercial manager Nadine Thomson
Account managers Gauteng – Charlene Goncalves,

Christian de Jager, Ryan Kahn,

Glynis Kearney, Justin Lavers,
HOW-TO Buyers’ Guide: Joanne Thompson,
SPECIAL WE TAKE APART Patrick Kennedy, Lindi van den
> COMPLETELY CORDLESS ARSENAL 1 302 pieces Coastal – Ingrid Versfeld
> HASSLE-FREE HOME NETWORK Advertising sales co-ordinator Linda Delport
MAKING A BETTER SUV Group marketing, circulation and
PORT sponsorship manager Dean Dicks
We go Events manager Monique Brevis
with home Group events co-ordinator Lumkile Tisana
VOLUME 16, NO. 3

appliances Group promotions manager Amanda Africa

Subscriptions marketing manager Lizl Joseph



Director Jacques Breytenbach
HR officer Emmelia Fouché
Finance manager Zanfre Gorgosilich

Group production manager Keryn Rheeder
Subscriptions operations Karin Mulder

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With the new-look Styling Pack on the Ford FOCUS,

you can stay on point no matter what you’re wearing.

Visit ford.co.za for more information.

Styling Pack is available as an option on FOCUS Hatch Trend models.

WRITE TO US, ENGAGE IN DEBATE l popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za




Thanks for a fabulous magazine water before it goes to the sewer system
that truly raises the bar with every issue, and to the wastewater treatment plant.
bringing its readers the best and most What actually happens to water being
relevant content, ensuring we always treated there? Does it re-enter the clean
stay interested. water system, or is the treated water
I am writing after reading From The returned to the area’s main water supply
Editor (July 2017) regarding the terrible such as the Vaal Dam (for us) or similar?
drought you are having in the south. In such a case I would argue that we are
It’s refreshing to read of all the things actually doing the opposite of saving,
people and households do and attempt because watering a garden (regardless Write to us, engage us in debate and
to do in order to alleviate the stress of where the water comes from) actively you could win a cool prize. Our winning
on an already strained water system.  removes water from the potable store. letter earns a Makita GA9020K Angle
Ever since primary school, all my When it comes to capturing rain from Grinder. Featuring a powerful 2200W
science teachers would repeat the same gutters, I wonder similar things. We are motor and a 230mm wheel diameter,
environmentally conscious rhetoric of removing water that would otherwise the GA9020K provides outstanding
reusing, reducing and recycling. The use either end up in the garden by itself or durability and can be positioned at
of grey water in veg gardens, buckets end up in the drain system of the city. every 90-degree angle to suit most
in the showers, bricks/soda bottles in Are we not denying some other system cutting and grinding applications. An
the toilet cistern and such were always downstream its water by using it for automatic brush cut-out system comes
explained to us as ways in which we ourselves? standard and the large rubber tool rest
could help conserve water. It needs to be emphasised that I do protects the work piece from scratches.
More and more I am seeing advertised not question the effectiveness of plainly This model is supplied with a side han-
grey water systems, rainwater capture using less water. Showers over baths, dle, wheel guard, lock nut wrench and
systems and the like, which will make quicker showers or even military showers a carry case. All discs are sold sepa-
the whole act of conserving water as in the extreme all have markedly big rately. To find out more about Makita
easy as spending a couple of thousand differences. However, it feels to me like power tools, visit www.makita.co.za
rand. I do try not to be cynical in life, many people are adopting a fad without
but I have always wondered about the really understanding the effect and/or
Send your letter to: Popular
actual benefit that these products and the effectiveness.
Mechanics, PO Box 180, Howard
practices bring to the table. Apart from I would like to one day open up a Place 7450, or e-mail popular
actually using less, how much do these similar debate on the use of geyser mechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za
systems actually help? From a purely blankets. My opinion is that a geyser Please keep it short and to the point.
financial point of view it will surely that needs a blanket is severely faulty Regrettably, prizes can be awarded
take a while (if ever) for them to pay for and a simple blanket will not help. But only to South African residents.
themselves. But from an environmental/ that’s a topic for another time.
conservation point of view, I am not so DANIËL LOUW
sure any more. PRETORIA
By reusing grey water, we capture

THE CHANGING FACE OF WARFARE that could set the Korean Peninsula aflame. ing. Reducing vulnerability to asymmetric
North Korea: How big a threat? (August Some time ago, two high-ranking Russian threats is vital for any country’s survival and
2017) warrants a response. Should the generals revealed that North Korea had dominance in future operations. Through-
north ever use nuclear weapons,against tested and perfected a super electromagnetic out the past quarter century, the asymmet-
the south, it is almost certain that the weapon disguised as a hydrogen bomb test. ric threat has become a common form of
USA will retaliate with nuclear weapons, In orbit, at an altitude of about 500 kilo- warfare throughout the world. Electronic
obliterating North Korea from the face of metres, is a North Korean satellite dubbed warfare and electromagnetic weapons will
this planet. KMS-3, which could possibly carry the EMP be the deciding factor between the victor
The looming clash between North Korea weapon. When war erupts, the Koreans and and the vanquished.
and the USA has the potential to escalate the Americans will resort to electronic war- FAROUK ARAIE
into a geo-strategic clash with China and fare to gain political and military supremacy. BENONI
could result in a nuclear clash, a possibility Undeniably, the face of warfare is chang-

6 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

After seeing a small replica of a doll’s wash-
ing machine, my three-year-old daughter
said that we needed one of those, so I
obliged by making a bigger version for her
dolls. At first I was going to make a simple
box with no moving parts, but then got
carried away and produced what you see in
the photos. The box is common plywood
and pine. I mounted a geared motor inside .
ics. – PM reader
and attached a bucket to create the drum. Before electron
The whole system is controlled by a pic
microcontroller including cycle selection,
forward/reverse motion, cycle timeout,
emergency stop if the door gets opened LIFE BEFORE GADGETS? OH, YES some basic measurements and detail
during a cycle and of course flashing When one reads through the present about this equipment. The manufactur-
LEDs. It looks very realistic when run- day Popular Mechanics (and for that ers’ reaction to my queries ranged from
ning. She has hours of entertainment matter, any technical publication) one suspicion of being scammed out of some
“washing” her dolls’ clothes. soon realises how much life has advanced trade secrets to outright rudeness. All
RODGER D’ALTON since the ’60s when I was a young boy. was not lost, however, and armed with
FISH HOEK Today’s approach to any problem or a bribe (cool drinks), my faithful old
challenge automatically leads to the Canon Powershot, clipboard, pencil and
GET SMART WITH LICENCE DISCS thought, “Which, computer, program or tape, a short drive to the nearest con-
For nearly half a century, 48 years to be gadget will I be able to use to solve my struction site was all that was needed to
exact, I have been dutifully standing in problem or complete my project?” get started. These photographs and access
queues to renew my annual vehicle licence When I retired in 2012, I soon realised to photos on the Internet were enough
discs. When I think of the time wasted that I would need some kind of hobby, to get me going on my first model.
standing in queues and the mountains of not only to keep myself busy, but also Being a stickler for records, I have kept
paperwork that the motor vehicle registra- to keep my mind active. Yes, I could track of my actual hours spent on these
tion system has to chomp through, I con- have accepted the challenge to further models. To date, I have had a little less
clude that there must be a better way. my knowledge of these newfound tech- than 1 200 hours of endless pleasure
I think we now have a better way, tech- nological marvels; instead, I decided, while the “what part next and the how
nologically. Imagine a SIM card-driven cell- back to basics for me and use what I to make it to what detail” has kept my
phone chip, solar-powered, complete with have at the lowest cash outlay possible. mind active. Most of the know-how to
liquid crystal display, fitted with a radio fre- As I already had some basic tools, my use the basic tools has come from recol-
quency chip anti-theft protector; all, in turn, choice fell on woodwork. During my lecting my childhood experience in my 
fitted in a unit affixed to your windscreen. working life, I had often stood in awe dad’s “workshop” and the wonderful
The device would be linked to eNaTIS and on some construction site admiring the friendly expertise from experienced,
send you a request for renewal payment. A smooth efficiency dance of a piece of helpful and friendly members of our local
simple press of a button at your auto bank construction equipment to the rhythmic Witwatersrand Woodworkers Associa-
or Internet banking terminal would effect music of a powerful diesel engine. My tion. I definitely won’t die a rich man,
payment and the licensing system would choice was thus fairly obvious: to build but my grandchildren and even their
send a coded signal to your licence disc on wood models of some of the iconic con- children will have something more valu-
the car, automatically updating the liquid struction machines such as a road grader, able and inspiring to remember the “old
crystal display. loader or excavator. I have since realised toppie”: the knowledge that, before
Maybe there is someone out there who the list of fond memories goes way beyond electronics, there was life – and a very
can make it happen, if such a thing is not these few and that I will not run out of rewarding life, too.
already in the works? I would rush to subjects in my lifetime. DOUW KRUGER
queue for such a gadget. However, from the outset I encoun- GAUTENG
NIGEL APSEY tered challenges when I tried to obtain PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 7

It made perfect sense at the time

Time machine

The early 2000s were a great time for innovation
when it came to cellphone design. Mobile phones
were still tiny, swivelled in all directions and came in
every conceivable colour. And they didn’t even look like phones
anymore when Siemens introduced the Xelibri, a “fashion”
design that borrowed from Fashion Week and was released
through the spring/summer and fall/winter collections.

If you own a flashy car, you might consider getting
one for Junior, too. This Jaguar made for a six-year-
old boy weighed 450 kg, had a 1,8-metre wheelbase

and was powered by a motor-scooter engine. Unlike the speedy We don’t necessarily associate Abraham Lincoln with
full-size version, for safety reasons it was limited to a pedes- DIY, other than crafting the likes of the Gettysburg
trian 10 miles per hour (16 km/h). Address, but our 1979 DIY focused on a few projects
inspired by the great man’s handiwork. Like then, in this issue we
are all things DIY. Flip through our DIY special and be inspired.

not yet embroiled in
the World War, every-
day concerns such
as home security still
exercised citizens’
minds. For example,
if you found yourself
unable to get to the
bank and didn’t
want to leave your
valuables in the
house, you were
saved by an emer-
gency jewellery
cache installed inside your front door. This little storage space was
deemed safe because you would have to unlock your door and stand
on a chair to get to your valuables. Unfortunately, robbers probably
knew this, too. PM

8 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Calendar October Get the most out of your month


1 4 5 6 7
Celebrate our
Grab a cup – it’s furry friends on The Johannesburg
International World Animal Boat Show starts
Coffee Day. Day. today.
RIP Steve Jobs.
The renowned CEO Gaming expo
passed away on rAge comes to
this day in 2011. Johannesburg today.

9 10 13

The Sanlam The annual Cape Town

Send somebody Handmade International Boat
a letter today to Contemporary Show showcases the
celebrate World Fair starts in best of water sports
Post Day. Johannesburg. and equipment.

15 16 18 20
On this day in 1878,
Do your bit to stop Thomas Edison made
world hunger on this electricity available
World Food Day. for household use.

23 26 27 28
The Baby Expo in Cape
22 The Cape Town
Town starts.
A new issue of Cape Town’s annual
In 1797, the Popular Mechanics is Flower Show runs
until the 29th. Halloween-themed
first successful out today. fundraiser, the Zombie
parachute jump was Walk, is today.
made by André-
Jacques Garnerin
in Paris.

29 31
On this day in 1945, On this day in 1974,
the first ballpoint scientists first
is in the US reported that Freon The Hermanus Whale On this day in 1906,
went on sale. gases released from Festival starts. the world’s first
Town’s aerosol spray cans were international balloon
turn to destroying the ozone race began.
experience layer.
the Coffee &
Chocolate Expo.


05/10 THURS


On this day we lost the man behind the Apple brand, American entrepreneur, Calling all horticulture, gardening and floriculture enthusiasts: the
businessman, inventor, and industrial designer, Steve Jobs. Cape Town Flower Show is back. Running from 26 to 29 October at
Jobs’ tenure brought the world the Apple computer, iMac G3, USB Mouse, iPod, the Good Hope Centre, the event showcases everything from seeds,
a glass staircase for Apple stores, the Apple power adaptor, the iPhone operating flowers and trees to garden decorating, outdoor living solutions and
system, the Apple “magic” mouse, and the iPod shuffle and iPad. gardeners’ accessories.

www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017 9


power tools?
For the first time ever, a cordless drill and angle grinder can
be fully submerged. Safely. By Da n D u b n o

Last summer, two men (R18 500) on dry land first. I happily drilled
attempted to fix the busted all kinds of holes, drove three dozen 50-mm
reel used to wind up and store deck screws, cut pieces of pipe, and ground
a pool cover. Although the reel down some steel scraps I found lying
was mounted barely two centi- around the house. But I wanted to test
metres over a filled swimming them in the deep, too. Since it was too
pool, those idiots – my brother, Mickey, chilly for a swim outside and I was too
and me – decided not to empty the pool. poor for a quick flight to the Caribbean,
Instead, we wrapped a AC mains-wired I had to come up with an alternative.
electric drill in layers of garbage bags. Our When I headed to the bathroom in my
horrified family gathered as we awkwardly 7-mm wetsuit and snorkel, carrying a
attempted to drive a series of screws with- stack of wood and steel, my wife gave me a
out accidentally dunking the drill and look. “It’s only a test,” I said. Both the drill
electrocuting ourselves. and angle grinder need to be air pressur-
That nightmare is why I was so interested ised with a clever bicycle-style air pump
when I heard about Nemo Power Tools, a before being submerged. How much pres-
Hong Kong based company run by entre- sure depends on how deep you’re working.
preneur Nimo Rotem. This year, Nemo is At only 60 centimetres in my bathtub, it
launching an expanded series of handheld didn’t take long to get to the necessary one
power tools that are completely waterproof; bar (nearly one atmosphere) of pressure.
and, in my case, idiot-friendly. They power If you are working at the outermost depth
through any type of water, even contami- of 50 metres, you must pressurise tools to
nated sources, so they’re ideal for a wide a maximum of six bars. Even dunking
range of commercial and consumer uses. power tools in the bathtub can be fright-
I tested the V2 Divers Edition cordless ening at first. But once the drill started
drill (R11 000) and brushless angle grinder spinning underwater without electrocuting
me, the weirdness passed. When you’re
finished, you release the air pressure so
the tools can be stored. (Excess pressure
left in the tool strains the mechanical seal
and could decrease its lifespan.)
The 18-volt V2 drill has two bright LED
work lights, which is important if you’re
in deep water. It has a 12-mm corrosion-
resistant keyless chuck, offers 16 torque
settings, and has dual gear speeds up to
1 500 r/min. That lets you drill up to
10 mm holes in steel and 25 mm in wood.
At three kilograms, it’s a little heavier
than most standard drill drivers, but
underwater you won’t even notice.
As for the angle grinder, it has a 22-volt
5-amp-hour battery to power a hefty The Nemo V2 Divers Edition drill can be
1 500-watt motor. Using a 110 mm-diam- submerged in up to 50 metres of water.
Past versions of the drill, such as this one,
eter cutting or grinding wheel, the tool have been used by reef-monitoring teams to
achieves cutting speeds of 6 500 r/min install eyebolts to support floats to distin-
when submerged and 9 500 on dry land. guish different sites with minimal impact.
The Nemo angle grinder hits 6 500 r/min As well as they performed in my tub,
underwater and 9 500 r/min on land. Nemo tools are ideal for scuba divers, pool

10 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

and spa maintainers, and boat owners; job becomes a little less cumbersome. forces teams, for underwater construction
anyone with constant wet work to be Commercial divers can use the angle and aircraft-carrier maintenance. Maybe
done. You no longer need to haul out a grinder for salvaging wrecks or grinding my brother and I will even use them the
boat to dry-dock to clean propellers, hulls off rusted bolts. Nemo says its tools are next time there’s an issue in the pool. As
or waterlines. Just put on your wetsuit, also used by rescue divers, fire departments enjoyable as it was to have such a rapt
add the wire brush attachment to the drill and sewer-repair crews, and in the militaries audience, it’s even more fun to live
and jump in. What used to be a cumbersome of ten different countries, including special- through the experience.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 11


A father-and-son Australian
company has developed a new
process to create a lightweight,
solar-powered drone, which
they hope will be able to fly
almost indefinitely during
daylight hours.

Cracking the solar-powered

drone challenge
The company, Praxis Aeronautics, has worked out a new way to new application for the process, which others have tried and
encapsulate standard solar cells in composite material without losing failed to achieve in solar aircraft. “Through the process of taking
efficiency, thus solving one of the key problems that had been hold- out a patent, we have discovered that people have tried and
ing back solar-powered aircraft: the weight and cost of accommo- they’ve got close,” Cameron said. “The issue has been making
dating solar cells. laminates that are perfectly clear (to allow the cells to operate at
Praxis, based in the South Australian capital Adelaide, has attracted maximum efficiency.”
the attention of the state government’s early commercialisation Applying the process to a drone also made sense commer-
fund, which will contribute around R1,6 million to the company’s cially. “It’s the best application to prove the worth of the
efforts to produce a larger prototype to entice the market. Developers process, because it’s a relatively small product to manufacture,
Don Donaldson and son Cameron believe their approach will have and no other product we have come across has had the
numerous commercial applications, from aerial mapping for the improvement factor,” says Cameron. “We have been able to
mining industry, to cheaper shark spotting in summer and fast improve the flight duration by six times (most electric drones
deliveries of medicines to remote communities. can only fly for one hour).”
Petrol-powered drones are expensive and electric drones have lim- Don said the Praxis technology was “disruptive” because it
ited flying time. Until now, developers of solar drones have grappled enabled standard solar cells to be used in a much more produc-
with either the weight of fixing solar panels, or the expense of creat- tive fashion at a cheaper cost and with greater aerodynamics
ing body materials that incorporate solar cells. Another approach than other methods. The ultimate goal is to create a drone that
used to crack the market, says Cameron, has been the use of a thin can fly in daylight hours for a virtually unlimited number of
film of solar cells that can be wrapped over the body of the drone, but hours. The drone will have a battery on board and will become,
that technology costs about 35 times more than the Praxis method. essentially, its own charging station; able to land and recharge
Their solution is to use a laminating process to incorporate ordi- when power gets low, before taking off again.
nary (therefore cheap) solar cells in the composite material of the There has been worldwide interest in the possibilities of
aircraft; a process that Cameron Donaldson has used in the ship- solar-powered drones, with mixed success. Google killed off its
building industry to encapsulate timber in the construction of high- own solar-powered drone programme earlier this year. It had
end yachts. That process can give marine craft the glossy look of a planned to develop craft that could fly at high altitudes for
classic timber boat, but with the durability of glass fibre. long periods of time to beam Internet to remote areas that
His patent attorney suggested that solar cells might be a profitable lacked access. – The Lead South Australia

Scientific Reports, at the University of safer to process than nanoparticles. This is
Eastern Finland it’s been found that replacing also important from the viewpoint of battery
graphite anodes with silicon could quadruple material recyclability.

anode capacity in Li-ions. Says researcher Timo Ikone, “Small
In an environment heavily depended on amounts of silicon are already used in
renewable energy sources, energy storage is Tesla’s batteries to increase their energy
vital and lithium-ion batteries are considered density. But it’s very challenging to increase
Silicon could hold the key to to have the best potential. Initially it was the amount.”
next-gen battery tech thought that electrochemically produced Next on the agenda is combining silicon
nanoporous silicon, a substance hard and with small amounts of carbon nanotubes for
We could be standing on the key to a mas- hazardous to produce, would be necessary. better electrical conductivity and durability.
sive boost in lithium-ion battery capacity. What the Finns found instead was that parti- And, as the current silicon being used is too
Silicon, the second-most abundant element cles sized between 10 and 20 micrometres expensive for commercial use, the team will
in the Earth’s crust, has Finnish researchers and with the right porosity were, in fact, be looking into the possibility of manufactur-
all fired up. most suitable. That’s significant because ing a similar material from agricultural waste,
According to findings published in micrometre-sized particles are easier and for example from barley husk ash.

12 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Bee tech Honeycomb system provides innovative
strain relief design for cables
There’s no end of lessons to be learnt lutionary new design based on bees’
tightly, around the cables. In this way, the
structure simply adapts to the cable diame-
ters. The honeycomb can be mounted in
seconds; compared with tiewraps or other
from the insect world, it seems. One of the familiar hexagonal honeycomb. strain relief solutions, the user saves about
latest is a new take on cable strain relief. For its energy supply systems, motion 80 per cent assembly time. The new system
Cable carriers (also known as cable track or plastics specialist Igus has developed a also saves space and protects the cables in
e-chain) are the umbilical cord of modern unique strain relief system with a honey- the e-chain and is much more flexible, as
machines. Individual cables have to be fixed comb structure. Cables and hoses can the system is easy to open, to insert new
to these tracks, a time-consuming job. simply and gently be pressed into the cables or to replace them. The universal
Cable tiewraps are typically used to secure honeycomb. The structure is then closed, strain relief system is available in horizontal
cables, but can often only be used once. causing the outer walls of the honeycomb or vertical versions.
That’s why there’s intense interest in a revo- cavities to be pushed gently, but extremely Source: Igus

Easy rider
Is this the end of the saddle as a pain in the butt?

For all the advances in bicycle technology, from space-age

frame materials to electronic shifting and no-flat tyres, there’s
one area that remains a sore point – literally: the saddle.
There have been no significant changes to bicycle saddle
technology since the 1960s. Essentially, they are all rails +
saddle shell + padding + cover. The disadvantage of this layout
is that the saddle shell has two jobs: carry the load of the rider,
while also being the substructure for the padding. So seat
shells have to be stiff, which means uncomfortable.
That’s exactly what a research teamfrom Ergon (ergonbike.
com) focused on. The company calls its innovation TwinShell.
Two shells function in isolation from each other in a sandwich
construction, held in a floating arrangement by a high-perfor- pedalling ergonomics, excellent vibration damping and active back
mance elastomer damper made of Infinergy. The elastomer is protection for the first time.
an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) developed Infinergy sets new standards in relation to damping and suspen-
by BASF. The lower, supporting shell performs a load-bearing sion thanks to thousands of light and highly elastic foam particles.
function; the upper, flexible seat shell supports the pad- The high elasticity optimises the damping of pressure in the seat
It’s said to be inherently more comfortable. area. As soon as the pressure impulse has passed, the foam springs
But wait, there’s more: besides more comfort, the design is back into its old shape. The material retains this property even under
said to allow for an entirely new form
of pedalling ergonomics. continuous load. The Ergon core thus ensures a direct damping
As a result of isolating the seat shell from the supporting shell, response and the highest possible resilience, as well as maximum
the saddle follows the natural pedalling movements in all durability at minimal material weight. This E-TPU foam has already
directions. This has the advantage of systematically combining been used with great success by leading manufacturers in the safety
optimised pressure distribution across the sit bones, efficient gear and running shoes.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 13


Tech industry,
meet Donald
After eight cosy years with the Obama administration, executives from Silicon Valley
are learning to work with a new Washington. Or not.

Elon Musk Peter Thiel Eric Schmidt Tim Cook Mark Zuckerberg

Tesla, Founders Fund, Alphabet Apple Facebook

SpaceX Palantir Technologies

• Key donation: • Key donation: • Key donation: • key donation: • Facebook:

$5 000 to Democratic $1 million to the $33 400 each to $10 000 each to 19 “Holding Max, I
Congressional Defeat Crooked Democratic and state Democratic thought about all the
Campaign Committee Hillary PAC Republican committees work ahead of us to

Editor’s note: Board memberships are as of press time and subject to change (see: Elon Musk).
in 2015 Committees create the world we
• Insider’s view: • Liked tweet: want for our children.
• Twitter: “Who has held the • Twitter: “ ‘This loss hurts. This work is bigger
“Good grief, I’m not most power since “ ‘The most danger- But please never than any presidency
‘working’ for Trump. Inauguration Day? ous world views are stop believing that and progress does
I’m trying to provide The Thiel operation the world views of fighting for what’s not move in a straight
advice that helps would be the obvious those who have right is worth it.’ – line.” 9/11/2016
take things in a more front runner… Best never viewed the Hillary” 9/11/2016
positive direction.” million dollars he world.’ – Alexander • Insider’s View:
15/02/2017 ever invested.” von Humboldt” • Insider’s view: “I’m a little bit bear-
– DC-based strategy 28/10/2016 “He’s started to ish on the idea of
• Insider’s view: consultant make more of an Zuckerberg running
“Elon Musk and • Insider’s view: effort now. He’s had for president. The
Peter Thiel, next • Assessment: “If you’re looking for dinner with Jared prevailing theory
only to the bankers, Libertarian. Backed major players, defi- and Ivanka a num- here is that it’s all a
speak Trump’s lan- Trump early, now nitely Eric Schmidt – ber of times… I set-up for someone
guage. It’s all about wildly influential. he’s the chair of the think that is the right else, like Sheryl
these weird, excep- Swears he won’t Defence Innovation way in for him.” – Sandberg.” [Both
tional, crazy people. take an administra- Advisory Board and Republican techno- have denied they
‘The world’s been tion job, giving him is very engaged.” logy lobbyist will run… in 2020.]
standing in our plausible deniability – Alexandra Sander, – Technology think
way.’ ” – Technology on the charge that Centre for a New • Assessment: tank fellow
think tank fellow he’s shackled to the American Security Cook’s refusal to
government. unlock the San • Assessment:
• Assessment: • Assessment: Bernardino iPhone Zuckerberg’s visible
After months working After backing a tech earned then-candi- involvement has
with the administra- start-up supporting date Trump’s ire on been low, but Face-
tion, withdrew from Clinton’s campaign, Twitter. As has the book is the savviest
advisory boards told Googlers post- fact that iPhones are tech firm when it
after the president inauguration the built in China. Still, comes to DC. And
withdrew from the Trump administration Trump owns Apple FB has a connection
Paris climate would do “evil things”. stock. to Trump’s inner circle:
accord. Thiel is on the board.

14 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Our colleagues at Popular Mechanics US
talked to nearly 30 Washington, DC, and
wants to do things from the Oval Office, and he’s
only going to bring in CEOs,” one lobbyist said. “He
Silicon Valley insiders to find out which tech likes CEOs. He was a CEO.” A former Obama admin- boards
companies are working to advance their goals with istration official noted, “Everything suggests to me
that country’s new administration and which are that the return on investment for engaging with the
keeping a distance. The insiders agreed that whereas administration has gone up. This administration’s…
cultivating a good relationship between a CEO and idiosyncratic policymaking practice means you want
the president isn’t the only way to further an agen- to be heard often and in many different forms, so Presidential
da – the government writes the laws, after all – in they don’t forget what your priorities are.” Transition Team:
this case it might be useful. “It seems like Trump Here’s where the key players stand. Hired employees for the
new administration and
set policy priorities.

Defence Innovation
Advisory Board:
Obama-era board, con-
tinuing under the Trump
administration, that
Brian Krzanich Jeff Bezos Ginni Rometty Jack Dorsey seeks to improve military
operations with Silicon
Intel Amazon, Blue Origin, IBM Square, Valley practices.
The Washington Post Twitter

Tech Summit: Pre-

inauguration meeting
Twitter: • Key donation: • Open letter to • Twitter: between President-elect
“As a company co- $2 700 to Jason President Trump: “This country was Trump and leaders from
founded by an immi- Chaffetz, GOP chair “In the years ahead founded on one self- the technology industry.
grant, we support of Benghazi inquiry there will be issues evident and undeni-
lawful immigration. into Hillary Clinton on which we agree, able truth: all people
We will provide and issues on which are created equal.
impacted employees • Insider’s view: we do not. But as We all must hold
with Intel’s full sup- “He matters more as you prepare to take each other, especially Strategic and Policy
port.” 29/1/2017 a media outlet than office as our new the leaders we put Forum: A round table
as a tech CEO. I president, I hope the in power, accountable of business leaders
• Insider’s view: know there was some ideas I have offered... to that truth… I com- advising the administra-
“I think the old-guard friction early on in represent ways that mit to using the tion on how to improve
folks, like Michael Dell the administration – we can work togeth- privilege I currently the business climate in
and Krzanich, I think I don’t know if they er to achieve pros- have to always speak the US.
it is really the big guys kissed and made up perity that is broadly this truth to power,
who manufacture a – but, you know, shared in our society.” and to ensure the
lot in the US and can Bezos is hard- common good leads
say, ‘Look at all these charging, not just • Assessment: everything we do.” Manufacturing Jobs
jobs I’ve created. with the focus on The week after 9/11/2016 Initiative: Another
Look at this huge Amazon. Amazon Trump’s election round table, this time
company I run.’ Trump Web Services data victory, Rometty • Assessment: focusing on job growth
relates to people service is huge, and released an open The CEO of the and revitalising manu-
based on their big- the government I’m letter to the presi- most important facturing.
ness.” – Republican sure is a big custom- dent-elect with piece of technology
tech lobbyist er.” – Democratic ideas for achieving in Trump’s life has
technology lobbyist his goals for govern- been blackballed.
• Assessment: ment reform, tax Maybe because
Krzanich announced • Assessment: reform, healthcare, Twitter has been in White House Office
from the White House Bezos’s relentless- and the workforce. a freefall, or maybe of American
that Intel would pro- ness as a business- Most would create because Twitter Innovation: Applies
ceed with the R90- man, along with his jobs for Watson, refused the Trump private-sector business
billion expansion of a diverse portfolio of IBM’s artificial-intel- campaign’s request strategies to federal
chip plant, thanks to interests, suggests ligence platform. for a Crooked Hillary operations. Includes the
Trump’s tax policies. he may actually be emoji. (That really American Technology
That’s how you land apolitical. Or maybe happened.) Council, which hosted
on the Manufacturing just pragmatic. another tech summit in
Jobs Initiative. June.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 15


Even if you aren’t working
to become a killing machine
like the guys in the new
movie American Assassin,
you can still learn a lot from
the man who trains them.

Start slow. of sweeping kicks.” You’ll asking you for directions to

Janssen says one of get exhausted, often in as McDonald’s, or it could be
the mantras of SEAL train- little as ten seconds. ten guys, one with a fist
ing is “Slow is smooth and already halfway to your
smooth is fast.” People try- Don’t go for the face,” says Janssen. “You
ing to learn combat skills 4
carotid. just have to deal with it.”
aim to be quick, especially In the original script,
actors who want to seem Keaton’s character ordered Handle the pain.
Joost Janssen is not an lethal. But the jerky, stut- 6
trainees: “Go for the carotid.” In American Assassin,
assassin. Real assassins don’t tering movements of some- Janssen pointed out that the trainees wear electrodes
tend to respond to interview one trying to go too fast are this would make a mess, that shock them if they
requests. But he is a close less efficient and accurate. possibly allow the victim to shoot virtual good guys or
second: a US Navy SEAL for call for help, and leave them innocent bystanders. The
13 years, and currently an Save your pistol for with the potential to fight technology is an exaggera-
instructor at BUD/S, the indoors. for another 30 to 40 seconds. tion, but in real life, Janssen
school that SEAL candidates Pistols are ineffective at Instead he suggested punc- learnt to ignore pain in
attend. He’s also the military long range, so don’t bother turing the trachea. exercises with live weaponry
adviser for American Assassin, with them in sniper situa- firing plastic, paint-filled
a brutal thriller about a CIA tions. But “indoors, if your Train yourself to bullets. Civilians put through
rifle misfires or runs out, 5
recruit whose fiancée is killed react. the same drill shut down.
in a terrorist attack. That man you transition immediately The SEALs use a training “Their brain has already told
is trained by a legendary to your pistol”, Janssen says. process called a hooded box them, ‘If you’re hit by some-
operative played by Michael drill: the trainer uses a string thing from a gun, you’re
Keaton, and Keaton was Hand-to-hand com- to raise the head covering out,’ and their bodies auto-
trained by Janssen. bat wears you out. of a hooded trainee, suddenly matically do that,” he says.
In actual close-quarters com- presenting him with an Good way to prematurely-
bat, Janssen says, “There is unexpected situation. “It end a career as an assassin.
no 35- to 90-second exchange could be a young woman

Suddenly! The Parallax La Femme Nikita Grosse Pointe Mr. & Mrs. Smith
OTHER 1954 View 1974 1990 Blank 1997 2005
ASSASSIN The Manchurian Prizzi’s Honor In the Line of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 Assassin’s Creed
MOVIES Candidate, 1962 1985 Fire 1993 2003 2016*

16 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

I stink
A recent text from my boss: “Did you get my email?
Thanks.” I’m terrible at email. I loathe checking my
inbox, so I just don’t do it. The promise that chat

at email
apps such as Slack will finally replace the majority of my
email exchanges does make me optimistic. As of last year,
Slack had more than 1,5 million subscribers. Still, more
than 3,7 billion people in the world have email accounts,
Pressure from messaging apps such and it seems like 3 billion of them email me every day. But
as Slack is forcing innovation from traditional email providers and independent companies
traditional email companies. That’s have come up with algorithms that, along with some
good news for you and very good behavioural changes, can help get my inbox back
to its original purpose: efficient communication.
news for me. Even if you’re not as hopeless as I am, they can
By Ale x a n der G e o rge
help you, too.

YOU: Catch up on emails late at night and feel

YOU: Are a procrastinator guilty burdening people after hours

TRY: Gmail app’s Smart Reply TRY: Delay Delivery

ž Google software looks for phrases (“meet Thursday or ž Microsoft recently added this feature to the cur-
Friday?”) and posts three (usually) relevant suggested rent version of Outlook, the email service we use
responses above your phone’s keyboard. Tap one and at Popular Mechanics. Instead of Send, you hit
drop in the text (“Let’s do Thursday.”) and adapt as neces- Delay Delivery and put in a date and time, and
sary. Smart Reply learns from your responses, so it won’t Outlook will send it at a more reasonable hour.
suggest a smiley emoji if you’re not an emoji person. Gmail and other services have this, too. Great for
remembering birthdays or appearing like a func-
tional morning person instead of a sleep-deprived

YOU: Respond to texts way better than to email

TRY: Forwarding certain emails as text messages

ž Find the Rules YOU: Have given up

section of your email
YOU: Are buried in junk mail TRY: Starting over
app, and create one
for the addresses of TRY: A smart inbox ž If your personal email
any VIP sender. To address is too far
forward that message ž Over the last few years, Hotmail, Google and Outlook beyond filtering, and
as a text, you’ll need introduced their versions of self-filtering inboxes, which you have (let’s be hon-
to find your phone’s separate human emails from marketing blasts to sell you est) fewer than a dozen
email address. As an discounted pants. Right now, the free app Spark does this or so people you really
example T-Mobile, best. It connects all of your email accounts and automati- want to talk to via
the service I have, cally prioritises emails from people you’ve corresponded email, make a new
structures addresses with in the past. It also lets you isolate the people who address. Post an out-
as your-phonenumber actually matter – boss, spouse, gondolier, whoever – and of-office/vacation
@tmomail.net, you get notified only when they contact you. You can prompt for the old
i.e, 212-555-8624@ snooze emails you want to deal with later, or pin important address saying that you
tmomail.net, but look messages to the top of your inbox so they never get lost. no longer use this for
it up for your carrier. correspondence, but
keep it running for your
Amazon and Seamless

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 17


The inflatable man

Airbags changed car safety. Airbag jackets are
about to do the same for motorcycles.
By David C u rc u rito

Inflation time:
25 milliseconds.

It takes very harsh motion at high velocity to trigger the

airbag, so hard braking, sudden movements, and the constant
punches that my giggling wife hurls at my chest won’t ever
set it off.
The Alpinestars US headquarters are in Torrance, California,
and although I’m excited to test out
the Tech-Air on a ride, I was once told
OTHER by a couple of CHiPs (not Ponch and
WEARABLE Jon) that southern California roads
SAFETY are some of the most dangerous in the
TECHNOLOGY country. The 405 is a horrible six-lane
Spidi Neck nightmare. Even wearing the airbag
DPS Tex Vest jacket, my hands sweat like leaky taps
A reflective vest when my riding partners enter the on-
with a neck cushion ramp and immediately start splitting
that inflates when
the tether is pulled
lanes. Considering how often cars and
Alpinestars Heath starts the countdown: 3… 2…  – Stop! trucks like to change lanes, there’s a
in a fall.
used data from I want to be surprised by the blast. Besides, good chance I’ll be needing to change
600 crashes to
the counting makes me nervous. Then, bang! Hövding crash- my underwear a lot, too. After 20
develop its
jacket. The vest under the black all-weather jacket inflated bike minutes, my senses are in overdrive.
I’m wearing inflates in 25 milliseconds. helmet When we make it to Coldwater Canyon,
Tremendous pressure pushes on my chest, A collar triggered by
abnormal movement
I start really pushing myself through
shoulders, ribs, kidneys and back. It’s not a to form an inflated the kilometres of hairpin turns. The
pleasant sensation, but in a real accident, it’s helmet around the jacket gives me the confidence to lean
a pain I’d be happy to feel. neck and head. the bike more than I usually do. But a
Heath works for Alpinestars, a high-perfor- crash is still a crash, and it sucks no
mance protective-gear company on the moto- Water matter how much protection you
cross circuit. The controlled explosion he just have.
caused around me is from the Tech-Air (around Did I feel safer at intersections?
R14 000 in the USA), the best example of a Hell, no. People will always cut in
new airbag system built into motorcycle jackets. front of you, make crazy illegal turns,
Unlike other airbag devices, Tech-Air doesn’t or hit you from behind. No matter the
use bike-mounted sensors, tethering or GPS. gear you’re wearing, motorcycle riding
The jacket and its inner vest rely on a gyro- will always be inherently dangerous.
scope, accelerometers and sensors in the As if to illustrate this fact, Heath
shoulder and back, all linked together by soft- showed me endless crash-test videos
ware that can distinguish between normal rid- at Alpinestars headquarters. In one of
ing and, holy crap, look out for that car! The them, a crash-test dummy’s head flew
system doesn’t require activation or calibration. off. The jacket worked perfectly,
You just zip up the jacket and get on your bike. though.

18 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Me and my tech
Popular Mechanics has hunted down some of
South Africa’s busiest and most successful
people to find out what tech makes their
lives better.
– l u mk a n o femele

Jason Goliath is a comedian, TV presenter and busi-
PlayStation 4
nessman. He gets his work done on his Hauwei P9+
and spends his downtime playing FIFA on his
PlayStation 4.

PlayStation 4
Q How do you fit gaming into your hectic
I like to have a balanced lifestyle, but every hour <
A Huawei P9+
has a rand value for me. Gaming is a great way
for me to unwind, de-stress and spend time with my
friends. Every Monday, I get together with my boys
for “Fifa Mondays”.
Why PlayStation over other gaming consoles?
To me, the PS is the most innovative console.
PlayStation does everything, in terms of introducing
gaming technology, first. I’ve always been loyal to this
particular console and I’ve never felt a need to change.
Aside from Fifa, what other games do you enjoy
We literally only play Fifa. It’s like our version of golf.
It is our escapism and all we talk about when we play,
is the game. Work and everything else is put aside
when we play. I’m also unbelievably good at Fifa, so
there’s that.

Hauwei P9+
How long have you had your P9?
Just over a year.
Why the P9+?
I am an Android fan. I like the ease of connection to
other devices. I’m not a big tech junkie, so I like a phone
that is easy to use. I’m a big Instagram user and this
phone has by far the best camera I’ve ever used. It makes
me look like a much better photographer than I actually
am. The battery life is also great.
Would you say the P9+ is a must-have for some-
one in your line of work?
I wouldn’t say must-have, but this phone has been very
useful to me as a comedian. I often record my sets in a
very loud environment – the P9 has the best microphone
I’ve ever used. When I play my recordings back, I hear
myself and the audience’s reactions.
Is there anything you don’t enjoy about the P9+? 
The only thing I would change is the keyboard. I have
big fingers and the spacebar is really small, so some-
times browsing is a bit difficult and I often make mis-
takes typing as well.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 19


TVs THAT Samsung

Frame u

Sunlight hits your face.
You slept on the couch
after a night of saying
“one more episode” too

many times. You have to
be at work in an hour, so
you turn off the Frame.
It goes from the On
In approximately two years, your Demand menu to a
32-inch television will be as thin tasteful lithograph; or
as a matchstick, as clear as real a photo of a lion, some-
life, liberated from wires, and thing Cubist, family
cost R5 000 (at least in the photos, whatever image
you want. Functionally,
USA). And it will be a direct
the idea isn’t far from
descendant of these. a screen saver, but a
sophisticated light sen-
sor adjusts the bright-
LG SIGNATURE OLED ness so the images
4K Wallpaper u actually look flat, like a
canvas or printed photo.
It measures less than 4 mm, including Dinner guests will never
the wall mount. That’s thinner than the guess that what truly lies
screws you’ll use to hang the mounting within the four sides of
bracket. How’d they…? LG put all the the Frame is the reason
ports, speakers and circuitry in the you’re unshaven and
soundbar-like appendage, which connects newly opinionated about
to the display with a single flat cable season five of The
(which you could run behind your wall, Americans.
for full minimalist effect). And 4K with
HDR means that the visuals are the Samsung Frame
best you can get in 2017. This isn’t the Resolution:
first TV to get thinner by externalising 4K ultra-high definition.
hardware. But with narrow bezels and
an image this vivid, it’s the first to
make the image look as if it is emanating
from the wall itself.

Pastas that
are thicker
than the LG
display: Fusilli Penne Farfalle (the Ziti Gnocchi
middle part)

One thing: unless you’re content to watch

Hulu and the like over your home Wi-Fi, you’ll
need Samsung’s $400 One Connect hub to add
a Roku or Nintendo Switch. It connects to the
The actual Frame with a single translucent wire, even more
thickness of subtle than LG’s.
the LG display
and mount.

20 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Art that might help
detect cancer
It’s hard to get people to care about carbon nanotubes, says
Houston-based artist Joseph Cohen, because they’re so small
you can’t even see them. And yet the optical properties of these
exquisitely tiny cylinders of carbon atoms make them ideal for
cancer-sensing implants. Since 2015, Cohen has worked as an artist-
in-residence at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York
City, learning how to separate nanotubes into different naturally
occurring atomic formations, called chiralities, that emit different
colours when zapped with infrared light. When sorted by formation,
nanotubes are most effective at detecting cancer, but it’s not an easy
task. To build excitement for nanotubes, and get more scientists
sorting them, Cohen is working on a series of paintings made out of
nanotubes that change appearance under infrared light. The paint-
ings go on view at Rice University in Houston this November.

The First Portrait of a Black Hole

A safe 26 000 light-years from Earth sits a supermassive
black hole at the center of the Milky Way. We’ve yet to
capture a clear image of the black hole – that’s a simulation
to the left – Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star), within its
cloud of gas and dust. To pierce this cosmic shroud, an
international team called the Event Horizon Telescope
spent the last decade building up and coordinating 80 radio
telescopes around the globe to take simultaneous data. This
method, very-long-baseline interferometry, creates a virtual
Earth-size telescope with enough power to read the date off
a dime from the other side of the US Synchronised with
atomic clocks, six locations observed Sagittarius A* over
five days in April, producing 3 500 terabytes of information,
says research scientist Vincent Fish, of MIT’s Haystack
Observatory. Fish estimates the data will be processed by
early 2018.

The construction timesaver

The first time you see somebody withdraw the blade guard on a
Thumb circular saw to make a plunge cut, you think, That’s just crazy. But
latch if you need to cut out a notch or section from a piece of lumber, a
circular-saw plunge cut saves minutes – or hours on a big job –
over using a jigsaw. And it’s perfectly safe once you know how to
do it: set the saw blade depth slightly deeper than the lumber.
With your finger off the saw trigger, use the thumb latch to draw
back the blade guard. Firmly rest the front of the saw shoe on the
work surface while tipping the saw forward at an angle so the
blade barely clears the surface. With the blade guard held back,
press the trigger. When the blade reaches full speed, slowly angle
the spinning blade down into the lumber and release the thumb
latch. This is key: don’t lift the front of the shoe off the lumber.
Pivot the saw down so the shoe rests completely on the surface,
and push the saw to the stop point.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 21


Flights of fancy
Curro’s drone club is causing quite a buzz in education circles,
Lindsey Schutters was there for the first lesson.

As good as DJI’s market dominance has “I’m new to it, but I am learning. I see a
been for normalising the idea of quadcop- bright future for drones and believe they
ters, those products aren’t great for teaching will become much more popular. I think
kids how to fly. Then, at the end of last year, that if children can learn to fly from a
we caught wind of intended involvement in young age, they’ll be in a good position.”
introducing drone curriculum to schools by She’s right. We reported in August that
UAV Industries subsidiary Drone Racing economists conservatively estimate the
Africa (DRA). But we didn’t expect to see value of the local drone economy at
children as young as eight years old learning around two billion rand. With children Getting a drone to take off and hover
to fly in a class environment happen so learning the pilot and soldering skills early in full manual mode is hard, but luckily
soon. And of course it’s Curro, one of on, there’s no limit to what markets Mr Weyers has the skills to assist.
Popular Mechanics’ chosen “2016 STEM drones will enter in the future. That will
Schools of Note” that have the flexibility in also address the current problem in com- with programming,” says the IT in educa-
curriculum planning and teacher skills that mercial drones: the pilot/professional tion graduate Rix. “And IT then evolved
would be leading the charge. disconnect. Good drone pilots aren’t into a more 3D thing.”
“I love gadgets, especially programing necessarily good at doing the specialied Curro doesn’t have a specific curriculum at
robots to move and do things. Now I get to job that is needed. But if everyone can fly the moment, which is why the school is
it every day. I really love that. Fortunately, a drone safely, then it’s just another uni- incorporating with DRA. Rix and Curro
I also have the opportunity to do drones versal skill, much like typing. Brackenfell executive head Henk Weyers are
now and learn more about drones,” says “Robotics and programing and drones – doing the drone competency course as well,
Lenore Rix, Robotics and IT educator at the those are the types of work that these so that the school has some expertise in-
school. She isn’t an experienced pilot by children will do one day. Its important for house. The focus currently is on drone racing,
any stretch, but has a palpable hunger to them to learn IT and mechatronics now. specifically indoor racing, and the plan is for
learn everything about drones. That’s the future. For me, it all started the children to build their own gates.

22 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Tools of study
DRA enlisted Goblin Hobbits as the equpment
supplier for the drone club; here’s what they’re
FPV Freerider
Probably the most comprehensive simulator on the
market. Works well with most radio transmitters.
Inductrix Tiny Whoop
The gold standard in starter drones.
Eachine Lizard 95
Elegantly designed micro quad with 5 blade propellers.
“Easy” to work on, if you’re really good at soldering.
Eachine Wizard X220
Compact freestyle mini quad with 2 300 KV motors,
three-blade props and works with 4S or 3S batteries.

“We want to make this accessible to not licences and earn income on the weekends.
only our kids. Curro Brackenfell should A lot of kids aren’t going to be the best in
become a venue for drone racing, so it can traditional sports, so this is another thing
be kids or adults and people from outside that’s better than sitting inside and playing
for team building,” explains Henk Weyers. video games. The problem when children
“We want to grow the sport and know it’s a say they are into tech is that they then go
Drone club members pay R450 per month little expensive. That’s why we’re trying to home and play games. That’s not all tech is
which includes a drone and transmitter get more corporates in. Right now we’re about. Here they can get out and interact
that they can keep at the end of the course. concentrating on Brights, Builder’s with people.”
Instruction flows between simulator time
Warehouse and the like so that we can The plan is to get as many Curro Bracken-
and indoor flight time, but will include
ground school once the children are com- build a facility that’s easy to set up.” fell kids as possible into the drone club
petent enough to progress to the rugby Drone club currently meets in the extracurricular at a cost of R450 per
field outside. school hall. There’s an indoor cricket net month. Each child will get a drone kit to
The end goal is to produce skilled FPV that can extend on each side of the venue. build themselves, along with a transmitter
(first-person view) pilots who can compete The nets are currently 70 per cent and FPV goggles. On completion of the
in drone races and maybe become national
deployed. course the children will get to keep the full
or regional champions. That objective is,
however, subject to change. Weyers is visibly excited by even the set. The school will also load a couple of
thought of drone racing, but delivers some laptops with the simulator so students can
interesting commentary on the positive practise during free time. It’s unclear when
impact of playing with technology. “If they this will roll out to the rest of the Curro
(children) can master it (drone flying) network, but the school is in a great posti-
now, they can go on to get the professional ion to establish an internal racing league.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 23


Big questions.
Answers you can’t
find on the internet.

DOES URINATING IN MY one were able to administer one’s renal output widely and evenly,
perhaps by affixing a deluxe showerhead to the relevant anatomy

GARDEN HELP FERTIlISE IT? and spinning on a lazy Susan? Professor Duckworth offers a
safer, more practical solution: “Let’s say for the sake of argument
you peed in a watering can and used it to disperse it. I don’t
think you would do any damage to your lawn.” Or your relevant
Ostentatiously whizzing on your lawn, refreshing as it anatomy. Weil, for his part, seconds the watering-can suggestion,
might be, may or may not be good for the grass depending and goes one better. “The simple solution is dilution,” he says.
on your approach, but we can tell you one thing for sure: “I generally recommend a 2-to-1 dilution to be safe. There are
it’s unlikely to help your reputation with neighbours, postmen many ways to cheat this but the simplest is to put one part
or wandering Girl Scouts. urine in a watering can and then two parts water, stir it up, and
Urine, as it happens, contains a number of beneficial nutrients sprinkle it on the lawn.”
commonly found in commercial fertiliser. “It has a fair amount of As it happens, an outfit called the Rich Earth Institute is
nitrogen, a little bit of phosphorus and potassium, which are all already passing out pee to Vermont farmers, who stream as much
needed for a healthy lawn,” says Owen Duckworth, associate pro- as 10 000 litres of the stuff over a single hectare of hayfield. The
fessor of biogeochemistry at North Carolina State University. all-natural, nitrogen-rich liquid helps plants grow just as synthetic
Don’t reach for that zipper just yet, though. Urine also has a high fertilisers do, all while saving water and cutting down on pollution,
salt content, which, as anyone with a dog, a lawn, and insufficient says Abe Noe-Hays, the institute’s research director. And where,
will to keep the two apart pray tell, does a well-
will tell you, can draw meaning environmental
moisture from plants and group obtain the requisite
leave unsightly dead spots tanker loads of liquid
scattered around an other- gold? “We have about 100
wise lush, green carpet. households involved,”
“Urine is simply too con- Noe-Hays says. “We collect
centrated for most plants urine from people using
to withstand when either specialised toilets or port-
applied to the leaves or able urinals.”
even to the soil around Sounds simple enough,
especially younger plants,” and it’s an approach you
says Ray Weil, a professor can adopt for yourself on
in the Department of your lawn and beyond, says
Environmental Science and Weil, each of whose family
Technology at the members has a designated
University of Maryland. As collection jug at home.
a result, repeatedly hosing “There is certainly no need
down your yard from the for a suburban family to
front stoep is likely to be ever buy any fertiliser,” he
counterproductive. says. “Diluted urine grows
Suppose, however, that wonderful vegetables.” PM

Do you have unusual questions about the world and how it works and why stuff happens? This is the place to ask them. Don’t be afraid. Nobody will laugh at you here.
Email popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za Questions will be selected based on quality or at our whim.

24 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017


How do I keep my wood deck
from looking splintery after
pressure washing?

The important thing is to go easy. Those
splinters typically result from poor deck care,
which allows the wood to deteriorate, followed
by overly aggressive pressure washing.
Begin by using a cleaner formulated for
use in a pressure washer on a wood deck.
Apply the cleaner with the black soap-dis-
pensing nozzle. For additional cleaning, scrub
with a synthetic deck brush, then go over it
with the soap again. Leave the soap on the
surface for the time recommended by the
manufacturer. Rinse the area with a 40-degree
nozzle (white). For more aggressive cleaning,
The French drain around my house is clogged.
Q Can something be done to open it up? switch to a 25-degree nozzle (green). Hold
the wand about half a metre above the deck
and move in the direction of the grain using
A French drain is the term for any gravel-and-tile or gravel-and-pipe-based
A system. It takes its name from Henry Flagg French, who chronicled its use
overlapping passes. The longer you pause
on any area, the more likely you are to etch
in agriculture in the mid-19th century. When it’s around the house, as you the surface and cause splintering.
describe, it’s actually a footing drain or a foundation drain. It’s meant to drain excess Washing in the morning or in late afternoon
water away from the foundation by gravity, directing it to a point on the lawn. is better than washing in the heat of the day,
It’s not unusual for foundation drains to become clogged by tree roots, shrub roots because rapid drying can contribute to splin-
and dirt. Old foundation drains can also simply collapse. If the drain is otherwise tering. Also, avoid over-washing an area. And
in good shape and is relatively new, a drain-cleaning company might be able to clear keep a consistent distance between the nozzle
the obstruction using a water-jet drain-cleaning machine. Some operations even and the deck. After that, let the deck dry with-
employ a digital drain camera on the end of a gigantic reel of fibre-optic cable. out any furniture on it to reduce the chances
These things can inspect a hundred and more metres of drain. of light and dark areas that are created by
Repairing and unclogging the drain is the optimal solution. The less desirable and uneven drying. If you do end up with a few
far more expensive solution is to replace the footing drain with a new gravel-and- splinters, gently sand them away with a hand-
pipe system. That can cost thousands and leave disturbed landscaping in its wake. sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper.
If it comes to that, the good news is that you’ll have a dry basement and the work
will improve your home’s resale value.

Q What’s the best way to clean drill bits?

Twist bits are easy to clean with a small brass wire brush. If
A you notice build-up, simply scrub the flutes clean. I go one
step further: every time I use my drill, when I’m done I brush
the bit clean and lubricate it with some 3-In-One Dry Lube. Drip
some dry lube on the bit as you turn it slowly. It goes on as a liquid and dries in seconds. Use a paper towel to catch the excess, then turn the bit
through the paper towel using your thumbnail to press the towel into the flutes. When you’re done, allow the lubricant on the towel to evaporate,
then burn the towel or soak it in water before throwing it away. Never put oily paper towels into the garbage. PM

www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017 25



2016 HONDA




1 302
NOTES: In a car, you control the throttle with your foot and shift gears with your hand. On a
motorcycle it’s the opposite. And with good reason. Even if you could fit a car-style shifter on a bike,
it would be way too dangerous to take a hand off the handlebars to operate it. That pretty much sums
up two-wheeled motor vehicles, vis-à-vis the four-wheeled ones: the same main parts are there, but
configured for a smaller, lighter, riskier space. Which makes the engineering all the more fascinating.

HOP ON THE BIKE. Make sure shift forks (17) to engage gears contain springs, dampers and lubri-
the engine stop switch (29) is in the (16). Now goose the throttle; rolling cant, on top. That improves handling
run position; it’s a kill switch for the throttle grip (27) toward you because it lowers the bike’s unsprung
emergency situations, meaning the pulls the throttle cable (23), open- weight (the portion connected direct-
key will do you no good if it’s in the ing a valve in the throttle body (4) ly to the wheel, not carried by the
Off position. Turn the ignition to On. and letting more air into the engine. suspension). The sliders are con-
Put the bike in neutral or pull in the The engine revs up, its single piston nected by a clamping system called
clutch lever (32) to disengage the (14) displacing 250 cubic centimetres a steering stem (30) to the bike’s
bike’s multiplate clutch (9), a friction- per stroke as it pumps up and down frame (13) and handlebars (31).
based clutch that works like a car’s, in sync with a counterbalancing shaft On the other end, the rear wheel is
but uses many small plates, rather (12), which smooths the harsh vibra- connected to the swing arm (6), a
than one big plate, because of space tions of a reciprocating engine with horizontal connector that pivots up
limitations. Press the start button an odd number of cylinders. (An and down to allow wheel travel; it’s
(26) to fire up the engine. even-numbered bank can be timed stabilised by a single shock absorber
On the CRF250L, you can go just to balance out.) The engine is mount- (11) behind the engine.
about anywhere. It’s a dirt bike in a ed transversely, meaning the crank- Upon reaching your destination,
street-legal bike’s clothing, headlight shaft (15) is perpendicular to the squeeze the brake lever (28) to move
(22), turn signals (24), and mirrors bike, so it’s easy to string the drive pistons that hydraulically clamp
(25), dressing up bigger wheels (1) chain (8) between it and the sprocket callipers (7) on to the disc brakes
that offer more clearance and aggres- (3) on the rear wheel. (21). Come to a stop. Turn the
sively knobby tyres (2) that improve Each wheel has a unique suspen- ignition to Off, then turn the handle-
handling. Before you release the sion system. The front wheel is at bars all the way to the left and turn
clutch lever, use your left foot to push the bottom of a telescoping fork. the key to the lock position. That’s
the shift lever (10) down, popping This bike uses an upside-down fork, your theft deterrent. Lock your
the bike into first gear. The shift lever with the slide pipes (20) on the helmet to the helmet holder (5).
connects to ratcheting mechanisms bottom and the fork tube outers You’ve arrived.
that turn a drum (18) that moves (19), which receive the sliders and – Kevin Dupzyk

26 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017



4 8




13 14


29 30
20 17






24 23 22

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 27

FOR THE LOVE OF GADGETS l Edited by LINDSEY SCHUTTERS (lindsey.schutters@ramsaymedia.co.za)



You have to hand it to Samsung. enhanced S Pen and a new dual on the zoom lens and two idea, promising DeX-focused
It takes guts to turn one of the camera system that takes a page cameras allows Samsung to accessories to roll out in the
biggest controversies into a big out of Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus jump on the portrait mode future. Added benefits of having
part of your marketing cam- book. Both are stabilised 12 MP bandwagon. your phone plugged in as a
paign. The apology for the units, so the regular S8 camera To answer the obvious ques- desktop is that there’s less
disastrous Galaxy Note 7 was (now labelled wide angle) and tion: yes, I do think it is worth opportunity of it slipping off
tactful and timely. It also takes the other has a telephoto lens. the money. Why? Simple: DeX. a table or out of your hand
guts to just casually release the OIS ensures no loss in quality The S Pen is nice and all, but and breaking. Remember, since
most expensive phone in the it’s just an extension of the core Galaxy S8 there’s been no free
country (well, until Apple break capabilities. You can take up ADH to give you a screen
the R20 000 mark with the to 100 pages of handwritten replacement. Now customers
iPhone 8) and not address the notes with the screen off. You have to fork out R1 600 once-
pile of money asked as a big can get fine point control on the off for Samsung Premium Care.
obstacle. expansive 18,5:9 6,3-inch infin- Note buyers will get six months’
Changes over ity display. But with DeX you can free coverage from the date of
the slightly smaller turn your powerful handset purchase, but best you register
Galaxy S8+ are into a desktop computer with to make your payment when
6 GB of RAM a mouse, screen and keyboard. that period is up.
(up from 4), The local Sammsung execu-
tives are fully on board with that R18 500, SAMSUNG.COM
Galaxy Note 8
S Pen

28 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Yes, that Q6 price is a bit
hard to swallow, but LG
LG Q6 is bundling in the LG
Korea’s other major smartphone manu- Watch Style wearable
facturer is bringing the trendy 18:9 display to fight that gag
to the mid-range with the reasonably priced reflex. This watch
Q6. It looks like a G6, but drops the screen
was one of the first
to 5,5 inches, ditches the fingerprint sensor
to launch with
and dual rear camera for face unlock and
a single 13 MP snapper. But crucially it
Android Wear 2.0
takes the chipset to a more pocket- and
and can actually fit
battery-friendly Qualcomm Snapdragon under a shirt cuff. No
435. Curiously, you get Android 7.1.1 GPS or optical heart rate
out the box, a newer flavour of Nougat sensor, but still a solid
than the G6. smartwatch.

This is one of those portable Bluetooth
speakers you didn’t know you needed until
you threw that party for your daughter’s birthday
and there was a chance of rain. Luckily, I had one. It
didn’t rain and no-one outside complained that the music
was too soft. The 12 000 mAh battery lasted all day, even managing
to charge the phone it was playing music from. Bluetooth 4.0 with AptX,
a 110 lumen flashlight built in, NFC, 30 W of well-tuned sound, hands-free
calling and all wrapped in a IPX5 element-resistant body. Quite brilliant.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 29



All the style of a classic
roll-top with enough
room for all your
gear, including a
and lenses inside a
removable protective
case, and even a tripod
on the outside. We’re
OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 MKII happy that our favour-
Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless cameras remove the bulk of DSLRs while delivering ite bag maker is in line
comparable image quality and, importantly, 4K video recording. This is one of with the current photo-
grapher demands.
the best video shooters on the mirrorless market right now, with 5-axis in-body
stabilisation and weather-sealed construction. That it has 121 autofocus points R4 000, THULE.COM
on the 20,8 MP sensor will also boost its ability to deliver precise sharpness for
excellent stills. Oh, and that 4K is true 4K, not UHD.


The champ is back. Nikon’s update to the D810 prosumer full-frame monster
Earn those Vitality points while you’re out
is packing 45,7 MP, the 153 focus points from the bobaas D5 and 4K video on assignment or use the proper fitness
capabilities at up to 30 frames per second. With its sights square on Canon’s 5D, features like GPS, heart rate sensor and
Nikon chucked in a rarely seen on DSLR “silent” shooting mode that can fire off water resistance to keep your fitness in
six full-resolution shots per second using the camera’s Live View mode, the draw- check. It’s a proper Spartan, so it will track
back being you can’t set exposure and focus once you start firing because the multiple activities, but is also slim enough
mirror is actually out of the way. Slots for XQD and SD cards, Wi-Fi and to wear every day in polite company.
Bluetooth round out the features. Millennials will love it.

30 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017


W Enjoy over 200 psl matches live in hd,
with expert analysis and commentary in 3 languages
COMPILED BY THE EDITORS l lindsey.schutters@ramsaymedia.co.za


uu WE HAVE AN UNWRITTEN RULE in our household when

it comes to night-time disturbances: you get up and go out-
side to check what’s up, or you keep quiet and stay in bed.
Four dogs on our relatively large property sound an initial
alarm and, for the past month, I’ve had the added benefit of
a security camera with a feed direct to my smartphone. within a bluegum forest. The neighbourhood borders a
I’ve never been a big supporter of personal security cameras nature reserve, which in turn is adjacent to a cemetery,
that aren’t linked to armed response, to be honest. Especially which in turn is right next to a lower-income rural area.
those that let you talk to the would-be intruder. Still, it is We’re also in close proximity to a railway station and an
handy to have up to 60 metres of night-time viewing range area that is renowned for violence. Ours is the first property
before a shaky finger presses the panic button. on the main road, with a fence that stretches around the
A bit of backstory: I live in a community of smallholdings perimeter. We need every bit of security assistance we can get.

32 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

This unit is a PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera with excel-
lent articulation through all the axes. We (my father-in-
law, although I did tighten the last two screws) mounted
the camera about three metres up on the side of the
garage, granting us a 180˚ sweep of about 50 per cent
of the yard. The perimeter fence is about 30 metres away
on the perpendicular and around 80 m long, so within
the maximum 60 m IR (infrared) sensor range at the
furthest corner. My maths is a bit rusty.
Two key features are the Sony Starvis sensor and 4+2
IR lamp array. The Starvis bit allows for crisp colour
images in low light conditions, which is helpful around
sundown and sunrise if you live in a neighbourhood
without street lamps. The unique IR array has four lamps
arranged in pairs on each side of the camera sensor for JOVISION 100MT PTZ
wide-angle viewing and two below the camera for a nar- The nearest direct competitor that we could find. This 1,3 MP unit puts a
rower perspective. The 2 MP camera delivers sharp 1080p strong emphasis on multiple users, with up to 12 simultaneous video
video that you can down sample to as low as 240p to save channels outside of the main controlling profile and multiple user
on SD card space (compatible with up to 256 GB micro accounts. Pick this for communal viewing.
SD) and there’s dual motor 4x optical zoom in tow as well. R14 508, takealot.com
If I had one criticism, it would have to be the length
of the power cable. There’s a Wi-Fi antenna for wireless LOGITECH CIRCLE 2
data transfer as well as AV and an Ethernet port, but An on-board battery means that this thing
the bundle coming from the camera is only about a metre can operate completely wireless, or you
long. Then there’s another metre-long cable on the power can hardwire it to power for true set-
adaptor. We had to cannabilise our outdoor fishtank pump and-forget functionality. You’ll have to
power supply cable (essentially from an old edge trimmer) choose your fixed mounting point wise-
for the preliminary testing, but needed to leave it dis- ly, but at least the app and user interface
connected to route an extension cable through the are slick. It also plays nice with most
office ceiling to go through the garage. A two- or three- smart home services.
metre cable on the adaptor would’ve saved a lot of trouble. R2 130, takealot.com
In researching outdoor IP cameras I didn’t come across
any PTZ units that could compete with the Foscam for SAMSUNG SMARTCAM HD
price and user friendliness. I would’ve preferred better Another non-PTZ unit, but this one splits the Wi-Fi and
integration with Apple’s Homekit or Samsung’s Smart- power systems into a separate box that you keep inside your
things, but I don’t really have enough experience with house. Motion detection is really good in our experience,
outdoor IP cameras to make a judgement call on that. I as is the user interface.
also don’t trust Foscam’s cloud storage service as a real R3 000, takealot.com
value proposition and would rather manually upload
clips to Google Drive.
And that’s kind of the problem with IP cameras. You
spend a lot of money on them and are expected to lock
yourself into long-term contracts to retain the remote
alert or off-site records. I’d much prefer greater access to
the interface so that I can set my own communications
rules and fiddle that way.
R5 095, foscam.co.za

PRO TIP: set up the camera with the Ethernet cable

plugged in before you mount it. There’s no way to
remotely/wirelessly log it on to your Wi-Fi network. PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 33

1 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017
in association with

DiY special

36 A saw-blade trivet 42 A clean, well-lit workroom
36 An underground speaking tube 46 The hassle-free home network
37 An RV out of your truck 49 A smarter lifestyle for all
37 A bootjack 50 The complete cordless arsenal
38 The right choice when house shopping 52 An amazing interactive motorised
41 A concrete canoe chandelier
41 A butcher block 54 A bike light

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za
n one old saw blade
bench grinder.
2 / Use a protractor to

BLADE n three 6 x 20 mm hex

mark three lines from the
centre of the blade, 120
n three 6 mm washers degrees apart.
TRIVET n three 6 mm nuts 3 / Measure 22 mm in from
n three 6 mm capnuts the outside edge of the
N ICK MOR EAU, blade on each line. Mark
BL ACKSMITH, tools with a centre punch.
n pencil 4 / Use a drill and 8 mm
In ten minutes, you n centrex punch twist bit to make a hole at
can turn an old saw n drill and 8 mm twist bit each punch.
blade into a place n file or bench grinder 5 / Thread a bolt through
to put hot dishes n protractor or Speed each hole. Add a washer
without scarring Square with degree and nut on the underside
your table or markings of each bolt and tighten.
countertop. 1 / Dull the teeth of the 6 / Thread a capnut on the
saw blade with a file or a bottom of each bolt.

One of those
UNDERGROUND SPEAKING TUBES MATT WOODS , senior vice president of facilit ies, engineering and securit y,

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Speaking tubes, once standard issue on 1 / Dig a route for the under- Glue the PVC piece to the pipe. When the holes are
naval vessels as a guaranteed way to send ground run that is large elbow on top of the swivel. aligned, the phone can be
messages without relying on power, were enough to accommodate 5 / To close off the system dropped in. When the phone
important enough that in 1926 the US your PVC. Straighter routes when a phone is not being is not in use, rotate the cou-
Navy’s Bureau of Construction and Repair are better, as joints can used, lubricate a coupling pling to close the hole.
commissioned “Transmission of Sound degrade the integrity of the and put it on the 250-mm 6 / Form a horn on the end of
Through Voice Tubes”, a meticulous study tube and allow some sound piece of PVC (cut it in half the tube by gluing on a
that drew on science experiments, calculus, to escape. with a mitre saw if it has a reducing coupling. Cut a cir-
and a ridiculous canvas helmet with tubes 2/ At each end of the run, ridge inside that keeps it cular piece of chicken wire
for earpieces. According to Matt Woods of use an elbow to direct the from sliding into place). and use glue to affix it a few
the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, pipe vertically out of the Ensure it rotates freely on the centimetres back in the
voice pipes could carry sound up to about ground. Cut to an appropriate pipe. Remove the coupling opening to block rodents
100 metres. He helped us design one for height and glue a coupling from the pipe and trace your and wayward toys.
the backyard with modern touches, includ- on top. If necessary – maybe phone on it, cutting a hole to 7 / Repeat this process on
ing a slot for a smartphone (for tunes), and you decided to run the tube match the one on the PVC the other end of the tube.
a swivel to aim the sound. Ships used into a tree fort — support it
metal to avoid corrosion, but 110-mm PVC by bracketing it to a solid
is cheaper and easier to work with. Find a surface.
part of your yard to bury the tube, then 3 / Cut a 75-mm piece of
pick locations for the ends and start digging. pipe with a mitre saw. Glue
an elbow to one end, and
lubricate the other end with
MATERIALS n PVC primer graphite. Press the lubricated
n 110 mm PVC and glue end into the coupling and
pipe, length n scrap wood ensure it swivels easily.
based on path n dry graphite 4 / To add the phone slot, cut
of tube lubricant a 250-mm piece of PVC with
n four 110 mm n appropriate a mitre saw. Trace the bot-
elbow joints glue tom of your phone on the
n four 110 mm n chicken wire middle of the pipe and cut
couplings 6 mm around that line with a
n additional joints tools jigsaw. Inside the PVC, glue
for path n mitre saw a small piece of scrap wood
n two 110 x n spade under the hole to keep the
150 reducing n jigsaw phone propped up, so the
couplings sound won’t be muffled.

36 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Lucchese boot maker,
established 1883, supplier to LBJ,
El Paso, Texas

n scrap wood, roughly n jigsaw
400 x 125 mm, plus more
n coffee cup
n wood glue
1 / Start with a piece of wood about 400
x 125.
2 / From the outside edges at one end of
the board, measure in 20 mm. Draw a
line from each mark to the corner at the
other end. Use a jigsaw to cut down the

An RV out of lines, creating the tapered bottom end of

the bootjack.
3 / At the wider top end, measure and

your truck
mark 25 mm in from each outside edge.
Find the centre of the width of the board,
then mark a point on the center line
RYAN S HAU ER S , Rolling Stone 125 mm in from the top.
4 / Place the coffee cup (or any similarly
The creator of the blog Desk to Dirtbag, Ryan Shauers has chronicled his life from sized round object) just above the 125-mm
the back of his truck for the past three years. His 1991 Toyota 4x4 has been his home mark you made and trace a circle.
for trips across North, Central and South America – more than 70 000 kilometres in 5 / Draw lines from the 25-mm marks you
made on the top of the board to the widest
total, and for as long as four months without even a hotel stop. From Ecuador, he
part of each side of the circle. Cut the
offered a few tips for turning your truck bed into a bedroom.
resulting parabola out with a jigsaw to
n A canopy with elevated headroom keeps run it to a 400-watt inverter in the canopy form the mouth of your bootjack.
you dry and lets you sit up, which is crucial so I can charge my computer or run a fan 6 / Cut a small triangle, about 50 mm
for long stints living out of a truck. on hot nights. Plus, my truck always starts. deep and 50 mm wide, from the narrow
end of the bootjack. This creates two
distinct feet, for stability.
n Camping gear works, but in a truck you n Wooden storage units on the sides of
the truck bed provide space for small and 7 / Sand every edge, especially in the mouth
can take bulkier items so life’s a little better:
of the jack, to avoid scarring your boots.
folding chairs, a mattress, a coffeemaker, frequently used items. The shelf between
8 / On the underside of the board, 175 mm
Coleman stove, work light, etc. Just keep the storage units is big enough for coolers
from the wide end, glue a piece of wood
everything organised. and large plastic bins. — about 100 mm long and 40 mm tall —
across the jack. It lifts the mouth off the
n Baby wipes, wet washcloths, public n I sleep between the storage units, feet ground, so you can get your boot in.
showers and restrooms – use them under the shelf. That way I can sit up
frequently. fully. But when I need more storage space

n Take simple non-perishable items such

or room for another person, I move a
piece of plywood from the truck bed up to TIP
as cereal, pasta and soup. You can also use rails I screwed into the storage units. Less Braai clean-up
a cooler to keep occasional veggies, meats headroom, but it works. Pop the dirty grid in a black bag, spray in
and dairy cold. oven cleaner liberally and seal. After leaving
n The clamps that keep the canopy on the for a few minutes to allow the cleaner to
n I have a deep-cycle marine battery con- truck also secure the build. I cut notches work, soak the grill in a basin of hot water
nected, along with my truck’s battery, to partway through the storage units so the and dishwashing liquid to loosen hard,
an isolator. The isolator separates the bat- clamps slip right over them. They pull the carbonised deposits. Clean off softer debris
teries so the alternator charges both when wooden construction and the canopy tight with a kitchen scourer and finish off with a
brass-bristled wire brush. Rinse and let dry
the truck is running but I only draw from to the bed. To remove everything, I just
before storing.
the marine battery when my truck is off. I unscrew the clamps. 37
Scan the roof
Walk across the
street and check the
roof for missing,
cracked or curling
tiles. We recommend:

Olympus Roamer
10x21 compact

Nobody will care more about the function
and structure of your next house than you.
That’s no knock on professional inspectors,
but you’re the one living there. Your inspec-
tor – and he should be yours, not the
agent’s – gives your next home a bill of
health, but you can save yourself time,
money, and frustration by knowing what pit-
falls to look for before you put an offer in.

Listen Follow the water

Two bad-news sounds: Check that rainwater
a water drip you can’t from the roof drains
find (plumbing leak in away from the house –
the walls) and a buzzing including once it hits the
service panel (probably ground, which should
overheating, definitely a slant down from the
fire hazard). edge of the foundation.
Red flag
A drop from the garage to the
driveway hints at water draining
Uncover hidden leaks against the house (it’s most
To check for an out-of-sight plumbing leak, make sure nothing common on downhill driveways),
is running in the house and check the water meter. a potential foundation hazard. illustration by two arms inc.

Walk the perimeter

Scan the foundation for
cracks, the walls and
woodwoork for peeling
paint or rot, and that the
surrounding foliage doesn’t
touch sides or extend over
the roof.
Red flag
Any funky smell.
Trust your nose. It’s
probably mould.

Light up water
Check for water damage
in hard-to-view or dark
spaces: behind toilets,
Red flag
basement corners, the
Mineral build-up around
attic ceiling. We like the
plumbing points to a slow leak.
pocket-friendly Ledlenser
T2 flashlight.
Test the electrical outlets
You’re the only one who will take the
time to check every outlet is wired
correctly. All you need is a simple tool
like the Klein Tools Receptacle outlet

Red flag
Fog between
windows. It
signals a broken
seal and the
entire window
will need

Uneven floors
Use a large marble to test floors for
slants or low spots. This can indicate
a house settling unevenly and pos-
sible foundation damage.

Key the wood

Red flag
If any wood looks
Ancient electrical
suspect – possible
brands. Any electri-
water or insect
cal service panels
damage – press the
or fuse boxes
point of your house
bearing unfamiliar
key into a discreet
names are possible
Green light spot. Healthy wood
candidates for
If there’s a basement or won’t yield; damaged Find the service date
garage, finding it full of wood will feel Large mechanical systems,
old cardboard boxes spongy. such as a water heater,
indicates that water has should bear their last
never pooled on the service date.
The house we didn’t want
The perfect house is a myth
– but here’s how to find a great one
I was doing errands with my daughter one afternoon when I liers, and the yard was a mess. But our daughter was crying,
ran into the father of a girl I’d gone to high school with. He said and the inspection hadn’t turned up anything truly alarming, like
that his daughter and her husband had just bought a house, rotten sills or a crumbling foundation, and my appointment with
and when I got back to our apartment I called my wife, Ann, in a the estate agent had used up most of an afternoon. If we backed
panic – she was at work – and told her that we’d fallen behind out now, how would we ever find another? So we bought it.
our friends. Two weeks later, I went house-shopping for us, in a Well, that was 32 years ago, and we’re still here. Getting rid of
town a couple of hours away, and signed an offer to purchase the wallpaper ended up being quite a challenge, but I got to stock
for the second place the estate agent showed me. The agent up on power tools and I now know everything there is to know
asked whether I thought my wife ought to have a look first, and about ice dams. The town, once I learnt where it was, turned
I said, “Oh, no, I’m sure she’ll love it.” Ann hadn’t come along out to be great, and I served as an elected official for 20 years.
because we hadn’t wanted to subject our daughter, who was The daughter of the lawyer who handled our closing became
less than a year old, to a long, boring day in a car. But we’d our daughter’s best friend, and he and his wife and many of
talked about what we wanted – “big” and “old” – and this their best friends became some of our best friends, and so on:
house, which was built in 1790 and had once served as a a domino-like succession of happy accidents that began only
boarding-school dormitory, was both of those. because we’d been too young to know what we were doing.
When I took Ann to see it for the first time, a month later, I The moral might be that if you stick to your base demands –
had trouble finding not only it, but also the town it was in. Then, like “big” and “old” – and don’t sweat the wallpaper, you and
when I did find it, she didn’t like it at all. It needed paint and it your house can work out the rest. – David Owen
was filled with ugly wallpaper and cheap, low-hanging chande-

How to walk away 1/

What Roy
Would Ask
When was the
Always be prepared to walk away. Anybody in the house reroofed?
business will tell you the same thing. It may sound
2/ When was the
coldhearted, but don’t get emotionally attached to a
central heating or
house. Don’t let your imagination go to work. Don’t
air-con installed?
think about having Christmas in front of the fireplace
or your kids running through the grass. You can get 3/ How long has
saddled with a home you’re unable to repair. the owner lived
The reality is, there are a lot of houses out there. But here?
for many people, a house is the most serious financial
commitment you’ll take on. It will affect every aspect 4/ Do the neigh-
of your life and will determine whether you take a bours always
holiday or buy a new roof. At all times you need to be park on their
a realist and stay detached. If not, you can get hosed. lawn?
– Roy Berendsohn, senior home editor

TIP 1. Inspect for jamming.

If you can’t see where the
from below using a 3 mm
punch, or unscrew the hinges.
corner. Make your passes until all
of the wax crayon indicator col-
problem is, use a wax crayon 3. Prepare for planing. ouring has been removed. Check
Unstick a door to mark suspect areas of either Prop the door firmly into a the edge with a steel ruler.
Wood swells in wet weather, the door or the jamb. Be sure level position, whether on its 5. Rehang the door and
sometimes enough to jam a not to work on both, because side or laid out flat. Check with recheck.
door. A planer is the simple this could cause problems a torpedo level that the door is If using pins, rehang the door
answer to trimming down down the line. Now close the level in both planes. using only the top hinge. If
the excess bulk. However, door; colour transfer indicates 4. Ready your planer. using screws, starting with the
remove only the bare mini- the problem area/s. Set your planer to its minimum top hinge, drive one screw per
mum of wood, because you 2. Remove the door. setting and ensure that it is hinge into the hole closest to
don’t want gaps when drier Starting with the lower hinge square to the surface to help the pivot point of the door.
weather arrives. first, simply tap hinge pins out achieve a neat 90-degree Check as in 1 above.

40 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

CANOE Ji m Wilde , professor of civil engineering,
Minnesota State Universit y

Every year the American Society of Civil Engineers holds a national

competition that challenges college students to build a concrete canoe.
It has to float, obviously, and that rule remains even if the canoe breaks
in two. Wilde has led student-entry efforts at MSU for the last three
decades. This is the most basic form of construction: a hand-moulded A BUTCHER up. You can combine strips
from different boards if
craft in which concrete is applied to a simple hull form.
BLOCK they are the same dryness.
4 / Make sure the strips are
DAV E BALL , Jacob as even as possible, then
May Design, wood- glue them together with
working company, waterproof Titebond III.
Oakland, California Clamp the wood for two
hours, then unclamp it and
With end-grain butcher’s let it sit for another 24.
1 / Design a basic hull form or use 5 / Sight down the hull form to blocks, the blade of your 5 / Plane the board.
an existing form on a CAD program. locate any low areas in the foam or knife slips between the 6 / Crosscut glued board
plywood. If you find any, build them fibres instead of cutting every 50 mm. (The distance
out with drywall compound. Once across them. between each crosscut
any drywall compound is dry, sand Your knife stays sharper determines the thickness
the shape as smooth as possible. longer, and it’s harder to of your cutting board.)
Apply water with a cloth to the hull scar the cutting board. Make sure to keep the
form to reduce the concrete’s ten- Also: they’re pretty. pieces in order.
dency to bond to it. 7 / Rotate each crosscut
MATERIALS section 90 degrees, alter-
n one 50 mm-thick kiln- nating between turning
2 / Print cross-sections of the hull
dried board from a nut- or them to the left and the
at regular intervals on paper tem-
fruit-producing tree, such right to create a mirrored
plates. Transfer these templates to
as oak or walnut pattern in the grain.
pieces of plywood.
n Titebond III wood glue 8 / Glue the crosscut pieces
6 / Mix the concrete and apply a
n mineral oil together. Clamp for two
15- to 25-cm-thick layer to the hull
n butcher’s block condi- hours, then unclamp and
using trowels, floats, and your hands.
tioner made with beeswax let sit for another 24.
The thicker the layer, the heavier the
n 100- and 150-grit sand- 9 / If your jointer is wide
boat, but also the better the boat
paper enough, jointing then plan-
will tolerate stress.
ing the cutting board will
3 / Cut out the cross-sections from
TOOLS create the best cutting sur-
the plywood using a jigsaw or a
n planer face. Otherwise, plane
band saw.
n jointer both sides, ensuring that
n table saw the board won’t rock.
n router 10 / Sand the board with
n clamps 100-grit paper, followed by
1 / Plane the boards, trying 1 1/ Use a round-over router
to keep them as thick as bit and router to soften the
possible. edges on the top of the
4 / Assemble the plywood pieces 2 / Use a table saw to rip board. If you don’t have a
by standing them up – spaced 42-mm strips of board. router, sand vigorously to
according to the design – and fas- 3 / Rotate each strip 90 remove sharp corners.
tening them to a rigid piece of lum- 7 / Once the concrete is dry, fill any degrees so the cut edges 12 / Soak the finished prod-
ber called a strong back. Insert small blemishes, then let it dry again are on the top and bottom. uct in mineral oil for half an
pieces of rigid foam insulation in and sand it smooth. Once the The width of your cutting hour. Wipe off the excess
the gaps, then trim the excess smoothing is complete, carefully lift board is determined by the and apply conditioner.
the hull from the mould. number of strips you line 41
using a knife or reciprocating saw.

42 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

A clean, well-lit

How to turn a basement mess into a DIY utopia.
by r yan D ’A gostino

hen we moved into our 1854 farm- chest was permanently stuck in one corner.
house a few years ago, there was, I couldn’t even open the door on the beer
shall we say, work to be done. fridge.
Taps didn’t work, lights didn’t light. There Here was the worst part: I stopped enjoy-
were too many walls. The attic was inacces- ing the time I spent in there. Clearly, it was
sible. There was no insulation. There wasn’t time to give the room an overhaul. So I asked
even a hutch for the rabbit we would even- my next-door neighbour and Popular
tually have. Mechanics contributing editor Richard We began by hauling everything out of the
I needed – and wanted – what every Romanski – whose work space is literally a room. Now at least we could see what we
homeowner needs and wants: a corner of cathedral and organised like nothing I’ve ever were doing. (Plus, I found my hacksaw!)
the basement that I could transform into a seen – for advice. I needed shelves, I told him One obvious problem was that a series of
workshop. I designated a small (2,5 by 3,5 – five rows of shelves along a four-metre electricians or, more likely, handymen had
metres) room for my shop, but there wasn’t open-stud wall. Richard said, “Sure, we could used the room as an embarkation point to
much to recommend the space. It was dark, do that, and a lot more.” The project would run wiring throughout the house and the
kind of damp, and dusty. Wires snaked teach me larger lessons about controlling an boxes were in our way. So our first job was
across its ceiling and walls. A bare 40-watt unruly space, one without a single level plane, to cut power to what we thought were the
bulb jutted out from one wall with a Rube square corner, or straight line. affected circuits and then test the wires we
Goldberg pull-string arrangement running to
the side of the board-and-batten door. Both
tilting wood windows in the foundation had
been painted shut decades before. AFTER
The space was hard to love, but it was
mine. I could play music as loud as I wanted
down there while I fixed one of the kids’
wooden toys or rewired an old lamp my par-
ents gave us. But a workroom isn’t a work-
room until it has a workbench, so the first
thing I did after we closed on the house was
build one. I figured once I had that, every-
thing else about renovating a 162-year-old
structure built by farmers would be easy.
Projects came and went, each one
marching in turn through the workroom.
Paint was stirred and stored in there, cord-
less power-tool batteries charged, and left-
over boxes of screws and nails were set
aside for the next project.
But a slow transformation occurred. The
room became a mess. Along with the accre-
tion of hardware and new tools came the
photographs by Zach DeSart

less desirable. A thin film of dirt and dust

settled over everything. A faint odour –
some combination of mouse urine and caulk
– never left. Broken parts and things that I
never use mingled with the tools and hard-
ware I needed constantly. The room began
swallowing tools and hardware at a rate that
defied its small size. My rolling Husky tool 43

Install blocking on wall studs, move cables

out of the way, and shim each full sheet of
plywood level. Tack it, then do the same for
the next sheet.

After all the sheets are nailed home, lay out

the wall standard positions using a level.
Mark a horizontal line to indicate the top of
the standards.

intended to move with a non-contact volt- and buckled under anything heavier than a
age detector. box of pencils, but he had seen a good, Begin with one reference standard. Place it
We found no electrical surprises and had strong steel standard-and-bracket system on its plumb line, and drive a single screw
a fairly straightforward time of routing the at our local lumberyard. We would mount into its top hole. Plumb the standard, then
wires out of the way of where we needed to those to 15-millimetre AC fir plywood. This finish fastening it.
put shelving. is expensive material. On the other hand, I
Next came preparation for storage. I had needed only three sheets and it was dead
Illustrations by George Retseck

envisaged a system of 50 x 100 beams as flat. We’d use every square centimetre of it,
supports with pine shelving, but Richard so there’d be no waste.
had a better idea: epoxy-coated wall stand- For the shelves themselves, we’d use
ards and brackets. Now, I had always 22-millimetre-thick knotty white pine. It’s
thought metal-bracket shelves looked cheap beautiful stuff.

Surely one of the best fasteners ever made is the Strong-Drive screw,
TIP #1 a product of Simpson Strong-Tie. The No 8 by 32 mm screw is versatile,
extremely strong and fast to drive. We used these to hold the standards
to the wall and the shelves to their brackets.
Place the next standard on its reference line
and with a bracket mounted in it and in the first
standard, fine-tune its position using a level.

44 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

puppies, it stays put.
We mounted a Zyliss vice (now called Z-Vise) to the second workbench. With a single screw in the top hole, we
TIP #2 These things are a marvel of engineering. If you can find one on eBay or at checked the standard for plumb; finding
a garage sale, it’s worth every penny. It clamps to the workbench and that it was, we drove the remaining screws,
accessories convert it into a miniature work centre. using one fastener in each of the standard’s
holes, more than enough to secure it to the
A simple trick to ensure the correct instal-
We began by noting the position of the of these partial sheets to meet the factory lation of the next standard: insert a shelf
Lally column that supports the house’s main edge of the sheets below. We offset the bracket in the first standard and in the new
beam. The Lally column is a wonderful way sheets, like bricks, to avoid a bush-league one you’re hanging. Then hold the next
to hold up a house, but it seems there’s joint of four corners. standard on its mark while a helper uses a
always one in the way of a basement With all the sheets carefully tacked into level to span from one shelf bracket to the
remodelling job. In mapping out the shelves, position, we nailed them home with the other. Careful installation of the next stand-
we made sure the seams between pieces of Senco. The result was a nice, neat installa- ard ensures that it’s not only plumb, but that
plywood wouldn’t fall behind the column. tion, with smooth, flat surfaces and tightly the shelf will sit properly on it.
We even used the thing to our advantage, butted edges. The room was transforming The rest of the work in the shop was
turning it into a divider between the deeper before our eyes. straightforward. We installed a small section
shelves for heavy items and a stack of shal- of pegboard over the workbench, painted
low shelves for smaller items. We were also Everyone has seen metal wall shelving the ceiling and hung two fluorescent shop
mindful that the standards not fall at the that’s badly installed with standards that are lights on it. Richard built a simple plywood
ends of the shelves. Rather, the standard not parallel and wavy shelves. It doesn’t work surface over the beer fridge and the
would be offset from the shelf’s end, giving have to be that way. Careful layout and Husky cart. And after wire-brushing the
each shelf a pleasing cantilever about 15 installation – plus a sturdy product to begin stone foundation wall, we applied a coating
centimetres long. with – makes for a supreme storage wall. of UGL Drylok waterproofer using large
So with the wiring neatly tucked out of You stand before it, and you want to stand tampico paintbrushes. (Applying this heavy
the way, we began measuring the stud loca- there for hours, figuring out how best to coating to rock is like trying to paint the sur-
tions, relative to the plywood’s length. stack boxes of nails. It’s fun. face of the Moon. Each load of paint on the
“Never assume the studs are 400 millimetres First, work out your spacing. The light- brush covers only about 600 square centi-
on centre, even if they look like they are,” duty standards that we used should never metres of wall surface. Then you take
Richard declared. Our investigation of the be more than a metre apart – preferably less another dip and go at it again. But in the
stud wall paid off. It turned out that the end – or else heavy items can cause the shelves end, it turned a grey stone wall into a
of the plywood sheet wouldn’t fall on the to sag. Relative to the Lally column’s position gleaming white surface that nicely reflects
centre of a stud. When faced with this, it’s and the weight of the stuff I intended to light in the small space.)
usually easier to add blocking than to cross- store, we spaced the standards 692 mm Taking a break from our work and enjoy-
cut the plywood to suit the stud location. apart. ing a beer from said fridge, Richard and I
The factory edge on AC plywood is very We began by setting a reference standard felt a breeze that had found its way in
good, which means that it will butt neatly up that would dictate the position of the stand- through one of the tiny tilt-in windows in the
to the next sheet. So we installed blocking ards that followed. Using a sharp No 2 pen- rock wall. It had been a battle to get that
where necessary, brought the first full sheet cil, we lightly marked a plumb line to window open, so tightly was it painted shut.
of plywood into position, shimmed it level designate its position, then we took the But it was worth it. The fresh air felt good,
off the floor, and tacked it to the wall with a level and carefully marked a horizontal line and a sheen of actual daylight washed over
handful of 20-millimetre finish nails fired across the plywood that would approximate the space. I could even see a small square
from a cordless Senco nail gun. We cross- the top of each standard on the wall. of blue sky through the opening.
cut the next sheet to length and butted its Since we had gone through extra trouble to
factory edge to the factory edge on the end install the plywood neatly, we had a reliably
of the first sheet. flat reference surface that would speed the
Next, we ripped the partial sheets. Again,
we planned the rip to allow the factory edge
installation of our standards and shelving.
We placed the first reference standard in TIP
position against the plumb line and poked
the still-sharp pencil through its top mount- First, fix the floor
ing hole. We removed the standard, drilled a Start by sweeping out
pilot hole on that mark, put the standard dust and particles (you
back in position and fastened it to the ply- can use a leaf blower).
Now scrub the floor with
TIP #3 wood with a single No 8 Simpson Strong-
Tie Strong-Drive wafer-head screw. If you a broom and high-pres-
sure washer, if water
haven’t tried these fasteners, please do.
No workroom is complete without a restrictions allow. Finally,
Formed out of heat-treated carbon steel,
music source. We used the Crafts- visit Mica to get a sealer
they’re incredibly strong and easy to drive,
man C3, which scored well when suitable for coating the
thanks to a deeply recessed Phillips head. floor, keeping it looking
our US colleagues tested it in their The bottom surface of the wafer head is polished and clean.
May 2016 Tool Test. lightly imprinted with a gripping surface like
a tyre tread. When you drive one of these 45
The hassle-free
Add these devices to your existing home and you’ll be set for
the smart home revolution, no drills required.

There are two ways to ready your The fix: You need a mesh network system.
house for intelligence: you either Eero, Plume and Google Wi-Fi are the buzz
build the complex network of cabling brands when it comes to intelligent wireless
into the structure, or your retrofit it. access point management and deployment,
Retrofitting is fun if you have the but those solutions can be expensive and
still only pass on a wireless signal that’s
time and tools, but it’s very disruptive
open to inteference. Hard cabling access
and can look unsightly. Of course,
points will always deliver better results.
there’s another solution to reliably
sending usable Internet to all the Distributed network
corners of your home. And, of course We didn’t know that sending your Internet
that solution is pretty much plug and signal over electrical wiring was an option
play, or else the header of this story until we were introduced to the TP-Link
would be very silly indeed. Here’s AV1200 Powerline kit. You plug an ethernet
our fix to common home networking cable from your router into the main unit,
problems. plug that into a wall plug and then add up
to 5 receiver units throughout your home by
Problem 1 My area will never have fibre plugging them into the wall outlet as well.
coverage and wireless broadband is too expen- Each receiver transmits a dual-band AC
sive for me right now. Wi-Fi signal and the network supports mul-
The Fix: You need a reliable and fast Wi-Fi tiple input, multiple output (MIMO)
router with LTE failover and the fastest antenna technology with
Internet speeds that you can afford, or that beamforming. You can also
your infrastructure can provide. plug in an ethernet
cable for wired
A solid foundation Internet and the
Your router translates the incoming band- units have built-in
width to a language that your devices plug points so you Wireless streaming
understand. The TP-Link AC750 (Archer don’t lose the The Digital Living
MR200) is a dual-band Wi-Fi router capable power outlet Network Alliance (DLNA)
of up to 300 MB/s on 2,4 GHz and 433 entirely. announced in January
MB/s on the 5 GHz band. You also get CAT Use it with: any of 2017 that it would
4 4G/LTE speeds of up to 150 MB/s where connected device dissolve as a non-profit
supported. Of the four local area network with an ethernet because it had fulfilled its
(LAN) ports, one is a wide-area network port. Cable connec- purpose. That purpose
(WAN) type: it takes the incoming data tions are the most sta- was to establish a wireless
stream from a fibre/cable modem. There’s ble and will work best media interfacing standard and
also a SIM slot and two removable antennas for streaming content, so certify devices that comply.
for LTE reception. definitely plug in your smart TV. Certification is still being conducted
Use it with: the fastest Internet you can by SpireSpark International. DLNA allows
afford (VDSL is better than ADSL, especially Problem 3 I have a ton of downloaded con- content streaming over the Wi-Fi network or
for upload speed) and a top-up wireless tent on various portable hard drives. How do I directly (peer-to-peer) between devices over
data SIM to tide you over should someone let everyone on the network watch from any- the Wi-Fi antennas. The HiMedia H8 is an
steal or damage the copper cables. Ensure where? Android-based set-top box that comes
that the wireless data bundle has a long The fix: network-attached storage (NAS) preloaded with a DLNA manager – you can
lifespan (minimum of 3 months). and a media network controller. Best prac- download one of your choice from Google
tice is to plug the NAS box straight into Play if you want. For homes with mostly
Problem 2 I can’t get full Wi-Fi coverage in your router and then use Plex or another Apple devices, an Apple TV unit is your
my house and hate those Wi-Fi range extenders universal plug and play (UPnP) manage- best bet to unlock network-wide AirPlay
because they don’t give me the speed I need. ment application to manage the network. powers.

46 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Problem 4 I don’t want to get an XtraView
decoder installed, but want to watch DStv in my
bedroom and keep the decoder in the lounge.
The fix: you need an HDMI extender. There
are wireless solutions and ethernet cable
solutions, but the DStv Now application has
become very good at streaming live footage Over the wire can add at each end so you simply take the
over connections as slow as 2 MB/s. The Have a ton of unused speaker or alarm decoder remote to bed with you. The maxi-
caveat: you must have access to a DStv cable running through your house? This mum range is 300 metres, which should be
Premium account that operates on an HDMI extender can send a truncated HD plenty. Flex is great, because it can run
Explora decoder. If you connect your video signal (720p) as well as the associated through the gaps in your window openings
Explora to the Internet you gain access to audio over two-core flex cabling. You plug and is easier to conceal.
the extensive online CatchUp+ library and the HDMI source into the one box, connect
gain the ability to remotely set recording your flex to the chocolate block connector Problem 5: I want to play music in every
schedules or set programme reminders via and plug an HDMI cable in at the other end. room of the house, from any source, and con-
DStv Now or the DStv Connect website. There’s even an infrared (IR) repeater you trol it all from a central hub. 47
Your network quality is only as good as the Internet coming in. Our
testing was done on a 20 MB/s Telkom line, served over copper cable.
Data is capped to 100 GB per month, with the TI Entertainment bolt-
on, which allows for 100 GB of fair use streaming of Netflix, Showmax
The fix: Wi-Fi speakers. Samsung’s Wireless 360 and DStv online content. The main ADSL connection is the fastest
Audio speaker is a great plug-and-play solution that available and costs R700 a month, with an additional R100 for the TI
can mesh together with other similar speakers on the bundle. Top-up data bundles are around R150 for 100 GB.
proprietary Multiroom Link application. Most speaker We mentioned earlier that VDSL is better, because it is. ADSL upload
manufacturers have their own variation of this solution, speed is 1 MB/s max, whereas VDSL can go up to 10 MB/s – very
which can even intercept your music streaming ser- important if you work from home and need to transfer files.
vice on the app level and then stream it to the speak-
ers of your choice. You could also stream direct to a
single speaker via Bluetooth (or two speakers simulta-
neously if you have a Samsung Galaxy S8). If you’re
more into crafting Saddling up
your own speaker Pro tips for mounting and cabling solutions, from
housing, or want to someone who got it wrong enough times.
physically build your
audio delivery system You may not know this, but your router wants to be the
into your house, the centre of attention. It also wants to be high. The single
Lumi Audio WSP-6 best thing I’ve done for my home network was to invest
ceiling speaker is your in an 802.11ac wireless router, drill holes to run Cat 6
perfect solution. cable from our cable router to a central location, hard
Connect it via Wi-Fi, cable the wireless router and put it on top of a cup-
or hard cable ethernet board. The four Wi-Fi signal antennas are arranged with
or stereo; the choice two facing forwards and two facing to the back of the
is yours. There’s no house. It’s helpful that 802.11ac has a large footprint
Bluetooth to be seen, and beamforming antennas, but the placement has
but Airplay, DLNA and made it easier to plug in range extenders to help relay
Wi-Fi direct are viable options. You can even stream direct from NAS as signal through walls and trickier areas of the house.
well as you favourite streaming service through the SmartSonix app. Don’t Bottom line: you don’t need to mount your router
stress about output because there’s an amplifier built in.
upside down, just higher so that it doesn’t need to pass
through bodies or other obstacles simply to get out.
Rock the airwaves
Playing your music over Wi-Fi to a wireless speaker allows for better qual-
Cable management can also get crazy when upgrading
ity audio because the bit rate tops out at your router’s maximum speed.
your home’s smarts. Techflex makes various braided/
Streaming from your local libraries won’t use any bandwidth, but take care woven cable management solutions with fire – or rodent
streaming from music services because high bitrate/high resolution audio – resistant properties, depending on your needs. I pre-
can come in quite heavy at around 50 MB for a four-minute track. fer the spiral sleeves because they’re easier to wrap
Products available at linkqage.co.za around cables and it expands easier. No one likes a rat’s
nest behind their PC or smart device; wrap it up.

TIP out, to a precise position and then stopped by

its attachment rivets.
roll off and break) and turn it until the edge of
the label is clearly visible. Now lift or lower
one end of the surface until the water’s menis-
Reach for it
Marking basics When trying to measure from a point that is
cus is exactly on the edge of the label. Voila…
When marking wood: you have levelled the surface.
out of reach, place two lengths of timber side
> Use a pencil.
by side. Move one up until it reaches the point Measuring jug
> Put down a length of masking tape on the
at which you need to start measuring. Now Fill a measuring jug with water to a one of the
area of a join before marking a cut line to
move the second bit of timber down until it marked lines and place it on the surface to be
avoid permanent marks.
reaches the lower point. Clamp the pieces levelled. When the meniscus lies on the line,
> Don’t press too hard; you might dent the
together firmly. You can now measure the total the surface is level. Turn the jug through 90°
distance from end to end. and you can check the other plane as well.
Tale of the tape
On the level Book or DVD case
The angled piece of metal on the end of a
A proper spirit level is one of the most useful Hold a DVD case or paperback book up
steel tape measure doesn’t move because it’s
tools in any DIYer’s armoury. For those situa- against surface to be checked and place a
broken: it is designed to move.
tions where you don’t have a level handy and water-filled measuring jug on it (keep a hold
When measuring an inner surface, such as the
absolute accuracy is not critical, here’s how on it so that it doesn’t fall!). Now adjust the
distance between a corner and a door jamb,
you can improvise. pole or surface until the meniscus is on one of
the hook when pushed against the corner
the lines. Holding the pole or surface very
moves in about 1 mm (the distance depends Bottle
steady in the first plane, move the DVD cover
on the thickness of the metal used for the Take a parallel-sided bottle – such as a wine
or book around the pole about 90° and
hook), accounting for that thickness. bottle – and half-fill it with water. Replace the
repeat. The pole should now be vertical.
When measuring an outer dimension, say to cap or cork, place the bottle on its side on the
the end of a countertop, the hook is pulled surface to be levelled (ensuring that it cannot

48 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

A smarter
for all
Smart homes depend on a rock-solid network and the hints we’ve given
you in the preceding pages will stand you in good stead when it comes to
dimming the lights using only a spoken command or adjusting the home
air-con from your desk at work.

Home automation needn’t be as daunting Installation is too much work

as many believe and needn’t involve As with all electrical installations, there will
sophisticated systems costing the Earth. be work done inside your house. But it
Increasingly, over-the-counter add-on solu- doesn’t have to be sledgehammers at walls
tions are being made available that are well and cable chasing. Wireless technologies
within reach of the average DIYer. But there make it much easier to retrofit homes.
are also times that you need to consider a
built-in system designed specifically for your It’s intimidating and too compli-
application. Whatever, it’s becoming more cated to use
and more evident that intelligence can be In the past this may have been true, but
retrofitted into an older home and easily today the technology has been refined and
included in a new build or renovation, is specifically designed to be user-friendly.
according to home automation specialists Home automation makes use of an intuitive
Homemation, who tackle some smart home user interface that puts everything at a
myths below. homeowner’s fingertips.

It’s far too expensive It’s only an unnecessary gimmick

Home automation can be very affordable: Intelligent zoned heating control and “all
start with one or a few rooms or concentrate out” lighting functions are sensible, practical
on specific features only, such as lighting or and energy-saving ideas. The security
music or security. The price is largely depend- aspects of the system give great peace of
ent on your budget and needs. Today, tech- mind and are a very important feature for
nology has improved and pricing has South African users. Home automation sys-
reduced. Home automation should also be tems don’t only allow you complete control
viewed together with your home as an of all the devices in your home, but also
investment that adds a lot of value to your make clever decisions on your behalf, such
lifestyle. as lowering the blinds in a room because it
Providing a cost estimate isn’t straightfor- has become too warm, sending you an SMS
ward though; it’s like asking how much a and turning off your water because your world-class brands, and the hardware is
car costs. Example: Control4 is software geyser has sprung a leak, or notifying you built to be “future-proof”.
that connects your home’s automated prod- that your garage door has been open for
ucts together, through a LAN environment; more than 10 minutes. It’s just a fad
annual subscription for the Control4 4Sight Try telling that to Apple, Google and
system is around R2 590; starting point is a The technology doesn’t work well Samsung, who have invested in home auto-
dedicated controller (from R9 590). Lighting together and will be outdated soon mation to bring more and improved technol-
costs around R2 000 per lighting circuit. Partnerships with the world’s leading brands ogy to your home. As Business Insider said:
Also, factor in high-speed Internet. ensure products integrate seamlessly into “The ‘Internet of things’ will be bigger than
Installation should be done by a certified the Control4 platform, providing support for the smartphone, tablet, and PC markets
Control4 integrator. more than 10 000 devices from hundreds of combined.” 49
Drills you expect. They’ve been cordless for decades. But a planer? A drill press? A table
saw? Along with improved lithium-ion technology that lets maufacturers pack more voltage
into smaller batteries, brushless motors are more efficient in how they use that electricity.
Your favourite tools can now be used miles away from an outlet. Even somewhere like here.
P hotograph by D wight E schliman

} Makita random-orbit sander } Stihl TSA 230 cutoff saw

Three speed settings means you can sand Even a reciprocating saw pales
through almost anything. You’ll wear out by comparison to Stihl’s cutoff
before the battery. R1 199 machine. The 5,4 kg saw is
powered by a brushless 36 volt
motor and its 225 mm diameter
wheel cuts steel and cast iron.
Or switch to a diamond grit
} Ridgid brushless vacuum wheel and use the accessory
This 18 volt wet/dry hand vacuum water tank to cut concrete.
can be used as is or when you R8 125. Additional battery and
attach the nozzle and floor tool charger cost R3 650
as an upright vacuum for larger
Products available from leading retailers and online.

} Milwaukee
mitre saw
Equipped with a
250 mm blade
and a 4 000 r/min
motor, this 18 volt
saw can crosscut
a 50 x 300 plank,
mitre a 50 x 200,
or crosscut a
piece of 150 mm
baseboard stand-
} Stout band saw
ing vertically. It } Bosch planer Stout’s excellent cordless
can also make Weighing in at only 3 kg with a band saw has a throat
you forget you’re 14 000 r/min motor and solid capacity of 60 mm and can
not plugged into carbide blade, this planer now be attached to an
the mains. About leaves a smooth finish on any accessory stand to convert
R23 000 thing from construction lumber to a stationary machine.
50 to a cactus. R1 699 R1 495

} DeWalt table saw } Bosch Jigsaw

This 23 kg saw is powered
This saw can make
} Craftsman drill driver by a single 60 volt bricklike
any curved or
A two speed gear box, 12 mm lithium-ion battery. It’s a
straight cut in
chuck and 21-position clutch capable cutter, with a rack
wood or compos-
to limit driving torque. Plus, it and pinion gear fence for
} Ryobi lantern ite, aluminium,
comes with two 19,2 volt bat- impressive accuracy. The
A 4 amp battery gets you plastic or steel.
teries. R775 battery is backwards com-
330 lumens of light for 48 When it’s time to
patible with any of DeWalt’s
hours. Plus, it can charge change that smok-
20 volt tool line. R10 499
your phone through a 1 ing hot blade, just
amp USB port. R507 press the lever and
out it pops. R1 550

} Ryobi Bluetooth stereo

Excellent sound quality and a
convenient 2 amp USB port } Milwaukee grinder
that uses the stereo’s 18 volt Cut and grind with a 115 mm
battery to charge your tablet or wheel with a high-torque 28
phone. R1 878 volt DC motor. Overload pro-
tection and soft start also
make this brute safer to use
by decreasing the likelihood of
kickback or stalling. R7 450

} Milwaukee drill press

A magnet in the base of this Milwaukee
drill gives you 907 kg of holding force –
enough to grip any magnetic surface
and become a drill press. The hole-
making capacity of 40 mm is plenty for
most jobs. About R37 000



This amazing
motorised chandelier M ichael Dubno, Inventor

My brother Mike makes a lot of crazy things in his basement workshop.

The latest is something he named the Tentalux – an animated chandelier with six
whirling tentacles of directed light. It’s part of a new partnership called Atelier
Automatik he started to custom-build interactive furniture. – D an D ubno

1 / The Tentalux 2 / The Tentalux is 3 / To orient the ten- 4 / Five micro- 5/ The brain is a 6/ To limit the noise
weighs about 20 kgs. controlled by tablet, tacles in a particular processors – three Raspberry Pi 3 run- the arms make dur-
The arms and centre smartphone, or way, first you must to control motion, ning open computer ing movement, the
skeleton frame are computer. A recent position them using one for dimming, vision. A camera servos were custom-
welded steel, the addition allows it to a smart device. That and one that serves mounted in the centre made using worm-
vertebrae are alu- be voice-controlled position is saved as as the brain, which of the six tentacles gear motors and
minium and the using the Amazon a “pose”, which the controls the vision allows the brain to Hall-effect position
sinews are stain- Echo (“Alexa, ask Tentalux will then be system. track simple objects sensors. This also
less-steel cables Tentalux to dance”). able to re-create such as plates or allows the arms to
and electric wire – from memory. centerpieces and retain their position
in red and blue like assign the arms of when the fixture is
arteries and veins. the lamp to follow turned off.
them with light.
A bike light
Media Lab; cofounder, Move2 8 , interac-
t ive toy design firm, Queens, New York

We sent Bobrow, a programmer and designer

who invented Troxes origami building blocks,
shopping with the equivalent of R1 000 and a
challenge: build something. He came up with
this novel bike light whose switch mounts to
your handlebars.

n 3 m EL wire (red) n soldering gun
n one EL wire battery pack n heat gun
n two AA batteries n 3D printer
n 15 m 24-gauge speaker wire
n one large button
n heat-shrink

First make a body for your “neon sign”: a 3D-

printed block with grooves to hold the electrolu-
minescent wire in the shape of your letters. You
can design your own, or download mine at jonbo-
brow.com/popmech. Commercial 3D printing
services shouldn’t be hard to find; some are avail-
able at maker community venues in some bigger
Press the EL wire into the base’s channels.
Cover the parts of the wire behind the body with
heat-shrink. You can also black out portions of
the front this way, say, to separate words. Trim
excess wire before plugging it into the battery
Cut a length of speaker wire to run along the
frame of the bike from the handlebars to where
the battery pack will sit by the seat. Solder it to
the button. Open the battery pack and find the
contacts for the pack’s built-in button. Solder the
free ends of the speaker wire to these contacts,
bypassing that button. Put heat-shrink tubing
over the exposed wire to make a clean and
weather-resistant connection.
Use zip ties to mount the button to the handle-
bars and the sign below your seat. PM

54 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017


Smart Home Alarm kit & accessories•

The Yale Smart Home Alarm is secure, expandable, easy to install and
controllable at anytime, anywhere through your smartphone. The kit
includes a Smart hub which is the heart of the connected system, a keypad,
one PIR motion detector with built-in image camera, a standard PIR and
two door contacts
WIN 1 of 3
Smart Home Alarm kits
with added accessories

Designed to suit modern lifestyles, the system allows you to add up to

40 devices and can be tailored to your personal requirement. Simply
connect your hub to the internet and download the Yale “Home” app which
is compatible with Android and iOS operating systems. Easy to install,
all accessories in the kit are pre-learnt however adding devices couldn’t
be simpler. Follow the visual setup prompts in the app to expand your
system as required.

With no monthly fees to worry about, you can take full control of your security.
Arming, part arming or disarming your alarm is simple via the keypad or
app. The Smart Home Alarm will also keep you informed when the alarm is
triggered, armed or disarmed via email, SMS and push notifications.
Competition winners will also receive as part of their prize an outdoor motion Smart Home Alarm Kit:
detector, a video camera PIR which enables them to take and view video • 1x Smart hub
footage remotely, as well as a smoke detector and panic button. • 1x Keypad
• 1x PIR motion detector
• 1x PIR image camera
How to enter: • 2x Door/window contacts
Answer the following question:
How many devices can be added to the
Yale Smart Home Alarm Kit?
SMS the words “Yale Smart Alarm” followed
by your answer, your name and e-mail address
to 32697 (R1,50 per SMS)

Download Plus extra accessories:

the Yale Smart Home App• • Smart external motion detector,
• Smart PIR video camera
• Smart smoke detector
• Panic button Each value at
IOS 9.0+ Android 4.4+
R14 000.00
*Phone not
included Make the smart choice at yalelock.co.za

COMPETITION RULES: 1. Entry is open to anyone except employees (and their immediate families) of Ramsay Media and associated agencies. 2. You
may enter via SMS as many times as you like (R1,50 per SMS; this service does not allow for 8ta numbers) 3. Competition runs until 31 October 2017.
4. We will draw the winner(s) by 8 November 2017. 5. The prize is not redeemable for cash. 6. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be
entered into. 7. Regrettably, only South African residents are eligible for prizes. 8. By entering this competition, you agree to receive future correspondence
from Popular Mechanics. You can opt out at any stage by: (a) Sending an e-mail containing the relevant details with the subject line “opt out” to
pmmailers@ ramsaymedia.co.za; or (b) Sending an SMS including the word “STOP” to 31699. Standard SMS rates apply.

The smarter way to protect your home•

(Part 2) through 155 wins from 262 races between
1967 and 1985. Its dominance benefited
heavily from the tall, ground-effect-friendly
layout and was ultimately immortalised by
the very real Ford-produced documentary
9 Days in Summer which chronicles the
engine development and agreements
between Ford, Cosworth and Lotus. But
We’re fostering a 2012 Ford Kuga 1,6 Ecoboost Ambiente as a I digress.
long-term test car to see if it’s still a good purchase and how Ford Those words, especially those uttered by
is addressing the fiery situations that have made this SUV grab the Scott Stoddard character, could easily
the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Lindsey SChutters reports be coming out the mouth of Clinton
Pretorious, service manager at Halfway
(formerly County) Ford in Kuils River. It’s
Those two quotes come from the 1966 a thankless job to contact disgruntled cus-
movie Grand Prix. The film chronicles the tomers and urging them to, yet again, bring
Agostini Manetta [Addressing Pete behind-the-scenes personal drama of a fic- their affected Kuga model in for phase two
Aron at the factory]: “What means far tional 1966 Formula season that climaxes of the recall work. Those aren’t his words,
more to me than anything else is our good at Monza. In the real-life 1966 F1 season, though. He is as cheerful as ever, giving the
name. Our reputation represents desire Ford had one car in a driver-owned team white glove treatment to what he assumes
for perfection of the highest quality. I fitted with its underwhelming 406 three- is just an ordinary customer.
gamble that reputation gladly, because litre V8. The driver’s name was Bruce and One of his colleagues catches me poking
I have absolute faith in every car that the team carried his surname: McLaren. around the freshly serviced car when I go
leaves this factory. But I will not risk it on To be fair, 1966 was a transitional year to collect it. He frankly asks who I am. I
a driver in whom I cannot have an equal with the FIA making the jump from 1,5- assume that the jig is up and explain about
faith.” litre engines to three litres. the previous article and what the Popular
This new standard hit its straps only the Mechanics motive is.
Scott Stoddard: “Y’know one of the following year, when the mighty Cosworth- Phase two of the recall includes the fit-
most beautiful things about a car? If it Ford DFV-powered Lotus 49 propelled ment of an infrared (IR) sensor in the
isn’t working properly, you can strip the Lotus-Ford and driver Jim Clarke to second coolant resevoir, which will accurately
skin off, expose the insides, find out exact- and third in the constructor and driver track the liquid level and display a warning
ly where the trouble is, take out the faulty standings. That combination would’ve message on higher-specification (Trend
part and replace it with a new one. If only been more successful, but for reliability. and Titanium) models. On the lowly
we could do that with people.” The DFV achieved legendary status Ambiente, the engine light will come on

56 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Affected Kuga owners will again receive a full
account of work done, as well as a detailed
explanation of the extended warranty terms.

and the car will go into so-called limp

mode, which cuts power and shuts down
cylinders. There’s also a new thermostat means to my family. massive, mostly because he would
on the fluid line going to the radiator and Speaking of which, the cancer has meticulously survey every process and
the radiator itself now opens its cooling spread to my dad’s brain. We found out a worker on the production line, under the
vents at 70˚C and not the customary 90˚C. couple weeks after I filed the first part of guise of giving me a tour. He is a pedant
Pretorious explains all of this to me this saga. The photo I shot of him leaning in the way I can never be. Do I think that
before I drive off the workshop floor. on the car is the last time I can remember he would’ve sensed a fault and intervened
Before he bids me farewell, I ask if he read seeing him stand upright. He now spends at the factory level as Kugas rolled off the
the article. A flush spreads over his face as his days either in bed or confined to a line in 2011? No. Not even the engineers
the other shoe drops. Turns out he wasn’t wheelchair, with shadows of memories of who developed the 1,6 Ecoboost motor
aware of who the customer was. They have the man he used to be haunting his mind. could’ve predicted that.
a copy of the magazine in the office. Some days are good and we can hold a Kuga is a well-appointed compact SUV
Halfway head office questioned him about conversation, but then comes days when and the 1,6 Ecoboost is a thrilling power-
it. I immediately feel bad for not saying he’ll awaken from a short snooze and not plant. My dad would’ve been a very happy
anything then. But I feel an overwhelming know where he is. owner, especially supported by the excellent
sense of pride. I chose Halfway Ford out of As a boy, I visited the Silverton factory dealer service at Halfway Ford Kuils River.
convenience; it’s the nearest Ford dealer- with my father. It would take forever to There’s a new Kuga out now, a facelift to this
ship to my house. I signed up for this eventually get the golf cart to his office, one. Secondhand 2012-2014 Ecoboost mod-
story because of how much the Ford brand partly because manufacturing plants are els are going for a steal, though. PM

Ford aren’t
new to engine
Early issues
with reliability
didn’t stop the
through the
’70s and early
’80s Formula
One seasons.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 57

DRIVINGby ANTHONY DOMAN (anthony@ramsaymedia.co.za)
Compiled Jaguar F-Pace > nissan navara clever chassis > volvo Xc90 T8 hybrid > Toyota Fortuner gd 4x4 automatic >

Jaguar F-Pace S
I’m not a fan of fast SUVs because I don’t enjoy how they feel when heading
through an off-camber bend. Call me a coward, but that’s just me. I also had a
problem with the two-litre diesel Jaguar F-Pace because I couldn’t see any compelling
Jaguar has perfected the art of reason to recommend it over Land Rover’s slightly less well screwed together Discovery
the fast SUV. Lindsey Schutters Sport. Then I got behind the wheel of the three-litre supercharged V6 F-Pace S and
investigates the underpinnings suddenly I was intrigued.
of that achievement This car has all the off-road capabilities of its less muscular cousin, but is an entirely
different animal on the asphalt. I found myself wanting to go faster. I started chasing
the exhaust note. I wanted it to exhale a puff of tyre smoke on each corner. I was
intoxicated. And like all things that give me a rush, I wanted to know why.
There are faster things out there, like BMW’s X5 M, but for now let’s concern our-
selves with the first legitimate lovechild between Jaguar and Land Rover. The feline
influence is the first you’ll feel because the suspension design comes from the
almighty F-Type and is adapted to fit the 2 874 mm wheelbase, which places most

58 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

OWN MONSTER TRUCK > Launches: audi q5 + RENAUL T captur + honda cr-v

of the weight between the axles. The Jaguar F-Pace’s dual purpose of damping to suit the detected conditions.
Up front is the famed double-wishbone competent rough-roader and agile It must be said that this isn’t new tech-
and round back is a multi-link set-up that asphalt sprinter was an ambitious nology at all and Jaguar has mastered
Jaguar named Intergral Link, obviously undertaking, but something that was passing off being late to the technology
doffing a hat to the integral nature of ultimately achieved in S guise. party as innovation, but the F-Pace does
good rear suspension on a large vehicle. handle as well as they say it does.
To be fair, the company could have There are just a ton of tiny things, like
slapped new body panels and fancier the addition of a fifth mounting point for
leather on a Discovery Sport, but it chose with a reduced risk of skidding. the steering rack and increased rotational
to make an exceptional car instead. When those front suspension develop- stiffness where the subframe meets the
ments are tied to the variable steering body. The rear axle also has high lateral
Stiff lower bits ratio – achieved through changing the stiffness to help the tyres stay in contact
Suspension is mostly made from aluminium steering contact point with the variable with the road on initial turn-in; the less
with components forged from cast blankets pitch gears on the rack bar from the valleys you have to rely on torque vectoring
into a ribbed design. Using aluminium on-centre and the peaks at lock – your through the differential and the electronic
makes the platform as light as possible driver confidence skyrockets from all the stability systems, the better. Electronic
while resisting corrosion. That ribbed real-time responsiveness. The F-pace has nannies can make handling unpredictable.
design also contributes to the stiffness. by far the best steering feel among SUVs, F-Pace aerodynamics resemble that of a
Upper links of the rear suspension are which usually err on the side of lightness. saloon more than an SUV to improve high
forged aluminium; the lower arm features When those clever engineering touches speed cruising. Further enhancing ride
a hollow casting of the same material. are pushed to the limit, torque vectoring quality is the bushes, which can now be
Springs and dampers are mounted sepa- is on-hand to distribute power through made softer than on standard multilink
rately and precisely positioned to better finely metered braking to the inside rear suspensions to absorb more energy
deal with the dynamic forces. The aim is wheel when cornering and help reduce because of the greater lateral stiffness.
superior stiffness without compromising understeer. These systems specifically There’s also greater caster stiffness, which
on refinement, but the pleasant side focus on that inside rear wheel to retain results in better body control under braking.
effect is a design that is space-efficient steering integrity. Where the F-Pace lags behind in autono-
and that doesn’t intrude into the substantial mous drive features, it more than makes up
– and maybe best-in-class – luggage space. Eyes on the road with regard to confidence-inspiring han-
Stiffness is a recurring theme. The dou- If you leave the driving dynamics settings dling. That it can easily accommodate a fam-
ble wishbone is notably stiffer than other in the default mode, the Adaptive ily of four and all their luggage or shopping
designs in camber, allowing the front tyres Dynamics system comes into its own. The is a bonus. There is method to the
the stability to develop more lateral force car monitors body movement 100 times International Car of the Year accolade and
more quickly. This means you can turn in a second and wheel movement 500 times a it can inspire madness behind the wheel.
harder while carrying greater speeds second to provide continuous variable From R1 069 400, jaguar.co.za

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 59


Split decision SUSPENSIONS

And the winner in the battle of the springs is… it

depends. For the moment, comfort means coils.
Simple, reliable and tough, models and a more traditional
leaf springs have been giving leaf spring set-up for work-
us a softer ride since the middle horse and mid-range pick-ups.
ages. Particularly if we need to On the double cabs, ride
carry a heavy load as in the comfort and handling are what
back of a bakkie. Which is why it’s all about, says the general
there’s bound to be some head- manager of Nissan’s technical
scratching about any decision centre (Africa), Hirokazu Kudo.
to ditch a design that’s proven Not that you should mistake
its worth, like Nissan South a comfortable ride for a softie
Africa did with its new Navara approach. “With a pick-up truck,
double cab. one of the key propositions is
All new local Navaras are toughness,” he says. Okay. Comfort, stability and han-
fitted with a multi-link coil- “We implemented the multi- dling are top priorities for
spring rear suspension. The link suspension with the double Nissa’s new Navara, which
new vehicle is, in fact, the first cabs because of their predomi- gets a sophisticated rear end.
of its type to sport a coil-spring nantly dual use character,” says
rear end. To add a little confu- Nissan’s marketing director
sion: in time, you will be able Kabelo Rabotho. “Comfort is The Navara double-cab set-up benefit: better ride and han-
to get your Navara with leaf important; people migrate uses heavy-duty coil springs dling characteristics as well as
springs. That’s because Nissan from SUVs because of their and shock absorbers mounted heavier load-handling. That
designed its next-generation lifestyle requirements.” in front of the solid axle for the translates, says Nissan, into
ladder frame chassis to accom- Why should these people main damping. This places the less bobbing of the rear end,
modate both coil sprung five- even care about the rear end central damping point directly especially when unladen, rear
link suspension on high-end design? above the rear axle, a double wheels that track the front

60 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

A naked Navara
drew admiring
glances at
Nampo. Shown
in blue are the
main components
of the five-link set-up:
coils, links, transverse lateral rigidity of the suspension.
rod and dampers. In other words, how much the
tyre is displaced relative to the
frame. Multi-link suspension
hold the rear axle and wheels components are rigidly mounted
in position. Simple, yet effective. to eliminate sideways move-
On coil springs alone, a vehicle ment, but allow movement in a
would wobble uncontrollably, vertical plane. You can expect
so additional locating arms are more neutral, more predictable
needed. Five-link suspension cornering and less waywardness.
has two arms each side that That’s safer.
essentially hold the rear axle in If it’s such a good system,
place for front-to-rear move- why didn’t they do it before;
ment while allowing each rear and why don’t the others do it?
wheel to move vertically inde- Louw takes a moment before
pendently of the other, plus a replying. “Improvement is the
Why coils? lateral link to control sideways way of the world,” says. “In the
With coil springs and a multi-link rear, it’s a win-win, movement. You guessed it: all previous generation we were
says Nissan’s Kudo. Well, mostly. of this adds complexity – and the first in the market, not
1. Improved comfort, through lower friction. “Friction is weight. necessarily to come up with
something that chassis engineers constantly try to decrease. It’s Yet there’s no denying the new technology, but to apply
an ongoing fight.” advantage of having each com- certain technology. Examples:
2. Better handling and vehicle stability. “Usually ride comfort ponent performing essentially six-speed transmission, elec-
and handling are tradeoffs. Here, you get both.” one function. In the case of the tronic transfer gear operation
3. Optimised performance of spring, stabiliser and damper. coil suspension, the Panhard rod and McPherson strut front
“This helps us achieve 1 and 2. That’s because the multi-link locates the axle; that’s all it does. suspension; up to that time it
components focus on their own specific functions. With leaf sus- The damper damps and the links was with torsion bars.
pension, you have to combine these many functions. It is very “It is a matter of applying
keep things in position. It’s just
difficult to optimise one area of performance.”
technically a better solution. new technology to the segment.
4. Lower weight. “Weight reduction is key and contributes to
In terms of durability, coil I am quite sure that, over time,
better performance and fuel consumption.”
seems to have the edge on leaf. we will be copied with this as
“There is no stress concentration well. The customers are becom-
in the parts. With leaf springs, ing more demanding, especially
wheels more accurately – espe- because bobbing at the rear is there is contact between leaves. for double cabs. You have to
cially at speed – and less likeli- controlled more directly by This also generates some noise,” find solutions to improve ride
hood of being bounced off line shock absorbers with multi-link says Kudo. From a durability comfort because ride is one of
by potholes and mid-corner suspension, than on a leaf- point of view the coil spring the big reasons why people tell
bumps. sprung suspension where the set-up has been proven, says us they won’t change from a
More than one-and-a-half shocks are mounted on differ- the company’s senior manager passenger vehicle or an SUV.”
million test kilometres were ent sides of the rear axle. for LCVs, Freddie Louw. “Our Things will be different for
driven to establish how the But… leaf springs have their own Patrol, Toyota Land single cab workhorse versions.
suspension interacted with the uses. Especially for heavy Cruiser and Land Rover “Single cab, looking at the cus-
steering set-up, the wheel and loads. And leaf springs have Defender have been running tomer application, is more likely
tyre choice and the electronic this inherent ability to stiffen on coil springs.” to be carrying a heavy load. We
driver aids. Engineers were resistance as the load is When designing in a more will introduce these when we
able to tweak the damping increased. Oh, and besides stable ride, one of the key char- start local production, in the
rates more accurately, too, cushioning the ride, leaf springs acteristics engineers aim for is near future.”

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 61


The art and pitfalls of the smart SUV

It’s winter on the Garden The open road isn’t the place for a hybrid; Power with responsibility
Route, the perfect time for a that’s a lesson I learnt on this very same Keeping the car on the road while I’m
stretch of road about two years ago in a making full use of the available power is
family of four to contemplate Toyota Auris hybrid. This isn’t the same an array of tech that now includes a mid-
the convergence of technology kind of party, though. The battery pack corner gear hold function. It seems silly,
and motoring. By L in d se y in the XC90 T8 is in the centre tunnel but that feature is literally there to stop
S chutters between the front and rear seats and any mid-corner gear changes that can
doesn’t encroach on boot space. It’s also a unsettle the car. A microscopic compo-
Two-and-a-half hours of charge plug-in hybrid so the motor is less of an nent of the larger autonomous system
for 35 km of driving range. Well, oversized alternator that robs the engine that culminates, bear with me here, in the
38 km if you go downhill and are hard on of efficiency. But it still has a full separate Drive Me autonomous car solution that is
the brakes. But still. That’s not a good drivetrain to lug around that isn’t being currently undergoing testing in the Swedish
return on investment. And remember helped by a stiff headwind as the last car maker’s hometown of Gothenberg.
that you need those batteries full if you breath of a snowstorm blows up the And that’s where the conceit of this
use four-wheel drive. It would be ample Garden Route. Polestar XC90, which is pretty much driv-
for my work commute, mind you. Charge I didn’t always have my doubts about this ing itself back to Cape Town, starts to fall
it overnight and again at the office. It’s a formidable car. I’m still a believer in the apart. On the one hand you have one of
shame the provided cable is so short, Volvo formula of two-litre, four cylinder the most advanced self-driving cars on
though. But none of that matters now. engines in all of its cars. The XC90 T8 has the South African roads that its creators are
Right now this fully laden SUV still has T6’s turbo- and supercharged petrol engine using as a pet project to show off both the
200 km to go before we get home and the good for 249 kW and 440 N.m, with the elec- dynamic potential of the dual drivetrain
range says 235 km. Consumption is hov- tric motor contributing a further 65 kW and and the company’s safety advancements.
ering at around 9 litres/100 km, a far cry 240 N.m. If the Polestar badge on the back To be clear: I back a Volvo-branded
from Volvo’s claims. The batteries are all wasn’t enough warning then the urgent horse in the race to eliminating road
but dead at this point, too. Completely shove in the backside when I fully open the deaths, especially after the company stated
spent on the short trip from Sedgefield throttle reminds me of the power that lurks that it accepts full liability for the safety
to Wilderness. beneath the family-friendly exterior. of its autonomous systems. That was in

62 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

the ills of the world. We were stuck in
roadblock traffic coming into Swellendam,
a nightmare scenario for parents of two
small children who had just woken up
from a nap and were eager to stretch their
legs at the promised surprise location.
With the XC90 negotiating the stop/start
driving bit, I was free to concentrate on
solutions to the unhappy children problem.
Is the 8,7 litres/100 km fuel consumption
the car averaged over the round trip ideal
for mostly highway cruising? No. I could’ve
shaved almost two litres off that figure in
the D5 diesel model and still had access to
99 per cent of the same features. I know
that the drive to work the day after we
got back was purely on electric power and
that trip figure is a lot better than a Range
Rover Sport would do and
you lose the autonomous
We still stand features with that.
by our asses- We are yet to gaze upon
ment of the
the mountaintop of hyper
XC90 as the
efficiency and 100 per cent
pick of the
autonomy, but cars like
million rand
luxury SUVs
the Volvo XC90 are the
if you’re not sherpas that lighten the
going off load and guide the way.
road. Just not My eldest is six and she
the hybrid, yet. isn’t impressed any more
when I let technology take
the wheel. To her it's nor-
mal. She even says she
doesn’t want to drive
reference to the Autonomous Drive Level when she grows up. She
4 cars in the Drive Me pilot programme also takes plugging a car
and in response to how Tesla handled the into the mains in her
tragic fatality in early 2016. stride, only questioning
Back in Autonomous Drive Level 2 coun- why we still need to stop
try where there is only adaptive cruise at the fuel station when
control and lane-keep assist working in we already charged at
tandem, I can comment on the quality of home.
the Pilot Assist system. The end 2016 soft- As we quietly cruise
ware update that liberated Pilot Assist to through the charred
operate up to 135 km/h and without a car remains of the Knysna for-
ahead seemed a bit wary of tight bends est I reflect on the past.
when I tested it in the S90, but it operated Our insatiable need to strip
well on the way to Knysna and repeats that resources from the Earth is
performance on the way back. Yes, Audi partly to blame for the devastation. The
the Bowers and Wilkins audio system to
and Mercedes-Benz are bringing Level 3 invasive pines that fuelled the inferno are a
its Gothenberg Concert Hall acoustics-
cars to market, but I’m hesitant to out- hangover of a simpler time when there
replicating setting after asking Google to
source overtaking manoeuvres to a com- wasn’t much planning for the future. We
play Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album.
puter when South African drivers are as walked with some of the last remaining
Later on, while my family is asleep, I focus
unpredictable as a wild animal. elephants, their fallen ancestors victims of
the audio on the driver seat and clear
some backlog from my podcast queue. their intersection with human expansion.
Cabin fever This is what you pay your R1 million Maybe bad fuel economy from the infantile
In the cabin the 9,5-inch Sensus touch- for: the effortless mile-munching with all state of hybrid technology isn’t that bad.
screen interface still dominates the dash- the safety systems working together to It’s just tax that this generation is paying
board. Seven luxury leather seats are lull you into a true sense of security. You to reverse the damage. You know, the sins
comfortable; my wife and I make full use buy a luxury family carrier for the peace of the father… But none of that matters
of the first row massage functions. I enjoy of mind that your loved ones have been now. It’s all about getting the next genera-
live-recorded albums on road trips and set given the absolute best protection against tion home safely.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 63



This one favours the bold
Toyota has learnt not to mess with a winning formula. In the case
of the bestselling Fortuner, familiarity breeds… admiration.

This is probably self-evident, but let’s say it anyway: if Toyota’s legend-

ary Fortuner were a dog, you would have heard about it by now. Still with
canine analogies: if you don’t shortlist the Fortuner when shopping for an SUV,
insist the faithful, you’re barking mad.
Leaving aside peace of mind and near-fanatical loyalty, it’s worth knowing that
Toyota has sold nearly 18 000 current-generation Fortuners, of which our test
vehicle, the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Automatic (R624 100) accounts for 3 946 sales (correct
at the time of writing). By anyone’s measure, this makes it very successful indeed.
Why would you choose this 7-seater over, say, a Pajero Sport, Ford Everest or
Land Rover Discovery, all of which deserve your attention? Evidence suggests the JUST THE FACTS
answer lies in a heady mix of versatility, affordability, off-road capability, perceived ENGINE: 2.8-litre, 4-cylinder 
reliability and that deliciously illogical factor we call emotion. All these vehicles turbodiesel
are impressive, and a couple are arguably more stylish, but hey, only one of TRANSMISSION: 6-speed
them is a Toyota. automatic
POWER: 130 kW at 3 400 r/min
TORQUE: 450 N.m between
1 600 and 2 400 r/min
Ramp angle: 29 degrees
Ground clearance: 279 mm
TOP SPEED: 180 km/h
ECONOMY: 9,2 litres/100 km
(8,5 litres claimed)
PRICE: R624 100

64 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

With room for big families (and big objects) plus a generous list of creature comforts,
the Fortuner is a long-standing favourite.

your right foot. In “Sport” mode, of course, ship V6, but then again, that derivative
everything becomes more vigorous, but at sells for R670 500.
the expense of economy. For the record, this is a proper off-roader.
As spacious and economical family Simply by pressing a button, you can ven-
We covered over 1 000 km during our transporters go, the Fortuner does rather ture just about anywhere and be reasonably
week with the Fortuner, giving us plenty well. Our Garden Route adventure certain of arriving without incident. We
of time to explore its features and capabil- occurred mostly on tar, with a couple of took the Fortuner into deep sand and
ities and we liked it very much. It works short forays into the rough stuff, but with deliciously gooey mud, climbed mildly
for family holidays, weekend getaways, the 80-litre fuel tank filled to the brim intimidating gradients and explored a few
off-road adventures and just about any and our inner hooligan reined in, we cov- places not designed for SUVs (or any
other application you can imagine, with ered over 850 km before chickening out other vehicle, for that matter). When we
the possible exception of a daily commute; and pulling over for a refill. That’s with returned it to Toyota a week later, it was
unless, of course, your workplace is some- four people on board and the rear com- in perfect nick and they had to prise the
where remote and rugged. partment packed to the rafters with suit- ignition key from our vice-like grip. Put
How different is it from the previous cases, bedding, cooler boxes, booze and simply, the Fortuner works.
model? Not very. It’s longer, wider and a other essentials. – Al an Duggan
little more refined, with all the features Standard features include a diff-lock,
that elevated its predecessor to record- hill descent control, a very efficient aircon
setting sales levels, but that aside, it’s with separate rear-seat adjustment, seven Off the charts
reassuringly familiar and therein, we airbags, cruise control, electric driver’s Every eighth Toyota sold in May 2017
suspect, lies its appeal. seat adjustment, cup holders where you (we picked the month at random) was a
Powered by Toyota’s new-generation need them, a double glove compartment Fortuner. The big SUV ranked as top-
2,8-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel, the (part of which is cooled by the aircon), seller in its category and more is to
Fortuner is a pleasure to drive at highway lots of storage space, and enough rear- come, according to Calvyn Hamman,
speeds, when the powerplant barely raises seat legroom to keep everyone happy. The senior vice president for sales and mar-
a sweat and the 6-speed auto transmission middle-seat row can slide, which helps. keting. “The buyer trend favouring the
shifts cogs with nary a hiccup. Even in Although the GD-6 4x4 Auto features a ride height, interior space, comfort and
good-sized infotainment touchscreen and style of SUVs at the expense of tradi-
“Eco” mode, it delivers enough grunt to
an extremely useful reversing camera (a tional passenger cars appears unstop-
permit overtaking without noise or drama.
pable,” he says. He also cited the
The paddles on the steering column are a boon when exiting a parking space with
brand’s “rock-solid reputation” of quali-
nice if somewhat puzzling touch: you can the rear view blocked by luggage), we
ty, reliability and resale value, which he
press the downshift paddle a couple of found the absence of integrated satnav described as vitally important in these
times if you’re in a hurry, but the response and a remote tailgate opener a bit weird. economically testing times.
is so leisurely that you might as well use These features are included with the flag-

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 65


Range Rover Evoque

The one that I want

Those of us fortunate to
be in motoring media hardly
ever have enough money to afford
the cars we drive, but most know
exactly what they would spend
lottery millions on. The garage is
usually three cars strong. A practi-
cal daily driver, a tool for your
favoured leisure activity (race car
or 4x4) and the so-called Sunday
car meant for pointing at moun-
tain passes and impressing the
neighbours. Because I have a wife
who works on a farm and has a
penchant for large vehicles with
load bays, I don’t count a double chock full of my family, the con-
cab in that equation. It’s a stand- vertible variant stirs up emotions. the top and a higher list price, but at least this version feels
ard requirement. While it’s hardly as practical as like something unique. In convertible guise, Land Rover has
This, however, is the first Range a full-sized, seven-seat Range finally managed to give the Evoque an identity to go along-
Rover ever to make my list, and Rover, there is enough boot space side its premium leather-clad interior.
it falls somewhere between a for the week’s groceries and room My children begged for the roof down on every trip.
Sunday car and a daily driver. in the back for child car seats. Strangers come up to comment on the car. Other road users
It was a Friday, not a Sunday, Even Isofix anchor points. And wish they were you. If I were spending a million rand on a
when I realised how special this it’s still a Range Rover with compact SUV, I want to feel like I spent a million rand on it
car can make you feel. We were enough – barely – ground clear- and this car delivers that feeling in spades. It moves, too,
heading to the Spur at my daugh- ance to clear small boulders or with Mini-like agility thanks to that wheel-in-every-corner
ter’s request on her birthday. We hop even the tallest of suburban layout. The two-litre, four cylinder turbo-petrol Ingenium
also had on board my mother-in- kerbs. Four wheels are constantly engine’s 177 kW and 400 N.m is good for 0-100 km/h
law, who first spotted the gentle- driven and there’s the terrific sprints in as little as 8,1 seconds. There’s some body roll, but
man in the Range Rover Sport Land Rover Terrain Response sys- that stiffer shell keeps things tight in the twisties.
Supercharged giving us the tem for when the going gets really Not bad, Land Rover, not bad. Even on a tech level the
thumbs-up. Bear in mind that the tough. adaptive cruise control and self-parking features bring it in
Evoque was launched in 2012 and I used to berate the Evoque for line with the modern competition. Now let’s talk about that
is as common as vineyards in the killing off the stellar Freelander 2. horrible infotainment interface… It’s about time you just
Stellenbosch winelands. But still, It is essentially that same car adopt Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
in its sizzling Phoenix Orange and with some extra trimmings on From R987 800, landrover.co.za – L in d se y S chutters

66 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Your Own Monster Truck
Three things make any truck a monster: taller suspension,
bigger tyres, and a meaner motor.
Lift it up Fit new tyres Upgrade your engine
For beginners looking for Tyre size depends on both Kane is overhauling a
a quick lift, install a level- lift and your fender shape. Chevrolet 5,3-litre LS he
ling kit. Some trucks come Lift kits specific to your pulled out of a donor for
with a higher rear end (a truck should tell you how his own vehicle, a Suburban,
factory setting to accom- big you can go. Larger and recommends the
modate heavy loads), so tyres also gear down your engines for anyone work-
a levelling kit raises the truck, giving it better fuel ing on a GM. “The LS
front end by adding spacers economy, but slowing family is cheap and bullet-
to the suspension. Kane acceleration (the engine proof,” he says. He’s tar-
M or g a n K a ne ,
used a kit from ReadyLIFT does more work for every geting roughly 520
driver, mechanic,
to add 7,5 centimetres to wheel rotation). For a big horsepower with his build,
Grave Digger
his 2012 Silverado. For jump in wheel size, install but for novices, 300 is a
more, you’ll need a com- a rear axle with a higher reasonable goal. A new
plete suspension upgrade. ratio. Kane swapped his cam, fuel-injection kit and
That typically means vehicle’s 1:3.75 axle for a turbo all boost your engine
replacing the front coils 1:4.88 to accommodate power. Just be sure to
and adding a pair of rear 37-inch tyres. upgrade the head gasket
leaf springs. and head studs to contain

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 67



1 3

1 2 3


Quattro permanent all-wheel drive has Only two years after its launch to the local More space, that’s how you’re going to
underpinned Audi’s drivetrain tech, so it’s market, Renault has updated its Captur capture the families in 2017: give them
interesting to see a change in emphasis with what it says is stronger design, a more room to expand. But how else do you
with the latest generation of the brand’s more intuitive drive and more diverse improve on the world’s bestselling SUV?
popular Q5 SUV. As part of what is overall engines to meet consumer needs. More than nine million units in 150 coun-
an evolutionary update, the Q5 gets “quattro Externally the makeover includes new tries is no small feat. And that space in
on demand” as standard across the range. bodywork, lights and wheels. Similar cos- reality translates into a 65 mm increase in
Effectively, in normal driving the Q5 metic updates are visible on the inside – second-row knee clearance.
defaults to more efficient front-wheel such as new multipurpose central storage The pick of the line-up is by far the
drive. Drive goes to the rear axle only on options plus front central armrest – though 1,5-litre V-Tec Turbo, which is good for 140
demand, up to 100 per cent if needed. This what’s not immediately evident is more kW and 240 N.m. Honda also made some
smart system permanently monitors the supportive seats. The Captur has enjoyed a adjustments to the all-wheel-drive system,
route, driver and driving status and is able comprehensive standard-fit list of conveni- which sees 10 per cent more power heading
to act predictively, if needed. It uses 150 ence features to keep occupants informed, to the rear wheels. Further enhancements
sensors delivering data 100 times a second entertained and in control, but added to come via dual pinion electronic power
to allow it to calculate the needed inter- that now is Renault’s R&Go® application, steering and an innovative floating sub-
vention about half a second in advance. available from entry level in the new Blaze frame. Fluid-filled bushes and a frequency
Audi says it needs only 200 milliseconds derivative. This customisable interface is a response damper that adjusts for rate as
to fully activate quattro. Parameters moni- smartphone/tablet multifunction applica- well as stroke keep the drive very smooth.
tored range from road friction coefficient tion that adds innovative functionality Staying competitive in a now very
to wheel rotation speed, engine torque, such as remote control and incorporates a crowded market comes down to minor dif-
steering angle, accelerator position, road dedicated cradle for a smartphone or tablet. ferences and using 780 grade high tensile
slope and driving style. Audi’s drive select Automatic transmissions seem to be hit- material in 28 per cent of the vehicle body
system provides up to seven driving modes, ting the spot and Renault has recognised will add enough rigidity to the body and
including off-road. Chassis options availa- this with the availability of either manual keep the drive exciting. The company is
ble on the new Q5 include adaptive air or its electronic EDC (efficient dual clutch) leading the way with standard Apple
suspension with five-position ride height. automatic on its top 88 kW 1,2-litre four- CarPlay and Android Auto support, which
Class-leading efficiency highlights include cylinder petrol model. Other engine options adds more weight to the company’s “most
a drag factor of 3,0 (four-cylinder models), are the three-cylinder 66 kW petrol and advanced compact SUV” claim.
auto transmission freewheel function and 66 kW 1,5 diesel four-cylinder that’s said All new Hondas come with a 5-year/
thrifty two-litre turbocharged engines: a to yield a class-leading 3,6 litres/100 km. 200 000 km warranty and the CR-V is no
140 kW/400 N.m diesel and a 185 kW/ Helping the Captur to a top 5-Star Euro different. Two engine variants fill out the
370 N.m petrol. The diesel gets 4,9 litres/ NCAP are ABS brakes with EBA, electronic range with the naturally aspirated two-
100 km yet storms from standstill to stability program (ESP), front airbags and litre bringing forgettable performance
100 km/h in 7,9 seconds. head/chest side bags. to the table.
Price: from R698 000 Price: from R229 900 Price: from R422 900 PM

68 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

R303 AVE
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The inside of the wet hot cell at

Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
where scientists use nitric acid and
columns of silica glass to remove
dangerously radioactive material
that accrues in neptunium – pluto-
nium’s precursor – during shipping
from Idaho National Laboratory.

70 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017



OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 71

on Earth belongs to the USA’s Isotope
Business Office, which manages the sale
of atomic isotopes produced at Department
of Energy labs around the country. It’s got
your calcium, platinum and titanium. Your
ytterbium, your strontium-90, and of
course uranium-235 and plutonium-239
(responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
In this catalogue, plutonium-238 is the The water that cools and helps stabilise the HFIR glows blue
only-on-one-model-year carburettor from because of Cherenkov radiation; the result of excited electrons
the old car you’ve somehow kept running: moving through water faster than light.
useful, unique and discontinued. And the
old car is a spacecraft: NASA missions
bound beyond the influence of the Sun,
where solar power isn’t an option, use 1 2 3
radioisotope power systems (RPS) to create RECEIVE ELIMINATE CREATE
electricity from the heat of atomic decay. NEPTUNIUM-237 PROTACTINIUM TARGETS
RPS that use 4,8 kilograms of fuel have
powered experiments on the Moon and The precursor to plutoni- Watching through a one- In the glove box, the
Mars and launched golden records etched um-238 is neptunium-237, and-a-half-metre-thick neptunium is pro-
with the essence of human civilisation to a radioactive by-product of lead window, scientists cessed with a tech-
the edge of the solar system. They run only nuclear power plants. Oak use manipulators – grab- nique invented at Oak
on plutonium-238, which is (relatively) Ridge gets its neptunium ber arms controlled from Ridge called modified
cheap, has a suitable half-life, and gets trucked in from Idaho the outside – to pour the direct denitration. The
plenty hot. But it was a by-product of National Laboratory in a powdered neptunium into liquid solution is rotated
Cold War-era nuclear weapon factories, powdery form called oxide. a beaker, add nitric acid in a heated kiln until it
now decommissioned, and by the 2010s When it arrives, it’s and cook it until it has sifts out, again in a
there were fewer than ten RPS’ worth deposited via a dumbwaiter- dissolved and the solution powdered oxide form.
remaining for NASA to use. So scientists like system in a shielded takes on a dark green This powder is mixed
lobbied the US energy department to room called a hot cell. colour. Then the liquid is with powdered alumini-
start making it again. Tennessee’s Oak Some of the neptunium poured through a column um and pressed into
Ridge National Laboratory produced a oxide will have already of silica glass beads, whose pellets the size of a
50-gram sample in late 2015 – the first decayed into a more dan- surface attracts protactini- 15 mm socket, which
since 1988. This year, having refined the gerous radioactive material um. The remaining liquid are loaded into alumi-
process, the lab expects 300 grams. The called protactinium, so small is moved to a glove box. nium rods, targets for
goal? 1,5 kilograms per year. quantities are moved into a Oak Ridge’s experi-
separate hot cell plumbed mental high flux isotope
for radioactive liquids, where reactor (HFIR).
scientists can do the chem-
istry needed to remove it.

72 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Oak Ridge staff in front of the lead window and manipulators Less radioactive steps in the manufacturing process
that allow them to work with the radioactive materials inside happen in a glove box, which is slightly less intimidating
a shielded hot cell. than a hot cell. Here, pouring recycled neptunium.

4 5 6 7

The HFIR offers much When irradiation is com- A process called solvent Fully refined, the plutonium
higher flux (the rate at plete, the targets go back extraction isolates the powder is packed into
which targets are bom- into a hot cell. The rods plutonium and neptunium: stainless-steel canisters
barded with neutrons) are dissolved with a solvents are added to the designed for transporting
than the reactor of a caustic solution and the solution that dissolve only radioactive materials. It’s
nuclear power plant. radioactive material inside, those elements. Then shipped to Los Alamos
Once target rods are now 12 to 14 per cent scientists induce the National Laboratory, where
loaded into the reactor, plutonium-238, is again solution to separate, like it’s turned into fuel capsules
they’re bombarded for a dissolved in nitric acid. oil and water, so that they for RPS, then to Idaho
period of three to twelve can remove the solvent National Laboratory, right
months. As neutrons that’s bound to them. At back where it started as
collide with the targets, this point, neptunium is neptunium, where the
some of them are separated and can be RPS are built.
absorbed by neptunium passed through the cycle
atoms. That creates a again.
new neptunium isotope, The plutonium is purified
neptunium-238, which through a process called
radioactively decays ion exchange, which Oak
into plutonium. Ridge is still refining a
key step to reaching the
1,5-kilogram per year
delivery goal.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 73


74 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Don Greer and his
wife, Helen, hid in a
tornado shelter.
Only he survived.
Now, a team of
engineers has
committed to doing
the impossible:
building a structure
that’s stronger
and smarter than
the merciless,
random powers
of Nature itself.


OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 75

his mind, he is certain he has locked the three deadbolts.
He never sees the tornado, but within seconds he hears it,
like sand hissing against steel. The door begins to groan and
flex back and forth on the hinges and deadbolts. The staccato
of heavy objects striking the shelter is deafening, like being
fired upon by a machine gun loaded with bricks. Don throws
himself against the door and pushes with everything he
has. Helen is a small woman, but she too finds her strength,
At a little before 7:30 on the evening of 27 April, 2014, and she stands between her husband’s arms to help him
Helen Greer looks out through the screened-in back porch brace against the wind outside.
towards the river. “Don,” she says, “don’t you think you
should come look at this?” thousand kilometres to the west, a man
Her husband of 41 years appears at her side and looks to named Larry Tanner has spent nearly two
the south. From this spot at the northern edge of the small decades studying the kind of wind that is
River Plantation subdivision, near Mayflower, Arkansas, he screaming through Mayflower and how to
can see the homes of his neighbours and beyond, the cone defend against it. He runs the laboratory at
of Pinnacle Mountain rising above the pine and hickory the National Wind Institute, a
woods along the banks of the Arkansas River. It is the way Texas Tech research centre that
the clouds are moving that is upsetting Helen. She asks serves as a hub for the study of
Don, “Don’t you think we should go to the safe room?” everything from wind energy to
Don squints at the sky above the treetops and the low wind-hazard mitigation. Housed in
ridgeline and sees no reason for panic. “Just a bunch of
clouds moving around out there,” he says. The wind
moans and the trees in the yard toss. It happens a lot In 41 years of marriage, Helen (left in
2004) and Don (below, photographed
this time of year. on the site of his former home) had
Don is a builder by trade and has overseen the con- already survived one close call with a
struction of many of the houses in the neighbourhood – tornado.
a mix of modest single-storey wood-frame and brick
homes, along with a few McMan-sions closer to the river.
Their son, Donnie, lives next door, and their grandson
plays in a yard just metres from their own. Helen spends
hours tending her rose garden and when the bushes are in
bloom it’s the pride of their quiet block. During the day,
purple martins fly in and out of the birdhouse in the back-
yard. At night, Don and Helen often pass the time on the
back porch, where her two schnauzers snore in her lap.
They watch fireflies flickering in the woods and listen to the
coyotes hollering up and down the train tracks. Sitting out
there, at 80 years of age, Don feels like he’s done pretty
well in this life.
On this night, the lightning keeps getting closer, louder.
The schnauzers have run off some place, hiding. Don scans
the darkening sky in the southwest – like night is coming
on. But all he can see out there is rain falling in deep-grey
curtains over the river. This isn’t the first time the weather
has kicked up like this. Almost three years ago to the day,
Don had watched from the lee of his house as a storm
swept over the valley, and a barrel-shaped tornado howled
up Palarm Creek. Though it came within a kilometre or so
of their home that day, it never got so bad that they
needed to use the tornado shelter in the corner of the
house – what Helen calls the safe room.
Don finds the dogs beneath the couch. They won’t
come out. Gusts roar out of the pines in the north,
rushing past the house toward the river. Helen heads
for the shelter. Don still isn’t worried, so he leaves the
dogs and follows his wife as much for her peace of mind
as anything else. He enters the bedroom and steps into
the 2,4-metre-square shelter that also serves as their
walk-in closet and gun safe. He shuts the door behind him,
and though the events that follow remain fragmented in

76 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

a hangar at what used to be Reese Air Force Base, on the out- wife is gone. He pushes himself up on to his feet and tries
skirts of Lubbock, Texas, it contains a massive, two-storey to pull on the door, but its steel cladding is so badly warped
vortex simulator; a wind tunnel capable of generating a that he can barely get it to budge.
sustained gale of up to 175 kilometres per hour; and, in a He fumbles for his phone and calls Donnie.
far corner, the Debris Impact Facility. “Are you okay?” Don says.
Tanner has a ruddy face, a thick, west-Texas drawl and a “We’re all fine,” Donnie says.
shock of cotton-coloured hair. He is an architectural engineer, “Get your butt over here. Your mom is hurt. I’m hurt, too.”
a student of catastrophic tornadic events, and the world’s fore- Soon, Donnie emerges from his own shelter. Don has the
most expert in tornado shelters. Three years after the Mayflower door cracked open now, and he can see his son running through
storm, Tanner stands behind a protective wall of clear Lexan the debris towards him. Donnie pushes against the door while
panelling, reading from a clipboard in the officious monotone Don pulls, and it moves just enough to allow Don to squeeze
of a man about dull work. Some of what he says is a recitation through. Donnie finds his mother inside the reinforced box,
of Federal Emergency Government Agency (FEMA) codes, but the only piece of the house still standing. Don has a gash on
the gist is, he’s about to propel a seven-kilogram projectile his scalp down to the skull, and another under his left arm,
160 kilometres per hour at an above ground steel-panel tornado exposing ribs. One of his lungs is punctured. His left wrist
shelter to simulate the debris impacts generated by a tornado is broken and his left thumb is laid open with a deep gash.
packing 400-kilometre-per-hour winds. With the help of his son, Don staggers into the drifts of
With the record satisfactorily established for the video cam- brick and lumber that cover his own foundation, where even

Don thought his door was struck by a refrigerator. There were

several in the yard, none his. But the engineers aren’t so sure.

era, Tanner steps from behind the screen to another, safer the tile and the vinyl have been scoured away. In the early
enclosure even further back, because the debris cannon is evening dusk beneath the storm, the tornado bears away to the
online. Known as the potato gun on steroids, the cannon draws northeast, towards Vilonia. He stares out over River Plantation.
on both atmospheric science and applied engineering. Its His house is gone. His son’s house is gone. Where his neigh-
howitzer-like barrel is six metres long, 10 centimetres wide, bour’s homes stood a few moments ago is a trail of shattered
and is attached to a 114-litre compressed-air tank. Where lumber and shredded insulation leading to the river.
the two meet, a butterfly valve is capable of draining the His wife is gone.
entire contents of the tank within several thousandths of a It will take two hours before an ambulance can make its
second. No gunpowder. No explosives. Just the force of air. way through the trashed streets to the place where 115
The steel-panel shelter – the victim of today’s testing – sits Plantation Road once stood.
five and a half metres from the muzzle. As ammunition, Tanner “Check on your mother,” Don keeps telling his son.
will use the most common missile found swirling within
high-end twisters: a 50 x 100 wooden beam. His assistant ind is as formidable a natural force as the
and cannoneer, Tanner Pletcher, a Texas Tech senior study- oceans and volcanoes, but it presents a
ing civil engineering, shoves the plank down the barrel and unique problem: wind is invisible. Still, the
rams it home with a makeshift plunger. He steps behind Debris Impact Facility forges ahead with
the control panel and begins punching keys on a laptop. a singular mission: to protect people from
“Arming”, he shouts. A pneumatic rushing issues from the it. More specifically, to protect people from things the wind
tank as it pressurises. The cannon’s green laser sight paints the blows. It sounds like an impossible thing to achieve. Wind is
middle of the shelter’s 113-kilogram steel door, right at one of too random and too big. But they try, and they try again, and
its slide bolts. A klaxon sounds three times, resounding through with each blast of that standard wooden beam against a steel
the hangar. “Clear”, Pletcher yells. “Three… two… one… ” door or prefabricated shelter, all brought voluntarily to Tanner’s
lab for testing by their manufacturers, they get a little closer.
on and Helen Greer’s tiny shelter is shattered The list of truly safe shelters grows a little longer.
by a sound like an explosion that snaps off After Pletcher counts down to one, there is a great exhalation
of the bare concrete walls and the hollow steel of air, a puff of white gas from the muzzle, and the plank
of the door. After that, Don’s memory briefly hurtles towards the door like a javelin, covering the five and
goes dark. He regains consciousness on the a half metres in 124 milliseconds. The board strikes near the
floor, and feels a terrible pain in his left wrist. He finds a torch, middle slide bolt with a hollow, metallic concussion like thunder
but it’s difficult to turn on; something is wrong with his thumb. and is repelled. Waves transmit through the steel wall panels.
He finally gets it to work, and he points the beam at Helen, The shock wave dislodges the outer door handle, which is sent
who is lying next to him at the back of the shelter. Her hands skipping across the concrete floor. Tanner, Pletcher and the
are folded beneath her head. She seems to look up at him, but group of undergraduate students observing behind their own
her eyes are coated in a film of cellulose insulation. He shakes barrier emerge and gather around the door. They note a rectan-
her because she won’t speak and then Don realises that his gular impression in the steel plate left by the butt of the plank.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 77

Several students measure the depth of the indentation with a on built the storm shelter himself. Before he had
ruler. Others enter the shelter’s dim interior through an escape even started framing the house, while the con-
hatch to gauge the condition of its 25 mm steel slide bolts. The crete slab was still setting, he plunged heavy-
door’s reinforced frame is visibly warped. Some of the bolts gauge rebar down into the cement, bent at the
fastening its cross members are loose. But the slide bolts are bottom to add support. He welded rebar to the anchors and
still retractable and holding fast. That’s a good sign. threaded them through stacks of concrete blocks, forming a
For the rest of the morning and into the afternoon, Tanner small box, with cement pumped down into the hollows. He
will repeatedly attempt to spear this shelter with a well-stocked bent the rebar skeleton over the top and lined the ceiling
supply of planks. He’ll hit the handle assembly, the hinges, the with concrete as well. The steel door to their safe room had
air vents, and the steel side-panelling, a wooden pipe clenched set him back the equivalent of nearly R10 000.
in his teeth. By now, he can often see a structure’s vulnerable Now, in the Baptist Health Medical Centre in Little Rock the
spots before the cannon is loaded. He knows, for example, that day after the storm, Don struggles to understand how his
if he targets the upper corner of the shelter wall, there is less shelter failed. We had a third of a metre of concrete over us,
space for the impact’s energy to disperse. The corners are well- he thinks. Solid concrete walls with rebar. But as he thinks
known failure sweet spots, and Tanner pounds them relent- about it, he knows it wasn’t the concrete that failed him and
lessly. If he hits a box’s weakest points and they hold, the Helen. It was the door. The one that he had bought. He
shelter should survive even the worst-case scenario. And if the remembers asking a man at the builder’s supply for a storm
shelter doesn’t pass his test, its failure provides lessons for door, and that was what he gave him.
how to build a stronger one. Because if Tanner doesn’t locate In Mayflower, surveyors from the National Weather Service
and exploit the weak links, a tornado most certainly will. are combing through the path, estimating the wind speeds
that caused the damage. They will assign the tornado a number
on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which assesses wind velocities
based on varying degrees of destruction, from the light damage
of an EF-0, where winds top out at 135 kilometres per hour,
to an EF-5, the most violent classification, where winds exceed
320 kilometres per hour. The surveyors identify this one as a
killer EF-4, which they now know has claimed 16 lives, including
Helen Greer’s. Amid the flattened forests and River Plantation,
where houses seem almost to have been smeared over the low
hills, one detail stands out: Don’s shelter, and the fatality
they’re told is associated with its failure.
Tim Marshall, a meteorologist and civil engineer who often
consults with the US National Weather Service, is one of those
conducting the survey. He sends a photograph of the door to
his friend Larry Tanner at the Debris Impact Facility. Tanner
calls Ernst Kiesling, an engineering professor at Texas Tech and
the executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association,
a collective of manufacturers that issues construction standards
for tornado shelters. “I know good and well that’s not a tornado
door,” Tanner tells him. “I want to do a forensic autopsy on it.”
Shortly before Don is due to be discharged from Baptist in
early May, his son receives a letter. It’s from Mike Vaughn, the
president of the NSSA. He expresses his condolences, and asks
if Don will allow the association to take the door for further
Above: The study. From his hospital bed, Don gives the okay. A month
EF-4 tornado later, an NSSA member from Tulsa, Oklahoma, travels to
left a 65-kilo-
metre trail of River Plantation, retrieves the door and its frame from the
destruction. ruins of Don’s home and drives it to Lubbock.
Right: The Tanner’s laboratory is in Lubbock, but it’s also always been
Greers’ storm
door, which out there, in the scars left behind by storms. Before the clean-
cost R10 000, up begins in earnest, he’ll sift through what remains, like a
was probably homicide detective. More often than he’d like, he finds safe
struck by a
piece of air- rooms that would have failed his tests: a shelter whose walls had
borne plywood been punctured by steel debris, shelter doors with locking and
roof decking. hinge assemblies that he knows would not withstand a direct
hit, hurricane doors that might work in Miami, but were simply
not designed to repel the projectiles of an EF-4 or EF-5 tornado.
The trouble is, unless a residential tornado shelter is built
with US federal government money, there are no regulations.
The first primitive standards weren’t developed until 2001,
when FEMA launched a shelter incentive programme after an
EF-5 ploughed through the Oklahoma City suburbs in 1999.

78 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

The Debris Impact Facility’s pneumatic cannon is laser-guided and
hurls projectiles – typically 50 x 100 mm beams – at simulated wind
speeds as high as 400 km/h. The cap on the end of the plank helps it
be propelled by the full force of the air.

There’s no way for Tanner to know how many faulty shelters

are out there giving diligent, well-intentioned people like the
Greers a false sense of security. All he can do is keep testing.

on Greer steers his pick-up down a neighbour-

At first, some home builders saw the programme as another hood street along the Arkansas River, looking
revenue stream, but there were restrictions: to qualify for toward Pinnacle Mountain to the south. He
programme funds, the shelters had to have an engineer’s seal points at an empty foundation along the river-
of approval, and they had to be tested at Texas Tech. “There side and another across the street. These homes
were a lot of mom-and-pop operations, and what they brought would have been the first to go as the tornado came ashore. He
in for testing was almost comical,” recalls Kiesling. “They had no pulls on to the next street, and marks the tornado’s progress,
idea what it takes to stop that missile travelling a hundred miles slab by empty slab. Some of the houses have been rebuilt,
per hour. And the question arose: ‘What can we do about this?’ some haven’t.
There were no standards. So, in 2001 the NSSA was formed.” It’s been nearly three years since he lost everything. He has a
Starting the NSSA helped, but it didn’t solve the problem. new, much smaller house now. It’s connected by a breezeway
Many shelters are built without federal grants by contractors to his son’s new house. They settled on a site deep in the piney
with no connection to, or even knowledge of, the NSSA and hills near Conway, 15 kilometres from River Plantation. Though
its standards. Exactly how many are out there can’t be known. little was salvageable after the tornado, neighbours and his
They won’t show up on any FEMA or NSSA database. There family did manage to recover a few pictures of Helen. They
is no enforcement mechanism to ensure they will follow the also located her schnauzers two days after the storm – rattled,
structural formula researchers such as Tanner have perfected. but alive, beneath the debris. Don wears a hairpiece to cover
Don was convinced that his door had been struck by a the scar arcing across his scalp. He’s missing a chunk of lung.
refrigerator. There were several in the front yard, none of He visits Helen’s grave often, and has installed a granite bench
them his. But Tanner isn’t so sure. Judging by the narrow next to it so he can rest his legs.
rectangular crease in the steel he suspects it was a stray Don turns left on Plantation Drive before coming to a stop
sheet of plywood roof decking. at an empty lot. The lawn that Helen kept neat and trimmed is
Today, 30 June, 2014 – two months since the tornado struck now overgrown. Her rose bushes are gone. The foundation was
– they’ll find out. Some of the most prominent wind engineers busted up and hauled off long ago, but there are still a few shards
and shelter manufacturers in the world have gathered at the of lumber, swatches of insulation, and a three-metre section
Debris Impact Facility to observe. The mood in the lab is fune- of an oak tree – its upturned ball of roots the size of a dumpster.
real. Using a circular saw, Tanner’s assistants dissect Don’s door. He thinks about what he might have done differently. He
Inside, they find a honeycombed cardboard stiffening encased in wishes he had installed a better door, or at the very least
18-gauge steel. It’s a fine door, just not in a tornado. The object built the shelter with the door facing any direction but
struck right across the centre, between the residential-grade south. He wishes he’d put her in the corner when the house
latch and deadbolt, destroying both. The steel cladding deflected was coming down around them. That’s what he’d planned.
inward. That’s most likely what ended Helen Greer’s life. But everything happened so fast. PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 79


Chef Shane
braised pork
shoulder South
Philly style.


Lower temperature
High-sided pot

The pot requires a tight
lid so precious cooking
liquid isn’t lost to

80 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

When you’re looking to advance your kitchen skills, recipes aren’t good enough. Evolution comes from
understanding the principles behind recipes: useful techniques applicable to more than one meal.
Bearing in mind that ovens and animals are both variable creatures, two top chefs compressed years of
experience into practical directives designed to support your cooking efforts, no matter the dish.

Chef Nathan
roast beef.


Higher temperature
Low-sided pan

More meat surface is
exposed to the heat
element, maximising

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 81

WITH SHANE SOLOMON, oven master and Chef,

liquid should be gently trem-

bling, never at a rolling boil,
Liquid is the heat transfer agent: The heat source which toughens the proteins
heats the liquid, the liquid cooks the meat. in the meat.
Uses less expensive cuts from the most exercised
Step 5: Add the fancy
parts of the animal, like the shoulder and shank. The
aromatic sachet
connective tissue, fat and sinew holding the mus-
cles together require longer, slower cooking to melt
➞ . . . directly into the liquid,
into gelatin, yielding tender meat and flavourful
then cover the pot tightly to
cooking liquid. prevent evaporation. (To
make a sachet, use kitchen
Braising uses a large cut as centrepiece, and the twine and cheesecloth, or
cooking liquid gets cooked down into a kind of even a white paper coffee
sauce served as accompaniment. filter in a pinch.)

Step 6: The braise

➞ Transfer covered pot to a
EQUIPMENT carrot or half an onion, and moderate preheated oven –
■ Le Creuset Pot: then re-moved. When part of 160 degrees Celcius – and
the standard the final dish – as in this one wait. Tenderness, not time,
■ All-Clad Rondeau: expen- – vegetables are uniformly cut is the indicator of doneness.
sive, but also useful for for even cooking (like 10 cm Insert a fork and twist. If the
roasting and deep-frying dice or matchsticks, called meat comes apart, it’s done.
■ 25 ml ladle (for skimming) julienne). Stir in the cut
■ spider strainer or perforated vegetables, which will then Step 7: Skimming and
skimmer (for lifting meats release their natural moisture, reduction
and removing vegetables) deglazing the pan. When you ➞ When the meat is done,
have some loosened fat as a discard the sachet. Remove
cushion, add delicate items the meat, which may be deli-
INSTRUCTIONS like garlic, ground spices or cate by this time, using a
Step 1: Sear the meat dried herbs. If tomato paste kitchen skimmer; a large flat
➞ Meat must start out totally is being used as a flavouring spoon with holes that allows
dry. Surface moisture prevents agent, stir it into the vegeta- you to gently lift the meat
browning and introduces bles during the last minute or and leave the liquid behind.
water into the fat, causing so, giving it a chance to toast. ➞ Skim the fat with a ladle.
splattering. Reduce what’s left over a low
➞ Heat the pot, then add Step 3: Deglaze the pan flame. This step eliminates
just enough oil to film the ➞ Deglaze the pan by adding water, leaving a richer, more
bottom. When hot enough, a cup or two of wine or citrus, intensely fortified sauce
the oil should skim across and reduce the liquid by at behind.
the surface, and the meat least half while scraping any
will sizzle on contact. meaty bits from the bottom Step 8: Mounting and
➞ Sear meat on all sides, of the pan. garnish
even the ends. Use tongs ➞ Take the time to finish
to turn it in the pan, then Step 4: Add the cooking your sauce, giving it flavour
remove it and discard any liquid (and the meat) with an ingredient so delicate and off the heat, swirling the
discoloured oil. ➞ Return the meat to the it can’t go in until the end. pan for emulsification (this
pot. Add your braising liquid Depending upon the dish, it is called mounting). As a
Step 2: The vegetables (about two-thirds up the sides can be something fruity like final step, add any herbs or
➞ When added for the sole of the meat) and bring it to a olive oil, sweet like honey, or greens that couldn’t be in
purpose of flavouring the simmer; this temperature is the classic addition of cold there for the long haul but
broth, vegetables are left in critical to the success of the butter in small pieces. This will stay bright and green
larger pieces, like a quarter final dish. The surface of the addition is always done slowly when thrown in at the end.

82 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Once you know
how it works, all
you need is a list of

■ Meat: 1,5 kg pork
shoulder, bone out,
fat cap on, salted
■ Vegetables:
½ head fennel,
1 cubanelle pepper
(much better variety
but you can settle
for green pepper),
1 red onion, 3 long
hot peppers, all
thinly sliced
■ Other seasoning:
10 garlic cloves
(roughly smashed),
1 tsp red pepper
flakes, 1 tsp dried
oregano, 3 anchovy
fillets (chopped)
■ Flavouring agent: 3
Tbsp tomato paste
■ Deglazing liquid: 1
cup white wine, 1
cup lemon juice
■ Cooking liquid:
3 l chicken stock
■ Sachet: 1 tsp each
coriander seed and
whole fennel seed
with 1 Tbsp whole
black peppercorns,
2 rosemary stalks,
2 bay leaves
Rest, portion, and
serve over white
■ Mounting and gar-
nish: Fresh parsley
and oregano and a
drizzle of lemon-
infused olive oil
■ Option: Shred meat
into pasta ragu
or make a two-
handed sandwich

The greater
the distance
from the he
or hoof, the
more tender
the cut.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 83

WITH NATHAN ANDA, butcher and chef,

When dry-cooking, the meat comes in direct contact with the heat, as in broiling (heat comes from above), grilling
(below), and the two methods every home cook should master: roasting (meat is surrounded by hot air), and the
double-dry hybrid of pan-searing followed by oven roasting. Dry-cooking uses cuts that are already tender, primarily
from the part of the animal that doesn’t get much action, like across the upper centre. Roasting calls for larger cuts, but unlike
old-fashioned spit roasting, in which the meat was exposed to open flame, the oven provides only heat, not flavour. That
comes from seasoning and from how good the meat is to begin with.

84 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

that exterior shell, acting as around the edge – not desira-
a tenderising agent as well as ble. But if you use a low-tem-
deepening flavour. perature oven, the roast
➞ I use a heavy rimmed bak- slowly acclimates to the heat,
ing sheet lined with heavy- gradually raising its internal
duty foil and topped with a temperature. As a result, the
flat roasting rack. (Those large, meat retains its moisture and
expensive roasting pans with has an even texture.
handles and V-shaped racks ➞ There’s ongoing kitchen
are primarily for turkey.) controversy about when to
➞ Seasoning style depends oven-sear the meat. Some
upon size and cut. For a swear by an initial blast prior
smaller roast with very little to roasting in a moderate
fat cap, like a pork loin, I oven. I am a practitioner of
might make a paste out of the reverse sear, first roast-
salt, pepper, chopped garlic, ing in a low-temperature oven,
and a drop of oil (pasty, not then hitting it with the higher
runny), smear it on, and give heat. I realise this is a break
it a chance to sink into the with tradition on what might
meat, about 20 minutes. For be our most traditional meal.
a roast that will benefit from But why not do everything
some complexity, like a but- possible to preserve the meat’s
terf­lied leg of lamb, I make a moisture, which is a function
paste of roasted garlic (mellows of heat plus time. So: when
it), Dijon mustard, rosemary, the roast gets to your desired
black pepper, and olive oil, internal temperature in the
smeared on the inside of the low oven, it’s time to turn up
roast (before it is rolled and the heat and brown the fat cap.
tied) as well as the outside. ➞ There will be rendered fat
➞ On a larger roast with a in the pan. Siphon most off,
substantial fat cap, like a because you’re about to heat
majestic prime rib that can things up to 230 degrees. In
stand on its own flavour-wise, a 120-degree oven, that tem-
I just liberally season with salt perature rise is so slow it won’t
and pepper and roast on top affect the meat itself. It will
of a bed of aromatics: sliced just give you a beautiful brown
onions and strong, woody crust. The sign that it’s done:
herbs like rosemary and thyme colour, which typically hap-
Here is your template. Armed with this, (not soft ones like basil). pens in about 10 minutes.
all you need is the weight of the meat and Placed under the roasting
the temperature you’re aiming for. rack, this gives the exterior Step 3: Rest
crust a great aroma without ➞ Transfer the roast to a
flavouring the meat itself. cutting board for about 30
minutes (15 for a small roast).
EQUIPMENT ROASTING Step 2: Heat Be patient. If you mess with
■ oven thermometer (moni- Step 1: Prep ➞ When a roast goes into a the exterior too soon, the
toring) and instant-read ➞ The meat must start at hot oven, moisture trapped juices that are drawn to its
meat thermometer (temping room temperature. When in the fibres of the meat is heat will make a speedy exit
the meat) meat is cold, seasonings sit on pulled towards that heat rather than be absorbed back
■ sturdy rimmed baking top of the fat cap and muscle. source. While you do get a into the meat. (While the meat
sheet with flat roasting rack They don’t penetrate. Room beautiful dark exterior at the rests, carry over cooking can
temperature meat allows the end of the roasting period, raise the internal temperature
salt and pepper to break into you also get a well-done rim as much as 15 degrees.) PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 85


Domestic appliances are expensive and, when

they break, are liable to cause catastrophe.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. The
Popular Mechanics editorial team are on hand to
deliver the best buying advice. Let’s start
with the washing machine.


86 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

No, you haven’t slipped through a wormhole into next
month’s issue of Home Appliance Monthly. But what you are
about to read is recognition that the Popular Mechanics reader is
concerned about more than just how to fix a stubbornly non-washing
machine. In any case, today’s high-tech machines are as different from
their predecessors of only a few decades ago as the Millennium
Falcon is from the horseless buggy.
We’re headlining this foray into the world of big metal-and-
plastic boxes The Grudge Report, because nobody really wants them,
even though everybody needs them. Particularly if the current one has
expired in a flood of curses, tears, sudsy water and half-done washing.
Here’s the thing: there’s something strangely compelling about the
modern take on what is, when all’s said and done, a humble labour-
saving device. Besides ensuring the whitest whites, darkest darks and
brightest colours, they – and we know this is hard to believe – can
also save you money. Plus, they’re smarter than you think.
Although perhaps not smart enough to stop you turning your
favourite woollen socks into baby booties, if you don’t
bother to read the care instructions.



Why? Two things. One is the direct drive inverter (variable frequency) motor. Two is the
TrueSteam function. Inverter motors can change frequency and direction; this can greatly reduce
power savings and optimise washing cycles for various cleaning applications. The inverter motor can
throttle up in short bursts for speedier rinse cycles, which will cut down on water use.
According to affinity laws defining the relationship between centrifugal load variables, power
consumption can be as little as 25 per cent of what is needed to run the motor at full
speed if you throttle down to around 60 per cent.
Also reducing water use is the TrueSteam, which can heat up small amounts
of water to steam clean tough stains or delicate garments. You can even use this setting
to refresh harder-wearing fabrics such as denim jeans and cut down on washing loads.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 87

What makes an efficient
machine? Achieving clothes
washing nirvana is treading the
narrow line between water and
electricity savings. The faster you
wash, the less water you’ll use,
but it costs more energy to get
the drum up to speed. Then you
need to factor in the size of the
load. Less laundry uses less eve-
rything. Where Samsung excels in
using laundry detergent with its
Eco Bubble technology, LG has
spent more time optimising the
way the laundry tumbles around
the drum.
These six motions include scrub,
filtration, swing, rolling, step-
ping and tumbling. The caveat
being that you need to spend a
bit more time learning when to
use which washing technique.
You can then download other
wash cycles via LG’s SmartThinq
smarthome platform.
Washing machines that can
automatically weigh the load fare
much better than less intelligent
units because they can adjust the
resource use accordingly. With
the machine at the helm in figur-
ing out wash cycle length, water
savings of up to 45 per cent can
be expected, especially with the
TurboWash engaged, bringing the
cycle time down to one hour.

Test notes: The washing machine

was put to work servicing a
Think of the digital inverter motor as the accelerator pedal on a car. The drum is perfectly capable of household of five adults (three
spinning on momentum, with the motor mainly used to increase speed. This intermittent and variable women, two men) and two chil-
power delivery means that the motor is idle for periods, saving on electricity use. There’s also freedom
for the motor to spin in an opposing direction, or switch between directions, which results in more
dren (aged 6 and 2). This house
variation in wash motion. usually relies on a Defy 15 kg top
loader with washing happening
twice a week, on average. Because
the LG unit operates remarkably
quietly when compared with the
existing top loader, wash cycles
could be left overnight.
After a month of testing, the
water bill increased by R100,
while there was no significant
change to electricity consump-
tion. Wash frequency almost
doubled because of the decrease
in machine capacity, combined
with the extra care taken to opti-
mise load contents.
Spin dry was a significant step
up from the experience in the
Defy machine, but that unit is
20 years old.

88 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

Key findings:
A smaller machine for a family accustomed to
laundromat-style top loaders made for a steep
learning curve and wasted water early on.

l The machine’s water heating abilities make

for a negligible extra draw on the electricity

l Silent wash cycles mean that wash cycles can

happen overnight, outside of peak use times.

l The spin dry capabilities are excellent.

l Shorter rinse cycles = less water use.

l TrueSteam is great for refreshing denim

While its main competitor, Samsung, allows for adding items on the fly through a small door
jeans between washes, extending the wear within the door, LG instead allows users to pause a cycle to add extra items. The door won’t
time to almost three weeks on one pair – car open if the internal temperature is above 60˚C.
grease cut the wear time short.

l Users remarked that clothes were cleaner

and fresher after being washed in the LG

LG matches the industry standard of an inverter
motor backed by a 10 year warranty, but falls
behind with regard to after-sales support. Its
main competitor Samsung has more brand
stores that you can visit should you have a
problem. LG does, however, offer the largest
number of features when it comes to the actual
wash cycles. TrueSteam counts as a big win for AUSTERITY
the company and there is a bigger emphasis on
the physical clothes cleaning through proven
varied agitation. PM
How to reduce the cost
of washing

l If you’re buying a new washing machine, consider a

front loader instead of a top loader. Front loaders use
around half the amount of water.

l Look for models with load sensing technology. The

machine will adjust the amount of water it uses
according to load size.

l If machine doesn’t have load-sensing technology,

wash only full loads.

l Use cold wash wherever possible. Cold wash is

sufficient for lightly soiled clothes and is ideal for
brightly coloured clothing. Warm or hot water will be
necessary for heavily soiled clothing.

l When buying a washing machine, ensure you choose

the right size. A larger machine than necessary
Smart or connected functions are limited to down-
loading and transferring custom wash cycles that will cost you considerably in water and electricity.
aren’t preloaded on the device from LG’s. We had
a power failure during testing and the machine
didn’t skip a beat in carrying on where it left off
once power had been restored.

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 89

THE new
We’re in a drought. What can you do about what used to be the water-gobbling
green, green grass of home?



PAVING SLABS ARE EASY TO CLEAN, come in various Pebbles are an economical, simple alternative that can be used any-
designs, are generally low in maintenance and provide a good where you need ground cover. They require essentially no mainte-
surface for outdoor entertaining. nance, unless leaves need to be raked away and you need to inhibit
However, they can result in scraped knees and elbows if used weed growth. Pebbles are inexpensive and require no water. They
in children’s play areas and the concrete can crack over time. also add a decorative touch to your garden. However, pebbles are
Initial installation costs are also higher than some other options. not a good choice for children’s play areas and can pose a choking
hazard for small children.

90 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

A true outdoor carpet, artificial grass directly addresses
the primary environmental concerns of real turf. It
requires no watering, no mowing and no feeding.
Some manufacturers use recycled materials, such as
old tyres or plastic bottles. Though expensive, artificial
turf has a life expectancy upwards of 25 years, making
it a less costly alternative to real turf over its lifespan.
Available in an array of blade lengths, colours and
textures, synthetic grass can fool most.
The main benefit of going artificial is that it is low
maintenance, child friendly and, of course, saves water.
That said, artificial turf has its own environmental
drawbacks. It is a petroleum-based product that creates Mulch is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to save water in your
pollution and waste in the manufacturing process. garden. Mulch is any substance that can be placed on the soil surface around
And, although it is often made partially with recycled plants to keep the moisture in the soil. It also helps prevent soil erosion,
materials, it is not biodegradable. Despite a long life keeps the roots of plants cool and helps to prevent frost damage to plants.
of from 15 to 25 years, it will, ultimately, end up in Organic mulch comes from plant or animal sources and is the best
a landfill. Critics also point to synthetic turf as an type of mulch because it conserves water and feeds the soil as it slowly
environmental heater. It absorbs heat and feels hot breaks down. It also attracts earthworms and other micro-organisms,
to the touch in direct Sun.  which aerate the soil. Examples include compost, pine needles, grass
The types of artificial lawn to consider include nylon, clippings, bark chips and leaves.
polyethylene, polypropylene. The amount of traffic the The drawback of mulch is that it retards the heating of the soil by the
lawn receives will help determine the type of material Sun. In summer this is not a problem but in early/mid spring when you
best suited for your home. Polyethylene is soft, vibrant need all the warmth you can get from the Sun’s rays it can inhibit the germi-
in colour and resilient. Nylon is strong, allowing it to nation of seeds, especially those seeds that need a higher soil temperature
maintain its shape, and can withstand high tempera- to germinate. Lower soil temperature can also reduce seedling growth rate.
tures. Polypropylene, while less costly, does not have Mulch can be unsuitable for crops that need fine sandy soil to flour-
the durability or resilience of the other two. ish (such as carrots) or are subject to collar rot in moist conditions
(such as garlic). 

Plan a simple shape You Water efficiently Deep

can reduce your area covered soakings of water encourage
by lawn by selecting a simple roots to utilise moisture deep
geometric shape and avoiding in the ground. It is essential
curves. It is also easier to irrigate that you irrigate lawns less
a simple shape without water frequently, but deeply, other-
wastage. Avoid using lawn on wise the roots are concentrated
steeper slopes, along fences closer to the soil surface and

and for narrow walkways, as are exposed to a higher soil

these are very difficult to temperature, causing them
maintain. to dry out faster.

Plan to harvest water Feed organically for

In planning your lawn, shape long-term results Organic
the area to have a slight hollow fertilisers require less water to
TRADITIONAL LAWN in the centre of the lawn. This
ensures that you get maximum
break down and the feeding will
last for a longer period. Using
If you still wish to go the authentic lawn absorption without run-off, organic food will also lessen
making better use of the rain- the chance of burning.
route, there are a few things you can do water to minimise frequency
to still save water. of watering. Mow often Grass is weak-
ened when it grows too long
between mowings. PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 91




The new Lego Boost sets combine traditional
Legos with a smart tablet, so kids can build and
operate automated Lego robots. You can make
a guitar that plays sound effects, a cat that purrs
and interacts with you, or a robot that you can
make move and talk. The projects are animated
using an icon-based coding app, which teaches
kids basic coding commands and concepts.
To test the new smart Legos, we enlisted the
help of two extraordinary young men: Carson
Huey-You, 14, who graduated from Texas
Christian University this past May with a degree
in physics, and his brother, Cannan, 11, who
graduated from high school the same month. So,
once again: Carson graduated college at 14,
Cannan graduated high school at 11. Read on.

92 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017


CARSON: When we opened that’s a good thing. You control the Legos from your
the box, we looked at the don’t get overwhelmed. iPad is the coolest part of
app and we looked at all the For an introductory pro- the set though. You don’t
different things you could gramming experience, just roll it around with your
do. Then once we started where you’re telling some- hand, you can move it using
building, we were able to thing to do this or not do the app. We’ve been playing
connect it to the app and that, I think it’s good. with Legos forever, and
start controlling it. We built CANNAN: You don’t have we still play
a little car with a propeller, to jump right into the with them a
and then with the iPad app advanced stuff, like the lot. I think
we were able to connect Lego Mindstorms sets. You we would play
and make it roll around in could definitely use the with this set
different directions and do pieces in this set to make again in the future.
other cool things. other things, too, not just CARSON: Yeah, I liked it.
CANNAN: The app was easy the cat or the robot. There There’s definitely a lot of

to use. It had a pretty simple are a lot of other pieces, like potential with this app,
interface. It was maybe a a conveyor belt and a mo- and I think overall it
little bit for younger kids, tion sensor and a propeller. added a cool new
but not too bad. It didn’t CARSON: The one bad part aspect to playing
use any crazy coding or is, if you don’t have an iPad with Legos. It’s a
anything. It was pretty or another platform the new concept and
easy to figure out. app works on, it would be I think it’s really
CARSON: Yeah, it’s not impossible to use this set. interesting.
super-duper advanced, but CANNAN: That you can CANNAN: Same. PM

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 93


Simple magnet
drywall stud
Take the strongest fridge
magnet you’ve got and
tie it on a length of string.
Hold it so it hangs against
the wall, then slowly slide it
across. It’ll be attracted to the
nails or screws that secure the
wall’s wood lath or drywall to
studs. Since fasteners occur at
regular intervals, if you’re not
finding a stud, try a bit higher
or lower off the ground.

Soft drink can tab

Straps that tighten around an
anchor point, like for a tent’s
rain fly, are often equipped with
a plastic tensioner that adjusts
into place and grips the line to

Turn off the lights to find things

hold it fast. If yours isn’t, impro-
vise one with the pull tab from a
soft drink can: break the tab off
RECENTLY I MISLAID a pair of reading glasses and, even though I knew they were the can, leaving a jagged edge
somewhere in my office, I couldn’t find them. I searched my desk and the floor and under one of the tab’s holes.
looked under and behind the couch. No luck. So I decided to wait until dark. Orient the tab so the jagged edge
As soon as the Sun was down, I turned off the lights in my office and turned on is the farthest edge from the
my beloved tactical LED torch, a Fenix PD35 I had bought on the recommendation anchor point. String line through
of a friend, who’d bought his on the recommendation of a cop. The beam is narrow the tab so it goes under the outer
and bright. I aimed it at the tangle of cables and junk under my desk – where I’d edges of the holes and over the
looked several times already and found my glasses almost immediately. My wife divider between them. Wrap
did the same when one of her parakeets got loose in our basement. She could hear around the anchor point, then tie
it but didn’t see it until she searched with a torch. the rope to the non-jagged hole.
This works so well because searching with a torch forces you to narrow your Give the line some slack and you
focus. Your eyes and your attention can’t wander. Your brain doesn’t have to sift can slide the tab to lengthen or
through masses of extraneous visual information. You truly concentrate on what shorten it. When the line tightens
you’re doing; and then, suddenly, there’s the cellphone you dropped when you up, the jagged aluminium will
were mowing the lawn. – David Owen bite the rope and hold.


Sometimes, you really, really need to access a website that will no longer load. Luckily,
sites can remain in Google search results for a few weeks, and if you click on the green
down arrow next to a result’s URL, then on “cached,” you’ll load a copy of the page
Google saved when it was last available.

94 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 95

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

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96 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

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OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 97

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email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

98 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

Digital readouts (DRO) for Milling
Machines & Lathes
Linear Glass scales. 130 mm - 1 200 mm
Magnetic scales up to 32 m

Please visit website for more information and prices.

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Tel: 012 5673618 / 012 5430683
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OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 99

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email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

100 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 101

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za

102 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017

BUYER’SGUIDE To advertise in Buyer’s Guide contact Joanne, Lindi or Patrick on 011 449 1100 or
email: popbuyersguide@ramsaymedia.co.za


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OCTOBER 2017 _ www.popularmechanics.co.za 103

Send us your tip and you could win a Master-
lock hamper worth R2 000. The hamper will
consist of a 44 mm chrome plated zinc fusion
padlock, select access key lock box, keyed
1,8 metre self-coiling locking cable, 20 mm
brass combination lock and Fusion coloured
padlock. Masterlock 44 mm chrome plated
zinc fusion padlock. Steel shackle with two
adjustable positions, front access keyway for
convenience and stylish matching keyhead
are headline features. Masterlock select
access key lock box. The extra-large key
storage compartment holds multiple house
or car keys and access cards, with set-your-
own combination convenience for optimal
security. The wall-mount design allows per-
manent installation (mounting kit included)
and features a shutter door for better weather
resistance and greater discretion. Master-
lock Keyed 1,8 m self-coiling locking
cable. Keyed 3 pin tumbler for security and
HOSED ease of use. The vinyl covered cable protects
For years, one of the big irritations in my life was the basket in the weir of my pool. against scratching. Masterlock 20 mm
Whenever I removed the cover to clean it out, the leaves and other debris in the basket brass combination lock. Practical and stylish
would float out of it and have to be painstakingly retrieved. with aluminium body and brass finish, 3
I finally got hold of an old pair of my wife’s pantyhose, of which there appears to be a mm-diameter brass-plated steel shackle
limitless supply. I cut a section from a leg (thigh is best), and pulled it over the top of the that fits most luggage zips, three-digit set-
basket and the cover, as in the attached pic. Now, when I remove the cover, the basket your-own combination convenience and brass
remains attached to it and the contents are securely contained. dialling wheels. Limited lifetime warranty.
TOM CONNELL Fusion coloured padlock. Featuring 44
mm wide zinc-plated lock body for strength
and durability coupled with a front access
keyway for ease of use. The shrouded,
BEAM ME UP Now, take your garden hose and insert it hardened steel shackle protects against
Those of us born before the digital TV sat- into the irrigation pipe, also as far as possible. cutting, dual locking levers provide added
ellite era will no doubt remember that, when Turn the water on full. protection from prying or hammering and
The hose pipe itself is not firm enough to the four-pin cylinder has increased pick
one touched the bunny ears while adjusting
resistance. Limited lifetime warranty.
them in an effort to find the best signal, the be fed into the blocked sewer, but using the
signal was boosted. It works the other way irrigation pipe allows it to travel much further
as well. When approaching your house, hold down the blocked drain.
the garage or gate remote against your lower I have found this very useful.
arm, with the LED pointing at your skin, BASIL DUNCAN-SMITH
before pressing the button. This way, you will SIMON’S TOWN
extend the range of the remote by several
metres – in my tests, up to 100 metres!
Dinner will also be served a tad earlier. ELASTIC FANTASTIC
MAC VAN DER MERWE Painting can be a mess if you have excess
ROBINDALE paint on a paintbrush. Removing the excess
by pulling the brush against the side of the
tin clogs the groove and makes the lid stick.
SPARE THE ROD  To remove excess paint I put an elastic band Send your tips to:
A blocked sewer drain can be a problem if across the top of the tin before opening it. PM Do It Your Way, Box 180, Howard
you don’t have plumbing rods. Here’s a When dipping the brush I pull it against Place 7450, or e-mail popularmechanics
handy alternative plan. the elastic band to remove excess paint. @ramsaymedia.co.za. Please include
Take a length of 20 mm black irrigation Before closing the lid, I just wipe the elastic your name, address and contact number.
pipe. It is firm enough to put into the drain, down with paper towel. Regrettably, only South African residents
and inserted into the outflow pipe as far as are eligible for the prize. Prizes not
claimed within 60 days will be forfeited.
it will travel. PAROW PM

The publishers of Popular Mechanics reserve all rights of reproduction or broadcasting of feature articles and factual data appearing in this journal under Section 12 (7) of the Copyright Act,
1978. Such reproduction or broadcasting may be authorised only by the publishers of Popular Mechanics. Published by RamsayMedia for the Proprietors, Popular Mechanics, 36 Old Mill Rd,
Ndabeni, Western Cape. Distributed by RNA, 12 Nobel St, Industria West, Johannesburg, and printed by CTP Web, 12-14 Boompies Street, Parow, Cape Town. Apple Mac support: Digicape
tel 021 674-5000.

104 www.popularmechanics.co.za _ OCTOBER 2017


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Entrepreneurial vision and a fresh approach allow Investec to
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