Ways to use your smartphone for DIY

iPhone utilities apps

In this post I will show you many ways to use your smartphone for your DIY projects.

As a Camera

There are many reasons to use your smartphones’ camera, from taking before and after photos to recording specific details about your project.

Before and after photos of your DIY project is a great use of your smartphones’ camera. You can also record steps along the way to completing your project. As an example you could check out my post on building a cubby house, I only used my smartphone for all the photos in that post.

If you need to pull something apart, using your smartphone to take photos of the parts and how they go together is an invaluable tool. Also taking photos of the serial or part number makes getting the correct part alot easier. Maybe taking a photo of the dimensions of your project would be handy.

Another way I’ve used my smartphone camera is to take a photo of the back side of an object I cannot see due to no room for my head to fit.

As a Measuring tape

Most smartphones come with several utilitiy apps, one is measurement on newer smartphones.

iPhone utilities apps

Opening your measurement app will enable you to measure things when you don’t have your tape measure at hand.

To measure an object:

  • Launch the Measure app from your Home screen.
  • Move the white dot to your start point. …
  • Tap the + button to select your start point.
  • Move the white dot to your endpoint.
  • Tap the + button to select your endpoint.
  • Look at the final measurement located in the middle of the line.

As a level

Another utility app is a level which you get to through the measurement app. This can be handy when you only need a approx level hanging pictures on the wall or getting an idea of where level will be.

iPhone SE level app
Not quite level
Level in iPhone SE
Spot on

As a Calculator

Having a calculator handy is also useful at different stages of your DIY project. From figuring out the area of a slab or floor to how many cubic metres of concrete you need for your slab.

To calculate your area, simply times the length by the width of the area, as an example 3m x 3m equals 9 square metres.

3m x 3m = 9m

Calculating cubic metres is taking the area m2 and multiplying it by the depth, for example a slab 3m x 3m x .1m would equal 0.9 cubic metres.

3m x 3m x 0.1m = 0.9m3

Maybe your at the hardware store and need to work out how many lineal metres of decking you need.

To calculate the lineal metres required for a 3m x 3m deck with 90mm boards, times 3 x 3 and divide it by .093 allowing 90mm for your board and a 3mm gap. This will give you 96.77 lineal metres, now to allow for wastage and offcuts times 96.77 lineal metres by 10%, which is 9.67 lineal metres to add to the 96.77 lineal metres, giving you a total of 106.45 lineal metres of decking required.

3m x 3m x 0.093 = 96.77 l/m then 96.77 x 0.1(10%) = 9.67

96.77 + 9.67 = 106.45 l/m

As a torch

The torch app can be useful when looking into dark spaces in an attic or roof or behind a sink in a cupboard. You can use the camera app at the same time and get a clearer picture that you can see in the dark.

iphone torch app
Iphone torch app
Using an iphone torch

These are just a few ways to use your smartphone for your DIY.

If you have any more ways that use your smartphone for your DIY projects, please email me at thehandymancentral@gmail.com

How to build a playhouse for the kids

Build a playhouse

We show you how to build a playhouse for the kids to have fun in. What tools and materials you’ll need to build a playhouse.

Tools Required

Hammer                    Tape Measure                   Pencil                    Set Square                    Spade                         Spirit Level                         Saw                        String Line                Sliding Bevel            Drill & Bits                           Tin Snips

Materials needed

Timber for flooring and framing and cladding.

Roofing tin

Concrete

first step

The first step when planning to build a playhouse, is to decide what type of playhouse you want and where to put it.

Do you want a playhouse on ground level or a multi level playhouse. Will the playhouse be for adventure or playing house, below are a couple of examples.

Decide on a site that is slightly shady as this will keep the temperature down during the summer months.

Second step

Draw up a plan or buy a plan for the type of cubby house you decide to build for the kids. There are many websites you can get free plans for cubby houses, some of these are the major hardware stores DIY sections an example is here  http://builditsupplies.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/46-Build-a-Cubby-House.pdf

Many of the DIY cubby house plans from the major hardware stores include a cutting list and a list of tools required for the project.

Once you have your plans the next step is to start your building.

Woodworking app
Need to convert mm to inches? Get this woodworking app NOW!
third step

Start building your cubby house. The foundation and floor should be the first to be built.

Set out the playhouse using profiles (profiles are timber pegs to attached your string line to) and a string line. Measure from corner to corner to check that the foundation and floor are square.

Without proper foundations, your playhouse may not be stable and you don’t want to have any safety issues when your children are playing in the playhouse.

Once your foundations are set, build your cubby house floor because this will give you a flat, level area to work. You can use either floor boards or floor sheeting for the flooring, generally sheet is the more economical way to go.

Watch this video for one of the best methods for building a cubby house I have seen.

I would like to thank Bill for allowing me to show his great video in this post.

fourth step

You can build all your wall frames on your floor for the cubby house as you would have seen in the video above.

Cut all your timber for your wall frames and assemble it on the cubby house floor with hammer and nails.

Mark your top and bottom plate where the studs are to go as this will make it easier to nail together.

Add extra timber to the frames where you are going to put the windows and doors.

Remember measure twice, cut once! Materials are expensive, check measurements before cutting any timber.

Fifth step

When you have all your wall frames completed, you have to stand them up. Start with the back wall and brace it once you have it up. Then stand the side walls and finish with the front wall.

Screw the wall frames to the floor as you stand them up and nail each frame to the other frames.

sixth step

The roofing structure is the next step which will stabilize the wall frames and give you somewhere to screw the roofing to.

Attach battens to your cubby house rafters to support the roofing material.

Your roofing material can be either nail or screwed down, depending on the material you are using.

seventh step

It is time to put the cladding onto your cubby house. Cladding may be made of many different materials.

You could use weatherboards or vinyl siding or sheeting. You can paint the cladding or leave it in its natural state depending on your preference.

If you have a multi level playhouse you can now add the ladder, slide and climbing wall or whatever else you want to have on the cubby house.

The final steps are putting the doors and widows into the cubby house and having a cubby house warming party.

Once again I would like to thank Billshowto for allowing me to link his video to this post.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoy this post.

Build a chicken coop

What basic tools does a handyman need?

Basic tools for a handyman

 

Hammer 

A hammer is one of the most basic tools a handyman needs. With a hammer you can drive in nails and remove bent nails from your work.

There are many styles of hammers for different applications, but a claw hammer is generally the best for a Handyman. Hammers come with different handles, wooden, steel and synthetic. From experience a synthetic handle will last a every long time and won’t break easily or need fixing, I’ve had my synthetic handle hammer for over 30 years.

Other styles of hammers can be bought when you require them for special jobs, but when beginning a basic tool kit, a claw hammer is the best buy.

Power Drill

A power drill will make your handyman life so much easier. These days a cordless power drill is a handyman’s best friend. Check out our buying tips for a cordless drill.

Cordless power drill

You can use a power drill for drilling into wood, steel and concrete. But you can also use it to drive in screws and tighten bolts with the correct adapters.

Your power drill can also be used to grind, sand and polish with the right attachments.

Your basic tool kit will not be complete without a cordless power drill.

Check out our top 3 cordless drills for the handyman review HERE

Screw Driver set

A set of screw drivers will come in very handy for many jobs you will carry out. Screw driver sets have both Flathead and Philips head drivers, of various sizes.

Using the correct size screw driver makes a handyman’s job so much easier. Besides screwing and unscrewing, screw drivers can be used for prying things apart and are a necessity for the basic handyman’s tool kit.

Measuring Tape

Almost every job a handyman does requires some sought of measurement and a tape measure is needed. To cover most jobs you’ll do, a 25ft or 8m measuring tape is the best option.

Measuring Tape

There’s nothing worse than going to measure a job and your measuring tape is not long enough. With a 25ft measuring tape you’ll be able to cover most jobs.

Pliers

Pliers come in handy for many times when your trying to grasp something in an awkward place of that are difficult to grip with your fingers.

Set of Pliers

You should get a normal pair of pliers, and a pair of needle nose pliers when starting out. 

As your build your tool box or kit, you can add vise grips and adjustable jaws pliers.

Level

Levels come in handy for so many jobs that a handyman will carry out, from hanging picture frames to leveling concrete jobs.

4ft Level

You can get many different sizes of levels, but a 4 ft level is the most useful and be used all around your home.

Utility Knife

There are hundreds of utility knives on the market, which one you use will come down to your preference.

Utility Knife

You’ll be amazed how many times you will use your utility knife, from cutting rope or cardboard to using it around your workshop.

Adjustable Spanner

You’ll need a adjustable spanner for all the nuts and bolts you have to loosen and tighten. Used with pliers you can get most nuts and bolts tightened or undone.

Adjustable spanners

I have a small and medium size adjustable spanners, you probably best off getting the medium size to start your basic tool kit. 

Tool Kit 

Another option is to buy a ready made tool kit. These may have more tools than have been discussed so far, but do contain all the basic tools a handyman will need for most jobs.

There are many tool kits to choose from, from different brands names to different requirements.

Always buy the best tools you can afford, as they will be with you for a long time if they are quality made.

Maybe you have a tool you think should be included in a basic tool kit, let us know and we can include it to future tool kit posts.