News and Events

Keep up to date with Steve Nurse's designs and 3d printing.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Upcycled Spool Clock

With me in the kitchen. Time for a cup of tea?

Detail from one of the clocks
Clock Numbers on the printer
Mounting the 3d printed numbers on the clock.
This is the printer spool with the clock and white painted hands. 
This setup includes an m8 bolt, nut and washers, and holds numbers between the spool edge and the centre hub bolt.  It can be used to teach basic mathematics such as counting and ordering the numbers from 1 to 12.

Config 1 shows (6 + 2 x 3 = 12)
Config 2 shows (2 x 2 + 2 x 4 = 12)
Config 3 shows 4 sets of 3
Config 4 shows 6 set of 2
The clockface can be left on a spool in the printer.  If the spool is feeding into the printer at 10cm / min and the filament is coming off at a diameter of 150mm, how long does it take for the spool to rotate once?  A bit later (you are printing an oversize pokemon-themed fidget spinner) the filament speed is the same but the filament is coming off at a diameter of 125mm.  How long to rotate now?
Pic from Thingiverse.


Every roll of 3d printer filament comes with a spool, and unless you do something with it when its useful life comes to an end, it gets thrown away, or at best recycled into other plastic products.  But a filament spool can be quite a fine thing, and it’s good to at least try to reuse it by making it into something else. 3d printing provides opportunities to do this. If items made with the spool can be sold for more than the costs of the filament  and other parts, then your 3d printing pays for itself almost immediately.  One filament seller who has embraced this idea of reuse is Eumaker who have prehacked their spools so they can be made into coffee capsule stands, coathangers and other items.

So here is something you can make with your printer using a filament spool.  The filament I get comes from 3dfillies, if you get filament on different spools, you will have to adapt the designs I have uploaded here on Thingiverse. The 3dfillies spool can be broken down into 3 parts, there are 2 sides and a central cylinder.  Breaking down the spool into 2 sides can be done using a screwdriver to press the locking tabs on the sides away from the holes in the cylinder so the tabs can be moved away from the holes and disengaged.

 This project is a clock which can be made in different ways and used as an education tool. The clock numbers hook over the edge of a spool side, and are held in place by rubber bands.  In the middle there is a round adapter piece which holds a clock mechanism.  These are available for about $16.00 each from Jaycar in Melbourne, but they can be much cheaper (from $1.00 each) from ebay, ali-express and other online sites.  The mechanism I bought only included black minute and hour hands, which made it hard to read the clock because of a lack of contrast, so I used liquid paper to paint the clock hands white.  A clock that you can tell the time from!  Wow!
The 4 clock configurations shown above can be used to teach students about factorisation, sub factorisation and counting. All factorisations of 12, ie 1 x 12, 2 x 6, 3 x 4 can be demonstrated, and 4 sets of numbers on 3 rubber bands is different to 3 sets of numbers on 4 rubber bands.

12 is a highly divisible number and it would be interesting to make a clock with 11 numbers filling the 360 degree clockface.  The "11" clockface can be divided into number sets, but only by addition, not by multiplication.

Permutations and combinations can be demonstrated as well.  If you look at Config 4, the numbers can be assembled on the spool in 12! or 12*11*10*9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2 different ways and the colour arrangement can be put together in 6! or 6*5*4*3*2 different ways. 

This will be the first of several posts about my 3d print designs coming up in the following weeks.  My designs will mostly be free, but I'd like to make money from them somewhere along the line, so will be charging for key designs through Cgtrader .

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Index of Articles

Placeholder, Index of Articles.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


Cetus 3d Printer

These butterflies my wife Christine made.....
were part of what led me......
to speculate on the design of flexible nodes made from individual segments.
This is a cube made from cardboard.......
which led to this 3d printed prototype of the Tribo system.
While studying at Monash University, I was exposed to 3d printing at a grass roots level.  I’d already used 2d and 3d cad, and one of my supervisors let me use his printer, and he helped me make a few parts.  Later, another supervisor, Mark, started a project helping students build their own printers, with work carried out in the shared space I was studying in.  By the time I decided I had a use for a 3d printer, I wasn’t afraid of them, and a friend Tahl recommended an affordable printer called the Cetus 3d.  When it was ordered, my idea was to make a new type of low friction bearing, but by the time it arrived, I decided to develop some ideas I had for construction kits instead.  And that’s basically what my Cetus has been used for.

So why construction kits?  I became interested in them out of curiosity which started as attempts to build 3d models with wooden skewers.  I could build models in 2d, but when it came to extending them into 3d, they usually needed rubber bands at the nodes to hold them together. At the same time, I had been building recumbent cycle tailboxes using coreflute, and this involved the folding, creasing, bending and practical use of this plastic corrugated board.  My wife Christine used some of my coreflute scraps for garden “butterflies” which supposedly ward off garden pests such as real butterflies.  The garden butterflies are cut coreflute pierced by a skewer, and after some thought, and a few days I started making nodes for 3d models out of coreflute.  A bit of work revealed an entire “Zoo” of these nodes.

One of the nodes made from round coreflute interested me.  It was made from one piece of material segmented by folds, and I wondered what a truly segmented equivalent would look like.  After drawing it in 3d cad and more speculation with models, I printed some samples, then gradually developed them into the Tribo set.