News and Events

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

Monday, 17 June 2019

It's Curtains

Four hole curtain rod end
Full curtain setup

Right hand side

Right hand side
5 hole versions as string handles
Left hand side


For a while, I have been thinking of a modest piece of home automation, that is, making a curtain pulley so I don't have to get out of bed in the morning to let in the daylight.  What tipped me into doing it was an article in New Scientist about Vitamin D and the benefits of living by the sun's clock. Linda Geddes recommends "Use blackout blinds to block the light from streetlights" and also "wake up at a regular time and open the curtains as soon as you get up" amongst other things.  If I open the curtains before I get up.... whoa, I would be way ahead of things.

So anyway, it didn't take me long to make the custom curtain rod ends using Solidworks, some measuring calipers and a 3d printer.  They can be used to make curtain string handles, pulleys and end stops, and the rod diameter is 19mm.  First off, I just had 3 holes in the parts, but added a couple of extra ones later, one very small one for a screw, and another one to let extra bits of string through.  There's absolutely no need to have the 3 string holes / 5 holes altogether in the parts unless you want 4 strings on the curtain, 1 to open on each side and 1 to close on each side. And the 4 hole version looks more like a face!

My wife Christine has mobility issues and she is very happy to use the pulleys.

Anyway, I will load these curtain rod end things to Thingiverse soon, and will put up both the 4 hole and 5 hole versions. have loaded the parts on Thingiverse now,

And I plan to make a "demo unit" featuring these parts and put it in Fringe Furniture which is coming up soon.


Steve Nurse

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Trade Show Pics

This foam map of Australia by states was a freebee at one of the stands, I can't remember which.  Anyway the "Tasmania" bit is my own DIY addition, left out by the original designers.  After a few days at home, I.........
put it to good use, placing the 3d printed  Alien Sculpture I'd made on to it to give an impressive scale and make the alien landing craft look quite big.

Here it is again with a few camera and light ......

setting changes.  The main file for the alien can be downloaded from thingiverse here, the filename is 480equi.stl.

Spee3d stand.

Bastion Bike with 3d printed parts.

3d printed bike helmet display, I searched the net and found this project which sounds similar.

Here are a few pics resulting from a visit to the National Manufacturing Week 2019 exhibition held in Melbourne recently.  Comments and links are given under each picture. Overall the show was very good and I found out about some local 3d meal printers.  A gentleman on the 3d printing solutions  stand was very genorous with his time, explaining all about their carbon and fibreglass infused printer filament.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Trolley Modification

My wife Christine with her trolley in use as a table.

Table extension "in"

Table extension "out"

The whole thing.

My wife Christine has some balance issues, so uses a trolley for support and to carry things when going about our home.  The trolley does lots of duties, it is a support, carrier, table for meals and when reading books or newspapers, and also a sort of ladder to help Christine get into bed. 

So I've seen it in use over many months and thought I could improve the table function of the trolley. The table needed to come closer to her for better support without banging in to her knees, but the first method I thought of (reduce the size of the lower shelf area to make clearance) would have been no good, and compromised the ladder function of the trolley.

About 2 weeks ago, the idea of a sliding top tray came into my mind, and I was able to finish is off over a weekend much to Christine's delight.  When doing mods or making new stuff, its essential to consider all the uses the object might have.


Steve Nurse

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Fractional Solids

2 different versions of greater dodecahedrons.

Ball-shaped greater dodecahedron before stripping away the support material from the printer.

Noodling on cad with the shape, I never printed this one.  The circles in the centre were drawn small at first to help  draw construction axes, but in this pic I made them into a big feature.
Schematic of some of the shapes from the spreadsheet.

A few of the shapes.  Gumby is standing on a couple of partial development shapes, and is so pleased with himself he wants to run for prime minister of Australia.
View of 4, 5 and 6 sided faces.

Top view of 3 sided vertex with views below of (part of) equisided triangle, square and pentagon.

Raw Draftsight Plot.

During one of my last posts, I showed an application for fractional polygons. Hugh Duncan has detailed these shapes in a blog post, and  Wikepedia calls them star polygons.   Anyway, I got to thinking about them, and that there were oodles of them, but why couldn't there be oodles of solids based on them?  I only knew of 5 types of solid (4th pic down), maybe there could be more?

Anyway, I already did a spreadsheet for calculating the coordinates of a spiral based on fractional polygons (fractional polygons in this folder) and decided to adapt it to seed some fractional solid designs.  The tactic for  my shape hunting is to calculate the coordinates of a vertex of "n" regular polygons of "m" sides.

As an aid to calculate, I drew some vertices to scale in 2d and checked the calculated dimensions and angles against the drawings.

The pics above show the results sofar, including making some shapes, and plotting "solid seeds" in Draftsight using a script pasted from the spreadsheet.  I managed to make a polygon that was new to me but I later found is called a "great dodecahedron".  Anyway, I will keep exploring & report more on this later.  Not everything always joins up and I have made some fine on-screen messes!


Steve Nurse

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Featured in Cycling Boardgames website

Pic from the 1890's German...

Boardgame "Neues Radfahrer Spiel" feature.....

both fairly impossible bikes, and scenes still seen in cycling today.


After completing my boardgame tokens earlier this year, I wrote to Anki Toner at about them, and he was pleased to include my updates on his site:

It's been quite a long time since I last updated the site. I am afraid I have been quite busy these last months. I did not even have time to prepare a Christmas present for you this year but fortunately someone did it for me. Stephen Nurse, from Australia, has updated his free downloadable game Cycle Tour and has added 3D-printable bicycle tokens. This is something new, at least in the cycling games' world. Of course, most of us do not have a 3D printer at home and we are not sure how to handle STL files, but it is probably time to start to learn. The future is here. As Armstrong (no, not Lance) would have said, "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for the cycling board games' world".

Thanks for the feature, Anki!  Shown above are a few pics from a much older cycling boardgame than mine, the sort of thing that Anki chronicles with  great respect and thoroughness. Well worth a pootle around the site.


Steve Nurse


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Rigid Spiral from Thingiverse Parts


Late last year, I made some construction kit parts available on Thingiverse.

By putting together rings and spiral in particular ways, they can be made more rigid and in the blurb, I came up with an explanation for rigidity in the rings. Coincident ring edges have conflicting geometries, and this conflict forces parts and edge materials to rub against each other.

Now a few weeks ago I wrote to a designer who contributes to the Bridges conference in Europe, and he was encouraging of my work, and so I got to thinking about it a bit more.  The blurb has my ideas about how ring stacks become rigid, but what about the spirals?

This kept me awake one night last week, and my thoughts led me to fractional polygons, that is polygons with 4 1/2 sides (or similar whole no. plus fraction) per revolution, and 2 or more revolutions to close. Fortunately I didn't have to suffer in my jocks for too long, and a web search revealed fractional polygons are actually a thing, as this site reveals.

So anyway, I went into excel, and worked out how to plot some fractional polygons in 2d in excel. For a 4 1/2 sided polygon, you can calculate 360 / 4.5 and that will be the angle between all the points on the polygon. So you "set a clock hand going" and draw lines between all the stops at multiples of 360/4.5 or 80 degrees. To move things into 3d, I moved to a separate sheet and used the maths to calculate coordinates of 2 3d spirals.  This was done by adding in a Z column (increase Z by a fixed amount each time) to the X and Y already calculated. The coordinates can be copied to a text file to make a script which can be run in AutoCad or Draftsight to represent a couple of 3d lines.

The lines represent shapes that rows of tiles each side of an edge want to force on the edge.  Neither shape can be made and the resulting conflict between parts makes the spiral rigid.  The spreadsheet and pdf blurb can be downloaded here.

And here are a few screen grabs of the plots, enjoy!


Steve Nurse

2d fractional polygon from excel.
End of a script run in Draftsight which produced the spiral.

3d view of spiral

Side View

Top view has no perspective and looks just like 2d.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Mirka Mora Auction

"Lot 146, a 19th Century Foot Pedalled Carving Wheel"

Peugeot NS

Parked out the front.

A few months ago, beloved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora passed away. In the last few weeks she has stayed in the news with an auction of her effects due to take place, and Lucy Feagins starting a successful crowdfunding campaign to purchase estate items for the Heidi museum. Still not finished, the campaign has already raised $200,000.  My mum Doff and wife Christine both went to Mirka Mora classes and I am well aware of her as an artist, so I decided to pootle down to the public viewing of auction items a few k's away but on the other side of the Yarra river and on the 72 tram route I used to got to school on, only 43 years ago or so. 

Star attraction for me was the Peugeot Nouveau bike although I also came across an 1800's pedalled carving wheel.  This was one of the first trips for me on my recumbent leaning trike with new scooter steering, and it went quite well but I rode all the way there with tilted handlebars.  Which I survived.

Looking forward to visiting the Heidi Museum with Christine. 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Board Game History

Discovered this box which outlines something of the Cycle Tour history which......

our friend's dogs Bella finds "uninteresting on many levels".
With Helen, Christine and Wendy at the Airey's Inlet Hotel.


Rummaging through our shelves, I found a box for the cycle tour boardgame which received a recent update and is now available through Thingiverse complete with 3d printable tokens.  Anyway, the box side included a small bit of history, indicating when I designed it and how I publicised it at the start, entering it in a Design competition.  The box seems like a worthwhile addition to the stuff you get with the game, so I have added a "box" pdf to the thingiverse files. This was designed 9 years ago or so as well

From the "box" pdf.
So anyway, enjoy.


Steve Nurse