News and Events

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

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

The Killer Ap for all this stuff!


Scoping - Fairfield fly fishing ponds a bit shallow for model raft sailing.


Better! A pond in North Carlton. Testing a new tilting trike at the time, it is on the left.

Completing the tetrahedron- the red jig ensures the brown parts are at the correct angle. They are held on by the blue rubber band until gluing is complete.

Lower corner of raft. The holes in the cans are as high as possible. The ring pull is removed for flatness, and then the hole covered with gaffer tape. Water was pretty calm, the taping probably wasn't needed.

Final assembly was taping.

It works and

Sails away quite happily.


Selfie with cans icosahedron boat ...... thing.

Managed to take some ok .....

photos of it!


For a while, I have been building structures from drink cans (previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here) for a few weeks now, and eventually worked out that most of the structures I've made could float and sail. I spent some of Monday scoping for sailing spots in the city, and a fountain and pond in North Carlton looked like the best bet.  

But by Tuesday I had reserved myself a trip to Aireys Inlet and decided to try it down there, and headed off today (Wednesday). There were a few last minute construction details, mainly with the tetrahedral raft. I 3d printed a jig to ensure can holders were correctly angled, and then glued them onto the cans. And finally I worked out that taping some of the cans together could be done last to simplify assembly.

The can-rafts (Kon-Tinnie? Kon Biri?) ready, I went to the Aireys Painkalac creek, taking one of the rafts at a time down.

The tetrahedron raft  worked well, and sailed quite quickly but I only got a few shots before swimming out to retrieve it. With the icosahedron it went much better. I swam out with the "thing", carrying a camera as well, and managed to get some good photos and a couple of videos. The videos are here and here, the first shows a spinifex like tumbling, and the second is up close and just shows floating.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. The models are put together using just one type of 3d printed part which I hope to put up on Thingiverse soon.


Steve Nurse

Update, Jan 21

After filming the big rolling raft a few days ago, I decided to have a go at filming the tetrahedron raft as well. I needed to leave Airey's Inlet, and the weather was getting warm, so a river swim before I got going was just the thing. I grabbed a bit of firewood to use as the camera deck and there was not much left to prepare. A pic is below, and the raft- camera video is on youtube here.


Monday, 10 January 2022

Cans Cylinders









At some stage when making can sculptures, I realised that a couple of cans could be put together to make a cylinder, and the cylinders used as edges in polyhedra. As well, the lamp stem I'd already made could be a cylinder too, and compatible with the can cylinders.

The top sketch shows how I calculated the length of the plastic pipe to be cut, and pic 4 shows the pipe cutting. I stuck a tight fitting steel tube inside the plastic pipe during cutting with the pipe cutter. The plastic tube doesn't cut this way on its own as its too flexible. Pics 2, 3, 5 and 6 are all tetrahedra, with 5 and 6 including a pipe edge.  Cd's and plywood discs could be used to make these sorts of structures too.

Regards Steve Nurse

Update Jan 14

As per the pics below, I have made a third type of cylinder for the samplers, that is plywood discs separated by dowel. It was hard to put together, probably because its hard to get the half hinges alligned correctly on the cylinders. I plan to make a model boat next (The Kon - Tinnie?) which should be fairly easy. 

Till next time!



Cans Icosahedron



As i've done with CD's before, I have now worked my way through making all of the platonic solids by using the faces of beercans as sides. Its been a bit of fun, and my son Ewan took a few photos of me fooling around with it - "just not interesting enough!"

Each can has 3 half-hinges attached, and 20 of these add up to make the icosahedron. To start with, hair elastic did the holding, but later superglue was added. The half hinges need to be equispaced on the rims, otherwise assembly is impossible. 

To finish off, I designed a 3d printed hinge to adapt a plastic pipe to the assembly, and another part to anchor everything to a base. I had some fun with the base itself, cutting out the corner pads from within the base to leave some decorative holes. The piece I've made could make a lamp, but for the moment I'm trying it out with a few bike lights for effect.

Regards  Steve Nurse

Saturday, 25 December 2021



Today's rocket

from Beer Cans

Half octahedron


Bev and Christine


Me, mum and dad. My brother Richard is represented by my t-shirt, its got one of his paintings on it and arrived by mail a day ago. Thanks Rich!





Hi, its Christmas day today, we have a small family gathering tomorrow, so today was pretty quiet. In the morning I caught up with Mum and Dad, and we had our friend Bev over for lunch. 

One of my beer can sculptures / things / octahedrons was outside and while I was having an afternoon sleep I heard a resounding crash. And sure enough when I wet to investigate, there was a mess of cans, rubber bands, spoke pins and 3d printed bits on the ground. So I fixed it but there's still not much space inside for new sculptures.

Anyway, lunch went well and when chatting with Bev over a cup of tea I finished off Rocket MKII shown at the top.

Happy Christmas!

Friday, 17 December 2021

Cans Dodecahedron

Not much to say here!

I used 60 of the same 3d printed part, 12 hair elastics, 12 empty cans, and pins from bicycle spokes. Technology the same as per my last post. My wife Christine not that keen on the new Christmas tree.


Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Collecting Nevil Shute books


From my copy of...

"In the Wet"

Contemporary technology which inspires.


For a while I have been a fan of Nevil Shute books, but for a while the books sort of accumulated randomly. At some stage, I got slightly more serious about reading them and ordered a copy of his autobiography, "Slide Rule".

I'm an engineer, and Nevil Shute Norway was as well. He worked in the early 1900's and he, and his protagonists are sort of intellectual swashbucklers, a bit like me. Some early aerodynamic human powered vehicles used some of the best airship / dirigible / zeppelin technology he describes in his books. The technology might be called steampunk today.

A bit later, and I am actively looking for his books on Facebook marketplace and ebay, and eventually find a lady in Richmond selling a lot of them for $5.00 each, so I head over there at an arranged time and pick up about 20 books.

Then I do a stocktake, comparing my accumulations with a self made spreadsheet of the Wikipedia  entry for Mr. Shute. Lots of doubles and some gaps still, and after this I was 3 or 4 books short and I quickly order these on ebay. Now I'm only one book short, I don't have the "The Seafarers" which is more expensive and rarer than the others. Is was only released in 2002, 42 years after Shute died.

At one stage I thought I might review every one of Shute's books but will suffice with this entry, and add a few images as I feel like it.

Monday, 13 December 2021

Destination Moon

Ready for blastoff


. Model is base on a beercan tetrahedron and here are the parts. Although I didn't need to, I made a plywood platform and 3d printed support parts which replace the topmost can. The 2 cans at the back are (shock) non alcoholic beer. I am actually sort-of in training so alcoholic beer doesn't help much.

Some inspiration from Herge. I think I read all the German versions of Tintin when I was learning German at the Goethe Institut in Melbourne. Here are pics

from Herge with a moonrocket. Note Snowy the dog has a spacesuit.

I think these pics show landing on the moon, in a reverse-of blastoff sequence. But they will do.
Some construction details

Luckily I have not met this sort of resistance to my non-alcoholic beer drinking. Screen grab from the Australian tv series Kath and Kim. Kim doesn't like Kel's football team.


The pics above show some "applied up-polygonization", making a rocket from the joining techniques from the last post, and having a bit of fun with them. Apologies to Herge, Kim and Kel. When I've refined the 3d printing files a bit more, I'll put them on thingiverse.

Regards Steve Nurse