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

Monday, 18 October 2021

52t Clock


Hinge pins on production line

Hinge assemblies


A while ago, I made a tetrahedron clock from some old bicycle disc brakes. It all went together, and I thought I could donate it at a prize at a bike event. But one bicycle-themed clock trophy would not be enough, as I would want to donate a trophy for male and female winners. 

So I've been fossicking in my bike junk and cd-rom piles and have gathered together a few suitable candidates for the next clock, and then in the last day or so have put it together. 

The new tetrahedron has 2 sides which are upcycled 52 tooth bicycle chainrings, and 2 which are upcycled timber chainring guards, which are shown in my bikes blog posts such as this one. I trimmed the timber guards in the lathe, something I've never done before, but it worked ok this time.

Anyway, it all came together well, although the clock isn't actually telling the time properly yet.

The image on the cd is a little thing Leonardo Da Vinci whipped up called Vitruvian Man. On the cd he is already poorly treated by being chopped in half and placed in a bicycle sprocket, and looking at the photos, I realized I had mistreated him again by giving him blue tracky dacks to wear!

Personally I like it! A trophy that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Update October 19

This morning I've taken the clock apart to fix the mechanism (I think the rubber bands used to hold the edge joiners in place are straining it too much) and realised the clock looks perfectly fine with just the cd and one chainring as below. Its a bit less complicated that way. Anyway, no need to make a decision yet as to which way to present it.


Steve Nurse

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Mylar constructions


With tools, a paper cutting guillotine and Mylar, and m3 nylon fasteners...

made this, a

cube / octahedron, which is now...

with all the other dangly things outside the kitchen window.

View from below. It's held up by a bicycle gear cable, and a nylon nut is a meant to be a low-friction bearing.


A few weeks ago, I made some cantellated forms from playing cards, and realised that the designs could be taken further, or even moved outside if they were made of different material. I had a roll of Mylar material left over from my time as an engineer at CMG / Regal in Rowville. The plastic film goes between steel laminations and copper wires to stop fires and other disasters happening.

Anyhow to go with the mylar I wanted some plastic fasteners, so bought m3 nylon nuts and bolts through ebay. They all took a while to arrive, but I was quite grateful for the think time before starting to make more things. Finally I got motivated, and made what you see in the photos above. The equatorial panels are folded on one edge to catch the wind, and rotate in the wind.

But no rotation to date, it hasn't been windy, and the fan bits aren't very big, so I can redesign if necessary.

Anyway very pleased with the way the photos came out, I like the transparency of the mobile, and there will be more to follow.

 Update October 16, 2021

New layout with extended fans. Just visible here is a map of Australia in outline, put in by piercing the Mylar with a centre punch.

Globe features now include rotating on a vertical axis, and Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. And fragility.

Settled on an Australian map showing Aboriginal Australia. It has been this way for the last 50,000 years or so with the exception of the last 300 or so.

I did a bit of rearranging of cube / octahedon and have now christened it a globe. By extending the fan blades compared to the top photos, and also adding  string to the bicycle gear cable, the globe now rotates and sways with gay abandon. Very pleased, and I plan to make a few more versions. Here is a short video, it moves quite nicely.

Regards  Steve Nurse

Friday, 10 September 2021

CD cube


Selfie #1

Selfie #2

Lid hinged = obverse.

A view inside. I spent a bit of time making sure the hair bands stayed on the inside of the cube.

With milk crates #1

With milk crates #2


This post shows a cube I made by making sides from overlapping cds. The overlapping cds are documented here, and I did a bit more work on them here . To extend this technology, I've made this display cube, and started by superglueing the dvds to the red hubs whish are at the cenre of all the faces.

Anyway, I think they've come out very well. Up till the time I bought the cube outside to photograph, I hadn't really noticed the reflections visible on the cds. But they look quite good even when the cube was placed on my outdoor workbench made of milk crates and old plywood.

Materials: Cd's / Dvd's, Bamboo rod as hinge pins, 3 different 3d printed parts, elastic hair bands, superglue.

Tetra Clock










Early this year, I put together a tetrahedron clock (2), and this is discussed here, I made a cube clock (1) at the same. But I didn't bother working out how to make a full dial with 12 numbers for those clocks.  

So somewhere along the way, I decided to fix this, by this time I had made some different varieties of the building-block adapters which turn cd's into polygons. I could apply that tech to the new clock. Instead of using bamboo rods as hinge pins, I am using bicycle spoke parts which don't fall out!  As well I found some themed dvds (The IT Crowd, a show I like)  in a  neighbourhood book swap cabinet. So it all came out very well.

Anyway, here are the IT Crowd themed clocks you can get on Red Bubble.

Materials: Dvd's and data cds, 15 different types of 3d printed parts, bicycle spokes and spoke nipples, elastic hair bands, clock mechanism.


Steve Nurse

Monday, 30 August 2021

Platonic Solids from Playing Cards




As mentioned in my last post, while working out how to make a tessellation out of cd's, I stumbled upon a pattern that could be altered slightly to make constructions from playing cards. To jump from the pattern I created above (1).....



 to the platonic solids pattern, consider that each corner of a rectangle in 1. has a hole and a bolt in it. Then transfer that pattern to some playing cards by punching a hole with a sharpened metal rod. Something like 2) is the result. At that point I actually made something instead of just cadding it, and


This was the result. 3. can in turn into a tetrahedron




as shown in 4, 5 and 6. After that, all the the other polyhedra can be made, ie cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron.  These are the cantellated forms of the solids. Something of this nature is shown here and here on Pinterest.

7. Cube / Octahedron layout, nice and neat.

8. Octahedron

9. Starting the dodecahedron net. Note Snoopy as Joker!

10. Dodecahedon

11. and with added atmosphere! In the centre is a "candle", see here.

As 8 and 10 are cantellated they are geometries of a form between cube / octahedron and dodecahedron / icosahedron.

Technical details: the playing cards are cheap and flexible, and with the help of a small jig and a sharpened bike spoke, I poked a hole in the corner of each card. Holes are 7mm from each edge and spoke holes were enlarged to 3mm diameter with a nail.  Fasteners are m3 x 12 steel screws and nuts, but a slightly shorter m3 nylon bolt might do a better job. 

12. Parallel architecture, another dodecahedron, see link below.


Will post more later, I plan to make the cube and icosahedron. There are similarities between these nexorade card structures and the diy nexorades I developed previously, see pic 12 above and this link. For example, these card structures can join each other at node points. Its very simple!


Steve Nurse 



Friday, 27 August 2021

More cd turbines and tessellations


1. Another form of the 4-blade tessellation discussed in the previous post. Here it is presented as a monohedral tiling.

2. So I had made a 4-blade tiling and was curious as to what could be done with a 3 blade version.

3. Initially, I couldn't figure out how to make an interesting tiling out of this, and I started laying it out in 2d cad with circles. But even that was confusing, and I came up with this pattern, which substitutes rectangles for circles. The different hub colours represent hubs with clockwise or anticlockwise blade placements. This bought to mind a sort of nexorade polyhedon that could be made with playing cards. I couldn't find any reference to these on the net but found a few pics on Joe Rohan's pinterest. Will report more on this later.

4. Here is the same pattern with sneaky infiltration of a hex hub.

5. Here is the same arrangement as 3 with circles and no hubs, it is a dihedral tiling.

6. With hubs, 5 looks like this, something that is makeable.

7. And I went big on this! Initially I had gathered up twelve 27" bike wheels / rims with the idea of making each rim the face of a dodecahedron. But when the overlapping circles idea came up I put this together instead.

8. There are 3/16" screws holding the rims together. The side walls of the rim are tucked into each other.  

9. A for-real version of the pattern shown in 6, and using the red and white hub parts shown in 2

10. Another view.

11. Obverse

12. Seen from this angle, 1/3 of the cds in the tiling make a series of steps. This is something that could be explored in 3d cad with different angles and shapes in the same sort of arrangements.

13. Another view

14. Here is my attempt at a qualitative generalistion of cd turbines /  tessellations. This page can be used as a reference, and deals with 2d circle packing. What happens when flat cylinders are forced together? Assume the cylinders' central axes are on the vertices of a shrinking regular polygon, and the preference is for the cylinders to remain in a flat plain. A: The cylinders are apart. B: Cylinder edges touch, and the cylinders have to twist or move to get closer. One tidy option is for all cylinders to rotate about the red lines C: Choosing the option of twisting along the red lines, these are the resulting patterns for very flat 2d cylinders which can be modeled using paper. D: Thicker cylinders can't reach the centre point and this series of sketches shows the hard limit when the cylinders are twisted through 90 degrees.


This post is continuing my at-home, in-lockdown exploration of some 2d and 3d  geometry from here and here. Will post more later, and welcome your comments and emails! Contact details are at the bottom of my home page.



Steve Nurse