News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

3d Printed Parts 1

Cad Screenshot of some 3d Printed parts I have been making.

Tools and extra parts used to make assemblies, 2.5mm diameter bamboo skewers from supermarket, screwdriver with 2.5mm blade diameter, needle nosed pliers and Phillips screwdriver in multitool, snipping tool.

Joining pieces, cutting bamboo so that its about 6mm longer than the teeth to be joined, then crushing one end with pliers, so that it looks like.......

this......., then poking the crushed end through so it sticks inside.

Some alternatives I have used, left to right, M3 nut and bolt, two M3 bolts which form threads in the holes and M4 bolt which forms a thread in the hole.

A few simple assemblies, tetrahedron, balancing tetrahedron, 3d pentagon.

More assemblies, repeating patterns like these can be put together to form columns, and basic parts assemblies separated by bamboo skewers.

Coaster Design
Dodecahedron Design, note size of matchbox
Hi, In the last few weeks I have been designing and 3d printing parts using a new 3d printer I purchased from Cetus.  The designs fit together to make many different types of assemblies and a few of the tools, techniques and results are shown above.  The parts can be used to teach maths in a fun way, and demonstrate trigonometry and geometry. Anyway, an STL part file is now available to print for the minimum price of $US 3.00 through this link at If there is interest, I can make actual parts available through or another 3d printing mob.

Any comments welcome, Regards

Steve Nurse

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tweaking the Timber Trike

At Mada Monash, Ply Bike on a Ply Wall

Piebald Chain, but it doesn't clunk

Shortened Seat Bolts

Extra Bolts inside, top bolt circled red

Cropped brake noodles

For the last few days I have been riding my latest timber trike, and its been a lot of fun, and given me the chance to iron out a few wrinkles.

Number one was the chain clunking on high gear.  I couldn't find any parts of the chain where the links were tight, but couldn't find any, so then changed the chain on one side of the quick link.  Still no good, and still clunking, however the new chain I had fitted was silver and during my test I could see when the chain was clunking: on the other side of the quick link.  Swapping another section of chain over fixed things, but the chain looks rather pie-bald now and I plan to replace it for a better-looking chain soon.

I shortened the seat bolts so they are more presentable, and added a few other bolts so the seat holds together better.  As well, I cut some metal off the brake noodles meaning the front wheel can be removed more easily.

So that's about it, except I have something coming up and have been quietly gathering parts.  A friend at Uni, Yun, had a project  and he let me have some balls enclosing motion sensitive lights he had made for it.  These are to go in the back of the tailbox, and I have bought some clear floorcovering material to go with them.  Woohoo!

Motion Sensitive lights
Clear Floorcover

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cycle Zoo Pdf


My book "An Illustrated Guide to the Cycle Zoo" is now available as a pdf download for $AUD 4.00.  If you read the blog regularly or even don't, and just want an inexpensive reference book about cycles, you really need to buy it and are only a few mouse clicks and an email or two away.  The link to buy is here,  click on the Purchase It tab and then the top "Buy Now" button and after that you are in the hands of Mr. Paypal.  Then an email rolls in to my inbox, a small about of money is shuffled electronically around the world and I send you the pdf.  Easy Peasey.

 Still Free!  (But please buy a book if you enjoy it at all) is the cycle tour boardgame I designed.  It says in a very roundabout sort of way that all human powered vehicles are equal, it doesn't matter what you ride, and sharing a ride with friends is a wonderful experience. To read more about it and download free, follow this link

My friend Dave Trickey got the ball rolling on this new pdf-buying scheme.  Thanks Dave!


Steve Nurse

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

O Bikes in Melbourne

A small invasion of O-bikes outside the Hive, Richmond, Melbourne

The bikes are a strange mix of high and low tech, this handlegrip is integrated with a bell

Front mudguard, light, generator and band brake

Back Wheel, Band brake and Ashtabula cranks

Obikes in Victoria St Richmond.

A bike in Coburg

In the last few weeks, there has been an invasion of bikes on our streets.  In competition with the official melbourne bike share scheme which has blue bikes, Obikes have started to appear.  They seem to be more widespread than the Blue bikes, but I have yet to see anyone use one.  But I have seen them parked outside shopping centres and sort-of getting in the way.

The bikes have a curious mix of old and new tech, for example they have Ashtabula cranks (now seen only on the cheapest of cheap new bikes)  and a single gear.  The brakes are band brakes, and I'm not that familiar with them, but they look out of place next to the shiny generator on the front hub.

Jai in his biking in a big city blog  has documented what looks like a similar hire scheme in Canada, and he even hired one.  Me, I don't even own a smartphone.  Good luck, Obike.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dangerous Designs Entry

Chinese contingent 1.

Chinese Contingent 2.  Who is the ringin, 3rd from left?



Hi, as I wrote quite a few posts ago, part of the reason for building my newest timber trike was to enter the Dangerous Designs competition.  My entry is now in! As well as building the trike itself, a few nice photos and a video were needed.  Some of the photos were taken at the local park, but I wanted to include a few photos of riding on the trike too.  My son, Ewan works at Melbourne Uni, so I arranged to meet him there for a photoshoot.  Its very hard to get your head around the workings of a vuong trike but dynamic photos and videos can help a lot.

So I pootled in on a Thursday morning, making sure timber panels were in place for the timber design competition.  On arriving at Melbourne Uni, I was swamped by a Chinese tour group of some description and they insisted on posing for photos with the trike.  I got them to take a few photos of me too.  The photos with the chinese contingent did not make the cut for the Dangerous Designs comp though, it is actually worth being serious about these things!

Then I rang Ewan, and got him to bring his helmet along as my helmets are too geeky to be seen in respectable photos.

The filming went ok, thanks Ewan!  Here is a link to the video.  Another competition / exhibition I have now entered is Fringe Furniture, my timber trike will be there on display from September 14 to October 1.


Syeve Nurse

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Timber Leaning trike part 15

Mockup of trike and the actual trike with wooden panels
The same trike with fabric and coreflute sidepanels

This is how much the sidepanels weigh.  If you want to ride around with these timber sidepanels you have to suffer carrying an extra 1.25 kg around.

Last job before finishing, grinding the end off some screws which were sticking out of the timber panels.

A week or two ago, corflute was cut using the frame of the fabric sidecover as a template, and extra coreflute was cut to make clip holders.  Later the clip holders were cable tied to the coreflute.


My newest leaning timber trike is finished now.  It was just about finished a few weeks ago, but have been fairly busy and haven't got back to it.  But taday I had some time and finished off the quite heavy 4mm timber ply sidepanels and fitted and photographed them and the corflute panels on the bike.  The first photo shows my mockup of the bike from parts I had around the place, and next to it is   tadah! the real thing.  A few other vital statistics are weight: 18kg with cloth panels, and length 2400mm.  Not recommended if you don't want to be noticed!  Anyway, it has been fun building her and I hope she endures for many km.


Steve Nurse

Monday, May 22, 2017

Timber Leaning trike part 14

Material from a hard rubbish pile for the side panels

Bit of surgery required to make these handgrips the right size

Halfway through making the tailbox lid.

Brake assembly.

One Sidepanel fitted. Very pleased with the way this coame out

Small amount of luggage in luggage compartment, including library cds and dvds

Outside the new North Fitzroy Library, after returning cds and dvds.  Its a great new building....

And by way of contrast, officeworks Fitzroy!

Back Home.


I spent some time last night and this morning finishing the trike to a rideable state and spent quite a bit of effort fettling the brakes and gears, as well as making side-covers and a lid for the tailbox, and fitting handgrips and a bell.  And it all came out well.  My first trip out on the trike was a shopping trip, and the worst problem I had with the trike was running over dog excrement on the pavement on the way home!  The steering was a bit out of centre, which I've fixed,  but otherwise no real issues.  Still getting used to it a bit though, and I want to make 2 more sets of panels for the tailbox, 1 in coreflute and 1 in plywood:  I bought in supplies for them today as well and will add some taillights as well.

All for now, Regards

Steve Nurse