by Gary Earl, member of Mount Gravatt Men’s Shed (Queensland)

Last year I purchased a 3D printer to make drone parts and while putting it together I thought that it would be a great tool for the Men’s Shed.

After a month or so of learning and knowing a little about how it worked etc, I took it along to our shed to see what interest it would create.

Then COVID hit and it would see all Men’s Shed activity reduced to a stand-still.

Some communication between our 3D printing group took place but not as much as I would have hoped. So, I took to learning Fusion 360 (a free CAD program).

I designed some things and printed them and made models from photographs and plans I found on the internet.

Our shed opened up again and now we have a 3D group of about 12 members who meet regularly. They are all eager to learn and participate.

Members in the group now own 6 printers and 2 CNC routers between themselves. The shed has purchased a printer for training and to create interest. We do some training on Fusion 360 also.

I thought it would be interesting to see how many other sheds and members are playing around with this technology and what they are doing with it.

What are other Men’s Sheds printing with their machines?

Please leave a comment on this blog so we can start talking and collaborating on projects. I would like to see the community share some of their experiences and learning and also photos of what they have been making.

Better still, perhaps we can share in a bigger project together.

Fusion 360 has also become a big part of my passion and hobby, as designing and printing tends to go hand in hand. I am now having more fun drawing things to print.

A great hobby for wet and windy days or COVID isolation.

A recent project for me has been the antique 1847 Colt Walker used by the Texas Rangers. The firearms are part of history more than 150 years old, just an animation at this stage but maybe printed as a non working toy made out of plastic.

I have done some research, some of which has been interesting reading and  found some plans. Still in the modelling stage, a few fillets and detail to be added, but soon to go on to the printer.

Communication is key to creating a wider community of Men Shed Printers and CNC Routers.

If you have designed, printed or routed something you are particularly proud of, I’d love to see it so post a comment to this blog for starters. Perhaps we can start a Zoom meeting once a month or start a messenger group for interested members.

These French 24lb naval cannons were modelled by me and the photo of the finished 3d prints were also done by me.

Here are the parts prior to assembly.

Old and new: my 160 year old gin bottle re-created

Here’s another project. See below photos taken by me of the 160 year Gin Bottle discarded by the Pearlers at a beach near the historical site of Cossac in WA.

I found it while exploring the area 45 years ago when working in the Pilbara.

First modelled in Fusion,  the replica (shown left) was printed on my 3d printer.

It still has to be painted but I am happy with how it turned out.

Here is a render taken from the Fusion 360 model.

If you are interested in this topic please leave Gary a comment below or email


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