The C60 Bucky-ball

The Kickstarter!

 c60_soccerThe C60 Bucky-ball

The C60 buckminsterfullerene model, a.k.a. geodesic truncated icosahedron happens to be also the design of the traditional soccer ball.

You can already purchase the connectors for $3.50, shipping included anywhere in the world.
Or cut your own, using the free design. You can even sell those! it’s CC-by-sa!

Just use plain coffee stirrers to build the 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.
Design for build and for the connectors is CC-by-sa Yama Ploskonka 2014


to build a model of the C60 buckminsterfullerene, you will need:

  • 60 120-degree connectors. Buy them here
  • 100 coffee stirrers. If you want your Bucky ball to be 2-color, get 60 of one color (black in the example) and 40 of another (white in the example). The project might be rather large unless you cut the stirrers. All stirrers must be the same length. When using more than one color, you may want to check that they have the same “give”. Otherwise, if some are more rigid they will distort your pseudo-sphere


  1. connect one black stirrer to one connector – repeat 59 times
  2. form a pentagon, by connecting 5 stirrer-connector pairs end to end. Repeat 11 times
  3. Connect one white stirrer to the end of each free connector in one of the pentagons – that will be 5 stirrers. Repeat with one other pentagon. One of these pentagons will be the base, the other the top.
  4. Connect one white stirrer to the end of one connector in another pentagon. Repeat 2 times, in adjoining connectors. That will be 3 stirrers. Repeat with all other pentagons, to a total of 30 stirrers
  5. Connect one of the free connectors to the end of a stirrer attached to the Base pentagon (one of those with 5 stirrers). Repeat with 4 more pentagons.
  6. Do the same with the Top pentagon. That will be 5 pentagons
  7. In each section, Base and Top, connect the pentagons to the corresponding neighbor, using the closest stirrer to each
  8. Attach Base and Top sections

Let me catch some Zs and I will add pictures for a step-by-step later



STEMginery Kickstarter update day 5

Visit the STEMginery Kickstarter page

Today was a good day . I took it easy regarding the Kickstarter because the house really needed some attention. Yet pledges kept coming, and some supporters are raising theirs. Of course a Kickstarter is a serious business proposition, but the feeling of community is strong – it’s not just a plain mercantile exchange.

It is well known that Kickstarters tend to slow down some after the first few days – no exception here, but having surpassed the goal by a nice round number of 256% already, slow is no reason to stress. Kicktraq still predicts us getting over $6,000. It would be nice, better advances possible in lowering costs, everybody benefits.

Extras: Wheels

I’ve been experimenting with axles and wheels and movement. This was something that was planned for the Solo, Advanced, and Ultimate sets. It works so well that I have decided to add 4 wheels to the Bridge (so instead of 50 pieces you get 54), and some to the others sets also. Which reminds me that I need to put some detail on what exactly is in each set. Let’s have that happen during this week.

What comes next:

We are very close to $2,000 in pledges.

At that moment we unlock quite a few goodies: the STEMginery 5 Platonic Solids ($4), built using coffee stirrers instead of soda straws, the Amazing Set Wingman ($152), the Geodesic Dome ($48), and the Handmade STEMinions ($31 each) – which are a limited set that I should get back to work on right away. You can add any of these to your current pledge.

I am particularly happy about the Solids. Very inexpensive, actually it’s the laser time that is the highest cost. So far coffee stirrers from several places have worked fine, besides the 5,000 that I had purchased for $17  recently. They work so well that I am liberating the design right now. That’s the prize you get for reading this far!

The file is SVG – get it here – it canCc-by-sa_small be imported to most any software used for laser cutters, as far as I know. Might need tweaking (our Universal laser uses Corel, and it’s finicky about exactly using the right Red and thickness). You can tell me about your experiences and needs in the Comments section in the STEMginery Kickstarter page. Released as CC by-sa Yama Ploskonka 2014

OK, next will be to upload the instructions… They are sort of ready, if you watch the video you see the STEMinions building the Platonic Solids, which themselves are portrayed several times.

International Shipping

We have quite a few backers from overseas. Most represented so far are France and Australia. I want your pledge to do the most good. Since shipping is VERY expensive. I am researching ways to lower it. It probably will be easiest to improve things with Europe, but I haven’t given up on the others.



Doesn’t this product already exist? a couple times over?

well, yes, no, maybe. A few links:

There are quite a few more.

There are 3D printed connectors in Instructables, free to copy.

Search “straw construction” and “straw building” on Amazon.

A deeper search will reveal even more.

Main differences:

  1.   STEMginery has a solid STEM learning mission – so does Cochrane’s. All others seem to be “toys”. STEMginery is more than anything a learning tool.
    It does matter. Even though it can be used even as a competitive game, STEMginery’s focus is not play but to build life and pre-professional skills, based on individual giftings. Yes, it can be a toy, just like I guess a book can be a toy? STEMginery is real, serious stuff. Kids can understand that, and it is important that they do – that principle is how good montessori and homeschooling environments remain safe and effective.
  2. STEMginery is the cheapest.
    And also CC (yes, nc for now, sorry, but hope we can fix that later). Except a few Instructables and Thingiverse, that is uncommon. Strawbees had said they would CC their stuff, it hasn’t happened yet.
    So, people can cut their own STEMginery, if they have the tools, or buy them from me, at bigger bang-for-the buck that any other.

  3. Strawbees is the most versatile in terms of angles, true. But you have to set those angles, which requires some dexterity. STEMginery is solid, with preset angles which make it much easier to get something done (meaning more inclusive in terms of age and skill). Just snap together. Parts are small enough that you can build huge complex objects without the connectors getting in the way (like the 10 ft Eiffel Tower – takes over 2,000 connectors!)

  4. One area where all other products have an advantage is in having their name pronounced STEMginery, alas, suffers from confusing people as to how to pronounce it 😉