Malcolm's house at Oyster Cove

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Free digital model of dry stone wall

You can download these dry-stone wall models for free from 3dwarehouse. To find them search for Intresto on 3dwarehouse or follow this link

I made the models by first digitising the shapes of real rocks then I optimised the packing of the virtual rocks using our Rocksolver software application. Rocksolver is the first rock optimisation software application capable of packing rocks together in much the same way a stone mason would.

Intresto's free rock models on 3dwarehouse

Real rock shapes were digitised using a laser scanner then I photographed real rock textures which were applied in Sketchup. There are lots of rock models and they can be downloaded for free from 3dwarehouse. Just search for the Intresto collection on 3dwarehouse or follow this link

You can download the models directly into your Sketchup CAD landscapes. To import into Blender, Maya, 3ds Max or other 3D computer graphics software export from Sketchup as dae, import into MeshLab then export as stl or obj.

Free stone models

I've made some really nice digital 3D stone models using Sketchup and you can download them for free from the Intresto collection on 3dwarehouse here

There are lots of other free rock models and dry-stone wall models in the Intresto collection. If the link above doesn't work go to 3dwarehouse and search for Intresto.

You can download the models directly into Sketchup then export as a dae file and import into MeshLab. From MeshLab the file can be exported in a number of different formats such as obj or stl then used in a whole range of 3D applications like Blender.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Augmented ability software

Augmented ability software uses augmented reality hardware to give someone the ability to do stuff they otherwise wouldn't be able to do.

Rocksolver and augmented reality software
Imagine wearing augmented reality glasses on a building site where you look at the rocks lying around on the ground, the rock shapes are digitised using the camera in the glasses, Rocksolver optimises rock positions and then shows you where to put each rock. You place the rock in the wall and it fits, like magic.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rocksolver as Augmented Ability

Recent advances in Augmented Reality (AR) glasses means that it won't be too long before the builders of landscaping, dry-stone walls or stone houses will be able to see the real world and the Rocksolver virtual world through the glasses they are wearing.

Rocksolver software will show the builder which rock to select and where to put it. The view through the glasses will look something like this:

One of the best AR glasses projects is from the Sydney-based company Explore Engage. Check their 2020AR glasses project here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wave House 3D model on Google's 3dwarehouse

I've started designing a sustainable house based on a light-weight, insulated outer skin, high thermal mass internal walls made from unprocessed rock and a wave-shaped roof to take advantage of passive solar heating and cooling.

You can download a model of Wave House into your Sketchup world from the Intresto collection on Google's 3dwarehouse. Go to and search for "wave house" or "Intresto".

There's more information about the Wave House design on my other blog:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rocksolver Investor Presentation - 1st November 2011 - Sydney

On Tuesday 1st November 2011 at 5:30pm at the NSW Government’s Trade and Investment Centre on level 47 of the MLC Centre in Sydney the Rocksolver team and I will be presenting Rocksolver as an investment opportunity.

To attend this event please register here

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Malcolm Lambert introduces Rocksolver on ABC TV New Inventors - 6th April 2011

The dry stone wall above features on New Inventors and was built by following a plan automatically generated by the Rocksolver software application. Rocksolver is currently undergoing prototype testing in preparation for its first commercial release later in 2011.

If you'd like to know more about the Rocksolver technology or about Intresto as an investment opportunity please leave your contact details at

Sunday, December 05, 2010

More 3D virtual rocks

The rocks in the image above are all virtual 3d models and are a selection of over 60 models available for download from the Intresto collection on Google’s 3dwarehouse (

All the models were derived from real rocks so they have a natural look even when scaled to the size of a small stone or large boulder. The models were generated from a 3D laser scanner or from the point cloud derived from the Photosynth photogrammetry application. The models were processed as triangular meshes using MeshLab and then textures applied using Sketchup.

The models can be imported for free directly into Sketchup, used in your landscaping or hardscaping projects or exported as a Collada dae file then imported into Meshlab. From MeshLab they can be saved in a range of 3D formats such as VRML, obj, ply or stl then imported into CAD or 3D animation, graphics and rendering applications such as Blender. Have fun.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My new website -

It's the same name as the old website but it's been redesigned:

Rocksolver builds a wall

Even before structural stability criteria have been explicitly programmed into Rocksolver it has built a stable structure. The photo shows Rocksolver's automatically generated design and the small desk-top structure built from real rocks following Rocksolver's plan. Rocksolver is using a 2D optimisation algorithm which would suit many applications such as retaining walls where stone masons already select prism-shaped rock. Stone masons mostly use a mental 2D algorithm to build a variety of structures from prism-shaped rocks because that's a lot easier than the mental 3D manipulations required to build with a random selection of rocks. Already Rocksolver has the capability to use 3D algorithms and build with random irregular shapes. Results from 3D testing will be published here and at as they come to hand.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Could be a world first

The image on the left is the result of running a Rocksolver simulation using data corresponding to 5 real rocks. The right-hand image is the real structure built by following the packing plan devised by Rocksolver. This could be the first time a new structure has been built from irregular objects following instructions from a computer program. It's possible some old structures have been re-built following the output from archaeological reconstruction software. The software required to simulate the rebuilding of an old structure is quite different to that required to simulate the building of a new structure so I'm happy to say it's a first.
The packing plan in the image came from my first desk-top simulation, even before the packing algorithm parameters had been optimised so things will only get better from here on.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

3D virtual rocks on Google's Sketchup

These 3D virtual rocks come from real rocks which were scanned. The virtual rock mesh was reduced to just a few hundred faces, imported into Sketchup then uploaded to Google's 3dwarehouse where they are freely available for download from the Intresto collection.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Intresto Pty Ltd is a company I have just started to help me attract government funding (governments will fund companies but not individuals) so I can keep going with the research and development. Intresto is from Intelligent Rearrangement of Stone, something people have been doing for thousands of years, I'm just throwing a computer into the mix. Have a look at (formerly

Friday, September 15, 2006

The ant survives

In the high resolution animation it's possible to see the ant scurry over the hills in the distance after it nearly gets squashed by the first rock. I modelled the ant on the Bull Ants living under the front windows of the house I built at Oyster Cove.

My invention

My invention, the "rocksolver" (see, uses a computer to fit together irregular polyhedra, each of which approximates the shape of a rock used to build a wall. When the computer finds a rock to fit into the wall it outputs instructions to the builder as to the rock's position and orientation. The 3D shape of the rocks can be acquired by using a laser scanner or by digital photgraphy.
Have a look at (formerly for more information.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

gone to a good home

Fiat 1100, 1961. The last time it was running was in 1990. At that time it was in good order until the motor suddenly stopped working. It might simply be a broken part in the distributor. Since 1990 it's been sitting outside, mostly under a tarp. The subframe is sound but there is some rust on the body and I suppose some of the parts have deteriorated or seized up over the years. It would be a project to get it going again but the basic parts are all there and it comes with a full set of workshop manuals.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

May 2006 - I sold my house

The photo shows bluestone paving around the front doors. The doors are old double swinging doors from a pub and I've set them into solid Celery-top pine poles.

Monday, April 03, 2006

my house

The northern part (left side of the photo) of the house is a hexagon and contains the kitchen, dining, lounge and study areas in an open-plan type of space. The hexagon has lots of windows in the northern half and a wood fire in the middle, making it light and airy during summer and warm and cozy in winter. On the right is the bedroom. Behind the bedroom is the toilet and bathroom. Separating the northern and southern parts of the house is a glassed-in vestibule area. There is also a separate studio.
My house is at Oyster Cove, 35km south of Hobart.


The lounge space.


The dining room...well, it's in the same space as the kitchen, lounge and study. The kitchen and study are separated from each other by an internal mudbrick wall. In the middle of the hexagonal room is "Warmbrite", the wood fire.


The sink is set into a Celery-top bench and the cupboard framework is Celery-top with Tas-oak and corrugated iron doors.

view from the bedroom

The glass ceiling.


The wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom is a curving wall made out of corrugated iron. It's got the same green-colour on both sides, with insulation in between. The bathroom is a work in progress. It has a shower, hand basin and washing machine. It has enough room for a bath but I'd have to evict the washing machine.


I paved outside the other front doors using local bluestone.

the view

Bruny Island in the distance.

looking towards the SE

Around the house is a wide area of mown grass which is a fire break in the event of a bush fire. In the 21 years I've owned the property it has never been threatenned by fire.

Bracken is my friend

This view is looking towards the west. The bush in the background and the hills behind the bush protect the property from the worst of the weather that sometimes hammers Tasmania from the west and south. In the foreground is lots of bracken fern which has an undeserved bad reputation. I've found the bracken a very useful plant nursery. Young trees are protected by the bracken from summer sun, winter frost, competing grass and browsing animals. Once the tree is higher than the bracken it starts to out-compete the bracken and then other understory plants can regenerate.

Hobart to Oyster Cove

Between Bruny Island and the mainland is the Dentrecasteaux Channel. The region on the mainland-side of the water is simply known as The Channel and is widely recognised as being one of the nicest regions in Tasmania. Because of the Channel's popularity is has become busy recently but Oyster Cove has remained a quiet locality, partly because there is no township or industry (apart from farming) and the highway is over a kilometre from the water.

aerial photo

The house is the light-coloured area visible in the upper-left of the property. Thanks Tom for the photo.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

site plan

The empire.

house plan

Large windows in the NE, N and NW facets of the hexagon collect sunlight throughout the day. During winter nights solar energy is released by the slow-combustion fire. The trees on my property use solar energy to extract carbon from the atmosphere and convert it into wood, then I chop up the wood and burn it to release that energy. I grow more trees than I chop for fire wood so my property is a carbon sink.


This is what the weather does at Oyster Cove....on average.

weather deficiency

Lightning display over Bruny Island. One of the few things about Tassie I don't like; there are not enough thunder storms.


The Aurora Australis over my house. I usually see an aurora 2 or 3 times a year, sometimes they pulsate like someone is playing with the light switch and occasionally the whole southern sky is glowing red.


The 5,000 litre tank on the left collects rain water from the shed and carport and the 12,000l tank on the right collects water from the house. About once a month I use the petrol-driven pump to pump from either tank to a 7,000l header tank which provides gravity-fed water to the house. The pump can also take water from any of the 3 tanks to feed the white fire hose in the event of a bush fire. All tanks are Aquaplate. The lowest the water level has ever been is half capacity.

the dam

Down the north-east corner of my property is the dam. I don't use the water so it's a great place for the wildlife and it's never even looked like going dry. In the background is my house.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Since 1985 the property has mostly transformed itself from a grassy paddock to regenerated bushland. During that time I've taken a photo of every native plant that has regenerated itself.

the wall and the invention

On top of the concrete slab is a low rock wall made from a light-coloured sandstone. Before I bought the land in 1985 the sandstone had already been blasted to level the building site. On top of the rock wall are mudbricks made from the local soil. The rocks in the foreground are bluestone from the local Red Hill quarry.

Whilst fitting the sandstone blocks together I thought about a method where several rocks first pass through some sort of 3D scanner then a computer fits them together and outputs instructions to the builder as to the position and orientation of each rock. I'm in the process of taking out patents on the method. I've called it RockSolver. Have a look at

photo record of the building process

I've got an album with photos showing all sorts of building methods during the house-building process. It also contains photos of pipes and cables in trenches before they were covered over so I know where not to dig in future.

tactile timber

Most of the timber furniture and fittings, like this Huon Pine table and the parquetry floor, have been oiled using a hard burnishing oil based on tung oil. I did this so that when I touch the wood I'm actually touching wood. When timber has been coated with some sort of varnish or polyurithane then what you touch is plastic. Also, I prefer the look of wood rather than the look of plastic-coated wood....but that's just me.


The inside of my studio/shed where I lived from 1992 to 1998 whilst building the house.

Lawn mower

I mow the lawn once a year, late December or early January. Then for the rest of the year the grass is kept under control by teams of Bennett's Wallabies (one pictured here), Pademelons, Potoroos and Native Hens.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Oyster Cove

This is the Cove; about 15 minutes walk, along quiet country roads, from my house.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sunny afternoon

This is my house, as viewed from the clothes-line (looking towards the east).
On the right is the bedroom. There is also a separate studio (see other photos).
In the far background is Bruny Island.