Making a Spoilboard for the ShopBot Desktop, Part 2, and Installing the Dust Enclosure [Core77 ShopBot Series, Episode 05]
In the last entry, we showed you how to cut and mount the spoilboard for a ShopBot Desktop. Here in Part 2 we'll show you how to ensure it's perfectly level, so you can achieve dead-on accuracy with your workpieces.(more...)
Washi is a type of old-school paper made in Japan. Plant pulp and water are mixed and collected on screens, and after drying, fresh sheets of the stuff are pulled off. Though tissue-like in appearance, washi is reasonably tough, making its long production time worth the wait.
It's typically made in sheets, which can subsequently be pasted together to make three-dimensional shapes; you've undoubtedly seen it rendered into lampshades. But a company in western Japan called Taniguchi Aoya Washi has figured out how to make the stuff 3D from the get-go, right out of the bath. This "Seamless Three-Dimensional Washi" eliminates the exposed edges that come from connecting multiple sheets, and TAW is the only company in Japan that knows how to make the stuff.(more...)
Factory in China, via Wikimedia Commons
In fairness to the much-derided MeezyCube—a case for the MagSafe Power Adapter, a.k.a. The Apple Accessory We Never Saw Coming—I should note that I haven't personally put a MagSafe through the paces; 99% of the time, it's just sitting on my desk. If the laptop charger's egregiously poor rating on the Apple store is any indication, they're rather more fragile than they should be, and, like iPhones and MacBooks, even the lowly power supply may be worth encasing after all. (To commenters who denounced my plan to return the charger after a week, I can only respond that pride had clouded my judgment but I eventually came 'round; the extra charger now sits in my desk drawer.)
In any case (no pun intended), there is still much more at stake—namely, that the unprecedented availability of tools, resources and means of production is but one factor behind the rampant proliferation of dubiously useful products such as snap-together plastic doodads—which is why I was interested to see a closely related topic crop up over in our discussion boards. Beijing-based forumite laowai hyperbolically asks "Are We Ruining the World?":As industrial designers, we have a large footprint with regard to our contributions to manufacturing. Shouldn't we hold ourselves more accountable towards cleaner manufacturing and power? This seems like a no-brainer and as a global community of designers, surely we have some leverage, right?
The first few replies unanimously shift the responsibility to the consumer, and the fact that I consider myself to be a conscientious one is probably why I felt ambivalent about something as mundane—yet essential—as a laptop charger (this will make more sense if you read the previous post, trust me). That said, I do indulge in retail therapy on occasion, when I succumb to my weakness for printed matter and bicycles; in keeping with Lmo's advice to "buy pre-owned products whenever possible," tracking down deals on secondhand parts is part of the appeal when it comes to the latter. In fact, I very nearly posted another rant when I saw this bike, not for its asymmetric frame but rather its purported mission, to disrupt the bicycle manufacturing industry. Here's a disruptive idea: buy a used bike.(more...)
Opportunities like this don't come along all the time. Quirky, the company that makes invention possible, is looking for a talented industrial design student or recent graduate with an entrepreneurial spirit to join their Manhattan based team as an Industrial Design Intern this fall! From roughly December through February, you'll have the chance to work with Quirky's product team and see a variety of products through from concept to completion.
The right person for this job knows everything there is to know about Quirky (research!) and is looking for a challenge. You also lean toward action and really know how to get sh!t done. If you have an enthusiastic and agile work style and possess the other requirements found on the next page, we recommend you Apply Right Now.
In Part 1, we looked at storage options for motorcyclists that don't have a garage to call their own. But even for bikers that do have garages, there are other issues, like how to fit the bike in the space when it's being shared with a car.
One design solution is to get the bike in there first, then get it up and out of the way before Florence Four-Wheels comes home. For that there's the nifty Moto-Lift from Germany:
From Italian company Bike Shuttle comes a similar solution, minus the lift:(more...)
Motorcyclists know the thrill of the open road... and those without garages know the hassle of securing motorcycle covers to their bikes in inclement weather. For garageless riders, a host of companies have designed a variety of solutions to keep bikes dry, ranging from flimsy to whimsy.
From Japan comes this armadillo-style Cycle Shell:
For those seeking a little more structure, from Poland comes this steel Moto-Box Roller with a sliding track that locks the front wheel into place (warning, turn your sound down):(more...)
Surely some of you remember the toy called Shrinky Dinks, the polystyrene toy that allows users to turn pieces of plastic into smaller pieces of plastic. (According to Wikipedia, 90's alt-rockers Sugar Ray were originally known as 'Shrinky Dinx' until Milton Bradley threatened a lawsuit—more nostalgia than you asked for on a Tuesday morning, I know.) If it's a somewhat dated reference, I must say that I envy the children of the future, who may well grow up with the parentally supervised fun of the 3D printing thanks to iBox Printers. The Melbourne, FL-based company's flagship Nano model is available for pre-order for under $300 on Kickstarter.
We've previously seen a similarly diminutive CNC machine, but the iBox is rather more impressive, considering that 3D printing adds a veritable dimension of complexity. Moreover, the portable device is quiet, lightweight and can run on batteries, all thanks to the use of ultra-efficient LCD lamps to UV-cure the resin. Made from a series of stacked acrylic plates, the housing looks something like a tissue box, with an overhead-projector-style print head; on the UI end, the Nano is controlled primarily via mobile/web app over WiFi.(more...)
Do You Want to Design a Better World? Join Kinsa as a Senior Packaging and Merchandising Designer in New York City
Kinsa is building something truly world-changing: the first-ever real-time map of human health. With their low-cost (and beautifully designed) smartphone-connected thermometer they're collecting the data they need to track and stop the spread of disease. Unfortunately, it's not easy to market and brand a scary subject like illness, so Kinsa needs a creative and solution oriented Senior Packaging and Merchandise Designer to help them tell their story and bring their vision to life.
If you have 3-5 years work experience in a design role within consumer packaged goods industry, strong grasp of the marketing nuances and best practices across various types of retail settings and a desire to use your skills to have a widespread impact on people, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Get your resume and portfolio ready and Apply Now.
There aren't many of us that need to cut frame timbers, railroad ties and things beyond the scope of your average circular or table saw. But for those that do, and need to do it on-site, Festool makes the SSU 200 Sword Saw.
As with the Prazi Beam Cutter, the Sword Saw is a combination of a circular saw and a chainsaw; but whereas Prazi's invention is a DIY job, Festool's is plug-and-play and meant to ride along one of their tracks, providing straight-line accuracy:
What they need to invent next: A microphone windscreen.(more...)
A professional photographer whom I know told me he'd never own any car that wasn't a van. When shooting guerilla-style on the streets of NYC, he explained, it's crucial to have a mobile changing room for the models to switch outfits in.
The desire to not be seen naked in public is not the sole domain of fashion models. For women who exercise outdoors, absent the facilities of a gym, they run into the issue of where to change out of their sweaty workout clothes. (We guys are less picky about who sees us in our boxer shorts in a parking lot.)
Thus endurance athletes and business partners Dennis Caco and April Estrada invented the Undress, a clever assemblage of fabric that allows females to change outfits in broad daylight, all without exposing themselves:
Some of you might underestimate demand for something like the Undress. But take note that Caco and Estrada were looking for a measly $22,000 to get it of the ground, and by the time the project was successfully Kickstarted yesterday, they found $615,663 in the pledge coffer.
For those who missed the Kickstarter, the Undress can still be pre-ordered on its own website.(more...)
Marking its eighth successive year the Łódź Design Festival took over the Polish city of Łódź with some great original wares on show. While the design scene in Poland is still in its infancy, this year's festival showed many promising signs of local industry being keen to collaborate with the country's emerging generation of design talent. Some highlights from the shows included a local manufacturer challenging designers to reinvent the humble radiator, inspiring entries to the Make Me design competition and taking a look round Daniel Charny's prototype Fixhub space showcasing projects tackling the need for fixing.
Łódź Design Festival:
» 'Brave Fixed World' Fixhub Prototype
» 'Algaemy' by Blond & Bieber
» 'Terma' Radiator Design Competition
» Zieta 'Hot Pin' demonstration
» 'Kawara Chair' by Tsuyoshi Hayashi
Yep, that's right. I'm tweaking a little bit Louis Sullivan famous quote, "Form ever follows function," here.
In 1896, Chicago architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase 'form ever follows function' to capture his belief that a building's size, massing, spatial grammar and other characteristics should be driven solely by the function of the building. The implication is that if the functional aspects are satisfied, architectural beauty would naturally and necessarily follow.
This approach trickled down to various design disciplines over the course of the 20th Century, but designers realized—through overly functional design attempts—that function should definitely be considered as a key part of the design strategy but never its sole driver. The Post-war kitchen design is a great example of how functionalism can get in the way of human behavior.
During the years following the war, womens' role in society changed drastically. During the conflict, women were regarded as an important element of the workforce and became an essential part of the warfare apparatus. After the war it has become obvious that this marked a major social shift. In order to accommodate the new family dynamics, the kitchen needed to be redesigned. Lots of ethnographic studies were conducted and a full range of proposals to optimize activities and movement in the kitchen were conceived. This seemed like a great idea—and it still does, if you think about it for a minute. If you had the power to minimize the effort and time women spent in the kitchen by nearly 80%, why wouldn't you, right?
Well, problem is, this is not as black and white as it seems. Kitchens, like most things in life, comes in grayer layers of behavioral complexity. I mean, if you look at it solely via the lens of reductionism then the full-throttle / all-in, optimization approach may appear like the perfect idea... except that reductionism kills behavior.
Reductionism is an old scientific philosophy, which can be traced, between others, to René Descartes. It states that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that it can be completely mapped and understood, in its whole, via the individual study of each part. It is the diametric opposite of what we designers call "gestalt." Gestalt means "the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts." Reductionism is, therefore, the extreme opposite to design itself. Design in its "bauhausian" mother language, German, spells gestaltung.
The problem with reductionism—the "black and white" approach—is that, when dealing with complex, wicked problems, the sum of the parts never explains the behaviour of the whole. And, trust me, in a service economy, everything is a bit wicked.
For instance, take the consumer journey. A consumer journey, in a service experience, is never the result of the sum of all the processes to be touched by the user. People reframe it and give it their own meanings according to their belief systems, expectations and emotional state. This takes place independently of how those processes or transactions were scripted and sequenced to be executed by the provider.(more...)
Some of the most recognized and trusted names in household products including CorningWare, Pyrex, Chicago Cutlery, Baker's Secret, Revere, OLFA and Corelle, come from the brilliant designers at World Kitchen, LLC. This impactful team is seeking a creative Senior Industrial Designer with great range: skilled at contributing hands-on design work and savvy about the business of new products. It doesn't hurt if you're passionate about the home, especially prepping, serving and storing food.
If this sounds interesting to you, Apply Now. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to an established design team and the mission of new product innovation at World Kitchen. Don't miss out, especially if you have high levels of visual literacy and have a solid understanding of the broad value of design thinking.
As we've written before, building an urban home in Japan comes with two built-in issues: Earthquakes and tight spaces. Muji's latest iteration of their pre-fab home, the Vertical House (which now has a model available for public viewing in Tokyo's Arakawa district), addresses both of these issues via design.
What's interesting, at least to this Westerner's eyes, is the way they went about it. First off, the anti-earthquake joints. Traditional Japanese construction features complicated mortise-and-tenons (below right in the line drawing) where beams meet columns. Under Muji's design (below left in the line drawing) the individual components are beefed up and wooden tongues are replaced with robust hardware designed to maximize strength under seismic loads.
Secondly is the way they've chosen to subdivide the space. Building upwards in a plot with a tiny footprint is a no-brainer, but rather than have contiguous floors, they've opted to first bi-sect the house with an open staircase...
...and then build slightly staggered levels to either side to create six different "zones."
It's like having a succession of differing-height lofts rather than conventional levels or stories. By staggering floors in this manner, each "zone" is distinguished and delineated by the position its floor occupies in space, rather than by potentially claustrophobic walls contained within such a small footprint. (Cultural note: While this wouldn't fly in privacy-obsessed America, consider that traditional homes in Japan are far less likely to invite "company," or non-family members, into their houses; and that the traditional Japanese notion of privacy involves nothing more than a rice-paper-thin sliding door.)(more...)
The design world has been rocked by allegations that the Super Friends, the so-called crimefighters whose Saturday morning reality show once documented their exploits, are in fact a bunch of design thieves with little respect for the laws they are sworn to uphold.
Years ago the vigilante group decided to construct a headquarters. In the security footage screengrab below, you can see them inspecting the site under the guidance of Superman:
Without obtaining permits, the team then constructed their headquarters in violation of zoning laws, and subsequently angered local trade unions by having Aquaman perform the plumbing himself. The cell phone "selfie" taken below shows the team after completing the sub-basement.
It was implied that the structure was self-designed, indicating one or more of the Super Friends had a background in design or was associated with a name-brand architect. However, it has now been revealed that neither the 'Friends, their associates nor even their foes have any connection with architecture whatsoever. For example, while archenemy Lex Luthor is often described as the "architect of destruction" of this or that, our research provides no evidence of his having obtained a degree in architecture from any accredited institution.
Instead it appears the design of the structure was ripped off wholesale from Cincinnati's Union Terminal, the Art Deco structure designed in the 1930s by accredited architects Alfred T. Fellheimer, Steward Wagner, Paul Philippe Cret and Roland Wank.
The resemblance is too close to be a coincidence, and with mocking arrogance, the 'Friends named their headquarters the "Hall of Justice."
But it gets worse:(more...)
Design on the Rise: How Smart Design's Decision to Shutter Its SF Studio May Mark a Fundamental Shift in the Industry
Apropos word that industry stalwart Smart Design is closing its San Francisco studio after nearly a decade and a half in the Bay Area, our Discussion Boards are abuzz about what may well be an industry-wide shift that finds its epicenter in Silicon Valley. OP jarman65 follows up to his opener with a link to a Peter Merholz blogpost unpacking the phenomenon; forumite Cyberdemon initially chimes in with the pros and cons of in-house vs. consultancy and a general shift in the industry, later concisely summing it up: "Smart and the big guys got contracts from the mega-corporations who could afford their hefty price tag, and those are the guys who now have fairly large and mature design teams internally." Meanwhile, Surface Phil puts it bluntly:I think it's time to face the music that if you are an agency whose core offering is industrial design alone (i.e. designing plastic) chances are this service can be found elsewhere. Whether it be in-house design resource or outsourced overseas. You better be bringing something else to the table. UX, business innovation, commercialization strategy. Something...
Commentators also note that Smart Design recently opened a London office (after quietly dissolving a Barcelona satellite) and there is no indication that the company is in anything less than ship-shape—which is precisely why some, such as Merholz, conclude that the trend is a symptom of the ascendancy of tech companies. In short, these juggernauts are increasingly investing in design, which may spell the demise of the brand-name consultancy as we know it. That, or maybe it's simply the case that Shoreditch is the new SoMa:Flickr & Google MapsSmart Design Founders Tom Dair and Davin Stowell
All told, it remains to be seen as to whether the shakeup at Smart Design is a Bay Area bellwether or an isolated incident. The second page of the discussion thread broadly addresses the facts, with more of the nitty-gritty from industry vets bepster, Yo, FluffyData and slippyfish; speculation though it may be, their comments speak to the dynamic—and sometimes outright political—nature of the relationship between consultancies and their clients.(more...)
In 1990 Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island, won a rather amazing VH1 giveaway: A collection of 36 Corvettes, one from each year from the model's birth in 1953 up to the then-recent 1989. Something like that is an American boy or man's dream come true, the crappy 1980s models notwithstanding.
But it's also an American man's dream to receive six-figure checks, so when pop artist Peter Max offered $250,000 for the collection that same year, Amodeo handed over all five pounds of car keys. Max had some kind of art project in mind for the cars, and got as far as taping up the sides of some of them for color tests. But that's as far as Max got, so the cars just sat. And sat. And sat. For decades.(more...)
What kind of organizing products get funded (or try to get funded) on Kickstarter? Having written about the HYVE system, I wondered what else I'd find there. When I went looking, I found designers offering a wide range of interesting stuff.
Anyone who carries keys and a smart phone in the same pocket might be interested in using the KeyDisk 2 to hold those keys. And even those who don't might be intrigued by the design. It can hold up to nine keys, and has a car fob attachment. Membership cards can fit inside, too. It's made from sandblasted and anodized aluminum and uses custom-made screws. People who funded the original KeyDisk are coming back to fund this updated version, which is slightly lighter and holds more keys. The one disadvantage is finding the right key quickly; you need to remember where each key is relative to the KeyDisk logo. This product has already met its funding goal, and will go live on Dec. 5.
For those who aren't happy with the multitude of cable organizers currently on offer, there's the Cablestop. Cablestop has a polycarbonate body and two stainless steel interior weights. The plans are to manufacture Cablestop in Portugal; this makes it more expensive than products made in lower-cost countries, but it also means it will be made with significantly lower pollution. The designer, Philippe Guichard, is both an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer and has over 20 years of experience. Cablestop has until Nov. 4 to meet its funding goal.
End users who want to make the most of their refrigerator space might be interested in bottleLoft, a magnetic bottle holder for the refrigerator. The plastic rail is held in place with a strip of 3M VHB (very high bond) tape, a special low temperature application grade suitable for a refrigerator. The bottleLoft can be removed using a plastic putty knife/scraper to shear the adhesive sideways, and replacement adhesive strips will be made available. The designer, Brian Conti, has had four other Kickstarters that funded, including one for Strong Like Bull magnets—and this Kickstarter has met its funding goal, too. It goes live on Nov. 9.(more...)
Hot on the heel-plate-attachment-points of Noonee's "Chairless Chair," the team at Mono+Mono has launched the "Sitpack" on Kickstarter. The Copenhagen-based design consultancy has developed what they're calling "the world's most compact, foldable resting device," and they're looking to bring the pocketable monopod to market via a crowdfunding campaign. Designed in keeping with the seven universal design principles, the form factor looks like something made by, say, Beats, but the device itself is actually entirely mechanical: The canister splits laterally into wings (which serve as the seat), revealing a telescoping leg that extends to up to 85cm (33in). We know it's that time of year, but don't try this with your kid's lightsaber toy:
Originally known as "Rest"—hence the references in the video—the "Sitpack" is essentially a further reduced version of portable camp stools or those canes with a built-in tripod-stool (both of which I came across in the USPTO archive, after a commenter tipped me off about the original 'wearable chair'), as they indicate in a tabulated side-by-side comparison on their Kickstarter page. They're available for the discounted price of kr175 DKK (about $30 USD); retail will be in the kr270 DKK ($46 USD) range—not bad, considering that they're looking to manufacture it in Denmark—see more here.
Process sketches & renders
Portland-based Frank Howarth isn't your average ivory-tower paper architect, but a man who actually makes things with his hands—and shows you his design/building process. With a YouTube channel dedicated to "Architecture at a small scale expressed through woodworking and filmmaking," Howarth presents shop-built projects in a clever, entertaining way. I also like the man's flair for practical, attractive designs.
A good case in point is his series on French-cleat-based projects he built around his house. We've all got one of those closets filled with household cleaners and other domestic spillover, and here's how Howarth handled his:(more...)