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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)


Our entries on the types of wood used for boardwalks might have you wondering: What types of wood are more durable than others?

You may recall that in our wood series, we went over the Janka hardness ratings of wood. But when it comes to durability, Janka numbers only tell part of the tale; the hardness rating of a wood has to do with its ability to resist nicks and scratches, and gives you a heads-up on what types of blades you'll need to machine it.

Outdoor durability, on the other hand, has a slightly different scope. Even though wood used in building boardwalks or houses is almost always elevated off of wet soil on concrete pilings, there are other environmental factors the material has to deal with. For one thing, moisture—whether from rain or in the case of boardwalks, sea spray—and the fungi this can bring. On top of that you've got UV rays, temperature changes and pesky insects. Working in concert, this group of difficulties can impact how long a piece of wood can last and continue to serve its function.


While you can find tons of Janka breakdowns online, we couldn't find many charts that specifically linked wood types with durability. So here's one from Woodworkers UK, a Welsh outfit that makes wooden gates and garage doors—items that are meant to withstand the elements for as long as possible. (Graphically speaking, the layout of the chart is a bit confusing, particularly since we had to edit the image to fit our format, but at least all of the info's there.)


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)


You've seen John Edmark's trippy Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures, which bring animation to 3D-printed pieces via a turntable. For those of you who've read up on multicreative, multi-hyphenate Edmark's background, it'll come as no surprise that he's got more tricks up his sleeve than those. Check out other examples of his "playable art," this time made with a laser cutter:

That's the Helicone, which is now carried by the MoMA Store and the Guggenheim.

Maybe one day, someone will make a spiral staircase that unfurls on-site like Edmark's Nautilus Column:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)


We all know that your average, workaday industrial designer's work often goes unsung. The same could be said of the guys who design UI for videogames. And when those games are designed with an efficient UI, literally millions of players work through those games in smooth immersion, never considering the pains a designer took to make it so.

Dino Ignacio is one such designer. He's the lead for UI Design over at Visceral Games, and a Kill Screen article called "How Dead Space 3 Pulled from Dieter Rams and Instagram" highlights what Ignacio does, like ensuring that game interfaces are designed properly for the hardware they're running on:

"The problem is that most games design thinking they'll have dropdown menus," he says. It reflects a fundamental disconnect between what game designers want and what the players need. Designers suddenly realize the freedom of motion on the PC isn't available on game consoles. "A lot of UI is designed with the mouse in mind. It never translates."

These types of decisions unwittingly doom many games before they've even started. It's Ignacio's job to make sure that doesn't happen. As the user interface design lead for the survival horror game Dead Space 3, he's tasked with designing all the elements that a player might need to navigate and manipulate this virtual world. His fingerprints are all over what you see on screen. To be more specific, it's what you don't see.


In the video below, Ignacio walks you through the weapons crafting interface he designed for the Dead Space series, and shows you how it evolved through the games. (Warning: Potentially NSFW, contains gory action footage.)


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Jan 2015  |  Comments (2)


This past weekend I was at a martial arts training session. With twenty of us in the room, we rotated through partners for the hand drills. One woman neglected to take her wedding ring off, and left me this little gift on my forearm:


Sure, it's just a tiny scratch, but it could've been a lot worse if we were going faster or harder.

I get that people don't want to remove rings that are difficult to take off, but it's kind of inconsiderate. And it's not just martial artists that need to regularly remove rings: Gym goers, folks who use hand tools, tradespeople whose fingers might get snagged are all better off with the jewelry off.

Someone who recognizes this, and is doing something about it, is designer Jeff McWhinney. An athlete, bicycle component designer and former Senior Research Machinist for 3M, McWhinney has turned to designing easily-removable "active wedding rings."


Each design features unique, hinged opening mechanisms. This avoids the need for buying an over-sized band to gain knuckle clearance and can be a vital performance and safety feature in many professions or sports—places where all jewelry must be removed prior to activity. It also allows easy removal for washing hands, showering or even sleeping. These special features contribute to functional, modern art pieces that you will enjoy wearing daily.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)


As I was marched over to an unfamiliar bank of elevators towards the back of the building, I realized I was the prime suspect.

An unreleased design that I had access to, and had done dozens of renderings of, had suddenly appeared on the market—produced by a prime competitor of ours. I was in the elevator with my boss, who was the Head of Global Industrial Design at this particular corporation, where I'd been working as a CAD and rendering jockey for many years. But I was still a contract employee, not staff. And I had access to this design that few people in the design group had even seen.

The elevator doors opened at a high floor I'd never been to, and I got my first glimpse of the Legal Department. We walked a maze of cubicles and I was finally sat at the desk of a lawyer. She was pleasant, even friendly. I was shown a bunch of my renderings, and then the competitor's product. There was no denying the similarities, and the small design details were way too dead-on to be a coincidence. And even though I knew I wasn't the source of the leak, I couldn't help but be nervous as they questioned me.

After I'd answered all of their questions—honestly and, it appeared, to their satisfaction—I was made to sign some documents and my boss walked me back down to our floor.

If I was my boss, I'd have definitely thought I was the leak. There were only two other designers besides me and my boss who'd worked on this and they were both company men with kids, guys who'd never risk something like this. And we hadn't sent the drawings out to a model shop yet. To this day, I never found out how the design got leaked or who did it.

One company that's recently experienced a design leak, however, feels certain they've found the source. According to a Cincinnati local newspaper, consumer giant Procter & Gamble filed a lawsuit last week against four former members of their Gillette design team. The Section Head of Industrial Design, a Product Design & Development Group Mechanical Engineer, a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer and a high-level Research & Design employee were all named. It seems all four quit Gillette to work for a competitor, Texas-based ShaveLogic, and the quartet allegedly brought more with them than framed photos of their families: