Australia-based machinist Ed Jones runs Ed Systems, a "Strange and somewhat crazy hobby shop that specializes in anything electrical, industrial, automotive, and anything in-between." A metal shop engineer by training, Jones' stock-in-trade is production machining, welding, injection molding, electrical work, you name it. As part of his work he needs to disassemble machinery for recycling, so when it came time to break down a Whirlpool, Jones opted for an easier method than de-wrenching it:
To be clear, Jones isn't do this (purely) for fun. "[The] machine was donated by one of Dad's friends, who happens to be a fan of [my YouTube] channel and wanted to see it die again. It was a power surge victim with a leaky drum unit, so its not a waste to scrap it. New ones are about $400, so it's not [a] big deal."
Another thing he can't do
For small parts storage, I use the cheapie Stack-On containers we covered here. They're useful and inexpensive, but their design also dates back at least several decades. For a more modern-day solution, check out industrial design and manufacturing engineer Jeffrey Bean's Twist Tubes.
Bean's background comes with heavy tooling experience, yielding a specialty in "the rapid design and build of plastic injection molds." He's used his skillset to create a series of storage tubes that open from the side, via rotation, and feature both colored and clear polycarbonate in the same package (for color-coded organization and visibility, respectively). And his Twist Tubes are designed to avoid the one thing that's happened to all of us at some point: Dropping the container and spilling its contents everywhere. Although cylindrical, the toothed design of the cap means the Tubes will lie flat on their sides, preventing them from rolling off of a table; the sealed design (unlike a Stack-On drawer) means the Tubes won't spill their contents even if dropped; and the polycarb ought to withstand the impact of an accidental bench dive.
Posted by core jr
| 1 Sep 2014
Photography by Brit Leissler for Core77
Designer Martino Gamper guest curated an exhibition presenting a collection of objects from the personal archives of his friends and colleagues at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. His collection, Design is a State of Mind, features a "landscape of shelving options" aimed at sharing the story of the design objects we interact with and how they impact their users and admirers.
The exhibited pieces include finds from the 1930s mixed with modern-day designs. You'll see well-known silhouettes nestled next to one-offs and styles ranging from contemporary to utilitarian. Some of the designers include Ettore Sottsass, Charlotte Perriand, IKEA, Dexion and Giò Ponti. The juxtaposition of styles brings to light a history of how we've housed our belongings and showed them off through the years as various styles and trends have come, gone and reappeared. The items displayed on the shelves are a collection of archives from Gamper's friends and colleagues.
Gamper also designed two exhibits in the Gallery's powder rooms—one being a tribute to Italian designer Enzo Mari and the other a space encouraging visitors to interact with Gamper's furniture designs. The Mari room displays a compilation of the designer's drawings, notes and designs, all held down by a different paperweight of Mari's own collection. Gamper's room invites visitors to sit on the designer's chair and explore a international library of contemporary furniture manufacturing catalogues while watching either Tati's Mon Oncle or Alain Resnais' Le Chant du Styrene—two films that feature the designs of the 1950s and how furniture design has changed in the years leading up to present day.
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My favorite carry-all for tools and materials is Festool's Open Top SYS-Toolbox. It's just a classic example of nuts-and-bolts ID: Simple, strong, reliable, and a perfect use of materials. The thick-walled ABS has a channel molded into the bottom, which forms the divider inside the box, and this channel allows the handle of a second box to perfectly nest within the first. Two latches at the side enable you to connect them quickly and securely. And they're compatible with Festool's full line of Systainers (manufactured by Tanos, as we looked at here), making them easy to roll around the shop or carry on-the-go in one piece.
Outdoor goods company Snow Peak was started in Japan's Sanjo City, a place "known locally as a hardware town." So it's no surprise that their Stacking Shelf Container 50 has got that "tooled" look. What is surprising is how it can be locked in two different configurations and stacked in either one.
At first this had me scratching my head, but I realized that when you need access to stuff on different levels, the "butterfly" configuration makes sense. And it's kind of neat that the rubber feet at the corners remain the lowest point of contact no matter which configuration it's in.
Last year we posted about 4Moms, a Pittsburgh-based company that makes unique baby products. The cake-taker is probably their power-folding Origami stroller. Look at the following video they produced for it, which is slick and professional:
So here's the thing: That video was first posted in January of 2012, and at press time it had just under 1.4 million views. Not bad. But last weekend, a New-Zealand-based magazine called OHbaby! posted a low-res ten-second clip of the product in action, shot at a baby products show:
Posted by core jr
| 27 Aug 2014
Photography by Mark LeBeau for Core77
The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Tradeshow in Salt Lake City, Utah, is known for featuring the latest and greatest in outdoor sports gear and apparel. To put it shortly, it's very much an industry show. We sent photographer Mark LeBeau to check it out and take some shots of the gadgets we should keep an eye out for. He noted the proliferation of electronics, chargers and smart devices, as well as the throwback to the much-loved "mom and pop" general-store aesthetic. A practicing designer himself, LeBeau also shot the event for us in 2013.
LeBeau's favorite design? A magnetized climber's grip by Garret Finny.
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I've solved the wallet thing for myself, I've got the perfect wallet for me. So whenever someone comes out with a new ultraslim wallet, I'm unmoved. But I just gave the Silo Mesh Card wallet a gander and am impressed at the thinking that went into it:
When most folks think of improving the design of a flashlight, they think of making it brighter or smaller. It's easy to overlook the average flashlight's central flaw: They emit a limited, circular patch of light that doesn't really jive with human peripheral vision.
On a trip upstate last year, I was looking for my runaway dog in the woods at night. While my LED flashlight was powerful enough to cast a far beam, having to trace that small circle of light over a wide swath of trees felt like painting a battleship with a toothbrush.
I'd have done better with a Morphalite flashlight, created by product developers Frank and Gary Wall. They've figured out how to create a lens that effectively refracts light into a 180-degree arc, enabling the user to scan a large patch of horizontal darkness in one go. Alternately one can rotate it 90 degrees and send the spread vertical, to better illuminate a trail one's walking down, for instance.
The Walls' DIY video below is, well, DIY quality, but that doesn't detract from the cleverness of the product's design, and their logic is unassailable:
Interestingly enough, engineer Frank discovered how to create the lens purely by accident. You can read the tale here.
It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, which sucks if you're outside and are trying to write something on paper, as loggers once needed to. So in the 1920s, well before ruggedized tablets were invented, a guy named Jerry Darling created waterproof paper and sold it in notebook form to the logging industry.
Today the company Darling started has evolved into Rite in the Rain, which manufactures all-weather writing paper. Here's how it stacks up versus regular paper:
We gave you a brief look at this awesome Lego Calendar project earlier in the year, but this is worth a closer look. The UK-based design studio formerly known as Vitamins (now called Special Projects) devised a physical calendar for their studio made out of Legos. Sounds simple, right? Been done before, yes? But here's the thing—this one can be synced to your iCal, Google Calendar or what have you. Check it out:
Since the syncing is one way—which is to say, moving a physical brick will eventually result in the online calendar being updated, but not vice versa—you might think that's a detriment. But Special Projects points out that it actually has an organizational benefit:
We're... working on what happens when someone remotely wants to change a date, perhaps they're abroad and need to modify something. Well the next time somebody in the studio uploads a photo of the calendar, they will get an email back immediately, asking them to actually move the bricks that have been modified. It sounds crazy, but this way you actually notice when something has changed, and you need to physically find a place to put the bricks you have removed—rather than a digital square quietly vanishing in the background on your computer screen.
The team—Adrian Westaway, Clara Gaggero, and Duncan Fitzsimons with the assistance of Simon Emberton and Julia Eichler—invented the clever system in 2012, and were hoping to be able to release the software earlier this year. "This is taking a little longer than expected," they write, but Adrian and Clara are still chugging away on the project. If you'd like to get updates, you can sign up here.
Last week, we published a piece on the Bottlass packaging design in which I was critical of the concept. We were since contacted by Kyung Kook, the Vice President of Bellevue-based Innovative Design Service Inc., the company that produced the design. In his response, Kyung rebuts several of the points made in the original entry, and has included photographs showing that the Bottlass is, in fact, in production. Kyung's response is printed below.
Frankly, I was very excited to see the [Core77] post about our design, "Bottlass" and am pleased that someone was interested enough to share his take on our design. I believe this is a valuable opportunity to look at our design from a different perspective.
First and foremost, the design phase I of Bottlass is actually being manufactured and sold in South Korea at this moment.
The product based on our design was made available to the public in Korea since April of this year. The material used is called eco-zen, a type of enhanced plastic.
Secondly, I am aware that opening the container may cause a bit of hassle. But this can be easily fixed. If we print instructions on the container, informing the drinker to set up the container before holding it in place and pulling off the seal, this should bypass the inconvenience. It may take a bit more steps than the conventional bottles or cans, but the excitement and satisfaction gained from Bottlass's unique design will do more than justice.
From Australia comes this clever re-think of the common butter knife. Sydney-based industrial designers Sacha Pantschenko, Norman Oliveria and Craig Andrews put their heads together and came up with the ButterUp, which adds a row of precisely-shaped holes to the blunt edge of the blade. This enables one to "grate" a cold stick of butter, creating easier-to-spread ribbons:
It's not surprising that the ButterUp quickly reached (and tripled) its Kickstarter funding target, garnering AUD $126,213 at press time over a $38,000 goal; what is surprising is how badly, and quickly, people want this design. Rather than opt for the least-expensive, $12-per-unit buy-in with a March 2015 delivery date, nearly a hundred backers opted to pay $60 to have a single unit delivered by this September! These people take their toast seriously.
Here's one of those design concepts sure to make the blog rounds, even though it's more neat-looking than practical. The "Bottlass"—meant to be a portmanteau of "bottle" and "glass," but perhaps they ought have gone with the less titillating "Glottle"—in essence turns beverage packaging design on its head. The idea is that a glass container shaped like an inverted wine glass, minus the base, is sealed and shipped with an aluminum base nested into the bottom. After purchase, the consumer is meant to remove the base, flip the container, open the top via a pull-tab, and insert the glass stem into the base, via "screw tab joining," as per the description—can anyone tell me what that means?—or "forced insertion."
While other websites have claimed these designs are "manufactured in Korea," this is clearly a concept that isn't in production. And here's why I don't think it's practical.
User Experience: Opening the Thing
Imagine holding any of these shapes in your hand, and trying to pull the seal off of that wide mouth without spilling any of the contents. Think you could do it? How much concentration and time would it require versus opening a bottle top or popping a tab on a can?
User Experience: Drinking From It
Looking at the renderings above, I'm not convinced that the hole in the base—whether threaded or press-fit—is deep enough to provide the stability necessary to securely support the stem.
John Cain lives a life many of us would envy: For the past two years he's been a "modern vagabond," backpacking around the world not as a single epic trip, but as an apparently permanent lifestyle. So how does he afford it? Cain doesn't mention, but it's possible that Vinjabond, his gear-based website and online retail outfit, supports him.
Cain describes himself as a "former covert operator"—we're guessing that means ex-Special-Forces—which makes sense given the curation of Vinjabond's wares. The selection hits that odd Venn diagram overlap between survival nuts, ex-military guys and MoMA-going product design fans. With an emphasis on minimalism, durability and functionality, the lineup features everything from travel standbys like mini LED flashlights, Space Pens and collapsible microbags; to design blog material like Humangear's GoTubbs, the Vapur collapsible water bottle and a hooded travel pillow; to keychain multitools, knives and shockproof iPhone cases.
For charting a career path in industrial design, Chris Miksovsky could have done a lot worse: After scooping up a Masters from the Stanford Design Program, he did a multi-year stint at IDEO before branching off to start his own company. Humangear, as Miksovsky's operation is called, is a San-Francisco-based product development firm "with a mission to develop real gear for real humans."
The company's primary line of products are small, simple, cleverly-designed containers, created with durability in mind (they all have lifetime warranties). I like them because they're subtle re-designs of existing objects that add a little design oomph. The GoTubb, for instance, is a small, circular hard container, but unlike your average pill container, it can be squeezed open (and snapped shut) with one hand. And the same groove that circumnavigates the body also provides a recessed area for labeling that won't get rubbed off.
Posted by Kat Bauman
| 8 Aug 2014
In these days of Google and Wikipedian certainty, it may seem like our world has few mysteries left. We know how henges were built and there aren't many Aztec ruins being discovered in forgotten forests, but today we got word of at least one slightly mysterious find. Carved into the hot, calm Nazca desert of Peru are hundreds of enormous, ancient drawings without a clear purpose. Among them is a 300 foot hummingbird. These geoglyphs date from between 500 BCE to 500 CE and have been studied for nearly a century. This week, the world learned that several new forms, never seen before, have been unearthed by a sandstorm.
The early Nazca people created these odd single-line drawings by removing the thin layer of dark red pebbles and rock that covers the desert plain, exposing pale contrasting clay underneath. The lime filled clay hardens with a day's cycle through cool mist and hot sun, and the desert site is reliably hot and windless, leaving the drawings baked into the landscape for hundreds of years without disruption.
Spiral Jetty? Never heard of her
While this informercial below cracked me up...
...I can't deny that I hate pulling the bags out of the large garbage can I keep in my studio. To conserve bags, I wait until they're fully laden, and the suction effect seems to add 20 pounds to the already-heavy load.
I probably wouldn't buy the "Can-Air" solution, partly because I hate the commercial, and partly because I assume one could easily build whatever their device is made out of. (Notice they're careful not to mention what it actually is, which makes me think it's a rebranded piece of something you find in a hardware store.) Meanwhile, a common hack is to drill holes in the bottom of your garbage can for airflow, but since people in the studio are fond of throwing full cups of coffee and sharp, broken plastic hangers in there, I'll forgo that solution too.
There's got to be a better way!
Usually when you pull something out of your bag that deploys two prongs, you're about to tase somebody. But this here is a smartphone case, and one of the cooler ideas I've seen in that arena.
The PocketPlug smartphone case not only contains a battery, but features two flip-out prongs that can go right into an outlet, no cables necessary. You can leave the phone in the case while it charges, or pull it out to continue using it; either way juice is flowing into the case's battery.
If this project sounds familiar to you...maybe it is. The JuiceTank, as it was initially called, was successfully Kickstarted—back in May of 2012, when it was designed for the iPhone 4. Now it's 5s-compatible, or at least will be when you get it; it's currently up for pre-orders, at $64 a pop versus the $80 projected retail.
When you picture an ordinary filmmaker's workspace, you picture piles of camera and grip gear alongside coffee-table tomes on the French New Wave. But Casey Neistat is no ordinary filmmaker, and his lower Manhattan workspace looks more than a little like the Industrial Design studio spaces you remember from design school. Part art supply store and part hardware store, Neistat's workshop allows him to quickly cobble together everything from iPhone docks to camera fixes to marker-scrawled animation slides.
Neistat's just launched his Studio Series, where he's going to presumably show us the inner workings of this amazing makerspace. First up: His red-box organization system and the thinking behind it, presented in his signature explanatory style:
I've got a friend from Alabama who told me that growing up, most families she knew kept shotguns in the house. When you heard a noise in the middle of the night, the shotgun was the go-to item, and she explained that the CHIK-CHIK sound of "racking" it carried across the porch and was enough to discourage the casual burglar.
Another sound shotguns make is the actual blast, and I'm told it's deafening. Twelve-gauges reportedly top out around 150 to 165 decibels, and inside a house, where there are walls to bounce the sound around in, likely more. That's enough to cause permanent hearing damage. "Shotgun owners have been without a real solution for ear protection," says a Utah-based company called SilencerCo. "Some choose hearing preservation in the form of earmuffs or plugs for relief in controlled environments, but spurn their use in the field or in a home protection scenario, where the ability to detect other sounds is critical."
With that in mind the company has invented the Salvo 12, "the first and only commercially-viable shotgun suppressor on earth." Interestingly enough it's modular, made up of little Lego-like sections of roughly two inches in length that the user can add or subtract to hit their preferred balance of length, weight and noise level.
The noise reduction is pretty nuts:
Posted by Ray
| 31 Jul 2014
Bike Grouch Alert: So it's come to this.
That there is Lucid Design's "Kit Bike," which, like an IKEA shelving unit, can be assembled from and disassembled into 21 parts for ease of transport. I didn't mind Paolo de Giusti's asymmetrical concept bike and I can appreciate the over-the-top hipster chic of Van Hulsteijns, but this is exactly the kind of thing that the general public will eat up with nary a thought about whether it would actually work. After all, it turned up in a couple of reputable design blogs, one of which notes that:
The bike frame is made from hollow aluminum tubes that twist together and can be secured with a key. Since the frame attaches only on one side of the wheels, the bike can be assembled and disassembled while it leans against a wall. When it's not in use, the parts and wheels can each be stowed in sections in a custom-designed bag.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that's because it is.
Don't get me wrong—I personally would love to have a bicycle that I could snap together like a tent (a well-designed one, of course), but then again, I don't know if I would trust the contraption to hold up on the road. I'm no engineer, but the very thought of applying torque to that rear wheel—note that the hub is connected only at a single, non-driveside dropout—makes me feel like I'm breaking something. Meanwhile, if the grossly oversimplified componentry and lack of brakes can be written off, the fact that the drivetrain is on the wrong side suggests that the Bangalore, India-based firm lacks a basic understanding of a bicycle in itself.
I'm a heavy Apple user and I love their products, but I'm bewildered by some of their design decisions. The one that drives me the most nuts is that my Thunderbolt Display's USB ports are on the back. As someone who is frequently connecting and disconnecting things, this gets super-annoying.
So I was excited when I saw this little gizmo by BlueLounge, the Jimi USB extension:
Images via Robbie Khan / PetaPixel
While I'd previously caught wind of LG's new 34" monitor, the company's hero shots showed little more than a rectangle covered in Photoshopped fake screens and devoid of local scale. But I just came across photographer Robbie Khan's write-up on his, and seeing it with actual work on it drives home how gi-normous this thing is.
Like many of us creatives Khan spends long stretches in front of a monitor, and the 34UM95's 21:9 aspect ration and 3440x1440 resolution would go to good use in his work editing panoramic photos.
LG's product copy points out that they've included a "Screen Splitter" feature (both Windows and Mac compatible) that automatically tiles out four screens with a single click...
One of the first things you learn in the ID shop at design school: Wood glue is for joining wood, welding is great for joining metal, acetone is the thing for fusing plastics together. But when you need to attach one of these materials to another, you've got to switch over to hard fasteners or something more clever, since wood glue won't stick to plastics, et cetera.
While that's occasionally a hassle for building multimaterial objects, record lovers have figured out that wood glue not sticking to plastic provides a huge benefit: You can use wood glue to clean LPs. Because Titebond won't stick to vinyl, but will stick to all the microscopic specks of dust hanging out in the grooves, a layer of wood glue will become like a Biore strip for records. Observe, and be sure to listen to the before and after—the amount of snaps, crackles and pops the glue removes from the audio is astonishing:
I hate shaving, and have always viewed it as a bothersome to-do item rather than a pleasurable manscaping ritual. To some extent this is probably because of the shaving objects I use. Gilette's Mach3 Turbo blades produce a good shave but cost an obscene three-dollars-plus per cartridge, and the Dollar Shave Club two-blade cartridges I recently switched to are affordable, but totally suck. I have half a mind to switch to a straight razor.
That would probably be more time-consuming, maintenance-heavy and bloody than I'd like, but if I were to do it, I'd go totally old school and also buy a badger brush and lathering bowl. Most of the ones I've seen are ugly, needlessly elaborate or just plain chintzy looking, but recent ID grad Flyn O'Brien has designed a pretty sweet, minimalist set called the Lathr.