Core77 2014 Year in Review: Top 15 Posts · Year in Photos · Drones · Transportation Design · Food & Drink · Wearable Technology · Power Tools and Hand Tools · Tool Storage · Organizational Solutions · Material News · Design Thinking · Architecture and Design GIFs
Understanding how materials work, and how they can be worked, is part and parcel of being an industrial designer. Whether it's old materials being worked in old ways, old materials worked in new ways or new materials worked in new ways, we need all of that stuff rattling around in our heads to inform our decisions. So here's a recap of our most popular materials stories from 2014.
The first one actually comes from...the 13th Century! In our "A Brief History of Unusual Objects Designed to Kill People From Far Away" series, we saw how the Mongols used horn, wood, bamboo, animal glue and waterproof lacquer to create "the carbon fiber of that era." This early example of materials mastery yielded a militarily devastating weapon, enabling them to conquer the largest contiguous land empire in all of human history.
Another old material that drew eyeballs this year was stone. Once subjected to the tender ministrations of a CNC wire machine, the most ancient of all building materials can be transformed into some decidedly newfangled shapes.
On the new materials front, we got a bit of bad news: In The First Stain on Graphene: It May Be Toxic, we saw new research indicating this supermaterial that's supposed to change the face of our planet might be harmful to both us and the environment.
But there was a bright spot, literally, with new materials this year. LumiLor Electroluminescent Coating is a crazy paint that lights up when a current is applied to it. And this isn't some pie-in-the-sky concept: The stuff works and it's on the market right now.
Coming back down to Earth, we turn to humble wood. In A Look at Torsion Boxes, we showed you how simple sheet goods can be assembled in such a way as to create super-strong, super-flat surfaces.
Also in the world of wood, the Canadiano wooden coffee brewer drew many eyeballs. It also wins our distinction for Best Designer Video, Well, Ever. Click here to see it.
Moving over to metals, we took a look at Metal Injection Molding, a/k/a MIM, the fee-yancy production method supposedly used in Apple's forthcoming Apple Watch.
And for metal production methods that some of you actually have a chance of using, we tried to break down the Difference Between Selective Laser Sintering, Direct Metal Laser Sintering, Laser Melting and LaserCusing. Because cusing can be confusing.
But it was an entry on plastic that snagged one of our top attention for one of the most interesting materials stories for the year. In The Most Creative Recycling We've Seen Yet: Turn Plastic Bottles into String we showed you a guy who figured out how to do just that, and the response was through the roof.
And lastly but not leastly, our most surprisingly popular materials post for 2014 was about a material that will traffic Walmart's goods in the future. In the unexpected "Why Would Walmart Make Continuous 53-Foot-Long Carbon Fiber Panels?" post, we got a look at their crazy carbon-fiber-bodied supertruck.
Who'd've guessed graphene would end 2014 thumbs-down, and Walmart would end it thumbs-up?
Stay tuned for more in 2015!