Articles on this Page
- 07/20/18--11:53: _A Bottle Opener Tha...
- 07/20/18--11:53: _Reader Submitted: S...
- 07/23/18--07:00: _Free Online Tool Le...
- 07/23/18--07:00: _The Back Story: How...
- 07/23/18--11:33: _Design Job: Build-A...
- 07/23/18--11:33: _An Easy Method for ...
- 07/23/18--11:33: _Good Thing Releases...
- 07/24/18--11:56: _Design Job: BSH Hom...
- 07/24/18--11:56: _Mass Timber Design ...
- 07/24/18--11:56: _Nana Wall's WhiteOU...
- 07/24/18--20:10: _Q&A With Oki Sa...
- 07/25/18--08:00: _Design Job: Get It ...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Jaguar's New I-Pace...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Tools & Craft #...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Amazon's Amazing Pa...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _MakerBot Design Ser...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Design Job: Relevan...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _Peak Design's Well-...
- 07/26/18--08:14: _The Looking Glass i...
- 07/20/18--11:53: A Bottle Opener That Can Also Re-Cap the Bottle!
- 07/23/18--07:00: The Back Story: How Leatherman Was Started
- 07/23/18--11:33: An Easy Method for Hang Drying and Folding a Fitted Sheet
- 07/24/18--20:10: Q&A With Oki Sato/Nendo on Designing a Chair for Fritz Hansen
- 07/26/18--08:14: Jaguar's New I-Pace, Part 1: Test Drive
- 07/26/18--08:14: Tools & Craft #102: R.I.P. Jennie Alexander 1930-2018
- 07/26/18--08:14: Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #130: Homeland Cabins
- 07/26/18--08:14: MakerBot Design Series: The 3D Printed Skateboard
- 07/26/18--08:14: The Looking Glass is Like a Holographic iPad
Have you ever finished the day's work, cracked open a beer, then realized there was more work to do? You could either hop back onto the forklift with the beer in hand--they don't make the darn things with cupholders--or you could do the responsible thing and put the beer away. But you're bound to rush through that final task in hopes of completing it before the fizz disappears.
Well, the problem of beerus interruptus has been solved with the Open-Close bottle capper:
I suggest you buy one of these, go on a Tinder date, and order a bottle of beer. During the date, pull out the capper and re-cap the bottle after every sip. Act like this is completely normal. (Extra points if you also constantly re-cap your date's drink.)
"It has to be so easy you can do it with one arm tied behind your back"was the design brief given to SWARM by Tucson based MagMod as inspiration for a completely reimagined line of photography lighting gear. MagMod creates tools that allow photographers to do what they do best, shoot amazing photos, without wasting time setting up clunky equipment.
In photography, controlling light can mean the difference between a good shot and an amazing shot. Current cold shoes, ring mounts, and soft boxes are slow beasts to set up and get in the way of catching the moment. SWARM was tasked with revolutionizing the way photographers interact with their lighting equipment by developing a system that could quickly modify and focus light—all while using only one hand.
I'm from the city, where distances are measured in blocks. Now I'm living in the country, where the unit of measurement is acres. I don't know what the hell an acre is. I mean, sure, it's 43,560 square feet, which is roughly the size of 100 studio apartments. But I have no idea how to eyeball that. I can picture five, maybe six repeating Ikea furniture set-ups until I start to lose focus.
Part of my duties on the farm I'm living on is to mow the pastures. The other day I completed it for the first time. I did it in chunks and it took three days. I wanted to know what the actual acreage of the pastures is, but no one I asked knew.
Then I found this handy, free online tool that calculates it for you. DaftLogic's Google Maps Area Calculator Tool lets you punch up an address, then trace a feature on the map (and multiple non-adjoining features, if you'd like), and it then spits out the area in square meters, square kilometers, acres, hectares, square feet, square miles and square nautical miles, which will come in handy if your property gets flooded.
The images above are not of the property I'm on now, by the way; I've merely used them for illustrative purposes. The actual land I'm mowing came out to be about 5.5 acres, or 550 studio apartments.
Imagine coming up with an idea for a tool, and you become so obsessed with creating it that you spend years in your brother-in-law's garage doing it. It sucks up so much of your time that you quit working and your wife agrees to support you.
After three years you've got a workable prototype--and then you spend the next five years trying to sell it and getting over 500 rejection letters.
Most folks would give up by then. Thankfully Tim Leatherman didn't. Here's the fascinating back story of how a backpacking trip to Europe, and an unreliable Fiat, sparked an entire generation of multi-tools:
Ever wondered where all the great products at Build-A-Bear come from? Want to be a part of the process? Product Designers at Build-A-Bear collaborate & create products that help spread hugs across the world while working in a friendly, fast paced environment. The Associate Product Designer will getView the full design job here
To save energy I've always hang-dried my laundry, and now that I'm in a proper house with a porch, I can use a line rather than a drying rack. But I've never known how to hang fitted sheets to dry, and they're a pain in the neck to fold. Well, this woman's got a straightforward method for making both easy:
This morning, Good Thing announced a new product in their lineup—a trio of food-safe vessels designed by Japanese product designer, Shinya Yoshida. As former car mechanic, Yoshida naturally took inspiration from the flowing curves and shapes found in the auto industry when designing the G3 Vessels. The result is a curvaceous set of containers that can be used in the office, bathroom and even kitchen due to their food-safe material.
In addition to designing in-house products, Good Thing is known for adopting and nurturing other designers' ideas, taking them through the production process and making them available for purchase on their site under the original designers' name. The unique business model is meant to highlight the manufacturing process—creating elevated everyday objects by focusing on materials, production and working with a hand-selected group of talented designers. Before getting picked up by Good Thing, Yoshida actually exhibited almost identical vessels at SaloneSatellite in 2017 (we mainly can't get over how cute they are as planters too):
Today also marks the beginning of NYC Restaurant Week, and for the occasion, Good Thing has partnered with Mission Chinese Food and Lalito to take the G3 Vessels for a spin. Starting today, enjoy a dish at either restaurant specifically designed to be served in the G3 Vessels. Bon appetit!
We are seeking a highly motivated candidate that will be responsible for the conception and industrial design realization of future innovations in the luxury refrigeration market. This position will be pivotal in the long-term development and strategy of luxury home appliances. As a creative thinker you will work withView the full design job here
"Buildings are one of the largest consumers of global resources and all energy produced," writes a group of researchers and designers at MIT Architecture, "and are primary contributors to greenhouse gases and solid wastes. At moment when the built environment is faced with dramatic shifts, the need for energy-intelligent building prototypes is more significant than ever." The group in question comprises an MIT design workshop called Mass Timber Design, which is combining an old form factor with new(ish) materials technology in hopes of reducing waste.
Mass Timber Design has focused on the longhouse, an architectural form factor that everyone from Native Americans to Vikings to church architects have all traditionally erected. "The longhouse is a building type common to historic settlements across the world and through history, finding use in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Longhouses served many functions for these historic communities, but were almost always civic or multi-family in scale. They were often places of community gathering, civil government, communal work, and an overall space for knowledge exchange."
MTD's reimagined longhouse design uses timber LVL (laminated veneer lumber) for the interior supporting arches, as they can span a large distance without requiring a massive amount of material. Though thin-walled, the triangular profile of the arches is sturdy enough for the task. The "sawtooth" roof design is meant to be tuned and oriented according to the site, maximizing clerestory value and solar panel placement. All components are meant to be prefabricated and modular.
Here's the walkthrough:
The workshop envisions the Longhouse as being used for "a range of event scenarios from co-working, exercise classes, social mixers, exhibitions, dinner gatherings and lectures."
Anyone remember Bar 89 on Mercer Street? Now shuttered, the former SoHo hotspot featured bathrooms that caused a buzz: The walls to each individual loo were transparent, allowing you to see everything inside, but once you shut the door and locked it, they turned an opaque shade of white.
That technology has existed at least since the '90s, but now architectural glass supplier Nana Wall has figured out how to do it framelessly. Check out their recently unveiled WhiteOUT system, which can alternate between clear and opaque and can also be used as a projection screen:
There is plenty of spiritual overlap between Japanese and Scandinavian design, and we were thrilled to hear that Oki Sato, principal of Nendo, designed a chair for Fritz Hansen.
The resultant N01 is a wooden armchair that would serve as a fine example of the work of either culture. Here's a video of Sato introducing the chair and explaining the joinery goals, and a Q&A with him below:
What inspired you to design the N01 wooden armchair for Fritz Hansen?
"Fritz Hansen are known for their highly skilled moulding technique using plywood, and their wide experience with comfortable seating has contributed to their unique style. The plywood technique has been used in many of their chairs such as the AntTM and Series7TM. It was exciting to learn that Fritz Hansen has not made a solid wooden chair for many years, probably not since the Grand PrixTM chair by Arne Jacobsen in 1957, and that the N01 chair may be the next wooden chair after this. A wooden chair is not an easy product for a designer to make. It is one of the most difficult and one's personal mentality or philosophy can be expressed through it, but after working as a designer for 15 years it was a great pleasure to have been offered this opportunity from Fritz Hansen. At the same time I felt that this project was a kind of destiny and decided to take on the challenge."
How does the design match the brief from Fritz Hansen?
"The brief was to design a new wooden dining chair that would be comfortable and at the same time meet their aesthetic requirements. Our goal was to finalise a chair which is contemporary, yet maintains the traditional and historical feel of the brand."
How would you describe the creative process, from idea to the development of the chair?
"The whole experience was quite unique. Every time we visited the workshop in Alleroed outside of Copenhagen - almost every month at the final stage - a new prototype welcomed us. We have put into practice things we noticed, repeatedly reviewed, discussed, and reviewed again many times over. There was no compromise—especially in the final phase of development—with totally achieving the targeted strength and comfort levels of the chair.
This productive process of product development was one of the highlights of my 15-year long career as a designer, and one that I really enjoyed. It truly was a collaborative process between Fritz Hansen and us, one that was coordinated between Copenhagen and Tokyo. As a result I do not remember much about the first brief and I am not even sure if I have actually designed the chair; I feel that we (Nendo and Fritz Hansen) made this chair together as a team."
What were the main challenges in developing this chair?
"Normally the section where the frame and shell are joined is thickened to increase strength, which gives an impression of heaviness. However, to provide a lighter appearance, it was carefully designed to look as though the joining sections are touching as little as possible.
The difficulty with a wooden chair is that even a small change of size - for example even less than 1mm - can greatly change its appearance and level of seating comfort. By changing the shape of the legs or the arms from that of a column to an ellipse, or by narrowing down the edge, or by giving a slight roundness or curve to it, the chair can be given a totally different character."
In your opinion, what do you like the most about the design? Which feelings or emotions does it evoke?
"Both sides of the seat have a gradual incline, helping realise a comfortable seating experience, as if one's body is being embraced. In my opinion, this part of the design has this in common with the identity of the flagship chairs of Fritz Hansen, the SwanTM and the EggTM."
How does the chair combine Japanese and Danish Design?
"Both Japanese and Danish designs have a great respect for wood as a material, and also for the craftsmanship related to this. Having this in common, in spite of the distance or cultural difference, it was possible for us to immediately 'speak' the same language in the process of product development. Last but not least, it is not designed for the sake of design. Instead, the design follows the function and the practical requirements of the chair."
The Manager role within the Design and Innovation Team supports the development of Staples products across the own brand portfolio. You will build our brands by creating design standards and delivering designs that meet businessView the full design job here
Core77 was recently invited to test drive Jaguar's I-Pace, their new, category-bending all-electric SUV. Debuted as a concept car last year to critical acclaim--it won Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2017 at the 16th North American Concept Vehicle Awards--the I-Pace was swiftly green-lit for 2018 production, and Core77 was on-site in Portugal with an assembled team of journalists selected to evaluate the freshly-rolled-out car.
The I-Pace is part luxury sports car and part luxury SUV. Power comes via two electric motors, one on each axle, that deliver a combined 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque through all four wheels as needed. It's got a 240-mile range, 51 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down, and an absurdly large panoramic glass roof that lets in light without the heat from infrared radiation (the glass filters it out).
Climbing into the car, the fit and finish are top-notch, with handsomely stitched leather surfaces and a large central touchscreen. Cockpit storage abounds with a cavernous compartment amidseats--it will hold two bottles of wine, for chrissakes--and while our test model featured USB ports, the production version will reportedly feature capacitive charging for your smartphone.
The seating position is higher than in a sports car, and lower than in a proper SUV. So which is it? We hit the road to find out.
First off, this car is freaking quick. Putting your foot down launches you from 0-60 in a blistering 4.5 seconds, and being electric there are no gears to go through; you go from dead-stop to FAST in a singular, thrilling whoosh. (That whoosh, by the way, isn't just wind noise. While there's no engine growl, a finely-tuned sound has been created by Jaguar's engineers to provide audio feedback from what would otherwise be a silent pair of motors. More on that from designer Wayne Burgess' chat in Part 2.)
The I-Pace handles like a sports car--and a mid-engined one at that. Because the bottom of the chassis is lined with a battery array, and because there are motors on both axles, the weight distribution is nearly a perfect 50-50 and the bulk of the weight is way down low to the ground. That makes the car feel extraordinarily well-planted, both while we were hurtling around on the track and whipping it around twisty hillside switchbacks.
To prove the car's off-road prowess, the Jaguar handlers sent us up a long, unpaved uphill climb at an angle that, at points, felt like 45 degrees. There's a slow-speed cruise control feature that can be used both while climbing and descending, which lets you off-load the task of keeping the car at a safe, steady pace so that you can concentrate on steering clear of obstacles. I found the feature reassuring for going both uphill and downhill.
For those who live in flood-prone areas, the I-Pace can wade through nearly 20 inches of water with no difficulty or filter-flooding.
A purist wouldn't call the I-Pace a true SUV; but I put the car's capabilities in the good-to-have, peace-of-mind category. The I-Pace's off-road prowess will probably appeal to the motorist who wants a vehicle primarily for on-road use but who wants to know that it can tackle trouble should the need arise.
So that's how the car performs. But what Core77 readers are most interested in is, of course, the design. Stay tuned for our deep dive with Jaguar designer Wayne Burgess.
Like many of you, I was very saddened to learn of Jennie Alexander's death. Jennie was a hugely influential figure in the world of hand woodworking, and was an unusually kind and insightful person as well. When I heard the news, I selfishly thought, "But I still had some things I wanted to talk about with her!" A minute later I reflected that I hope someone will think that of me when I go - that I still had some ideas worth hearing until the end.
I never met Jennie in person although we periodically spoke on the phone. She was working on a book and in the past few weeks we had spoken about topics that included who were the modern makers of traditional spokeshaves and how universal the Miller's Falls Universal brace chuck was. It was in a discussion with her about Moxon and how he copied his illustrations from Felibien that gave me the idea for a blog about the two. She also kept me honest. She would call me about some question about tools and didn't want just an off the cuff answer, she wanted the actual historical reference. So I was sent digging trying to pin down where I had learned some obscure fact.
Jennie was best known for the book "Make a Chair from a Tree" and its successor, written with Peter Follansbee "Make a Joint Stool from a Tree. Jennie was also known for a gender change - she was John Alexander until 2007. As Jennie wrote on her website, "My name is Jennie Alexander. Until 2007, my name was John Alexander. I thank all those who have been so supportive and kind. Yes indeed, people change, times change, wood continues to be wonderful!"
Jennie's work celebrated beautiful, functional pieces of furniture made with simple tools, straightforward techniques and no glue. "Make a Chair from a Tree" published by Taunton Press in 1978 (and later reissued by Astragal Press) inspired generations of woodworkers to see joinery in green wood. The chair itself featured in the book was legendarily comfortable and strong.
Lost Art Press featured a fascinating profile of Jennie's life. Before she became a chairmaker (and revolutionary woodworker), she was a self-taught jazz musician, divorce attorney and father of three. As a young married couple, Jennie (then John) and wife Joyce fixed up their Baltimore home and learned the crafts that would later evolve into green woodworking. Jennie joined the. Early American Industries Association and became a protege of Charles Hummel, a curator at Winterthur and author of the seminal book "With Hammer in Hand."
The profile captured an important part of Jennie's character - her warmth, her encouragement, and her sense of gratitude. As one friend said, "She is always encouraging people. I think that is a special thing about her – generosity...Woodworking is such a special part of her life and she wants to share."
Jennie's papers on chairmaking and joinery will go to the library at Winterthur.
This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.
Everything-in-the-world parts supplier McMaster-Carr is awesome…if you know the name of the part you're looking for. Years ago I had a small, racetrack-shaped piece of flat metal symmetrically pierced with two threaded holes, and I needed more of them. It took a lot of oddly-worded Google queries to figure out that it was called a "weld nut," and then I could finally figure out where to buy it.
Amazon has rolled out a new feature on their mobile app that aims to solve problems like these. Called Part Finder, it has you photograph a fastener with your phone (next to a penny for scale), then figures out what it is, how big it is, and offers up some buying and sizing options:
Thus far they can identify roughly 100 different types of fasteners.
What I'd love to see next: The system able to tell the difference between 10-24 and 10-32 threading, or a 5/8 hex head versus a 16mm.
This story is part four of MakerBot's series of design studies, exploring the relationship between designers and their tools.
We started this design series taking a look at iterative design with bikes, and now we're ready to shift gears (hah!) to tackle an increasingly popular and more radical form of transportation: the skateboard. There's a long history of 3D printed skateboards online, from the daredevils at Braille Skateboarding who will skate absolutely anything to the early board designs on Thingiverse, but it wasn't until we joined Frog's skateboard challenge that I committed to designing a functional 3D printed skateboard deck.
My goal was to create a deck that's compatible with standard trucks and wheels, lightweight and textured for tricking, while still durable enough to support the weight of your average Brooklyn hipster. Here's how I did it:
1. Explore lightweight forms using parametric design
While the exact shape of a deck is up for interpretation, the length:width ratio and rounded edges are enough of a starting point to skip ahead and think about other design features. Using Rhinoceros with its parametric design plugin Grasshopper, I sketched out a rough shape and began experimenting with different lattices and surface textures.
Taking inspiration from organic forms like spiderwebs and barnacle clusters, I drew bounding boxes and set Grasshopper parameters to produce several different lattice boards. I wanted to push the limit of how sparse I could make the lattice while keeping it functional. Knowing these spiderweb-like boards may not survive skating, I set a backup plan to explore safer, more durable with a hand-hold in the center.
2. Design for 3D printing, stability, and the hypotenuse
Most 3D printers have a build volume smaller than your average skateboard, but happily I had access to the massive format MakerBot Replicator Z18. The build volume measures 12x12x18, but 18 inches was too short to carry both of my feet. I did the math on the Z18's XYZ hypotenuse, which enabled me to stretch the board 37% to a convenient 24.7in long, but that created a new challenge in the process.
The board's center of gravity while printing wasn't directly above the contact point on the build plate, making it more likely to collapse under its own weight and fail the print. I considered taking the easy way out and adding a bunch of automatically generated support material, but that would add 30+ hours of print time and leave an ugly surface after cleanup.
I loaded an early design in MakerBot Print and explored settings that would help the print succeed at this dramatic angle and still stick firmly to the build plate. Instead of using a "raft" (a sacrificial layer of support material that goes down underneath the model material) I tested out the new "brims" and "padded base" features. The wider base and extra brims offered enough surface area to resist peeling off the plate, confirming the hypotenuse print would work.
Next up was testing the amount of infill (internal structure) to put in the board, and how thick to make the outer shells. The more material I pack into the deck, the heavier it will be, so I focused on testing number of shells and learned that high shells (3-5) and moderate infill (15-20%) offers the best combination of weight and strength.
3. Print, skate, break
Before we talk boards, a quick word on materials. The material flexing in these pliers is MakerBot Tough filament (IMPLA). It's perfect for this application; twice the impact resistance of other 3D printing materials (ABS and PLA), high elasticity to flex and return to its original shape, and a tendency to deform instead of splintering so the trucks can be bolted on tight.
The first board's tail broke directly above the truck the moment our creative director Andrew stepped on. Taking a close look at the failure: I was surprised to see the fracture wasn't along the print's layer lines—which is common in failed prints. The break lined up horizontally across the lattice holes, making it clear that segment didn't have enough material.
So I came back with a solid board, which survived a bit more of Andrew's tricking until he jumped on the center just inside the trucks. I beefed up the number of shells to 5 and decided to move forward with a new, less gargantuan test subject.
Product manager Lane had some solid moves, and the board survived! This was a fun, but absolutely critical part of the process. These functional prototypes delivered so much physical feedback I was able to make several design improvements at once, rolling into a very successful design in a very short time.
4. Finalize design elements and hit the streets!
Hat tip to Occam's razor, in this case the simplest solution was the most successful. I fell back on a lightweight, hand-hold design and tweaked the parameters in Grasshopper to populate the surface with a gradient of textured bumps. The result is a durable, portable, and adaptable 3D printed skateboard that can stand up to the hazards of Brooklyn streets and support even the tallest of creative directors.
MakerBot, the Brooklyn-based 3D printing company, pioneered the first connected desktop 3D printers and operates Thingiverse, the world's largest 3D printing community and file library.
Overview This important creative services role is accountable for creative, visually impactful, and timely design and delivery of materials, to support a growing toy company’s numerous sales and product development projects. This position requires proficient experience in multiple software packages and the ability to produce large volumes of work consistentlyView the full design job here
I'd previously called Peak Design's Everyday Backpack the most intelligently-designed bag I'd ever seen; I purchased one and in the years since I've been using it as my main bag, it's lived up to the hype. But now it appears PD has done themselves one better with their Travel Line, which adds even more diversity and utility:
There are so many good ideas in the Travel Line, there's no way it was designed by just one person; it's got to be from the collaboration of a bunch of smart people working together. What I love about Peak's approach is that their designers have clearly thought things through based on actual experiences, and my guess is that this has yielded this system's incredible diversity.
The Travel Line has already been successfully Kickstarted, with about $1.5 million in pledges at press time on a $500,000 goal. If you want to get in on it, there's still 56 days left in the campaign.
We can consume media in private or shared ways, i.e. headphones vs. speakers, goggles vs. screens. The immersiveness of VR requires goggles, which of course means everyone participating needs to be wearing a pair. But a company called Looking Glass Factory is betting that people in a group would rather look at a screen, which is more communal and less alienating. "In our vision of the future, technology doesn't isolate us. It makes our human connections stronger," the company writes.
Here's what their eponymous product does:
We live in 3D. Everything we see and do and touch in the real world is three-dimensional. And yet, most of our digital creations remain trapped on flat, 2D screens.
Meanwhile, the tech industry has put forth AR and VR as its solution. We strap bulky, uncomfortable headgear to our faces, in search of digital wonder. In our tireless quest for immersion, we've forgotten the best 3D experience of all: the ones shared in physical space with real human beings.
LGF's shared 3D experience is surprisingly affordable: They're selling them for $450 on Kickstarter.