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    I have a pair of drafting lamps from Ikea (above) that I use on my sewing machine repair bench. They're based on the classic design and are useful for providing illumination at the unusual angles necessary for working on a machine. At $13 a pop they're economical, and a bit annoying to use over time as the springs fail.

    The parts count for a lamp like this is, as industrial designer Leon Laskowski has observed, a bit absurd:

    For his ID Bachelor's thesis Laskowski, a student at Germany's Weissensee Academy of Arts, sought to remedy this with his All In design:

    ALL IN is the world's first, entirely 3D printed task light, including all mechanical components and the particularity of specially developed, sintered torque hinges. Really everything except the heatsink, the LED and its electronic components, is thus tool-lessly produced in one single location, in one piece, in one go and from one material, eliminating need for manual assembly by almost a 100% and pushing recyclability to a whole new level.
    In contrast to a product often consisting of up to 100 different parts, ALL IN reduces this component count from over 100 to less than 10. It is designed to be folded into itself to be as space saving as possible during production and transport, while weighing in at less than 400g. With the currently available technology, 56 task lights can be produced at once in an industry standard laser sintering printer.
    ALL IN aims to make us rethink manufacturing processes and their complex logistics. It can be understood as an exemplary and purposefully radical execution of the new kinds of production means available for lower complexity mechanical products today. Products made up of dozens of materials of various origins, which again require independent exploitation and processing of resources, different surface treatments and undergo multiple steps of manufacturing, before being shipped around the globe for assembly – just to be shipped all around again.
    The possible savings in industrial tooling and equipment, transportation costs, fuel consumption and storage space, potentials for material economy and recyclability resulting from such a new way of conceiving products are still unheard of.

    I can't deny the beauty, efficiency and economy of Laskowski's design. On one level, work like this is what all designers should strive for, exploiting modern production methods to do more with less. But it has been occurring to me lately that if all product designs were this efficient, and the production methods distributed locally, an entire host of manufacturing, assembly-line, packaging, shipping and retail jobs will evaporate.

    I am struggling with how to reconcile this. Were I the boss of a firm where Laskowski worked, I'd promote him based on this project alone. Yet if this product managed to displace its mass-market predecessor and profits were diverted our way, there would be a net loss of jobs. I suppose one could argue that all industrial design works this way, and that it is simply the nature of competition and technology. Your thoughts?

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    In the 1800s, prior to the invention of refrigeration, some unknown French inventor figured out how to store butter while maximizing its freshness. The object's design is clever in that water is used as the seal, and the container for the butter is also used as the dispenser (with the aid of a knife). This storage object has been recreated today and is now called the Butter Bell. Here's how it works:

    Here's how you use it:

    Need something more new-fangled for your butter? Check out the Butter Twist.

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    Sketchfab recently launched their Sketchfab store out of beta, which allows creative professionals and hobbyists to sell and purchase 3D models for web, mobile, AR and VR online. 

    If you're on the creation/selling side, this means you finally have the chance to monetize your work. On the other end, buyers now have the ability to make confident 3D model purchases with Sketchfab's "Model Inspector," which allows customers to view every aspect of a 3D model, including textures and topology, in real-time before purchase. The Sketchfab viewer also supports VR and AR, which could be useful if you're planning on using your models in a virtual environment.

    Before the launch of the store, Sketchfab's community published around 3 million 3D models to the platform since it began in 2012. An online store where 3D content creators can fully inspect 3D models, purchase them directly from their designer and seamlessly integrate them into their work without additional attribution seems like a valid next step for the company. If you're in need of 3D models or want to monetize your own creations, maybe Sketchfab's new store will work for you.

    Please let us know in the comments:

    If you are a 3D model creator, where do you choose to upload your 3D models for public use, and what do you like/dislike about the service you use? 

    If you work with outsourced 3D models often, where do you usually find your models, and what do you like/dislike about the service you use? 

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    Ever seen Chef's Table on Netflix? If you have, then you have an idea of how crazy a professional kitchen is. Chef's all around the world spend 8+ hours in kitchens, running, stretching, lifting objects in extreme heated conditions. Professional cooking is active, but what about chefwear?

    It is NOT.

    What if we reimagined professional cooking as a sport, and design chefwear, like sportswear, so chefs can perform with high efficiency and comfort throughout their day?

    Final Design
    Redesigned chefwear
    New sleeve mechanism
    Taking inspiration from a drawstring bag, the new segmented sleeve is easily collapsible on the pull of a tab.
    Body Mapping
    Three different areas with different material needs.
    In black
    Back, with hints from sportswear
    Chefwear engineered to the needs of the kitchen
    Modern rendition of the class button and collar detail
    Segmented sleeve detail
    Feature breakdown
    View the full project here

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    If you've ever been to or lived in New York City before, you are likely all too familiar with this image: 

    For those of you that haven't made your way over to the Big Apple yet, understand that throwing your trash away in public here is like a game of Tetris you inevitably lose by knocking other people's trash out of the bin and onto the ground. Needless to say, the wire baskets are in need of a redesign to better address the current and future waste needs of New York City.

    Cue "BetterBin," a competition created in partnership with IDSA and The New York City Department of Sanitation currently seeking new designs that reimagine the iconic, yet problematic, green wire-mesh waste baskets. 

    At turns out, the green bins we know and "love" have remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. To stick around this long, they must be doing something right, but it seems as though they actually bring more drawbacks to the table than they're worth. Two main concerns include the design's open top, which allows contents to spill or blow out onto streets and sidewalks and the design's open sides, which allow easy access for rats. Sanitation Workers also complain about the baskets' lack of ergonomic design, as they have difficulty lifting the heavy bins while emptying their contents.

    BetterBin invites multidisciplinary team to submit their proposals for a new waste bin design by September 20, 2018. Each of three design finalists will receive $40,000 in funding to produce prototype baskets for testing on city streets. Learn more about and register for the competition here.

    Main Design Considerations:

    Quality of Life and Aesthetics
    Proper Use
    Sustainability and Stewardship
    Cost, Durability and Ease of Maintenence

    Also this can apparently happen, so materials are key:

    The BetterBin Competition will be held in two stages. First, a judging panel will review submissions and select three finalists. Each finalist will receive $40,000 of funding to produce prototype baskets for testing. After the testing period, the judging panel will select a first-place winner. The winner will be eligible to contract for further design development to ensure the ability to mass-produce the basket at a reasonable cost, as well as refine technical issues through an agreement with the City. As a side note, designer Heron Preston is on the judging panel for some reason, so if you've ever wanted to interact with him, this is probably a good opportunity.

    If you're interested in the competition but would like to speak to Sanitation Workers and ask questions before you begin the design process, BetterBin is hosting an Open House at the Spring Street Sanitation Garage on July 26th.Register here.

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    We design and make our own tools, and are also happy to carry excellent tools made by others in the same category. Here I'll compare some of the rasps we carry, like our monster 12" Gramercy Cabinetmaker's Rasps, with rasps we carry by Auriou.

    First of all I am really excited that after closing in 2007, Michel Auriou and a group of investors bought the assets of the original Auriou and set up a new company. After a year of just selling direct they now have the capacity to start wholesaling. The range of rasps is smaller than it was but the quality is as excellent as before and sets the standard for a classic French rasp. With a few exceptions we are stocking the entire line. Production is limited so we expect shortages but that's a lot better than having nothing at all!

    Back to the comparison. First the similarities: Both rasps are hand punched with teeth by highly skilled operators using roughly the same tools. Both rasps cut smooth, and pretty fast. Both rasps work great for smoothing out something like a cabriole leg for example. Both rasps have nice handles.

    That's about it for similarities. The differences: The Aurious rasps are made of high carbon steel, and the teeth are case hardened. This gives you a very sharp, hard tooth, with a soft core that resists snapping. Gramercy rasps are made of surgical grade stainless steel. This gives a less sharp tooth that is however stronger. The practical result of this is that the Auriou rasps will cut cleaner, especially in stringy softwood, but the Gramercy rasps shine on tougher woods, knots, and dense woods. You have less chance of breaking teeth with the Gramercy rasps.

    The Auriou rasps are also handed with the teeth showing a specific slant for either left handed or right handed people. The Gramercy's are not handed, although the teeth do have a right handed bias.

    The pictures show both rasps at about the same magnifications. The Gramercy is on top and the Auriou is below. The last picture shows both rasps side by side with the Gramercy in the foreground.

    The Auriou rasps cost more. The Gramercy rasps are made in Pakistan which has a long metalworking tradition. We handle the Gramercy rasps here with a US made handle. The profiles of the Auriou rasps come out of the pattern-making tradition. I designed the profiles of the Gramercy rasps and while there are some overlap I think the narrow Gramercy modeling rasps are the cats pajamas.

    Both brands of rasp are in short supply simply because there is a limit to how many rasp a single person can make in a day.

    For more about the Auriou Rasps, click here.


    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.

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    Community Playthings is a company that makes furniture for children, and they've got an idea that was once common sense but has now become radical: Let children play outside. Let them make mud pies and get dirty. "Dirt and water are the perfect recipe for hours of creative play," the company writes, "and the Outlast Mud Kitchen is built to handle any amount of mess and drama."

    The Mud Kitchen is a series of outdoor furniture consisting of counters, drain-able sinks, trays, crates and drawers, with the countertops sized at the child-friendly heights of 18 or 22 inches. Tool holders on the side can hold trowels, ladles and other mud-shaping utensils.

    To make the furniture able to withstand the rigors of water, the outdoors and children, hard-wearing (and FSC-certified) Maple is used. The wood is treated with acetic acid--the number two ingredient in vinegar, after water--to increase durability and longevity. As the company explains:

    Can wood become weatherproof? Yes! The secret is acetylation. Acetylated wood won't shrink, warp, twist, or rot because its chemical structure is modified to resist the effects of moisture.

    The acetylation treatment means that yes, you can leave the furniture in the yard and not have to haul it inside. It also comes with a ten-year warranty, and if your kids are still making mud pies after that length of time, well, that's kind of on you.

    Community Playthings has been building furniture for seventy years, and the concept of allowing children to play in dirt is not only sound, it's better for their immune system. If you want to read up on this subject, check out "Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System." This isn't some kooky anti-vaxxer screed--it was written by Dr. Jack Gilbert, a University of Chicago scientist, Faculty Director of the Microbiome Center (i.e. he studies microbial ecosystems for a living) and a parent.

    Here's an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Gilbert from NPR:

    "[In the past we] allowed our children to be exposed to animals and plants and soil on a much more regular basis. Now we live indoors. We sterilize our surfaces. Their immune systems then become hyper-sensitized. You have these little soldier cells in your body called neutrophils, and when they spend too long going around looking for something to do, they become grumpy and pro-inflammatory. And so when they finally see something that's foreign, like a piece of pollen, they become explosively inflammatory. They go crazy. That's what triggers asthma and eczema and often times, food allergies."

    Also check out more of Community Playthings' products here.

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    With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Yale, Eliza Becton had landed a job at an engineering firm in New York. But after a few years, she yearned to do something more creative. ""Fortunately, I soon discovered industrial design and went back to school for a masters degree at the Rhode Island School of Design," Becton told VentureFizz. "It was completely life-changing. It taught me how to ask the really hard questions like why are we doing what we're doing? As a result, it was not just about creating things for the sake of creating them. It was about purpose and people and user-centered design."

    During research for her masters thesis, Eliza learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an ever-expanding, floating mass of plastic waste in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

    "That was really shocking to me and got me thinking about how I could design a product that could eventually replace those plastic bottled beverages. How do you create something that's easier to use, more convenient, and more enjoyable for people?" Eliza asked.

    To tackle this problem Becton went on to co-found Bevi, where she's the Head of Product. Their eponymous product, the Bevi, is a drinks dispenser that comes in both Standing and Countertop varieties.

    By producing sparkling, still and flavored water on-site, the thinking is that companies can replace vending machines and/or stocking bottles and cans in employee breakrooms. (For now the machines are targeted only at businesses.) Usage of the various flavor variations is monitored via internet, both so that Bevi can see which flavors are most popular, and practice predictive restocking.

    So will it succeed in reducing our bottle addiction? If the success of the SodaStream is any indication, I'd say yes; since purchasing a SodaStream years ago, I've stopped buying what would have amounted to hundreds of plastic bottles. Scaling this up to company-wide figures sounds like a good idea to me.

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    No matter how digital you get, a sketchbook is still an essential tool for the industrial designer. Want to make it easier to scan the pages? Here Eric Strebel shows you how he re-wires his for ease of removing the pages, and also shows you how he attaches a custom cover:

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    We recently launched the worlds strongest light curing adhesive on Kickstarter.

    People are frustrated with superglues that cure after one use, make a mess and really aren't so super. There are too many glues on the market that just don't work.
    Total Glue proves you can have a light cured glue that has the strength of super glue without the drawbacks.

    View the full project here

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    After an airplane has been loaded with passengers at the gate, the pilot can't exactly put his arm on the co-pilot's seat, twist around to look behind him and throw the thing into reverse. Instead airports do what's known as the pushback procedure, whereby a purpose-designed tractor attaches to the airplane's front wheels and backs it away from the gate. The tractor driver has the visibility that the pilot lacks. Once properly positioned, the aircraft can then taxi to the runway under its own power.

    By Roland Kemer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

    The problem with pushbacks is the tractors themselves. 

    These massive and powerful machines can weigh up to 60 tons, and they take up a lot of space; they cannot live on the runway, and in between tugs must be parked in an area where they will not obstruct other airplanes. Traveling back and forth takes time; you've undoubtedly experienced a delay after boarding, where the pilot announces that you're loaded and ready-to-go but "waiting for pushback." Then there are the maintenance and fuel demands that come with any tractor.

    Enter the Mototok:

    Invented by German aeromechanic Kersten Eckert, the Mototok is a low-profile, remote-controlled and relatively tiny all-electric towing platform. It can be driven up to an airplane's nose landing gear, then automatically docked to it with the push of a button.

    Here's what it looks like in action:

    The emissions-free Mototok takes three hours to charge, and then it's good for an estimated 30 pushback operations. But its real advantage is its size: Because it's so small, it can hang out between the gates between jobs, making it a fast affair to hustle over to the next tow. British Airways reports their two Mototoks at Heathrow have led to a 54% reduction in delays.

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    Like a day at the beach, the productivity of a solar panel can be spoiled by rain. More predictable conditions exist underground; dig several hundred feet down and the earth remains at a consistent 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the location.

    That consistency makes geothermal energy attractive. Here's how it works:

    So you've got no oil required and zero emissions. The key obstacle at this point is cost. But technological advances mean that heat pumps are getting cheaper to produce and now Dandelion Energy, an offshoot of Google, has begun offering their Dandelion Air system for unbeatable prices in the New York area.

    A Federal tax credit of $8,774 and a Dandelion discount of $1,500 means that one of their systems can be installed for just under 20 grand. Should customers prefer to finance, they can get the system installed for just $135 a month--with no money down. And Dandelion Air provides both heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. It seems a no-brainer.

    To see if you're lucky enough to live within the qualifying area, click here.

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    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.)

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    "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.

    View the full project here