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Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #350: The Parktite Car

Tools & Craft #86: They Used to Make Bent Circular Saw Blades for Cutting Curves!


Everybody knows that a circular saw cuts a straight line. However, what if you want cut a circle? Everyone knows that you can't use a circular saw. 

But what if you bend the blade?

Yep, that's what they did. Here is a circular saw blade by the Huther Saw Bros. Saw Mfg. Co. of Rochester New York (1880 - 1940), which is carefully dished so that if you mount it in a circular saw, with the saw tilted at the right angle so that the blade is square to the wood, the saw will cut a 6' circle. Not well I am told - these saws were tricky to handle and you needed a different blade for every diameter, but it worked. This particular blade looks like it was never used. The saw pre-dates carbide tipped teeth by a lot. The teeth are carbon steel, swaged a little bigger at the tips for clearance in the cut. The diameter of the saw is just under 12" which makes me think that it started out as a 12" blade before being dished to a slightly smaller diameter.

This blade was made, I think, in the '30's, after the circular saw was invented but before they became ubiquitous. All the major saw blade makers made them, Disston, Atkins, to name a few.

I would love to get a chance to actually use this blade but the concept scares the pants off me. It's also way to big for the two circular saws I have: my old Super Saw Cat from the Industrial Division of B+D back in 1981 and my brand new Festool 55 which I use now.


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.

Today's Urban Design Observation: Is It Possible to Break Subway Windows to Escape in an Emergency?


I hate taking the subway and I generally Citi Bike everywhere, including over one of the bridges if I have to go to Brooklyn. But the other night I had to go to Gravesend/Sheepshead Bay, which is out of Citi Bike's docking network.

One of the reasons I hate taking the train is because it lacks escape options. Metro-North trains have emergency escape windows, but MTA subway cars do not. Years ago I read about a bunch of people who died in a South Korean subway following a fire inside one of the cars; they had no way to get out.

So I've been meaning to buy a tactical pen with glassbreaking functionality that I could carry on the train. That way if someone in the car suddenly stands, yells a religious phrase and holds up a detonator, I'd like to get through the glass and take my chances with the third rail.

But the other night I saw this:

To explain, there's three types of glass in common usage: Tempered glass, untempered glass and laminated glass.

Tempered glass is what the side windows of automobiles are made out of. Whenever you see that little pile of glass rubble on the curb next to a car that has been broken into, that's tempered glass. It is designed to break into 1/4" pieces that aren't very sharp. They make the side windows of cars out of the stuff so that occupants or emergency workers can smash through it in an emergency. (And also so that thieves can punish you for leaving your wallet in the car and in plain sight.)

Untempered glass is basically plate glass, like what retail stores use for their display windows. Early one morning I passed the Fred Perry store on Wooster and some thieves had smashed the glass and stolen some items from the window display. Untempered glass breaks into large, jagged shards, and if you go flying through a window in a bar fight you're going to be very badly cut. If you don't believe me, there's some pretty graphic footage on YouTube.

Laminated glass is what they make car windshields out of. It's a glass-plastic sandwich and like the family that prays together, it stays together, so that kicked-up rocks and such cannot penetrate it. At some point you've probably passed a car wreck, and while you were doing your part to slow traffic down by rubbernecking, you probably saw the spiderwebbed bulge in the windshield left by someone's head after they tried texting at 60 miles per hour and ran into an abutment.

So the subway glass says it's "FRA 2 LAMINATED SAFETY GLASS." I looked it up and learned the following:

FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) Type I Compliance is for front-facing train windows, i.e. the windshield for the driver/engineer. FRA Type II Compliance, which is what the window I shot has, is for the windows in the passenger cars. Obviously the FRA Type I is a little tougher.

The FRA Type II Compliance test means the window has to withstand both a ballistic test and an impact test. The ballistic test fires a .22 caliber bullet reaching a minimum velocity of 960 feet per second at the glass. The impact test hurls a 12-pound masonry block at the glass at 12 feet per second. Obviously the glass cannot break in either case or it fails.

Well, it looks like I won't be breaking through a subway window with a macho little tactical pen. So what can be done?

I poked around and found footage of a subway fire in Boston. As the cars fill with smoke, the passengers start kicking the windows out:

If one of you lives in Boston, can you send in a photo of the inside of the windows on the T? New York's subway cars have this pretty substantial frame around the windows on the insides of the cars, and I want to see if Boston's kickable windows also do, to see if this escape method would work here too.

Reader Submitted: A Smart Cycling Light that Functions Like a Car's Brake Lights


Lucnt is a smart cycling light that functions like a car's brake lights. It uses multiple sensors coupled with smart algorithms to detect when you slow down or accelerate. This helps increase your visibility on the road and lets the drivers behind you know you're slowing down. Lucnt is CNC machined from a single piece of aluminum, designed and made in Richmond, California.

View the full project here

A Pocketed, Conductive Curtain Liner That Lets You Use Tablets and Phones in the Shower. Yea or Nay?


People interact with their phones or tablets in movie theaters, on the subway, on the toilet, on the sidewalk, while cooking, in bed, et cetera. The shower is the last space left where your phone or tablet cannot go.

So a company has invented this conductive shower curtain liner with pockets on the outside, in different sizes and placed at different heights, allowing you to willfully have those devices intrude on that final frontier.

I was going to put this in the "Hell in a Handbasket" category, for obvious reasons. On the list below, there's not a single one of those things I want interrupting a nice hot shower.

However, as an avid podcast listener, it's tempting. I could increase my intake by listening in the shower. If it's something educational and not mindless entertainment, then that's okay, right?

No. Not for me.

What say you?

Design Job: Use Music to Drive Student Achievement as a Designer for Flocabulary


Flocabulary is a rapidly growing edtech company that uses music to drive student achievement and foster a love of learning. Students in more than 20,000 schools use our rap songs and interactive learning tools to master academic content. Our product and work reflect our strong belief that a motivated student

View the full design job here

Design is in the Details: These Two Improvements to a Transforming Furniture Piece Make it Viable


Earlier I maligned the Urbana, a dining table that converts into a bookshelf. I criticized the design of the base, the footprint and the overall purpose of it.

A company called German Smart Living offers a similar product called the Swing, and the two design details that distinguish it from the Urbana have wiped away all three of my criticisms.

The design details I'm referring to are the more sensible trestle-table-style feet for the base, eschewing the bulky triangular structure of the Urbana, and the addition of wheels. Now the object can truly be easily slid against a wall in bookshelf form, and while I don't have the precise dimensions to compare, it looks as if the Swing's footprint permits it to be placed closer to the wall than the Urbana's bulky footprint would allow.

With either design, though, I still wouldn't feel comfortable leaving stemware on the thing.

Minimize the Cost of CNC Parts (9 Proven Design Tips)



Whether you are looking to create a single prototype or you are ready for large-scale production, cutting manufacturing costs is often the main priority when it comes to CNC machining.

Luckily, your decisions as the designer can greatly affect the final pricing. By following the Design for Machinability tips of this article, you can manufacture parts that are optimized to minimize costs and still comply with your design requirements.

We first examine what drives costs in CNC machining. Next, an extensive list of actionable guidelines to reduce cost of CNC machined parts is presented.

If you are not sure whether CNC machining or 3D printing is best for your application, this article can help you decide.

What affects the cost of CNC parts?

The price of CNC machined parts depends on the following:

Machining time: The longer it takes to machine a part, the more expensive it will be. Machining time is often the main cost driver in CNC.

Start-up costs: These are related to CAD file preparation and process planning and are significant for smaller volumes. This cost is fixed and there is an opportunity to reduce the unit price by taking advantage of "economies of scale".

Other manufacturing costs: When you design parts with special requirements (for example, when you define tight tolerances or design thin walls), then special tooling, closer quality control, and more processing steps - at lower machining speeds - may be required. This, of course, has an impact on the total manufacturing time (and the price). 

Now that it is clear where the cost of CNC comes from, let's see how a design can be optimized to minimize it...

Tip #1: Add a Radius in Internal Vertical Edges

Add internal radii at internal corners of at least 1/3 of the depth of the cavity

All CNC milling tools have a cylindrical shape and will create a radius when cutting the edge of a pocket.

Corner radius can be reduced by using a tool with a smaller diameter. This means though that multiple passes at lower speed will be required - smaller tools cannot remove material in one pass as fast as larger tools - increasing the machining time and cost.

To minimize cost:

? Add a radius of at least 1/3 of the depth of the cavity (the larger the better).

? Preferably, use the same radius in all internal edges. 

? On the floor of the cavity, specify a small radius (.5 or 1 mm) or no radius at all.

Pro Tip: Ideally, the corner radius should be slightly larger than the radius of the tool that will be used to machine the cavity. This reduces the loads on the tool and will further reduce your manufacturing costs. For example, if your design has 12 mm deep cavity, add a 5 mm (or larger) radius at the corners. This will allow a ø8 mm tool to cut them at a faster speed.

Tip #2: Limit the Depth of Cavities

Limit the depth of cavities to 4 times their length

Machining deep cavities affects the cost of CNC parts dramatically, as a lot of material needs to be removed, which is very time-consuming.

It is important to keep in mind that CNC tools have a limited cutting length: typically they will work best when cutting cavities with a depth of up to 2-3 times their diameter. For example, a ø12 milling tool can cut cavities safely up to 25 mm deep.

Cutting deeper cavities is possible (up to 4x the diameter of the tool or greater), but this will increase the cost, as special tooling or multi-axis CNC systems are required.

When cutting a cutting a cavity, the tool has to ramp into the correct cutting depth. Smooth entrance requires sufficient space.

To minimize cost:

? Limit the depth of all cavities to 4 times their length (i.e. largest dimension on the XY plane). 

? Don't forget to adjust the internal corner radii according to Tip #1 (if needed).

Tip #3: Increase the Thickness of Thin Walls

Increase the thickness of thin walls to reduce the machining time

Unless weight is a major factor, thick solid sections are more stable (and less costly to machine) and should be preferred.

To avoid deformation or fracture when machining a thin wall, multiple passes at low cutting depths are required. Thin features are also very prone to vibrations, so machining them accurately is challenging and increases the machining time considerably.

To minimize cost:

? For metal parts, design walls thicker than 0.8 mm (the thicker the better).

? For plastic parts, keep the minimum wall thickness above 1.5 mm.

Note: The minimum achievable wall thickness for metals is 0.5 mm and for plastics 1.0 mm. The machinability of these features must be accessed on a case by case basis though.

Important: Thin walls are commonly encountered when placing hole (and threads) very close to the edge of the part. Make sure that you follow the above guidelines also when you position holes in your design.

Tip #4: Limit the Length of Threads

Limit the maximum length of threads to 3 times the hole diameter

Specifying threads that are longer than necessary can increase the cost of CNC parts, as special tooling may be required.

Keep in mind that threads longer than 1.5 times the diameter of the hole do not actually add to the strength of the connection.

To minimize cost:

? Design threads with a maximum length of up to 3 times the hole diameter.

? For threads in blind holes, it is preferable to add at least 1/2 diameter of unthreaded length at the bottom of the hole.

Tip #5: Design Holes with Standard Size

Use standard drill sizes when designing holes

Holes can be CNC machined fast and to a great accuracy using standard drill bits. For non-standard sizes, the hole must be machined using an end mill tool, potentially increasing the cost.

Also, limit the depth of all holes to 4 times their diameter. Deeper holes (up to 10 times the diameter) can be manufactured, but they will likely increase the cost, as they are problematic to machine.

To minimize cost:

? Design holes with with diameter that is an increment of 0.1 mm for diameters up to 10 mm and 0.5 mm above that.

? When designing in inches, use conventional fractions of an inch or refer to this table of fractional-inch drill bit sizes.

Tip #6: Specify Tolerances Only when Necessary

Specify tolerances only when necessary

Defining tight tolerances raises the cost of CNC, as it both increases the machining time and requires manual inspection. Tolerances should be defined sparingly and only when necessary.

If a specific tolerance is not defined on the technical drawing, then the parts will be machined using the standard tolerance (± 0.125 mm or better), which is sufficient for most non-critical features.

To minimize cost:

? Specify tighter tolerances only when necessary.

? Define a single datum (for example the cross section of two edges) as reference for all dimensions with tolerances.

Tip #7: Keep the Number of Machine Setups to a Minimum

Example of part that requires more than one machine setups

It is recommended to design parts that can be machined in as few machine setups as possible and preferably in only one setup. For example, a part that has blind holes on both sides will be machined in two setups, as it needs to be rotated to get access to both sides.

Rotating or repositioning the part adds to the manufacturing cost, as it usually needs to be done manually. Moreover, for intricate geometries a custom fixture might be required, further increasing the cost. Especially complicated geometries may require a multi-axis CNC system, further increasing the price.

Consider splitting the part into geometries that can be CNC machined in a single setup and that can be bolted or welded together later. This is also applicable for parts with very deep pockets.

To minimize cost:

? Design parts with a 2.5D geometry that can be manufactured in a single CNC machine setup.

? If this is not possible, separate the geometry into multiple parts that can be assembled later.

Tip #8: Consider the Cost of the Bulk Material

The cost of the bulk material is another factor that can greatly affect the price of the CNC machined parts.

The table below summarizes the price of metal alloys and plastic materials commonly used in CNC for a sheet with dimensions of 6'' x 6'' x 1'' (or approximately 150 x 150 x 25 mm).

Source: McMaster

Aluminum 6061 is clearly the most cost-effective way of creating metal prototypes as it combines low cost and very good machinability. Stainless Steel and Brass are more expensive options and should be used only when their material properties are required.

When it comes to plastics, ABS and POM (Delrin) are priced approximately the same as Aluminum 6061. They are more difficult to machine though, so expect the price to be higher. PEEK is a very expensive material and should be used only when necessary.

To minimize cost:

? Choose a material with low bulk cost (especially you are in the prototyping stage).

Extra Tip: Take Advantage of Economies of Scale

In CNC machining, the quantity greatly affects the unit price. This is because the setup costs are relatively high and, for a single prototype or a few parts, they represent a big percentage of the cost.

When the volumes increase, the setup costs get almost eliminated, as they are spread over many parts.

In the graph below, we summarized the average unit price of 12 different parts machined in Stainless Steel:

The drop in unit price is almost exponential, meaning that even a small increase in quantity can decrease the unit price by a lot. Notice that ordering very high volumes (> 1000 parts) reduces the unit price by 5 to 10 times!

The effect of quantity is prominent even in small volumes. Actually:

Increasing the quantity from 1 to 5 can decrease the unit price by more than 50%!

To minimize cost:

? Take advantage of economies of scale by ordering higher quantities.

In Conclusion: Keep it simple…

Complexity has a high cost in CNC: geometries that require special tooling or fixtures, multiple machine setups or specialty materials will cost considerably more.

The tips of this article will help you get started. For 7 more advanced design tips, please refer to the article here.


3D Hubs is the world's largest network of manufacturing services. With production facilities connected in over 140 countries, the 3D Hubs online platform helps you find the fastest and most price competitive manufacturing solution near you. Founded in 2013, the network has since produced more than 1,000,000 parts locally, making it the global leader in distributed manufacturing.

Casting an Improved Replacement for a Broken Drill Press Handle


The table-height adjustment lever on Eric Strebel's drill press snapped off. For most people that's a setback that requires sourcing and ordering a replacement, then waiting for it to arrive in the mail; but for an industrial designer, it's an opportunity to create your own new handle based on the original, but better.

Cool factor: He uses clear silicone for the mold, so that you can see the resin flowing into it when casts it.

Reader Submitted: The Angle Razor Updates a 300 Year Old Shaving Method 


The Angle Razor is a machined aluminum straight razor designed by Morrama, a London based design agency. We set out to reimagine and celebrate the ceremony of shaving by creating a tool that enables users to re-create the barbering ritual at home. The result is a unique and considered straight razor suitable for the 21st Century.

The Angle Razor still has everything that you would expect to find in a traditional straight razor, but the team has updated the ergonomics and the functionality to make a more versatile and more compact shaving tool for personal use. There isn't asubscription service because the Angle Razor is designed to last your lifetime. It uses double edged (DE) razor blades that are available anywhere in the world, instead of requiring you to order special blades through a subscription. The Angle Razor isn't as costly or time consuming to use as a traditional straight razor as it doesn't require the use of a strop or any sharpening tools, and the blades are less than £0.10 ($0.14) each.

Magnetic blade loading makes changing the blade quick and easy.
View the full project here

Robert Bollinger Discusses the Design Process Behind the Bollinger B1 Electric Sport Utility Truck


Last year, we were excited to write in detail about the Bollinger B1, the first of its kind off-road electric sport utility truck designed by Bollinger Motors. Since the all-wheel drive truck is electric, there was no need to accommodate for an engine or transmission. In lieu of these considerations, Robert Bollinger and his team dropped the motors and batteries into the plane of chassis, which in turn created enough space to feature tailgates at both ends. This open design allows lengthy material to be run through the truck's interior from tailgate to tailgate. Talk about extra storage opportunities...

The Bollinger Motors team is currently hard at work producing and testing the B1 in anticipation for its 2019 launch, but that didn't stop Robert Bollinger from taking the time to talk with us about his diverse background, the design process behind the B1 and where he sees it fitting into an autonomous future:

You started as an industrial design student at Carnegie Mellon and now you have your own transportation company, Bollinger Motors. Can you tell me about the journey you had along the way? I've heard it includes everything from packaging design to farming...

Yeah, so the reason I went to school for industrial design was to become a car designer. I had been drawing cars since I was a little kid and was crazy about them. At first I was planning on becoming an engineer, so I was taking all the math and science courses in high school. Then right before college decision making, I decided I wanted to be a car designer instead, so I went to Carnegie Mellon for industrial design. I miraculously got in without a portfolio.

It was a great experience because it wasn't really a styling program—it was a how things are made and how to make things kind of industrial design program, which I loved. After graduating, I was planning on going to grad school for the car styling part so I could master both ends and be well rounded. But then I realized I needed to make money first, so I decided to get a job to eventually pay for grad school. I moved to New York City where I'd gotten a job at a design studio, and once I moved to New York, I truthfully never saved the money to go back to school. New York City is like a trap—you just keep spending. You can never make enough money there, especially when you're first starting out. 

I ended up getting a job in advertising and becoming an Art Director and a Creative Director. I was in New York City when I met my friend John Masters. I designed a logo for his company, John Masters Organics back in '95, I think. I kept doing more and more work for him on the side, and I eventually quit advertising and became business partners with him. Then he left, and I took over the company, if you will. That's when I realized that I really love running the whole thing—with my staff of course—because it's all about seeing the big picture. 

Bollinger B1

We sold that company in 2013, and I had the opportunity to do really anything at that point—I was very lucky. I thought about how I never actually achieved my dream of having my own car company, so I said, "Let's try that and just start it without worrying about the big end picture," you know, a billions of dollars needed down the road kind of thing. "Let's just get a couple of engineers and just see what we can come with." So it really started as a small "Why not?" project.

Along the way I moved upstate to the Catskills where my partners and I bought a farm and started raising grass-fed beef. That lasted for about four years. We sold the herd last year because the truck was taking up so much time, and now we can just concentrate on the B1.

The B1 actually stemmed from needs you felt weren't being addressed by trucks used for farming. Can you explain some of those needs and why they're important?

My regular pick-up just wasn't really doing the job. It was bad for snow plowing, it was bad for ground clearance... I kept wondering, "why doesn't someone just make an all-wheel drive pick up truck—not four wheel drive but all-wheel drive—that has great maneuverability, great ground clearance, and the ability to have nice weight balance where not all of the weight is in the front?"

Those thoughts were earlier on in the farm years, and then later when I started doing the truck/automotive thing, I realized that was exactly what we needed to build. I just kind of based it on what I wanted because it's my company, so why not say, "what do I want?" I knew at this age and after everything I went through that I didn't need a little sports car. What I really needed was a truck that could do a million things, like a multi-tool.

Any company starting up now should really be thinking about the future, and the future is electric. So from the very beginning, we were wanting to do something electric. With the electricity and the way the powertrain is in the B1 with the smaller motor, you can have a completely different architecture to your truck. It allows for that pass through, for that front space, and it allows for the amount of torque you have. Everything about electric works really great with trucks, kind of almost better than with passenger cars. I believed that if all of these elements could come together in a nice package, it would almost be like a tool. 

Was it difficult for you to move pass the fact that you didn't need to accommodate for engines and transmissions when designing an electric vehicle? 

Yeah, it kind of was. What we were considering at first was potentially going out and buying something like a Jeep Wrangler and electrifying it to learn the electrical part really well. But then I realized we couldn't do that because then we would be adopting all the bad stuff that's already there. We would have to put everything in the front compartment, and then suddenly we'd have bad weight balance.

"We sort of threw everything out and built [the B1] as though we had just landed on the planet and didn't know what trucks were."

So we had to start from the ground up and lay it out exactly the way we wanted it. We sort of threw everything out and built it as though we had just landed on the planet and didn't know what trucks were, but we needed this thing to do all this particular stuff. It was great to start completely fresh and not worry about what was already out there. My Chief Engineer, Karl Hacken, started right away with the layout of the chassis that can hold all the tension and then worked on the compartments to hold the different motors. We jumped on it right away.

With the B1 you found this sweet spot between familiar exterior design and new interior details that people haven't seen before. Was this end result very deliberate, or did it come about naturally?

It's kind of a melding of a few different things. One was figuring out how to make this prototype ourselves. We didn't want to send out and have big pieces of metal stamped—that's very expensive and takes a really, really long time. So we decided to start with flat pieces of aluminum and bend them ourselves. That way we could come up with the shapes we wanted to without needing to rely on those long wait times.

That very utilitarian, square, flat look is what I've always liked in vehicles. Since we were doing a truck, we could get away with that look more. If you did this with a little sedan, it might become a lot more difficult. It sounds easy, but it was a lot of sketching and a lot of work in CAD. I actually learned Solidworks for this because I'm not very good at sketching. My other designer that was working with me, Ross Compton, is amazing at sketching, but I couldn't get there in my mind, so I learned Solidworks. That way I could sit there and do the bends myself. I ended up doing the final design in CAD because it just needed to be done that way rather than sketching.

How many people are on your team now?

There are four engineers full time right now—Karl, CJ, John, and Dan. They each have their major areas of concentration, and then Karl brings it all together as the Chief Engineer. I had a separate Electrical Engineer, Luc, who did a lot of the battery sourcing, but he was more like an outside contractor. 

We just hired a third-party engineering firm to help us go through all the simulation that vehicles have to go through. That way we don't have to buy all those computers and hire all those people. We're able to move forward quickly with their expertise. 

Then we also used a lot of vendors. We ended up sending out that sheet metal to be bent and laser cut for us just because we just didn't have enough time. We found vendors in Albany, New York and Rochester, New York and a lot of pretty local vendors to make a lot of parts for us. We also machined stuff in our shop ourselves. It's all about finding the right people.

That's especially cool because upstate New York isn't the first place you'd think of when you think about automotive start-ups.

Yeah, of course. The shop I found is actually four miles from my farm, and I figured we could start here and see where it goes. I think that's been the best thing about this process—we never put too much pressure on any decisions. We just do it as opposed to saying, "We have to get to this crazy point at this time and this crazy point at that time". It's just growing as it grows. We keep ourselves busy and we keep moving, so it's not like we just hang out and wait for things to happen. It's about getting there but getting there the right way. I'm confident of that now, but before I was pulling my hair out because I didn't know that much. Now I have just the right guys around me and the right engineering partners.

Do you think having a small team has helped you move along at a faster pace? I'm assuming you don't have to go through a million different approvals before decisions are made.

Yeah, the final approval is just mine. When I give my team a challenge, they generally come up with ideas pretty quickly. I like to think of us—and hopefully we'll keep growing this way—as a lean, efficient, smart company. It's never about doing something just for splash or because it'll make us more money or anything like that. It's just about what's true to the vehicle and how we'll use it and nothing more.

As a small, independent company making just one vehicle at a time, how do you ensure your final design will still be relevant when it releases?

"If you try to design anything specifically for the future, it's going to look old quickly."

When I was first looking into designing the B1 and doing little sketches on my own, I kind of realized that electric always equals future. If you try to design anything specifically for the future, it's going to look old quickly. So if you instead focus on classical lines based on design lines—not necessarily vehicular design, but maybe even a design aesthetic that exists outside of vehicles—then what you design can always live. Regardless of when we come out with the B1, and we're shooting for 2019, we can always love the look of it because it won't age. That's what my hope is.

At a lot of auto shows and even at CES, autonomous vehicles and brain connected interfaces seem to be the norm right now. Are those areas you're interested in investigating?

No, that's not on our radar at all. That's not of any interest to me. The way I see the B1 is that it's a hands on tool, and that includes the driving part of it. A huge audience that has become very excited about it is the off-road community because of all its capabilities. They'll always want to drive it on rocks, off-road, on-road, whatever. So the B1 has a whole target audience, a whole aesthetic. Internally what we want to do with it is always keep it as a hands on tool. It's minimal and you're in charge.

What has it been like to merge two very different markets—the off-road market and the environmentally friendly market?

Our single most received email is from people that use or have used diesel, whether it be former Land Rover owners, off-road enthusiasts or even people who have farms. They always say something like, "I had to give up diesel, I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't feel right about diesel." So now I have this vehicle that can do all of the same things, and it's electric. It's like a Venn diagram—you have the off-road people and environmentalists, and that center place where they all overlap is our people. Both men and women. It's like that sweet spot of it all. 

That's interesting because you never picture those markets overlapping.

Right, exactly. At trade shows I'll have the trunk open and people see that there's nothing in there. They realize it's electric and say, "Forget it. It's electric." But then we start talking to them and explaining that because it's electric you have extra storage options and this ground clearance that the truck comes with. After that they usually leave saying, "Okay I'll keep an eye on you." You can really convert people with just knowledge.

What's next for you guys, after the B1 releases?

It's a whole year now of engineering, production, waiting for simulated testing, etc. Then next year we'll go into production. After that we'll probably start making our second prototype of a different kind of vehicle on top of the same chassis as the B1, which we'll reveal at the end of this year or sometime next year. It's a progression of our line of vehicles, but we're not looking to make hundreds of thousands of vehicles or seven or eight different kinds of cars. We want to stay true to what we are.

Where do you see the future of transportation design heading, and where do you see Bollinger Motors falling into the mix?

I'm thinking back to your question about autonomous vehicles. There's been a lot of discussion about how if autonomy becomes a big thing, a lot of young people living in cities won't want to own their own vehicles and will turn to ride sharing. I see a huge market for that. If a lot of people are having their day-to-day needs taken care of that way, I see a whole future of much smaller volume, crazier different kind of vehicles being made for different purposes. It's not a luxury—I see it being viewed much differently than that. 

"I think there's a whole world outside of autonomy that's going to be great, and hopefully we'll be part of it."

Now you buy a Corolla or something that's inexpensive. It gets you there and has great fuel mileage, but you hate your commute. Well, if a whole other vehicle is handling your commute for you, and you don't have to drive in traffic, then maybe you'll want to go off-roading or for fun. Driving and having your hands on the wheel will actually be a wonderful, different kind of thing at that point. I think there's a whole world outside of autonomy that's going to be great, and hopefully we'll be part of it.


Design Job: Peak Season Is Seeking a Furniture Designer to Join Their Team in AL


Peak Season Inc. is actively seeking an additional Industrial Designer for our Irondale, AL facility. This position plays an integral role in Peak Season's success by ensuring our continued growth through fulfilling our customers' needs. Major Duties: -To develop new indoor/outdoor

View the full design job here

Here's What the $31,000 Furniture Set Ordered by Ben Carson Looks Like


When I heard that Ben Carson canceled, after an uproar, the $31,000 furniture order for his offices, I worried that some independent designer/builder got screwed. Previously we looked at the design/build firm that created a new conference table for the White House and they do good work; I'd hate to think of a company like them starting to build a series of pieces--fronting their own money for the materials and labor--then having their order canceled.

Well, in this case the company that's S.O.L. is North-Carolina-based Hickory Chair, which manufactures fine furniture and previously built custom chairs and beds for the Obama administration. Hickory Chair employs five designers and some 90% of their work is produced at their factory in North Carolina, though it's not clear if the pieces ordered by Carson would have been completed there.

In any case, CNN got their hands on the names of the pieces ordered and canceled by Carson, and we went through Hickory's site to pull the images:

Jefferson Sideboard, designed by Alexa Hampton

Price as ordered: $6,488 (Base: $5,279. Top: $1,209)

"This piece is based on a mid-20th Century sideboard with which I fell in love and bought, then proceeded to ebonize for added drama. To literally put my money where my mouth is, I have it placed in my own dining room. It is a beautifully detailed piece of furniture and provides much needed storage. More important to me, though, is that it is a piece that harkens back to a time of real glamour and a piece made for a room that is all about entertainment and timeless forms." – Alexa Hampton
Jefferson is offered in a cathedral mahogany wood top or White Carrera marble top with hand carved lambs tongue molding frames on doors and concave end panels


Price as ordered: $7,091

Crafted of crotch mahogany, satin wood and quartered mahogany borders, carved teardrop and dentil moldings on crown. China deck has 4 doors with 9 adjustable plate-grooved glass shelves behind. Base has 4 center drawers; one with locking mechanism and Pacific cloth lining. Two doors feature oval inlays of holly and black surrounding a flame mahogany field with fixed shelf and adjustable shelf behind each. Sold as a one piece unit 2135-30 base with 2235-30 deck. Available with Customer's Own HardwareTM and finish options. Optional Sable finish with Antique Rub Light Gold striping shown.

Newport Dining Table

Price as ordered: $3,113

The Newport Dining Table is available in three sizes resulting in the potential to extend from 96" to 144". The Newport Pedestals feature hand applied ebonized inlay with bell flowers topped by hand carved scrolls and a fluted column and are sold individually or as a pair. Standard in Antique Brass ferrules with casters, optional Satin Nickel ferrules with casters are available upon request. The Newport base and tops are included in the Personal Preference Dining Table program which enables over 350 dining table combinations. Medium Mahogany is the standard finish. Optional finishes available.

Regent Dining Arm Chair, designed by David Phoenix

Price as ordered: $2,100 for (2) units, $1,050 each

Regent Dining Side Chair, designed by David Phoenix

Price as ordered: $7,920 for (8) units, $990 each

The stately Regent Dining Chair is a curator's favorite. With rich exposed wood detail on the back and a graciously sculpted leg, this is the chair for lingering dinner parties. Truffle is the standard finish. Optional Dark Walnut finish shown.

The order was not placed directly with Hickory Chair. Someone on Carson's staff ordered the furniture through Baltimore-based interior design firm Sebree & Associates, which presumably pumped the prices up a bit as they took their cut.

As stated earlier, Carson canceled his order after the backlash. And according to the Times, HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said "The person they contracted has already spent $14,000 making the table," and we assume by "the person" he meant Hickory Chair.

Explaining the Design of the Peace Symbol


The peace symbol just celebrated its 60th birthday, but it had better not be thinking about retiring. Now that Putin has announced Russia has "invincible" new designs for nuclear weapons, including a nuclear underwater drone, we are going to need what that symbol represents more than ever.

Growing up, I thought the peace symbol was a B-52 bomber with a circle around it, meant to co-opt a symbol of warfare into one of peace. I was, of course, way wrong. Designed in 1958 by British designer Gerald Holtom, the peace symbol actually reads "N" and "D," for "Nuclear Disarmament." Not in the Roman alphabet; in semaphore.

By No machine-readable author provided. Denelson83 assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0

Reader Submitted: Blinkers: Turning Indicators for Bikes


Blinkers is the next generation of turning indicators for bikes, designed by the Swiss design studio Sapettiand commercialized by Velohub.

Let's finally make our city-rides and commuting safer!

View the full project here

Demonstrating the Ingenious Internal Mechanism That Makes a Vintage Perpetual Flip Calendar Work


In a vintage shop, or in the home of an older relative, you may have seen one of these:

Here's how it's operated:

That's called a perpetual flip calendar, versions of which were first patented in the U.S. in the 1920s.

The guy behind the "Measured Workshop" YouTube channel wanted to figure out how they worked, so he downloaded the patent drawings (here and here), then built his own out of wood. In the video below he shows you the build process, then demonstrates how they work. (The video's edited a bit on the slow side, so if you're impatient, you can skip ahead to about 5:30 to see how the mechanism works.)

How to Turn a Bicycle Chain Into a Universal Wrench


"Mr Novruz" is the name of a YouTube channel featuring unnarrated videos of tool hacks set to absolutely horrible music. So turn your speakers off and watch him create this clever wrench, which can fit parts of any size and is made using a bicycle chain and a piece of square bar stock:

Last Call: Core77 x A/D/O Design Residency Applications Are Due Tomorrow


Beginning this spring, A/D/O, a creative space and dedicated workspace for designers in Brooklyn, New York, will offer not only a beautiful work environment, but also fabrication equipment, exhibition space, and a flourishing community of like-minded individuals and support to further your design projects. Featuring a full calendar of cultural events, workshops

View the full content here

Fusion 360 Basics: How to Model a Ray Gun


If you want to start using Fusion 360, it can be helpful to have someone walk you through a basic project. 

In this video, 3D-printing enthusiast Wekster shows you how to model a simple ray gun from the "Earthworm Jim" cartoon. He starts with a 2D hand drawing, then teaches you how to move between "sketch" and "body," how to swiftly modify and correct shapes, smoothly join surfaces together and more. He moves at a pace that's quick enough to prevent it from being boring, but not so fast that you can't follow along:

The guy behind this channel, "Wekster's Geeky Stuff," is Croatia-based Vedran Marjanovic Wekster, a film director and toy-loving dad. Though he just started the channel up a month ago, I think it's going to be one to watch.

Designers: Here's How to Find Out if the 2018 Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Will Affect You


The upcoming steel tariffs are all over the news, but very few are talking about the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018. If you're a designer, design entrepreneur or work in a shop, here's how the MTBA 2018 could affect you.

First off let's explain what it is. Miscellaneous Tariff Bills were first launched in the 1980s to boost American manufacturing. The idea was to drop the tariffs on certain imported items crucial to manufacturing, like chemicals and materials. But over the years the bills grew more bloated, adding completed consumer products to the list of items that can be imported duty-free.

That bloating has harmed certain U.S. manufacturers. For example Korchmar, a Florida-based company that produces leather travel goods, was ready to hire 30 people to manufacture a new insulated food bag they're about to launch, according to Reuters. Unfortunately they've had to put the brakes on that plan, because that item category has made it onto MTBA 2018, which the House of Representatives unanimously passed in January.

The bill would cut costs for rivals who make their bags in low-cost countries like China, [CEO Michael Korchmar] said, squeezing him out of the market before he had even entered it.
"Given that these products will be able to come into the country duty free, it's not likely that there's any ability for us to compete."

Might be Bad for You

There's 1,664 items on the list, from pet toys to kitchen knives, smartphone cases to backpacks. If you're a design entrepreneur who was thinking about producing these in the 'States, you may be S.O.L. if your object makes it onto the list.

Might be Good for You

Conversely, if there's a particular raw material or subcomponent you need for your product--acrylic films, polypropylene monofilament, nickel alloy wire, etc.--the cost on those items and hundreds more will be coming down.

Might Make Your Shop Cheaper to Run

Also, if you run your own shop, your tooling costs may go down. On the list of items due to have their tariffs dropped are table saws, band saws, compound miter saws, drill presses, bench vises and a host of other shop-related items.

How to Find Out How it Will Affect You

The best way to see if the MTBA 2018 will affect you is to check it out here, where you can download it as a PDF. The document is over 500 pages so you'll then have to do a search for your item or material.

If you find an item on the list that would harm your business, the best thing to do is to contact your local Senator and apply to have the item knocked off of the list. (Talking to your Representative won't help because the House has already passed the MTBA 2018, but the bill has yet to pass the Senate.) If you don't speak up on behalf of your business, no one's going to step in to help you:

The bill's supporters say that businesses have only themselves to blame if they do not defend their interests in Washington.
"If somebody doesn't know about something, that's a shame, but that might mean that they didn't take steps to stay informed," said Stephen Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

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