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Updated: 17 hours 3 min ago

Insane DIY Spiral-Action Chainsaw-Wielding Automatic Tree Trimmer

17 hours 3 min ago

The anonymous chap behind Hand Tool Rescue restores old tools and gets them into the hands of people who can use them. I'll get to him in a minute. First I've got to show you this insane DIY automatic tree trimmer that he posted on his Instagram:

I wish the damn video wouldn't auto-repeat because I become easily mesmerized by such things. I think I let it loop four times before I snapped out of it.

It's not known who created the contraption, but if you're interested in seeing unusual and old-school tools--a hand-cranked grinder, a gas-powered circular saw, a hand-cranked bandsaw, etc.--go from broken to fixed, click on over to Hand Tool Rescue's YouTube channel. Warning, though: Rabbit hole ahead.


Hand Tool School #46: Don't Tear Up Over Tear Out

17 hours 3 min ago

I get a lot of questions about tear out. (I know, you're jealous of my life.) Specifically I get questions about ways to alter a plane or features of a new plane that will prevent tear out. I have already talked about my views on bells and whistles on tools on this blog but I think it needs repeating.

Tear out is not a mystical event whose roots lie in the deep past only understood by some monk high up in a cave on the side of the Matterhorn (and I do mean the one at Disneyland). Tear out is an indication of 1 of 3 things:

- You went the wrong way in relation to the wood grain
- Your blade needs sharpening
- You're taking too deep of a cut

Yes, maybe I'm over simplifying here but I think that is a good thing. While things like mass and blade angle and whether the plane was built on a Tuesday evening after a meteor shower can help make tear out less of an issue, the above 3 things are ALWAYS in play.

Let's look at an example:

I'm jointing the edge of some very curly Cherry panels for a blanket chest I'm making in The Hand Tool School. The grain direction is indeterminate from looking at the face grain so I take a pass in the direction I think is right.

I always say the best way to read the grain direction is to take a plane pass. If it tears and jumps around, go the other way.

The plane shudders a bit and jumps down the length of the board leaving torn grain behind it. Guess what? I went the wrong way. So I change direction and go the other way and the plane goes kinda smoothly along the edge leaving a mostly smooth surface with small patches of torn grain in the darker curly parts. Welcome to figured wood. There is a prevailing grain direction but even then you get these little switchbacks that exposed end grain and change the direction of the fibers constantly. It is these little hiccups that give up the lovely figure and chatoyance we prize so much.

Well I've got the direction of the plane pass right now, what's next?

Sharpening the blade should be a given. It makes work easier and cleaner and whenever tear out shows up that should be the first thing you do. A razor sharp blade eliminates tear out easily in all but the most ornery of woods. Grab any rusty hunk of plane and put a razor sharp blade in it and you will be surprised how well it deals with that torn grain.

But's here's the rub. I just sharpened this blade. I know its sharp. The still slowly oozing cut on my left pinky is a testament to that when I carelessly nicked it while putting the blade back into the plane.

Finally I grab my mallet and tap the body of the plane, reducing the depth of cut. Reset the wedge and take a pass. The pitch changes dramatically going up a few steps on the Mixolydian scale (I only plane to medieval musical scales) and the action of the plane smooths out. You can see the difference in my shavings coming out of the plane. The new ones have more of a gossamer quality to them and are much longer as the plane cuts through the end grain sections instead of stuttering and creating shorter shavings.

A few more passes of the plane and here is what I have now. Remember you have to plane to the bottom of the potholes created by the original tear out before you can gauge if it is working.

Problem solved. No need for fancy bevel angles or swapping frogs for a higher pitch. Sharpen, change directions, and lighten the cut.

There will always be a board that will put up more of a fight than this one. Exotic, jungle wood for instance is much harder to deal with. But at its heart I think you will find some variation of these three elements will solve your problem.

_____________

This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.

Ikea/Space 10 Demonstrate How a Miracle Crop Can be Integrated Into Architecture

17 hours 3 min ago

Imagine living millennia ago, in a time when you've never seen a horse. Everywhere you and your tribe go is by walking. Then one of you discovers horses and figures out how to ride one. Now you've discovered the perfect sustainable transportation system. 

Horses eat grass, which is free. That fuel gives them the energy to carry you a helluva lot further than if you were walking. Eventually they poop, and their poop fertilizes the ground, which then grows more grass. It's a circular system, and now you and your tribe have vastly extended your range.

While horses are no longer a viable transportation source, we need to continue discovering circular systems in order for our ever-increasing population to sustain itself. A horse's fuel, grass, was both abundant and largely worthless to us, but by eating it they provided us with something useful in the form of long-range transportation. In essence, we got something for nothing.

Something else that's both abundant and useless to us is carbon dioxide. CO2 is not only useless, it's a problem. But carbon dioxide is very useful to microscopic algae, who need it to grow and do their handy photosynthesis thing where they give us free fresh oxygen. (Algae produces about 75% of Earth's oxygen.)

And there's another bonus to microalgae: There are edible varieties, like Spirulina, which are nutrient-rich and contain 60% protein. (Beef contains about 25% protein, for scale.) We can eat it for fuel. And Spirulina is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It can also be used to feed livestock, which again provides us with fuel, albeit with an extra step.

[Infomercial voice] But wait, there's more!

Microalgae is fast-growing, with some variants able to double their volume in just six hours. Microalgae can be grown in non-potable water and in soil that's too barren for us to farm.

Let's re-cap:Microalgae Pluses- Requires little (CO2, sunlight, water) to grow
- Provides free oxygen
- Edible, nutrient- and protein-rich
- Fast-growingMicroalgae Minuses- It's green, and some people don't like the color green

To promote the benefits of microalgae, Ikea's Space10 think tank/skunkworks developed the Algae Dome. Created by bio-engineer Keenan Pinto and architects Aleksander Wadas, Rafal Wroblewski and Anna Stempniewicz, the Algae Dome, a finalist for the CHART Architecture design competition held in Copenhagen this month, shows how a microalgae-growing apparatus can be integrated into architecture. Here's how it works:


Reader Submitted: Designing the Interior of a Transforming Autonomous Vehicle

17 hours 3 min ago

The French car manufacturer Renault has approached me to design interior fabrics for the visionary Renault SYMBIOZ concept car and home. I translated Renault's needs into woven form and created a new version of Bloko, a 3D fabric. The new Bloko in two shades of grey covers the car seats and the upholstery of the large sofa in the home, uniting the two spaces and giving them a touch of warmth and a reassuring feel.

View the full project here

How to Achieve the Low Cost of Sandcasting with the Complexity of 3D Printing

17 hours 3 min ago

As far as mass production methods go, sand casting is one of the oldest. 3D printing is one of the newest. Dutch design and engineering consultancy Arup has figured out how to combine the two, allowing one to enjoy both the low cost of the former and the physical complexity enabled by the latter.

Arup, with the help of digital manufacturing firm 3Dealise, has worked out a method of 3D printing sand molds that have the voids right in them. There's no need to create a physical pattern to form the molds around, and no need to insert separate cores for parts that have undercuts. Instead it's basically design, print, pour.

To understand what this means for design and manufacturing, consider the project that spurred Arup to develop this technique in the first place. The company was working on a project where they needed to create "a trio of large tensegrity structures designed for a shopping street in The Hague. Having integrated street lighting, they were called 'urban chandeliers'. Due to the irregular shape of the structures most of the 1,600 nodes, connecting the cables to the struts, were different. This required 'uniqueness' inspired us to learn more about additive manufacturing."

Here's what they came up with:

To explain, all three of these "are all designed to carry the same structural loads and forces." You can see that the one on the left was conventionally welded together. The one in the center was 3D-printed using DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). The one on the right was produced using their 3D-printed sandcasting mold procedure. It is not only smaller, but is more efficient to produce than the first two, particularly if 1,600 units with design variants must be produced.

"An interesting shift is taking place," says Salomé Galjaard, Arup Senior Designer. "Whereas the focus initially has been on printing final products, 3D-printing is being applied in an earlier phase in the production process. The aim is to make the most of the freedom-of-form opportunities of 3D-printing without the limitations which are now still considered with production."

Arup will be presenting the results of the project at the upcoming TCT Show, which is focused on 3D printing, additive manufacturing at product development. It will take place from September 26th-28th in Birmingham (UK, sorry Alabama).

Design Job: Get Crafty as a Product Designer at Michaels in Irving, TX

17 hours 3 min ago

The Michaels Companies, Inc., is North America’s largest arts and crafts specialty retailer, with more than 1,340 stores in the United States and Canada. Our store team, distribution and manufacturing center team, and support center team work together to help our customers bring their creativity to life. We offer career growth, benefits packages, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, and more. Michaels Team Members also enjoy a wide variety of ways to save including discounts at our stores, s

View the full design job here

The NYPD's Newest Vehicles

17 hours 3 min ago

HBO's new series "The Deuce" depicts the crime-ridden NYC of the early '70s. Back then the police cars looked like this:

[Image credit: Screenshotted from YouTube video by Joseph John Ramos.] [Image credit: Screenshotted from YouTube video by Joseph John Ramos.]

That's a 1971 Plymouth Fury. American cars of the era were of course massive, and the models that police departments chose for their fleets were meant to project authority. I didn't grow up in a particularly bad neighborhood, but I still remember that when I was a kid and the NYPD cruisers rolled through, both the cruiser and the men inside were kinda scary.

Modern-day New York City is a very different place, with crime at historic lows. The NYPD has been seeking for years to counter a negative perception of police, and in my own anecdotal experience, the officers I occasionally encounter are generally approachable and friendly. As a stark reminder of these two things, this morning I saw this:

Those "cruisers" are all parked just a few blocks away from Core77's NYC office, in nearby Little Italy. The Feast of San Gennaro festival, where a half-dozen blocks have been closed to street traffic and covered in food stalls, is currently in full swing. As with all post-9/11 mass gatherings in New York City, the police presence is visibly ubiquitous, with officers on every corner and an NYPD mobile command center truck monitoring everything.

The Smart cars caught my attention and I checked 'em out up close. Up top they've got a light bar, albeit a tiny one with just three lights. Behind the lights is a rear-facing LED message display.

Inside I saw two things that puzzled me: One was that there's no shotgun, but in its place, the orange glassbreaker you see at the bottom of the photo. The other is the red sticker that says "SINGLE OCCUPANCY ONLY." I checked the other cars in the row and all of them have it.

So I looked it up, and these NYPD Smart cars aren't cruisers at all. Instead the department recently acquired them for parking enforcement duties, which explains the glassbreaker; if an officer comes across a car where someone has left their child or dog inside on a hot day, their liberation is just one whack away.

The Smart cars are meant to replace what my friends and I used to call the ice-cream scooters, because they looked like something that a vendor would serve ice cream out of the back of. I'm referring to these:

Those three-wheelers are used for both parking enforcement and park and festival duty, as they can zip around and get an officer over to areas where the cruisers can't fit. And as crappy as they look, they can cost up to a whopping $27,000 each, Deputy Commissioner Robert Martinez of the NYPD's Support Services Bureau told the Daily News. In contrast the NYPD purchased nine trial Smart cars for $13,000 a pop--and they have both air conditioning and airbags, both of which the scooters lack.

The lower price of the Smart cars works great for Martinez, but some of his fellow officers were less enthused, according to CBS News:

"When you went to the command staff and said, 'I want to add Smart cars,' what did they say?" CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave asked. "They said no," NYPD deputy commissioner Robert Martinez said. "They said the car looks wimpy."

Martinez prevailed, and the NYPD now has nearly 200 Smart cars spread over all five boroughs. The Times reports that they actually cost $23,400, nearly a $10,000 difference from what the Daily News reported that the trial cars cost, and I assume the extra ten grand is for the livery, radio, light bar, et cetera.

The cars have become so ubiquitous that Martinez himself now refers to them as "scooters," apparently cementing their replacement of the three-wheelers. And NYPD policy prevents the Smart cars from engaging in pursuits or taking up the role of the traditional cruisers. "When you call 911," Martinez told the Times, "a scooter's not coming."

While it appears that the Smart cars were purchased for economic reasons, there has been a side effect of putting them on the road:

The Smart car is quite possibly the only one that has its picture routinely shared on social media, described as "adorable" or, in the case of one parked in the West Village, "Cuuuuuute." --the TimesThe cuddly cruiser is proving to be a hit, and the public can't seem to get enough. From small and mighty to the world's cutest police car, the pictures are generating social media buzz. It makes a park full of strangers approach a police car and the officer like they're old friends. --CBS

You do have to admit they present a very different appearance to cop cars of old.

Here's a short clip of Casey Neistat encountering one of the Smart cars and breaking the officers' balls:

Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge's 6th Round is Now Open

17 hours 3 min ago

The Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge incentivizes and inspires the design community to envision viable product design solutions for the circular economy, powered by Cradle to Cradle® design principles and certified materials. The final round in a series of six design challenges to run through early 2018, this challenge is presented by the Institute in partnership with Autodesk, with support from Arconic Foundation. To date, the Challenge series has received more than 466 entries from 406 designers in 30 countries.

Past Best Student Project & Best Use of Aluminum: MyEcoWall by Caterina Vianna and Ferran Gesa, Eina University Center of Arts and Design

"The Design Challenge is an engaging opportunity to reconsider the way we design and make products from a place of abundance, while eliminating the concept of waste," said Lewis Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. "The competition gives designers and students a chance to develop innovative solutions to challenges they see in the world. We are proud to educate, inspire, and empower the next generation to participate and activate these principles in their work."

The Institute will award prizes across the following categories: Best Overall Project, Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials, Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360 software, and Best Use of Aluminum, and each prize will receive promotion through media channels and $2,000 US—and projects have the chance to win multiple categories for winnings of up to $8000.

CALL FOR ENTRIES
Submissions for the sixth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge are being accepted from September 12th through December 1st, 2017. Winners will be announced in January.

There is no entry fee for the Challenge. To be eligible, entrants must complete a free two-hour online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy.

Entries are invited across four categories:
· Best Overall Project
· Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials
· Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360
· Best Use of Aluminum

Applications for Cradle to Cradle must be submitted by December 1, 2017. Get started here! View previous winners here.

Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #193: The Uni-Person Travel Module

17 hours 3 min ago

[Folks, this one was submitted in black and white. Any of you care to colorize it, and post the image in the comments? --Editor]

Currently Crowdfunding: Notable Kickstarter Projects of the Week

17 hours 3 min ago

A roundup of Kickstarter projects currently crowdfunding for your viewing and spending pleasure. Go ahead, free your disposable income:

WSC16 "Pensole" Edition

PENSOLE Footwear Academy has just launched a multi-tiered Kickstarter campaign in order to establish free footwear design courses for 100% of their students. Yes, free. If you're into footwear design or just really support free education, consider pledging enough to receive a made-to-order pair of WSC16 sneakers, designed by 2016 World Sneaker Champion, Maxwell Lund.

GROW, DIY mushroom lamps by Danielle Trofe and Ecovative, encourage you to connect with nature by growing your own lampshade out of mushroom mycelium. We tried the process out ourselves a few months ago and can't get enough.

Form&Seek has finally launched their own design collection, and they're hoping to bring it to life through Kickstarter. Consisting of seven products designed in collaboration with designers from around the world, the collection speaks to Form&Seek's mission as a collective to highlight good design that also plays a role in everyday life. Designers, if you've enjoyed any of Form&Seek's past design festival exhibitions, now's the time to show support!

Benjamin Brush is a smart product we can actually get behind because brushing to your favorite songs for two minutes isn't just for kids. Most of us struggle to get through the recommended two minutes of brushing twice a day—this is a fun way to combat that without sitting there counting in your head, half asleep. We just wish the music was somehow free. No one wants to listen to Justin Bieber's Sorry twice a day, everyday.

Real fire vs BioLite FirePit

The BioLite FirePit has made quite the impression on pledgers. I mean, how could you not want to try out a smokeless wood-burning fire pit?

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Launching a Kickstarter campaign you're proud of? Send us an email to blogs@core77.com for consideration.

Tools & Craft #65: What's Better for Assimilating Information, Print Books or E-Books?

17 hours 3 min ago

As someone who collects books on woodworking I am routinely faced with the conflict of Cost vs. Space vs Ease of Use. While many people love their E-Books—and I have a bunch myself, the physicality of an actual printed book makes the world of difference for me. That being said I have run out of room for books in my apartment and any new volume really has to be worth the space. For me at least, I find that a well made and well printed book is a joy to read and that joy makes assimilating information all the easier.

The Dover reprint of Paul Hasluck's 1908 Traditional Woodcarving has been a staple in our store for years. It's an important book on woodcarving, not so much for the beginner, but for carvers trying to expand their options in architectural and furniture decoration. There is nothing really wrong with the reprint. It's about the same size as the original, the photos are OK for a reprint, but I've never found it engaging. The writing is Victorian crotchety, and the reprint being a modern, even if well made, paperback just doesn't make the connection for me. Before the Internet, and both the worldwide accessibility of the used book market, and Google's insistence on scanning every book on the planet, the reprint was the only game in town.

The Google scan—which is freely available here—when viewed on my iPad is an immediately easier to read volume than the reprint. The scan is fine, but the text seems larger and reading it I don't feel strained. Maybe because the medium is so removed from the original I don't expect anything and it's easier to concentrate on the book. However being able to view just one page at a time, and getting no sense of the volume, or not being able to easily flip through pages, for me is a vastly unsatisfying experience. It might really be just the glass screen that sits between me and the text that makes it appear distant. I am not sure if this is a generational thing and younger folks might not feel this way but I do.

Finally, just arrived, is a luscious original copy, bound in leather with gilt edges, from 1908. It's basically the same size as the reprint, but for some reason it's easy to assimilate. The book lies flat, the photos are clear, but it's not immediately obvious why I find that it just begs my attention. Is it the off white of the paper? The feel of the leather cover? The immediate physiological connection with its history? I don't exactly know but I find myself wanting to sit and read it more than my other copies.

Now I understand the with the availability of the scanned version my sales of the reprinted version will drop, and I know original copies like that I just bought are not readily available. But here's what scares me: Ebooks, no matter how nice, are still read behind glass on a machine full of distractions. Unless you have multiple screens you can't have more than one book open at a time. And for me at least, the assimilation of information is less. A cheap reprint may present the information but but the involvement isn't there. Of course if publisher feels they can't make a profit in print, there won't be nice printed books. And if publishers feel they can't earn enough money from a book, they won't pay much to get it written and the working writer with something to say might need a day job. All that's bad news. My original hardback Hasluck reminds me of what a craft book can be. It's not the best book ever written, but the presentation makes it a lot easier to learn from. I don't know what the future holds.

_________

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.

nolii: A System of Connected Devices Designed by Layer's Benjamin Hubert

17 hours 3 min ago

Driven by insightful market and user observations, nolii delivers a versatile system of products that work alone or together to enable users to stay connected effortlessly – from charging your laptop on-the-go, and transferring files quickly and efficiently, to minimizing clutter with intelligent, multi-functional products. From chaotic cords and broken cables to limited charging solutions, our lives are too often interrupted by everyday tech challenges. We believe technology should improve your lifestyle, not complicate it.

View the full content here

Reader Submitted: Xuxu Chair Explores "Less is More" in Furniture Design

17 hours 3 min ago

Xuxu Chair explores furniture design in a deconstructive and minimalist sense. This work seeks to make something unique and different in an area that is overrun with continually "new" designs.

View the full project here

Frightening Mexico Earthquake Footage Captured by Folks on Twitter

17 hours 3 min ago

With multiple hurricanes and now a second earthquake in the news, it's a hell of a time for natural disasters. Mexico experienced its second earthquake in two weeks just yesterday, on the precise anniversary of a devastating quake that rocked Mexico City in 1985.

What's different between then and now is that now everyone has a camera in their pocket. Seeing footage on Twitter drives the disaster home in a way that reading about it doesn't; just what the hell do you do when everything around you starts shaking? Obviously you want to get out into the open and away from buildings, as you'll see below.

Footage of Buildings Collapsing

Aquí el momento donde un edificio, al parecer en la Colonia Roma colapsa. pic.twitter.com/rAYKX0lJjm

— REFORMACOM (@Reforma) September 19, 2017">

Usuarios grabaron el momento en que un edificio se colapsa por el sismo pic.twitter.com/W8hamukccw

— REFORMACOM (@Reforma)
September 19, 2017">Fireball Explosion

Video captures building exploding after a 7.1 Earthquake strikes Mexico City. Please pray for Mexico. pic.twitter.com/tOytBnYQuR

— Mauricio Cantu (@mcantu06) September 19, 2017">Trapped Children Being Discovered and Rescued

See the moment children were discovered and rescued from a school after a 7.1M earthquake hit near Mexico City https://t.co/fTxSCzPU61 pic.twitter.com/HvPfPb5l5H

— CNN (@CNN) September 20, 2017">A Woman's Very Narrow Miss

Shocking footage as a woman narrowly misses being hit by a pane of glass during the Mexico earthquake pic.twitter.com/a6gxzEAOMw

— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 20, 2017">

At press time the death toll was estimated to be 225, with scores more still missing. Today rescuers are going through the wreckage as best they can, with reports of some residents digging through the collapsed rubble of a school with their bare hands, in hopes of finding the 30 children reported to be inside.

After Hurricane Irma struck Texas in August, the Mexican government offered to assist the United States. The Guardian reports that following yesterday's quake, the U.S. President tweeted "God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you." Political differences aside, it appears neighboring countries are still willing to assist one another.


Recent Design Awards Winners and the Process Inspired Trophies They Received 

17 hours 3 min ago

The four prestigious design awards programs mentioned below—including a shameless plug to our own Core77 Design Awards—bring together the best designs across many categories, ranging from transportation to footwear design. 

But what's better than winning an award? Receiving an awesome trophy to either start or add to your collection. The awards themselves are coveted, but the trophies that come with them are as well designed as the projects that won in the first place. All of these trophies highlight a different process related to design, which is exactly why we've decided to dedicate a post to them.

IDSA's International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)

IDSA's IDEA Awards program has been curating a tight list of winners across the many fields of industrial design for years, and this year is no different. Our favorites from this year include a dial that has designers all riled up, a scooter/storage hybrid for the elderly and bouncy flatpack furniture. 

Also worth noting is the 2018 IDEA Awards' rebranding by Yves Béhar's fuseproject. The rebranding includes a swanky new trophy, where the letters in IDSA join together like a puzzle to form a freaking cube. Entries for the 2018 awards open January 2, 2018.

Our Favorite Winners

Microsoft Surface Dial won Gold in Digital Interaction.Scooter for Life won Gold in Automotive & Transportation.Sai Flatpack Furniture won Gold in Student Designs.Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards

The most recently announced award winners were those that took home one of Fast Company's Innovation by Design Awards. The innovation by Design awards select a single winner for each of the 13 categories. From this year's awards, a pair of digitally fabricated sneakers, a hairdryer designed by a vacuum company and a modular airplane concept caught our eye. 

More images here.

The Innovation by Design Awards trophy is simple, but its extruded shape is a nod to a popular process well-known across many industries, from food processing to industrial design. 

Our Favorite Winners

adidas Futurecraft 4D won the Products category. Read our thoughts here.Dyson's Supersonic Hairdryer won the Fashion and Beauty category. Read our reader discussion on the hairdryer here.Transpose modular airplane by Airbus won the Experimental category.Core77 Design Awards

It's difficult to choose favorites from our very own awards program because, of course, we are excited about all of them. However, the three projects below we're deeming out "favorites" stand out because they are one of the many projects that directly help people—whether it's to find their way or remind themselves of home. 

A recent shipment of Core77 Design Awards trophies, manufactured by Firsthand Fab. Read about their process here.

Furthering our support of hard-working industrial designers and our obsession with process, each Core77 Design Awards trophy is a personalized, solid metal mold. Each mold comes stocked with wax in our signature orange hue—giant crayon, anyone?—but we're convinced the brilliant designers receiving these trophies can think of plenty more creative uses. Stay tuned for more information on how to register your work for next year's Core77 Design Awards cycle.

Our Favorite Winners

Google Wayfinding won our Visual Communication awardThe IF Platform won our Commercial Equipment awardA Taste of Home won our Design Concept AwardA' Design Awards

The A' Design Accolades are organized in a wide range of creative fields to highlight the best designers in all disciplines. Our favorite three winners from the 2016-2017 cycle are a wearable tool for woodworkers and sculptors, an umbrella dryer for city bus stops and an experimental automotive steering interface.

The trophy is a 3D printed, diamond-shaped metal structure that reminds us where most of our industries are headed—digital fabrication. The trophies are chromed/electroplated depending on which level of honor you receive. If you're interested in submitting your work to the A' Design Awards, you can already do so here.

Our Favorite Winners

Happaratus sculpture tool was a Prosumer Products, Tools, and Machinery Design winnerUltraDry bus stop umbrella dryer was a Social Design winnerStewart II Human Machine Interface was an Engineering and Technical Design winner

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Design Job: Gift Yourself a New Job: Toy and Gift Company Re-marks is Seeking an Art Assistant in Seattle, WA

Thu, 2017-09-21 01:56

A Design-driven product development company working in the toy and gift categories, we seek a talented assistant to join our team as we expand our marketplace presence. Re-marks is a woman-owned Seattle-based venture and a triple-bottom-line employer (people/profits/planet). Established in the '90s, we manufacture all of our current products in the USA. Our content is both original and licensed.

View the full design job here

This Failed Design for a Rotating Jail Was Actually Built. Here's How it Worked

Thu, 2017-09-21 01:56

Here's a great example of an architect becoming enamored of a new, flashy concept while failing to consider real-world behaviors. In 1881, architect William H. Brown patented the following design:

That's the plan and elevation views of a rotating jail. The circle contains eight pie-shaped jail cells and there's only one door. The cell rotunda rests on ball bearings, and a guard rotates a manual hand crank to spin the entire structure.

The supposed benefit of this design was that only one guard would need to be hired to watch the single door. But the downsides are manifold. Never mind the increased construction costs; in an emergency, say a fire or a flood, the one guard must stand there and painstakingly rotate each prisoner out. The larger, more gruesome problem is that the lone guard has no way to see what's going on in the cells on the other side of the circle. If, say, a drunk arrestee has passed out with his arms sticking out of the bars, well, guess who loses those arms when his cell rotates and lines up with an immovable wall.

Amazingly, a dozen or so versions of Brown's design were actually constructed, and though all were decommissioned as the design's demerits came to light, some are even still standing. YouTuber Tom Scott visited the Rotary Jail Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and got a demonstration of how it worked:


Leica's Factory Workers Look Like They're in a Futuristic Sci-Fi Movie

Thu, 2017-09-21 01:56

Camera manufacturer Leica was formed nearly a hundred years ago, but their factory looks like it was built 100 years in the future. They've released a video inside their Wetzlar factory that was supposed to draw attention to their cameras, but instead we were stunned by the gleaming, pristine environment and the white-uniform-clad, plastic-hairnet-wearing staff. If you told me these were stills from an upcoming Ridley Scott or Christopher Nolan movie, I'd have believed you.

Here's the vid:

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the facilities are so photogenic. I looked into it and the factory is integrated into Leica's "Experience Center," where visitors can peer into the production facilities through three panoramic windows. The compound also contains a Leica store, gallery and exhibition spaces, a café and a restaurant.

Note that the restaurant is called "Casino," that's not an actual casino. Leica presumably prefers to take your money the old-fashioned way, by building desirable products.

If you want to visit the place, it's about 40 minutes outside of Frankfurt and you can learn more here.

Reader Submitted: A Shoe Storage System Designed for Sneaker Collectors and Retail Environments

Thu, 2017-09-21 01:56

Sole Stacks was founded out of a love of shoes and a need to create a better alternative for shoe storage and display. We're a two man team made of myself, with a background in footwear design, and my partner Demont Campbell, with a background in architecture. The shoe displays we make, unlike traditional shoe racks or plastic drop-font containers, show off the personality of your shoe by displaying their sides while still remaining space efficient.

Sole Stacks started in 2014 and grew with a successful Kickstarter launch in 2016. Since our launch, we've added more products such as our Wall Mount Stack, which allows you to store your shoes directly on your wall.

View the full project here

Tiller Designs a Physical Solution for Digital Time Tracking

Thu, 2017-09-21 01:56

Anyone familiar with the woes of freelancing knows that hourly time tracking can be a genuine hassle. While it's true that many common software programs for personal accounting are trying to tackle this with digital solutions, it can still at times feel difficult to accurately track your time on the job. The founders of a new tech product called Tiller that launches today on Kickstarter are hoping the ultimate solution to this problem doesn't lie in an app or software program, but a desktop accessory that allows you to clock in and out with the tap of a finger. 

Co-founder of Joan, the digital agency developing behind Tiller, Nick Hallam told Core77 the original inspiration behind the product's hardware was simply to come up with a solution that best fit the problem: "When we looked at time tracking, it felt like almost all companies had spent their time improving what you can do with your tracked time data, but not actually spending time asking the question of how can we make it easier and a better experience for a human to track their time? If you ask that question and truly try and answer it, I would be surprised if you came up with a mobile app, desktop app or Chrome extension. Adding hardware to the software improves the whole experience and makes it that much easier to do."

The team behind Tiller conducted years of prototyping and design research in order to get to their final form. Their main motivation behind the hardware was to make tracking time with a new device as intuitive as possible, so they built a simple tap-and-turn system that allows you to clock in and turn the device to easily switch between projects.  "After many iterations, we came up with an ordered list that appears on top of all your other windows. If you want to stop your timer because you're going out to lunch, you can tap Tiller and you'll get a small notification on the screen. That's it," notes Hallam. One question Tiller says they always get from curious individuals is why the device isn't wireless, and they emphasize that this was a completely conscious decision. Eliminating the need for Bluetooth or Internet connectivity eliminates the chance for error and results in a more reliable device.  

Such a product serves as a reminder that no matter how magically convenient certain apps and software can be, often the object its encased in can make or break how successful it is with the general public. "There is that saying that if you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and that's what a lot of technology companies do when trying to solve a new problem. So to a software company, time tracking will, of course, require an app," the Tiller team mentions. 

The question at this hour is certainly whether or not this is a problem many people can relate to, which is why Tiller is an ideal product to be funded on a platform like Kickstarter. Already at $12,000 since launching earlier this morning, it looks like it may be fulfilling a few fed up freelancers' needs.