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Make This DIY Ruler Stop

Sun, 2017-07-23 08:51

Combination squares come in very handy in the shop. But the thing I hate is that I'll often set the depth, then need to leave it at that setting for various stages in a project, and I basically can't use the square for anything else in the meanwhile. For that reason I've been meaning to buy a simple ruler stop to free up the combination square.

After seeing what's in the photos below, perhaps I'll make one. Lumberjocks user Bas, who hails from Holland, posted these photos of his simple and elegant DIY ruler stop.

Just a simple ruler stop.
Made from beech and a modified brass nut.The magnet inside holds the ruler tight and adds some friction during precise setting.The last pic is a little tip: I added 2 magnets to my ruler. So I can pick up it very easily.

Nice work Bas!

Building Better Products Through High Fidelity Prototypes & Low Volume Manufacturing

Sun, 2017-07-23 08:51

– Sponsored Post –

Every product starts as an aspirational vision for how the finished result should look, feel, and function in the consumer's hands. However, the design process to transform ideas into mass manufacturable products is a road paved by technical reality and practical compromise. Mitigating risk before investing in mass manufacturing is a crucial step in ensuring market success.


Because the market is so highly competitive, products can be considered obsolete before they even reach their consumers. It is no longer enough for a product to be good—products must be excellent and be crafted specifically to meet customer needs and expectations.

Desktop 3D printing and creating photorealistic renderings only get us so close to experiencing the real thing. In order to truly measure and learn, we need to build.

Prototype sample run to test final fit, feel, and finish.

Adopting a lean development philosophy demands prototyping and testing earlier and more frequently throughout the design process. Prototyping regularly and with progressively higher fidelity allows designers to focus on key features, validate assumptions, and evolve into the final version. Decisions are now supported through testing and data and no longer rooted in mere assumption. The result: greater end-user satisfaction and long-term risk reduction.

Low volume, high resolution vacuum castings for collecting user feedback. LOW VOLUME, BIG RETURN

Between prototyping and mass manufacturing, there is one additional bridge to cross—you still need to experience the final product before going to full scale production, and that is where low volume manufacturing comes in. While investing in low volume manufacturing requires additional upfront capital, its real value is in the money you'll save by mitigating long-term risk before you invest in expensive tooling costs.

Iterating through low volume production reduces your long-term risk by:

-Validating usability and aesthetic decisions by presenting the product to your target audience

-Gauging consumer interest by showcasing beta-products to retailers and/or trade shows

-Generating community interest by fulfilling beta orders through crowdfunding platforms prior to mass manufacturing

-Increasing stakeholder confidence and/or pitch investors to secure additional funding

-Refining important features or implementing changes before investing in tooling costs

(left) ABS with soft-touch finish. (middle) 5-Axis precision stainless steel part. (right) Optically clear polycarbonate lens. A BETTER WAY TO MAKE BETTER THINGS

"We can't do that," or "Yes, but it'll be expensive," —phrases frequently heard from shops that claim to do low volume production.

In response, the founders at Firsthand Fab decided to create a shop that bridged the gap between design thinking and manufacturing. As a team of product designers and engineers themselves, Firsthand Fab recognizes the value of prototyping and low volume production as part of the process from vision to full scale manufacturing and have worked to develop techniques that allow for reasonably priced, low volume parts and products.

Partnering with Firsthand Fab means:

-Open dialogue about your end goals

-Help navigating fabrication options

-Collaborative and responsive communication

-Wide variety of processes and finishing options

-Seriously competitive pricing

Find out how Firsthand Fab can help you with prototypes, appearance models, functional parts or low volume production here.

A Super Organized Work Van

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

When Zack Dettmore replaced his old work van he went to extremes to organize the interior of the new one, outfitting it with a manufactured bulkhead and home-made shelving designed for the tools he carries.

I've seen a video of the setup he once used in his contracting business and his tools have changed a lot since that time—at least insofar as how he carries them. He now uses modular boxes, Festool Systainers for tools and Milwaukee's first-generation organizers for fasteners and small parts (Milwaukee's next generation organizers just came out, but they're incompatible with the first).

Because so much of what he carries is modular, there's almost no wasted space. I like how he notched the shelves to house the "feet" of Systainers to keep them from sliding out. 

His vertical charging station, with chargers mounted to the back of the bulkhead, is an excellent use of space. I also like that he puts heavy items close to the side door so he does not have to drag them out the back.

His labeling system makes a lot of sense—horizontal labels for what's in front and vertical labels for anything stored in back. Because when items are stored two deep, it's easy to forget what's behind. 

Long flat tools such as levels, short ladders, and track saw rails store in cross-wise cubbies behind the bulkhead (which he was smart enough to buy rather than build because you don't want to be hit by shifting cargo ).

Check out the video tour of Dettmore's work van. He has a lot of good ideas about organization, many of which would work equally well in a workshop or office.

Mutsuki's Organizational Objects Created with a Lasercutter

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

If you've got access to a lasercutter, some 4mm / 1/8" plywood and live or work in an untidy environment, Thingiverse denizen Mutsuki's got you covered. She's designed and/or remixed a host of organizational designs like these nifty Stackable Boxes:

And this Customizable Parts Box:

Or this all-purpose Portable Box:

And this reel that will hold 10 meters' worth of air hose:

Check out more of Mutsuki's stuff here.

Design Job: Navigate the Career Waters as Garmin International's Industrial Design Team Leader

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

As a leading worldwide provider of navigation, we are committed to making superior products for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and fitness markets that are an essential part of our customers’ lives. Our vertical integration business model keeps all design, manufacturing, marketing and warehouse processes in-house, giving us more control over timelines, quality and service. Our user-friendly products are not only sought after for their compelling design, superior quality and best value, but they also have innovative features that enhance the lives of our customers.

View the full design job here

RIP: Frances Gabe

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

Long before the Roomba there was Frances Gabe, an Oregon artist who invented a self-cleaning house. She patented the design  in 1984, built a prototype, and lived in it for decades before dying in obscurity last December at the age of 101.

Frances Gabe in 1990. After her divorce she used the last three initials of her full married name, Fances Grace Arnholz Bateson, to create a new last name—adding an "e" at the end to avoid being Gab. (Courtesy of milt ritter/YouTube)

I'm not sure Gabe would have liked the Roomba, not because there's anything wrong with it but because her ambitions extended well beyond the floor. She wanted to clean the house—all of it, from ceiling to floor and everything in between.

Cleaning the kitchen.

To that end she devised a ceiling-mounted sprinkler that sprayed the room with a wash cycle of soapy water followed by a rinse. The water ran to the floor, which sloped to a drain. It was as if the room was a giant shower.

To avoid having to move too many things before cleaning, the contents of the house were made from water proof materials. Things that could not be made impervious to water—like beds—were draped with waterproof covers prior to cleaning.

Dish washing cabinetClothes washing wardrobeMisc. plumbing details

Not content to clean only the visible surfaces she devised similar systems for washing clothes while they hung in closets. Dishes were to be put away dirty and cleaned in the cabinet.

A 1990 interview of Gabe at her self-cleaing house.

Gabe held a total of 68 patents. Time may have obscured her achievements but she was well known in her day.

In her 1991 book, Feminism Confronts Technology, Judy Wajcman wrote:

Gabe was ridiculed for even attempting the impossible, but architects and builders now admit that her house is functional and attractive. One cannot help speculating that the development of an effective self-cleaning house has not been high on the agenda of male engineers.

According to Erma Bombeck, a humorist who regularly disparaged housework, Gabe's face belongs on Mount Rushmore.

Animator Lily Benson produced this spacey video after visiting Gabe in 2007.

Gabe's psychiatrist once told her "You're many times over a genius. The world belongs to you, and don't let anyone tell you anything different". Clearly, she followed that advice.

How Will adidas's New Creator Farm Hold its Own?

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

adidas just officially announced their Brooklyn-based Creator Farm, an open source hub for, well, creativity. Boasting a start-up environment within the not-so-startup company, the adidas Creator Farm seems like a secure place to work for a small team without the major risk of going under. Oh, and there's a full MakerLab involved.

Our immediate burning question is: How will the small Creator Farm hold its own within such an expansive company? Here's adidas Global Creative Director Paul Gaudio's response to a similar question:

"The Farm is an open source creative hub. It is a great place to bring new ideas in from the outside, or even new ideas from one part of the brand to another. One recent example is the Farm working directly with our basketball team to reimagine the basketball shoe. People from design, development and product marketing are collaborating with designers on rotation from adidas Originals, running and training – but also folks from James Harden to Lincoln High School athletes, to cut this new path across sport culture. We also work with local artists, designers, students, universities like Pratt or FIT and museums like the Brooklyn Museum."

So by bringing things to a local level, adidas hopes to connect the dots within their massive company. The game plan seems to be a rotation of adidas design teams, designers and collaborators visiting to connect with the full-time farm employees and keep them from getting too comfortable in the NYC bubble. The farm's full-timers all have different design backgrounds within the adidas brand, which will hopefully bring things full circle. The specific job of the Creator Farm's full-time employees? Simply be creative.

This seems like a business model that could either work really well or complicate things even further for the brand—especially if more farms start popping up in other key cities as Gaudio hints at in the same interview. Either way, we're excited to see a large company allowing employees (even a small team of 19) get as creative as they want in an intimate space. We're sure it'll lead to some exciting results.

Nooz Optics' Minimalist, Handily-Portable Reading Glasses

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

For those not already saddled with eyeglasses or contacts, it can be handy to have a pair of reading glasses on hand. In New York City at least, menu font designers and restaurant lighting designers seem determined to make menus impossible to read. For situations like these, French company Nooz Optics has designed a super-portable, compact pair of reading glasses.

The polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant, and by doing away with the stems the designers have created an incredibly small form factor that tucks away into a slim, protective case. It's thin enough that you can actually throw it into the pocket you use to hold your keys.

One design choice I question, however, is that they've left that unenclosed void in the middle. I understand they're going for minimalism, but it seems to me that cavity would snag on my keys for sure.

In any case the glasses are just $20, and they come in both oval and rectangular styles and a plethora of colors.

Tools & Craft #56: A Visit to NYC's Amazing Chess Forum

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

This past weekend the weather was gorgeous, and I found myself doing a walkabout in the village. On Thompson Street, the Chess Forum is a Greenwich Village fixture where you can buy chess sets and paraphernalia, books and videos, and most importantly, you can rent a table to play chess. The variety and art of the chess sets intrigued me, so I went in to browse.

As any person who plays chess will tell you, having readily recognizable pieces is important so you don't get confused while playing. But some of the sets are just gorgeous, amazing, and wonderful.

Frank Lloyd Wright Midway Gardens chess set

For anyone interested in carving, turning, or for that matter any aspect of the craft, building a chess set, especially after seeing these sets, is a great way to explore all sorts of design vocabularies. And we mustn't forgot that it's not just the pieces, chessboards lend themselves to marquetry, inlay, low relief carving, and just about any other woodworking technique you can think of. 

If you visit the Chess Forum website you can see the dozens of other sets that they carry, although I think some of the rarer ones aren't online. I really just wanted to show off what a little imaginations and a craft can produce.

Prices for a decorative set run from about $40 for a plastic golf themed set, to the sky, with the high hundreds being pretty much the top price for everything I saw in the store. Quality and design are all over the map.

All of the sets illustrated here are great examples of woodworking craft, and from a project standpoint really give a person the chance to explore a style.

PS. Sorry about the phone photography. I need to discipline myself to always bring a real camera with me when I do walkabout.

"The Loop" Re-Examines Hyperloop's Technology and the Future of Inter-City Travel

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

Sundberg-Ferar worked with Hyundai Ventures on a research and design project looking at the future of mobility and mass-transit. Inspired by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop whitepaper, Sundberg-Ferar performed a deep engineering analysis of the proposed system and developed a new strategy with feasible technologies that delivers a solution considering all aspects of a user’s travel experience.

View the full content here

Reader Submitted: A Humidifier that Doubles as Home Accessories When Not in Use

Fri, 2017-07-21 07:16

[Mool] is a natural humidifier crafted by natural porous earthenware that absorbs water quickly and releases moisture. [Mool] has multifunctional purposes as a humidifier during dry season and home accessories during humid season.

View the full project here