Archive for the 'General' Category

Micro Arc Oxidation on HTC One S Phone

Originally designed for use on satellites and race cars, the Micro Arc Oxidation process starts with aircraft-grade 6000-series aluminum. 10,000 volts of electricity hit the metal, almost like lighting strikes, causing a microscopic transformation which creates a super-strong ceramic case that is five times stronger than aerospace aluminum.

Wicked cool.

[via product by Process]

Gravity Stool: Magnetic Fields and the Power of Gravity

Departing from the idea of how materials are influenced by gravity, Dutch Designer Jólan van der Wiel set out to explore how he could explore this universal force by exploiting its own power: magnetism. He’s created a process (and a machine) to pull and manipulate a resin (I’m assuming it’s a thermoset material like urethane or polyester) heavily loaded with metallic powder and colorant while still in its a liquid state. At the end of this dance with magnetic fields and material, the forms cure within a half hour. You’ll have to see the process to truly appreciate it.

Jólan’s Gravity stool was a Graduate project that has gone on to win first place for the Interior Innovation Award for the D3 Contest at imm cologne 2012. These strikingly beautiful and expressive forms are so intimately connected to nature, they could have been unearthed from a newly discovered cave.

[via SolidSmack]

U-Ram Choe’s ‘Guardian of the Hole’ Kinetic Sculpture

I know this isn’t exactly product design, but this is so damn cool… Mixed media kinetic artist U-Ram Choe has a new sculpture showing in New York at the Asia Society Museum until December 31, 2011. It’s not to be missed… Check out this mesmerizing video…

Just amazing… The sculpture appears to breathe…

[via SolidSmack]

How It’s Made: The Nokia N9

In a manner once thought to be unheard of in mass-produced consumer electronics (until Apple’s MacBook Pro wowed us with it’s machined aluminum unibody), Nokia’s N9 housing is machined from a single piece of plastic (anyone out there happen to know what flavor they’re using?). The proud parents share a video of it’s latest offspring being born:

I dig the hand finishing after the housing is machined… nice. Despite the fact that you can’t get one these in the US, you have to appreciate Finnish craftsmanship.

Worth a Visit: Product by Process

Teague designer Benoit Collette has built a very nice collection. Product by Process is an online compilation of processes, material and interesting stories about products. Benoit seeks to:

…go  beyond the polished products and objects that surround us and take a look at how they are manufactured and recycled.

I think he’s doing a great job and the site is lovely and well-organized. You should check it out.

[Product by Process]

New Balance 574: Custom Sneaks Made in the US of A

New Balance will custom build you a pair of US574 sneakers are via their website, which if pretty nifty. Also nifty if the fact these suckers can be built and on your tootsies in about a week because they’re made here in the good ol’ US of A. Check out the video to see some cool materials and processes action and some dedicated folks still hard at work here in this country.

[via Core77]

Wired: Made in America: Small Businesses Buck the Offshoring Trend

Looks like the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. In the recent Wired issue 19.03, Brendan I. Koerner takes a look at how smaller business are beginning to shift their attention away from Asian manufacturing and back to the good ol’ US of A for its manufacturing. With the emergence of a new middle class in China, the promise of cheap labor and ridiculously low tooling and part costs has dissolved into issues of poor, inconsistent quality and logistics headaches. For many companies, the cost-benefit is there to offset the risks:

One big reason for this growing dissatisfaction is quality. Like Sleek Audio, countless US firms have received long-awaited shipments only to discover that the products are too flawed to sell.

In addition to quality issues, the on-going problem of protecting intellectual property has been made worse as over-booked manufactures shunt smaller programs off to secondary manufacturers, exposing them to more opportunities to get ripped off.

All of this adds up to many companies deciding that, when taking into account the risks, the net advantage is no longer in Asia. Even if a product costs a few more cents domestically, troubleshooting requires a short flight or drive as opposed to 24 hours of transport to the other side of the world.

Now, let’s hope that all those North American manufacturers that went out of business half a decade ago didn’t kill the domestic brain trust of experts required to bring that business back home.

[Wired article]