Archive for the 'Materials' Category

Materials and Processes Behind the HTC EVO 4G LTE

If you can get beyond the marketing hype, there’s some pretty interesting bits about new materials and manufactiong tricks incorporated into HTC’s EVO 4G LTE. They’re using aircraft-grade aluminum in the kickstand and multiple finishing processes for the case. Worth a watch.

[via Product by Process]

Co.Design: Plywood Revolution

In her article, “How Plywood Revolutionized Design And Changed The World (No, Really!)”, Co.Design senior editor Suzanne Labarre reflects on a mid-20th century “modern” material after her visit to Plywood: Material, Process, Form, an ongoing exhibit at New York MoMA:

That plain little sandwich of lumber and glue–with its origins in ancient Egypt and its reinvention under the auspices of 20th-century military research–gave designers from Alvar Aalto to Charles and Ray Eames the raw material with which to shape some of the most iconic furniture of the past 100 years.

Those products represent a time when designers were experimenting and innovating with materials. The role plywood has played in the history of product design is significant and underscored by how expensive Eames and Aalto’s furniture are today. Labarre notes the irony that while they might have been developed the common man in mind, few of us can afford them.

Jan 26-27: MTRL2020 in Cincinnati (FREE!)

The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (UC-DAAP) is holding a very special event at the end of the month entitled MTRL2020: Envisioning Innovative Materials Application. The program has been built for students and educators, but will be a fantastic learning opportunity for practicing professionals as well:

For creative people in the 21st century, understanding emerging and innovative new materials is a core necessity. MTRL 2020 is an event centered in providing the students and faculty of the University of Cincinnati as well as others in the community a common forum within which to achieve that understanding. With expert speakers in various fields of materials research, workshops, and a roundtable discussion, the three-day event seeks to heighten the level of awareness to the importance of materials knowledge across the design disciplines and the inter-relation of these materials with outside disciplines.

The event will take place from 1/25-1/27, and is comprised of guest lectures, breakout sessions, a roundtable discussion, and a gallery show of innovative materials samples on campus which runs from January 16 to the end of the month. And what an impressive collection of speakers:

  • Michelle Addington, Hines Professor of Sustainable Architectural Design at the Yale School of Architecture
  • Inna Alesina, Faculty member of Towson University’s ID department
  • Emiliano Godoy, of design firm Godoylab, and design director of the furniture manufacturer Pirwi
  • Chris Lefteri, long-time IDSAMP blog friend and materials evangelist

Here’s the best part: Registration is 100% free of charge and anyone is welcome to attend. Definitley worth checking out.

[MTRL2020 Info]

Mr. Rogers: Making the Cosmonaut

I’ve been waiting for this thing since April… Since backing them on Kickstarter to make the Cosmonaut, a wide-grip stylus for touchscreens (like my iPad), Studio Neat has teased its supporters with updates on the product’s progress as it made its way towards production. Like many start-ups, I think the boys were a bit too optimistic on their schedule (these widgets were originally due out in June). But my hat’s off to them for sharing their leaning process and evolution of how the product’s made. Check out their posts on Kickstarter to see the progression. Looks like we’re in the home stretch.

After a good deal of research and trial ‘n error, they ended up building this chunky guy with a machined aluminum core that’s overmolded with a conductive rubber. The tip is a separately-molded cap that is snapped onto the end  (I wonder why it can’t be replaced when worn out or damaged?). The other end gets either an aluminum or wood plug (I guess because they can and because it covers up where the mold held the core during overmolding).

In a video “hosted” by Mr. Rogers entitled “How Crayons Are Made,” the guys share some nice video of the production process. It shows how the aluminum core is machined, then overmolded and assembled. You’ll see them hand die-cutting the cardboard packing and final assembly… Check it out before it gets taken down ’cause I seriously doubt Tom and Dan got permission to use that footage… Then again, having raised over $134K on Kickstarter and the success of the Glif, maybe they were able afford it.

It’s a wonder day in the neighborhood…

Thomas Forsyth: Ten Bespoke Brass Nuts

Boy, this video would have come in handy a few weeks ago in the materials and processes class I’m helping teach at NC State…

As hand-made gifts for speakers at the 2011 Build Conference in Belfast, London-based designer and artist Thomas Forsyth fabricated ten “bespoke brass nuts” using old-school sand casting techniques. Each unique piece weighed in at just over half a kilo (about 1.1 lbs). Enjoy the video.

[via Core77]

Fun With Wood: Impossible Nail Trick

Pretty self explanatory… But it does illustrate something about how materials can transformed in less obvious but surprising ways.

Concrete: Construct Your Product




Seems like designers are finding more interesting things to do with concrete beyond buildings and decorative planters. I think they’re drawn to the rock-solid (yes a pun) stability of the material (like for use in these USB drives). Or little architectural desk pieces as if to day, “Layoffs be damned, I’m not going anywhere, buddy”. Or perhaps you’re drawn to the permanence of concrete and titanium wedding bands – gee that’s not heavy symbolism, it it? (Yes, another pun.)

[via StyleFactory and Core77]


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