Archive for the 'Aluminum' 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]

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…

Pressed Chair by Harry Thaler

Goldsmith, jewelry designer, carrpenter and now Masters candidate at the Royal College of Art, designer Harry Thaler lifts his Pressed chair with just two fingers. By “pressing” (I’m thinking more in lines with stamping) 2.5mm aluminum sheet with a rib form, he adds rigidity to the material. The stamped and trimmed flat pieces are then bent into stackable chairs. The scrap is used to make stools.

This exercise in exploring the limits of minimalism and optimizing materials yields a rather elegant product. I did notice, however, the use of the rubber feet. I presume this it to help with leveling, but more so to prevent the legs from splaying outwards should someone a bit larger than its svelte create decides to take a load off. The unpainted one looks like you’re siting on a re-purposed tray from an old-school Swanson’s Hungry-Man dinner.

Thanks to Thomas Figgins for the suggestion.

[via design milk]

Hydro Aluminum Design Manual, Case Studies

Hydro Aluminum has published a very nice design guide for aluminum extrusions.  It covers pretty much everything you need to know from the basics, design, technical data, forming, fabrication and finishing. This is one that I’ll add to my design library.

In addition to the design guide, they’ve got a series of case studies oriented around the design and construction of the SylvanSport GO mobile adventure trailer. This well thought out product won a 2008 IDEA Gold from IDSA.

Extrusion Anatomy has five parts:

  1. Introduction – Shows all the different extruded profiles used in the trailer.
  2. Alloys – You’ll notice that different alloys are chosen for different areas of the design.
  3. Bending & Welding – Nice illustrations and videos on how the aluminum tubing is bent and welding to place.
  4. Adhesive Bonding – Unlike the other structural elements, the floor is assembled using adhesive. There are several images and videos here.
  5. Aluminum, the “green material” – which explains how aluminum is green because it can be recycled.

A very nice presentation and definitely worth a look.

Cast Aluminum Slingbox 700U Wins IDEA Gold

The Slingbox 700U is a place-shifting device assigned to communicate all home video content to the web, for you to watch on your mobile phone, laptop or another TV, anywhere, anytime and improves existing audio/video equipment such as set-top boxes, DVRs and satellite receivers with HD place-shifting capability. Smaller than a checkbook, the core processor is wrapped in a recyclable cast-aluminum lattice which acts as a heat sink, eliminating the need for a bulky box and creating a compelling and elegant form.

Designed by NewDealDesign LLC, and SlingMedia Inc., the product won an IDEA Gold form IDSA in the Entertainment category.

[IDSA’s IDEA Awards 2010]

[IDEA Coverage by Fast Company Design]