Archive for the 'Worth a Visit' Category

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]

Why We Love NASA: Spinoff 2010

Just as all governmental agencies are trying to justify their existence in this new era of belt-tightening, Spinoff 2010 highlights recent significant research and development activities across the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the successful transfer of NASA technologies to the marketplace.

The Spinoff 2010 page contains the full PDF, a summary brochure as well as a PowerPoint presentation in case you need to do your own pitch to prove why NASA is still valuable to the nation.

[Thanks, Shaw, for the tip on Core77]

Material ConneXion: Keepin’ Up with Materials

Material ConneXion’s Director of Library and Materials Research Andrew H. Dent, PhD maintains a nice collection of PDFs called Materials Update. These nifty little gems are a selection of recently juried materials that have been recently added to Material ConneXion impressive archive. The collection of PDFs go back to January 2007 and are definitely worth a browse.

Inventables Now Selling Materials

Materials scavenger hunt champions Inventables has started selling the materials they showcase on their website. Now you can get your own Squishy Magnets, Shape Retaining Plastic Strips and Temperature Sensitive Fabric.

Inventables began as a subscription-based service that sent you a box of goodies every month or so to build your own in-house materials library. The materials were curated by a small but dedicated team of enthusiastic lovers of interesting and novel technologies, mechanisms and other fun stuff. The results of that research was stored in an impressive searchable on-line library.

As their library grew, they derived a larger and larger percentage of their revenue from the sales leads generated by those subscribers asking for more information on the materials that interested them. There was only one catch: most designers only wanted to buy a small sample to try out, which frustrated the suppliers, but got Inventables thinking… Now they’re selling the samples so many of their clients have been asking for.

Pretty smart.

Read more on why they changed to this new model.

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.

Worth a Visit:

Pedro Ramalhete  holds an M.A. in Design, Materials and Product Management from the University of Aveiro in Portugal. Pedro has created as:

A place where we will analyze  digital tools for material selection. We also want to study the history and other aspects of material selection.

His site represents the research he’s done during his Masters studies on design and materials selection and studied the relations of selection methods within the design process.

He’s building a really since selection of resources including a survey of on-line material selection tools and a historical retrospective of materials in products.

Keep up the good work, Pedro!

Worth a Visit: Materia

From The Netherlands comes a very good materials site: Materia. We like it because they have a ranking of environmental friendliness for all materials and the broad spectrum of materials that they cover.  From their website:

New materials present opportunities for fascinating innovations. Materia stimulates and inspires architects, designers and producers to apply these materials to their designs. The company is a knowledge centre for developments and innovations in materials, and their applications for architecture and design. Materia is familiar with many innovative materials from all over the world, as well having knowledge of their specific characteristics. This knowledge is published worldwide by Materia using various media.

Enjoy. Thanks Clive.