My Esel is an interesting design concept: It's a bike where the frame is made out of wood, with each cut bespoke to the dimensions that best fit the rider's body.
The key to that customization has been developing a parametric design software that lets My Esel plug in all of the key measurements of a rider’s body and translate that into a scalable frame layout part of which is then produced on a CNC mill. You have longer than normal lower legs? The software can accommodate a taller seat height without impacting reach.
The idea of using wood as the material for a bike frame isn't new. But what I dig about My Esel's concept is how it shows the great advantage of wood as material for customizable products.
Wood is easy to work with -- computer-guided mills can cut and shape it generally much more easily than, say, metals. Wood is both robust but reasonably easy to recycle, or even to biodegrade, depending on how organically you treat and finish it. And in most places on the planet wood can be obtained via renewable local resources, if you plan for it.
Too often when we think about making modern customized products, the imagination drifts to plastics or other synthetics, of the type that roll easily out of mass-manufacturing processes or one-off tech like 3D printers. But wood, as a medium for customizable stuff, totally rocks.
I'd grab one of these bikes myself, if the price weren't in the neighborhood of $3,500. Read the rest
George Toubbeh of Fountain Valley, California is suing Heineken and grocer The Kroger Co. after allegedly finding two dead geckos in his 24-ounce beer can back in 2015. Apparently they weren't supposed to be in there. From the Los Angeles Times:
According to the suit, Toubbeh noticed that the beer had a foul taste and he immediately began having abdominal pain and started vomiting. His daughter examined the can of beer and found two juvenile leopard geckos inside, the suit states. Geckos are a type of lizard.
“When discovered, the geckos had not been decomposed at all and were likely alive when the beer was poured and sealed into the cans in the bottling and/or canning facility,” the lawsuit states.
Heineken USA, a subsidiary of the Dutch brewing company, said in a statement that it “holds the safety and integrity of the products we import to the highest standards. We have investigated this isolated claim, and based on a number of factors, we confidently believe there is no merit to this claim.”
The workers at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi are attempting to organize under the United Auto Workers, but Nissan is fighting the "nastiest anti-union campaign" in modern history, breaking the law so egregiously that even Trump's National Labor Relations Board has filed a series of complaints against the company. Read the rest
A fine example of factory porn: The International Table Tennis Federation paid a visit to Double Happiness, manufacturers of balls and other ping pong products.
The zippo factory of Bradford, Pennsylvania makes 28,000 lighters a day. This video presents an inside look at how they and made and who makes them, including Beth, in the case assembly department, and Betsy the buffer. Read the rest
Every second, 15,000 aluminum beverage cans are manufactured. This is a terrific video about how beverage cans are made, and why they look the way they do. Read the rest
Inertia friction welding joins two metal objects by spinning one at high rates of speed, then pressing it against the stationary piece. The friction heats both pieces and makes a weld sturdy enough for drive shafts, jet engines, spacecraft, and other machinery where joined pieces will endure tremendous stresses. Read the rest
The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based organization that creates manufacturing jobs making EMPWR coats that double as sleeping bags:
the empowerment plan is a detroit-based, nonprofit organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness. it hires single parents from local shelters and provide them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence. the individuals it hires manufacture a coat designed to meet the needs of those in the homeless community. the durable ‘EMPWR coat’ can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. since 2012, it has provided employment to 34 homeless individuals—all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families—and distributed over 15,000 coats to those in need across the US and canada.
Here's a very clear video showing how to create textured 3D objects with complex shapes.
From the YouTube description:
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We propose a method to fabricate textured 3D models using thermoforming. Differently from industrial techniques, which target mass production of a specific shape, we propose a combined hardware and software solution to manufacture customized, unique objects. Our method simulates the forming process and converts the texture of a given digital 3D model into a pre-distorted image that we transfer onto a plastic sheet. During thermoforming, the sheet deforms to create a faithful physical replica of the digital model. Our hardware setup uses off-the-shelf components and can be calibrated with an automatic algorithm that extracts the simulation parameters from a single calibration object produced by the same process.
Autodesk’s Project Escher allows multiple 3D printers to manufacture the same object simultaneously via a software "conductor." Read the rest
Those bowtie-shaped "motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooters" you see in the windows of strip-mall cellphone repair shops and in mall-kiosks roared out of nowhere and are now everywhere, despite being so new that we don't even know what they're called. Read the rest
Clay Shirky writes, "I wrote about the mobile phone manufacturing powerhouse and tech innovator, Xiaomi, for Columbia Global Reports, looking at both what makes Xiaomi so successful (they were founded when it was possible to take ecommerce and social media for granted, basically), and at the challenge internet services firms face operating in China." Read the rest