Tag Archives: manufacturing

One Shot

It always brings a wonderful feeling to come across a product that’s functional and still materialistically lean. It inspires something inside to heighten the push to create bolder, cleaner, and simpler design solutions.

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Jasheng Wong, one of our Unbranded Designers, is the craftsman of the recently popular piece, One Shot. It’s sudden increase in likes from our community from jumping to one of the top three submissions is a testament to its wonderful design. The part that makes this piece incredible is the fact that the product is built with one piece of sheet iron. And on top of that, it only requires three simple manufacturing processes to complete it – laser cutting, metal stamping, and bending. It’s hard to get any better than that. From a manufacturing and production point of view, One Shot is golden. The design also holds a limitless number of smooth and clean lines and geometric shapes that are amplified or hidden depending on your point of view.

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From reviewing the comments, however, there are some worries that Wong’s design is more unstable than it should be. Our Unbranded Designer, Seizmic Design wrote, “Materials are certainly your biggest concern. In a close second is going to be the strength of that break at the bottom trying to support all the physics going on above. One solution might be to have two or three feet instead of just one. One way this could perhaps be done is by breaking the center foot only out of the back and breaking two feet out of the front. I think you will also wind up having to go from having a perfect radius at the bottom (which looks awesome) to having at least a little bit of a flat area (which wouldn’t look as hot, but would be more stable),” which numerous people agreed with.

Tell us what you think to help One Shot become the greatest version of itself!

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Functional Art

As an industrial designer, there’s a fine line that cannot be crossed between creating something catered for a user and something that is simply art. Amazingly, designer Axel Yberg has found a gray area, which he calls ‘functional art.’

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By taking a look at Yberg’s portfolio, it’s definitely hard to stop looking at his work and to stop wondering how in the world does he think of these detailed, intricate, and ultimately beautiful pieces. The main elements he utilizes are metal and wood or ‘industrial and organic’ as he labels them. Yberg views these two juxtaposing materials representing something more harmonious and poetic. The use of metal symbolizes control and deliberation. He decides how to cut it, how to shape it, and what type of surface finish it should have. On the other hand, his use of wood represents the more spontaneous, natural, and hidden dimension of his craft. A slab of wood has already lived a lifetime – it brings its experiences to the surface and Yberg has to work with what is there.

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I really encourage anyone who’s reading this to take five minutes to peruse through Yberg’s work and see its intricacy and uniqueness. Tell us what you think!

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Lumio: The Book that Turns into a Lamp

At first glance, Lumio is just a book with wooden covers, which in it of itself would be a pretty cool book, But, to give consumers an even greater experience, it turns out to be a lamp… which is just awesome. There is no on/off button but rather the light is automatically switched on when the ‘book’ is opened – the brightness depends on the angle of how much it’s opened.

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If you’re a follower of KickStarter or honestly any design blog on the internet, you have probably come across Lumio. On KickStarter, it was a product that aimed for $60,000 but, in the end, received a total of well over $500,000, which is a simple testament of how beautiful and fun this product is. The most exciting aspect about Lumio is that its applications are almost limitless. Aesthetically, it is beautiful and elegant enough to be place in any sort of environment either it be an industrial modern living room or a teenager’s cluttered desk. Physically, it’s small enough to be put into any backpack or handbag but large enough to be noticeable. Functionally, it can stick to almost any metal or stand by itself. You could bring it on a late night date through the park, a romantic dinner on the patio, to a dark closet, etc.

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Here are the specifications and materials of Lumio according to its page on KickStarter!

  • Dimensions: 8.5” tall x 7” wide x 1.25” thick
  • Weight: approx. 1 lb
  • Cover material: FSC certified wood in 3 finish options – Dark Walnut, Warm Cherry and Blonde Maple
  • Cover magnet: Super strong Neodymium magnets built into the cover
  • Lamp body material: 100% recyclable, water resistant Tyvek
  • Light source / brightness: High output LED / 500 lumen (slightly brighter than 40w bulb)
  • Light temperature: 2700K (warm white)
  • Battery specs: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
  • Battery life: 8 hours battery life with constant use
  • Power: [UPDATE] Universal USB charger (included)

The only problem I see with Lumio now is its price, which is currently at $160. I can see many college students and young adults craving for this product but just not buying it simply because it’s outside of their budget… for a lamp.

Relating to our submissions here on Unbranded, Lumio is reminiscent of two products that have come in the past. I’ll let you decide if you can see what I’m talking about. The first is Justin Fraga’s table called Templeton and the second is Beau Hale‘s design called the Thistle Pendant Lamp. Check them out and vote for them if you like their designs!

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NY Design Week in Review (Part 3), Why designers attend

Part 1 and Part 2 of our review of NY Design Week.

Since this was our first trip to ICFF, we had a number of questions regarding the event including price, timing, trade vs. non-trade, etc. As we were hastily registering for the event, waiting for a credit card screen or some explanation, we had marked down Unbranded Designs as a retailer. We’re a retailer from the basis we sell furniture to consumers, but we think of ourselves as so much more. We consider ourselves a tech company since we’re exclusively web-based. We are a design company due to our community of designers. We could even be considered a manufacturer because we manage a supply chain and source components of our designs from different vendors, sometimes completing assembly. And yes, we’re definitely an e-commerce retailer.

In this instance it was in our benefit to select retailer because it afforded us the opportunity to have several engaging conversations with designers. The main things we learned about the designers we spoke with at ICFF and Wanted Design echoed what designers struggle with here in Chicago and everywhere else. These designers were all looking for partners to 1) manufacture their products and/or 2) carry their products for sale. These designers exhibited the skills to design magnificent pieces and also had the resources to transport their products to New York City, yet they still needed a major partner to bring their designs to the next level.

Coming to ICFF, we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew based on our early research that this was a problem affecting the furniture design community but perhaps the luster of ICFF had made us assume these designers were vastly different. If they were showing at ICFF, surely they’d have the resources to accelerate their designs.

In reality the designers at ICFF face the issues that all designers face. Marketing, sales, manufacturing, and funding impact need to be done well by everyone. After this trip, we’re even more encouraged by our business model, how we can help designers, the amount of amazing designs we saw, and the number of designers that were interested in getting involved with our company. We welcome all of the designers from ICFF, Wanted Design, and anyone else to sign-up and showcase your work. We’d love to work with you!

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The immense potential and immediate power of the 3D printer

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of manufacturing technology to come from the past few decades is the 3D printer. These machines are simply amazing, enabling the immediate development of any imagined and electronically-rendered design.  Additionally, the precision and detail these tools enable quick, cheap, and accurate creation of the designs and products envisioned by the creators. These machines, that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just 15 years ago, can now be purchased from companies like MakerBot  for as little as $1-2K. So now literally any organization, institution, and soon, any individual will have the ability to create and print their own products. That’s an exciting and scary thought.

 

I’ll start with the exciting thought though your imagination is probably already running wild. Not only do these machines give us the potential to all be creators, they also give each of us the opportunity to easily become entrepreneurs by turning our ideas into commercial products. The barriers to entry into any industry decrease when you have a tool that can create your product in a space of 2 cubic feet.

 

The scary thought is the potential opposite effect that these products could have on our economy. When we reach the point where every household has their own 3D printer and each person becomes capable of replacing thousands of products they regularly purchase in stores with products they print, what does that do to established producers? Or what happens when companies begin to implement these machines in their plants and are able to replace nearly all of their labor force? Will we have slipped all the way into a Matrix/Terminator/Wall-E world???

 

Calm down, let’s not be so dramatic. Though we could conceivably journey towards a society where adorable robots are our society’s best hope, let’s live in the present for a little while. In my opinion there is one big constraint that 3D printers deal with today and that’s materials. 3D printers are capable of insane speeds but are limited by the time it takes for the material to set at one level before moving on to the next level of drawing. Until better materials are created to keep up with the speed of the machine, the true potential of 3D printers won’t be unlocked. Additionally, the material constraint will likely keep large scale manufacturers from moving to a completely electronic production system. So it’s unlikely we’ll see a full-scale shift to 3D printers by today’s major existing manufacturers in the near future.

 

Now here’s the really exciting part: 3D printers may actually be able to help local and domestic manufacturers! Today a die cast or mold can cost thousands of dollars and either prevent creators from production or incentivize them to produce abroad. 3D printers give creators the opportunity to eliminate these initial fixed costs and look to local manufacturers to fill their orders. The economics of global manufacturing, especially with the cost and lead time of transportation, could shift the needle back in favor of local and domestic manufacturers! Time will tell.

 

What do you think? Am I way off? Is 3D printing going to save our economy? Wreck our economy? Let me know your thoughts!

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