NextFab Blog

Very Informative Page About When to Replace Bike Helmets

Posted by admin

Aug 22, 2010 4:47:38 PM

I happened upon a refreshingly thorough page about how frequently a bicycle helmet ought to be replaced.  From the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.  Of course.  Have a listen:

"The better 1970’s helmets were reasonably good ones, but were not quite up to current standards. It is probably time to replace that old Bell Biker, Bailen, MSR, Supergo or similar model from the 70’s or early 80’s. (We have a page up on replacing the Bell Biker.) The hard shells were great, but the foam liners were not thick enough to meet today’s ASTM or Snell standard. The Bell V-1 Pro was designed to today’s standards, but the foam is very stiff, and if you are over 65 you probably should replace that too. If you have one of the 1980’s all-foam helmets with perhaps a cloth cover, we would recommend replacing that one. Lab tests showed some years ago that bare foam doesn’t skid well on pavement, and could jerk your neck in a crash. The cloth doesn’t help much. In addition, some of them had no internal reinforcing, and they tend to break up in a crash. That’s not serious if you just fall, but if you are hit by a car the helmet can fly apart in the initial contact and leave you bare-headed for the crack on the pavement."

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

Small, Medium and Large

Posted by admin

Aug 20, 2010 1:38:12 PM

Here’s the new electrostatic flock guns.  I’ve got a smaller one up at the top there and a medium sized one.  Medium is my favorite.  It’s now smeared with adhesive and looks like I’ve flocked for years with it.  The flocking is still a work in progress.

Here’s a detail shot of the smallest one. It’s also know as the Pocket Flocker (Pock Flock for when one is in a hurry).

And lastly, a snapshot of the flocking work station.  Sorry for the iPhone shots, I really wanted to get flocking.

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

What will that gin and tonic do for you?

Posted by admin

Aug 19, 2010 2:15:00 PM

Down the street from NextFab is Monell Chemical Senses Center, the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell. They recently released the results of a study on quinine, which is a common anti-malarial drug and a common component in tonic water.

Back in the days — especially during the British Colonial empire, in tropical Africa and South Asia — when tonic water was called such because it was, in fact, a tonic to fight malaria, the taste was overwhelmingly bitter for some people. Gin-and-tonics were created to make the consumption of tonic water more palatable. Nowadays, tonic water isn’t used for malaria, but medicinal quinine still is. However, the amount of quinine in modern tonic water — that is, when it’s actually quinine and not quinine flavoring — is a quarter- to half-percent of what a medical quinine concentration would be. The local bar is not, sadly, staving off malaria.

But back to the Monell study.

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

Thoughts on Fab6 So Far

Posted by admin

Aug 17, 2010 7:04:00 PM

FabLab Amsterdam Entrance

Before I get into the meat of the post, I thought I should put in a link to the “polycom" (EDIT: This link doesn’t work. THE LINK HAS BEEN FIXED, GO AHEAD AND GIVE IT A TRY) set up by MIT for people to stream the conference live. Unfortunately, Amsterdam is six hours ahead of Philly, so when we get started at 8:30 am, it’s 2:30 in Philly. Either way, give it a try between now and Friday, and maybe you can catch some Fab talk or see a little bit of what is going on.

It’s been an exciting few days so far at Fab6 in Amsterdam. After an opening night dinner at a restaurant built almost entirely of IKEA furniture, and an extremely DIY meal, we started bright and early Monday Morning. Unfortunately, I think I lost a page of notes from my first day at some point today (I think someone sketched something on the back of the page and then tore it out of the book during the projects session today), but that’s what inspired me to get a blog post done tonight, while everything is still fresh in my mind. I also have quite a few pictures (sorry for the lack of really quality pictures, these were all taken with my phone), which I will sprinkle liberally throughout the post.

Topics: fab6, makerbot, fabhome, mantis, niel-gershenfeld, flickr, composites, protospace, reprap, amsterdam, Uncategorized, fab-in-a-box, documentation, mit, tumblrize, yammer, utrecht, ikea

Laser Goodness

Posted by admin

Aug 15, 2010 3:59:02 PM

So the blogging has been a little light lately.  Here’s a little Friday (Sundays are our Fridays!) picture.

This looks to be a laser cut cross stitch pendant.  I don’t know anything about it, except that you could make that here.  Via The Laser Cutter.  Another flocking post is on the way.

Also in the Laser Cutter post,  something called the workroom.  It’s a space  in Toronto, kind of like NextFab, but for sewing.  Sounds good to me.

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

Laser Welding

Posted by admin

Aug 11, 2010 2:51:40 PM

Pretty cool stuff.

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

Juicy Photoshoot of Tom Sachs' Studio

Posted by admin

Jul 30, 2010 8:26:00 PM

Tom Sachs is one of my favorite artists to be jealous of.  He’s also got an amazing studio.  There’s a great profile of his space over at Just to be clear, you’re looking at a photograph taken by Todd Selby of artwork created by Tom Sachs.

Posted by Stephanie

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

New Project Ideas

Posted by admin

Jul 29, 2010 8:52:00 PM

I’ve been looking around for a new shop project to fill up the odd hours between contract work and member time. This Soft Circuit project looks to be a serious contender.
Conductive thread creates a circuit from one elephant to the other, lighting up the led when they’re holding hands. There’s a battery in the bigger elephant that powers the led.

Here’s a rather thorough blog post about the different properties of conductive thread from Fashioning Technology.

Posted by Stephanie

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

A Critique of Excessive Lasercutting

Posted by admin

Jul 21, 2010 7:09:07 PM

I found a gem of a blog post over at Projekt-Bikes. An author a I assume to be an engineer discussing the structural problems of excessive laser cutting in bike drop outs. The writer even CADs up a model and does strength testing on it.

"I’m not going to name names, but here we have excessive laser cutting. Its as though the designer wanted some swoopy crescents to dress up his dropouts. A napkin was marked up with a fine tipped sharpie, and sent overseas. The factory reviewed said napkin, said "Sure thing chief!" and away they went with the CAM program. Never mind that the actual crescent shapes have no flow, and subsequently do nothing to create an air of classiness. Now, I don’t personally know how much this will affect the strength of the design. I just get this vibe that its a bad idea."

More here.

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize

2D is the new 3D

Posted by admin

Jul 20, 2010 3:48:02 PM

Who needs 3D printing? 2D is the new 3D!

Yesterday, I was sitting with a room full of mechanical engineers and computer scientists mulling over the challenges of making design tools which can make use of the full capabilities of 3D printing. B-rep just doesn’t cut it for cellular structures (lattices, foams), and don’t even get me started about STL files.  F-rep or voxels seem to be more promising, but no major CAD exists for these - yet.

Anyway, one of the speakers was presenting some miscellaneous ideas as food for thought, and brought up a fascinating synthesis of mathematics, art, and computer science which snapped me out of my post-lunch drowsiness - origami design software!

Dr. Robert Lang, a physicist and engineer turned full-time origami artist and consultant, has spent more than 40 years studying origami. Over the last two decades, he has insidiously subverted the gentle and patient Japanese art form with a cold and aggressive Western mentality - writing software which can allow anyone to design their own origami “base”.  A base is the formless wad of paper that the frustrated novice origami student masters very quickly.  For the more capable, it is the “torso and limbs” of the origami shape being made, minus the detail features.  Dr. Lang’s work in the mathematics of origami (a branch of “graph theory”) allows his software (dubbed “TreeMaker” in reference to the graph theory “tree” of folds that are executed to create the origami figure) to assist the origami designer in accurately translating the “body plan” (torso and appendages of the figure and their relative sizes) into the set of folds required to create the figure.  Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the mathematics, it cannot describe the sequence of folds required, but supposedly (perhaps after 40 years of study), this “isn’t too hard to figure out”.  At least it shows whether the folds are up (“valley”) or down (“mountain”).

Along the same lines, but in reverse, we have a very cool capability in SolidWorks - the Sheet Metal Advisor plugin. It can unfold a sheet metal part so that you know exactly what shape the flat sheet needs to be cut to and where to bend. Alex has been learning how to use this, and I’m curious to see how complex of a shape it can unfold. I’m thinking that the combination of the origami design tool and the sheet metal advisor might lead to some unique new design space.

Stay tuned  for a photo of a physically realized “reversed dog”, or perhaps a formless wad of paper…

Authored this Tuesday, the 20th of July, in the year of the founding of NextFab Studio, approximately yours,≈≈

Topics: Uncategorized, tumblrize


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Welcome to the NextFab Blog, where we discuss the ideas changing the world as we know it. Step inside the revolutionary world of 3D Printing technology, traditional and Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machinery, innovation and imagination.



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