Piracy Goes Big Time
Well, it had to happen eventually. Normally restricting their efforts to cheaper consumer products and DVD's, Pirates at low-wage factories in the orient have gone after the big fish. Wanna buy a car out of the back of my van dude?
Taking the Joys Out of Toys
Well, Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat. The toy industry, however, is getting lean, and the way that toys came to market, and the kinds of toys that make it to market are being changed this year, and probably forever. Even if you're not into toys, listen up, because "As goes the toy industry, so goes all retail product".
Siphoning Gas From Your Bottom Line
What if you could get in on the super-hot ground floor of a booming new retail product. For a small upfront investment, you'll get a full line of items to sell through your store or supermarket kiosk for huge profits. And the best part is, the prices are so low compared to competitors, the product practically moves itself off the shelves. The only problem is, you'd better watch your back for customs workers. This amazing money maker isn't sketchy diet pills, or pirate DVDs. The new pusher's choice is pirate toys, and the market is way bigger than you might think.
Put Out By Patents
If you're a product designer who happens to be selling your products yourself, or if you've ever been asked by a client, you may have had to deal with obtaining a patent. Whether you're in the US, UK, the European Union, or anywhere else, the process for getting legal protection for your intellectual property can be pretty ridiculous.
Design A Helping Hand
Life can be a wild ride when you're a manufacturer. Especially so if your product is fashion-driven, like clothing, furniture, and handicrafts. Changing styles can take a factory from feast to famine in less than half a season, as craft workers all over the world are finding out. Designers should see this, not as a danger, but an opportunity.
Forget Rapid Proto; Try Instant
What do you do when you have the greatest form idea all modeled out in Rhino and you want to test it out in your hand, or make a series of form models to test in focus groups. SLA is awfully expensive for "just try out" prototypes, and you probably don't need that kind of detail. Other rapid prototyping methods are cheaper, but still fairly expensive, both in cost of time, and hardware. That's where Lamina Design comes in. This software package, in development by Paul Haeberli allows users to "unwrap" a 3D model along user-defined cut lines. The resulting shapes can be printed out, and cut with an Xacto knife, sign cutter, waterjet, CNC router, or laser cutter from any flexible material. The wood, plastic, or metal is then re-assembled according to the directions that the program also generates. The result is a cheap, fast model that is a good approximation of the original. While great for prototyping, this software has the potential to change the way modern designers like Poul Christiansen and Robert Bruno work. We want one.
Rapid Prototype F1 Racing
While rapid prototyping is still too expensive for final manufacture of consumer goods (Much to the dismay of Freedom of Creation), it has found great interest for Ultra-high precision, short turnaround time applications like F1 racing. Get an overview of how selective laser sintered(SLS) F1 parts and stereo lithographed body panels are changing the racing world. Or, if you're new to rapid prototyping, check out The Rapid Prototyping Homepage at the University of Utah.
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Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team