2019-03-11 3 min read


Notes, 2019-03-11.
A *very* warm welcome to our new sponsor, Glowforge! As it happens, over the weekend I installed a new Glowforge Pro at The Prepared's shop; it's a *pretty* slick piece of equipment. So happy to have them as a sponsor!

Next Tuesday, 03.19, I'll be hosting the New York Hardware Startup Meetup (in conjunction with Women Who Hardware) at The Prepared's shop. Come!

The most clicked link in last week's issue (~20% of opens) was a design exploration aimed at eliminating cradle-to-cradle waste in toasters.

Planning & Strategy.

  • On theprepared.org, a new feature on a West Virginia program aimed at getting more women into manufacturing jobs. Nationally, "women account for only 29% of the manufacturing workforce, despite representing 47% of the workforce as a whole." And in West Virginia the situation is particularly difficult: "As recently as 2014 the state ranked dead last in the percentage of women participating in the labor force, with less than half of women age 16 and older employed or looking for work." As Jessie Wright-Mendoza writes:

    There was one word that kept coming up again and again in my conversations for this story. Confidence. Everyone seems to agree that building confidence is perhaps the most important factor in increasing the number of women in manufacturing. The women “are not sure how they will be perceived when they do apply for the job or go in for the interview,” said Hines. “They don’t want to be singled out or treated differently than anyone else employed there."

    ...But the onus is on employers to ensure that they can continue to support women once they’re on the shop floor. Their ability to retain these employees will depend on it.

Making & Manufacturing.

  • Something I was totally unaware of: "The multimachine is an all-purpose open source machine tool that can be built inexpensively by a semi-skilled mechanic with common hand tools, from discarded car and truck parts, using only commonly available hand tools and no electricity." See this example, which I find both horrifying and pretty darn cool.
  • Blake Courter on nTopology's field-driven design method, which enables incredible design complexity for high performance 3D printed parts.
  • A very comprehensive presentation on the differences between LEGO System and LEGO Technic bricks.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A good check-in on NYC's 2030 zero waste goals, which are not looking particularly rosy at the moment. Related, a DSNY RFEI for "privately or publicly operated methods of consolidating, and/or containing residential and/or commercial refuse and recycling in the public right-of-way or on City-owned property that will: 1) increase waste diversion, including by reduction, reuse, and recycling; 2) reduce the volume of consolidated material set out on City sidewalks, 3) reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with waste collection; and/or 4) improve the cleanliness of City streets and sidewalks."
  • A pretty wild looking handheld 1000 W laser rust remover. I would love to know how this tool's efficiency & effectiveness compare with chemical rust conversion.
  • If you're in NY, I recommend filling out repair.org's form on the state's upcoming right-to-repair legislation.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.

  • The new longest sea-crossing bridge opened, connecting Hong Kong to Macau and Zuhai. "According to Chinese media, authorities will use facial recognition systems to detect yawning drivers on the bridge, as a safety measure. If a driver yawns three times, an alarm will go off, media has reported."
  • Europe is generally very cloudy, but last week it had particularly clear skies - resulting in good satellite imagery.
  • Dams appear to increase water use, probably by making water seem less scarce than it actually is.


  • Google Maps' "Satellite" view was almost named "Bird mode."
  • From my own archives, a 2013 blog post arguing that more people (and startups specifically) should express themselves in prose. In retrospect, I wish I had replaced basically every instance of "startup" with "entrepreneur," or just "person who's doing something," but I think my main points stand regardless :)

1916: Motorized scooters invade Atlanta, mayhem ensues.

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