2020-12-14 3 min read


Notes, 2020-12-14.

Quarterly guest edits of The Prepared have served as mileposts for me in a year where our perception of time is distorted. To think that back in March, we were debating how much this newsletter should focus on COVID-19, and decided to temporarily relegate it to its own section. Coronavirus soon permeated through all of the areas we cover in this newsletter, and through all the areas of our lives. Nine months later and so much has changed and yet it all feels like a flash.

Even amidst the chaos, you can always find threads of progress. For me, my relationships with loved ones grew; I learned so much at and outside of work; and simply adapting to this new world seems like an accomplishment in itself. As we approach the milestone that is the end of 2020, I’m asking myself which threads I want to continue to improve upon in the coming year. Crises will always happen. But crises also end. Now is a great time to start preparing for what’s next.

Happy Holidays,

Sean Kelley

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~12% of opens) was a *very* rad desktop wind tunnel. In The Prepared's Members' Slack this week, the first meeting for our new reading group, on The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.

Planning & Strategy.

Making & Manufacturing.

  • From Kane @ MachinePix (who is editing this newsletter next week), a short video of making a large, hollow steel sphere by detonating an underwater explosive inside to hydroform the steel. Turns out, explosive hydroforming has been around for decades and is especially useful for low-volume, complex sheet metal contour forming as it can be accomplished on a one-sided die (with the explosive providing the force from the other side).
  • I’ve learned a lot about keys over the past year at my job, and it's amazing how much complexity there is to a piece of metal most of us carry around in our pocket. Stuff Made Here recently made an unpickable lock and includes a good explainer on how locks work. Related, cameras are being made so small now that they can be inserted into a lock to determine their code.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


The ONE Apus cargo ship arrives in Japan after losing 1,800+ containers, the biggest weather-related cargo loss in history.

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