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Cotton, Machines, People, Boxes, and You

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
posted by psoas on Dec 1, 2013 - 39 comments

"You are never alone at the mannequin factory."

Inside the Proportion>London factory in Walthamstow. - Not an invasion force, honest.
posted by Artw on Nov 4, 2013 - 14 comments

Post-industrial Silicon Valley

Not Even Silicon Valley Escapes History [more inside]
posted by Pruitt-Igoe on Jul 29, 2013 - 16 comments

Explore design

The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. While its home, the grand Andrew Carnegie mansion in Manhattan, is currently undergoing a major renovation, you can still experience the richness of the collections through its Object of the Day blog. Recent highlights range from scratch & sniff wallpaper to the elegant simplicity of an Eames dining chair.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 27, 2013 - 9 comments

"We’re giving just enough to prevent them from dying."

Because of nationwide shortages, Washington hospitals are rationing, hoarding, and bartering critical nutrients premature babies and other patients need to survive. Doctors are reporting conditions normally seen only in developing countries, and there have been deaths. How could this be allowed to happen?
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2013 - 113 comments

"Through a revolutionary change in the way US income is distributed."

A look at the post-war middle class, brought to you by the editors of Life, and Fortune Magazines.

Opportunties Unlimited (via)
posted by timsteil on Jun 2, 2013 - 1 comment

Chicago High School Students Open Manufacturing Co-operative

Chicago is bringing the co-operation in all kinds of ways these days. First the opening of New Era Windows Cooperative last week, now this: [more inside]
posted by deliciae on May 15, 2013 - 3 comments

The Industrial Resource

Do you need some gaskets, but aren't sure where to get the kind you need? Industrial Gasket Resource can help. And it's just one part of The Industrial Resource Network. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 16, 2013 - 25 comments

Chopsticks are Critical To The Process of Making USB Drives

Bunnie Huang tours a USB Drive manufacturer.
posted by boo_radley on Feb 12, 2013 - 10 comments

The Factory Floor

Andrew "bunnie" Huang (previously) offered MIT students insight on how to bring electronic designs from paper to manufactured product. He summarized the process in a four part series: The Quotation, On Design for Manufacturing, Industrial Design for Startups, and Picking (and Maintaining) a Partner. [more inside]
posted by rider on Jan 29, 2013 - 7 comments

Apple Takes Bite out of Child Labor

After their annual audit showed a large spike in underage workers, Apple made good on its promise to take more responsibility for its suppliers.
posted by gilrain on Jan 26, 2013 - 65 comments

The iEconomy

The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 8, 2012 - 16 comments

Manufacturing Company Becomes a Design Firm, Rips Off Designers?

Boingboing has the short version of a sad story in which some young independent designers have an unexpectedly successful Kickstarter for a novel idea for a pen. Young designers turn to Joiga, an American-Chinese manufacturing firm that "minimizes the risk of turning an idea into a market-ready product." Joiga underdelivers, causing massive delays for the designers. One year later, a new "men's gift" company offers a bad copy of the designers' pen made with the same plans at the same factories. The sad and sorry punchline? The manufacturing company and the men's gift company are run by the same guy, Allen Arseneau. Long version at Notcot.
posted by cloudscratcher on Aug 23, 2012 - 52 comments

Carbon fiber for the One Percenters

An extended look inside [30:21] the production facility of innovative Swedish "hypercar" manufacturer Koenigsegg.
posted by Burhanistan on Jun 6, 2012 - 31 comments

Behind the scenes – Injection molding

Behind the scenes – Injection molding
posted by jjray on Jun 4, 2012 - 28 comments

The Beer Game

Mark Sweep describes an interesting game from his childhood which helps explain why companies move and keep their manufacturing in China.
posted by gilrain on Apr 5, 2012 - 34 comments

Oops, I may have added a few zeroes

“I bought into this idea for a long time that it was superior labor productivity that caused most manufacturing job losses,” said Rob Atkinson, of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. “Then I began to dig into the numbers.” An upcoming report argues that the price savings that U.S. factories have realized from outsourcing have incorrectly shown up as gains in U.S. output and productivity. This bias may have accounted for as much as half of the growth of U.S. manufacturing output from 1997 to 2007. (sl Wash. Post link to print version so everyone can read it.)
posted by Benny Andajetz on Mar 19, 2012 - 27 comments

BUY MORE STUFF. CONSUME. OBEY.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
posted by loquacious on Dec 10, 2011 - 43 comments

The De-Industrial Revolution

Why doesn't Britain make things any more?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 16, 2011 - 108 comments

Steinway & Sons

Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, a documentary by Ben Niles. "Invention for 900 Hands", a nine-part series in The New York Times. "K 2571: The Making of a Steinway Grand", an article in The Atlantic Monthly. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 2, 2011 - 9 comments

Making pens

Making pens in china. [more inside]
posted by Ad hominem on Oct 8, 2011 - 36 comments

Competing with the MacBook Air

The PC industry is built around an idea of almost infinite variation: different Wi-Fi adaptors, different Ethernet chipsets, different GPUs, different USB3 controllers. This variety is then reflected in the systems available from manufacturers—and more importantly, it's reflected in the way the systems are actually built. … The big reason that HP wants to get out of the PC business is that it's simply not very profitable for HP—and that's true for all the major PC OEMs, Cupertino excepted. Cheap PCs are certainly important for making computing accessible, but they also mean that PC vendors have made themselves vulnerable: endless price cuts and a failure to emphasize the value of a quality product have cut revenues and slashed profitability. Desperate to compete on pricing and pricing alone, the mass-market PC OEMs have ended up cutting their own throats.
Ars technica explains why the PC industry is having such a difficult time trying to build a competitor to the MacBook Air.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Sep 5, 2011 - 316 comments

Penny wise, pound foolish

Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA. Does It Really Matter That Amazon Can't Manufacture A Kindle In the USA? Amazon & Kindle Part 3: It's Not Just Manufacturing! A cogent look at why today's prevailing approach to cost and manufacturing is wrongheaded.
posted by Benny Andajetz on Aug 22, 2011 - 64 comments

A Ghost Town is born

"I had to stand in front of 92 people and say 'Not only do you not have a job anymore, you don't have a house anymore'". On June 20th, the United States Gypsum Corporation will shut down its plant in Empire, Nevada, the last Company town in America.
posted by MattMangels on Jun 19, 2011 - 73 comments

smaller companies are using robots

Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 20, 2011 - 52 comments

Pushing the boundaries of logo manufacturing for lots of years.

When you receive your Logonom logo, you’re not just opening a symbol, a brand or a small representation of you, you’re also opening peace of mind. And that’s something we’ve worked hard for 113 years to pack into each and every box.
posted by Terminal Verbosity on Dec 3, 2010 - 33 comments

How Ink Is Made

How Ink Is Made is a visually stunning, SLYT look at the involved, far-more-physical-than-I-would've-thought ink-making process.
posted by disillusioned on Sep 30, 2010 - 76 comments

I See I.P. Funky Colors

Hale "Bonddad" Stewart shows that U.S. Manufacturing is NOT Dead, but says that to zombify resurrect rejuvenate it America should look into Industrial Policy. Meanwhile, in Detroit, a President is saying that the automobile industry bailout prompted an "industrial revival", a Senator is calling it "industrial policy" and an economist is saying even if it is, "it's the most successful...in American history". All of which prompts the age-old question.... [more inside]
posted by Chipmazing on Aug 6, 2010 - 53 comments

mad as hell

Dylan Ratigan's Howard Beale Moment (via se) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 19, 2010 - 35 comments

How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late

How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late. Andy Grove, from Intel, writes about America's lost manufacturing sector. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jul 7, 2010 - 74 comments

Andrew "bunnie" Huang: taking it apart and making it better, then telling others how it's done

Andrew Shane Huang is a 35 year old hardware hacker, known to some as bunnie, and others as that guy who hacked the Xbox and went on to write a book about it. Finding the hidden key to the Xbox was an enjoyable distraction while he worked on getting his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT as part of Project Aries. Since then, he has written for (and been written about) in Make Magazine, has giving talks on the strategy of hardware openness and manufacturing practices in China, as experienced with the development of the opensource ambient "internet-based TV" called Chumby. When he's not busy on such excursions, bunnie writes about hacking (and more specifically, Chumby hacking), technology in China, and even biology in exquisite detail on the bunnie studios blog (previously). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 17, 2010 - 36 comments

"The Twisted Monk goes beyond just providing some string to fool around with. "

Kinktrepeneur, former evangelical missionary, and “Rent-a-meanie” the Twisted Monk: "I guess is some ways, I’m finally fulfilling the calling I had when I was a kid and being that evangelist, changing the world one bedroom at a time." ... [most links contain no nudity but might be NSFW anyway] [more inside]
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 on May 5, 2010 - 16 comments

Workshop of the world

Health and safety issues at an 'investment casting' (AKA 'lost wax') factory near Ningbo. Seventh in a series of photo essays (1 2 3 4 5 6) by Hong Kong-based independent photographer Alex Hofford, looking at life and work in the factories of southern China where the world's stuff gets made.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 19, 2010 - 36 comments

Future of Manufacturing

Wired magazine has a long and detailed article about the future of manufacturing. Short version: the same kind of democratization that technology has effected in publishing, music, video, etc., is opening up design and manufacturing to anyone who wants to participate. [more inside]
posted by yesster on Jan 26, 2010 - 41 comments

Good things come in small packages. And in Threes.

Nanoparticles often get a bad rap in popular media. From discredited scenarios (grey goo) to more plausible concerns (cancer), often the emphasis in reporting is on its risks rather than its potential rewards. But this has been a good week for the tiny science. [more inside]
posted by Hardcore Poser on Dec 15, 2009 - 24 comments

Santa's Shopping (Epi)Center

34 industries, 62,000 stalls, 320,000 commodities for sale, 4 million square meters of selling space: welcome to the world-famous Yiwu Wholesale Market in the Zhejiang Province of China, "where Santa Claus comes to shop." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 16, 2009 - 8 comments

The Amish Hackers

The Amish Hackers - How the Amish modify modern technology to meet their needs, and the motivation behind those needs.
posted by SpecialK on Feb 11, 2009 - 72 comments

Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi [more inside]
posted by phrontist on May 10, 2008 - 72 comments

It's All Gone Pete Wong.

Chinese manufacturers are setting up shop in the U.S. due to a weak dollar, energy shortages, tax credits, and a desire to compete globally.
posted by gman on May 7, 2008 - 38 comments

Notch tubing without a notcher.

Cope pipe without a jig. Enter a few parameters and get a pdf that will give you a printable pattern that will allow you to notch tubing for welding or brazing to another pipe.
posted by Mitheral on Mar 15, 2008 - 35 comments

All you ever needed to know about crayons

A history of crayons. A Crayola color chronology. More facts about crayons. How to remove a crayon stain. How crayons are made (video). The lost Crayola colors. "State colors" and their equivalents. Soy crayons. Art made of crayons.
posted by bijou on Aug 1, 2007 - 44 comments

Made in China

Made in China. A look inside the world’s manufacturing center. Flash video slideshow of the port of Shenzhen (7:00 minutes with sound)
posted by srboisvert on Jul 23, 2007 - 26 comments

Laptopalooza

Ever wondered where your laptop's parts come from, what it's made of, or what toxins are in it?
posted by aerotive on Mar 19, 2007 - 19 comments

How Lenses Are Made

Ever wonder how camera lenses are made? *Almost* justifies the cost of some of these behemoths. via.
posted by notsnot on Feb 3, 2007 - 31 comments

Like Mr. Rogers without the hipness.

Cool Stuff Being Made: Each week the National Association of Manufacturers posts a new, generally-lengthy video of something being made.
posted by Captaintripps on Jan 23, 2007 - 18 comments

The Flyest Fly

A Fly Wearing Glasses
PopSci offers this cool gallery of high-magnification micro manufacturing coolness. Potentially NSFW if a mite at 50,000x could be construed as sexy.
posted by fenriq on May 25, 2006 - 17 comments

How Products are Made

Step right up ladies 'n gents! See how to make just about verything from accordions to zirconium. They've got paint, unicyles, condoms and much much more! Diagrams included at no extra charge!
posted by Irontom on Feb 8, 2006 - 17 comments

I tain't unedumacated!

Workers in the U.S. South Too Uneducated to Build Cars? Automobile manufacturer Toyota announced that it would build a new car factory in Woodstock, Ontario, even though several US states offered greater subsidies and tax breaks to the company. The reason?
[M]uch of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project... Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use 'pictorials' to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.
(Also a contributing factor -- Canada's national health service, which apparently drives down the overall cost of each individual worker.)

To be fair to the US South, the problem may be more apparent there because of the region's zealousness in competing for automobile factories. But the point remains -- Toyota is saying US workers are so poorly educated that it's not worth the effort to train them. Whom to blame? And how many more factory (and other) jobs will have to be lost to better-educated workforces in other countries before this pings on the national radar?
posted by jscalzi on Jul 3, 2005 - 87 comments

IKEA, your days are numbered

Want it? Make it! 3D printers aren't that new -- already there are robots that print houses, inkjet printers that print human tissue, and for you CSI fans, machines that can reconstruct bullets, among other things. What's new, you ask? Machines that can produce anything and self-replicate, too. All under a GNU General Public License.
posted by greatgefilte on Mar 18, 2005 - 25 comments

The Evolution of Manufacturing

The Evolution of Manufacturing is a collection of New York Times articles, providing a historical perspective on manufacturing operations in the U.S. The collection consists of 12 articles published between 1909 and 2000. It includes an article by Henry Ford himself, and an article by Thomas Edison based on his interview of Henry Ford. Interestingly, the collection is an advertisement for Peoplesoft.
posted by tuxster on Dec 21, 2004 - 6 comments

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