I’m a sucker for smart/fun uses of reflective materials… and often the are far more satisfying to play with in person than any picture. Such is the case with these JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that just showed up from the nice folks at JBL Audio! These work out headphones come in a Bluetooth and Wired version in iOS and Android versions - and while i loved the design, but was iffy about the sound quality of the JBL J46BTs - i’m curious whether the sound quality of the Synchros BTs will be better. As for the JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that are wired - i’m loving them! The design details - from the flat cables with double sided reflective coatings to magnetic earbuds, the way the remote buttons FEEL to the sound quality… to the thoughtfulness of a shorter cable for use with armbands, and an extension cable (also reflective!) for use in normal situations. And the nicest touch - even the packaging has a shimmering foil to denote the reflective nature of the cables. Oooh and i almost forgot, the earbuds! Surprisingly comfortable and they lock in nicely, so they aren’t going anywhere. Ready to see all the details? Head to the next page…
We are long overdue for an update on The NOTFZJ80 Project - though, i also can’t believe that we’ve had it a mere 2 months! We have mostly been in a holding pattern waiting for parts to arrive at this point… and a big palette just showed up from Australia thanks to ARB! Since the last update, we have debadged the Full Tine 4WD, blacked spray painted the T, fully detailed the car (the paint pops again!), powder coated the 5th wheel, removed the running boards, took it on a little roadtrip to Oakley, received Rotopax, picked up the snorkel, front bumper, winch, rooftop tent, and awning, installed the tent… and even got gifted quite the US Army Survival Manual! Phew. We’ve been busy - but there’s still a bit to go. Check out the progress on the next page…
The Structure of Protection by Oluwaseyi Sosanya from the Innovation Design Engineering program. The project is a beautiful loom specially designed for weaving in three dimensions. Using a single thread, the loom can create complex structures that are incredibly strong, essentially becoming a 3D printer of weaving. We love the way the project combines modern techniques with the traditional. Sosanya even visited fabric mills in the North of England to research mechanical weaving practices. See the machine and its outputs on the next page.
The Twelve24 ClockONE is a meter wide, 4mm thin, around 3lbs and will magnetically hang from your wall! Well, we had the chance to peek INSIDE these super thin wall clocks at NOTlabs, and the real magic being shown off in this monstrous clock is what’s possible with E Ink displays. As thick as a laminated piece of paper, the screens just need a mere 15V to power flipping each section between black and white ink. And the most interesting design detail is the magnetic wall mount system! Currently available for pre-order and slated to start shipping in September, the Twelve24 ClockONE’s are making the design week rounds and popping up this week all over Dwell on Design in LA. Take a peek on the next page at all the tiny details and inside - they even let us cut open some E Ink!
The NOTFZJ80 Project continues… one of the most important parts of roof top camping is having a roof rack that can handle the weight of the tent, the people inside the tent, and any other gear that’s going up there - and reading forums we quickly learned that quite a few people learned that the hard way using normal roof racks! Well when we visited Front Runner Outfitters (the one with those AMAZING ads!), I got caught up on all things off-road/overlanding, and learned that over the last 15 years, if you’re cruising around Africa (and South Africa especially) the majority of roof racks you see will be theirs! Their latest is the Slimline II Roof Rack. I love that their system is incredibly modular (versus those monstrous welded pieces that will come as freight.) Upsides to the modularity? Well it packs down to an impressively efficient fedex-drop-tested-box, you can customize and adjust as desired, in case of any accidents (low hanging overpasses, etc) you can replace just the parts that get damaged versus the whole thing… and best of all, tons of accessories you can add on or create! Downside to modularity? Too many options… and then we keep trying and shifting and reconfiguring to see what feels best. Definitely a luxury problem.
The nice folks at Front Runner Outfitters were kind enough to help our rig out with a roof rack… and then we couldn’t resist starting off with some accessories to try it all out! As you can see there’s the camp table (with mirror like underside) that slides right under the roof rack, the shower arm, tie down rings, and a ratcheting shovel mount (with snowboard boot binding-eque clasps), and more… There are so many options, this is what we’re starting with as i get to know the system, our NOTFZJ80 and figure out how we’ll be using it all. Take a peek at the unboxing, assembly, and details on the next page!
If there’s one cleaning tool i’ve recommended over and over again, it is the Dyson Cordless Vacuums. I’ve used these for everything - from tiny apartments to larger houses, cleaning up messes in the woodshop to keeping up with puppy shedding! While to some people, it’s annoying that the batteries don’t last that long (though on the new DC59 it can do 24 minutes full charge, and 6 minutes in MAX mode) - I secretly loved the timing, since it would limit the amount of time i’d be running around cleaning, then I could take a break and recharge it for a bit. I’m still using my original DC16 (from 2006!) in NOTlabs, and the DC35 Multifloor (unboxed in 2011) has been a regular fixture in my kitchen, but i think it’s about to be demoted by the new DC59 Motorhead that they were kind enough to send over!
I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical when the box read “Sucks up as much dust as a conventional vacuum.” As much as I try to keep up with the dust and puppy shed, when Dyson was kind enough to send over the DC41 Animal upright, ball vacuum with the arrival of Bucky - I quickly learned HOW MUCH DUST it magically finds compared to anything else (including the Dyson handhelds!) There’s something disgustingly satisfying about watching that clear canister fill up with the guck around your house as you vacuum… usually my handheld canister is filled with dog hair and chunkier items, this time the DC59 canister was filled with dog hair and super fine powdery dust! Just powering it up, you can feel how much stronger the suction is compared to the previous models… and this is all before i actually tried the Motorhead attachment. Honestly, I usually bust out the DC41 Animal for the carpeted rooms, because the handhelds just don’t pull enough out… well I just tried it out and i’m amazed how much the motorhead managed to get out of the carpet! I know how absurd it sounds to be gushing over a vacuum - but I have been using these Dyson handhelds daily for years, and i really didn’t expect to be this impressed with the latest iteration. Anyhow, take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page - and don’t worry there’s no picture of my dusty mess!
Wow - we’ve been busy on The NOTFZJ80 Project - while it has been a blast getting my hands dirty, and learning a ton on my first project car, it has also meant days flying by and far less internet time… The 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser is coming along nicely. The last time we showed you the NOTFZJ80, we had just picked it up, explored the options, and started cleaning it out! Well a lot has happened since then, so it seemed like a good time for an update! Since then we have… stripped out all of the interior, run off to the eastern sierras, dynamatted, dynalined, pressure washed, put it all back together, installed a CB radio in the ash tray, camo’d the seats, installed big tires, started undoing the gold package, NOTCOT stickered it and more… check out what we’ve been up on on the next page!
The NESCAFÉ Alarm Cap is here! The press release reads: “Mexico City, May 8th, 2014 - NESCAFÉ® embraces consumer maker technologies to quickly design and build 200 limited edition, 3D Printed, Arduino-based NESCAFÉ® Alarm Caps.” and I can’t tell you enough how thrilled I am to show you our latest NOTlabs project. Publicis Mexico’s Innovation Lab brought us on to collaborate in bringing the NESCAFÉ Alarm Cap to life. The NESCAFÉ Alarm Cap utilizes 7 different tones synchronized with light, which are scientifically proven to create a soft and natural awakening, ending when you open the cap to enjoy the delicious aroma of NESCAFÉ. So yes, you can literally wake up and smell the… NESCAFÉ!
As you’ve seen - we’ve been busy with quite a bit of 3D Printing and electronics overdosing the last few weeks, and this is what we’ve been up to! Currently making their way throughout the world are 200 limited edition NESCAFÉ Alarm Cap press kits to celebrate the new brand identity of NESCAFÉ! There are two cap design variations, the faceted cap and the accent cap. Each piece was hand-assembled in California, with the exteriors 3D printed in nylon (and dyed and polished) by Shapeways on an SLS printer, and the interiors 3D printed on our Makerbots. Along with the Publicis Mexico’s Innovation Lab , we worked with Eric Brockmeyer on the electronics and code, Charmaine Choi on the pattern illustrations, and The Lift for the video. Let’s get to the unboxing! See it all on the next page…
Those following us on the NOTlabs Instagram, have seen that between other craziness we have taken on a project car: a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80! Between regular visits to ICON and seeing more of the TLC side of things… we caught the Land Cruiser bug. It’s no surprise that they just don’t build things like they used to… priorities have changed, and accessibility to grab a toolkit and access/fix just about anything on the go just isn’t quite the same. But while we wanted something fun to play with, we also wanted something safe, comfortable, and functional as well, that made sense for longer roadtrips before offroading/overlanding! So we settled on the ‘95-97 FZJ80, which has a/c, airbags, and other amenities but are some of the last years of solid axles, factory front/rear locking differentials and such. Also, when you see the modifications you can make and even build yourself… it’s like a designer’s dream! (but more on that to come…)
So between the soldering, electronics assembly, 3d prints and more on the _ project… we scoured craigslist and local listings and watched hours upon hours of overlanding youtube videos… and ended up popping down to Costa Mesa to see about a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80. With 160k miles on it, a single owner, clean title, locking diffs, and having never left southern california… we couldn’t resist! So the adventure begins… check out how it looks and where we’re at so far on the next page!
Ready for a peek inside the world of Jonathan Ward’s ICON and TLC? Well, we’ve been working with him on designs the last few months, and the passion at ICON is contagious, and constantly energizing and inspiring us at NOTlabs! So, we figured it was finally time to share some of the wonders inside the ICON and TLC garage!
ICON has been making stunning matte black retro BRs and FJs that no designer (no matter how uninterested in cars) could miss the last two decades… an upgrade would be an understatement, they build on the originals and improve every tiny detail to become a design masterpiece in both performance and style. The plastic is stripped out, grills are milled out of single pieces of aluminum, fonts are matched for updated logos… no detail is missed! More recently, you’ve probably seen the stunning ICON Thriftmaster truck, with a beautiful ash wood bed floor, as well as the ICON Electric Flyer bike. Additionally, if a sleeper of a vintage car, looking rusted and thoroughly aged, flies past you - you may have found one of the rare ICON Derelicts & Reformers. (Another example is the beast of an ICON Dodge D200 Truck he drove to the Hero’s Chest dinner.)
The other half of ICON is TLC, if you’re confused (like I may have been at first) it actually stands for Toyota Land Cruiser, not ‘tender loving care’. Since 1996, they have been the nation’s leading Land Cruiser Service center. As they say, “Though the Cruiser has evolved into today’s luxurious four-door powerhouse - it is the original adventure-seeking spirited classic Land Cruiser, with its worldwide following that lingers in our minds. That’s where we come in…TLC buys, restores, services, and sells Toyota Land Cruisers exclusively. We are dedicated to their preservation and restoration. Recycling a product that in many ways is simpler, stronger and safer than most produced today.” (I both blame + credit Jonathan Ward for helping Shawn convince me to impulse buy the NOTlabs FZJ80 just after this visit! But more on that shortly…) So take a peek inside the ICON and TLC garage on the next page!
The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (short for Geländewagen aka cross country vehicle) is a design icon in its own right. Love it or hate it, that shape is unmistakeable, and has definitely has quite a history. It even has a fascinating Wikipedia page - apparently it was originally created as a military vehicle in the early 70s and the first civilian version emerged in 1979. And it’s the “longest produced Mercedes-Benz in Daimler’s history, with a span of 32 years. Only the UNIMOG beats it.” Amazing right? And unlike most other vehicles, the general body shape and style has changed minimally! And to take the G-Wagen to the next level?
The nice folks at Mercedes loaned us the stunningly powerful Mercedes-AMG G63 all murdered out in matte black down to the wheels… complete with a diamond quilted black leather interior. First things first - yes, the monstrous and powerful G63 is totally absurd… it’s faster than most sports cars, sounds like a beast (we scared many a mini), and it’s unlikely many will ever explore proper 4x4 terrains… BUT, that being said, it is so much fun. Take a peek at our adventures with the G63 as well as fun details with it on the next page… it’s one of the first press cars i’ve been missing since it got picked up!
JBL was kind enough to surprise me with some JBL J46BT Bluetooth Headphones. I’ve been curious about Bluetooth earbuds for some time, but this is the first time test driving some in real life… perfect for workouts, running around the house/yard/after the dog untethered, and probably for airplanes so i don’t trip over the cord when getting in and out of the seat! First impressions ~ sound quality isn’t the greatest, it certainly lacks range. BUT i’m fascinated by some of their design details - especially the way it charges with a little clip to two contacts to the ear buds. See the full unboxing and details on the next page…
I’ve been learning a lot from Shawn and have come a long way since we first got our Laser Cutter! My latest little project is for last night’s Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner (inspiration overload!) ~ etching table and bar signage into real spanish sherry oak cask wood that was used to create the delicious Highland Park Whiskey we tasted during the evening! And the added bonus was that with each cut and etch, you could smell the complex aromas absorbed into the wood over the years… The challenge was to laser etch the aged (and very curved!) wood, but keep the final outcome looking just as aged… Take a peek on the next page!
UPDATE: Eep! Bad news ~ though a NOTCOT first? I’ve never had to do a REboxing! Just heard from MakerBot that we’ve got to box the machine up and send it back to get it sorted…and thank you so much to the super nice guys over at MakerBot support for being so patient with us while working on this!
SO excited to get our hands on the MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen Desktop 3D Printer ~ it’s amazing to see how far things have come since the Cupcake, Thing-O-Matic, and even the early replicators! (You can see our Replicator 1 unbox here.) We are definitely getting closer to having 3D printers feel closer to the inkjet (2D printers?) of today… unfortunately, it’s still a bit more complex than popping it out of the box and popping out objects! New features we’re excited about include the optimized setup for PLA printing, camera (to keep an eye on your progress via app/mobile), magnetic extruder head, spring loaded nozzles, easier build plate leveling and more! And luckily, the arrival of this new machine is perfect for one of our big NOTlabs project deadlines!!! Take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing and some of our first experiments with it…
Excited to try out the new and improved Dyson Cool Desk Fan. Favorite details ~ it is far quieter than it’s predecessor! And there’s a remote (that magnetically attaches to the top of the desk fan like the floor models always had) - and a new super subtle digital display in the fan base, as well as a sleep timer! They also say it’s 75% quieter, and consumes 30% less power! Take a peek at the full unboxing on the next page!