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 NESCAFÃ‰ Alarm Cap is here! The press release reads: “Mexico City, May 8th, 2014 - NESCAFÃ‰Â® embraces consumer maker technologies to quickly design and build 200 limited edition, 3D Printed, Arduino-based NESCAFÃ‰Â® 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 NESCAFÃ‰ Alarm Cap to life. The NESCAFÃ‰ 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 NESCAFÃ‰. So yes, you can literally wake up and smell the… NESCAFÃ‰!
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 NESCAFÃ‰ Alarm Cap press kits to celebrate the new brand identity of NESCAFÃ‰! 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 GelÃ¤ndewagen 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!
I have to admit, it’s been terribly difficult (and also weirdly freeing) to be working on so many projects and doing so many things i CAN’T share on NOTCOT… yet! So of course, where i can, peeks at the process and inspiration and randomness encountered along the way sneak on to the NOTlabs Instagram. I’m currently sitting in the lab surrounded by excessive amounts of electronics parts and awaiting the arrival of more before it’s time to become our own little assembly line to build the __ i can’t wait to share with you! Soon! I hope! It’s getting there…
I have been learning SO much the last few weeks. Random things like, outsourced 3D printing lead times are insanely slow (relative to my love of instant gratification). Chinese New Year WILL interfere with electronics orders coming from China - a few days turns into a few weeks. Some stores can’t ship more than 2 (if it has to fly - 12 if shipping ground) lithium ion batteries per package. And UPS will put your mountain of small boxes in a tied up plastic bag for delivery. Super tiny limit switches are hard to find. As are tiny, stumpy 4 way joystick buttons - especially if you want a click button in the center too. Just because there are 14,000 of something in stock, doesn’t mean it will stay there till the next day… and restocking may take weeks. Companies that use only paypal are not the best setup when international clients need to make massive payments on a credit card… so many limits and complications! Sparkfun’s red boxes make me smile every time they show up. And so much more i’m sure i’m not even remembering right now!
None the less, the craziness has barely begun ~ prototyping done, ordering in progress, awaiting all the parts, then comes days of soldering, assembly, etc… so take a peek at what we’ve got so far on the next page
On fun surprises, the nice folks at Mophie just sent over their new Mophie Space Pack! And honestly, it’s kind of magical! As is expected from Mophie, it boosts your battery life ~ but now it’s also adding an additional 16GB to 32GB of storage! And by storage, i mean that more like an external harddrive or flash drive that both your computer and a compatible iPhone can read. It isn’t exactly letting your iPhone fill up and then automatically use the space on the Space Pack. Their Space App enable you to browse files, take photos straight to the Space Pack, listen to music and watch videos (with airplay!), airdrop files to other iphones, and more. It’s definitely an easy way to transfer photos from your computer to iPhone to then open in Instagram, etc.
In the past we shared our unboxing of the rugged Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro, which we still carry around to events, on trips, etc and use regularly. What i love about that one is that you can charge anything via USB and it’s easy to share. Similarly with the new Mophie Space Pack, as long as your friend/colleague/etc has a compatible iPhone and grabs the Space App, you can share both power and storage easily. In fact, i love that this sample came preloaded with all of the press photos and documents, far more efficient than additional print outs or another USB key! Take a peek at the unboxing and details of the Mophie Space Pack on the next page!
In the “wish someone told me this earlier” category ~ you should have 3D printing material test kits on hand before your client has to decide which to use! We’re currently crunched on time for a big project where we need to order a few hundred 3D prints sooner than later… and as we shop around various 3D printers, you forget how many types of materials and colors and options exist! Even if some places have the same materials/printers - they will all vary depending on whether they are dyeing or polishing them… you just can’t do big orders without getting test prints… and before even deciding which material(s) to test print in… samples of various materials are extremely helpful! Beyond simply how it looks and feels in real life - it’s great to test how flexible they are, how light shines through, how they dye, etc etc etc… And on a time crunch, i’m still getting used to how slow printing and shipping for projects can be ~ especially in this spoiled Amazon Prime world we are in…
So, I wanted to share these amazing Materials Sample Kits from Shapeways. They have three kits, the Color & Finish, Basic, and Metals, and each kit comes with samples on a 3D printed safety pin of sorts and coordinating trading cards with stats on each material as well as images of some prints using them. I also appreciate that they encourage people to explore and understand the various materials by including a $25 Shapeways credit with the basic kit, which ultimately sets you back $5 if you were planning on ordering something anyhow! While these kits don’t cover ALL of their materials, it’s a great start. Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page.
Happy Chinese New Year! As we celebrate the new year ~ and also start working on some hardware projects… fun fact i learned this week is that Chinese New Year not only shuts down a lot of businesses in asia, but if you’re trying to get things shipped or manufactured, this is a bad week to do it! So long story short, our order of Microduinos should have been made 24 hours before… and we could have had them NOW instead of a few weeks from now. Luckily, thanks to the power of the internet, the very nice folks at Microduino met up with us in person yesterday to get us a few modules to get the project going!
THEY ARE SO SMALL! Impressively small in fact… and stackable! While i can’t tell you what we’re working on (yet!) i had to share how adorably tiny they are! They are even open source and Arduino compatible. Microduino started on Kickstarter and were successfully funded back in October, and are steadily growing their module capabilities. Take a peek at them up close on the next page!