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We hear you...

Before we jump in on today's topic, I want to quickly follow up on last week's hotly debated "screwdriver color" conversation.

Some of y'all got where we were coming from, but a lot of people were pretty upset by the last-minute change.

We heard you.

And while we still think we made the right decision, we understand that it's a decision that let a lot of people down who had been hyped on this product for a long time.

So... we're gonna meet you halfway.

Silver is still the right call for longevity. There is no argument about that. But at launch, we're going to offer 2 shaft options - black or silver.

If you don't mind (or even like) the wear on the black shaft, then we're happy to provide that option for you. But we want to be clear up front that aesthetic wear on the black coating will not be a suitable reason to get a replacement through our support team. (We will obviously support any other type of manufacturing defect or in-spec failure, you can count on that!)

So there it is. When we launch, we'll have two options. But we will remove the black shaft option after a short period of time - so if you really want that one, make sure you're ready to buy when we launch!

Anyway... on to a new topic for this week :D

Outside of the projects you're aware of already, our engineering team has been focusing on some innovations in the realm of home office improvements.

Tynan Stack
Fully extruded Mechatronics Engineer

Linus is a man with high expectations. His vision for strives to be environmentally conscious, functional, and aesthetically pleasing in every project we take on. And these expectations recently came to a head in a wall art project I've been working on.

The early pitch was pretty simple - we wanted to use lumber as an easy to assemble and sustainable frame... But as the project progressed, we wound up running into some issues with the consistency, supply, and of course recently sky-high cost of lumber.

After chatting with several suppliers of lumber and moulding - the crown kind, that is - we realized that we would be limited to either plywood or MDF... Both of which are chock full of glues and other materials that make the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) quite difficult. Not to mention they may not be strong enough for what we want to do…

We were starting to lose hope... but then an unlikely hero popped up. Could PLASTIC be cheaper, simpler to use, AND easier on the environment than our lumber solution??

I reached out to a local plastic extrusion manufacturer about some of our smaller parts and their response exceeded my expectations... Not only could the parts be made from a recyclable plastic, but there was a possibility that they could use 100% reground (effectively recycled from existing manufactured plastics) material!

After a bit of iteration, we modified the wooden panel design to work with plastic extrusion, giving us a stronger and more consistent product with a surprisingly similar weight to our wooden prototypes.

Overview of an extrusion machine

If you've never heard of extruding plastic before, the TL;DR is that it's a pretty significant manufacturing process.

It involves depositing your material into a hopper which feeds into the main barrel and the extrudsion screw. As the screw spins it forces the material down the barrel, increasing the heat and pressure of the plastic until it melts (sometimes with the help of external heaters).

As the screw comes to its end the plastic is forced through a filter screen/breaker plate and adapter plates, making the plastic smaller and smaller until it becomes the approximate size of the finished part.

At this point the process diverges depending on what you're trying to make - for our purposes, we're only covering extruding solid parts.

To form the shape of the plastic part, the final extursion stage forces it through a die - and, if your part has a hollow section inside, a mandrel is used as well.

Below you can see some examples of mandrels and dies that would form circular extruded pipes. The dies form the outer shape of the pipe, and the plastic is forced around the outside of the mandrel creating the hollow interior - sometimes with the help of compressed air to keep the hollow section open.


If needed, the part passes through a vacuum chamber which has small holes in its outer wall, allowing for the extruded part to be held against the wall and leading to tighter tolerances. This stage can be skipped for less involved parts.

After that, it's moved directly into a cooling bath full of water to bring the plastic down to around room temperature.

Throughout the whole process, there's a puller beyond the cooling bath setting the proper tension to reach the desired size of the final part. And depending on what the part is, it's either cut or spooled to be packed for a customer.

So to summarize... why extrusion?

- Any waste material from production can be re-ground and used for future runs, rather than sent off to the dump or burned like wood scraps
- It provides a suitably rigid final product for our upcoming project
- It doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

Dang. That's a lot of knowledge. We've got a ton of new stuff on the horizon, so keep an eye out for that...

And something that we can talk about NOW is that we finally have our ShortCircuit hoodies ready for primetime!! We know a lot of people have been asking about these, and we are stoked to finally offer them on the store.

Thanks and speak with ya again soon!

COO / Creator Warehouse