Laser Cut Birdman Costume

One handy tool for prototyping is a laser cutter.  At Salient, we use our laser to cut wood, plastic, cardboard and fabric for testing, prototypes and golden samples.  However, with Halloween upon us, why not make a cardboard Birdman costume using the laser cutter?!  Once you have a pattern, the laser cutter is more precise, repeatable and faster than cutting with a blade.

Here are some basic steps and images of the process.  For full instructions, you can visit http://www.instructables.com/id/Cardboard-Bird-Man-Costume-With-Wings/

  1. Design the flat pattern in SolidWorks keeping in mind the ideal size and articulation for the wings. (This was very fast, allowing for the quick scaling of parts and patterning of features like feathers.)Laser Cutting Birdman
  2. Cut out the pieces using the laser…. So much faster and accurate then cutting cardboard with a knife!      birdman-laser-cutting-spread
  3. Assemble the pieces using industrial strength hot glue, bolts and nuts for the wings and Gorilla Tape.      laser-cut-birdman-halloween-costume
    And, Voila!  It’s a Birdman Halloween!

Birdman Costume

6 Player Loopin’ Chewie Hack

As a gamer, maker and designer, I am a huge fan of altering toys and games for more exciting play. Sometimes you just need to make a Nerf dart fly faster or make a toy glow in the dark just for fun.  For those that love action games, Hasbro reintroduced the classic Looping Louie this last year with an epic Star Wars version called Loopin’ Chewie.  Gameplay is simple: Chewbacca flies in circles trying to knock over Stormtrooper tokens.  You defend your tokens by hitting a paddle which can launch the erratic Millennium Falcon away from your troopers and hopefully knock out your opponents.  If you are the last to have Stormtroopers, you win.

Well, the original Looping Louie was a Loopin' Chewie, Step 14 player game, and with the reintroduction, the Star Wars edition was dropped to 3 player.  While the game is super fun, I wanted to make play a little more interesting by turning it into a 6 player game.

The necessary 6 Player Loopin’ Chewie Conversion files can be downloaded for 3D print using the Thingiverse.com link below, but here is a step by step if you want to make one yourself…

1. Supplies:

  1. 2 sets of Star Wars Loopin’ Chewie Game,
  2. 3D printer,
  3. Ability to create the 3D file (or download here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1798407)

2. Design: Using a photograph of the motorized base as reference geometry, I drew a clip attachment in a 3D CAD software called SolidWorks that would attach to an extra paddle. The base has vertical ridges that come up at an angle, so I was able to use those to help position and hold the part.  I used calipers to measure the features on the original base to make sure my geometry was correct.  With one extra attachment complete, I simply patterned the geometry 3x around the motorized center.

Loopin' Chewie Hack, Step 2

3. 3D Printing: With the 3D file ready, I 3D printed the part on our Formlabs 2 SLA printer out of Tough Resin. This material was ideal since the part has to flex over the base to fit into place… and since it will see proper abuse when things get really competitive. The print took roughly 6 hours and can be seen finished in the machine and with the structural supports removed.

Loopin' Chewie 3D Print - Step 3

4. Assembly: Clip the 6 Player Conversion over the base from
the bottom. Since the print is semi-flexible, it can deform enough to clip over the angled base. The vertical ridges hold it perfectly in place. Attach the 6 paddles. Be careful though – it’s still a 3D print and not as strong as molded plastic. Assemble 6 competitive Star Wars fans, and prepare for battle.

Loopin' Chewie 3D hack - Step 4

5. Play: Get ready, cuz it’s about to get crazy! If you only have 3 players, you can operate a paddle with each hand…. Not easy.

Loopin' Chewie 6 Player hack

Salient 2015 Highlights

Another year has gone by, and here at Salient, we have a lot of things to be excited about!  Here are just a few (in no particular order):side-bar

  1. The “inherently leak free” valves developed by Salient for Big Horn Valve passed
    two of the most stringent tests for oil and gas
    valves validating the technology as “emission-free” and the
    “Best Available Valve Technology to keep our environment green and clean”.
  2. Salient President and Co-owner, Steve Sanford was recognized in the Southwest Montana 20 Under 40; people, entrepreneurs and employees in southwest Montana who have achieved success and improved the quality of life for others in their communities.
  3. Salient’s David Yakos and maker, Parker Thomas, co-presented “The Mindset of a Maker” at PlayCon 2015
  4. Salient leadership team experienced  HATCH2015, a summit of 100 thought leaders from around the world to HATCH a better world.
  5. iBike Powerpod Kickstarter Success reaching 150% of their goal, and already fulfilling orders.
  6. The Salient team had 4 amazing college students shadow them on real life projects as part of Salient’s mentorship program
  7. Launch of the award-winning Maker Studio Construction Sets to inspire youth in engineering
    and creativity, co-invented by David Yakos
  8. Kickstarter success for Hydaway collapsible water bottle – backed by over 5,700 supporters, and raising over $260,000, 13x their goal!
  9. The Salient team is growing with with the addition of master Industrial Designer, Kirk Turner
  10. Team Salient helped facilitate HATCHedu to Design the School of the Future at DSEL Labs, Montana State University.
  11. Salient Co-owner, David Yakos was recognized in Origin magazine’s 45 Top Creatives
  12. In 2015, Salient provided Industrial Design, Prototype Development and Manufacturing Drawings for over 100 client products.

 

The Benefits of Patent Pending – Patent Law Q&A Ep. 4

What does it mean to have a Patent Pending, and what are the benefits of being Patent Pending?

Patent Attorney, Toni Tease and Product Designer, David Yakos explore the perks of having a patent pending, and how it can impact the future of your invention.

Click the video below to listen in on their conversation, and check out other Patent Law Q&A videos on the Salient Technologies YouTube Channel

Find more info on Ms. Tease at her website teaselaw.com, and check out her blog Intellections®

David Yakos is Co-Owner and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

Best Practices for Disclosing an Idea – Patent Law Q&A Ep. 3

Sharing an invention or idea you’d like to patent can be a pretty intimidating prospect.  It can be difficult to determine with whom your idea is safe, when a signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) should be in place, when you’re able to speak freely, and whether you’re becoming completely paranoid, or being appropriately careful.

In this Q&A session on patents and patent law, Toni and David discuss when and with whom it’s safe to speak about your invention or idea, when NDAs needs to be in place, when an idea becomes public, and how that impacts the timeline for filing your patent.

Find other Patent Law Q&A Session on the Salient Technologies YouTube Channel, and keep an eye out for new videos.

Toni Tease is an experienced Patent Attorney and Owner of Intellectual Property & Technology Law in Billings, MT

David Yakos is Co-Owner and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc., a product design firm in Bozeman, MT

Provisional Patent Applications – Patent Law Q&A Ep. 2

What’s the difference between a Provision Patent Application, and a Non-Provisional Patent Application?  Are there benefits to filing for a Provisional Patent?

Find the answers in this conversation between Patent Attorney, Toni Tease, and Product Designer, David Yakos.

Click on the video below, to listen in on their conversation, and explore more Patent Law Q&A on the Salient Technologies YouTube Channel

Toni Tease is an experienced Patent Attorney and Owner of Intellectual Property & Technology Law in Billings, MT

David Yakos is Co-Owner and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc., a prodcut design firm in Bozeman, MT

Filing for a Patent – Patent Law Q&A Ep. 1

Where is the best place to start when you’re pursuing a patent?

In this issue of Patent Law Q&A, Patent Attorney, Toni Tease and Product Designer, David Yakos answer that question by exploring what qualifies as an invention, what makes an invention patentable, and the steps necessary to file for a patent.

Click on the video below to listen in on their conversation!

Find other Patent Law Q&A Session on the Salient Technologies YouTube Channel, and keep an eye out for new videos.

Toni Tease is an experienced Patent Attorney and Owner of Intellectual Property & Technology Law in Billings, MT

David Yakos is Co-Owner and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc., a product design firm in Bozeman, MT

Patent Law Q&A

Pursing a patent can be a long and tricky process, and here at Salient, we’re often asked for advice on how to navigate the road to a patent number. Our best advice for over 15 years has been to contact Toni Tease at Intellectual Property & Technical Law in Billings, MT.

We collaborated with Ms. Tease, who allowed us to pick her brain in a Q&A session, and we’d like to share what we learned with you in bite-sized pieces.

Here’s the first in an upcoming series of Patent Law Q&A videos we’ll be releasing over the next several months. Enjoy!

Find more info on Ms. Tease at her website teaselaw.com, and check out her blog Intellections®

David Yakos is Co-Owner and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

Darth Vader & Vacuum Forming

What would be more geek-fun then flash freezing Darth Vader with a metal alloy mixed with tibanna gas?  We thought, not much!  So, that’s what we did… At least Darth Vader Vacuum Formmaking something that looks like the Sith Lord suspended in Carbonite (See Star Wars – Return of the Jedi).  We used an in-house process called vacuum forming to have a little fun.

Vacuum forming works when you heat up a sheet of plastic in a jig and lower it over a positive form of the shape you want to create. As it lowers onto the mold, a vacuum table (like the reverse of an air hockey table) sucks the air out from under the plastic, forming it around the mold shape. Darth Vader in CarboniteThis is a really handy process for making cases, large panels, and packaging. Typically, we use it for work and paid projects, but when you have the toys, you might as well play every once and a while!

To create the form, we built a Vader look-a-like on a board using a mask, glove, Lego, Maker Studio parts, chain, some fabric, duct tape, a broken sled and some other odds and ends. Once we had the mold, we were able to vacuum form a sheet of plastic over Lord Vader on our vacuum forming machine.  With a little paint touch up, we had Vader suspended in Carbonite-animation.

Enjoy this short video showing the process.

David Yakos is VP and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

The Mark of Mentorship

How did we come to be where we are today? Looking back we recall myriad decisions; some good, some poor. Milestones; moments of right place, right time. Wonderful people that either encouraged us or pointed us in a more focused direction. Those encouraging people may have shared a moment with us while others have been with us for a lifetime. Whichever category they fall in, we call them Mentors. People who share their deep insight and experience that is beyond our own – and therefore, extremely valuable.

As designers, we think back to who mentored us. Likely it was a parent who saw artistic or problem-solving ability and pointed us toward industrial design or engineering. Perhaps a teacher took extra time to customize a project, making it more interesting and inspiring. Some of us were lucky enough to have a successful leader occasionally take us to coffee for unfiltered Q&A ranging from personal to business.  Here at Salient, we are grateful for those people in our own lives, and so we take mentorship very seriously, and try to give back too.

2015 Mentor GroupSalient brings in a handful of students each year to shadow on real-life projects, as part of the Salient/HATCH Mentorship program. We give students a chance to see how they might fit in a design career prior to graduating from college. Having a chance to work side-by-side with professional designers on a project that will actually be manufactured and sitting on the shelves of Target is a stark contrast to the educational scene that can only engage the theoretical.  The theoretical is a necessary stage, but having the opportunity for hands-on creativity gives students a better idea of what they might enjoy or be good at in a way the classroom cannot.

Forming character is similar to creating good design. It does not take shape on accident.  When designing a new product, we create many sketches, and often have to iterate and test many prototypes. Before landing on an ideal product, we sit down in a group and brainstorm the possibilities from multiple perspectives. By the time we are done, the product has been touched  by the whole team in one way or another, and has the signature of the collective creativity of Salient.

2015 Mentor Group

In the same way, character is formed through a process. It is honed when we re-invent and test ourselves. It is created when we regard others’ insight. Just as the first version of a product hits the market and we call it 1.0, there are more versions to come. We keep developing the 2.0, 3.0, … 6+ versions of our character. We never stop growing, inventing, prototyping, and making. That synergistic magic takes place on both sides of mentorship, it stamps its mark and its benefits on both the mentor and the mentee alike. We’re grateful to be on both the giving and receiving ends of Mentorship.

David Yakos is VP and Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

 

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