ben brady


Thanks DailyDIY!!

click on the link below to see the instructable and make your own bowl!

Bowl of shellsMore DIY How To Projects

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Upcycled Bowl

When thinking about what to design for “the other 90%” I first attempted a flat-pack water filtration system.  A number of things about this were unsatisfying to me.  One, is imagining shipping this is planes or boats all over the world.  The amount of energy required to do this might be so bad that the product in some ways becomes negligible.  I realized that if I was to make something for people all around the world, it would have to be something where they could take charge of the making themselves.  Most places have some sort of nut or shell so I started there.  With simply taking Elmer’s glue (which is non-toxic) and pressing it into a mold that could be used multiple times, useful bowls and plates and things could be made.

glue blowl





























aerial view of small bowl made of pistachio shells and white glue












elevation of bowl made of glue and nuts












bowl with candy












plan view filled with m+m’s












confusion of bowl made of nuts holding nuts.  what?

















So basically you just take a mold (an existing bowl or tuper-ware and make a mixture of glue and shells.  Then use your hands to push the nuts to the edge making the bowl shape.  Remove from mold once pliable…make finishing touches and then let dry for a couple hours.  Then you have a bowl.  The bowl can hold food because it is non-toxic and could be made of a number of different types of nuts or shells or whatever.  The structural stability of the bowl is ok…but not great.  The shells become very strong when there is a lot of surface area between shells in contact, but becomes weak when two round bits are glued together at small tangential moments. 

Total cost: maybe a dollar, but i got a full stomach of pistachios while making it.

Pros:  Could be made anywhere. Simple to make.  semi-attractive. Has a purpose, re-purposing of otherwise waste material.

Cons: Not the best structurally, not water tight (could be)

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Flat-Pack H20 dispenser/filter/carrier

So this went through a couple of iterations, but it isn’t quite there yet.  The idea was to create  a water filtering/carrying/dispensing device that is flat-packed and that it is its own shipping material.


The size is designed around the size of a quart freezer bag.  All the framing are made of cardboard and lined with duct-tape to resist water drops.  The frame uses no fasteners and relies on compression of cardboard, friction between cardboard and plastic.  

The bag is shipped to someone with all pieces required for assembly including some extra bags, zip ties and rubber bands.

The bag holds 1 quart of water and the cap on the pen contains the water until ready to be used.  The filtering happens internal to the frame of the pen. Right now that is unresolved.  The pen is a typical ball-point with a hole cut into the top end and the ink cartridge removed.   The bag is punctured by the pen, and the bag resists tearing and spreading by means of duct tape in a small patch.  The bags would probably be shipped with pre-cut holes, but you could also cut your own.  The zip ties end up not being used, but are nice to have.  Who doesn’t like zip-ties.  The bag is in pinched in friction between the layers of cardboard enough to support a quart of water.  



water jug collapsible 2








cut your own!














packaged state











opened state with all parts (taped cardboard, ball-point pen, 2 bags (1 replacement), 4 zip ties, some filter

















assembled thing

















joints free of mechanical fastners

















view of spout detail made of pen with hole drilled into it.


carl with water












water thing in use!


I think the thing has some promise, but the downfall is in the initial premise.  Since the construction technique involves some percise cutting (which may be able to be done by hand) and the nice thing about it is that it ships within itself, but I think the footprint of an item like this would be incredibly high, because it weighs next to nothing and would be intended to be shipped to impoverished countries all over.  My next stab will be to do something with methods that aren’t typical to any particular area, something more remedial.  It is also not really good-looking and why shouldn’t people be able to filter their water in style?

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What Would MacGyver Do?













When thinking about Design for the other 90% or de-technologizing an object, I thought, What would MacGyver Do?  He would probably try to make something out of some cardboard,  a ball-point pen, a couple rubber bands, maybe a zip tie or two and a ziploc bag.  More to come soon!!

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Is it a building yet?…Nope

So this is the current look of the dorm for the mid-review.  I like parts of it, but it needs a lot of work.  

There are a lot of different ideas but pretty much the main idea is to use the building to help rid Harvard of the “genius-model”, hierarchical way of living and learning to more of a rhizomatic, horizontal, collaborative mode of learning.  This probably doesn’t make sense from the few images below, but that is the basic premise.  Create a building that promotes horizontal, collaborative knowledge and empowers the student with choice, while re-defining the existing dorms in the area as a unified campus.




from courtyard











view of courtyards 101209












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Random Studio Stuff

this is just some random stuff from studio.  It is all discombobulated and I don’t know what it is all gonna be like in the end.




























































































































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My Shoes

For this week’s assignment we were to look at a product we use or like and try to find out where all the parts come from and their collective carbon footprint.


I chose to take a closer look at one of my favorite pairs of shoes, the Nike Air Max 180. These shoes are comfortable, but I was curious how bad they were. I found that they were assembled in Vietnam, I purchased them in Italy, then brought them to Seattle, then to Boston. Nike’s plant in Vietnam has had some less than great press about labor laws so in some ways owning these shoes is already somewhat morally questionable. Nike claims to have made a lot of effort to use sustainable materials and organic materials as of late, but as far as I can tell my Air Max’s don’t really take advantage of that.

the first step for me was to really open up the shoe to see what materials were in it. I didn’t really find many “sustainable materials” so to speak, but I did find a lot of stuff.


the shoe is divided into 3 main parts.


The upper, which in this case is made of leather, some sort of synthetic mesh, and cotton. There is also some rigid type of PU in there.

the next part is the midsole. The midsole could be made of any of 4 materials Nike uses, Phylon, PU or Polyurethane, Phylite, or EVA. To the best of my knowledge, I believe these shoes have a predominantly PU midsole.

The outsole is the part that actually touches the ground. Nike uses 5 different materials for the majority of their shoes. They use BRS 1000 (carbon runnner), Solid rubber, Durable Rubber Compound, Duralon, or Gum Rubber. I am pretty sure that the outsole is BRS 1000. BRS 1000 or carbon rubber is essentially Solid Rubber mixed with Carbon Black. Carbon in the soles of your shoes is what can make your sneakers make marks on gym floors, so you won’t find this type of outsole on basketball shoes, but the carbon also adds rigidity and durability, which is ideal for running shoes, which these are.


I researched what these materials were to the best of my abilities. I contacted Nike directly but they were not very forthcoming with any useful information. I did find out that Nike has purchased a large synthetics and rubber company called Tetra Plastics which is now called Nike IHM, Inc. which has operations all over the world. Maybe it is good because they can sort of centralize most of their material sourcing. They have also recently come forward very publicly to say they won’t use leather from Argentina anymore because of poor farming practices.














Carbon Footprint – These shoes literally have a carbon footprint.  Apparently Carbon Black is added to the outer-sole to add rigidity and durability.  This is the reason that certain shoes shouldn’t be worn in gymnasiums (because the Carbon leaves marks).

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