KRAWCZUK INDUSTRIES                                                 WHAT A WEEK!                                           Mon Jul 2, 2018  #24_


I was part of the Red Bull Creation, where I was paired with 3 new friends for a 72 hour design challenge. Here is what we built to answer the question: how do you get strangers to connect? Our answer was spring loaded platform, and steel “petals” with bells to beckon people over. We call it Pollinate

Three different sizes of springs means the platform has the same bounce for 1 to 4 people!

I’m glad they got my good side!

From Carob Seeds to Skull Crucibles

Or, the research rabbit hole I went down when looking up Cubic Zirconia

I really don’t know what prompted me to search for bulk cubic zirconia on Amazon, but I remember being shocked that they were quite affordable! Of course, this sent me down a rabbit hole for a little bit.

First off, a few terms: a carat is unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 g; 0.007055 oz) and is used for measuring gemstones and pearls.

This is not to be confused with a karat - which is a measure of fineness used exclusively for gold. Fineness represents the mass of fine metal in an alloy.

Karat’s are a fractional measure of purity for gold alloys, with 24 parts in a  whole. This system of calculation gives only the mass of pure gold contained in an alloy, NOT THE VOLUME.  

So, 24-karat gold is pure ( 100% purity isn’t attainable, so it really means 99.95% purity), 18-karat gold is 18 parts gold, 6 parts another metal (forming an alloy with 75% gold), 12-karat gold is 12 parts gold (12 parts another metal), and so on.

Either way, both “carat” and “karat” are derived for the Greek word for “carob seed” - kerátion. Let this be a reminder to us all to be thoughtful when we set our standards, because you have no idea how long they will last!

Ok, back to cubic zirconia - compared to diamonds - they are denser, not as hard on the Mohs scale (8 - 8.5 vs the diamonds 10, and hardened steel is between 7.5 and 8... ), and has similar refractive and dispersion qualities. While diamonds have a bit of color to them, C Z are often entirely colorless. A run down of these qualities can be found here: - which makes me really interested in Moissanite, synthetic diamonds (and LifeGem - who will create an authentic diamond from the ashes of your loved one).

While C Z do exist in nature, any that are used as gemstones are going to be synthetically created. And, that is where we get to an amazingly named object used to create them: the skull crucible. Turns out, cubic zirconia’s melting-point is too high for even platinum crucibles.  So, what did they do? You know when you microwave something, and it is hot on the outside, but frozen in the center? They do that but the other way around.

They heat the center of a volume of cubic zirconia, the material forms its own "crucible" from its cooler outer layers.  The "skull" part refers to the thin crust (or skull) of white zirconium dioxide that is formed around the crystallized core.

 Heating is done by radio frequency induction using a coil wrapped around the the whole thing. The outside of the device is water-cooled in order to keep the RF coil from melting and maintain shape of the “skull”.

So, yes, I bought some, and having “diamonds” in my pocket makes me smile...

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July 4 - If you like your fireworks DIY and huge, I recommend going to 24th and Mission, and following the explosions!

July 6 - Red Bull Creations at Oakland First Friday!  

July 13 - Rental Car Rally in LA  

Aug 6 -  I am speaking to the adventure design group! I am planning a few surprises.

Internal Voices

Turns your consumer interviews into an internal podcast. Danielle Baskin’s latest venture is a combination of user research, an internal memo, and an entertaining podcast - rich with qualitative data and easy to listen to!

Hearing the voices of customers can be an immediate way to feel connected to them, while glimpsing into their personalities, needs, and experiences.

Do you have something you want me to include in the newsletter? Something you want me to write about, or something you are involved in? Let me know! I love copy suggestions!

Makita Rail Saw

During the Red Bull creators challenge, I was introduced to the Makita Rail Saw, and my dread of circular saws basically disappeared. It is a take on the Festool design, of a circular saw, that fits in on a track. Once you align the track on your cut line, you just push the saw down the track. Not the cheapest saw, but I could easily see how this could save you a ton on frustration, time and mis-cut wood! Seems Dewalt has a cordless version, too!

14th Street Supply - art supply store for graffiti enthusiasts

I was cutting across downtown Oakland when I walked past the store front of 14th Street Supply and did a double take. Great drawings on one wall, and another wall stocked with spray paint. I ducked in, and the guy who ran the store was really cool, and answered a bunch of questions. He also let me know they were selling their paint a lot less than other places. Seemed very knowledgeable and service oriented.

And then I walked outside again. And saw the construction fence across the street. WOW! The graffiti going up there is worth the walk!

A Letter From Dear Reader D.G.

D. G. is a subscriber to the print & postal mailed version of this newsletter, and sent back the first hand written response to the newsletter I have received!

Thanks for the letter D.G, I really liked the shark stamp! And I’m glad you like the sections about food! And I’ll consider adding in “more dark realities of society”. I thought the bit I did on digital mugging touched on that, but I take your point. Here is one: the radiator on my truck blew out! But, I was a block away from my mechanic, so they took care of it for me! Seems ok now! Again, thanks D. G.!


3041 Mission St, #116

San Francisco, CA 94110


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