Posts Tagged ‘materials’

Acoustic Answers

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Since remodeling our old shop space into a gallery, showroom, meeting space and materials library, we have been contending with awful acoustics in our meeting room.

To allow the light from southern skylights to travel throughout the space, the top two feet of the inside walls are glass. This allows light in, creating a cozy space, and allows sound to bounce like crazy, creating a non-cozy echoing cave.


The solution? Look to our friends, the sheep. We found some fabulous "eco-felt" -- undyed, minimally processed wool that is felted and sold in large rolls. We ordered some, adheased it onto plywood panels, and with Andy's simple and miraculous hanging solution, fastened them to the ceiling.


Viola! A cozy, naturally fire retardant, acoustically pleasing result.


Recycling Thanksgiving

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We had some questions about what gets sorted out from the dumpsters we use, so we turned to our knowledgeable garbage guy Steve Christen from AA "Always Available" Roll Off Service.


What is getting recycled these days? Steve said the market is always in flux. One of the easiest things to recycle is construction wood, which is chipped for landscaping mulch.


For a while, Steve found a market for non-typical plastics in Ashland with a company that was recycling lawn furniture, but then that market disappeared. "With plastics, petroleum is embedded energy. At some point we are going to find the value in these materials."


One of the issues is that unlike some countries that have limited land area or broader protection policies, we still have plenty of space that is being used for landfills in the U.S. Until the price of land becomes more expensive than the value of the materials we are throwing away, markets for recycling will continue to be transitory.


Steve writes a monthly column as the "Recycling Guy" for the Superior Telegraph. It's a great read! You can email him your recycling quesetions at:


On another recycling note, folks had a great time at our Second Annual Leftover Thanksgiving potluck. We were having so much fun we forgot to make any photos until the party was over.


Stepping into Glasstec

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The Rheinturm reflecting on the Stadttor facade, and seen from inside the Stadttor building


Another bienneal event Meteek attended this Fall is Glasstec, the global glass tradeshow in Düsseldorf, Germany. Glasstec covers all aspects of glass, from solar installations and architecture to interior design and jewelry.


What does Meteek find so interesting about glass? Besides the glass office building facade that has become so ubiquitous, architectural glass is associated with industrial material companions, steel and fabric. And what pushes the envelope in material manufacturing and application of one of these materials often brings the other two along.

Interesting architectural uses of materials around Düsseldorf


Architectural glass has advanced the frontier of automated building systems, air exchange, active and passive solar systems, and complex fastening technologies. Glass, steel and fabric together have allowed breakthrough structural designs to emerge, and created the demand for dimensional computer modeling necessary for the structural testing and construction workflows for these designs.

One of the many displays of robotic technology for glass manufacturing and installation


Meteek is keen on innovating systems that work in our climate, and finding new material combinations, structural options and workflow technologies that align with our commitment to energy efficiency and beautiful design.

And we had a blast talking with innovators and manufacturers from all over the world, touring around Düsseldorf and catching up with friends in the glass trade.

New technologies including conductive thinfilm and printed photovoltaic laminates


With Joe, Bhavani, Kirsten and Phillip at La Donna Cannone


We Know Choo Choo Bob’s Dad

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Really, we do--Choo Choo Bob's dad is Mitch Heyn, our long-time Crystal cabinetry rep. We have liked working with Crystal through the years because they make good stuff, and they seem to keep wanting to innovate--for the employees who build their cabinets and the customers who buy them.

One of the things Crystal offers is a full line of "green" options--FSC certified woods and all-plywood or solid wood construction. In addition, the plywood they do use has no added urea formaldehyde, and a bonding agent made from mussles and soy that is highly resistent to water.

And we like working with Mitch because he's always got a good spin on things. Which must have rubbed off on the kids--if you don't know who Choo Choo Bob is, check him out here!


And to wrap up an odd string of transportation-related affiliations, we were treated to another classy American vehicle this week when Jay Hanson from Superior Scuba stopped by for some cable and swage work with his Victory motorcycle. Swanky wheels are in style. Jay is gearing up to work with National Geographic up at Isle Royale--safe diving Jay!


ASHRAE Show and Millennium Park

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This week we had the pleasure of attending the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) winter show in Chicago, North America's largest heating and cooling show. Lots to see, and lots of innovation going on. 


We had fun scootering around the city, looking at materials and building techniques. In Millennium Park, we saw frost patterns on the Cloud Gate sculpture (the "Bean") one morning, then had the opportunity to speak with one of the builders from the firm that constructed the sculpture and did the finishing work. He was taking out a scratched graffitti tag.

Frost patterns melting on Cloud Gate


A steel worker removing scratched graffitti


He recounted the long, slow process of constructing the sculpture and taking the stainless steel panels to a seamless mirror finish. He said the first time they saw the frost patterns, they thought the whole mirror finish had somehow gone wrong. They were relieved when the air temperature warmed and all the lines vanished.

Red, green and blue LEDs that create the video imagery on the Crown Fountain


Inspiration in the Netherlands

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We just returned from the Netherlands researching materials and visiting manufacturers.

The Netherlands enacted progressive housing standards in 1901, making provisions for healthy indoor space including lighting and ventilation. Current manufacturers of ventilation systems, control systems and high-efficiency windows are using excellent materials and innovative techniques.

Touring many areas, including old and new towns, we saw ingenious construction details and uses of materials, old and new, that inspired us.

Early rainscreen principle and cellulose insulation in an agricultural building ruin on the island of Tiengemeten


Electric car charging station in Rotterdam


Cross-laminated structural wood from Austria at the RDM campus in Rotterdam


Industrial felt for cafe seating at the RDM campus in Rotterdam


Printed glass dividing wall in the offices of the RDM campus in Rotterdam


Concrete grass pavers at Oostvaardersplassen Nature Reserve


A green roof at the Energate window office in Speyer, Germany


Recycling Materials to COGGS

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This week we recycled wood from a deck remodel project to COGGS, "Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores," a volunteer organization of bicyling enthusiasts in the Duluth area. The lumber will be used primarily for sections of trail that need bridges and boardwalks.


We feel great when used materials can find a new home, and area cyclists benefit from the good work COGGS is doing in Duluth and along the North Shore.


See what COGGS is up to:

New Screen at Clyde Iron Works

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This week we put up a new screen in the Machine Shop event space at Clyde Iron. Designed by Randy, the screen takes its cues from the massive beams in the building that was originally used as an ironworks. An enormous gantry crane once ran the length of the room that is now used for receptions, movies and concerts.

Using 20" x 4" glue lam beams, the frame was constructed with a concealed system so that the screen could be stretched flat once the frame was mounted on the wall.