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Beyond the basics

How Everyday Things Are Made manufacturing. stanford.edu

August 19, 2004|Kathy Bryant

What are gobs, parting lines and gates? They're all part of the manufacturing process. Such topics can easily make one's eyes glaze over, but not on this clever website, which explains how dozens of products are made, including glass bottles, claw-foot bathtubs and factory-built homes.

Catchy music videos, clear graphics and easy-to-follow narration make the procedures come alive. Developed by the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford University and Design4x, a company that creates online design and manufacturing courses, the site is based on a class that narrator Mark Martin teaches at Stanford.

Click on "plastic containers" and a five minute-plus video cues up on the Tupperware plant in Hemingway, S.C. Ever wonder how furniture is powder-coated? Catch two minutes on the process.

An online link also connects you with a list of about 80 factory tours on the Web, from bags to yarn. Soon, you'll be able to sling around -- and explain -- such terms as "hydroforming" or "thermal deburring" without getting out a science book.

-- Kathy Bryant

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