A NextFab Wilmington maker and his 'deceptively simple' invention - Technical.ly Delaware

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Nov. 28, 2017 9:05 am

A NextFab Wilmington maker and his ‘deceptively simple’ invention

Do you really want to put cloudy ice cubes in your high-end microbatch liquor?

Ice done right.

(Courtesy photo)

When you first see Joe Myers’ invention, ICE.MADE.CLEAR., the amount of time and development that went into it might not be immediately recognizable.

Basically it’s a really tall ice tray that makes perfectly clear ice at home like you get at restaurants and bars, where clear ice comes out of commercial ice makers. Seems easy, but if you’ve ever tried making clear ice at home, it’s almost ridiculously challenging.

On wikiHow, you’ll find 7- and 8-step instructions on making clear ice at home, with steps including boiling the water, boiling it again, plastic wrap, salt and a portable cooler. Why would anyone go through all that for pretty ice?

Well, it does look way cooler than cloudy refrigerator ice, especially if you’re a home mixologist. But it also tastes better — turns out that the cloudiness of home ice cubes comes from dissolved freezer air that gives them a whatever’s-in-your-freezer taste. That’s why cocktails on the rocks never taste as good at home as they do at the bar.

The ICE.MADE.CLEAR. set. (Courtesy photo)

The ICE.MADE.CLEAR. set. (Courtesy photo)

“Ever since I made the connection between clear ice and great drinks, I’ve wanted an easy way to make it at home,” Myers said in an email. “We tried common beliefs, DIY solutions, and exotic electronic concepts. The invention of ICE.MADE.CLEAR. took three years of R&D, with countless 3D-printed prototypes, and many consultations with an ice-formation physicist, but it comes down to one big discovery: The key innovation is a unique pressure equalization system, developed with the understanding that water expands by 8% when it becomes ice.”

“It’s deceptively simple,” he said, “and that’s the point.”

Myers, who is a documentary filmmaker as well as a product designer, is a newcomer to Wilmington, having moved here just last summer. He was chosen for a four-month NextFab workshop fellowship in June, and joined Barrel of Makers.

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“I never knew Wilmington had so much to offer the maker, the entrepreneur, before I came here,” he said. “It’s been incredible.”

During his NextFab workshop fellowship, Myers accomplished everything from developing and presenting his design and creating 3D-printed prototypes, and took in panel discussions, including one on crowdfunding. NextFab would also be where he designed the Kickstarter campaign for ICE.MADE.CLEAR., including editing the ever-important Kickstarter video:

The campaign runs through Dec. 21, and has already reached $38,910 of its $50,000 goal to move forward with manufacturing. Pledges of $79.99 will receive a full ICE.MADE.CLEAR. set if the goal is reached, to be manufactured next spring (other rewards are also available).

Organizations: NextFab
Projects: Barrel of Makers
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