Category Archives: Design

D.I.Y Ultra Quiet Shop compressor from a refrigerator motor (compressor)

How I built a Ultra Quiet Shop compressor from a refrigerator motor (compressor) for my Industrial design studio workshop. In the video I show you step by step how to build the compressor from parts you can buy on Ebay and your local hardware store, Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, or a scrap yard or an old refrigerator (fridge). Add your own optional Motörhead badges too.


I needed to build a very quiet, higher capacity compressor for my Design shop, since the one I have is quite loud and does not have the capacity that I was comfortable with for urethane casting work.

I sourced a 6 gallon tank on eBay for $35 including shipping from a fellow in Indiana. I then needed a refrigerator compressor. I got lucky and have a buddy I play hockey with that is in the small appliance repair business. He was able to get me a new replacement unit that was not needed on a recent job. He was also able to get me some of the copper tubing i needed for the project.


Everything else was pretty straightforward after that.  I have access to a lot of good fabrication equipment. First I built an adapter plate to mate the tank to the compressor motor. I built this from an old “Big Iron” IBM server cover. I made a cardboard template to follow and then transferred it to the sheet metal and folded the edges for extra strength. Then I applied a bit of primer and paint to finish the exposed metal.

I replaced the original oil in the compressor with 10W40  weight motor oil for added protection.

I mounted the motor on the sheet metal bracket I made and connected the compressor side to the tank with some 1/4-20 socket cap bolts. ”

Next I connected the compressor side to the tank with some 1/4″ copper tubing and a one way check valve to keep the air from flowing out of the tank back through the compressor inlet.



On the business side of the compressor I used some parts I had laying around including a pressure shut off valve that I had from when I attended college at Pratt in the late 80’s from my dorm airbrush set up! It still all works great and is able to turn the motor on an off with no issues. I also used a main pressure gauge and added a pressure regulator so I could adjust how much air comes out of the tank. Additionally I added a quick disconnect to I an easily connect an air hose to the tank.


I added a computer electric socket connector to the set up so I can remove the power cord if I need to as well.


The key to making the whole thing ultra quiet is building a intake manifold that absorbs the sound of the compressor. For this I used a spent metal aerosol travel shaving cream can. It already had openings at both ends and was perfect for my needs. I packed it with some brass wool to help absorb the sound and added some pink packing foam for a filter. The combination of the metal can and the brass wool significantly mutes the sound and makes the whole set up extremely quite.



Last but not least I added some Motörhead badges to give it some character. Lemmy R.I.P

A fun build and an essential piece of shop equipment to have when making Industrial Design models and prototypes.

Eric Strebel, is an Industrial Designer living in Southfield MI. He has a home-based Industrial design studio “Botzen Design” and has been designing consumer products for 25+ years ranging from sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, Traps eyewear, entry level luxury vehicles for Ford, wireless charging PowerMat for Homedics, to magnetic toys for Guidecraft. He specializes in tabletop and handheld products, ranging from routers to cosmetic products to Bluetooth devices and everything in between, he also teaches Industrial Design at Wayne State University and CCS (College for Creative Studies)


Follow Eric on Twitter @botzendesign and Subscribe to his Youtube channel.




2015 Upcycled Lobster TRAPS Eyewear collection designed by Eric Strebel of Botzen Design

Sunglasses made from wood, that’s fairly common these days. Designing with locally sourced East Coast material from the state of Maine, now that’s uncommon!  Meet the Up cycled eye-wear from Traps that are made of decommissioned Lobster traps.

Industrial designer Eric Strebel of Botzen Design in Detroit began design work on the first pair of glasses for Traps Eyewear in February of 2014. The first pair, The “Ulysses” is a classic interpretation of a unisex oversize pair of sunglasses. Traps wanted to create a product that was effortlessly stylish, using re-purposed Atlantic ocean aged oak lobster traps and sustainable materials. Using recycled materials was the obvious choice to attract the “Y” generation to a new pair of sunglasses. You can watch the video here of Eric designing and prototyping the glasses.


The second pair is inspired by John F. Kennedy. These are called the “Jack”. Both pairs use acetate for the frames. It is a non-petroleum based plastic that is made from natural cotton and wood fibers. Cellulose acetate is made from renewable materials, and that is great for everyone on the planet.


The design process followed a proven path of getting a solid design brief from the customer and sketching on the clients direction. Initial concepts were refined and sifted down to produce stylish eco-friendly glasses that are simple yet recognizable.

The front frames are hand crafted in hypoallergenic Italian Acetate, lightweight and quite strong. The frames are made from cutting, heat forming and polishing flat sheets of the material into the desired form. Cellulose acetate is considered the gold standard in eye wear and were an obvious choice for these sunglasses. The Bio Lenses are made from a castor oil as well. The product is quite environmentally conscious.


The glasses are available directly from the Traps web site.  There is a special edition available from Friedrich’s in their Manhattan location as well are their Palm Beach locations, using horn frames and a multi grain temple combing birds eye maple and walnut.

Eric Strebel is an Industrial designer with 25+ years of experience. He graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY in 1990 and has been designing products for clients all around the globe, ranging from sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, entry level luxury vehicles for Ford, wireless charging PowerMat for Homedics, to toys for Guidecraft. He specializes in tabletop and hand held products.

You can follow Botzen Design on Twitter and Google+ and Facebook, or sign up here for the occasional newsletter from Botzen Design. Subscribe to the YouTube and watch all the industrial design videos as well.

“LIT” Shutter Shades

World first Wireless Electroluminescent shutter shade glasses designed by Botzen Design for Lift Audio

Botzen Design announce the “LIT” shutter shades, the first in a series of wireless sunglasses designed for Lift Audio. Born in the explosion of the electronic music scene, LIT glasses by Lift are stylish and fun illuminated glasses that help bring the party to life. Debuting at the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas……Previous  “EL” sunglasses required a hard wire to a hand held battery power pack. The new redesigned Lit shutter shades incorporates the battery, USB charger and electronics in the sunglasses themselves, an industry first!

The sunglasses were designed from sketch concept to prototype over a period of about 4 months in collaboration with Lift Audio culminating with “A” side 3D data for the customer to take to engineering manufacturing with

Eric Strebel who runs an Industrial Design studio, Botzen Design with inhouse 3D printing capabilities called Botzen Design in Detroit, MI.  He has worked on designing the Powermat wireless charging hubs for Homedics, sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, vehicles for Ford Motors, monsters for Clive Barker and most recently a drink and water bottle refill station for HAWS Co. Currently he consults for various companies around the globe and previously taught Industrial Design at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Botzen Design, Inc., Detroit Michigan





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Old School White prismacolor pencil Industrial Design “ID” sketch on black paper tutorial


April 9 2012

Detroit based Industrial Designer Eric Strebel demonstrates a design sketching tutorial using a black piece of paper and a white prismacolor pencil. This technique has been used since the earliest days of Industrial Design by pioneers such as Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy to quickly show a design idea or concept. Eric shows how to start the sketch and describes what ellipsis to use and how to get the perspective just right. The sketch is finished with simple shading and a drop shadow highlighting the bottles top. Music is by Brothers and others Saxaphone Quartet. There are several other Industrial Design tutorials available on Eric’s YouTube channel. You can subscribe to the channel to follow Eric and future Industrial Design tutorials.

YouTube link: White pencil bottle sketch tutorial

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Eric Strebel who runs an Industrial Design studio called Botzen Design in Detroit, MI.  He worked to design the Powermat wireless charge pad for Homedics, sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, vehicles for Ford Motors, monsters for Clive Barker and the Solar Vox Ultra personal charger. Currently he consults for various companies in the Detroit area and around the globe and teaches Industrial Design at Wayne State University. He recently placed third in the Local Motors Shell Game Changer contest with the Willow Run-A-Bout for the city of Amsterdam.

Botzen Design, Inc., Detroit Michigan


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