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September 2010 Archives

Enterprise prototypes

Our Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter has gotten a lot of internet love in the last week. We thought it'd be fun to reminisce about its humble beginnings through the evolution of its prototypes. Custom products like this don't just pop out of the replicator, you know.

Prototype v1, October 2009

paper and cardboard, by Hans

Enterprise prototypes

Like many silly ideas tossed out at lunch, in meetings, or while playing Dead Rising, "You know what the world needs? An Enterprise Pizza Cutter," was met with silence. But it wasn't long before the idea sunk into the collective GeekLabs consciousness and this first paper prototype was born.

Prototype v2, November 2009

batteries, plastic spoon, LEGOs, a keyring, tape, and cardboard

Enterprise prototypes

After having played with the first prototype and realizing that grasping one nacelle while bearing down on a pizza would probably put too much stress on the frame, this newer, more narrow prototype was built--out of batteries, LEGOs, a keyring, and a plastic spork. (Willy, our GeekLabs prototyper extraordinaire, thinks outside the box.) With this cutter, you could grasp both nacelles for extra stability though we did have to fudge the dimensions of the Enterprise to get there.

CAD 3d shaded view, December 2009

Enterprise prototypes

Here we see detail introduced on the nacelles, saucer, and along the hull. Shiny!

Final spec, May 2010

sent to manufacturers

Enterprise prototypes

These are the final specs we sent to our manufacturers for machining, showing the final body shape, positioning of "NCC-1701," and how the blade is assembled. We're so close we can smell the ozone!

Finished product, September 2010

now on sale

Enterprise prototypes

Finally, almost an entire year later, the Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter is a reality. The only question is... Millenium Falcon salad tongs, anyone? No? Maybe some ideas are best left unprototyped.

Marian Call

Apparently ThinkGeek HQ has turned into a music hall. We're not really sure when it happened--it was really more of a cabaret for Storm's Fudgiethon--but I digress.


We recently got in touch with singer-songwriter and generally awesome Marian Call via the magic of Twitter, and it turns out she needed a Virginia venue in her 50 state tour. We could maybe help with that, we volunteered, squeeing quietly to ourselves and hoping it would work out. (We're kind of fans. Marian's an intelligent and accomplished singer and we first saw her play live at w00tstock.)

So we're excited to announce that on Wednesday, October 6th at 7pm, Marian will play at ThinkGeek HQ in Fairfax, Virginia. Our space is on the small side (that's "intimate" in venue-speak), so tickets are limited and will go on sale on Wednesday, September 22nd at 5pm ET here on Marian's site. Tickets will go fast, but do not despair if you miss 'em or you're not in the area: Marian will broadcast the show via her UStream page.

If you think you'd like to come but you're not familiar with Marian yet, please run, don't walk to her archive, and here's a video of how she introduced herself to San Diego Comic-Con.

And perhaps you'd like details on how this will go because you'd like to know what you're getting into. Doors will open at 6:30, at which point some of our more obliging monkeys will run tours around the ThinkGeek mothership; the show proper will start around or a little after 7pm. We are expecting Storm to come and with any luck there'll be a duet. Or more ice cream.

There will also be Free Things for attendees, and prizes both at the physical IRL event and via the UStream feed and Twitter (@thinkgeek and @mariancall). We will also have some light snacks at the show, but you should eat dinner first--Marian's planning on playing two 40-minute sets so we should finish up around 9pm.

Oh, and where we are. Right. We are located at precisely:

11216 Waples Mill Rd
Suite 100
Fairfax, Virginia 22030

So put October 6th on your calendar and nab your tickets on September 22nd! We can't wait to host Marian, and we're looking forward to showing you around our humble abode.

It's that time of year again when people say things like "It's that time of year again." And though the human race has very nearly survived 2010, we still we don't have hoverboards.

This of course means it's time to update our Despair, Inc. Custom Calendar in preparation for 2011.

Our depressingly demotivational calendar is chock full of important geeky dates, like:

  • September 19: Talk Like A Pirate Day. Landlubbers rejoice everywhere!
  • April 4, 1982: "PacMan" debuts on Atari 2600.
  • April 30, 1993: The World Wide Web is born at CERN. ThinkGeek would have named it the Tim Berners-Lee.

Thankfully, we may have to update this one soon:

We've been publishing our own calendar for nigh 10 years, but of course we're missing important dates and holidays--especially newer ones--and that is where you swoop in to rescue us.

If there's a geeky date, holiday, or special moment in history you think we'd be just plain ignorant to leave out of the calendar, please add to it to our list using the form below. If you have more than one date to share, you'll need to fill the form out each time. Sorry; clean data is happy data!

We'll pick our favorites for our 2011 calendar, and then we'll start this all over again next year, laughing about how we ever lived without hoverboards.

UPDATE 9/20 10:20am ET: We've closed date submission for our 2011 calendar, and we'll definitely do this again next year. Thanks for all your help!

We really hope our shipping invoices aren't the most exciting part of receiving your ThinkGeek loot. If you don't shove it out of the way while ripping through the box to get at the good stuff, we're doing something wrong. But next time, you may want to pause and take a look at our shiny new invoice.

First of all, there is a Timmy, and everyone loves Timmy. (You do, right? Don't tell us the MindControl Ray XLT3200 needs more tweaking.) There might also be a little coupon code on there, too, so look for that.

And starting very soon, you'll be subjected--er, treated--to nonsense contributed by your fellow geeks.

See, there's this big spot on the invoice for "notes." We don't really have anything to "note" there, unless you really want to know what we had for lunch and our opinion on Duke Nukem Forever, which are, respectively, grilled cheese and "ZOMG FINALLY!!"

So we tossed it out there to the interwebs and lo, over one thousand of our closest, most random, kind of weird Twitter and Facebook friends came to the rescue with gems such as:

  • "Thank you for your sudden but inevitable purchase." by Lindsay A.
  • "Not responsible for non-Euclidean artifacts in packing." by Cat B.
  • "Please keep your phalanges, tubercles, processes, prominences, and other such extremities inside the vehicle at all times until we have passed FULLY through the event horizon." by Becca B.
  • "PC LOAD LETTER" by Eric C.
  • "Ceci n'est pas une invoice." by @the_anastasia
  • "Many Bothans died to bring you this merchandise." by Josh L. (and, like, 30 others but it's still so good)
  • "2 by 2, hands of blue, we smuggled this past the alliance, just for you." by @elalona
  • "Don't forget your towel." by @keithtyrrell
  • "Invoices now made from 100% Ent-free paper." by @JFMathews
  • "No swallows (African or European) were harmed in the delivery of this shipment." by @russiameg
  • "Some contents may have shifted in the TARDIS ride. Any Daleks found are not the responsibility of ThinkGeek or Timmy." by @BleedingSweat
  • "Ladies, look at your man. Now back at Timmy. Now sadly your man is not Timmy, however with this merchandise he can look as nerdy as Timmy. Look down, back up. Where are we? We're on Serenity with the Timmy your man could be as nerdy as. What's in my hand? Two tickets to Comic Con. Look again, the tickets are now Galleons. Anything is possible when your man is as nerdy as Timmy." by Brian R.

...and there were tons more, so if you don't see yourself in this post, do not despair. There's still a really good chance you were one of the oodles chosen for printing.

We hope you'll enjoy the ridiculousness as much as we enjoyed reading all 1,400 of them, checking for typos and cussin' and naughty thoughts. Thanks, internet chuckleheads!

New robo-warehouse

If you made an order in the last two weeks, it might have taken longer than usual to arrive. Generally our shipping monkeys get your goodies moving so quickly that it's hard for us to edit orders minutes after they've been made.

We're really sorry for the delays--we weren't taking a very long nap, promise. And no, Timmy hadn't singled you out to punish you for that one time you didn't restart before calling IT.

It was far more exciting that: we upgraded to a new, awesomer warehouse.

It was a massive undertaking and required lots of trucks driving from New Jersey to Ohio and buckets of codemonkey blood, sweat, and tears (all delicious, by the way). And we're really, really excited about what this means for you.

Some of the improvements you will see in the coming months:

Timmy and his new boxes
  • More shipping options, which should make our international customers very happy.
  • Gift wrap (using our geeky designs) to help robots with busted finger servos still make a good impression at parties.
  • Longer shipping periods up through the holidays for the procrastinators out there.
  • Boxes with Timmy on the outside. Timmy! On the box!
  • A more central location just outside Columbus, Ohio, so our New Jersey customers--where the old warehouse was located--will no longer hog the best shipping from our west coast friends.
  • ROBOTS. A robotic system will make smarty-pants decisions about what to do with your goodies as your boxes shunt from stock, to sorting, to where they'll get picked up for delivery. It's kind of amazing and the video helps explain what we mean:

Don't worry--we promise to keep this technology in check to help delay our eventual takeover by Skynet.