Awesome Engineering

Bottle Cap Making Machine

Bottle Cap Making Machine

In this video from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, they show how their El-Exis SP injection molding machine makes plastic bottle caps. Each time its molds fill with plastic, it stamps out 96 identical bottle caps, repeating the process every 1.9 seconds. We love that top-down view of all the caps falling to the production line below.

World’s Steepest Funicular

World’s Steepest Funicular

Take a ride on what is now the steepest funicular railway, a marvel of engineering which carries passengers up a mountain in Stoos, Switzerland at a crazy 110% gradient. It lifts more than 89,000 pounds nearly 2500 feet in altitude along its 1.07-mile route.

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Building a Mini Marble Music Machine

Building a Mini Marble Music Machine

Inspired by the machines of Wintergatan, Daniel de Bruin, and Matthias Wandel, fellow maker Ivan Miranda created his own musical marble machine. He designed and built it from scratch using 3D printed parts, a resin drum, and an aluminum frame. The ball bearings make notes by falling onto a MIDI controller keypad.

How They Built the World’s Longest Undersea Tunnel

How They Built the World’s Longest Undersea Tunnel

Spanning 23 miles, the English Channel Tunnel has the longest undersea section of any tunnel. TED-Ed’s Alex Gendler takes a look at the political and logistical challenges and engineering feats that led to the construction of the tunnel between 1988 and 1994.

How Motor Coils are Wound

How Motor Coils are Wound

For a motor to work, it needs tightly-wound copper or aluminum coils to generate a magnetic field when current is applied. This fascinating video from NIDE shows how their machines do the work automatically, first loading an armature, then rapidly winding copper wire around its fins.

Drone Motor Flying Machine

Drone Motor Flying Machine

A paramotor is a single-person flying machine with a parachute wing to keep it aloft and a large fan to propel it. Aviation buff Peter Sripol wanted to see if it was possible to create a version powered by a bunch of individual drone motors instead, and as you can see from the thumbnail, he succeeded. It’s insanely loud though.

Putting Toothpaste Back in the Tube

Putting Toothpaste Back in the Tube

After building a toaster that can un-toast bread, Joel Creates wanted to see if he could rewind time in another unlikely way. For his latest build, he made a machine that can pull toothpaste back inside the tube using a vacuum pump. It’s also the fastest way to apply toothpaste to 100 toothbrushes.

LEGO 1×1 Gear Train

LEGO 1×1 Gear Train

Today’s most satisfying video comes in the form of this clip from the Brick Experiment Channel. Their goal? Create the longest possible chain of 1×1 LEGO Technic gears while retaining the same gear ratio from start to finish. We’re impressed that a single motor can drive that many gears.

The Perfectly Flush Screw

The Perfectly Flush Screw

Screws are a great way to attach objects to each other, but they usually stick out or have slots to cover up. Woodworker and inventor Andrew Klein shows off a design for a machined metal screw that tightens flush to the surface and has no visible slots thanks to their hidden turning mechanism. More here.

LEGO Technic Table Saw

LEGO Technic Table Saw

It’s possible to make saw blades out of materials other than metal. GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines not only built a saw blade out of LEGO Technic parts, but an entire working table saw. It uses 14 motors to cut through objects and is definitely not something you’d want to stick your finger into. Here it is using a skinnier blade.

Walking + Flying Robot

Walking + Flying Robot

There are robots out there that can walk on two legs and drones that can fly. But Leonardo can do both, using its rotors to help it balance while walking. It can even skateboard and slackline. Veritasium takes a look at this unusual hybrid robot being developed by engineers at the Aerospace Robotics and Control Lab at Caltech.

Making DIY Airless Tires

Making DIY Airless Tires

Inspired by the expensive airless tires seen on construction equipment and concept vehicles, The Q set out on a mission to make his own shock-absorbing, puncture-proof bike tires using a similar design. What’s even more impressive is that he built them using only PVC pipe, nuts, bolts, and the tread from a standard bike tire.

LEGO Braiding Machine

LEGO Braiding Machine

Nico71’s motorized LEGO Technic creation deftly maneuvers five spools of thread, carefully twisting, turning, and juggling each one to form a braided cord. Its hypnotic moves remind us of some kind of an amusement park ride. Full build instructions can be found here.

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Exploding Circle Machine

Exploding Circle Machine

JBV Creative loves to make unique machines using 3D printed parts. Inspired by a computer simulation of a similar contraption, he created a mechanism that splits a circle into four quadrants, flips them over, and reassembles them with a turn of its crank. You can purchase the STL files at the link.

Ugears Hexapod Explorer

Ugears Hexapod Explorer

Wood model maker Ugears was clearly inspired by robots when they engineered this mechanical marvel. Once assembled, the six-legged creature ambles along on smooth surfaces when you wind its spring. The 388-piece, flat-pack model takes about 8 hours to assemble.

The Schmid Peoplemover

The Schmid Peoplemover

A while back, Tom Scott checked out an elevator that can move both horizontally and vertically. At the time, he thought there was no way to smoothly change angles without stopping, but he was wrong. The Schmid Peoplemover can do just that, transporting passengers up, across a bridge, and back down on the other side.

Metal Hydroforming Experiments

Metal Hydroforming Experiments

Hydroforming is the process of shaping metal structures by inflating them with pressurized water or air. Maker Connor Holland has been experimenting with the technique, and shared this compilation of some of the more interesting and satisfying results. The pillow one looks like a metal whoopee cushion.

Building an Iron Spider-Man Suit

Building an Iron Spider-Man Suit

Inspired by the nanotech “Iron Spider” suit seen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, JLaservideo wanted to see if he could replicate Spidey’s instantly-appearing, eight-legged outfit. J’s suit hides its appearance beneath a thermochromic pigment, and has inflatable tentacles that unfurl like those party horns.

LEGO Mangle Rack Mechanisms

LEGO Mangle Rack Mechanisms

LEGO machine master Akiyuki shows some fascinating and unusual mechanisms. The designs were inspired by a “mangle rack,” which converts circular motion into rectilinear motion by moving a gear along the outside of a set of pins. He uses the method to smoothly move shapes around a track and to create a clock display.

Walking Wheels

Walking Wheels

Wheels are good at maneuvering vehicles over most surfaces, but they’re not always great at climbing irregular or rough obstacles. Engineer James Bruton fabricated these unusual “Pedrail” wheels that use a system of articulated “legs” and “feet” to roll and walk over uneven terrain. They look cool, but are they practical?

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Turbine Umbrella Hat

Turbine Umbrella Hat

Maker Ivan Miranda lives in a beautiful place in Spain. But he hates when it rains there, and he doesn’t like carrying an umbrella. So he set about the task of engineering a motorized helmet that uses a powerful motor and a turbine to blow the rain away from his body. And yes, it works in real rain.

Wheelchair Stairs

Wheelchair Stairs

Usually, if you need to get a wheelchair upstairs, you have to take the elevator or a ramp. But at Seattle’s Space Needle they have a special set of stairs that transform into an ADA-compliant wheelchair lift with the push of a button. The retractable lift was engineered by UK outfit Sesame.

Rolls-Royce Jet Engine Time-Lapse

Rolls-Royce Jet Engine Time-Lapse

Rolls-Royce shared this brief, but fascinating look at the process of building one of its Pearl 15 jet engines at their factory in Germany. Each engine is assembled by hand by a team of skilled mechanics out of thousands of individual components. This particular engine was later attached to a Bombardier Global 6500 business jet.

Flexible LEGO Technic Tank

Flexible LEGO Technic Tank

GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines shows off another unique LEGO Technic vehicle. This tank-like machine features two wedge-shaped body segments connected by a retractable hinge mechanism. This design allows it to crawl easily over a variety of uneven terrain, climb stairs, and even negotiate soft objects like pillows.

How a Split-Flap Display Works

How a Split-Flap Display Works

Split-flap displays used to be common in everything from tabletop clocks to arrival and departure boards at airports. While not as popular these days, these electro-mechanical displays are still marvels of engineering. Scottbez1 walks us through how they work with a demonstration of his single-digit Arduino-controlled display.

Magic Windows

Magic Windows

Engineer Matt Ferraro came up with an innovative method to hide images in clear acrylic. At first glance, the tile appears to be completely transparent, but when light passes through it onto a surface, an image is revealed. The technique relies on caustic patterns which cast shadows and transmit light at varying intensities.

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