THE BEST Engineering

10-Gear Planetary Gear

10-Gear Planetary Gear

A planetary gear is an arrangement of gears in which a central “sun” gear rotates as an outer ring is turned. Typically these have 3 or 4 “planet” gears to transfer energy from the ring. This impressive feat of engineering has 10 planet gears with a square sun gear. This 3D-printed double planetary gear is pretty awesome too.

Explosive Bat in Slow Motion

Explosive Bat in Slow Motion

Destin from Smarter Every Day and Shane from Stuff Made Here have had a little friendly competition going on to see who could hit a baseball furthest through engineering. Now, the two have teamed up to examine exactly how Shane’s explosively-charged home run bat works its magic, in glorious slow-motion.

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Making a Flywheel Trebuchet

Making a Flywheel Trebuchet

Engineer Tom Stanton is fascinated by the way in which flywheels can store up energy as they’re spun up to speed. In this clip, he combines a flywheel mechanism with a sturdy aluminum trebuchet, creating a durable machine that can toss a tennis ball at fast as 180 mph.

Dual-threaded Steel Rod

Dual-threaded Steel Rod

Canadian steel fabrication company Ironmen Industries created this unique metal rod that’s got two interwoven threads, allowing nuts with opposite threads to move in different directions. We’re not sure of the practical application but it sure would make an amazing fidget toy. Originally spotted by Stene Woodwork.

Unmissable Basketball Hoop

Unmissable Basketball Hoop

Do you suck at basketball? Maybe you need a robotic assist. Stuff Made Here has previously built a motorized basketball hoop that deflects a ball into the hoop, but only work if you at least hit the backboard. This new robot solves that problem, letting you toss the ball pretty much anywhere in its general vicinity.

Car Suspension Stress Test

Car Suspension Stress Test

When you’re inside of a modern car, it’s very easy to take all of its mechanical wizardries for granted. This footage gives you a much better idea of what your vehicle is dealing with under its body, as a specialized rig puts a BMW E39 M5 suspension, wheels, and tires to the test.

Explosive Baseball Bat

Explosive Baseball Bat

In order to improve his hit distance, engineer Shane Wighton Stuff Made Here created a baseball bat with the ultimate sweet spot. If hit just right, explosive charges fire, pushing a piston forward, and launching the baseball into home run territory. Along the way, he shows off his fancy new Tormach 24r mill.

How a Tank Works

How a Tank Works

Jared Owen always does a great job explaining how things work by creating 3D animations of their inner workings. This time, he walks us through the caterpillar-tracked M1A2 Abrams tank, which weighs in at an incredible 68 tons, and can cross just about any terrain. We had no idea these things were powered by jet fuel.

Lucky Charms Sorting Machine

Lucky Charms Sorting Machine

Only like the marshmallows from Lucky Charms? Well you could buy a bag without the oat bits, or you could do what these guys from Google did, and build a machine that separates them for you. The Teachable Sorter can actually be used to recognize and sort other objects, and you can get the code, 3D files, and build details here.

Mechanical Prosthetic Hand

Mechanical Prosthetic Hand

Ian Davis needed a prosthetic to replace four fingers on his left hand. Rather than purchase a commercial model, he engineered an awesome metal hand that looks like something out of The Terminator. It’s capable of opening, closing, and the unique ability to splay its fingers, and makes satisfying sounds as it flexes.

Wooden Radial Engine

Wooden Radial Engine

Ian Jimmerson shows off an impressive wooden model he built that demonstrates the inner workings of a 9-cylinder radial engine, like the ones used on some older airplanes. It’s really amazing how stable it is as it gets up to speed. Check out his in-depth explainer videos here and here.

Power Line Fiber Optic Robot

Power Line Fiber Optic Robot

To help deploy high-speed Internet access to rural areas, Facebook Engineering has been developing a robot which can ride along on existing power lines to install fiber optic cables, saving time and money compared to conventional methods such as digging. The system uses with special cables which resist weather damage.

Rocket Fuel Tank Explosion

Rocket Fuel Tank Explosion

As NASA engineers work on the Space Launch System (SLS) it will use for its Artemis lunar missions, they must perform extreme tests to determine its structural limits. In this short video, they intentionally squeezed this liquid oxygen tank with millions of pounds of force until it burst, sending water everywhere.

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How Escalators Work

How Escalators Work

As long as we’re not carrying a heavy suitcase, we generally take the stairs when given a choice. But for those times when you feel like giving your legs a break, the escalator is quite the invention. Jared Owen provides an animated explanation of the inner workings of this engineering marvel that dates back to the mid-19th century.

How Drop Tower Rides Work

How Drop Tower Rides Work

If you’ve ever been a passenger on one of those drop tower rides, you know how the combination of speed and plummeting toward Earth can be quite the thrill. Art of Engineering talks us through the history of these rides, and the different techniques that have been used to bring a hurtling mass of steel and people to a safe stop.

HelloMask Transparent Mask

HelloMask Transparent Mask

Beyond the comfort issues, one of the reasons people don’t like wearing masks is that it covers their face. Engineers from EPFL’s EssentialTech Center and Empa have developed a mask that both acts as a filter and is transparent. The trick is the weave, made from incredibly thin nanofibers, woven together using electrospinning.

Autonomous LiDAR NERF Robot

Autonomous LiDAR NERF Robot

Engineer James Bruton is always building amazing things in his workshop. He recently got his hands on a LiDAR scanner unit which can enable 3D computer vision and capture navigational data. He used the device to guide a robot that looks for movement all around it, then turns to fire at what it detected. Demo starts at 17:54.

The Universal Golf Club

The Universal Golf Club

The main difference between all of those irons you carry around in your golf bag is the loft angle of its metal wedge. Stuff Made Here managed to engineer a single, mechanical golf club that could replace of a whole bag of irons. The club can also automatically adjust based on desired distance in the middle of the swing.

Ultimate Squirrel-proof Feeder

Ultimate Squirrel-proof Feeder

Like many of us, engineer Mark Rober has a backyard bird feeder. He also faces the common problem of squirrels pilfering bird seed. So what did he do? He and his buddy created an overly-complicated solution to the problem, frustrating fluffy-tailed rodents with an American Squirrel Warrior obstacle course.

Reconfigurable Metamaterials

Reconfigurable Metamaterials

Metamaterials are materials that are defined by their structure, rather than their composition. In 2017, researchers from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences designed a modular framework which can reconfigure as if by magic, resulting in entirely new structures when directional forces are applied.

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Desktop Helicopter Rotor

Desktop Helicopter Rotor

While we’re perplexed by Liberman’s musical selections, we are impressed with what he was able to construct on his workbench. Watch as he puts together a working model of a helicopter rotor from plywood, rulers, popsicle sticks, and off-the-shelf hardware. We love how it even can adjust the angle of its blades.

The World of Microscopic Machines

The World of Microscopic Machines

Did you know that the smartphone in your pocket has moving parts inside of it? Devices such as accelerometers use a hybrid of mechanical and electronic mechanisms known as MEMS. New Mind puts this fascinating and complex tech under the microscope to explain how they work, and how they’re made.

The Octo-Bouncer

The Octo-Bouncer

Electron Dust shows off a nifty machine that can bounce a ping pong ball, while keeping it balanced and centered on its moving platform. It uses combination of open-source image processing software and Arduino-controlled stepper motors to work its magic. More build details here.

How an Oscillating Fan Works

How an Oscillating Fan Works

Over the years, we’ve broken at least a couple of those oscillating fans, but could never figure out how to fix them. Jared Owen’s insightful 3D animation could have been a big help, as he shows us exactly how its mechanisms work to keep it moving from side to side.

Walking Bicycle 2.0

Walking Bicycle 2.0

Taking obvious inspiration from artist Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests and CARV’s earlier efforts, maker The Q fabricated himself a crazy bicycle which has no rear wheel, and instead can walk across the ground. This design appears much smoother than the one we previously saw, but by no means the fastest way to ride a bicycle.

Gluon Desktop Robotic Arm

Gluon Desktop Robotic Arm

Innfos‘ modular desktop robot is designed for scientists and hobbyists alike. Configurable with up to six axes, this robotic arm has extremely dexterous and smooth actuators can be used can be used to pick up objects up to 1kg (2.2lb), hold machining tools, or to perform other precision tasks.

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