If you’ve visited a Costco lately, you might have seen some chairs made from Polywood, a durable material produced by chopping up and melting down plastic, then extruding it into a weight-bearing and weatherproof lumber for making furniture. Popular Mechanics takes us inside the Polywood factory to see how they do it.
Like many of you, we enjoy spicy foods. In this wonderfully satisfying video from a factory in China, we see how they combine spices, oil, herbs, sugar, and even beer to create mass quantities of delicious chili oil for hot pot cooking. While we couldn’t find where to buy this exact product, there’s a similar hot pot base available on Amazon.
This video shows the kind of terrifying catastrophe that can happen in a metal factory. J.D. Christopher shared this footage of a fiery disaster on an aluminum extrusion line that he described accurately as opening “a portal to a demon dimension.” Fortunately, nobody was injured in the incident.
Charged with moving the pistons in and out, a crankshaft is like the beating heart of an engine. While crankshafts need to be finished by machining, they start by forging and stamping steel, then twisting the molten metal to form the journals and counterweights that comprise this critical car part.
This fascinating short video shows how a factory adds ink to Mahjong tiles. After placing the engraved tiles onto a platform, a computer-controlled arm uses inkjets to spray precise amounts of red and black pigments onto the right spots on each tile. The machine has nothing on this artist who still makes Mahjong tiles by hand.
This short, but highly satisfying video takes us inside a workshop for a look at how to make perfect spheres from wood. The process involves using a curved cutting blade against a dowel that’s been attached to one end of a lathe. Be sure to check out tesssxkiersten82’s TikTok for more hypnotic woodworking videos.
We love the bright colors and heady aroma of Fruity Pebbles. In this classic episode of Unwrapped, they take us inside Post’s factory that churns out more than 55 million boxes of the cereal a year. The process includes dying long-grain rice, smushing the grains into flat pieces, then coating them with sugar and flavoring.
Your local deli can slice cheese for you, but it’s done one slice at a time. This industrial machine from TEXTOR is designed to cut entire bricks of cheese in seconds. It uses a conveyor belt to push cheese through a rapidly-spinning circular blade. Here’s another one of their machines making quick work of pepperoni and bacon.
Spiral staircases offer a stylish way to add access to another level without taking up too much space, though they’re made in a very different way than traditional stairs. How It’s Made shows us the modern way of making these staircases using metal platforms and wood decks. The railings look like the trickiest part.
Go inside of Italy’s Beta Utensili factory, where they take pieces of raw steel, heat them, hot roll, and machine hammer them into their rough shapes, before cutting them out, sand blasting, grinding, tumbling, and refining their openings before hardening and plating each piece into a finished combination wrench.
Robotime’s latest ROKR wood model lets you build a tabletop marble run that looks like a tiny chocolate factory. Turn the crank, and colorful marbles roll through twists and turns of the maze. The 420-piece model takes about 7 hours to assemble and offers ample challenge for kit builders. We only wish it made real candy.
How It’s Made takes us inside the Merkur blade factory for a look at the equipment and materials that go into producing razor bladed. They start as a flexible strip of steel that is perforated, hardened with a heat-treating process, and run through a grinder to sharpen their edges before they’re separated and coated.
Manufacturing motors for EVs and hybrids is a very different process from making conventional engines. In this video, you’ll go inside the factory where Audi produces its EV motors, and robots and humans work in concert to transform metal, plastic, and coils of copper wire into a modern and powerful mode of propulsion.
For thousands of years, gold has been one of the most valuable commodities on earth. In this video from Factory Monster, they take us inside the Korea Gold Exchange for a satisfying look at how nondescript bars of gold are melted down, flattened, cut, and stamped into pristine 999.9% pure gold ingots for resale.
Porsche takes us inside of one of its factories to see how they create a bespoke 911 GT3 from their Exclusive Manufaktur division. It takes two days to build a car from start to finish, with 1500 workers touching each vehicle along the way. This particular specimen is finished in a gorgeous Gold Bronze Metallic paint.
Did you know that plastic bottles are blown like glass? Us neither. Here’s a look at a fascinating machine that takes small plastic tubes, heats them, and then blows them into a mold to make water bottles. The same basic process is even used for big 5-gallon bottles.
Mayonnaise is one of those condiments that you either love or hate. This look inside the Duke’s mayonnaise factory from How It’s Made probably won’t convert any mayo haters, but it does offer a fascinating glimpse into the process of making mass quantities of the savory dressing. How about that truck filled with liquid eggs?
Redditor arcedup works in a steel mill and wanted to test out the video capabilities of their phone. While they were at it, they captured this wonderfully satisfying clip of molten hot steel being turned into a coiled rod. Is it wrong that we want to make the world’s largest Slinky with it?
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.
While most of the toilets in the world are made using machines, there are still places where they are made by hand. This video takes us inside one such factory in Pakistan, where workers pour bucketloads of clay into toilet-shaped molds, assemble and smooth the leather-hard clay, glaze it, then fire it in a giant kiln.
Heavy-duty cardboard tubes are used to protect rolled goods in transit and provide forms for concrete construction projects. SBS Tube shows off the production process behind these large tubes, which involves gluing together numerous individual strips of brown paper around a metal roller.
Sit back and enjoy this 14-minute video from a bread factory in Korea, where ingredients are combined, then kneaded into dough and baked in industrial ovens. Then the freshly-baked loaves of white and chestnut bread glide along an assembly line, tumble out of their pans, and head to the cooling racks before slicing.
We know that pasta isn’t good for you, but we can’t resist the occasional bowl of carbs drowned in tomatoes, meat, and cheese. Wondastic Tech put together this satisfying compilation of factories that produce pasta, showing off the different machines used to form shapes like tortellini, fusilli, lasagna, and cannelloni.