THE BEST Machines

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.

The Dinner Feeder

The Dinner Feeder

It might spill a little food along the way, but Joseph’s Machines‘ ridiculous Rube Goldberg contraption does ultimately perform the task it’s intended for, feeding him a tasty meal of peas, potatoes, asparagus, and chicken, along with a cupcake and a nice cup of coffee, all without getting up from his desk.

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DIY Cardboard Slot Machine

DIY Cardboard Slot Machine

The Q takes a gamble with this build – a fully-functional slot machine built from cardboard, popsicle sticks, and hot glue. We love the detail he included on the reels to make it look like the real deal. Stick around for a few other fun DIY builds in this compilation video.

Cable Braiding Machine

Cable Braiding Machine

This wild looking industrial machine is designed to take dozens of spools of thread and braids them together to wrap the exterior of a cable harness. We’re not quite sure why it doesn’t feed the cable through itself, and a human still has to do that work.

The Mad Batter Machine

The Mad Batter Machine

As far as we know, the longest home run hit ever was 582 feet by Joey Meyer – and that was with the help of Denver’s thin air. But pesky human ball players are no match for Smarter Every Day and Jeremy Fielding’s terrifying motorized batter built to hit a ball at speeds up to twice as fast as an pro player – if it doesn’t self destruct first.

The Universal LEGO Sorter

The Universal LEGO Sorter

We’ve seen machines that can sort LEGO bricks before, but they’re generally limited to just a few specific shapes or colors. Daniel West’s machine is much smarter, using AI algorithms to identify and sort nearly 3,000 different LEGO shapes and colors. We think it’ll need more than 18 sorting bins to be really useful though.

CNC Engraving a Coin

CNC Engraving a Coin

YouTuber Phuc Nguyen shared this hypnotic video of an intricate image being engraved out of a thick disc of brass. He used a Woodpecker DP1212 CNC router, and a variety of different tooling bits to gradually increase the detail of the design.

The Robot Sculptor

The Robot Sculptor

These days, using machines to carve and sculpt is commonplace, but back in 1957 it was anything but. Back then, an ingenious inventor named George MacDonald Reid came up with a process that would snap 300 pictures of a subject’s head, then traced those images to carve it into a block of plaster, one section at a time.

Freeform Bending Machine

Freeform Bending Machine

This impressive piece of computer-controlled machinery from Germany’s J. Neu can take straight pieces of metal tubing, and bend them to its whim. We’re not getting the accompaniment of The Godfather music, but maybe it’s a threat that the machine will bend you like a pretzel if you go against it.

Making Cookie Cutters

Making Cookie Cutters

Cookiecutter.com shares a brief look at a machine that transforms rings of metal into cookie cutters. It uses several, hydraulic tools to precisely push the metal against a central form. While the machine is amazing, for some shapes, they still use the old-fashioned method. Wow.

Self-Erecting LEGO Crane

Self-Erecting LEGO Crane

The Brick Wall is an expert at building LEGO Technic machines that perform various tasks. For this build, he created a complex mechanism that can drive itself to a location then self-assemble a tower crane when it comes to a stop. He uses it to build a LEGO skyscraper.

Thanos Sword Blender

Thanos Sword Blender

A while back, The Hacksmith built an impressive replica of Thanos’ dual-ended sword, but it was quite difficult to wield. Now, they’ve put the thing to good use, securely connecting the weapon to a motor, building a cinder block shield around it, and turning it into the world’s largest (and most terrifying) blender.

Makeway Marble Tracks

Makeway Marble Tracks

These fun-looking marble tracks mount on magnetic surfaces like some whiteboard and fridges, letting you create Line Rider-style courses that take full advantage of gravity. Available tricks will include a spinner, bell, launcher, catapult, a motorized lift and more. Launching soon on Kickstarter.

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Ugears Dynamometer

Ugears Dynamometer

Flat pack model maker Ugears 48-piece kit is one of their easier builds, yet it’s simply fascinating to watch. The mechanical contraption converts air pressure to movement, which in turn spins a pointer which acts as a sort of decision maker for the next task for you to work on.

LEGO Tamburo Meccanico

LEGO Tamburo Meccanico

Inspired by a mechanical drum-playing machine designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, this LEGO music maker by Giuseppe Acito uses a series of pegs placed onto a spinning wheel to trigger sound sequences as its “fingers” press keys connected to synthesizers.

LEGO Frame Saw

LEGO Frame Saw

The Brick Wall has made some pretty nifty LEGO Technic machines over the years. This one continues his tradition of making them functional by including a pair of serrated blades which can rip through wood (or carrots). We love watching the grippy robot arms moving the pieces around.

How a Gumball Machine Works

How a Gumball Machine Works

It’s a requisite stop for every kid with change in their pocket. But have you ever wondered how dropping a coin into a gumball machine makes it dispense a chewy treat? Animator and explainer of things Jared Owen gives us a detailed breakdown of its mechanism.

Most Complicated Donuts

Most Complicated Donuts

In this fun video from Driving Line and Nitto Tire, they set up a Rube Goldberg-style chain reaction machine that eventually triggers some tire-smoking donuts by driver Ryan Tuerck. Along the way, there’s some paintball action, and a nasty looking knife-wielding drone, which thankfully didn’t slash any of the tires – or people.

The Machine that Made Everything

The Machine that Made Everything

The industrial revolution kicked off the biggest boom of innovation in the history of humanity. Machine Thinking looks back at one specific machine which came at the very start of that era that he considers as the linchpin for much of what came after.

Massive K’nex Ball Machine

Massive K’nex Ball Machine

K’nex fanatic Austin “Austron” Grainger shows off his latest build, an enormous ball machine made from over 115,000 pieces and more than 850 feet of track. It’s installed in the lobby of The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota. It’s not quite as big as his record-breaking machine, but it’s the largest one that’s currently standing.

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100 Wheel Lego Vehicle

100 Wheel Lego Vehicle

It took the Brick Experiment Channel quite a bit of work to put together this over-the-top LEGO creation, but what they ended up with was a crazy wheeled train of sorts, driven by a total of 100 wheels, 50 axles, 11 motors, and 4 battery boxes. It’s not the most reliable or agile ride, though.

Human Claw Machine

Human Claw Machine

Claw machines look like fun until you realize that they’re all rigged to keep you from getting the good stuff. Perhaps that’s why this dad decided to build his daughter Clara a very special claw machine for her birthday – one where the little girl IS the claw, and can grab whatever she can as a winch dangles her over the prize pit.

Controlling an Excavator with LEGO

Controlling an Excavator with LEGO

The LEGO Technic Control+ app lets you remotely control motors and other components using your phone. To prove its muscle, LEGO and Sariel’s Workshop teamed up to see if they could use it to control a real Liebherr 9800 excavator using only the parts from the Technic version. Behind-the-scenes video here.

Pool Party Machine

Pool Party Machine

This nearly 9-minute long chain reaction contraption from Sprice Machines and his pals features a hypnotic, yet needlessly complicated series of ball bearings, dominoes, blow dryers, and other random household objects work in concert to kick off the ultimate Rube Goldberg pool party.

How Pumpkin Seeds Are Harvested

How Pumpkin Seeds Are Harvested

We always assumed that the way they got seeds out of pumpkins was to scoop out the meat for things like canned pumpkin, then separate out the seeds. But from the looks of this video, pumpkins are smashed by machine right out of the patch, simply to extract the seeds. The process seems wasteful, but it’s still interesting to watch.

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