Forget simulators. Located in Pottsboro, TX and Hastings, MN, Extreme Sandbox will teach you how to operate heavy equipment – a bulldozer, a wheel loader, an excavator, or a fire truck – and have fun with them through various challenges.
For his latest one-day build, Adam Savage and his Tested pals cheated a bit, spending a couple of days cutting, welding, and assembling a complicated walking machine inspired by the work of Theo Jansen. And you thought assembling IKEA furniture was tricky.
Using a pair of record players, a stick of wood, a binder clip, a fine point pen, and some tape, you can make a machine that traces the movements of one turntable’s arm, to make abstract art on the other’s platter. You can make something even cooler with a little extra effort.
We love seeing unusual machines work their magic to produce items we take for granted. Here’s a machine that takes spools of stiff wire and twists them into the interlocking rows of a chain-link fence, while another set of tools twists the loose ends together.
Students at Germany’s Jade Hochschule created this amazing machine which uses Mindstorms mechanisms along with a class 4 laser to cut, score, and fold a tiny paper box – the one and only product of the world’s smallest factory. Naturally, the place is staffed by Minifigs.
At one point or another, we’ve all encountered an off-balance washing machine that starts making horrible sounds. This guy seized the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade, using the incessant banging noise as the backing track for Louisiana Saturday Night.
Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks shows off a relatively simple, yet awesome LEGO machine which uses a motor and hinged arms to move a pen in repeated geometric patterns, resulting in Spirograph-like drawings. Jason provides full instructions for building your own here.
This marvel of modern engineering at China’s Three Gorges Dam is capable of lifting 6.7 million pounds of boats, water, and people to a height of over 34 stories. It takes 40 minutes to get to the top, shaving more than 2 hours off of the previous route over the dam.
Researchers from the Hasso Plattner Institute show off a unique material – one which can have mechanisms built into it through the use of cellular grids. These allow for motion as they collapse and expand, eliminating the need for traditional mechanisms like hinges or gears.
Until now, waterjet cutting has been reserved for large industrial shops, but the Wazer aims to bring the tech to every workshop. It uses a high pressure stream of water and abrasive particles to slice cleanly through even the hardest materials, with precision and smoothness.
While laser engraving is typically done on wood or acrylic, this video shows a laser system which is used to add patterns or a pre-washed look to blue jeans. The completed fashions aren’t our style, but the tech is really cool. Plus, the music just makes it so much more dramatic.
Mike Rouleau shows off a neat bit of tech – a device which stands on a needle-like tip, but keeps itself balanced by constantly adjusting the direction and speed of motors. As one commenter put it: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”