THE BEST Machines

Mr. Roboto on Floppy Drives

Mr. Roboto on Floppy Drives

“My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain IBM.” Styx’s 1983 track Mr. Roboto represented the pinnacle of overwrought concept rock. Yet there has yet to be a more appropriate song played by Paweł Zadrożniak’s electromechanical orchestra, the Floppotron and its servo-powered instrumentation.

Feel Good Inc. with Marbles

Feel Good Inc. with Marbles

Remix artist William Maranci did a great job combining the warm and inviting sounds of Wintergatan’s musical marble machine with Gorillaz’ track Feel Good Inc. As its musician and inventor cranks it up, Maranci has to fool with the BPM a bit, but that’s part of the fun.

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Pass the Pepper

Pass the Pepper

Joseph’s Machines already got some salt, but he needs some pepper too. With social distancing measures in place, it’s important not to just hand it across the table, especially since it can make you sneeze. With some help from his friend JackofAllSpades98, they came up with a safer method of passing the shaker.

LEGO Bomb Disposal Robot

LEGO Bomb Disposal Robot

This highly-articulated LEGO Technic robot by Shadow Elenter uses 19 motors to move its wheels, arms, snippers and grippers to defuse, pick up, and dispose of a phony explosive payload. We’re not sure we’d use it for a real bomb threat, but we’re still impressed.

Monster LEGO Technic Tank

Monster LEGO Technic Tank

This impressive LEGO Technic vehicle uses 16 Mindstorms EV3 controllers and 48 motors to drive its tank-like treads along the ground. Its builder, Eric Steenstra says it can tow over 220 pounds, so he likes to use it to pull people in their wheelchairs.

Micro-machining a Mountain

Micro-machining a Mountain

As impressive as large-scale milling machines can be, compact machines that can create intricate parts are equally fascinating to us. In this clip, Bantam Tools shows off their Desktop PCB Milling Machine as it carves a miniature topographic map of Washington’s Mount Rainier out of a cube of aluminum.

Milling a Metal Gear

Milling a Metal Gear

Machine shop DataPro shares hypnotic time-lapse footage of a Datron CNC milling machine, as it takes a disc of aluminum and transforms it into a precise and smoothly formed gear. It was shot as a time-lapse, but won’t it be awesome when machines can do this in real time?

Cookie Dunking Machine

Cookie Dunking Machine

Because he was hungry, Sprice Machines built a ridiculously complicated chain-reaction machine that’s designed solely for dunking a cookie in milk. It doesn’t even do a good job doing that, but it’s entertaining to watch it get there. Stick around for lots of trial and error footage.

Butt-cleaning Robot

Butt-cleaning Robot

With hoarding surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been quite the run on toilet paper here in the U.S. While add-on bidet toilet seats are always an option, Mike of Useless Duck Company thinks he’s got a more thorough solution – though his approach might be just a little more painful. Kids, don’t try this at home.

LEGO Playing Card Gun

LEGO Playing Card Gun

While it’s not as powerful or accurate as Mark Rober’s motorized playing card thrower, Brick Experiment Channel’s version is still pretty sweet, and was built entirely using LEGO components, giving it double the geek cred. Now we want him to build a version that fires cash… or minifigs.

Epic LEGO Crane

Epic LEGO Crane

RC model fan Bordin Luca shows off a massive LEGO Technic build based on Jeroen Ottens‘ design for a Liebherr LTM 11200 construction crane. The nearly 8000-piece model features motorized support legs, and a huge, extendable tower. It’s featured alongside several other large RC vehicles in the eBook Bigscale RC Model.

Robot Dinosaur Factory

Robot Dinosaur Factory

Creature Technology creates incredible large-size animatronics for museums, theme parks, live shows, and other attractions. Bloomberg takes us inside the factory where they make giant mechanical bears, gorillas, and imposing life-size dinosaurs.

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.

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LEGO Firewood Factory

LEGO Firewood Factory

LEGO Technic machine expert The Brick Wall created an amazing working sawmill that turns long logs into individual pieces of firewood. The wood is delivered on the back of a LEGO truck, then the factory cuts the wood into smaller logs, then splits them into quarters, ready for lighting.

Fiber Laser Cutting Demo

Fiber Laser Cutting Demo

Prima Power shows off the power and speed of one of its impressive fiber lasers. Their 6kW Laser Genius slices through sheet metal of varying thickness like a hot, razor-sharp knife through butter. We can’t believe how easily it got through that metal at 1:20. More laser porn here.

How Wire Mesh Is Made

How Wire Mesh Is Made

This footage from Chinese company Jiake Machine shows the process of taking coiled wire and transforming it into a sturdy mesh for fences or construction. The automated system pulls wires from dozens of spools, and feeds them through a massive welding rig that spot welds each intersection, with the mesh emerging from the other side.

Playing Card Shooter

Playing Card Shooter

There are professional card throwers out there who can land a playing card on its edge every time. But if you don’t possess those skills, you could always build a mechanical solution, like The Practical Engineer did. His motorized launcher can fire playing cards at speeds nearing 200km/h (or about 124 mph).

LEGO Robot GBC Module

LEGO Robot GBC Module

We’re surprised that LEGO machine expert JK Brickworks has never built a Great Ball Contraption module before, but his first one definitely lives up to his standards. Watch as four tiny LEGO robots work along an assembly line, each passing a ball to the next to move it down the line. It also appears to work as a hypnosis device.

LEGO Roulette Machine

LEGO Roulette Machine

While it’s not likely to be approved for use in an actual casino, Berthil van Beek’s motorized LEGO Technic roulette wheel is an impressive build. It’s designed to work as part of a larger great ball contraption, but is perfectly awesome all on its own. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!

Mesmerizing Marble Machine

Mesmerizing Marble Machine

It may not play music like Wintergatan’s marble-powered musical instrument, but we still enjoyed listening to the soothing sounds and watching the hypnotic movements of this wooden marble machine, which serves as an example of the modules you can buy from its creator.

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Matt and Mantis

Matt and Mantis

Guinness World Records introduces us to animatronics and robotics expert Matt Denton, and his prize-winning walking robot, Mantis. This gigantic, diesel-powered hexapod weighs in at nearly 4200 pounds, and can stomp around while an operator rides in its mid-section. Matt also happens to be the co-creator of BB-8.

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.

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.

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