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Awesome Machines

4-Side LEGO Walker

4-Side LEGO Walker

2in1 Bricking loves to create LEGO machines that can walk or drive. This particular model is designed to amble along the ground no matter which edge it’s placed on. Can you imagine giant robots or vehicles getting around like this?

How a Mechanical Watch Works

How a Mechanical Watch Works

If you’ve ever looked through the case back of a mechanical watch, you know they can be incredibly complicated inside. Jake from Animagraffs created this detailed 3D animation which shows how all of those intricate gears, axles, springs, and dials work together to accurately tell time without batteries or electronics.

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LEGO Ferris Wheel GBC

LEGO Ferris Wheel GBC

In LEGO terminology, “GBC” stands for Great Ball Contraption, and Berthil van Beek is an expert at building these complex LEGO machines which connect to other GBC modules. His latest build is an enormous Ferris wheel that picks up tiny basketballs and soccer balls, takes them on a trip, and delivers them to the next station’s inbox.

The Most Unexpected Hydraulic Press Moments

The Most Unexpected Hydraulic Press Moments

Over the years, the Hydraulic Press Channel has performed numerous destructive experiments under the crushing force of their 150-ton press. This video compiles ten times things went differently than anticipated, including dangerous explosions, broken windows, and even watermelon rain.

Driving an Analog Tank Simulator

Driving an Analog Tank Simulator

These days, the military uses powerful computers and high-end graphics cards to simulate missions. But in the 1970s, one of the ways to simulate driving a tank was using a miniature city, a motion camera rig, and a remote screen that displayed the first-person perspective to the pilot. Tom Scott took this vintage sim for a ride.

Robot Apple Picker

Robot Apple Picker

We’re not sure if we should be amazed by or terrified by Advanced.Farm’s wheeled robot that autonomously harvests apple crops. Its six mechanical arms are fitted with custom-built stereoscopic cameras to identify ready-to-pick apples, then pluck them off with their grippers. The machine can pick roughly 30 apples per minute.

Cutting Stone with a Waterjet

Cutting Stone with a Waterjet

It’s amazing how water can be pressurized so much that it can cut through things. In this clip we spotted on the Tool Gifs subreddit, we get an up-close look at how a tightly-focused stream of water can cut incredibly precise shapes in stone. The footage does appear to have been sped up, though.

Rube Goldberg Picnic Machine

Rube Goldberg Picnic Machine

Because tossing a few things into a picnic basket is just too ordinary, Sprice Machines decided it was time for some innovation in the area of outdoor dining. So Steve and his team got to work building a remarkably complicated Rube Goldberg machine that takes care of carrying the basket and taking care of everything except the ants.

Cheese-Flipping Robot

Cheese-Flipping Robot

What is my purpose? You flip the cheese. The JNJ RF6 robot has one job to do. It rolls down the aisle of a cheese cave, grabs wheels of cheese, brushes off their outsides, flips them over, and puts them back on their shelves. It performs this task 96 times per hour, maintaining up to 5000 wheels of cheddar per week.

LEGO Pancake Factory

LEGO Pancake Factory

Why make your own pancakes when you can let machines do it for you? The Brick Wall shows off another impressive LEGO factory they built that cracks eggs, mixes them with flour, pours the batter on a hot griddle, and flips pancakes. Now they just need a LEGO syrup and butter robot.

The Treadwheel Crane

The Treadwheel Crane

Guédelon is an attraction in France that’s in the process of building a castle and its technologies based on authentic 13th-century drawings and artifacts. Among its features are these giant hamster wheels that use human power to lift stones. Tom Scott got a chance to give one of these treadwheel cranes a spin.

20 Mechanisms Explained with LEGO Machines

20 Mechanisms Explained with LEGO Machines

Engineering geeks will get a kick out of this video from the Brick Experiment Channel. Using LEGO Technic components, they demonstrated various mechanical principles, including a Schmidt coupling, a Scotch yoke, and a Chebyshev lambda linkage. Even if you don’t know what any of that means, it’s fun to watch.

LEGO Crystal Fountain

LEGO Crystal Fountain

At Brickworld Chicago 2022, LEGO builder Jarren Harkema turned up with an amazing display – a castle with a blue-green water fountain that flows up and over its structure – except the water is LEGO diamonds moving on conveyor belts. Joshua Hanlon from Beyond the Brick’s gets us up close with this impressive creation.

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Sorting Conveyor Belts

Sorting Conveyor Belts

We found ourselves hypnotized by the back-and-forth motion of this conveyor belt sorting system. Apparently, cameras or barcode scanners identify what objects are entering the conveyor, and the system rapidly changes the direction of each belt to ensure the item goes into the appropriate box.

Wire Stripper Robot

Wire Stripper Robot

If you’ve ever had to strip a piece of coaxial cable or other multi-layered wire, you know how difficult it can be to get things just right. The Nitronic ST730T is way more precise than hand tools. Simply key in the wire thickness and the exact lengths you want each layer stripped to, insert a cable, and it works its magic.

Steamed Bun Machine

Steamed Bun Machine

Fresh off of the toolgifs subreddit comes a video of a machine that cranks out those delicious Chinese steamed buns. Fillings for the doughy delights snake through a tube into a dollop of pastry, and then an iris mechanism twists their tops to seal them and give them their distinctive look. Just steam and eat!

Penduloz Desktop Harmonograph

Penduloz Desktop Harmonograph

This fascinating machine uses gravity to draw smooth spiral images known as Lissajous curves. It’s modeled on a 19th-century device called a harmonograph, updated with self-aligning gimbals and a spring-loaded pen holder that can accept various writing instruments. It attaches to any tabletop using a single clamp.

How Wire Mesh Screens Are Made

How Wire Mesh Screens Are Made

If you’ve ever wondered how they make the wire mesh material used in screens for doors and windows, wonder no longer. This video from Hebei Kaiye Machinery Equipment Co. shows us how a computer-controlled machine takes thousands of strands of stainless steel wire and weaves them into a screen pattern.

Water Drop Automata

Water Drop Automata

Artist Ross McSweeney specializes in mechanical sculptures called automata. Among his creations is this kinetic plaything that uses gears and crankshafts to make concentric circles of wood look like pond ripples. If you have access to a laser cutter, you can purchase the template files to make your own on Etsy.

LEGO Vortex Machines

LEGO Vortex Machines

If you spin a fluid-filled vessel fast enough, you can get the liquid to form a vortex. Brick Technology wanted to see if they could produce such an effect using LEGO mechanisms, so they created a series of machines to experiment with fluid dynamics. The one at the end is impressively stable for how fast it spins.

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Fireworks Sorting Machine

Fireworks Sorting Machine

Another day, another fascinating piece of factory equipment. This time, we’re looking at a device that ingests thousands of fireworks and arranges them into a satisfying hexagonal shape for packaging. It uses vibration to shake the empty shell casings into place before a worker ties them together.

Inside a Brick Factory

Inside a Brick Factory

There are still places on earth where they make bricks by hand. Conversely, this factory in Korea cranks them out by the thousands. In fact, they make more than 100,000 bricks a day using machines that sift crushed stone, turn it into a slurry, extrude brick logs, slice them into individual blocks, then fire them in kilns.

Bubble Wrap Music Machine

Bubble Wrap Music Machine

The sound of popping bubble wrap might be music to your ears, but Simone Giertz and her friends came up with a way to turn those pops into actual music. The machine she built uses a spinning drum and rubber feet to squish the bubbles and harnesses the air they release to play a pan flute. Zamfir, eat your heart out!

LEGO Technic Table Saw

LEGO Technic Table Saw

It’s possible to make saw blades out of materials other than metal. GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines not only built a saw blade out of LEGO Technic parts, but an entire working table saw. It uses 14 motors to cut through objects and is definitely not something you’d want to stick your finger into. Here it is using a skinnier blade.

Self-Playing Guitar “Robot”

Self-Playing Guitar “Robot”

Musician Demin Vladimir created this electromechanical rig plays an acoustic guitar. It has one set of actuators that hold the frets while others strum the strings. It’s not the most expressive instrument, but neither were vintage player pianos, and we still love those. He’s also built an accordion that plays the notes itself.

LEGO Magnet Machine

LEGO Magnet Machine

LEGO enthusiast Dr. Engine shows off a Technic machine that demonstrates how magnets can transmit energy through walls. Each of its spinning blades can turn without connecting to a central drivetrain thanks to magnetic fields. A gear-drive mechanism places each section in its precise sweet spot.

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