THE BEST Machines

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

ANYmal Wheeled Leg Robot

ANYmal Wheeled Leg Robot

Engineers from ETH Zurich and the CERBERUS team worked together to create ANYmal, an autonomous robot which has wheels at the ends of its legs, making it capable of moving quickly, and negotiating over difficult terrain. Its moves kind of remind us of the wheelers in Return to Oz, but not as creepy.

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Self-Solving Rubik’s Cube Floats

Self-Solving Rubik’s Cube Floats

After wowing us with his self-solving Rubik’s Cube, maker Human Controller takes things to another level by making his miniature puzzle machine magnetically levitate while solving itself. We’ve been assured there are no visual tricks here.

The Walking Chair

The Walking Chair

If there’s one thing you can count on Burning Man for besides sand in every orifice of your body, it’s crazy machines. Among the weird and wonderful creations on display during the desert event last year was Zenichi Works’ Playa Crawler, a crazy chair with motorized Strandbeest style legs to move it along the ground.

Heavy Milling

Heavy Milling

There’s something oh so satisfying about the piles and piles of twisty shavings being left behind by these giant Seco Tools face milling blades as they take a 4′ x 6.5′ hunk of steel and transform it into a smoothly polished block ready for use.

Candy Baller Machine

Candy Baller Machine

We always thought that round candies were made using molds, but it turns out some of them are made by spin-carving spheres from a rod of sugar, like the ones shown in this video from candy machinery maker Loynds. We want to see a Bingo ball picker that works this way.

FLUX 1440 Clock

FLUX 1440 Clock

Artist Felix Vorreiter’s unusual timepiece uses a single, long piece of string that feed through a series of pulleys. The rope is marked with dots which align to display the current time. The current clock only has 120 minutes of string, as it would take about 4000ft to cover a full day.

Making a Slingshot Trebuchet

Making a Slingshot Trebuchet

A while back, Tom Stanton built a cool working trebuchet, but even though it was much smaller than the ones used in battle, it still wasn’t exactly portable. So, Tom set about building a pint-size version that can be used like a slingshot. We’re thinking it would be perfect for flinging wadded up paper at officemates.

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