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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This video from Quebec’s Laval University Robotics Laboratory shows off a really fascinating mechanism – unlike any we’ve seen before. By moving its jointed legs along two belt-driven lines, it’s able to maneuver its center gripper without any limitations on its rotation, as well as to change its height and overall position.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In order to safely tear down the defunct Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant, demolition crews installed a remote-controlled excavator machine at its top, which gradually nibbled away until its height was lowered from 531 feet to half its height. The remaining structure was brought down by breaking its supports.