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Awesome Machines

Building a Mini Marble Music Machine

Building a Mini Marble Music Machine

Inspired by the machines of Wintergatan, Daniel de Bruin, and Matthias Wandel, fellow maker Ivan Miranda created his own musical marble machine. He designed and built it from scratch using 3D printed parts, a resin drum, and an aluminum frame. The ball bearings make notes by falling onto a MIDI controller keypad.

Driving Nails with a Hydraulic Press

Driving Nails with a Hydraulic Press

With up to 150 tons of force, a hydraulic press should have no trouble driving a nail into a piece of wood. But what happens when you up the challenge and add dozens of nails beneath its powerful crushing head? Watch and find out just how many nails a single press can drive at the same time. Nailing Level 1000 here.

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Aliens Power Loader IRL

Aliens Power Loader IRL

It’s taken three years, but the guys at Hacksmith Industries have finally completed their working replica of the Power Loader from Aliens. In this final build video, they tidy up the cabling and put on finishing touches before taking it for an all-too-brief spin. We can’t wait to see them take down a xenomorph with this thing.

How Motor Coils are Wound

How Motor Coils are Wound

For a motor to work, it needs tightly-wound copper or aluminum coils to generate a magnetic field when current is applied. This fascinating video from NIDE shows how their machines do the work automatically, first loading an armature, then rapidly winding copper wire around its fins.

Inside Out and Upside Down

Inside Out and Upside Down

Gadget artist Dr. Katsumoto Yuichiro demonstrates a couple of intriguing robot designs which can shape-shift themselves using a combination of telescoping arms and hinges. The first video shows a cube configuration that turns itself inside out, while the second features triangles that can flip themselves over.

Putting Toothpaste Back in the Tube

Putting Toothpaste Back in the Tube

After building a toaster that can un-toast bread, Joel Creates wanted to see if he could rewind time in another unlikely way. For his latest build, he made a machine that can pull toothpaste back inside the tube using a vacuum pump. It’s also the fastest way to apply toothpaste to 100 toothbrushes.

xTool M1 Laser + Blade Cutter

xTool M1 Laser + Blade Cutter

The xTool M1 combines a cutting machine and laser engraver into a single desktop device. Its dual head lets it cut a wider variety of materials than either device alone. It’s available with 5W or 10W lasers, and the higher-power model can cut 8mm thick wood in a single pass. Its 11.8″ x 15.1″ work area is impressive for its size.

Empty Places

Empty Places

Geoffroy de Crécy’s haunting short film is composed of a sequence of vignettes, each capturing a stark and lonely place, devoid of life other than humanity’s mechanical inventions. The subtext, of course, is what happened to all of the people and where did they go? Mass alien abduction? Spontaneous combustion?

How Deli Slicers Are Made

How Deli Slicers Are Made

There’s nothing like a deli sandwich stacked high with thinly sliced meat. Such delights are made possible thanks to the electric deli slicer. How It’s Made takes us inside the Hobart factory to see how they assemble these useful and ubiquitous carving machines. We would have liked to have seen the metal casting process too.

Rube Goldberg Pizza Machine

Rube Goldberg Pizza Machine

While you could just order in, some of us enjoy homemade pizza. Why make your pizza by hand, when you can have a machine make it for you? IDEAS EN 5 AÑOS built this over-engineered Rube Goldberg machine that evenly distributees the sauce, cheese, and toppings onto spinning pizza dough. Too bad it can’t cook it too.

Building a Stroboscopic Water Display

Building a Stroboscopic Water Display

Inspired by a Gatorade ad that used strobes to display images on falling water, 3Dprintedlife wanted to replicate the idea on a smaller scale. He developed a desktop version that uses solenoid valves to release water droplets illuminated by an LED strobe light. It only displays 2D images, but he plans on making a 3D version.

Bottle Cap Plinko Machine (w/Candy)

Bottle Cap Plinko Machine (w/Candy)

Over on Etsy, you can find a variety of bottle openers that have a Plinko-style drop mechanism. But Thompson Woodworks built the best version we’ve seen, combining the bottle opener with a Skittles dispenser that triggers only if you land your bottle cap in the proper tray at the bottom.

LEGO Braiding Machine

LEGO Braiding Machine

Nico71’s motorized LEGO Technic creation deftly maneuvers five spools of thread, carefully twisting, turning, and juggling each one to form a braided cord. Its hypnotic moves remind us of some kind of an amusement park ride. Full build instructions can be found here.

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Exploding Circle Machine

Exploding Circle Machine

JBV Creative loves to make unique machines using 3D printed parts. Inspired by a computer simulation of a similar contraption, he created a mechanism that splits a circle into four quadrants, flips them over, and reassembles them with a turn of its crank. You can purchase the STL files at the link.

LEGO Mangle Rack Mechanisms

LEGO Mangle Rack Mechanisms

LEGO machine master Akiyuki shows some fascinating and unusual mechanisms. The designs were inspired by a “mangle rack,” which converts circular motion into rectilinear motion by moving a gear along the outside of a set of pins. He uses the method to smoothly move shapes around a track and to create a clock display.

Skittle Pixel8r

Skittle Pixel8r

This bit of geeky fun comes courtesy of builder JohnO3, who created a machine which works like a giant dot-matrix printer. Except in this case, it deposits colorful and tangy Skittles to create its prints instead of droplets of ink. He provided the full build details on Instructables, should you want to build your own candy printer.

Doc Ock Claw Machine

Doc Ock Claw Machine

Sculptor Steven Richter set himself the challenge of creating a mechanical claw machine based on Doc Ock’s tentacles from Spider-Man 2 and No Way Home. The build features cast resin parts and a cable-driven mechanism that lets an operator move the claw and grip objects with it. Plush Spidey doesn’t stand a chance.

Flexible LEGO Technic Tank

Flexible LEGO Technic Tank

GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines shows off another unique LEGO Technic vehicle. This tank-like machine features two wedge-shaped body segments connected by a retractable hinge mechanism. This design allows it to crawl easily over a variety of uneven terrain, climb stairs, and even negotiate soft objects like pillows.

LEGO Store Minifigure Factory

LEGO Store Minifigure Factory

LEGO fanatic Bricksie first shows off his massive collection of minifigs, then heads to the LEGO Store in the West Edmonton Mall for a look at a new addition – an inkjet printer that can create custom-printed Minifigs. The figures can be embellished with full-color printed clothing including icons, doodles, emojis, and text.

Epic Cardboard Marble Run

Epic Cardboard Marble Run

We always enjoy watching the spheres go round and round on marble runs. They’re usually made wood, metal, or plastic, but DanCreator made his marble run out of his favorite material, cardboard. We’re impressed with its complexity and the precision of its ramps and curves. It took him roughly two months to build, and the effort shows.

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The Un-Toaster

The Un-Toaster

Don’t you sometimes wish there was an “Undo” key for life’s mistakes? While this invention from Joel Creates doesn’t reverse any major tragedies, it is capable of un-toasting bread that you didn’t mean to toast. It’s more of a bread rehydrator than a toast time-travel machine though.

LEGO Car Climbs Challenging Obstacles

LEGO Car Climbs Challenging Obstacles

The Brick Experiment Channel follows up its video of LEGO vehicles climbing over things with a series of more challenging obstacles. The new vehicle design includes a second adjustable joint, which allows it to climb objects and surfaces that look like they should be impossible to traverse.

Pneumatic LEGO GBC

Pneumatic LEGO GBC

We love watching LEGO Great Ball Contraptions like the ones made by Akiyuki and Quanix. Taking inspiration from these two mechanical brick masters, engineering student Roatchanatam Anattasakul built his own machine that moves around lots of little balls and uses pneumatic power to keep it all moving.

The Human Catapult

The Human Catapult

Launching watermelons from a catapult sounds like a lot of fun, but launching humans seems like a terrible idea. The guys from TKOR teamed up with Jake Makes to build a catapult with a tub at one end that can fire a person into the air. At least they aimed it at a deep pond. Needless to say, don’t try anything like this at home.

Automatic Hair Scissors

Automatic Hair Scissors

If you’re not careful, you can cut yourself while trimming hair with scissors. But in the case of these automatic shears made by Joel Creates, you’re practically guaranteed that you’ll draw blood. He then gave the terrifying motorized scissors to a hairdresser to see how they worked in the hands of a professional.

How Paper Cups Are Made

How Paper Cups Are Made

Enjoy this hypnotic look at a machine designed for the high-speed production of paper cups. It starts with flat sheets of paper, rolls them onto a form, glues the seam, adds the bottom, and eventually rolls the top edge, cranking out as many as 130 cups per minute.

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