THE BEST Machines

Making Techno with Robots

Making Techno with Robots

Moritz Simon Geist performs electronic music with a tableful of strange and wonderful mechanical contraptions he built by hand. Each one makes a unique analog sound that combines to create a driving beat. Check out the making-of video to see how it all works.

LEGO Laser Projector

LEGO Laser Projector

Yoshihito Isogawa shows off another impressive build. He used LEGO Technic and Mindstorms parts, along with mirrors and a laser pointer to create a mechanism that can project laser patterns on the wall by rapidly modulating its reflector. Here’s another variant he also made.

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Bending Chain Links

Bending Chain Links

A wonderfully satisfying bit of engineering porn showing off a slick modular tooling machine. The Bihler Leantool system is used in factories to form and cut wire and rolled metal into precisely bent shapes, such as chain links, hooks, and other small, high volume parts.

Skeletonics Exoskeleton Suit

Skeletonics Exoskeleton Suit

Skeletonics‘ 9+ foot tall, 88 lb. electro-mechanical exosuit is more puppet than practical work assistant, but it’s still pretty awesome. In addition to offering its wearer a lift on stilts, it gives them giant robot arms and individually-controlled bony fingers.

The Lunch Feeder

The Lunch Feeder

Like many of us, Joseph Herscher doesn’t always have time to get up from his desk to take a lunch break. So, he did what any enterprising inventor would do – he built himself an overly complicated Rube Goldberg machine to effortlessly feed himself a meal.

LEGO Bubble Blower Machine

LEGO Bubble Blower Machine

Brick fanatic Sariel shows off one of his most creative builds yet – a LEGO machine that uses a rotating loop of bubble wands and and a spinning fan blade to blow soap bubbles. Yes, there are off-the-shelf machines that do the same, but they’re not made from LEGO.

Rolling a Steel Ring

Rolling a Steel Ring

Mesmerizing footage from inside QSC Forge, as a large ring of molten steel is gradually spun, flattened, and widened to form a smooth and perfectly round circle. Combined with a perfectly soothing soundtrack, the clip doubles as your daily 9-minute meditation.

LEGO Glockenspiel Automaton

LEGO Glockenspiel Automaton

LEGO fan Daniele Benedettelli shows off a nifty brick build – a little dude who plays a five key glockenspiel as his crank is turned. It can be “programmed” with music by adjusting the sequence of blocks on the chain below.

Removing a Foam Tire

Removing a Foam Tire

A high speed look at the process that goes into removing a foam-filled tire at the Sierra Army Depot. These tires are often used by heavy equipment to reduce the risk of punctures. Got 11 minutes to spare? Watch the original real-time video here.

Rube Goldberg Lemonade Machine

Rube Goldberg Lemonade Machine

Thirsty for some lemonade? If you’ve got 8 minutes to spare, you can have a glass, courtesy of this complex collaboration from machine makers Sprice Machines, DoodleChaos, TheInvention11, Hevesh5, 5MadMovieMakers, DrComplicated, and SmileyPeaceFun.

How Bubble Wrap Is Made

How Bubble Wrap Is Made

It’s both a useful packing material and a wonderful plaything for fidgeters like us. Now go inside Sealed Air’s factory and see how they make their official BubbleWrap brand bubble wrap. It’s interesting that the first bubble wrap machine was designed to make wallpaper.

LEGO Motorized Hoist

LEGO Motorized Hoist

It’s not the fastest or most efficient way to lift an object, but we’re still duly impressed that Brick Experiment Channel was able to successfully lift an 88 kg (195 lb) hunk of stone using a single LEGO Technics motor, gears, and string.

There’s Waldo Robot

There’s Waldo Robot

The Where’s Waldo books have a simple premise – look for the bespectacled, striped sweatered, knit-capped Waldo among a sea of people. If you don’t have the patience to find Waldo yourself, Redpepper’s AI-powered robot arm will take care of it for you.

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LEGO Cross-country Skier

LEGO Cross-country Skier

LEGO fanatic Jason Allemann continues to add to his collection of sweet brick-built automatons. His latest construction is a mechanized cross-country skier who effortlessly glides across the smooth LEGO snow below his tiny plastic feet.

Insane K’Nex Ball Machine

Insane K’Nex Ball Machine

K’Nex builder Thibault Art shows off “Pluto,” an incredible machine that involves a number of lifts, rotating tracks, a turntable, and loops to move balls through its 8 different pathways. It’s made from over 19,000 parts, and took him 16 months to plan and build.

LEGO Digger Experiments

LEGO Digger Experiments

LEGO Technics and Mindstorms geek Munimuni Bekkan shows off a series of unusual devices they built trying to figure out the most efficient design for a machine which could drill itself into a bin of bricks. Drill-kun no. 6 works the best, but the one with all the gears looks the coolest.

Bridge-building LEGO Robot

Bridge-building LEGO Robot

An amazing LEGO Mindstorms build from the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science. This wheeled machine can approach the edge of a table, and lay down a bridge that’s sturdy enough for it to cross. Oh, and when it’s done, it packs the bridge back up.

LEGO Technic Flying Train

LEGO Technic Flying Train

LEGO engineering master Yoshihito Isogawa shows off a simple, but impressive creation. This circular train track has a ramp with an open end, and a pivoting motor drive in the center. As the train car increases in speed, it takes flight, and manages to nail the landing every time.

Pocket NC V2 Milling Machine

Pocket NC V2 Milling Machine

A brief look at the Pocket NC V2, an amazingly compact and precise 5-axis milling machine that’s small enough to put on your workbench. This desktop manufacturing marvel costs just under five grand, tens of thousands of dollars less than most 5-axis machines.

Making Victorian Strawberry Candy

Making Victorian Strawberry Candy

The guys from Lofty Pursuits got their hands on a rusty old candymaking machine from the 1800s, and fully restored it so they could use it to crank out some strawberry shaped candies before returning it to the museum that found it. Buy the actual candies they made here.

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LEGO Technic Metronome

LEGO Technic Metronome

While mechanical metronomes have gone the way of the dinosaur for most, we still find these old school rhythm keepers fascinating. Mr. Smith’s LEGO Models shows off a build which uses Technic parts to replicate the functionality, complete with an adjustable interval.

Animaris Mulus

Animaris Mulus

Kinetic sculptor and Strandbeest inventor Theo Jansen shows off one of his coolest builds, a wind-powered walking machine that pulls an undulating caterpillar-like body behind it. The name means “Mule” but we don’t quite see the resemblance.

Custom LEGO Pinball Machine

Custom LEGO Pinball Machine

Bre Burns of Renegade Bricks shows off Benny’s Spaceship Adventure, a pinball machine for LEGO purists. She built it from over 15,000 LEGO, Technic, and Mindstorms components, and no glue, screws, or other trickery was used. More at Brothers Brick.

Cardboard “Stargate”

Cardboard “Stargate”

To prove just how versatile cardboard can be, Houston-based Victory Packaging turned up to a tradeshow with a 16-foot-tall gear-driven sculpture reminiscent of the space travel portals from Stargate. This isn’t the only time they built something awesome with cardboard.

LEGO Car Factory

LEGO Car Factory

LEGO builder Daniele Benedettelli created a working miniature car assembly line. It can pick and place the requested body colors, then snaps the car together. The tiny factory was designed as a test bench for Eclipse Papyrus, a language for automation and industrial processes.

CNC Engraving Photos

CNC Engraving Photos

When combined with software that converts images into halftone or other artistic patterns, a computer-controlled engraving machine can produce some really impressive images by varying the depth of its carving bit. CNC user Jānis Šatrovskis shows off the technique.

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