Ian Davis needed a prosthetic to replace four fingers on his left hand. Rather than purchase a commercial model, he engineered an awesome metal hand that looks like something straight out of The Terminator. It’s capable of opening, closing, splaying its fingers, and makes satisfying sounds as it flexes.
NY firm Breakfast has carved out a niche, building interactive displays that use electromechanical flipping discs to display images. Among their installations is this ultrawide variant with woodgrain and mirrored surfaces that reflect people’s silhouettes as they walk by, revealing similarities in human behavior.
With the advent of pay stations and mobile parking apps, meters are becoming a rare sight. But these coin-collecting dinosaurs still have some neat mechanical bits worth exploring inside of them, as Rescue & Restore shows as they down a 1960s Duncan meter and makes it like new again. That shiny red coat is a thing of beauty.
With just 26 letters in our alphabet, English speakers have it easy. When it comes to Japanese and Chinese, there are literally hundreds of characters. In this video from Typewriter Collector, they show off a rare Toshiba typewriter that can type in all three languages. It uses a spinning drum on a moving carriage to select letters.
Created by Tentacle Media Ltd., the Mini-Mutoscope is a 3D-printed replica of a 19th-century mechanical flipbook. The display works like an animation flipbook, only its movements are smoothly controlled by a crank. It holds up to 42 squares that you can load with your own animations, or one of the samples provided by Tentacle.
In the world of Spider-Man, Dr. Otto Octavius (better known as Doc Ock) has been augmented with a set of mechanical tentacles he uses for nefarious purposes. JLaservideo teamed up with a few internet friends to design and build a working tentacle backpack, and then gave it mind-control capabilities.
Generic Woodworking has built some pretty amazing mechanical wooden models, including a drill-powered wooden car, complete with a working engine, transmission, and steering. He recently upgraded the car with a functional odometer, which can track the distance that its wheels have traveled. See it in action at 10:55.
Motorized LEGO cars usually drive in a straight line, or maybe can turn left and right. But Konstrakt Abstrakt designed this unusual Technic vehicle that can reconfigure its four motors and wheels to maneuver into tight parking spaces. You can find the full parts list on Rebrickable.
Luxury watchmaker Vianney Halter designed this incredible 3-axis tourbillon, inspired by astrophysics. Under its domed crystal is an intricate mechanism that rides on a pair of synchronized balance wheels, encircled by a time display. Just two of these timepieces will be made each year, with a price tag just under $1 million.
Works by Solo’s fidget toy is handmade from 26 components, including bike chain, custom-cut sprockets, and bearings to create a unique metal plaything. Its two gears can rotate independently, and move smoothly so you can get some speed going. See how it works and how the design came together in the video clip.
In the 1800s, an engineering reference book showed off a pulley design that could expand its size. Angus of Maker’s Muse wanted to see if he could replicate the part using 3D printing, and along the way found a different use for it, and incorporated the mechanism into a nifty looking puzzle box.
Real world astronauts are subjected to intensive training, including time in a centrifuge that creates intense G-forces. It’s no different for LEGO astronauts, as the Brick Experiment Channel attached the minifig Benny the Astronaut to a motorized rig, then spun him up to 5000+ RPM. A spinning camera monitored his condition.
Inspired by two previous Instructables projects, maker Wolspaw came up with the idea of building a truly unique calendar. Their machine uses a series of three rotating gears to display the current day and date, which appear as if by magic out of a bunch of seemingly random symbols.
Hop on the ultra-compact bandwagon with this minimal mechanical keyboard. The kit comes with an anodized aluminum case, brushed stainless steel top plate, a programmable PCB that fits Cherry MX or Matias/ALPS switches, and looks fantastic with the optional Acute keycap set ($30). Note: switches and keycaps not included.
Artist Roman Booteen is a master at modifying vintage coins, engraving intricate details and augmenting them with added depth. His most impressive design is this 1921 U.S. Dollar coin with a mechanical hand that grips a sword in its center when a hidden button is pushed. He also makes some amazing lighters.
The main difference between all of those irons you carry around in your golf bag is the loft angle of its metal wedge. Stuff Made Here managed to engineer a single, mechanical golf club that could replace of a whole bag of irons. The club can also automatically adjust based on desired distance in the middle of the swing.
Adam Savage plays around with an awesome new item for his collection. Designed by Gary Fay Creations, these articulated fingers elongate the wearer’s digits, while mimicking their movements. The effect is both amazing and creepy. We’re just glad they don’t have sharpened blades like Freddy Krueger’s.
LEGO artist TonyFlow76 shows off a playful scene featuring a man taking a bath. As he turns the crank, the guy scrubs his back, colorful “water” ripples and pours from the faucets. The design was inspired by this wooden automaton by Paul Spooner. If you’d love to see an official kit, show your support for the design on LEGO Ideas.
We’re having a hard time resisting this retro alarm clock inspired by 1960s plastic-fantastic style. Created by Penco and TWEMCO, the battery-powered clock features a mechanical flip display, and a shiny orange ABS plastic case with white-on-orange flip tiles. There’s also a less expensive model with black tiles.
We’re surprised that LEGO machine expert JK Brickworks has never built a Great Ball Contraption module before, but his first one definitely lives up to his standards. Watch as four tiny LEGO robots work along an assembly line, each passing a ball to the next to move it down the line. It also appears to work as a hypnosis device.
If you’re an airplane mechanic, one of the last things you want to do is drop a screw into a turbine engine you’re working on. Due to their construction, it would be very difficult to get it back out if you did. But as this video from AgentJayZ shows, it would make quite a pleasant sound before it totally ruins your day.
We’ve seen various works by artist Daniel Rozin over the years, but this interview with WIRED is the first time we’ve heard from the artist himself, and not just what inspires him to make his mechanical “mirrors,” but the painstaking effort and technology that drives his works.