W&M Levsha shows how they made a cool gizmo that takes the place of a 6-sided die. The brass gadget is about the size of a pocket watch and has a lever that spins a flywheel that’s engraved with six dice faces. When the lever pops up place, a mechanism stops the wheel to reveal a random number.
Joerg Sprave is known for his inventive slingshot designs. He’s also into unique weapons. In this video, he shows off a neat custom knife he built with a rack-and-pinion mechanism. It pops open and closes quickly with the flick of a lever. He’s sending the prototype to a professional knifemaker to see if it can be refined and put into production.
Mathematician and maker Henry Segerman shows off more of his fascinating interactive mechanisms. This series of interlocking straight gears uses a rack-and-pinion mechanism to transmit motion. Henry posted the models to 3D print your own recursive racks on Printables.
Most of us rely on our phones or watches to tell us the time. But there’s something just so magical about using letting a mechanical bird announce the time instead. Clock Shop posted this video of a roomful of cuckoo clocks sounding off in sequence. We like to imagine they’re all saying “Here!” like an avian roll call.
Artist Uri Tuchman is an expert at building unique devices with a Steampunk aesthetic. This time, he built a pair of mechanical wooden hands that appear to type on an imaginary keyboard. It’s part of a larger installation headed to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Ironically, Uri broke his hand after he completed the project.
Player pianos have been around since the 1890s. Modern models use electronics and servos, but vintage ones use a pedal-powered pneumatic system that forces air through holes in the music roll, actuating pushrods that move its hammers. Chris Plaola shows off an example of this Victorian-era engineering genius.
We swear by our Keychron mechanical keyboard’s build quality and clicky Gateron G Pro switches. The Q11 QMK offers an adjustable split keyboard design with hot-swappable keys, a hefty machined aluminum body, and a rotary encoder knob. There’s support for MacOS and Windows, and QMK/VIA programmability.
DanCreator has made some pretty amazing cardboard objects over the years. Now he’s gone and built not one, but three full-size vending machines out of the corrugated brown paper. Not only do they look like the real thing, but the soda fountain, can dispenser, and instant ramen machine are fully functional.
Artist Ross McSweeney created these fascinating mechanical coasters. There are four smooth-spinning patterns, including geometric shapes, gears, and a bicycle. Their outer gears touch when placed next to each other so that you can spin multiple designs simultaneously. You can purchase the SVG files for laser cutting on Etsy.
The Air75 is the slimmest mechanical keyboard we’ve seen to date. It features a 75% ANSI layout, low-profile PBT keycaps, hot-swappable switches, RGB lighting, and an aluminum frame. It supports 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth, and wired connections, and is compatible with the NuFolio V2, a carrying case, tablet, and phone stand.
In mythology, Sisyphus was a man punished for cheating death by having to roll a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down as he neared the top. Artist Ross McSweeney created this amazing laser-cut wooden automaton that animates the core of the story. You can purchase template files for the sculpture on his Etsy shop.
Wood Marble Machine builds exactly what their YouTube channel name says. This modular machine carries steel ball bearings up a double escalator and then rolls them back down through a series of ramps, bowls, and a spinning pachinko board before doing it all over again. The sounds it makes are wonderfully soothing.
Performance gaming accessory maker Finalmouse is teasing a visually stunning keyboard. The Centerpiece has a screen behind its see-through keys, and can display interactive skins which change with each keypress. It has custom Gateron mechanical switches and an on-board CPU/GPU. Drops in early 2023 for $349.
We’ve always been fascinated by mechanical arcade games. Old Things Never Die shows off a vintage game where players placed bets on horses racing around in circles. It required extensive restoration work to fix its mechanism and return it to its former glory. It’s wonderful to see how fast it spins now.
Artist Luke Towan specializes in building models and dioramas. He recently finished making a 1:87th scale escalator that actually works. It took him almost a year to finish, but the completed piece is a marvel of miniature engineering. The 3D printing and laser cutting templates are available for download on Tinkercad.
Once you knock dominoes over, you generally have to set them back up by hand. But in the case of this LEGO Technic machine by Grant Davis, the dominoes stand themselves back upright. Running in an infinite loop of 10 dominoes at a time, it can knock down and stand up dominoes at a rate of 120,000 per day.
Brick Science host Riley Scott wanted to see if he could build a flight simulator out of LEGO bricks. With the help of his friends Christian and Marcel, they came up with a tabletop machine with a remote joystick and throttle which control the airplane’s propellor, pitch, and roll. Its motors are controlled by a Mindstorms EV3 module.
Inspired by the official LEGO Mario kits, builder Brandon Jones wanted to build a display that looked like a full level from the Nintendo game. At BrickCon 2022, Beyond the Brick’s Joshua Hanlon got an up-close look at the impressive 12,000-piece mechanical diorama, which uses 14 motors to bring the Mushroom Kingdom to life.
Engineer Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi came up with this unique mechanism which displays digits by flipping segments into place. Its cams push levers that lift the segments into the proper position based on signals sent from a controller circuit and a pair of stepper motors. You can read more about the project Hackaday.IO.
At Brickworld Chicago 2022, LEGO builder Jarren Harkema turned up with an amazing display – a castle with a blue-green water fountain that flows up and over its structure – except the water is LEGO diamonds moving on conveyor belts. Joshua Hanlon from Beyond the Brick’s gets us up close with this impressive creation.
A while back, LEGO expert Akiyuki showed off a series of mechanisms called mangle racks. Now they’re back with a much more complicated build based on the same principles. This fascinating clock uses a mangle rack to gradually spin its hands around the dial. A time-lapse at the end shows how remarkably accurate it is.
JBV Creative has been playing with designs for a vortex cannon that fires a puff of smoke and a blast of air to create smoke rings. He’s refined his creation into this handheld unit with a mechanical iris to adjust the size of its smoke rings and an LED ring light to illuminate them.
For more than 20 years, theater company La Machine has been building massive mechanical puppets that they march through the streets. During an April 2022 performance in Toulouse, France, their fire-breathing dragon-horse Long Ma Jing Shen teamed up with Asterion the minotaur to stare down a giant spider.