Nostalgic tour of an endangered institution: the model shop

Lindybeige takes viewers on a wistful tour of a Helsinki model shop while remembering the now-closed shop of his youth. Read the rest

Watch this machinist create five extremely tiny nested cubes

A turner's cube is a traditional machinist's exercise to test consistency and tolerances when milling metal. But this two-millimeter cube in a cube in a cube in a cube in a cube is next-level skill. Read the rest

See how this 3D-printed gear turns clockwise no matter how it's cranked

Differential gears can be used for all sorts of interesting things, as YouTuber Maker's Muse demonstrates with this 3D-printed hand crank that only turns clockwise. Read the rest

A large bowl and some peanut oil make a perfect live mousetrap

Shawn Woods was able to catch seven mice in one night with a large bowl and some food-grade oil. Read the rest

Watch a CNC lathe make a hollow spiral candlestick

Legacy Woodworking Machinery has a great series of videos on how they program CNC machines to cut a hollow spiral candlestick. Read the rest

Secret history of classic TV's laugh tracks

When I watched the Brady Bunch as a youngster, there was one particular deep guffaw that always caught my attention. I knew the laughs were pre-recorded but always assumed that there was just a laugh track tape and they'd press play at the appropriate times. I liked (and still like) the faux communal experience that laugh tracks provide when watching the Bradys, Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, and other great vintage sitcoms from the 1960s an early 1970s.

Turns out, that the rise of the laugh track was due to Charles Douglass (1910-2003), a Navy-trained electronics engineer/maker who went on to build a custom "Laff Box" of several dozen tape loops triggered by keys and dials. After its initial use on the Jack Benny Program, the machine, officially called the "Audience Reaction Duplicator," took the TV industry by storm. Douglass "played" the Laff Box like a proto-sampler and for years had the monopoly on TV laugh tracks. It was a process that the TV show producers and Douglass himself liked to keep secret.

It wasn't until 1992 that Douglass and his pioneering work at the intersection of media, psychology, and technology was recognized with a lifetime Emmy award for technical achievement.

For the whole story on Douglass and the Laff Box, don't miss this episode of the Decoder Ring podcast.

And here is an Antiques Roadshow segment appraising a Laff Box.

Read the rest

Watch how to build a Japanese-style free-standing bookshelf with no nails or glue

Japanese wood joinery (previously) is a highly-refined craft. In this video, YouTuber Third Coast Craftsman creates a free-standing bookshelf inspired by those joinery techniques. Read the rest

Watch this computer case mod made of wood and rope

If you like your PCs to look like a coffee maker from a 1970s yacht, you'll love this case mod. It's pretty neat in terms of heat sinks, but it has a rather large footprint. Read the rest

Watch these super satisfying wax sealing compilations

There's something very delightful about pressing a nice metal stamp into perfectly cooled wax. The YouTubers at Calligraphy Masters gathered up some of their favorites. Read the rest

Watch a waterjet slice a perfect obsidian cube and some batarangs

The guys from Waterjet Channel took a request from a Minecraft fan who wanted to see them cut an obsidian cube, even supplying the obsidian. They also made some super-thin batarangs that could almost be used as sunglass lenses. Read the rest

Gorgeous resin sphere turned on a lathe

Heath Knuckles created this beautiful burl and resin sculpture he names "Red Dawn." A very satisfying and relaxing video, in large part thanks to the great music choices. Read the rest

Charming birdhouses that look like retro camping trailers

Nashville maker One Man One Garage created these fun flat-pack birdhouse kits that assemble into vintage campers. Read the rest

Learn how to wrap ten unusual shaped items

Most of us are pretty good at wrapping a cube or cuboid box, but this handy video shows how to wrap a bunch of weird shapes, including pyramids, cylinders, and those annoying cardboard-backed blister packs for things like tools and action figures.

I needed to wrap a popcorn tin the other day, and this was very handy. It looked way better than my gifts usually do! And as for opening the package itself, that's another matter.

How to Wrap 10 Challenging Shapes! (YouTube / Paper Guru) Read the rest

Watch how to turn obsidian into a razor-sharp blade

Andy from How To Make Everything went out in the Utah desert, gathered up volcanic glass, then through trial and error learned how to make an Aztec-style edge weapon.

The episode includes an interesting history lesson from anthropologist Gilbert Tostevin at University of Minnesota, who shows Andy how Aztecs used a haft embedded with smaller obsidian pieces to make formidable weapons.

Turning Volcanic Rock into a Blade that's Sharper than Steel (YouTube / How To Make Everything) Read the rest

This is the best NSFW explanation of the Florida bridge collapse

If you like sweary Canadians with lots of knowledge about building materials and construction, Arduino versus Evil has the most interesting armchair analysis of what caused the Florida International University bridge collapse. Read the rest

Watch how to weaponize a small bike pump

A small hand pump is very convenient for bicyclists, but can a bike pump be weaponized? YouTuber JoergSprave from The Slingshot Channel gives it a shot. Read the rest

Watch this incredible restoration of an extremely rusty butcher's knife

YouTuber Andre Will Do It found a butcher's knife that was coated in rust, with pitting over 2 millimeters deep on both sides. He almost gave up before eventually restoring it to excellent working condition. Read the rest

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