Stainless steel and red wood Apple watch band

I am quite fond of this $29 Apple watch band. Read the rest

Watch this intense film about a Russian steelworker

This striking visual profile of a worker at the gargantuan Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works by director Evgenii Bakirov features Vladimir, The Metallurgist. The Russian title (горновой [the mountain]) is Vladimir's nickname. Read the rest

Watch this induction forge turn metal red-hot in 12 seconds

Timothy Miller of Spirit Ironworks shows how to use a induction heater to heat metal extremely quickly. Read the rest

Cobbles: steel mill mishaps where hot steel reels out like a nightmare light saber

Spewing like massive tentacular light sabers, steel mill cobbles are unpredictable workplace mishaps that represent "extreme manufacturing danger."

The temperature of molten steel is in excess of 1300°C (2500°F) and it goes without saying that those in the vicinity of strips of molten metal need to be extremely careful. This steel is heated to such temperatures to make it more manageable and allow strips to be gradually reduced in diameter to the required size ... There are images aplenty of steel cobbles because while they are extremely dangerous they happen on a daily basis in many steel plants. Indeed when producing steel via this process you will regularly hear people quote the cobble rate which is in effect the rate of waste.

Some of these videos are weirdly beautiful; all of these are absolutely terrifying.

Here, a stern British man explains what's happening:

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Watch a blacksmith create a gorgeous Damascus steel knife

Damascus steel is renowned for its use in ancient edge weapons and for its unusual mottle pattern. Blacksmith Dmitriy Shevchenko demonstrates his blade-making technique, since the manufacturing techniques of old were not meticulously recorded. Read the rest

Watch a rope of molten steel barely miss a worker

In steelworker parlance, a cobble is a bit of steel that catches on a roller during manufacturing.

Cobbles cause the molten steel coming out of the furnace to back up and snake wildly around.

This guy was lucky to be uninjured after a close call with a cobble. Read the rest

Watch steelworkers forge enormous steel anchor chains

This industry video from Korean steelsmiths Dai Han Anchor shows workers forging and testing the largest anchor chains in the world. A fascinating mix of forge technology and cutting-edge quality control awaits. Read the rest

Tiny crack in steel seen through an electron microscope

Canyon or crack? Crack, obviously, since it's right there in the headline, but isn't it amazing? Especially with clouds photoshopped in to improve its virality coefficient.

There's probably one of these on the plane you just boarded, lurking somewhere the hard-pressed engineers and inspectors might have missed. They have even less time than you do! Metaphorically speaking, of course. Go on, just look out the window, at the wing. Bit of rust around those bolts, eh? Well, they do say that an old, well-maintained plane is safer than a new, badly-maintained one.

If the worst happens, though, and you find yourself plunging into the void of death from 30,000 feet, you can muse over a final flicker of wonderment: maybe in the next life I'll wake up in a tiny canyon.

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The machines that made the Jet Age


After World War II and the toppling of the Nazi regime, the Soviets laid claim to much of Germany's highly-advanced metallurgy industry. In so doing they got a head start on the Cold War race for supersonic air superiority. Unwittingly, they also set in motion a larger, and largely forgotten, industrial revolution that shaped the second half of the 20th century and will shape the 21st. This is the story of the birth of the Jet Age — but it’s anchored firmly to the ground.