Latest Stories
Offworld, Episode 8: WALL-E and Space Robots

This week on Offworld, we revisit the classic Pixar film WALL-E, and chat with roboticists from NASA and Softbank Robotics about the development of robots for use in space. What about the portrayal of space robots in WALL-E did we like, and what would apply to the kind of robots that would work alongside humans in space?

Custom Keyboard Spotlight: Novelkeys x Kailh Box Pale Blue Switches

The classic Cherry MX Blue switch is without a doubt the most famous clicky switch. You can still find it in many new mechanical keyboards today, but there are some more interesting and frankly better clicky switches if you're willing to dive into the custom keyboard community. Of all the clicky switches I've tried, the Novelkeys x Kailh Box Pale Blue is the best. This is a heavy switch with a sharp double-click thanks to Kailh's click bar design.

As a Box switch, it shares some basic housing features with switches like the Input Club Hakos and Novelkeys Royal. The square stem has a standard Cherry-style cross connector in the middle, so it'll work with most modern keycaps. The stem helps stabilize the plunger as it moves up and down inside the switch.

The "box" part of a Box switch doesn't refer to the stem but to the closed-off contacts inside. They're housed in a little closed off box with a plastic nub extending to touch the stem. You can see the green nub in the image below. The stem moves the nub, and that in turn pushes on the contacts to activate the switch. This is true of all Box switches, but the Pale Blue also has Kailh's innovative click bar design.

In Cherry's clicky switches, the "click" comes from a sliding jacket on the stem smacking into the bottom of the housing. The click bar is a small springy piece of metal that runs across the width of the switch housing, and it clicks on press and release instead of just on the press. There is a small bump on the side of the stem that has nothing to do with actuating the switch—it's entirely about making noise. As the stem goes down, it pushes the click bar down until it snaps back and hits the housing. Click. As you release the switch, the stem pushes the click bar out until it snaps back to strike the housing. Click again.

PROJECTIONS, Episode 52: MIX Augmented Reality Headset Prototype!

We go hands-on with a prototype of the MIX augmented reality headset, which boasts a 96-degree field of view. Chatting with AntVR's CEO, we learn how the optics in MIX works and what their plans are for the MIX in both AR and VR. Plus, we demo two upcoming PSVR games: Ghost Giant and Trover Saves the Universe!

Not That Falcon Build - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 6/22/18
Adam shares stories from his trip to the Nation of Makers conference, where he helped assemble a massive 3D printed sculpture. We also learn about his recent revisiting of his Maltese Falcon replica build, as well as his trip to the Onewheel factory. Plus, a weird theory connecting Predator and Home Alone.
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Ask Adam Anything: Not Giving Up on Projects

Every week, Adam takes a question from the Tested Premium Member community in the comments section below or on social media (tagged #AskAdamSavage) and answers here. This week, Adam talks about his own unfinished projects, how he finds the motivation to continue working on them, and what he turns to when he hits a wall in progressing on a build.

Adam Savage Builds a Onewheel Electric Skateboard!

Adam's an unabashed fan of the Onewheel electric skateboard--he's owned every model and uses it to get around San Francisco. To learn more about how the Onewheel is designed and built, Adam visits the factory in the Bay Area where they're built and assembles his own XR board!

Hobby RC: Restoring a Vintage Model Wright Flyer

I like going to RC swap meets because I can almost always find some rare and unusual models--my favorite kinds of flying machines! I'm pretty sure that sellers are also happy when I arrive. That is because I tend to be lured by the hopeless wrecks that no one else gives a second glance. I'm sort of like a cat lady for model airplanes. My most recent swap meet find is a good example.

Abused Wright Flyer

As I perused the aisles at the Sky Chiefs Swap Meet in Canandagua, New York, I spotted an awkward-looking biplane tucked under some larger models. Despite the significant dust and grime that covered the airplane, I recognized it as a Great Planes Wright Flyer. This little electric-powered park flyer was released about 15 years ago, near the 100th anniversary of the Wright brother's historic first flight. The model is a very rare find these days.

I ignored the filth and gave the airplane a quick inspection. While some foam components were damaged and others were missing, all of the plastic framework appeared to be present and in relatively good condition. I also noticed that it had both motors, the gearboxes, propellers, an Electronic Speed Control (ESC) and two Futaba micro servos. The servos alone made it worth the model's $10 price tag. I didn't even haggle.

My favorite genre of RC models to restore are those from the late 1990s and early 2000s. This was the time period when electric-powered models were just beginning to get popular. Most of the kits from this era were designed to perform well with relatively inefficient brushed motors and heavy NiCad batteries. There is often a significant improvement in performance when these planes are retrofitted with modern brushless motors and LiPo batteries. That was my intent for the Wright Flyer, although I did make some adjustments to this plan along the way.

How to Make a Laser-Cut Prop Stand!

Inspired by a Blade Runner blaster stand that came with a kit, Bill Doran walks us through the simple process of designing and laser-cutting an acrylic stand for your hand props. In this case, a lightsaber! We take our quick design to our shop's Universal Laser Systems laser cutter and piece together a stand in less than 10 minutes.

Model Behavior: Weathering a Model (Space)Ship!

Plastic model kits often need finishing work to make the models look as good as their source material. This week, Kayte and Norm take on the task of painting a Space Battleship Yamato 2199 snap fit kit, using washes and rust effects to make the spaceship look old and battle-worn. The result is a striking transformation!