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    Exploring the Hobby Aircraft at the NEAT Fair

    The Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology Fair (NEAT Fair) is a gathering of RC hobbyists who enjoy designing, building, and/or flying electric-powered models. I like all three of those things. So I've been itching to attend NEAT for a long, long time. I finally got my chance to stop in this year and experience this unique event. Since I could attend for only one day, I decided that I would leave my models at home and just observe.

    Genesis of the NEAT Fair

    The inaugural NEAT Fair was held in 2000, a time when electric-powered flying models were still a fringe element of the RC hobby. The motors, batteries, and electronic widgets available to electric-minded hobbyists were all rather crude by today's standards. Any measure of success required forethought, ingenuity, and daring. NEAT provided a rare opportunity for those early innovators to compare notes and show off their latest breakthroughs.

    Things have certainly changed in 18 years! Electric-powered aircraft are now a huge facet of the hobby. The availability of off-the-shelf models with great performance means that you no longer have to be an expert just to get off the ground. Even so, there are still modelers who are constantly nudging the state of the art and trying new things. For them, the NEAT Fair remains a Mecca.

    The NEAT Fair featured numerous electric models that were big…really big!

    NEAT is officially a 4-day event. This year's show ran from Thursday, 9/14 to Sunday, 9/17. Some eager participants began setting up as early as the previous weekend. When I arrived on Saturday morning, the entire flightline was filled with pop-up canopies and tents. Event director, Tom Hunt, told me that more than 300 pilots were registered.

    The event takes place just outside of Downsville, a quiet town in the Catskill Mountains of New York. More specifically, NEAT is held at the Peaceful Valley Campsite along the Delaware River. This location presents an interesting dichotomy for NEAT goers. Upon arrival at this event celebrating technology and innovation, participants will likely find that their cell phones and other modern electronic leashes are mere paperweights in this remote valley. Yet, no one that I spoke with seemed to mind spending a few days off the grid.

    Adam Savage Explores the Science-Fiction Spacesuits of FBFX

    When Adam was recently in London, he visited the headquarters of FBFX, the makers of spacesuits for films like The Martian, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant. There, we examined up-close the insane details that make up these spacesuits, and learn how they're designed and put together from sorted bins of individually crafted and weathered parts.

    Announcing Our 2017 Live Show, Tested: Deconstructed!

    We're doing another live show! I can't believe that this will be fourth year putting on a stage show--it feels like just yesterday that Kishore, Will, and I were talking about what it would mean for Tested to have a live event. And every year, we've found tremendous pride and pleasure in figuring out what Tested on stage means. This year is no different. Tested: Deconstructed will be an exploration into the processes and obsessions that make up the projects you see on the site. We want to show you what makes us tick and how we make. It'll be an evening of presentations from the Tested team, including Adam and Simone, our friends in the maker and science community, and a few surprises as well!

    Photo credit: Dallis Willard

    Tested: Deconstructed will take place at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, on Saturday, October 28th, at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now, and you can find them, along with some more info, here! Hope to see you there!

    Highlights From Adam Savage's September 2017 Reddit AMA

    In case you missed it, on Sept. 14, 2017, Adam (aka "mistersavage") had another epic AMA on reddit, answering questions for hours. We've gathered some of our favorite answers below; to read the full AMA, go here!

    bl1ndvision: What's something someone can buy for under $50 that will change their life (for the better)?

    mistersavage: Fantastic question!!! A great kitchen knife can be grabbed for that much. Too many options. I don't have a definitive answer but I love the thought experiment.

    adamgerken: Adam, I saw Jamie speaking at an event at our college some years ago (you were also supposed to be there but I'll forgive you) and the thing he talked about that really sticks with me is how you two aren't really friends and don't really get along all that well. Tell me it ain't so! If that's the case was it always the case or did you two just grow apart, a la The Beatles?

    mistersavage: No no no, you misunderstand the relationship. We are not good friends. But we were great business partners. The fact is, while we argued about all the small stuff, every single day, we never argued about the big stuff: whether to trade our integrity for a brand, or about the money. And for that I will always treasure my business partnership with Jamie.

    Puppet Master Mark Bryan Wilson - Episode 76 -9/15/17
    Today's guest is a puppet builder and performer with over 30 years of experience under his belt. Over the years, Mark Bryan Wilson has lent his talent to such films as Team America, Men In Black, BeetleJuice and Fright Night. But he is probably best known for being the main puppeteer of Slimer on the original Ghostbusters film. If you're digging this podcast, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. We truly appreciate your support!
    00:00:00 / 59:04
    Anniversaries - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 9/12/17
    We chat about Adam's new science fiction interview series, SyFy Origin Stories, and check out his latest hand prop build. We're also recording on the day of a notable anniversary for Adam. Plus, Will fills us in on what he's been up to, working with Adult Swim on some animations projects. (Will's Adult Swim project: )
    00:00:00 / 36:45
    Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Foam Excalibur Sword!

    Let's flash back to a build that was part of Adam's preparation for this year's Comic-Con! For his King Arthur armor cosplay, Adam needed a foam sword that would be suitable for the convention floor. He turned to the LARP community to find a prop, and today's build is making that sword look better with different techniques for metallic finishing. To the airbrush!

    Pressure Casting a Glow-in-the-Dark Slimer Model

    Frank walks us through the casting of a special kit: a slimer by legendary effects artist Steve Johnson, the sculptor of the original slimer from Ghostbusters! We learn how Frank mixes up resin to make these glow in the dark and utilizes a pressure pot to eliminte air bubbles. These kits will be available at the Son of Monsterpalooza convention later this month!

    My Key to Organizing Small Allen Wrenches

    If you're like me, you have an unorganized bin of loose Allen wrenches in your workshop. SAE and metric sizes coexist is this microcosm without discrimination or prejudice. Maybe you call these tools hex keys. Whatever the case, they are a blessing and a curse. In larger sizes (bigger than 3/16" or 4.5mm), they are cheap, convenient, and robust tools. The smaller Allen wrenches, however, present several problems for me.

    First of all, the wrenches and the heads of the fasteners that they drive tend to strip easily. This is exaggerated by the fact that there are many different sizes which are indiscernible by eye. Selecting the correct wrench for an application can be challenging. Oh, did I mention that these wrenches are not even marked with their size?

    Despite their challenges, small Allen wrenches are a fact of life in the RC world. They are used in many, many applications across the RC spectrum. In fact, most of the smaller hex keys in my bin were included with RC products. Many of the larger tools can be traced to Ikea.

    Small Allen wrenches can be frustrating to use. So I came up with a simple system to manage these tools.

    I have a somewhat masochistic MO when I need to find a small Allen wrench. I reach into that disheveled bin and pull out a handful of tools that look to be about the right size. Then I go through the frustrating exercise of test fitting each wrench in the fastener until I find a good fit. If I'm lucky, I'll score a good wrench within the first five tries.

    After years of this inefficient approach, I finally decided to end the madness. I set out to find a simple means of organizing my small Allen wrenches. I decided that my system would have to be easy to understand, easy to implement, and easy to maintain.

    Announcing the 2017 Tested Premium Community Gift!

    Adam and Norm reveal this year's gift for Tested premium members! Members who joined or renewed since May 31st will get an exclusive 7" vinyl record of the Brain Candy song that Adam sang and recorded live at Third Man Records. This single will not be available for sale anywhere, and is our way of saying thanks to the Tested community for supporting us and watching our videos. Learn more about the benefits of a membership here! (If you are eligible for this promotion, please make sure you completely fill out your shipping address in your Tested profile as soon as possible to guarantee delivery. If you’ve already added your shipping address to your profile in the past, please double check its accuracy.)

    Highlights from Prop Store's 2017 Live Auction

    Back at Comic-Con, we got a preview of Prop Store's upcoming Live Auction, in which costumes and props like Starlord's hero helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy are going to find their ways in the hands of collectors. Brandon Alinger of Prop Store walks us through some of his favorite pieces from the auction, from films like Indiana Jones and Back to the Future series.

    Marcus Wu's 3D-Printed Curta Calculator

    Adam walks us through his collection of analog calculators, culminating in one of his newest favorite objects: a 3D-printed Curta calculator that's a perfect scaled reproduction of the intricate mechanical computer. This incredible replica was engineered and built by Marcus Wu, who started the project two years ago.

    Discovering New Tools for RC Projects

    Whether it's building model airplanes, refinishing old furniture, baking banana bread, or anything else, I think that most of us tend to stick with tools and methods that we are comfortable with. It's human nature to seek familiarity. With my RC projects, I like to think that I am open to using new tools. At the same time, I recognize that I rarely expose myself to any alternatives. That all changed recently due to my cross-country move.

    Many of my commonly-used project supplies are still in boxes, waiting their turn to be unpacked. Consequently, my workshop is in disarray and I've been forced to improvise somewhat. That has turned out to be a good thing because I've stumbled across some new tools that I actually prefer using over my old methods. You'll probably laugh because none of this stuff is newly-developed. I'm pretty sure it's all been around for quite some time. I was just blind to anything outside of my usual processes.

    Disposable Pipettes

    As I was preparing to detail my 'Apocalypse Now' boat, I realized that I would need to do some paint mixing. The only trouble was that I couldn't find my stash of small mixing cups. I went online to buy more and also stumbled across listings for disposable pipettes. Why had I never thought of that before? Some model paint sets even come with pipettes. I just never realized how useful they could be. I usually find myself trying to pour small quantities of paint into the mixing cups. Pipettes would allow me to dispense precise volumes of paint and thinner.

    I recently discovered that disposable pipettes allow me to mix precise amounts of paint. I used to pour directly from the jar!

    My only problem was that I wasn't sure which size pipettes would be best for my application. I ended up choosing a package that included 100 each of 3 milliliter, 1 milliliter, and .2 milliliter sizes. It turns out that 1 milliliter is the ideal size for my paint-mixing chores. The only downside to using the pipettes is that model paint sticks to the inside. If you need more than one pipette's worth of a certain color, the residue from the previous load can mask how much paint is in the pipette on the next squeeze. I didn't run into that situation often, so it wasn't a big deal for me. The worst case scenario was that I would have to use a new pipette for each transfer of paint. At less than 3 cents per pipette, I can handle that.

    I quickly found other uses in my shop for the pipettes. One particularly useful application for the .2 milliliter units is applying thin cyanoacrylate glue (CA aka "super glue"). This CA runs very easily. So it's often difficult to keep the glue only in the area that you want it. Anyone who has ever accidentally glued their fingers together knows exactly what I'm talking about.