Latest StoriesArt
    Transcript: Adam Savage's 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire Talk

    So last year I got here and I was getting ready to get on another giant animal to ride over to the stage and Sherry [Huss, the creator of Maker Faire] said, "You know, everyone is eager to hear your Sunday sermon." I said, "Sunday sermon? What's that?" She said, "That's what we call your Sunday talk."

    No one had told me so I decided this year to write something more akin to a sermon, a secular one to be sure, but oh, my brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers, welcome to Maker Faire. It is lovely to see your shining and beautiful faces, to see the inspiration that is here.

    Where are we, and where are we going? Where we are is amazing. Driverless cars might mean the end of a million vehicle-related deaths per year. With technology and science we have improved the overall health and wellness of humans to the point that it is better now than it has ever been in history. We can produce calories cheaper than imaginable 50 years ago, and luxuries like washing machines, cars, and televisions are part of nearly every single household. Where the internet makes so much connectivity possible that the Barbie-collecting banker in Japan can become best friends with the larping poet in Spokane.

    Things are pretty cool.

    Seeing what other mad geniuses, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizers, teachers, parents, and inventors are doing invests our work with more purpose.

    This is also a terrible time. Where our open internet is under threat. Where automation will eliminate millions of jobs in the next decade. Where the disparity between the richest and the poorest of us increases every single day. Where the color of one's skin can radically alter the outcome of trivial interactions. Things as simple and quotidian as driving down the street or flying in an airplane are fraught with uncertainty at best and lethal danger at worst. Where interconnectivity still yields cliques and exclusive groups leading teens on social media to feel more alone and more marginalized. Where science, the crucible of human progress, has become attached to partisan politics, the engine of exclusion and marginalization. Where our planet is being irrevocably changed for the worse by our bad habits. As William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed." Both of these things are true.

    At the same exact time, things are as they have always been. They are both great and terrible. But where are we now? Now temporally we are at the Maker Faire Mothership in San Mateo, where we are celebrating the fact that it has never been a better time to be a maker. What unbelievable tools we have at our disposal. We have 3D printers, vinyl cutters, scanners, laser engravers and every hand tool imaginable, and we are here because you mad scientists, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizing teachers, parents, and inventors find that being around each other is inspiring. And seeing what other mad geniuses, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizers, teachers, parents, and inventors are doing invests our work with more purpose and gives us ideas to go back home. It's invigorating and it's heart warming.

    Transcript: Adam Savage's Q&A at the 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire

    If you missed Adam's Bay Area Maker Faire talk, you can watch or read a transcript of it.

    Question 1: What's Next

    What is next in my career? Your guess is as good as mine. I am still working hard with the amazing team at to do more one day builds. We are traveling to some far away lands soon to do some amazing builds there too. So Tested is still a primary center.

    I have pitched some other television ideas and am waiting to hear if some of them will take. I'm really excited about telling stories on television again, but I also love this new format where you don't necessarily need TV. Someone recently suggested on Twitter that I should host a Saturday morning maker show. We're actually starting to dive into the possibilities of something like that.

    Ultimately I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up and that's a big part of the plan. My boys are 18 so we're in a big massive shift. Our whole world is about to change.

    Question 2: Favorite Build

    What was my favorite build? It was whatever build I had just completed. Many of you know we went to Weta Workshop last summer and Peter Lyon, the amazing sword master at Weta, taught me how to make my own strider sword, and that was an amazing day. He also taught me the right kind of aluminum to use to make a movie-type weapon and a whole bunch of techniques. And last week I used the skills that he taught me to do my favorite one day build yet.

    Obviously I build stuff for a living. I build it all day long. I show my crew what I'm working on and we talk about it, but I finished this one build the other day and I walked in and there was this absolute level of: Wow, this is really good. Not just good. It's actually really good. I'm like, "I know. I'm just as impressed as you are."

    Goliath is a CNC Router That Runs on a Robot

    We check out a really interesting design for a CNC machine at this year's Maker Faire. Goliath CNC puts its router on a robot, which drives on top of a plank of plywood while making its cuts. We chat with one of Goliath's creators to learn how it works and the technical challenges of putting a useful router on wheels.

    Behind the Scenes: The Sounds On Set of Alien: Covenant!

    Adam Savage steps into the Sound Recordist Ben Osmo's audio mixing truck on the set of Alien: Covenant to learn how environment and creature audio is used during filming to aid in actors' performances. Ben also shares the growls and roars of the new alien that appear in the film!

    Eric Harrell 3D-Prints Mechanical Engine Models

    We meet Eric Harrell, who brought his collection of functional 3d-printed car engines and transmissions to this year's Maker Faire! Eric shows us his 1/3rd scale engines, which he designs from reference schematics and measurements to highlight how real engines work. Eric has also made his files available online for anyone to make their own replicas!

    Building and Playing the "Monolith", a Teensy-Powered Synthesizer!

    We invite Paul Stroffregen and Darcy Neal to our studio to assemble the Monolith, an interactive musical sculpture they and their friends created for this year's Maker Faire. Paul is the inventor of the Teensy, the small and power microcroller that powers the Monolith, generating all of its sounds in real-time! And it sounds AWESOME.

    Adam Savage's Maker Faire 2017 Speech!

    Adam gives his annual Sunday "sermon" to the attendees of Bay Area Maker Faire, and fields questions from the audience! This year, Adam rides in on a beautiful kinetic sculpture by the artists at La Machine.

    Tested: Fujinon MK 18-55mm Cinema Lens

    Joey tests and reviews the Fujinon MK 18-55 zoom lens, which is notable for its price as a entry-level cine lens. Using it on a variety of location shoots and Tested productions, Joey demonstrates how professional cinema lenses operate and perform differently than still photography lenses for video, and why you would want to use one on your camera.

    Adam Savage's Maker Tour: Stanford Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program

    At SAYAC, Adam learns about an innovative and therapeutic program that designs makerspaces in children's hospitals in order to engage young patients in making and problem-solving. Then, as part of that "maker therapy," Adam helps Aaron, Ryan and Joseph build a doorbell that will help provide some privacy for Tia from all the nurses and doctors coming and going from her hospital room! (This series and tour is made possible by The Fab Foundation and Chevron.)

    Hands-On with Circuit Scribe DIY Electronic Kits

    We check out Circuit Scribe, a conductive ink rollerball pen that launched on Kickstarter. Stephanie and Valerie of Circuit Scribe explain how this pen can be used to teach basic electronics principles, and show us some new DIY kits that make use of these concepts.

    Maslow Lets You CNC in Your Garage for $350

    We welcome Bar Smith and Hannah Teagle to show us their Maslow CNC cutting machine, which comes in a $350 kit. This CNC uses an upright design to hold a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood, and is completely open source. We talk about the goals of the Maslow CNC project and what kind of big things it can make!

    Hands-On with the NeoLucida XL Drawing Tool

    This modern incarnation of a centuries-old drawing tool demonstrates how art and technology have always been intertwined. We chat with Pablo Garcia, creator of the NeoLucida, about the use of optical aids for art and scientific illustrations in the age before photography. Pablo also shows off his new NeoLucida XL, which we test in a drawing demo!

    Frank. Foot. Mouth - Episode 67 -5/19/17
    Frank and Len are doing a solo cast! No guest this week. But a lot of chat about new stuff coming out this fall, like Orville and Star Trek: Discovery and of course, Guardians. Also, Frank and Len discuss cosplayers, more business stuff and Frank tries to dig out of hole he digs for himself early in the show. If you're digging this podcast, please head over to and support us with a few bucks.
    00:00:00 / 01:00:44
    The Creature and Special Effects of Alien: Covenant!

    Adam Savage explores the massive built sets of Alien: Covenant and chats with visual effects supervisor Neil Corbould about the resurgence of practical effects to complement cg effects in blockbuster filmmaking. Adam also gets up close with some familiar Alien universe props in the creature fabrication workshop!

    Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Chewbacca and C-3PO!

    It's no secret that Adam's a big fan of Chewbacca. So for his newest cosplay build, Adam revamps his Chewie costume to carry an animatronic threepio, as depicted in The Empire Strikes Back. It's going to require a bit of disassembly, engineering, and problem-solving to turn two costumes into one that's still wearable!

    Lab Tools: The History of the Pipette

    Unless you work in a lab, it's possible that you've never seen a pipette in person and only have a vague idea about what it does. But any scientist that has ever worked with liquids will likely say the pipette is one of the most essential tools in the lab. Modern versions of the tool require just a press of a button to pick up a specific volume of liquid and move it. It's a bit like an eyedropper, but with the ability to control specifically how much liquid you are picking up and dispensing. The pipette is most commonly used in genetic research, chemistry, microbiology, and drug development.

    Photo credit: Flickr user gemmerich via Creative Commons

    In what is probably the most horrifying revelation in all of these lab tool histories so far, the reality about life before formal pipetting is that when scientists didn't have proper tools to move liquids around they just used a straw and their own mouths to create suction. According to a paper titled "Hazards of Mouth Pipetting," produced by the US Army Biological Laboratories in 1966, one of the earliest recorded examples of the hazards of using one's mouth for this purpose came in 1893 when a doctor accidentally sucked a bunch of Typhoid bacteria into his mouth. The paper went on to express concern that it was much too easy to inhale vapors, especially from radioactive solutions, even when the liquid being transferred never made contact with a scientist's mouth.

    It's remarkable, given the history of pipettes, that the "mouth pipetting" method managed to continue into the 60s. According to the US Army paper: "the method of avoiding pipetting hazards is so elementary, so simple, and so well-recognized that it seems redundant to mention it." But, nonetheless, the paper goes on to say that only a few institutions at the time had issued rules that forbade scientists from using their mouths to move infectious and toxic materials around their labs. In fact, Manhattan Project scientist Lawrence Bartell accidentally ingested plutonium using this method -- luckily he lived to tell the tale.

    Credit: Sarah Harrop, Medical Research Council

    Scientists certainly had the tools available to them at that time. The earliest pipettes were invented by Louis Pasteur, one of the scientists responsible for proving the validity of germ theory. For a few hundred years before Pasteur came around science had suspected the existence of microorganisms, but had never been able to prove their existence. Pasteur managed to show that microbes were responsible for food going bad by closely studying the fermentation of milk and wine. The result of this research was twofold. First, of course, was his most famous achievement: developing the method of pasteurization, which uses heat to remove bacteria from food. The second was the creation of rudimentary pipettes, know today as the Pasteur Pipette, which he deemed essential to prevent liquids from becoming contaminated when they were moved from place to place in his lab. The new method used thin glass tubes with a rubber bulb at the end, which created suction. Pasteur Pipettes don't have the measuring sophistication that modern pipettes have, but they are still in use today (now also called "transfer pipettes" they're usually made of one single piece of plastic).

    Show and Tell: Makey Makey Invention Kit

    For this week's Show and Tell, Simone brings the Makey Makey invention kit to the office to teach Norm how to turn everyday items into keyboards and game controllers. High fives and furious banana slapping contests ensue. Just another day at the Tested office!

    The Incredible Spacesuits of Alien: Covenant!

    Adam cannot contain his excitement as he visits the spacesuits shop on the production of Alien: Covenant! Meeting with costume designers Janty Yates and Michael Mooney, Adam tries on one of the amazing new spacesuits from the film and sits with Janty to discuss how design works with technology to make these suits possible.