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    Behold the New Tested Workshop Laser Cutter!

    We have a new laser cutter in our office! Sean's been setting up our digital fabrication shop in the Tested studio, and gives us a look at the 60 watt Univeral Systems laser cutter that we just installed. Join us for our first test cut: making the Tested sign!

    Inside Syfy's Cosplay Melee Workshop

    Heads up: SyFy's new Cosplay Melee premieres tonight. It's a competition show, bringing four new contestants into a workshop each week to build original props and costumes in three days--and perform in them--for a chance to win $10,000. And while weekly theme challenges and the requirement to create characters not based on exisiting intellectual properties put the cosplayers on even footing for the competition, it's the time constraint of building a prop in eight hours and a full costume from scratch in two days that may make the show interesting to watch. Another factor is that the cosplayers are working in a space that's not their own, using tools and materials the showrunners supplied, set up and organized by the show's production design team.

    Photo by: Dale Berman/Syfy

    I chatted with Ian Mallahan, Cosplay Melee's Executive Producer, about the build out for the show's workspace and how contestants made use of the supplied tools for their builds. For Ian, who previously worked on American Chopper and Ellen's Design Challenge, cosplay required a different kind of workshop to fit the needs of different types of build styles. I started off by asking him how the production team chose what types of tools and materials to provide.

    Ian Mallahan: I thought the best way was to go straight to the source, ask them what they used, and what their dream tools would be. Iltimately, we surveyed the contestants. We we started building out the workshop, we had just finished finals casting, and we had a really good pool of who we thought was going to be in the show. And what i wanted to do was provide them with a workshop that would cater to their specific needs.

    If there was a top material and top tool, the top material was EVA foam, and top tool was the Dremel. If this was the wild west, the Dremel would be the six shooter. It's in play nearly constnatly in the workshop. And with eva foam, they're able to transform that humble material into costumes and characters that look like metal. It's unbelievable what they're able to do with that pedestian material.

    What were the tools that ended up getting used the most? Did what you supplied inform what types of props and costumes could be made?

    They were on the bandsaw quite a bit. Scroll saw was used quite a bit, and belt sanders got a lot of work too--useful for shaping insulation foam and aging soft materials, like fabrics. That kind of worn aged look was the difference between something looking like a halloween costume and the real authentic thing. All during produciton, heat guns were blazing. It sounded like a hair salon in there sometimes.

    A Sense of Scale - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 3/21/17
    Will and Norm record from the cave while Adam beams in from the Phantom Zone this week! Continuing with a recap of Adam's trip to Austin for SXSW, we discuss the scavenger hunt we organized with artist Jen Schacter, the workshops at CERN, and what it's like to stand in NASA's massive Vehicle Assembly Building.
    00:00:00 / 32:43
    Bela Meriwether, The Future of SFX Makeup - Episode 62 -3/17/17
    Frank and I are continuing to celebrate International Women's Month on CreatureGeek by showcasing the women of SFX/Makeup during the month of March. Now, you may not recognize today's guest from any current movies, but keep watching - because Frank and I have our money on our young guest becoming a makeup pro. 10 year old Bela Meriwether has has the great fortune of learning directly from the master himself, Mr. Rick Baker (who she affectionately refers to as "Mr. Rick") and knows more about older movies than some adults do. She's like an old soul in a young body. Listen in! She's awesome! If you're digging this podcast, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening! And be sure to listen to how to get a new pack of CreatureGeek stickers!
    00:00:00 / 49:04
    Martin Müller Designs RC Vehicles that Fly at Appropriately Scaled Speeds

    I'm sure we've all had the experience of watching a huge airliner fly overhead at what appears to be an impossibly slow speed. Most of these jets have to be moving at least 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) just to get off the ground. Although we certainly realize that they are actually flying quite swiftly, that knowledge doesn't jibe with the tortoise-like pace that our eyes are seeing.

    Martin Müller's Airbus A310 model is able to fly at super-slow scale airspeeds thanks in part to its helium-filled fuselage.

    We can recreate flying replicas of airplanes in just about any imaginable size and level of detail. Yet, that illusion of speed (or lack thereof) almost never translates well. Most RC models appear to be flying much faster than their full-scale brothers. Martin Müller decided to address that disconnect.

    Martin's idea was to create a scale model of an Airbus A310 airliner that would fly at scale speeds. This meant that his 2-meter-span (79 in) Airbus (approximately 1/22-scale) would have a takeoff speed of about 3 meters per second (6.7 mph). Martin knew that creating a model capable of flying at such slow speeds would require an extreme emphasis on shedding weight and more than a little bit of clever thinking.

    Müller is no stranger to innovation in the RC world. Around 2003, he developed the Ikarus Shock Flyer, a series of highly aerobatic models made of simple sheet foam with carbon fiber bracing. While the Shock Flyers were meant for indoor aerobatic competitions, they unintentionally spawned a whole new genre of RC models: profile foamies. These types of models can be dreamt, designed, and built in a matter of a few hours. More-traditional balsa designs often require weeks or months to get off the ground. Martin also designed several molded-foam models for Multiplex, including the Park Master, Gemini, and uber-popular Fun Cub.

    How Weta Workshop Made Ghost in the Shell's Robot Skeleton!

    Adam Savage gets up close with the one-of-a-kind 3D-printed endoskeleton Weta Workshop made for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell. Chatting with Weta Workshop technician Jared Haley in the studio's 3D modeling room, Adam learns about the experimentation and prototyping necessary to make this gobsmackingly beautiful prop.

    Adam Savage Embarks on His Makerspace Tour!

    Adam has undertaken a national makerspace tour designed to highlight innovation in maker education, entrepreneurship and workforce development! In this first video of the series, Adam visits Intermediate Unit 1, a K-12 special and alternative education school in Grindstone, PA,

    Adam Savage's SXSW 2017 Makers Scavenger Hunt

    South by Southwest festival begins this week and the city of Austin, Texas is buzzing with excitement and creativity! Adam and artist Jen Schachter have been collaborating on a Maker-themed scavenger hunt celebrating inventions, people and tools across all disciplines of making. Jen has designed an amazing laser-cut wood sculpture that showcases the breadth of maker culture, from engineering and electronics to art and design. This tapestry has been split into nine puzzle pieces, and it's up to you to collect them all and put the puzzle together!

    Even if you're not in Austin for SXSW, we want the Tested and maker community to be able to participate in this scavenger hunt. Jen has hidden the nine pieces of this puzzle in locations across Austin, each connected to the themes and disciplines illustrated on the puzzle sections. For each location, you'll have to solve three riddles, and then unscramble selected letters to reveal the name of the place where the puzzle piece is kept. Think hangman, meets crossword puzzle, meets letter jumble! (When you locate a piece, we recommend looking up their business hours before making the trip.)

    There are only nine total pieces, and the locations will have instructions for the people who collect them on where and when to bring them together at SXSW. As teams begin uncovering the locations and retrieving the puzzle pieces, we'll be tweeting and updating this page with the solutions. And once the puzzle comes together this Tuesday evening, we'll unlock the laser cutter designs for this beautiful art piece for you to make your own or remix the design.

    The clues for the nine puzzle locations are below, and you can also download them here to print out! Collaborate with other people working to find these puzzle pieces in the comments section below or on social media using the hashtags #makerpuzzle and #sxsw2017. Good luck!

    A Visit with Beth Hathaway - Episode 61 -3/10/17
    We are celebrating International Women's Day on CreatureGeek. Actually, Frank and I are planning on celebrating Internationall Women's MONTH on CreatureGeek by showcasing the women of SFX/Makeup in the month of March. On this show, we welcome the wonderful Beth Hathaway. Beth is a special effect artist and puppeteer who has worked on such shows as Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 and Edward Scissorhands. She was, along with former CreatureGeek Guest, Kirk Thatcher, a judge for Jim Henson's CreatureShop Challenge on Syfy. Listen in! She's awesome! If you're digging this podcast, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening! And be sure to listen to how to get a new pack of CreatureGeek stickers!
    00:00:00 / 51:49
    Making a Laser-Cut Nintendo Switch Stand

    Here's a simple and timely project for your laser cutter: a custom Nintendo Switch stand that holds it at more usable angle than the built-in kickstand and allows USB-C port access for charging. Frank sketches out the design and puts it together using threaded rod. Download the SVG file here!

    Examining Boeing’s New Starliner Spacesuit

    Boeing recently unveiled the suit that astronauts will be wearing when they ride their upcoming Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). Officially called the Starliner Ascent and Entry Suit, it also answers to "Starliner spacesuit". Aside from its bold "Boeing blue" color, the Starliner spacesuit has numerous features worth noting. It is quite different in several ways from any suit that astronauts have ever worn before. These differences reflect an emphasis on mobility and comfort, efforts to blend the suit with its host spacecraft, and the specific emergency scenarios that the suit is designed for.

    The Basics

    The most important thing to understand about the Starliner spacesuit is its role an "ascent and entry" suit. As such, it is only designed to be worn during launch and landing of the spacecraft. You won't see astronauts spacewalking in this suit (at least not for long!). The primary function of an ascent and entry suit is to keep the occupant alive if there is a problem inside the crew compartment during launch or landing. The scenarios with the highest probability (though still relatively unlikely) are loss of cabin pressurization or an internal fire.

    Before getting to the specifics of the Starliner spacesuit, let's discuss the attributes of ascent/entry suits in generic terms. Previous generations of these suits have been derived from the pressure garments worn by pilots of high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2 and SR-71. In some cases, the differences were negligible. Whether worn in an airplane or a spacecraft, the job such a suit is to provide its occupant with a tolerable atmospheric pressure, even when the outside pressure conditions are lethal.

    From Frank's Shop - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 3/8/17
    A first for Still Untitled--we record remotely from Frank Ippolito's workshop! Adam dials in to give an update on the tour, share his discovery of a wonderful photography museum, and discuss two recent movies: John Wick 2 and Get Out. Frank also gives some insight into the thought process for this year's Academy Awards makeup winner, and teases an upcoming project!
    00:00:00 / 36:30