Latest StoriesMakers
    The Rick Baker Show - Episode 43 - 7/1/16
    On this episode, the first of July (on the first of July) Frank and I welcome special effects legend THE Rick Baker. If you're not aware of Rick Baker, you should be! He's worked on so many iconic shows including Star Wars, Harry and The Hendersons, Men in Black, American Werewolf in London and many, many more. Frank and I are honored to have him on the show. Enjoy it! If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening!
    00:00:00 / 01:19:42
    How To Slush Cast a Prop Helmet

    This week's special project is all about casting! We're in Frank's shop to show you how to create a hollow resin cast of a helmet using slush casting. Here's how slush casting compares to other methods, a demonstration of the full process, as well as tips for your own projects!

    Effects Artist Howard Berger on Creatures and Makeup

    Academy Originals continues to kill it with its profiles of the craftspeople and artists behind Hollywood films. KNB EFX co-founder Howard Berger walks us through his work as a special makeup effects artist, giving a demo of the sculpting, molding, casting, painting, and application of a prosthetic makeup.

    Knowledge and Expertise - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 6/28/16
    Adam, Norm, and Simone chat about how to approach acquiring new skills and expertise, as well as Simone's trip to the Shenzhen electronics market. Plus, our thoughts on the Seveneves movie announcement. Place your recommendations for what bits of American culture that Simone should know about in the comments below! (Thanks to TunnelBear for supporting Still Untitled!)
    00:00:00 / 33:15
    Shop Tips: Respirators vs. Dust Masks

    This week, Frank explains the difference between a dust mask and a respirator, and shows us the proper way to put them on. It's a simple yet essential tip--safety never takes a vacation! Post your own shop tips in the comments below!

    Welcome Simone! - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 6/21/16
    Look who's in the cave! Our newest host, Simone Giertz, makes her first appearance on Still Untitled this week, in which we talk about her robot builds, travels, and recent appearance on The Late Show. Plus, we finally learn how to pronounce her last name. Expect more from Simone on Tested! (Thanks to TunnelBear for supporting Still Untitled!)
    00:00:00 / 34:07
    Browning It Up With Doug Stewart - Episode 42 - 6/17/16
    We welcome SFX special costume designer Doug Stewart to this episode of Creaturegeek. We chat about adding brown to a costume and how to age a garment to look realistic. It's a fascinating discussion with another seasoned pro! If you are enjoying the show, head over to and support us with a few bucks. We are short of our monthly goal that brings you an extra show every month. So head on over to our Patreon, pledge a few bucks and help us get to three or more shows per month. Thanks for listening!
    00:00:00 / 58:46
    The Graboid Puppets of Tremors 4

    When writers S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock came up with the original concept for Tremors they never dreamed they'd still be talking about Graboids fifteen years later. "Universal said that we'd never do another Tremors after the first one," recalled Wilson. "Then the video division pushed for Tremors 2. After that, we said, 'Okay, so now we're done.'"

    But fans couldn't get enough of Perfection, Nevada, and the tale of a small group of citizens banding together to fight an uncommon foe. Tremors 3 followed, and a successful television franchise emerged as well. Each time, Stampede Entertainment – with Wilson, Maddock and producer Nancy Roberts at the creative helm – rose to the challenge of reinventing the Graboid, the underground creature that was the story's reason for being. When talk ofTremors 4 began to surface, Wilson met with Universal executive Patti Jackson to discuss the project. "I told Patti that we were really in a corner," Wilson recalled. "The fans were going to want a new creature, but we had no idea where to go. We couldn't just keep doing the same movie over and over." Off-handedly, Wilson added, "We'd have to do something wacky this time, like set it in the Old West." To his surprise, Jackson's response was, "That's fine."

    Full-size mechanical puppet Graboids were built by KNB EFX Group for above-ground scenes, while shots of the creatures bursting from the earth were built and photographed in quarter scale by 4-Ward Productions.

    Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, directed by Wilson from a script by Scott Buck, was released early in 2004 as part of a direct-to-DVD package with the original Tremors. Set in 1889, the story follows Hiram Gummer (Michael Gross), the great-grandfather of survivalist Burt Gummer and owner of a silver mine that has been faced with a series of mysterious deaths among the miners. Joining forces with other townsfolk – ancestors of characters who populate 1989 Perfection – Hiram sets out to determine what is killing the miners, and faces the underground enemy for the first time.

    How To Create Custom Fasteners for RC Projects

    My time as an engineer in the aerospace business taught me that using the right fasteners can have a huge impact to the functionality and serviceability of an item. Sure, a common pan head machine screw will work to hold an access panel in place. But using a custom screw with an oversized Rosette head allows an astronaut in a spacesuit to quickly remove the panel without tools. I'm sure you can imagine what a tremendous advantage that is.

    I often find that specialized hardware can provide similar benefits with my RC projects. The main difference boils down to a question of availability. If the specialty fastener that I want is even manufactured, it is usually prohibitively expensive or is only sold in large quantities. Other times, I need a special fastener "right now". Ordering online or even driving to the hardware store just won't cut it. More often than not, I end up making my own specialty fasteners by modifying common nuts and bolts that I already have in my workshop.

    Making a thumb screw out of a Phillips head screw requires purposeful cutting of a plastic tab.

    In this article, I will illustrate my techniques for creating three different types of custom fasteners.

    Thumb Screws

    Whether I'm going on a week-long vacation or just an afternoon trip to the flying field, I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to packing. I take only the bare essentials and try not to weigh myself down with accoutrements to deal with "what if" scenarios. This probably means that I'll be among the first to succumb to a zombie apocalypse. Until that brain-eating day, I'll live happily unencumbered.

    Translating my streamlined packing approach to RC means that I aim to carry very few tools with me. If a specialty fastener lets me do a job without tools, then I'm game. That's why I often find myself turning normal screws into thumb screws. If you're not familiar with thumb screws, they are fasteners that are designed to be turned by hand rather than with tools. Thumbs screws are super-convenient as long as you don't have high torque requirements…which I almost never do for RC applications.

    Transforming a slotted screw into a thumb screw is often as easy as gluing a scrap piece of plastic into the slot.

    Converting a common slotted machine screw into a thumb screw is very easy. You just make an appropriately-sized tab out of scrap material and glue it into the slot of the screw. The tab becomes your grip for turning the screw. I have a sheet of 1/32"-thick Kydex plastic that I typically use to make tabs. I have also used craft sticks, thin plywood and scrap aluminum for the same job. You're bound to have something that will work. GOOP adhesive is great for gluing the tab to the slot.

    Making a Mad Max R/C Car Part 1: Building a Custom Body Shell

    I'm sure I'm not the only member of the Tested community who grew up with an R/C controller firmly planted in my hands. At one point or another, we had every manner of radio controlled vehicle under the sun on our workbench. It's been a good 20 years for me, but I figured it was high time I got back into the hobby and let me tell you, it's never been a better time to start playing with R/C vehicles!

    As a way to justify dumping money back into this hobby, I decided it would be fun to modify an R/C car to look like something that pulled off the Fury Road. That's right, I'll be making my little car look like something Max Rockatansky would be proud to drive through the wasteland. The victim for my little experiment is the LaTrax Teton 1/18 scale truck. As an entry level vehicle, this little fella is a really impressive beast!

    This build will be a multi-article adventure over the next couple of months, as there are many facets to the project. I'm starting with the body shell, since it'll be the platform on which the rest of the build is constructed. Most R/C car bodies are vacuum formed plastic shells that are perched on the chassis using pegs. I figured I'd build my new body in the same way.

    Tested at the Star Trek Beyond Fan Event

    Recently, Adam hosted Paramount's Star Trek fan event, which brought us up close with some of the costumes and props from the upcoming Star Trek Beyond film. Adam and Norm talk about the new costumes and what it's like to sit in the new Captain's Chair. Plus, a bonus interview with three of the cast!

    Photo Gallery: Creative Workspaces of the Community

    In my 2016 Maker Faire talk, I mentioned wanting to visit someone's tiny bedroom desk shop because you can do the most amazing things in the smallest spaces. After that people started to send me photos of their tiny workshops on social media. I love it. Here are some of my favorites so far.

    Tested Tours Theo Jansen's Strandbeest Exhibit

    We tour the new Strandbeest at the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco and get up close to Theo Jansen's magnificent creatures. We also chat with Theo about his evolutionary philosophy and build process, and what's next for the Strandbeest.

    Rebooting and Remaking It - Episode 41 - 6/10/16
    On this episode of CreatureGeek, Frank and I talk about a variety of topics first and foremost the argument to reboot and remake in Hollywood. We chat about the trend of making costumes cosplayable. And how editing can make or break a trailer. If you are enjoying the show, head over to and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening!
    00:00:00 / 47:01