Latest StoriesMakers
    Show and Tell: Laser-Cut Sixth-Scale Scooter!

    We put together a 180-piece laser-cut model kit inspired by the 1980s Honda Motocompo folding scooter. This awesome model was designed and manufactured by Kirk Shinmoto as his first garage kit with his Glowforge laser cutter. Great job, Kirk! Find this kit here.

    Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition T-51 Helmet!

    At this year's E3, we check out some of the props and collectibles for Fallout 76, including the sold-out T-51 Power Armor helmet that comes with the special collector's edition box. Chronicle Collectibles' Paul Francis walks us through the details of this helmet and the other props he worked on for the game.

    Mind-Controlled Plumbob Crystal from the Sims 4!

    In partnership with EA, we made a pair of Sims 4 plumbobs that change colors based on your thoughts! Jeremy walks us through the design of these brainwave-reading devices, and how he hacked them to light up a 3D-printed plumbob. We're going to take these to this weekend's EA Play and have some fun! (This video was sponsored by Electronic Arts.)

    Adam Savage's One Day Builds: 1000 Shot Nerf Blaster!

    Adam picks up a Nerf Rival blaster, and upgrades it with a custom magazine to hold a THOUSAND soft plastic Nerf balls. Watch as Adam builds the new magazine from scratch, uses kit-bashing to detail the blaster, and adds more upgrades like the bi-pod and laser. And to test this massive rig, Adam sets his sights on some prehistoric prey! Life finds a way!

    Hobby RC: Defying Standard Model Airplane Designs

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of aeromodeling is exploring how far I can twist the common perceptions of aircraft design. Whether through radical asymmetry, cartoonish caricatures, or outlandish adaptations, my experiments often reveal that the limits of "airworthy" stretch far beyond what we are used to.

    My tests usually only serve to satisfy my own curiosity. Yet, unusual design traits can sometimes provide unique benefits. For instance, I've heard that builders of pylon racers will occasionally configure their models with only a single aileron for roll control. It may sound trivial, but that is a radical departure from the norm. The vast majority of RC models have two ailerons - one on each wing, moving in opposite directions.

    Like full-scale air racers, RC pylon racers fly at top speed in a counter-clockwise path marked by tall pylons. Although I've never actually seen a pylon racer with just one aileron, I've heard that this set-up provides adequate roll authority while making the airplane simpler and lighter (i.e. faster). Some even say that the adverse yaw caused by having an aileron on only the starboard wing actually makes these racers track through those continuous left turns better. [Adverse yaw occurs when unequal aerodynamic drag of the deflected aileron(s) makes the airplane yaw opposite the direction of roll…usually an undesired effect.]

    While I do not often fly pylon racers, the potential weight, simplicity, and cost benefits of a single aileron set-up in a sport plane intrigued me. I decided to build an airplane with just one aileron to see how it would perform. Coincidentally, my model would have the aileron in the racer-preferred starboard wing. However, I would be asking my model to turn both left and right!

    The Parallax

    The model that I chose to build is the Parallax, an asymmetric park flyer I designed a few years ago. I already had a partially-completed example on my workbench. Most of the airframe was built, but the ailerons were not yet configured. So I knew that it would be a perfect candidate for my one-aileron experiment.

    The unusual, asymmetric layout of the Parallax makes it ideally suited for experimenting with single-aileron flight controls.

    As expected, omitting the port aileron provided the obvious benefits of not having to purchase or install a second aileron servo, the necessary extension wire, or the relevant control linkages. Granted, the cost savings is not huge. Yet, when viewed as a percentage of my overall investment in the model, it's significant. The same can be said of the weight savings. This was my seventh Parallax build, and the lightest by more than an ounce…thanks in part to the omitted aileron.

    When discussing the center of gravity (CG) for airplanes, we tend to focus solely on the fore-aft balance point. Yet, on an asymmetric model such as the Parallax, lateral balance is also an important consideration. The model is not any more sensitive than "normal" airplanes to lateral imbalance, but the unusual distribution of components means that good lateral balance can never be assumed. So I was attuned to the potential lateral balance effects of the absent aileron servo and kept everything in check.

    Show and Tell: Destiny-Inspired Airsoft Mod!

    Bill Doran of Punished Props (and Tested contributor!) stops by the studio to share a personal project modding an airsoft model into a Destiny-inspired prop! Bill talks about how he modeled a 3D-printed shell to fit the prop, which can be used for cosplay photo ops and fan films.

    3D Printing Multiple Colors with Prusa i3's Upgrade!

    We catch up with Josef Prusa at Maker Faire to learn how the latest multi-material upgrade to the Prusa i3 Mk3 is a big improvement over last year's multi-material design. We also check out the new build platforms for the Mk3, which make removing prints a snap!

    Model Trains with Working Steam Engines!

    We meet the Bay Area Garden Railway Society, a group of model train builders who build scale steam engines that actually run on tiny pieces of burning coal! During a water break for one engine, we chat with one of the builders about what it takes to make these beautiful trains work.

    How the Prosthesis Exoskeleton Mech Works

    We get a demo of Prothesis, the exoskeleton mech suit designed by Jonathan Tippett and his team. This 8000 pound mech is directly controlled by Jonathan using his arms and legs, without any stabilizing gimbals or gyros. Jonathan explains how he has to essentially relearn to crawl in the Prosthesis, and we see and hear this massive machine lumber across a parking lot.

    TapGlo Light-Up Ping Pong Table!

    We play TapGlo, a custom-built ping pong table that's like the intersection of table tennis and the videogame Breakout. The maker of this striking light-up table explains how TapGlo is able to detect where ping pong balls land, and how the panels light up and animate in spectacular fashion.

    We Check Out Dremel's DigiLab Laser Cutter

    We check out Dremel's new DigiLab hobby laser cutter, their first forray into the personal laser cutter space. This device is Dremel's take on the Full Spectrum Laser Muse cutter, with their own software, testing, and support. We take a look at its operation, cooling unit, and chat about concerns like laser lifespan and safety.

    Google AIY Kits for Experimenting with Artificial Intelligence

    We learn about Google's AIY voice and vision kits at this year's Maker Faire, and check out a few projects that make use of the kits' artificial intelligence capabilities. The vision kit, in particular, impressed us with its ability to recognize objects, faces, and even emotions.

    Awesome Fallout 4 and Warhammer Space Marine Armor!

    We catch up with prop and costume fabricator Shawn Thorsson, who unveils his latest Fallout 4 T-60 suit and Warhammer 40K armor builds. We learn how he made these larger-than-life costumes, how he blends hard armor parts with undersuits, and get up close to the beautiful paint and weathering detail of these suits!