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    Let's Build: Laser Cut Mechanical Kits, Part 4

    The dream team of laser cut wood kits comes together to get back on track with our UGears timer mechanical kit. Danica brings in some tools to help solve our toothpick crisis, and Simone shares some stories from her recent trip back to Sweden. Progress looks promising! Plus, a special appearance by Ripley the Tested puppy!

    First Look at the $5000 Muse Hobby Laser Cutter

    We check out the Muse, Full Spectrum's hobby-class laser cutter priced at $5000. It's a 45 watt CO2 laser that aims to compete with other emerging hobby cutters made to run in the home garage or workshop. We learn about the features, interface, and expected usage lifespan of this laser cutter that's shipping today.

    Meet Justin Lewis, Pilot of the World’s Smallest Jet

    The BD-5 series of unbelievably-tiny, high-performance airplanes is a study in stark contrasts. Originally conceived by entrepreneurial engineer Jim Bede during the homebuilt airplane craze of the late 1960's, the BD-5 was intended to be easy to afford, easy to build, and easy to fly. The product that Bede ultimately delivered checked none of those boxes. The original propeller-driven BD-5 was among the best-selling aircraft kits ever produced, yet only a small percentage has ever been completed and flown. Thanks to appearances in the movie Octopussy, and numerous high-profile marketing campaigns, the jet-powered BD-5J was a wildly-popular cultural icon during the 1980's. The airplane's fame, however, could almost be considered posthumous. Bede Aircraft Company had already gone belly-up and most BD-5 kits languished in dark corners of hangars, garages, and barns…abandoned by owners who were unable to build them or too scared to fly them.

    The story of the BD-5 is not over just yet. In spite of its sketchy past, the airplane's fighter-like appearance and bantam size still attract budget-minded pilots with a speed jones. One of those pilots is Justin Lewis. Actually, Lewis's involvement with the BD-5J goes several steps deeper than just ownership. He helped to develop a substantially improved and modernized variant of the tiny jet. When he is not test flying recently-completed airframes or checking out aspiring mini-jet pilots, Lewis and his pint-sized ride can be seen performing at airshows or lurking on military radar screens.

    I recently talked with Justin to find out more about his airplane and what it is like to fly it.

    Tested Mailbag: Apollo 11 Hardware Poster!

    Welcome the return of the Tested mystery mailbag! We start 2017 off with a package from artist Rob Loukotka, aka FringeFocus, who launched a successful crowdfunding campaign for his beautiful NASA-themed poster. We love it!

    Let's Build: Laser Cut Mechanical Kits, Part 2

    With fingers bandaged and splinters removed, Norm, Simone, and Jeremy move on to a new laser cut plywood kit from Ugears. The more advanced model features mechanical movements and precision toothpick placement, which gives the team some trouble!

    Let's Build: Laser Cut Mechanical Kits, Part 1

    Norm, Simone, and Jeremy tackled some new kits this week: beautiful laser-cut plywood models from Ugears. The models show how laser cut designs can be surprisingly complex, and the team warms up with a 34-piece combination lock. Plus, Jeremy tests a conversation starter program and we learn about Simone's darkest secret.

    Weta Workshop Artist's Hand-Sculpted Skulls

    In Weta Workshop's sculpting department, Adam meets artist Javier Murcia, who in his spare time has been working on a beautiful personal project. These "Oxidations" are castings of hand-sculpted skulls, chemically treated to produce unique patinas and finishes. They're stunning!

    Learning about Silicone Prosthetics at Weta Workshop

    At Weta Workshop, we stop by the mold and cast department, where artists make the prosthetic makeup applications that transform actors into elves, dwarves, and orcs. We meet Kim Docherty, senior prosthetics artist, who explains how a silicone prosthetic like a dwarf's nose is made from start to finish at the shop.

    Adam Savage at Weta Workshop's Model Painting Shop!

    Adam Savage geeks out over model painting at Weta Workshop's paint department! Chatting with senior painter Jules German, Adam learns how the Weta Workshop artist creates the paint master for a scaled diorama from The Hobbit, as well as discussing tips and techniques for model makers of any skill level.

    Inside Weta Workshop's Collectibles Department

    Weta Workshop is composed of many different departments that produce its world-class fabrication and special effects work for films, but there are also departments that produce products for fans. We visit the collectibles workshop at Weta to learn what goes into designing and making a Lord of the Rings collectible.

    Simone Giertrz's Ice Cream Drone--It Might Work!

    For her latest project, Simone wonders if she can find a way to utilize drones to encourage working out. Her plan: use the subject tracking feature of a new DJI quadcopter to fly away from her while carrying a tantalizing treat. It might work!

    Weta Workshop Sculptor's Labyrinth Model

    On a visit to effects studio Weta Workshop, Adam Savage meets and chats with artists who bring their own obsessions to their work. Sculptor Johnny Fraser-Allen, who is working on miniatures for Jim Henson's Labyrinth board game, shares with Adam his own intricate maze miniature, which will end up being the size of an entire room!

    Weta Workshop's Model Miniatures for Thunderbirds are Go

    On our trip to New Zealand and Weta Workshop, Adam Savage visits the miniatures stage for Thunderbirds are Go, a television series featuring incredible handcrafted "bigature" sets. We get up close to the intricate and detailed models to learn how these scaled environments were designed, fabricated, and then used for filming.