Latest StoriesMakers
    Inside LAIKA Studios Exhibition at Comic-Con 2018!

    We take a tour of LAIKA Live, the incredible exhibition of LAIKA Studios' stop-motion film props, puppets, and miniatures at this year's Comic-Con. Norm and Kayte go behind the scenes to chat with LAIKA modelmakers and animators to learn about their process and get up close with these beautiful characters.

    Creative Commons - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 7/17/18
    Adam's back from two weeks of travel and catches us up on his time as an artist in residence in Colorado making a bronze Maltese Falcon (and collaborating with Tom Sachs!). We also talk about the influence of Akira on its 30th anniversary, and Adam's release of the plans and patterns for his EDC TWO bag. A big episode before we head down to Comic-Con!
    00:00:00 / 43:09
    PROJECTIONS, Episode 54: Mixed Reality with ZED Mini Camera

    We visit the offices of Stereolabs, the makers of the ZED and ZED Mini mixed reality camera systems to test out their implementation of a passthrough camera accessory for VR headsets. Using their ZED Mini, we're able to get an augmented reality experience with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and get a sense of the challenges of using a stereo camera system for passthrough AR.

    Adam Savage's One Day Builds: EDC TWO Bag!

    Adam's latest one day build is a very personal project: making a custom version of his new EDC TWO bag using the patterns he's putting out into the world. Marcos from Mafia bags stops by to guide Adam through some of the intricacies of sewing sailcloth and giving the bag a distinct look! (Patterns available at adamsavage.com)

    Hobby RC: Testing the E-Flite UMX Timber

    I've been a fan of ultra-micro RC airplanes since they first became available several years ago. At first, it was just about the cool factor of flying an itty-bitty model, even if it couldn't do much. But ultra-micros have advanced dramatically in recent years. They are now powerful, practical, and versatile flying machines with features that rival or surpass larger models. The subject of this review, the UMX Timber, is a prime example.

    About the UMX Timber

    The UMX Timber ($130) is a Bind-N-Fly model with a 27.6" (700mm) wingspan and a flying weight of only 4.3 ounces (121g). It comes with everything except a compatible radio transmitter, flight battery, and charger. Other than bolting on the landing gear and setting up your radio, all of the pre-flight tasks are done for you.

    Like all of E-flite's other UMX models, the Timber is made of molded foam components. It is adorned with a mixture of paint and stickers. I'm not a fan of the stickers. While I like the color scheme, the stickers have a glossier sheen than the foam and are wrinkled in numerous areas. There is definitely some headroom for cosmetic improvement.

    This model has a variety of bright LED lights installed in the wings and fuselage. They emulate the navigation lights found on full-scale airplanes. The lights are somewhat crude, with exposed wires and circuit boards. Their inclusion seems to be an afterthought. I'm sure some flyers like the lights. I wouldn't mind if they were omitted.

    E-flite's UMX Timber is a small and lightweight RC airplane that is factory assembled.

    One of the most noticeable and unusual aspects of the UMX Timber is the pair of cartoonish tires slung underneath. The tires seem a bit less awkward if you're familiar with the rugged full-scale airplanes made famous by Alaskan bush pilots. Those aircraft have similarly-oversized tires that let them take off and land on very rough ground. The UMX Timber's tires serve the same purpose. Whereas most micro-sized models require a paved runway or a hand launch, the UMX Timber is much less picky. I've been flying off of a grass runway with no problem. None of my other micros can do that.

    Weta Workshop's MOOSE Attack Robot from Chappie!

    Adam Savage visits one of his favorite places in the world, the miniatures and product prototyping shop at Weta Workshop! During this visit, we're shown a prototype replica of the desktop MOOSE robot from Chappie, and Adam discusses the possibilities of turning this robot into a collectible or hobby kit!

    Weta Workshop Artists Make Custom 'Giant Killer Robots'!

    While Adam Savage visits Weta Workshop in New Zealand, he checks out a stunning collection of custom kitbashed robot miniatures made by the artists at the studio. These one-off sculptures are made from spare parts from Weta Workshop's GKR: Heavy Hitters tabletop game, and each is a beautifully twisted take on robot design. We can't get enough of them!

    Inside Adam Savage's Cave: The Universal Greeblie!

    Whether you call them greeblies, greebles, or nurnies, these small plastic pieces are an essential part of modelmaking kit-bashing. For an upcoming One Day Build, Adam shows off the universal greeblie and talks about how this piece was extensively used in the ILM model shop. It's something you can't unsee when looking at classic scale models from our favorite films!

    Calling All Totoros for San Diego Comic-Con!

    For this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Adam and the Tested team want to meet up with Totoro cosplayers and walk the floor in costume! We invite Totoro costume maker Adam Quinones to the cave to try on and borrow his costume for the meetup. What's the collective noun for a group of Totoros? A neighborhood of Totoros, perhaps? To participate, post below and we'll get in touch!

    Perfect vs. Right - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 6/26/18
    The week before leaving for an artist residency, Adam talks about the difference between making a prop replica look "perfect" and making it look "right." Kishore also guests to discuss NYC travel recommendations, mentalism, and magic shows. Plus, some details about Raiders of the Lost Ark that we never knew!
    00:00:00 / 41:31
    Not That Falcon Build - Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project - 6/22/18
    Adam shares stories from his trip to the Nation of Makers conference, where he helped assemble a massive 3D printed sculpture. We also learn about his recent revisiting of his Maltese Falcon replica build, as well as his trip to the Onewheel factory. Plus, a weird theory connecting Predator and Home Alone.
    00:00:00 / 44:24
    Adam Savage Builds a Onewheel Electric Skateboard!

    Adam's an unabashed fan of the Onewheel electric skateboard--he's owned every model and uses it to get around San Francisco. To learn more about how the Onewheel is designed and built, Adam visits the factory in the Bay Area where they're built and assembles his own XR board!

    Hobby RC: Restoring a Vintage Model Wright Flyer

    I like going to RC swap meets because I can almost always find some rare and unusual models--my favorite kinds of flying machines! I'm pretty sure that sellers are also happy when I arrive. That is because I tend to be lured by the hopeless wrecks that no one else gives a second glance. I'm sort of like a cat lady for model airplanes. My most recent swap meet find is a good example.

    Abused Wright Flyer

    As I perused the aisles at the Sky Chiefs Swap Meet in Canandagua, New York, I spotted an awkward-looking biplane tucked under some larger models. Despite the significant dust and grime that covered the airplane, I recognized it as a Great Planes Wright Flyer. This little electric-powered park flyer was released about 15 years ago, near the 100th anniversary of the Wright brother's historic first flight. The model is a very rare find these days.

    I ignored the filth and gave the airplane a quick inspection. While some foam components were damaged and others were missing, all of the plastic framework appeared to be present and in relatively good condition. I also noticed that it had both motors, the gearboxes, propellers, an Electronic Speed Control (ESC) and two Futaba micro servos. The servos alone made it worth the model's $10 price tag. I didn't even haggle.

    My favorite genre of RC models to restore are those from the late 1990s and early 2000s. This was the time period when electric-powered models were just beginning to get popular. Most of the kits from this era were designed to perform well with relatively inefficient brushed motors and heavy NiCad batteries. There is often a significant improvement in performance when these planes are retrofitted with modern brushless motors and LiPo batteries. That was my intent for the Wright Flyer, although I did make some adjustments to this plan along the way.

    How to Make a Laser-Cut Prop Stand!

    Inspired by a Blade Runner blaster stand that came with a kit, Bill Doran walks us through the simple process of designing and laser-cutting an acrylic stand for your hand props. In this case, a lightsaber! We take our quick design to our shop's Universal Laser Systems laser cutter and piece together a stand in less than 10 minutes.

    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!