One Day Builds: Adam Savage’s Star Trek Captain’s Chair

We’re in for a treat today–Adam shares the story of his Star Trek Captain’s Chair, which he became obsessed with building from scratch after acquiring an insufficient replica. With the help of friend Jeremy Williams, Adam spends a day wiring in the electronics to bring his new Enterprise command chair to life. After much problem solving and troubleshooting, the effort pays off in a big way!

Shot and edited by Joey Fameli
Music by Jinglepunks

Comments (71)

71 thoughts on “One Day Builds: Adam Savage’s Star Trek Captain’s Chair

  1. Now this is exactly the kind of content I want from Tested! Watching Will soldering all those Neopixels brought back memories…of yesterday where I was doing the exact same thing (I’ve upgraded my Flux Capacitor replica with more realistic coloured LEDs).

    I may have to watch this one a few times 🙂

  2. I always felt like his original replica was a touch sad just from seeing it in the background of the podcast, no more! You guys did a cracking job on that one and it’s staggering how much functionality there is crammed into it. All I want to do right now is just make something, anything as long as it can have flashing LEDs!

  3. Awesome guys one of your best yet. I’m wiring up the new race car in a few weeks this is the inspiration I need to get busy on it.

  4. Great build, loved watching the whole thought process and problem solving.

    That I have to say is what I enjoy the most, you learn more when things go wrong than when everything works first time. Like the Chinese proverb goes “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand”

    But I must say this whole thing reminded me of this…

  5. Things I imagine Adam saying often: “Time to make a list.” and “F#*%ing F!%k”

    A truly awesome build – nice job, guys.

  6. So freaking good! I’ve been wondering about the build with Jeremy since you guys teased it a couple of months ago and it did not disappoint!

  7. Awesome! I’m not sure if this was covered before but I’m dying to know what the Juggling on the white board means.

  8. Captain’s Log Stardate 1505.14. Captain Savage appears to have done yet another amazing build. The flashie-lightie-things are amazing and add a touch of realism. I was unsure of the “pilot” display at first, but I must admit it adds something to the build. Well done. The sound effects are a nice touch too. Now, he must build a green alien slave girl to fall in love with so he can yet again break the prime directive. Out.

  9. Awesome project, nice work to all involved!

    Another interesting way to make the computer chips work is by embedding small NFC cards/tags inside each one (NFC tags are really thin and small, some are even on stickers) and then using a NFC card reader to identify each card and take special actions. Can see more about how to use a NFC reader with an Arduino or Teensy here:

  10. What is Jeremy’s job? Is he some kind of electrician (or magician)? As a regular Tested-reader I know he is an important member of the group, but I can’t remember hearing anything about his job 🙂

  11. I would be willing to bet I speak for a lot of us out here when I say that I don’t care what you call a one-day-build as long as you keep building and letting us watch!

  12. Gee I wonder if you guys had a good time working on that thing. I am thinking the smiles might be sarcasm.

  13. Yeah thats the first thing I though when he mentioned that. Magnets and reed switches seem like they would be a lot more work

  14. That turned a cool captains chair into an awesome captains chair. So Adam what are you going to do with the old chair?

  15. That was so ridiculously awesome, I was in heaven watching you at the end wishing I had my own chair. Unbelievable the amount of work that went into the wiring of the chair. All on the one day builds are great but this was one of the best!

  16. Chair is awesome. I’m glad to see Star Trek TOS get some love.
    Adam if you find a source for pointy-toed, cuban-heeled Trek boots, let us know! I’ve been looking for some for years….

  17. Not only is the build impressive, but it is also incredible how such a small crew can turn two days of frantic problemsolving, esoteric pop-culture and soldering into storytelling this compelling.

  18. Wow! Amazing video and the look on Adam’s face is priceless! Would it be possible to do a technical show and tell video showing the setup and what parts were used. I’m mostly interested in what you used for the sound. Are the sound effects and the music different systems?

    I’m going to have a hard time sleeping now! This was to frikkin cool!!

  19. Awesome video. This was also one of the first times that I have seen Adam confused about how to move forward. Thank goodness for Jeremy’s contribution. That chair kicks ass

  20. Absolutely awesome build! Especially since I just got a couple of fresh rolls of LED strips in the mail yesterday and am planning a build during the weekend.

    Btw. Shouldn’t “red alert” and “extra red alert” simply be “yellow alert” and “red alert”? Since the color in the lights is clearly yellow in the first one. Yellow alert may be perceived a TNG thing, but it was present in the TOS era as well, for example TOS: “Court Martial”.

    And if not then the correct TOS term would be “double red alert”, which was only used in TOS: “The Conscience of the King”.

  21. What do you mean you would have loved this when you were ten? It appears you love it, and appreciate it just fine now!

    An amazing finish to your splendid build. I hope that we have an opportunity to see the building of the chair, as well. Or, at least, post some build notes and sketches! I love seeing the way that problems are solved along the way.

  22. Nice video Joey, that mini doc you made clearly is inspiring some of the cinematography, this is probably the best produced one day build yet!

  23. I’m thinking of a whole line of nerd furniture. I absolutely love Han Solo’s cockpit chairs in the MF.

  24. Wow! Amazing video and the look on Adam’s face is priceless! Would it be possible to do a technical show and tell video showing the setup and what parts were used. I’m mostly interested in what you used for the sound. Are the sound effects and the music different systems?

    I’m going to have a hard time sleeping now! This was to frikkin cool!!

    +1!!! Would love to know more about the programming/electronics side!

  25. That is simply the coolest thing ever. Great job! Scotty would be proud. That goose neck addition is a perfect design modification.

  26. Yeah, using a heavy gauge bus bar like that brass takes an inordinate amount of heat (since the massy brass keeps sucking it away) that it seems plausible that you torched the RGB LED’s (or Neo-Pixels it sounds like).

    I’m exaggerating a bit, but I would say bus bars are for tube amps – probably not modern microcontroller projects.

  27. Not only is the build great, but Adam’s little conversation with William Shatner (on twitter) about the completed chair made it even better…

  28. Holy crap, this is amazing!
    I have all the original Star Trek sound effects and ambiences in my sound library, so if that chair is every in need of some new effects, please let me know ; )

  29. Brilliant show, would love to see a schematic or diagram of the electronics, and even the Arduino sketch.

    It would be nice to see info or more details about the chair design as well. But keep this stuff up, i enjoy the one day builds. Actually any builds.


  30. That was awesome!

    Does anybody know where I could get a decent set of helping hands similar to the ones seen briefly in the vid at 12:38? I’m fed up of the cheap weedy crocodile clip types I’ve been using for years.

  31. I’ve never seen so many adult men instantly reverted back into their 10year old selves. Probably my favorite Tested build so far.

  32. Great build, really fun to watch, and that Jeremy seems like a really nice guy. I’d like to see more of him!

  33. This is the best build video ever! It is aweome!

    I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what I need for my project, but I’m absolutely clueless with electronics. And I just want to hook 6 leds and a potentiometer to a batter so I can control the brightness, but the more guides I read the more I’m in the dark. God, if I imagine the problem solving these guys did.

  34. Great stuff!

    – thoughts on putting the code up on GitHub or something? Always fun to poke around. Nice job!

  35. Love the chair, and how excited Adam gets when it starts to work. Top content, just the kinda stuff that makes me a Premium Sub. Keep it up, guys!

  36. I’ll chat with the Tested crew this week and see what they want to do. The code would be nothing special for anyone who’s messed with Teensy/Arduino/LEDs, but I suppose it might be an entry to that world for others. I’d do a few things differently the second time around, but again nothing complicated.

  37. Awesome build, congratulations!

    Now, going off topic just out of curiosity. I was kind of surprised by their unfamiliarity with the copper power bus, specially since a lot of computer architecture is based of the good old power bus principle.

    Motherboards have data, memory, graphics, etc, buses with were originally all based of the power bus idea. Even the USB architecture is made to make it seem like you are connecting all your periferals into a serial bus. (Though to be fair its more like a star diagram with hubs, but hey bus is in the name).

    All nice things that had origin (at least in concept) in those good old copper bars.

    Btw, great rewiring of the leads, much more elegant solution.

  38. Love this. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to see more of the chair build. It looks like a comfortable chair for my entertainment center or my office and some tips to make a simpler version would be neat.

  39. This is officially my favorite video you guys have done. Super into electronics and I’m actually studying electrical engineering. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to see an article or parts list on the actual details of putting the electronics together. An article similar to Frank’s Zoidberg build would be awesome, discussing the components used, the Teensy platform, the coding involved, and how the audio of it all works. Some kind of tutorial about using electronics to make fun sci-fi control panels.

  40. PLEASE get him to show how he built the chair itself and then maybe post the plans and schematics for the electronics too… I’m bulding one now but, his is soooo much better! WOW! Where did he get the switches and push buttons? Must be wonderful to have such a job!!!

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