Latest StoriesQuick Look
    HP Reverb VR Headset Review!
    Yout

    We test and review the HP Reverb, a Windows Mixed Reality headset that has the sharpest display we've seen so far in a consumer virtual reality headset. We compare its clarity to the displays of the original Rift and Rift S, in games like Rec Room, Space Pirate Trainer, and Elite Dangerous. This resolution bump is truly impressive, though the headset isn't without its faults.

    Oculus Rift S VR Headset Review
    Yout

    We test and review the new Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset, which replaces the original Oculus Rift and Touch controllers. Here's how the new display looks, how well the inside-out tracking system works, and the range of motion for the new controllers. Plus, Jeremy makes a D-I-Y solution to adding quality headphones to the Rift S with a 3D printed mount.

    Oculus Quest VR Headset Review!
    Yout

    We have the Oculus Quest! After a week of testing its inside-out tracking, graphical performance, and a selection of its launch games, we review the Oculus Quest standalone virtual reality headset. Let's go in-depth with how its passthrough camera system works, guardian setup, and the quality of experiences on this game-changer for VR.

    Tested: Dremel Digilab LC40 Laser Cutter

    We test and review Dremel's Digilab LC40 laser cutter, a 40 watt hobby laser designed for personal workshops and maker spaces. We go over its setup, safety features, and capabilities, including the differences between it and other glass tube lasers in its class. There's a lot to like here!

    Show and Tell: Laser-Cut Orrery Kit

    We're enamored with this elegant laser-cut wooden orrery kit by Induku Design. This hand-cranked mecahnical model of the solar system depicts the rotations of the Moon around the Earth, and also around the Sun. We put this automata together to show you how it works!

    Hands-On with the HP Reverb VR Headset!

    We visit HP to go hands-on with their new high-end virtual reality headset, the HP Reverb. This Windows Mixed Reality headset has one of the highest resolution panels we've used for VR, and the clarity is remarkable! Plus, our impressions of Asgard's Wrath and Shadowpoint, two Oculus games we played at GDC.

    Hobby RC: Building and Flying a Super-Detailed Micro RC Plane

    Most RC aviators enjoy adding accents to make their scale models appear more realistic. We'd love for them to be as detailed and precise as static plastic models. Yet, the weight and structural constraints of a flying replica often dictate that we have to settle for "good enough." Smaller models typically demand more concessions than larger ones…but not always. I recently discovered a series of tiny airplanes that use innovative materials and techniques to achieve incredible realism.

    Microaces is a small, UK-based company that produces a line of ultra-micro RC models replicating WWI-era aircraft. At first glance, these airplanes actually look like well-detailed static models (close to 1/24-scale). Closer inspection reveals the functional control surfaces and electric motor that make them airworthy.

    Like many ultra-micro RC aircraft, Microaces kits are constructed primarily of foam. The truly unique aspect of these kits, and a key component to their realism, is that the foam is factory-printed with realistic color schemes. All of the details such as stitching, panel lines, insignia, unit markings, and weathering are all there when you open the box.

    The Microaces SE5a kit is built from foam and plastic parts that are factory-printed with a historically-accurate color scheme.

    Microaces offers kits for several different WWI aircraft. Most of them are available in multiple historically-accurate trim schemes. I chose to build the "Heavy Weather" SE5a that depicts the fighting steed of British ace, Arthur Rhys-Davids. With a wingspan of only 14.5" (368mm), this model could be completed as a static desktop display. But there was never any doubt that my example would be built to take to the sky!

    Hands-On with the Oculus Rift S Virtual Reality Headset!

    We go hands-on with the Rift S, the new desktop VR headset that replaces the Oculus Rift and uses inside-out tracking cameras and a higher-resolution display. Plus, a conversation with Oculus Head of VR Product Nate Mitchell about the design decisions behind the Rift S, Insight tracking, and the new Passthrough+ system.

    Tested: Insta360 EVO Convertible VR180 Camera

    We test the new Insta360 EVO, a camera that can switch between shooting in 360 video and 180-degree stereoscopic video for virtual reality headsets. Here's a quick primer on why 180-degree VR video is compelling, and how compact cameras like the Insta360 EVO will let you capture great-looking VR video without complicated post-processing.

    Show and Tell: Laser-Cut Miniature Wargaming Terrain Kits!

    We recently discovered the awesome world of custom wargaming terrain, like these laser-cut kits from BlackSiteStudio. We've put together a few of them now, including an intricate modular fallout shelter. This kit we're assembling today is even more impressive, making excellent use of the laser-cut aesthetic for post-apocalyptic architecture!

    Hobby RC: A Transformable Quadcopter

    In my last article, I explained how I used a mini-quadcopter as the basis for a DIY hovercraft. My inspiration for that project was the Tiny Whoov, a hovercraft built around the Blade Inductrix. Blade sells their own hovercraft adaptation, called the Inductrix Switch. Just recently, Blade released yet another new vehicle based on the Inductrix frame, the Inductrix Switch Air.

    The Inductrix Switch Air introduces a set of wings to the quadcopter frame. A few simple transformation steps allow you to fly this machine as a pure quad or as an airplane/quad hybrid. Furthermore, the quadcopter components can be snapped into the hovercraft hull of the Switch. This makes the Inductrix Switch Air a sort of 3-in-1 flying machine.

    The Inductrix Switch Air comes with quadrotor and flying wing setups. It can also be a hovercraft.

    About the Inductrix Switch Air

    First things first: "Inductrix Switch Air" is a mouthful. So I'll just call it the "Air" in this article. Blade offers the Air in two variants. The Ready-to-Fly (RTF) model ($60) includes everything needed to get this machine in the sky. If you already own a compatible Spektrum transmitter, you can save a ten bucks by going with the Bind-N-Fly (BNF) version ($50).

    I have the RTF model. The included 2.4GHz transmitter is considerably smaller than a standard RC transmitter, but it is still large enough for my adult hands to hold and use comfortably. The package also includes four AA-size alkaline batteries to power the radio.

    The RTF package includes all the components needed to fly the Inductrix as a pure quadcopter or a flying wing.

    There are features within the transmitter that belie its outward minimalist appearance. The quad's onboard flight controller (FC) has separate flight modes for each form of the vehicle (quad/wing/hovercraft). These modes define how the vehicle responds to control inputs. They are selected by moving the control sticks to specific positions before arming the motors. A multi-colored LED on the FC indicates which mode is selected. Additional options within each flight mode are chosen by pressing inward (axially) on the right control stick. An inward push on the left control stick toggles motor arming.

    Tested: GodHand Nippers for Plaster Model Kits!

    We've been happy using our trusty Xuron flush cutters for modelmaking projects, but were curious about these $50 Japanese GodHand nippers. How does a set of flush cutters compare to something five times the price? We get up close to model kit sprues and take a look.

    The Cut and Sew Clothing in Mezco's 1:12 Figures

    While New York Toy Fair is going on this week, we celebrate our love for pop culture toys and collectibles with a week of toy videos! First off, Norm puts a spotlight on Mezco's 1:12 figures, which have impressed with their posability and cut and sew clothes, making them great for photographing and customizing.

    Show and Tell: USB-Powered Soldering Iron!

    Jeremy shares one of his recent favorite tools: a USB-powered soldering iron that draws its power from a Quick Charger 3.0 USB port. While soldering for an upcoming Tested project, Jeremy demonstrates how quickly the UYChan TS80 heats up for use on site.

    Hobby RC: Revisiting the Kyosho Blizzard

    It's been nearly four years since I reviewed the Kyosho Blizzard SR, an electric-powered RC snowcat. I wrote that review in summertime while visiting family in Florida. Although designed for snow, the Blizzard adapted well to the loose, sandy, foot-scalding soil. Now that I live in Buffalo, NY, I've been able to operate the Blizzard in its natural habitat. It is an amazing little machine that thrives in the snow. The stock controls, however, needed a few updates to make this machine more user-friendly in freezing temperatures.

    Baby, You'll Freeze Out There

    One of the selling points of the Blizzard SR is that it uses a Wi-Fi link with your smartphone for control. Kyosho's iReceiver app provides on-screen thumb controls to operate the tracks. It also shows a real-time video feed from a forward-facing camera in the Blizzard's cab. The end result is First Person View (FPV) RC snow plowing.

    I noted in the review that the phone-based controls worked well enough most of the time. However, the connection was not completely reliable. Also, the driving controls were somewhat clunky without the tactile feedback of a standard RC controller. More recently, I discovered that the phone interface has other limitations when driving in cold weather.

    Tested: Sony 1000XM3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

    Norm shares one of his favorite new pieces of kit, Sony's 1000XM3 active noise-cancelling headphones. We were surprised by how far noise-cancelling technology has come, without sacrificing audio quality. Here's a quick demo to test and show how these headphones cut out loud sounds compared to passive ear protection.

    Tested: Dremel 3D45 3D Printer!

    We review Dremel's third-generation 3D printer, the Digilab 3D45. Sean runs it through its paces and goes over his likes, dislikes, and how he adapted the printer to work with a variety of filaments. Here's why the 3D45 is a good fit for schools and maker spaces.

    Show and Tell: Pip Boy 2000 Mod!

    Bill Doran of Punished Props Academy is in our studio for a few days for projects, and brought along his modded Fallout Pip Boy 2000! Bill walks us through the upgrades he made for this kit, including a new static display, lights, and an integrated bluetooth speaker! (Watch Bill's video about his mod here.)