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    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.

    Modeling Achilles' Sword for 3D Printing!

    This week, Darrell walks us through his process for 3D modeling Achilles' sword inspired by the prop from the movie Troy. Using photo reference of the prop, Darrell explains how he creates a faithful replica that retains all the characteristics of the original!

    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.)

    Custom Keyboard Spotlight: The Zephyr 65% Keyboard

    You're probably used to hearing about some pretty eye-watering prices in the custom mechanical keyboard scene. Something non-enthusiasts take for granted like keycaps can cost $200 when you want the best. The boards themselves can be even costlier. There are some entry level custom keyboards that don't break the bank, but the Zephyr is definitely not one of those. The most recent group buy round has started shipping, and it's a thing to behold. This keyboard spares no expense, which makes it a fantastic piece of equipment.

    The Zephyr is a 65% keyboard kit. That means you just get the PCB, switch plate, stabilizers, and a case. You can use any MX-compatible switches of your choice, and at the end you'll have a 65% keyboard. A 65% keyboard has all the usual alphas and modifiers. However, there's no dedicated F-row or a number pad. You get arrows on the lower right, along with an extra column of keys above that. This layout is, in my opinion, the perfect balance of functionality and compactness.

    This is one of the most expensive keyboard kits currently in production with a price tag in the neighborhood of $600. Suffice it to say, this is only for the most committed and picky enthusiasts. The Zephyr justifies that price in several ways, starting with the build quality. The Zephyr is without a doubt the most solid, impressive mechanical keyboard I've ever used.

    Crowdfunding Spotlight: The AlsterPlus Battery

    You can pick up an external battery (or "power bank" if you like) on Amazon for a pittance, but most of those have slow charging ports and mediocre capacity. With USB Type-C, you can finally get batteries that charge laptops, phones, tablets, and more all in one. However, these devices are more expensive, and it can be difficult to untangle all the charging standards. The AlsterPlus USB-C battery on Kickstarter has everything you could possibly want from a power bank, but it's on the spendy side.

    You'll get the best charging compatibility from a battery with support for USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), and the AlsterPlus has that. It's actually USB-PD 3.0, which is still very rare. Using a reversible USB Type-C plug, a 3.0 device can output as much as 100W over a single port. That's as close to future-proof as you'll get in high-power charging right now. Current high-end laptops like the 15-inch MacBook Pro and Pixelbook charge slower than that over Type-C—the Pixelbook is 45W and the MacBook can handle 87W.

    Tested in 2018: Darrell's Favorite Things!

    Darrell, aka The Broken Nerd, is in our studio this week and shares his favorite tech from this year! Darrell gives his recommendations for favorite FDM 3D printer, SLA 3D printer, and printer filament. Plus, his new laptop that's streamlined his workflow!

    Tested in 2018: Kishore's Favorite Things!

    Kishore shares his favorite things of 2018, and no surprise here, he kicks things off with his love for the mad Titan himself, Thanos. There's also picks for a great science book, tabletop game, home gadget, and Nintendo Labo!

    Tested in 2018: Ariel's Favorite Things!

    Ariel, host of our Offworld series, shares her favorite things of the year, including the tech and gear she found indispensable on her recent trip to Antarctica. From microscopy gear to repair tools, here's what made her list!

    Tested in 2018: Joey's Favorite Things!

    Tested producer Joey shares his favorite things of the year, including LED lights for production, handy elastic ties for fixing odds and ends, his new video editing keyboard, and tabletop board game picks!

    PROJECTIONS: Magic Leap Dr. Grordbort's Invaders Review!

    For our last episode of Projections for the year, we review Dr. Grordbort's Invaders, Weta Gameshop's impressive augmented reality action game. Plus, we take a look at another new Magic Leap experience, Luna: Moondust Garden, and its approach to storytelling in augmented reality.

    Tested: Tilta Wireless Follow Focus Lens Control System

    Joey tests the Tilta Nucleus-Nano, a wireless follow focus system for controlling the lens on his Panasonic GH5 camera. This lens control system was made to work with Tilta's handheld gimbal rig, and Joey explains how he would use this kind of lens control system in a professional production, and why the price for this wireless follow focus is noteworthy.

    Custom Keyboard Spotlight: Kailh Box Retooling

    We've featured several keyboard switches based on the Kailh Box design on Tested because they're an exciting alternative to the classic Cherry architecture. Box switches exist with almost every weight and switch characteristics you can imagine, but they come with a drawback: we've learned in recent months that these switches can break some keycaps. There are retooled Box switches available now, so let's evaluate this fix.

    Left: Old Box, Right: Retooled Box

    Box switches have a completely different stem design compared to Cherry switches and Cherry-style clones like Gaterons. There's a wall around the cross stem that makes the switch water and dust resistant, and it stabilizes the switch to reduce wobble. The problem lies with the x-axis part of the cross—it's thicker than other switches.

    The left-to-right arm of the cross on original Box switches is designed to be 1.32mm +/- 0.02mm. The arms actually jut out slightly at the end, which you can see in the image above. The switch on the left is original, and the right is retooled. Because there's always some variation, the +/- 0.02mm swing can make the old Box switches up to 1.34mm wide. You wouldn't think such a small change could cause problems, but it did.

    Based on information obtained by NovelKeys, Kailh made this change at the behest of its first Box switch customer, which wanted the keycaps to be tighter. No one knew at the time there would be a negative impact on certain keycaps. Unfortunately, the keycaps most susceptible are also some of the most expensive and difficult to replace.

    RC Driving with Nitro Power

    I've owned dozens of RC cars and trucks throughout my lifetime. Those vehicles covered a wide range of sizes, styles, and performance. But until recently, my RC pedigree was lacking in a very significant segment of the hobby. All of my surface vehicles were powered by electric motors. I had never owned (or even driven) an RC car with an internal combustion engine. That box has now been checked in a big way. In this article, I'll share my experiences uncovering the pros and cons of these screaming machines!

    There are a few different types of engines that are used across the spectrum of RC vehicles. The most common engines for RC cars are 2-stroke variants that burn a special fuel containing nitromethane. For that reason, they are often called "nitro" engines. Some modelers also refer to them as "glow" engines because they use a glow plug rather than a spark plug.

    About the Inferno NEO

    My nitro-powered car is the Kyosho Inferno NEO 3.0 ($350). The Inferno is a serious machine! This 4-wheel-drive buggy weighs about 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) and has a wheelbase of 12.8 inches (325.5mm). Its beefy nylon suspension components are attached to an aluminum chassis. The Inferno has traditionally been Kyosho's flagship 1/8-scale off-road racing platform. But this NEO variant is being touted as a backyard basher. That's great for me since I'm not into competitive racing.