In case any of you wondered where I get ideas for my own projects, I spend more time than I’d care to admit watching the Youtube channels of a few ingenious hackers/makers that seem to be capable of anything. Some of their projects are simple and funny, others beggar belief.
Simone Giertz is probably the most famous one on this list. Her projects aren’t the most grandiose, but they’re also not intended to be. Her shtick is deliberately making robots that don’t do what they’re ostensibly meant to, because watching them fail at it is hilarious.
While these videos are what drew in most of her fanbase, she’s also done some more conceptually interesting projects that deviate from her usual formula. For example locking herself in her bathroom for a month to simulate a space mission, or turning her small 1970s electric car into an HID compliant pointing device for a laptop.
The Real Life Guys as a pair of enterprising young German lads with an inspiring zest for danger, or possibly casual disregard for their own lives depending on how you frame it. They’ve built a flying bath tub using quadrotor parts that will lift a human occupant (they rode it themselves), a hot air balloon with sufficient lift for one passenger, and perhaps most remarkably they made a functioning submersible out of bath tubs as seen in the above video.
Colin Furze has done enough remarkable things by this point, you’ve probably seen one of his videos even if you don’t know him by name. He built a subterranean fallout bunker in his own back yard, a chainsaw powered lamp, a bicycle with a frame made out of springs, and a giant robot suit as seen above.
He has an infectiously fun, cavalier attitude about his projects even when they are of dubious safety. Yet they always at least somewhat work as expected, even the dual rotor hover-bike he built a few years back, which has since become the basis for many commercial imitators.
Jamie Mantzel is in a league of his own. He almost doesn’t belong on this list, rather warranting his own entire article. After building a functional diesel powered giant robot spider while living in his off grid dome house, he then bought a few small islands in Panama and moved his entire family there on an entirely solar powered house boat.
Over the subsequent years, he’s busied himself building more solar boats, a solar powered bulldozer(!) which was necessary for his biggest project yet, a concrete fortress on the largest of the islands he purchased. This guy is a real life Hank Scorpio, and James Bond may yet have to be sent to his island fortress to stop whatever he has planned.
Rinoa Super-Genius is more low key as makers go, but his videos are really comfy and interesting. A homeschooled transgender person who is probably somewhere on the autism spectrum if I had to guess, Rinoa has a deep interest in antique technology.
Many of his videos involve scavenging vintage tech from yard sales, abandoned storage units and so on. He then restores them and puts them back to work in various cool projects. He certainly has more salvaged 18650 cells than I have ever seen in anybody’s possession, many of which went into his home-made ebike battery.
Cody’s Lab is more hard science focused than the rest on this list, and deals mainly with chemistry and materials science in particular. His videos typically showcase some odd phenomenon known to chemists or physicists but not the general public, which often looks an awful lot like wizardry.
It’s hard not to respect a man who not only smelts his own metals at home but also owns land with a mine on it, where he extracts the ores himself. His explanations are a bit dry, but he’s a man of science foremost rather than an performer. That’s not to say he isn’t entertaining, but it entertains the sort of person who is enamored with the ideas he’s sharing more than flashy presentation.
Electroboom’s gimmick is “accidentally” electrocuting himself, but he performs a valuable service in the process: Showing easily avoidable pitfalls in home electrical engineering and what makes them dangerous. He’s a smart cookie and also an excellent comedian. He definitely leans towards the “performer” end of the scale moreso than Cody.
Besides doing various cool projects that explain fundamental principles of electricity, he also has dedicated several educational videos to debunking “free energy” investor scams, which I regard as a valuable public service.
Naomi Wu, aka Sexy Cyborg gained much of her popularity from Reddit, like Simone Giertz. Unlike Simone, Naomi leveraged sex appeal in order to do so. This might be mildly outrageous if she weren’t a competent engineer, but she is. Perhaps my favorite project of hers was a compact makeup case with a hidden linux PC inside for wifi hotspot cracking.
She has had a great deal of plastic surgery done as you might have guessed, but what you can’t see from the outside is that she also has some DIY cybernetic implants, hence her nickname “Sexy Cyborg”. She really walks the walk as a maker, and looks great doing it.
The Hacksmith is perhaps the most technically gifted maker on this list. His projects may not be as grand in scale as some of the others, but they are often the most sophisticated and impressive from a technological standpoint.
From a working light saber, wolverine claws and the Doom Fist from Overwatch to Captain America’s magnetic shield mount and a powered exoskeleton which he used to lift one end of a car, there is seemingly no Hollywood technology he cannot make real.
Peter Sripol is a soft spoken, easy going dude who you’d never guess has built his own electric airplane and flown it, just to look at him. That’s perhaps his biggest and most impressive achievement, but some of his neatest projects were much smaller in scope.
For example a radio controlled battleship…made out of the actual table top game “battleship”. Or a contest to see whether a compressed air gun or a drone does a better job of delivering Christmas presents down a chimney. He has a similar sense of whimsy as Colin Furze which make all of his videos a joy to watch.
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