Hot Construction Toys Posts

How To: Replace the blade of a utility knife

This is an instructional video featuring Doug Prime, founder of the Future Engineers Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. This is an instructional on utility knives that are used to cut foam board and cardboard. The blade replacement is integral to this craft or hobby tool's maintenance.

How To: Make a homemade spin toy with a button and string

If you've ever found yourself bored and not knowing what to do, this video tutorial might help you out. See how to make a homemade spin toy with a button. Just get out a pair of scissors, a large button, a glue stick, string and a small piece of paper and you can begin building this time consuming button spinner toy, time consuming as in not hard to make, but fun to play with.

How To: Build a spy periscope

This video is to show you how to construct a super cool spy gadget! You'll need some toilet paper tubes, tape, scissors, glue and an old CD. Then, just like that you'll be able to make home made spy gear in no time.

How To: NASA Engineer Shows You How to Build a Mini Curiosity Mars Rover Out of LEGOs

You might have seen our post on this last week: It's a working reproduction of the Mars Curiosity Rover made with LEGOs, but it's a bit complicated for anyone without a decent amount of robotics knowledge. Plus, you need to have some Mindstorms NXT and TECHNIC parts lying around. If you want something a little simpler than programming a working LEGO rover, you could always build a scaled model of the MSL out of regular LEGOs. Not only is this easy to build and looks great, but the step-by-ste...

News: This LEGO Mindstorms Submersible Can Be Piloted by Your Xbox Controller

Making little robots with a LEGO Mindstorms NXT set is already cool, but putting one underwater? Now that's just crazy. That didn't stop this engineer, who built a LEGO submarine that can not only maneuver around his fish tank, but can also be remotely controlled with his Xbox controller. The craft has a sealed battery compartment, exposed Power Functions motors, and features real-time communication between it and a laptop using a NXTbee wireless module.

News: NASA's Curiosity Just Got Bricked! Working LEGO Mars Rover Ready for Exploration

Using a LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit, a pair of awesome engineers put together this fully functional replica of the Curiosity Mars rover. Not only is it built completely out of LEGOs, it's motorized, programmable, and ready to explore the far reaches of your living room. The rover was built for the Build the Future in Space event at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Four of the six wheels are powered, allowing it to make 360 degree turns, and the arm and mast are both fully controllable. The entire con...

News: Full-Sized Mechanical Skeeball Machine Built Entirely Out of K'Nex—And It Works!

If you played with K'Nex as a kid (or still do), you know that it can take a lot of those tiny little pieces to build something. Just imagine how many it must have taken to make this full-sized, fully functional, coin-operated skeeball machine with a mechanical score counter. Instructables user Shadowman39 (aka Kyle) spent an entire year building this masterpiece. It's the same size as the ones you see in arcades, and it's coin operated, too. But don't try to feed it your pennies, it knows th...

How To: Make a catapult out of office supplies

Looking for something fun to do with all those office supplies you've been stealing from work? Or maybe you just want to goof around in your cubicle? It's possible that you are an honest, dedicated, hard worker, but whatever the case may be- no judgement, just a video guide to making an office supply catapult.

News: 4 Years of Spectacularly Pointless Marble Machines

So very pointless, yet unquestionably spectacular. The best kind of "art" performs no other function than to delight the viewer, and Japanese YouTube user Denha's complex marble machines do just that. But are marble machines art? You can call them that—or toys, scientific contraptions, engineering feats—but however you choose to label them, the best marble machines are complicated, skillfully crafted, and driven by the principles of potential energy, kinetic energy and gravity.

How To: Make a homemade stirling engine

Are you looking to build a cool home science experiement? Why not try out a Stirling engine? Wait, what IS a stirling engine? Well... a Stirling engine is a heat engine operating by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas, the working fluid, at different temperature levels such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. This project was made from parts around the house and you should be able to do the same. This is a great project to explain how gears work,...

News: Haunted House in Rotting LEGO

Mike Doyle's latest LEGO house (perhaps even more hauntingly beautiful than the last) is a Victorian mansion that transcends the material so effectively, the plastic reads like real rotting bricks and mortar. Beautiful house-devouring trees, created with LEGO hinge cylinders to mimic the texture of tree bark, and ridged 3 mm hose, droid arms and other technic connectors for the creepy, spindly branches.

News: Functional LEGO Snow-Eating Beast

The Stilzkin Indrik is a mighty, mini LEGO Russian crawler, capable of lugging heavy loads over snowy terrain: "It has a large contact surface, which prevents it from sinking into the snow. It offers great traction on almost any surface, and loads of torque to get out of tight spots."

News: Apple Engineer Builds Fully-Functional Ancient Computer With LEGOs

Apple software engineer Andrew Carol built a fully-functional replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, the world's oldest known scientific computer. The 2000-year-old analog device was used by the ancient Greeks to predict the year, date, and time of future solar and lunar eclipses accurately to within two hours. Carol put together the 110 gears (made with 1,500 LEGO Technic parts) in just 30 days. See how it works below. For more information, check out Fast Company's interview with Carol.

How To: Make a fast and easy tennis ball trebuchet

In this tutorial, we learn how to make a fast and easy tennis ball trebuchet. This tool will throw tennis balls easily so you can hit them without having a partner around. This only needs a few pieces of wood and 2x4's along with dumbbells. There isn't a whole lot to this, it's very simple to build. Use two 10 lb dumbbells clamped with a hose clamp onto the top of a 2x4. Use a dowel to go through this, so it will help it rotate. Down at the bottom is the release mechanism and on the sides wil...

How To: Make a small, easy, functional telescope

In this tutorial, we learn how to make a small, easy, functional telescope. First, glue a lens in place with glue underneath a piece of cardboard with a circle cut in it. Then, cut this into a circle and tape it to a paper towel holder. Then, you can wrap this in some paper mache around the cardboard. Then, wait for this to dry and spray paint it with gold and black paint. When finished, you will have a functional telescope ready to go and use! This is cheap and a fun project to make with chi...