Hot Construction Toys Posts

How To: Make an air vortex cannon

You've seen what a vortex cannon can do, so now it's time to build your own! Okay, this air vortex cannon is not huge, but it's definitely a fun thing to construct if you have some junk plastic laying around, and it works really well for its size. Grab a cheap plastic container and follow along to the video instructions and build yourself a homemade vortex cannon!

How To: Make a mini parachute

Watch this instructional video to form the structure of a mini parachute using a loop of string. Pay close attention to the hand motions, and weave the string into a knot. Do no be shocked when this string formation looks very similar to a mini parachute. You can then attach a plastic bag or thin piece of fabric to give your mini parachute a more permanent structure.

How To: Build an eco-friendly birdhouse

This video tutorial is a step by step guide to building an eco-friendly birdhouse. These easy materials are things that you already have sitting around the house. This mini carpentry project is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and will provide more hours of bird-watching fun in the future. Watch this instructional video and learn how to build an ecological birdhouse out of recycled materials.

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: Flying Pegasus Operated with LEGO Gears & Cranks

Korean MOC Pages user Kyoung-bae Na, aka edulyoung, constructed this beautiful LEGO automaton of a winged Pegasus. Maneuvered with a series of mechanical LEGO gears and cranks, watch below as Pegasus "hovers", flapping her wings. Kyoung-bae Na sells his creations out of his e-shop, Studio Amida. The Pegasus automaton was previously going for $140, but is no longer listed; however, there is a clownfish currently available for the lower price of $33.50. The models are so fantastic—it makes one ...

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...

How To: Construct a mousetrap car

In this tutorial, we learn how to construct a mouse trap car. You will need: wood, string, wood glue, duct tape, scissors, markers, a mousetrap, wheels, and a drill to do this. To start, you will lift the mousetrap up and tape duct tape around it along with a long stick. Then, tape this to a piece of wood. From here, you will glue together two sticks and then put wheels on the top and bottom of it. Next, you will lay the mousetrap on top of this and then push it. Then it will roll away! You c...

How To: Build a simple mouse trap car

In this tutorial, we learn how to build a simple mouse trap car. To do this, you will need: a ruler, two records, a thin metal rod, and a mousetrap. First, you will lay the ruler down to measure out where you are going to place the records. Next, you will hold these into place by using the metal rod in between the two of them. If it's not secure, use washers and glue to keep it in the proper place. Then, attach the mousetrap to the middle of the rod in between the records. This is it! Now you...