On Instagram, Make: friend and contributor, Ben Light, has been posting a series of short videos showing his experiments with different types of clever and unusual mechanisms — hinges, pistons, springs, actuators, hydraulics, etc. Looking at such designs, thinking about them, and definitely in actually making them and experimenting like this is a fantastic way to learn about mechanical engineering and how to think outside the box when designing mechanisms. Jimmy DiResta loves to go to antique shops, yard sales, and flea markets to look at antique mechanisms and how engineers often come up with unusual and clever solutions in solving mechanical design problems. Ben’s experiments here are another way to work one’s mechanical design muscles.

If you can’t get enough of these sorts of mechanical design solutions, be sure to also check out our Understand 1,700 Mechanical Linkages post. It’s one of the more popular posts here on Make:. Also, see Sean Michael Ragan’s My 10 Favorite Mechanical Animations from Wikipedia. And, if you want to delve more deeply into the the math and science behind mechanical linkages, see the epic Math Monday series we did on them several years ago.

3 magnets move completely different. #100daysitp2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

Walking Triangles. Bamboo skewers, coffee stirrer, washers, metal rod, and tape. #100daysITP2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

Flip Sticks. Tetrix square beams, gaff tape, screws, and nuts. A very satisfying sound. #100daysitp2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

Hinge Chain in slo-mo. #100daysitp2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

Hydraulic System. Syringes, tubing, water. #100daysITP2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

Heat powered wind mill. Playing cards, bamboo skewer, champagne cork, tape, candles, fishing line. #100daysITP2017

A video posted by Ben Light (@blight_design) on

[Via Donald Bell’s Maker Update show]