When you think of AT-ATs, you think of these giant mechanical beasts stomping along the snowy surface of Hoth. But what would happen if the Empire’s war machines ran on fossil fuels and their CO2 emissions, resulting in a greenhouse effect? It might end up looking something like this aquarium scene created by Carly Thompson.
After receiving a model AT-AT as a Christmas gift, she decided to incorporate the Imperial Walker into a small fish tank. She says the scene was inspired by the Kashyyk level of Jedi Fallen Order, and Endor from Return of the Jedi. But to me, it looks like Hoth after the polar ice caps have melted, raising the sea levels, and flooding the land as surface temperatures increased above freezing. The AT-AT has definitely seen better days, now that it has moss growing out of it, but it sure makes a nice home for the red cherry shrimp and Ramshorn snails who have taken up residence here.
Along with video games, manga and anime are the latest geeky pursuits to hit the mainstream. You see YouTubers racking up millions of views from analyzing and reacting to them, rappers name-dropping and quoting them in songs, and even high profile brands collaborating with some of the most popular franchises. But if you want to keep it low-key while still fire bending, there’s always a custom shop that can cater to your tastes. Shops like the dope Sagesone. I keep missing their drops, but I can’t hide their skills from the world forever, so here we go.
Sagesone modifies sweatshirts and hoodies with woven patches featuring scenes from manga and anime. All your favorites are here, from OGs like Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion to new kings like Jujutsu Kaisen and Kimetsu no Yaiba. However, as with custom products, these are very limited and sell out very quickly.
Thankfully, you can commission Sagesone to make an item just for you. In fact, your patch doesn’t have to be from a manga. It can be any picture, as long as it’s not too dark. Sagesone also recommends images with lots of contrasting colors for the best effect. Finally, this being a patch, expect that the finish will have this pixelated comic book look. That’s part of the appeal anyway.
Sagesone’s custom sweatshirts and hoodies start at $70 (USD), while the limited drops they release vary in price. Head to their store for commissions and keep an eye on their Instagram for their next drop.
Computers and other gadgets are becoming increasingly affordable, but they’re also getting harder if not outright impossible to repair. We’re warned that our warranty will be voided if we open up our gadgets, licensed repair shops are nearly extinct, and reputable sources of components are also hard to find. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a company like Framework. Its debut product looks and works mostly like a regular laptop, but it was designed from the ground up to be opened, customized, and repaired.
Even from the outside, you will immediately notice something unique about the Framework Laptop: its modular ports. It has four recessed USB-C ports in which you can stick a variety of modules: USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, a microSD card reader, SSDs, and even a full-sized DisplayPort output. Swapping between the modules is easy, and Framework says it will release more types of modules in the future. But to truly appreciate the beauty and power of this machine, you have to check out what its interior looks like:
All of the laptop’s major components – from the battery to the speakers – are clearly labeled. Each one also has a link for more info and a QR code that takes you directly to Framework’s components store. Even the display bezel is easily removable. And did I mention that the bottom of the laptop is held in place by only five captive screws? Framework is so confident with their machine’s user-friendliness that they’re also selling a DIY kit that costs a crazy $250 (USD) less than the fully-assembled version.
Of course, none of this matters if the laptop doesn’t perform well. Based on the impressions and reviews it’s gotten from major media outlets such as Linus Tech Tips, CNET, and of course iFixit, it seems that the Framework Laptop is up to the task. It’s powered by an 11th gen Core i5 or i7 CPU, has a 13.5″ 3:2 2256 x 1504 display, and has a backlit keyboard with a fingerprint reader. It even has a 1080p 60fps webcam, which even most high-end laptops don’t have. Here’s iFixit’s teardown of the laptop:
Amazingly, Framework is an astonishingly small company, with only 16 team members as of this writing. I hope they’re ready to build on their work and overcome any challenges. Major PC makers obviously do not want to see a company like Framework succeed. You can pre-order the laptop directly from Framework. The fully assembled version starts at $999, while the DIY Edition starts at $749.
Give the guitar nerd in your life the gift of nothing with Chibson USA and Daredevil Pedals’ Placebo Pedal. All of its parts are legit – the knobs, the footswitch, the power indicator light, and the I/O jacks. It’s just that it doesn’t do anything besides give you something to step on.
But the legitimately cool thing about the Placebo Pedal is that you can pay extra to get a DIY PCB kit that will let you turn this useless trinket into an actual fuzz pedal.
Daredevil Pedals sells the Placebo Pedal for $99 (USD), and the pedal plus the DIY PCB kit for $125.
Critics and gamers lucky enough to get their hands on the PS5 often cite the console’s DualSense controller as a true next-gen controller, thanks to its precise haptics and force feedback triggers. However, the previous generation also saw a small but significant addition to gamepads – paddles. They come in various shapes and numbers, but the idea is the same – you get programmable back-mounted inputs that let you keep your fingers on the joysticks and shoulder buttons. Now you can apply that innovation to the DualSense, thanks to eXtremeRate’sRISE Remap DIY kit.
The RISE kit gives you two programmable paddles. By default, you can map everything but the L3, R3, and touchpad to those paddles. However, if you’re willing to do a bit of soldering, you can map even those three inputs to the paddles. The kit comes with everything you need to perform the upgrade, including a new back shell to hold everything in place.
This truly is a DIY affair, though, requiring you to basically teardown your DualSense controller. Im.A.Caveman has a good guide to installation on YouTube.
I spotted about a billion ways in which the procedure would go wrong in my hands. But I know you can do it! You can get the RISE Remap kit from GamingCobra for $40 (USD). It comes in various colors, from plain black or white to textured green and metallic yellow. It’s also on Amazon (affiliate link).
If you’re a PC enthusiast, you might have noticed that boutique manufacturers are actually making open-air chassis that are not meant to be test benches, but for showcase builds. Well, how’s this for an open-air chassis? Russian-based shop Yolenzo worked with Red Bull, Intel, and Gigabyte to create the Exo Giga Bike, a rocker bicycle that’s equipped with serious gaming horsepower.
It’s a bit sad that most of us can’t even get our hands on any current-gen GPU, yet these guys slapped one on a bike. But the project’s cool factor does soothe the sting. The Exo has an Intel Core i5 11600K CPU, an RTX 3070, 32GB of RAM, 2TB NVME SSD, and a Z590 motherboard.
Here’s the Exo in action… as a bike:
Open-air, small form factor, portable. What more could you want?
PC builders have toyed with incorporating entire consoles into PC cases before – Origin even made some – but the folks at Modding Cafe came up with something that’s truly a sight to behold. The Vietnamese builders made a custom ITX build that watercools both a PC and a PS5.
As you might have expected, the build uses a ton of custom made parts, including the chassis itself. Modding Cafe also designed and made the watercooling components for the CPU and the PS5 motherboard using Bitspower components as the basis. The PC is powered by an Intel Core i9 11900K and an ASUS ROG Strix 3080 GPU. The PS’s Blu-ray drive is also in the build.
Truly a sight to behold. If you want more custom watercooling goodness, check out Modding Cafe’s standalone watercooled PS5, which actually led to the 2-in-1 build.
You wouldn’t download a mech, but you would and you can download a mecha’s mask. It’s all thanks to designers like Etsy seller SeberdrA, who offers STL files of masks and other facial cosplay accessories inspired by popular mecha, cyborgs, and other anime, video games, and science fiction characters. Here’s a 3D printed sample from Gundam fan Mecha Gaikotsu:
SeberdrA has a good variety of well-made designs. Here are my favorites from their selection:
As with many 3D printed projects, you’ll have to do a bit of trial and error when printing these designs, especially if you want to wear them. Here’s Mecha Gaikotsu’s video about his experience with one of the mecha masks:
Take an orbital elevator to SeberdrA’s Etsy shop to snag the designs. They usually go for around $20 to $24 (USD) each.
There are a thousand replicas and scale models of Captain America’s iconic shield, from action figure accessories and cheap children’s toys to full-on display pieces. But none of them actually work like Cap’s weapon – you can throw them, but that’s like playing catch with a cat. That thing isn’t coming back. Unless you’re YouTuber JLaservideo, who cobbled together a fairly simple but surprisingly effective life-size toy that can bounce back near you.
JLaservideo used fiberglass to create an elastic ring, allowing the shield to deform and bounce back. He then molded the rest of the shield out of carbon fiber to keep it light while still being durable. The key factor that JLaservideo figured out was that he couldn’t directly connect the carbon fiber plate to the fiberglass ring. That version wasn’t elastic enough, and the stress from being thrown on walls even just a few times would damage the plate. So he made a smaller carbon fiber plate, then used latex strips to connect the plate to the ring, creating a buffer between the two main pieces. He also wrapped the ring in carbon fiber for added durability.
You can skip to around 5:12 in the video for the build and about 15:23 for the final demo:
Obviously, JLaservideo’s toy doesn’t bounce back perfectly, but it works well enough that you can mimic Cap’s double wall bounces with it and have to rush only a few steps to have the shield float back to your arms. Speaking of which, he also used small pieces of neodymium magnets to strap the shield to his wrist. If Disney can make a retractable lightsaber, I don’t see why they couldn’t make a more polished version of this toy.
A concept artist going by the moniker Embertwist recently shared their latest creation on Reddit. It’s a sixth-scale figurine of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s gadget expert, Donatello, but with a couple of slick twists. First off are the immediately noticeable purple Air Jordan 1 sneakers, but Don is also rocking a backpack that’s partly made from an NES.
Embertwist designed the 3D model themselves, then 3D printed the model to make a master mold. The final figurine was then cast from resin and handpainted. Aside from the radical accessories, the coloring and textures are just top-notch. It’s amazing how much one person can do these days.
This is actually the second TMNT figurine that Embertwist designed and created. He made a Leonardo figurine last year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the TMNT movie. Here’s an awesome video synopsis of Embertwists’s process, which they said was the same for both figurines:
If you’re a hardcore TMNT fan, this is the best bit: Embertwist is going to offer a small batch of the Donatello figurine for sale. Keep an eye on their Instagram account for updates and more pictures.