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Impressive backyard engineering on an obscure YouTube channel (thedrive.com)
242 points by samizdis 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 61 comments

Quite like this boatbuilder in RI building small boats completely from milling the tree to finished product.


Louis Sauzedde isn't exactly an amateur, but his videos are wonderful. Folks should also check out Acorn to Arabella, actual amateurs, or Tally Ho. A couple of other fascinating wooden boat building projects.

All of the Tally Ho project videos are great, but folks interested in “backyard engineering” might enjoy this one about getting live oak from sawyer Steve Cross in Georgia who built his giant saw out of several forklifts and assorted other machines.


One of my favorites. That man is a national treasure.

I just started watching a backlog of the tally ho build and it is great, but I have to wonder how he would afford any of this if he wasn't making 100k+ /yr from patreon(my assumption based on his number of subscribers,subscriber levels, and video release pace). It started out reasonable, where he got the boat for free, and a friend donated a workshop to Leo that he also lived in.

Leo’s original plan was to alternate doing professional work vs. working on his personal project. But he also didn’t originally expect to completely rebuild every part of the boat.

I think it’s great that he can now afford to hire another professional shipwright to help, buy whatever tools and materials he needs, take the time to make high-quality videos, etc.

I’ve learned a lot from watching his videos and I’m happy to chip in a few bucks per month (as apparently are many other people).

Right - in a few of the earlier videos you see him saying he is taking time off to go be a bosun or something and save up some cash. I was really just making my comment in relation to the "obscure" context which the original article is about - once you're making multiples of the average family income from your video content, I don't know if you can be considered obscure any more.

In Leo's case, he's obviously using the income to advance the project in ways that he couldn't otherwise, and for that, I really appreciate the revenue he's pulling in.

For others, Colin Furze, for example, I'm left wanting.

> I’ve learned a lot from watching his videos and I’m happy to chip in a few bucks per month (as apparently are many other people).


If shipbuilding vlogs are such a successful genre of their own, could a crossover with fiction work? I'm imagining a Baroque Cycle serial (what else!) that completely geeks out into workmanship documentary for the equivalent of a season or two, when Minerva is built. Just like the actors in musicals occasionally burst into don't and dance. How else could an adaption stay true to the original?

Eh, there are lots of other shipbuilding channels out there that are lackluster by comparison. Louis Sauzedde and Leo Sampson Goolden are the best, by far. I think that's the result of their extensive experience and willingness to share the craft with others.

I have to plug Acorn to Arabella here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAiDWnTP0WB1xCp6uuUo0VA

I've been watching since around when they smelted the lead keel which it seems was almost 3 years ago!

Really amazing to watch their progress, they are almost done planking the boat.

Or Doug Jackson of SV Seeker building a 74 foot steel sailboat in his front yard in Tulsa, OK.

I'm on ep 10 (of 43). Fascinating. Thank you!

People talk about the old internet and how it used to be full of people sharing their interests and obsessions. I would argue that content on Youtube is intersecting the Geocities end of that period. Every oddball thing you could look up in 2000 is happening right now in someone's backyard on Youtube. Also ten times as many worthless spam videos, but this also correlates with the Geocities period. I don't like Youtube for a lot of reasons, but I love how it's illustrating that the nostalgic internet wasn't so much a contextual or cultural thing, it was more about the result of easy access to DIY publishing and the means to discover the results.

An apt comparison. I'm also worried of what will be of this immense amount of content when YT will go the way of the dodo.

That "How To Make Everything" site is pretty funny, esp. is $3500 salad. It reminds me of the book, "The $64 Tomato". About a guy that spends tons of money to grow a tomato and that's what the final cost turns out to be.

Here: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=536076...

I'm not sure what the author of the $64 tomato intented to convey... he spent $16k out of the gate on a new hobby, then calculated that his tomatoes cost $64 each.

Wanna know how much my tomatoes cost in my first garden?

1 food-grade plastic bucket, with holes drilled in the bottom: $5 ($60 or so if you include the drill and drill bit. I already owned a drill. I could have used a screwdriver and a hammer, or a nail and a rock, but whatever)

1 gallon of soil ($10 if you count the entire bag. I used the rest for other things, but we'll count the entire bag here)

Chicken wire to protect it ($30 if you count the entire roll. I used a few feet. I used the rest in other places.)

Some bamboo to use as a trellis (I don't remember. $5? $3? Lets say $5)

soo... $110, including a drill and a bunch of extras.

I'm on my third year with this setup. First year, I got about 20 tomatoes? Next year, none (whoops. It happens). This year, looking like I'll get another 20.

20/110=$5 each 40/110=$2.75 each

but, that's just one plant. I have three, so, it's really closer to 60+0(I goofed last year)+60 120/110=$1. Hey, we're cheaper than the store here, and it'll be better next year. If we leave out the drill and only calculate the costs per plant, and include the rest of the garden, I came out ahead in the first year.

Just... don't buy friggin cedar posts, wraught iron gates, spend $8k on design (!?! what're you doing ?!?!)... and your garden will make more sense than this guy's Instagram-worthy waste of money.

Good for you! You win the tomato grower prize!

The story is about an obsession that is also a backstory for a larger narrative about consumerism. If that doesn't interest you, fine, just admit it. You clearly didn't read the book, so why bother commenting how good you are at growing tomatos?

And, lol, this book took place two decades before Instagram but it was largely anticipating it, but you didn't read the book so the irony is lost.

take a drink man, relax.

It makes more sense when you say there's a backstory about consumerism in there.

Because saying "Hey, we have $64 tomatoes," on a blog entry that doesn't mention the rest of the book's focus on consumerism, with the scant details on the blog, comes off as "don't bother gardening, it costs a lot more than the store."

And no, I haven't read the book, but now that I know what it's about, it doesn't seem necessary. People buying unnecessary stuff to look good led to an unnecessarily expensive outcome.

You'll love this one, Allen Millyard uses a hand hacksaw & his BBQ to make a Kawasaki Super Six and a Viper powered motorcycle. https://www.youtube.com/user/millyardviper

I’ve been watching his videos as well. I was surprised by the lack of equipment he has to build what he does. It shows just what you can do yourself at home if you have the skill.

Extremely interesting, channel.

Tech Ingredients is another channel on YouTube that constantly blows my mind. The explanations are well paced, thorough, and incredibly well done. The experiments are impressive, and the team (family) is obviously smart and quite disciplined.


Applied Science is also ridiculous. He's made so many things from scratch that require reading patents and endless experiments, e.g. photochromic glass, LCD screens, an EDM drill, chocolate holograms, air bearings, etc.

Applied Science and Tech Ingredients are both in a league of their own when it comes to at home engineering. Really inspirational and humbling guys.

For me the style of presentation on Tech Ingredients is somewhat off and it distracts me from the content. It is obviously an family endeavor which at least for me clashes with the style of presentation reminiscent of german engineering company “infomercial”.

I believe he is or was a professor. His style, to me, is very academic. I enjoy how clear and deliberately he speaks but I do agree it is something that stands out.

I also find something about the presentation off-putting, and I can't put my finger on what it is. His voice almost sounds angry, or like he is demanding that you recognize his expertise.

Could this just be a regional difference in how people speak, and I (in California) am unused to it?

Probably a generational difference. A lot of the gen-x youtubers talk like him - kind of downplayed, not that excited, he's letting the subject be the exciting part. He probably thinks he's just not that interesting as a person (I don't mean in a self-deprecating way, just in a way that is/was common in genx), and what's coming off as anger is him just not trying to be entertaining.

I'm guessing you're gen-z? or are used to youtubers like the King of Random - very excited, very expressive, nearly accidentally burning down his garage with frozen gasoline... people who maybe don't have as much expertise as a 20+year veteran, but who could make drying paint sound and look entertaining.

I'm in my late 30s - does that make me gen-z?

Not a fan of King of Random either. Some of his videos look like interesting subjects, but I just can't get past the presentation. Something about it seems like he's trying really hard to be entertaining or cute or something. I dunno, but I guess it works for many people, because it seems like he gets plenty of views.

I'd like to build a home science lab/workshop like these guys have. I wonder if there are legal differences between the US states - if some might interfere more than others in these kind of projects. What happens when you start trying to buy chemicals, a fume hood, certain microorganisms, etc. ???

I'll have to rate Project Binky: Fitting the running gear from a Celica GT4 into an Austin Mini as one of the most epic youtube series ever. They're definitely quality over quantity as it's a side endeavor from their main business. 32 videos in seven years.


Surprised not seen Colinfurze mentioned. 10 million subscribers, was a plumber, no official engineering experience. If you look through the history of the channel you can see how his skills/builds have evolved over the years. https://www.youtube.com/user/colinfurze

That is some crazy stuff. I always wonder what's hiding out there in the unseen corners of (SFL!) YouTube.

I would really like to experiment with engines like this, but decades of experience indicates I am prone to self-injury, and I don't think there would be any "small" injuries with propane jet engines.

Thanks, here is another such channel Mr.Teslonian - https://www.youtube.com/user/MrTeslonian.

The common theme behind these good maker videos seems to be -

•Low quality camera (at least not Hollywood grade RED cameras), but I do wish they shoot in 1080p60.

•Shot by themselves/Tripod.

•Not edited extensively.

•No Intro/Outro.

•Often not monetised (Although I wish they get monetary benefits for their effort), so videos are short as there's no pressure to artificially inflate content over 10 mins for Ads.

In summary, it's like they are struck with YouTube of 2005.

Mr.Teslonian experimented with several mask designs, he made one with coffee filter[1] and I was able to reproduce the same with qualitative filter[2].



I've had comments about my channel similar to those. "Stuck in Youtube 2005". I've also been told my site has a web 1.0 feel too it. I take it as a compliment.

I don't really call myself a "maker" but more of a serial tinkerer, but I'm more worried about content than quality.

If you got the gist of what I'm doing, and I didn't have to spend hours editing it, then it's good enough. I still use Windows Movie Maker! And yes I am familiar with Davinci Resolve, but I don't care to use it unless I have to for some reason. Most of my stuff is filmed with my tablet on a tripod in 720p/30fps because it's what I have. I don't have the money to spend on gopros. I'm in it for building/fixing/hacking stuff, not for being Youtube famous.

Sounds good. I hope I needn't clarify myself for telling 'YouTube of 2005' as a compliment.

I've had YouTube channels in the past with few thousand subscribers, but now I've recently resigned myself into making non edited videos on my personal channel. My aim is to just have a stable camera setup & good quality audio for the sake of the audience.

I think the difference we're talking about here is 'Making videos for ourselves, others like us vs making video purely for scaling up the audience'. IMO, former can help in retaining our sanity, but latter can make us rich at the same time constantly looking for acknowledgement from others.

I'm more of a fan of Stuff Made Here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj1VqrHhDte54oLgPG4xpuQ

Has a nice variet of videos. As an example he is a vid on 3D printed sheet metal forming: https://youtu.be/WuY2-OrT9ig

I enjoy how it shows his failure and how he learned and adjusts his designs and approach along the way.

Stuff made here is crazy high quality for a channel with 11 videos overs 3 months. It must be the best picks from a prior channel they made surely it's so much work.

The CNC bend marker on his plasma cutter is really nice.

DIY Perks is far nicer than it's at-first-glance clickbait looking content: https://www.youtube.com/user/DIYPerks/videos


Engine made of JB Weld might be the dumbest, most amazing thing, best thing ever.

JB Weld is fairly amazing stuff. I've field repaired things with it that I thought would never last the job, much less any longer than that job. For example, while hauling a vehicle around on a flatbed truck the waterpump broke. Nissan did not carry the part in stock so I took it off by the side of the road, used JB Weld to put it together again, roughly shaped it to match the original + some extra thickness for strength and put it back in. The part took longer to arrive than planned and the repair held until it arrived, probably put another 100 km or so on it. Crazy.

His neighbors must love him for all these peaceful and quiet days/weekends.

Probably depends on the neighbors. If I was his neighbor I’d ask if I could come over and watch.

Is there any good channels that are about building log houses from start to finish?

This guy is doing that: https://m.youtube.com/user/nikrijavec

I've only watched the two hour compilation of the first year, but I think he has a lot more videos that are probably more in depth.

I've watched every one of his videos ... at least out of the corner of my eye. The length of these videos and the small amount of talking makes them somehow relaxing.

Check out Alone in the Wilderness by Dick Proenneke. In the late 1960s he filmed himself building a cabin in Alaska and wrote a journal, which his brother later made into a film. Most or all of the film is on YouTube.



Not a log house technically, but same kind of build own home in middle of nowhere type concept.

Kris Harbour does some excellent videos about off grid living. This playlist is his wood and cob round house. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEZ2hvCDKUpGMDn5qUGzf...

Townsend is a 18th century cooking channel but just recently built a wood cabin: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxr2d4As312LulcajAkKJYw

Advoko makes is a guy who has a cabin he's been building in I believe somewhat remote Siberia. https://www.youtube.com/c/Advoko

Ana White did the whole series few years ago about building a little cabin somewhere in Alaska for their family. Lately she does more fine woodworking on her site and YT channel, but also super interesting stuff.

Oh man, that's the dream house

Are there similar channels for software engineering? I'm aware of Engineering Man, other than that?

"javidx9" is probably exactly what you're looking for. His "Forbidden C++" is a pretty good video. A vague awhile ago he had a pretty cool video explaining how you optimize Mandelbrot rendering that was the most succinct example I've ever seen of optimization.

"moshix" is more of a mainframe sysprog but maybe 20% of the content is 60s era COBOL and similar. A dirty secret of worship of the young in software development is every big problem is an old problem, and there's lots to learn from the ancients and how they handled the EXACT same problems in a slightly different format.

"code maven" not entirely sure this meets the critera, not sure that it doesn't. "skeleton go program" sure, "how to use linkedin to find a job" I donno if that counts?

"Ralph S Bacon" is a bit more embedded/Arduino, but if you like C development and blinking LEDs and what I'm told is british humour...

"Ben Eater" is like Ralphie but more retro (you'll see more 6502 assembly on Ben's channel and more arduino on Ralphies channel)

"The 8-Bit Guy" is like Ben Eater but more systems oriented than writing assembly. The way he hints at stuff I bet he's memorized the 6502 instruction set like anyone else, he just focuses hard on higher level systems issues.

"The Signal Path" is a bit more programming with solder aka analog electronics but he does bravely delve into the digital world on occasion.

Naomi Wu's channel, well, maybe she writes code 5% of the time ... but the IDE cursor is up here guys. I'm not saying it doesn't qualify or that it does qualify. Its, um, unique, that's for sure. Borderline NSFW, depending where you work...

Just because software is eating the world, some cool stuff is tangential but not focused on SE.

"Huygens Optics" is primarily about photons but as software eats the world his CNC controlled lens grinders and python scripts to simulate optical systems becomes tangentially SE.

"Applied Science" is like Huygens-bro where its not officially software development but with software eating the world I get the feeling that dude is pretty handy with an IDE although he doesn't brag about it.

"Sam Zeloof" is the same deal as above, people trying to make home semiconductors spend most of their time on the tools rather than actually making chips, and as above software eats the world so everything seems to revolve around writing a Python script to automate your heterodyne interfereometer and similar challenges.

"The Cherno" is a game developer (used to work at EA) who builds a game engine and vlogs about it, with the source on github. He also has videos on C++ and other subjects (recently a reaction on the PS5 and on the UE5 demo; Youtube recommended it to me for that)

wow, thanks

I just started one last month. Not sure if it's what you're looking for though.


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