Fun mechanical engineering youtube channel

Last year I made a thread about Kurzgesagt launching a Japanese channel. It did pretty decently, I’m a firm believer that the easiest way to enjoy some immersion is to take what you enjoy in other languages and just watch the same thing, but in Japanese (I know, shocker). However the hard part is finding decent channels to follow, especially if you are usually into much nicher topics (anyone else enjoying tech launch postmortems?).

This time I brought this channel along:

Karakuri is basically Japanese mechanical art without electricity or external energy sources. In this case the channel creates very elaborate (and frankly just adorable) little machines, that are then 3d printed
(or in earlier videos made from wood), assembled and showcased.

I’m personally very interested in mechanical design and engineering, and these videos are straight up just fun to watch.

The text density is nowhere near that of Kurzgesagt, and it depends heavily on the type of video you are watching. There are mainly explanatory and showcase videos. Explanatory videos take a common mechanical device and explain how they work while making a model of it. As an example here’s this video showing how minute repeaters work (they are similar to stopwatches). In these cases expect a sentence every few seconds. Showcase videos on the other hand mainly just create a cute device to solve some imaginary problem. Here’s for example another minute repeater, but this time for timing cup noodles. These usually have way fewer explanations, going for minutes without a single new sentence.

The Japanese in these videos are read by a text to speech program (I think), which on one hand isn’t the most natural, but on the other the videos are very easy to understand compared to natural speech. The speech pattern is strictly formal, and you get baked in subtitles with I’d say the normal amount of kanji included.

Currently they are sitting at 81 videos, with a couple going up every month.


I’ve watched a couple of short videos so far (showing the operation of mechanical 7-segment displays, but without any narration). I’d guess that those are based on ‘timed’ cams carved into a wooden cylinder, connected to clockwork mechanisms both for automatically advancing the readouts as well as handling ‘overflow’ to trigger the next digit in line.

Very interesting stuff - I have bookmarked it for later viewing.

1 Like


Instant subscribe. Thanks!


They did all their work with laser cut wood as far as I can tell, so it’s all made up of flat pieces, so it’s less of a cam made from a cylinder and more of a bunch of flat cams stacked on top of each other. This is the video where it’s shown btw, but sadly it’s old enough that there isn’t really narration, only subtitles with elevator music.

Edit: Laser cut, or just cncd flat panels, same result

That would make sense as a simpler fabrication method.

Some kind of keying or alignment method would likely be required.

1 Like