Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics March/April 2021

Discover the latest in technology, engineering, and tools with Popular Mechanics. Plus, get essential advice on your home and car, useful DIY ideas, in-depth explanations on how things work, and more!

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10 Números

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2 min.

1. BEST SMOOTH-CUTTING CIRCULAR-SAW BLADES Spyder 13007 and 13018 From $15 We’ve made a lot of cuts with circular saws, and these blades provide as clean a slice as any we’ve seen. Consider them smooth and smoother; the 60-tooth 13018 delivers a glass-like surface and the 40-tooth 13007 nearly so. Those teeth are ground to what’s called an alternate top-bevel profile, which reduces splintering and back pressure by providing room for chips and sawdust to fall free. 2. BEST STEP DRILL BITS Diablo DSD1375S15 $51 These bits quickly, cleanly, and accurately bore holes in plastic and metal up to ⅛ inch. Still, we tried them in steel a touch thicker than that, and they did fine. The split-point tip fights the tendency to skid off the starting point. 3. BEST TWIST DRILL BITS Milwaukee 48-89-4631 $25 This 23-piece…

1 min.
stanley 99 utility knife

Introduced in the 1960s, Stanley’s 99 utility knife is the virtual definition of simplicity. Not counting its blade, it consists of four parts: two halves of the zinc die-cast body, one screw, and the thumb latch. It’s as straightforward and brilliant a piece of industrial design as has ever been conceived. A more in-depth examination finds that each of its halves fits together with tangs and are held by the aforementioned machine screw with a Phillips-head recess. The knife takes one trapezoid-shaped blade in the nose and as many as 10 in the magazine, which is no more than a space located between the ribs cast inside the halves of the body. Push the thumb latch forward to expose the blade, then pull the latch back to retract. And the thumb latch…

2 min.
does anyone still make a million-mile car?

MY PARENTS BOUGHT A 2004 VOLVO XC70 because, to them, that brand meant longevity. Part of that perception comes from a well-publicized 1966 P1800S that its sole owner, Irv Gordon, drove more than 3 million miles before he died in 2018. But that 1800—same as other record-high-mileage Lexuses, Chevy trucks, and diesel Mercedes-Benzes—is comparatively analog. It runs on simple, usually interchangeable parts. A skilled mechanic could remove its engine in an hour. Now, the newest Volvos have digital dashboards, radars, and super- and turbocharged small-displacement engines. Like most modern cars, they are complicated miracles of safety and convenience that will last into six-figure mileage without major repairs. But there’s no way that XC70, or any modern Volvo, could last a million miles. Right? I asked Volvo Master Mechanic Nino Gambino to check…

3 min.
power+ expertise

Battery-powered mowers and other tools are revolutionizing lawn care—but getting the right mower and using it correctly are crucial. In a recent test of battery-powered lawnmowers, Popular Mechanics awarded EGO an Editors’ Choice Award. Test Editor Roy Berendsohn said the mower impressed as “a perfect example of how to blend battery and motor technology, software to protect both, correct material choices to provide long-lasting deck and lightweight construction.” With next generation EGO mowers, trimmers and blowers now available, there’s a lot to consider when creating and maintaining a healthy, picture-perfect lawn. PEAK SPRING POWER Using a push mower is the ideal choice for small- to medium-sized lawns and can give the homeowner the precision to cut the enviable striped or diamond pattern by mowing in alternating directions. Grass tends to grow in…

1 min.
the badass battle-ships hall of fame

HMS DREADNOUGHT The Royal Navy’s HMS Dreadnought, the first truly modern battleship, combined a single main gun battery, steam-turbine propulsion, and heavy armor into the most powerful warship of its time. The world’s first steam turbines gave her a top speed of 25 knots, and a main battery of 10 12-inch guns and 27 smaller 12-pounders made her the most deadly warship afloat USS IOWA The four Iowa-class fast battleships—Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin—were designed to quickly travel across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and fight World War II in the enemy’s backyard. They were the only battleships fitted with a nuclear weapon: the W19 artillery shell, with an explosive yield equivalent to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. YAMATO The Imperial Japanese Navy warships Yamato and Musashi were the largest battleships ever built. The…

5 min.
your next big-screen tv may be a projector

THE MASSIVE WIDE-SCREEN images created by home projectors have always awed. Yet for all their cinematic glory, the devices were cumbersome and only worked well in dark, subterranean home theaters. Tech changes rapidly, however, and advances in digital light projection (DLP) have led to smaller projectors that shine more light than older LCD models, even in well-lit rooms. Many integrate with smart streaming systems and sit right on a media console or coffee table, producing 4K images that rival the best TVs (see Pixel Tricks sidebar). They’re not perfect, but the excitement is real. Look at Samsung, the world’s largest TV maker. After walking away from projectors a decade ago, the brand returns with The Premiere, an ultra-short-throw projector that’s as thrilling as the company’s most capable televisions. We tested 10 projectors across…