Popular Mechanics October 2019

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!

United States
10 Issues

in this issue

4 min
popular mechanics studio presents build a bar project part 3 of 3

We believe in the beauty of handcraftsmanship. Taking your time. Doing things right. It's why we partnered with Knob Creek®leader of hard-earned, small batch whiskey-on this three-part build a bar project. Because just like how Knob Creek® takes no shortcuts when creating their signature full flavor bourbon, you should take no shortcuts when finishing and furnishing your bar. In the third and final installment of this series, we'll show you how to customize your bar with pyrography (a decorative wood burning technique), wireless LED lights, and all the finest tools for entertaining at home. So at the end of the day, you can pour yourself (and your friends) a well-earned drink and enjoy. Cheers! CUSTOMIZE YOUR BAR Wood buring (pyrography) is a unique way to add rustic personalization to your project. The process…

3 min
1 my pop life

DARREN ORF Deputy Editor Would rather go on a dungeon crawl than a bar crawl. The Best Thing POP Ever Taught Me All things planes. Coming to work at Popular Mechanics I’ve learned the finer differences between the AC-130U Spooky and the AC-130J Ghostrider, and I’m all the better for it. Favori te app and why Marvel Unlimited—I’ve purchased A LOT of comics in my lifetime. For $70 a year, I get access to Marvel’s whole library (at a six-month delay). That saves me tons of money—and tons of space. PETS I have a cat named Laser (who we call Li). She doesn’t really know how to meow… she kind of just coos loudly. She’s a strange one. The Best Money I Ever Spent Every time I buy flowers for my girlfriend. They always make her smile. PRODUCTS I’M USING…

3 min
you should completely wipe your phone—but not for the reason you think

ONCE EVERY FEW MONTHS, I take my iPhone and go to Settings-> General-> Reset-> Erase All Content and Settings. I skip the offer to use a backup, or transfer data, and build from the factory settings. My friends think I’m masochistic. But hear me out. Clearing out old apps or files, even if it’s just to re-download them, will help almost any device. But deleting is tedious. The trick is to do it all at once, with a clean wipe. Your vital stuff will still be there. Modern cloud systems, as long as you have your password, will keep the stuff most of us really care about—your SIM card is your phone number, and as long as you have iCloud or Google Photos, copies of your photos and videos are safely stashed…

2 min
bafang g310

PRODUCED: CHINA TIME TO DISASSEMBLE: 2 HOURS, 45 MINUTES NOTES:E-bikes are booming: The U.S. imported at least 215,000 electric bicyles in 2017, up from 64,000 in 2012, according to industry experts Ed Benjamin and Frank E. Jamerson, PhD. But brand-new rides are expensive. Instead, you can buy a conversion kit, and electrify any pushbike for around $1,000. We’d start with the G310: The motor employs decades of hub motor development to pack up to 500 watts of power into a lightweight and silent package—a first for geared hub motors. “As soon as you experience a motor that’s totally silent under assist, you never want to go back to one that makes a buzzing sound,” says Justin Lemire-Elmore, founder and owner of Grin Technologies, a Vancouver-based engineering company that specializes in DIY e-bike…

3 min
the most fun you can have on three wheels

RALLY RACING I S one of the most challenging forms of motorsport. A driver and navigator blaze down actual public roads—closed, of course—at the ragged edge of control, the navigator calling out the turns and the driver reacting in real time as the road rushes ahead like a video playing at 8x speed. Rallies take place on all sorts of surfaces, from asphalt to snow, but the sport is synonymous with dirt. And so rally cars are optimized for that environment: Knobby tires, beefy suspension, and skid plates are universal must-haves. If that sort of equipment sounds awfully familiar, it’s because rally culture bred the crossover: A Toyota RAV4 is just a Corolla Hatchback that’s built for the Acropolis Rally. CanAm, maker of the Maverick side-by-side lineup, knows how to build…

4 min
why the big boy 4014 is such a badass train

THE STEAM-DRIVEN locomotive might seem like a relic of bygone days. But tell that to the people who cheered as Union Pacific’s Big Boy 4014—the largest operational steam locomotive ever—pulled into Ogden, Utah. Its arrival last spring marked the 150-year anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Big Boy’s roaring up the ceremonial rails seemed improbable, considering that all eight existing units of the Big Boy–class steam engines had been decommissioned long ago. The 4014, built in 1941, went to bed in 1961, and spent the next 52 years resting at RailGiants Train Museum in Pomona, California. At 132 feet long, the Big Boys’ frames had to be hinged so they could navigate curves. They weighed 1.2 million pounds, meaning any long-term forward motion necessitated that their 56,000-pound coal capacity…