Movies are full of cool gadgets that we wish were real, from the Star Wars lightsabers to the hoverboard from Back to the Future II. This inspired James Hobson to put together a team of engineers and launch Hacksmith Industries, a start-up and YouTube channel dedicated to creating prototypes based on technology seen in fiction. While they have brought to life a fair share of weapons from Marvel and DC movies, they took on a much larger project: build the world’s biggest hexapod rideable robot, which they called Megahex.
The team at Hacksmith Industries documented the whole process in a video. It all began when Hobson—who calls himself The Hacksmith—saw a towable excavator that was capable of orienting itself with the help of its bucket to stand up and maneuver. This led him to wonder if a robot with more legs could lift a heavier body, thus the design of the six-legged mech was born.
Although the group approached it with determination and creativity, the project turned out to be much more complicated than the team of engineers had envisioned. While they had originally expected to have it ready in three months, it ended up taking over a year, which truly put their abilities to test. First, they had to redesign the rectangular frame and turn it into a hexagon. Then, they had to determine the angles and motion of the legs, since each had to be different and precise for the robot to be able to walk.
After some challenging welding sessions, the mech finally started to come together. Once everything was in place, they ran some piloted tests. In the most promising of them, which took place in an open field to prevent it from crashing, the mech managed to give a series of promising steps before one of its legs breaks down. This turned out to be the final straw for the engineers, which had dealt with a lot of obstacles. Since the six-legged mech had eaten up a lot of their time and resources, they decided to put it to rest.
Despite the result, the work they did is no small feat; they managed to create a walking, rideable robot that did what it was built for—even if just for a few moments. While they have shelved the project, they have perfected their building techniques and proved to themselves that they can do it, no matter how outrageous a dream sounds. On top of that, they've stayed true to their mission: to inspire youth into science, technology, and engineering. If anything, this effort is both a masterclass in the possibilities of engineering and a testament that great things can happen when technology and creativity come together.
You can follow Hacksmith Industries on YouTube to stay up to date with their latest projects. Who knows? They might make an Iron Man-like exoskeleton sometime in the future.