I’m happy to report that I’ve run into hundreds of hours of mechanical goodness, courtesy of The Making, a video series that has found a new life on YouTube. The videos are posted by the Japan Science and Technology Agency and there are more than 300 of them across a few playlists. They show — you guessed it — the assembly process and production lines of anything from food to printed circuit boards to cameras.
Here’s one of my favorites, showing the making of a cruiser bicycle:
The series came to my attention from Twitter’s Worm Logo Appreciator. The bike video dates back to 1999. Oh, just look at that boxy footage, hardly apt for modern computer screens but still looking great two decades on.
The videos in the series have no narration at all, using only captions to detail what’s onscreen. But the machines speak for themselves. And the music in the vids is good enough to leave playing in the background. Think lo-fi meets mechanical cacophony and you’ll get an idea of the soundtrack.
The video goes through a few stages of the bicycle’s construction and onto its final assembly. The first step is joining the tubes to fit the bike frame together. I’m a fan of this welder’s style but I would prefer something a little more protective.
The video moves on to the bending process, which is important but often overlooked. It reminded me of everyone’s favorite robot from Futurama, Bender B. Rodríguez (no relation). The video section showing the handlebars bent into shape is proof that bending is a precise and skillful art.
Then it moves onto the painting, or electrostatic coating, which the video description details below:
Painting is done by a method called electrostatic coating, in which a voltage of 5000 volts is applied to the paint and it is applied evenly using the properties of static electricity.
And before the bike assembly is complete, we watch the assembly of the wheels, as all 36 spokes are fitted to the metal rim. The description states the importance of the spokes, which you may notice is the preferred construction for dual-sport motorcycles due to their strength:
The 36 spokes of the tire play an important role in keeping it perfectly circular. A delicate balance is maintained by stretching and loosening the spokes one by one.
The bike finally comes together around the 12 minute mark, and the video wraps. But, again, there are more than 300 of these, so don’t worry. And maybe don’t watch them all at once; you’ll want to hang on to some of these.