Most experiments we do here start out with some known property, or material, or existing experiment, or whatever inspiration- rarely do I follow instructions and just duplicate a thing, but this is probably as close as I’ve come so far. Some time ago I’d come across Mark Rober’s video here illustrating this whole thing in a much more refined and devoted video, so you should probably check that out if you really want to learn. In the meantime, here’s Delilah’s reaction. In a nutshell- ours is built from 1/2″ copper tube (common plumbing grade you can get at Lowe’s), soldered together (via blowtorch and plumbing solder), then drilled with an assortment of .04″ish drills.
This was the most surprising part about this project- why is copper (one of the softest metals you can commonly find) so difficult for tiny drills/mills? I really feel like my machine(s) might be to blame here but for some reason I had an awful time with all those holes!
The sand I already had on hand and its fine sandblasting silica you can get at Harbor Freight. The rest is just a few plumbing assemblies I had lying around and a little tupperware tub.
The real value of having one of these around is the feel of things- having a medium transform from “liquid” to basically a solid instantaneously around your hand or other objects. That’s the neat part- you can’t really get a sense of that from the video so you should probably build one. If I had this to do over, I’d probably opt for plastic tubing over copper plumbing tube. No reason not to expect a comparable result and it would probably end up being a lot easier.