When thinking about youtube videos that I enjoy watching about engineering, design, or building, my mind is flooded with many different videos about all different topics. I have always loved watching car videos and learning about automotive design and how everything in a motor and car work together somehow magically. Learning how things work is what made me want to become an engineer in the first place, so just about any video that shows how objects or products work has my thorough attention.
When it comes to a favorite design/build video I chose this video by the Dutch craftsman Phillip Sicher walking the viewer through one of his bamboo fly rod builds. To me this video resonates on many different levels both personally and as an engineer. My father is also an avid fly fisherman, flytyer, and rod builder and as a kid I used to spend countless hours watching him tie flies and building bamboo rods of his own. My dad used vary similar methods as Mr. Sicher does in his video to create these beautiful works of art. This video takes the viewer step by step through the somewhat ancient technique of hand-crafted rod building.
As a flyfisherman myself, I am definitely biased towards this video and the skill that craftsman such as Phillip posses in creating fly rods from raw materials. This video does a great job at telling a story, but also maintaining its informational aspect at the same time. It walks you through each arduous step in the process beginning at selecting the right piece of matured, dried bamboo. Each step in the process is as important as the next in order to achieve a perfect end result. While there is an design/engineering aspect to this process, I would argue that it is more of a art than anything else. It takes years and years to master and perfect the techniques and familiarity in selecting the right piece of bamboo, applying the correct amount of heat and stress to straighten fibers, shaving fibers to the correct dimensions and cross-sectional shape, etc.
I especially love the part where he is creating the cork hand grip by turning the blanks on the lathe. This is the part of the rod in which the angler directly interfaces with the tool and you can tell that Phillip is putting extra care and attention to detail into the precision of the handle. I love how it shows him directly feeling the texture and curvature of the grip as it spins on the lathe. He wants this to be the perfect handle and fit for the angler as the rod naturally rests in his hands.