Science

Dad builds a fantastical and functional wooden sci-fi car for kids

It’s brutally hot, so if you have the option to stay inside, consider keeping cool with a new three-hour montage of a devoted dad crafting absurdly intricate, functional wooden vehicles for his children.

And if you want even more craftsmanship, Truong Van Dao has got you covered. The YouTuber has spent over four years documenting at least 20 increasingly wild woodworking projects constructed for his kids, including a tiny tank, Cybertruck, and a Ferrari. Initially focused on shoebox-sized replicas, he steadily scaled up the projects to pushable, kid-sized luxury cars, before advancing to a fleet of mini-vehicles featuring actual powertrains, pedals, and steering wheels. But one of his recent undertakings is his boldest and most complex to date—a drivable, time machine-inspired wooden contraption based on renderings concocted with the help of a generative AI art program.

Unlike most of the dad’s past vehicles, the wooden buggy isn’t actually based on any particular real-world counterpart. As DesignBoom explains, the car’s fantastical, gear-heavy frame is built around four large batteries housed inside a metal chassis. Taken all together, the rounded edges and arrays of mechanical aesthetic flourishes like the dozens of working cogs and movable pistons evoke a steampunk feel. It’s very cool and as many of them as possible should be chugging down streets. Or, if nothing else, there needs to be many more videos documenting the wooden sci-fi car’s journeys throughout Vietnam.

[Related: From clay cars to VR: How GM is designing an electric fleet at top speed.]

Part of the appeal of Truong Van Dao’s videos comes from a general lack of voiceover explanations, allowing viewers to simply enjoy the painstaking process of designing, crafting, and constructing the tiny concept car. Aspiring woodworkers hopefully won’t feel too discouraged by the lack of step-by-step instructions, since he still manages to pack in a ton of closer looks at the manufacturing and assembly.

But for most viewers, just watching a dad delight his children—and dozens of neighborhood onlookers—is satisfying enough. Generative AI systems have earned a lot of (often warranted) criticism over the past two years, but if people like Truong Van Dao want to use it to dream up outlandish ideas, then have at it. Especially if it ultimately lets fans take some of these things out for a test drive.


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