The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977 and cemented itself as one of cinema’s most popular franchises. To bring this story set in a galaxy far, far away to life, director George Lucas used brilliant set design, vehicle design, costumes, special effects, and some of the best sound design of the time.

Case in point: the iconic Millennium Falcon.

Piloted by Rebel Alliance starfighters Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Millenium Falcon carries a strikingly unique shape and sound that remains unchanged—even through to the many sequels being made today. While the form of the Millennium Falcon took inspiration from a hamburger (no lie; you can look it up yourself), the sound of the iconic ship’s hyperdrive malfunctioning took inspiration from eight different sounds from real-life malfunctioning equipment:

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Some of these sounds include the sound of an old biplane motor, an air hiss from dentist equipment, an arclight motor, a tank motor, and some rattling faucet pipes, of all things. It’s impressive to see how these unlike sounds, when combined and mixed, make up the iconic sputter and spurt of an intergalactic spaceship.

This video makes you notice just how much of our daily life is filled with rattling equipment which sounds like it might break down at any second. So what other malfunctions can you determine in your machines by sound alone?

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Let’s start with the obvious choice: your car. Screeching brakes often means you need to change your brake pads, while a looseness in your steering wheel coupled with a mechanical sound is a sign you need to take your automobile to a mechanic and have the ball joints checked. There are over a million different sounds in a car alone which signal you to fix different parts, but these are the most common sounds you’ll hear.

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Inversely, the lack of sound from an electric guitar means you should open it up and see if any of the wires are interfering with the circuit. In this particular case, long grounded wires which are pressed too close to the guitar’s circuit get in the way of the current. A simple fix is to trim the wires down to just the right size, so they connect the components and not much else. After cutting them down and soldering them back on, a constant tune from the guitar means it’s in working shape.

These are just a few machines whose sounds (or lack of sound) signal you to open them up and check their parts. Granted they don’t sound as cool as a Millennium Falcon, but having a car which isn’t a safety hazard or a guitar which produces sound is a pretty good consolation prize.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.