When it comes to YouTube stars who want to bless the world with their obscure (but usable!) knowledge, Grant Thompson (AKA The King of Random) ranks up there among the best of them.

Initially inspired to produce videos as a way to give back to the tutorial-rich YouTube community, his YouTube channel now includes over 2.6 million subscribers and he produces at least one new project video per week. With videos ranging from lifehacks to science experiments and DIY projects to even survival techniques, the wide variety of content that Grant covers ensures that there is never a dull moment in YouTubeLand.

“Most of my project ideas come from things that inspire me and make me want to try for myself,” said Grant in a Reddit AMA. “I always put my own twist, and own experience into modifying the idea, but most ideas originate from the internet, books, friends/parents, and sometimes even my kids! I always post the inspiration of the project in the video descriptions.”

Earlier this week, Grant released what is perhaps one of his best projects to date: A tutorial for learning how to melt used aluminum cans into usable aluminum for sand casting.


“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of melting metal and making things with it,” he says.

“The problem has always been that it was out of reach or required really expensive equipment. In this project I experimented with 10 different prototypes, to develop a reusable backyard foundry that melts aluminum soda cans easily and safely. I tested different refractory recipes, different containers, different setting for blowing air, and different types of makeshift crucibles.”


Using soda cans, Grant melts them in his foundry to extract the aluminum to use for future metal casting projects (atleast one of which will be explained in a coming video). As for the materials used for the project, Grant retrieved the cans from a local recycling center and used cheap materials commonly found at hardware stores and thrift shops.

Here, Grant gives us the rundown on how to create what he calls “cute little aluminum muffins”:

YouTube video

YouTube video

With nearly 38-45 cans producing a pound of usable aluminum, all that’s needed next is a sketchbook filled with design possibilities.


You can check out the rest of Grant’s videos over at The King of Random.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.