A steampunk combination sketchbook


[Admiral Aaron Ravensdale], fine craftsman of steampunk wares, just finished up a new project. It’s a sketchbook protected by two layers of security, covered in gilded leather and drenched in the expositions of a [Jules Verne] novel.

The first layer of security for this sketchbook is a combination lock. On the cover are four switches, each with four positions. These are connected to a PICAXE microcontroller which goes to the next stage of the lock once the correct combination is entered.

The book’s security also includes a knock sensor. With a small piezo element hidden under the cover, [Ravensdale] deeds to tap the book with a specific pattern before it opens. The mechanical part is a small hobby servo also mounted to the cover that releases a pair of brass clasps once both locks are opened.

Like all of the [Admiral]‘s builds, it’s a fine piece of craftsmanship, equally well suited to take on a holiday with the baron or to the opium dens of Ceylon.

You can check out [Admiral Ravensdale]‘s demo of his sketchbook after the break.


  1. Aaron says:

    My bolt cutter beats your pickaxe.

  2. Mindo says:


  3. bob says:

    Very nice.

    Err guys, I don’t think it’s supposed to serious…

  4. Guido says:

    How come steam punk projects always have a some microcontroller hidden inside and never any steam? It’s like calling a song “cowbell” with no cows or bells in it!

  5. vonskippy says:

    When it comes to “steampunk” heed the advice of your local zoo: “Please don’t feed the Monkeys”.

  6. John says:


  7. Yarr says:

    I love Steampunk! Personally, I think modern technology is so sterile, I wish I were born a hundred years earlier so I too could experience the joys of Polio, black lung, horse excrement in the streets, and medicine that stands as good a chance to kill me as it does to make things better.

    • Yarr says:

      Oh, and a near-total absence of anaesthetics. Joy!

      • andar_b says:

        When it comes to various forms of ‘creative anachronism’ the phrase ‘with medicine and indoor plumbing’ is often uttered. I’m sure that even the most hardcore reenactor is sure to take his insulin or hypertension drugs when prescribed. And it’s not like steampunk is about historical reenactment so much as historical fantasy.

  8. Vonskippy says:

    Some things just scream “Feed me to the wood chipper!”.

    This is one of them.

  9. Galane says:

    Join the Historical Preenactment Society. Because the best history has yet to happen.

  10. cbgb says:

    i am happy this comment thread already contains the derision I feel for this build.

    “decorative” “gears”..

  11. Wow, the venom.

    This IS functional. He could have used a cog or rod instead of a gear, but it 1) it fits with the aesthetic, and 2) it is more likely that you have a gear at hand than a cog, and it is easier to mount than a rod.

    Yes, I agree that “glue a gear on” steampunk is overdone/not a hack. This, however, is an interesting creation, and finished and in a case, no less. I applaud a steampunk creation that does perform a function, and has some semblance of functional mechanical action.

  12. Edju says:

    The comments here are embarrrassing…like any of you could get within a mile of the creativity and originality of this project. So what you don’t like the aesthetic. Give the man some props. Or SHUT UP.

  13. Teck-Freak says:

    hey, everyone. In fact I AM a steampunk. And some of your comments are not only nasty but show an amasing vacuum btween your ears.

    @ Guido: Open your eyes when reading about steampunk. I have read about forty and a bit projekts that work with pressured air or clockworks. Even a locking mechanism with “rythm-detektion” working with some kind of a saw-kerved sheet of steel to check if the right frequency is used. (Maby you know the “frequency-detektion”-part used in old power meters). And I’ve read over a hundred projekts working with a simple VACUUM-TUBE-logik. THAT still is steampunk!

    @ Anonymus: also existing. It’s called “µc-punk” and it is a sub- subgenre of Cyberpunk.

    @ vonskippy: Sorry to hear we are not to feed you. Is there ANYTHING creative by you? I haven’t seen a single hack by you. Nor a brilliant thought. IF there is, POST SOME LINKS so I MAY COMMENT YOU.

    @ all : Of cours spreading a hand full of gears over a gadget does not make it steampunk. In Steampunk there are 5 types of people (ranked by importance):
    1) typers: writing a story
    2) makers: building (working) stuff
    3) costumers: making clothes
    4) larpers: making films
    5) modders: gluing gears and brass to create “steampunk”-jewellery or creating false

    NO STEAMPUNK LIKES MODDERS. Steampunks type 1-4 think modders are no Steampunks. We are looking down to them.

    Pesonally I think, this one was at the very rim. Still it was interesting. It may not be steampunk but it is working, and it looks funny. Maby if it were silvern he could have called it “Cyberpunk-Sketchbook” but on the other hand in cyberpunk there are no sketchbooks.
    Oh, and me: I’m a maker.

    hope you survived my comment. Sincerely yours, Teck-Freak

  14. Saxon says:

    The Power of Criticism




    TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011

    It’s a thousand times easier to criticize than create
    That’s why critics are never problem solvers. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most do” (Dale Carnegie). My feeling is that the person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the one who is doing it. Just remember, when you are kicked from behind, it means you are out in front. A Yiddish proverb says “A critic is like the girl who can’t dance so she says the band can’t play.”

  15. ScuD says:

    On a sidenote, completely unrelated to the topic, I built something similar a few years ago, without the electronics though…

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