Steam-Powered Raspberry Pi Zero Doesn’t Get Any More Steampunk

Steampunk usually involves sticking a few old valves on your laptop and riding a penny farthing, but [Alexzpro] understands the real thing: he just created a steam powered Raspberry Pi Zero (translated).

His setup is a little lashed together, but works it’s a throwback to electricity generation of old and deserves the steampunk moniker. A steam boiler drives a steam turbine, which turns a motor, generating electrical power. This feeds into a regulator and a bank of capacitors that smooths the voltage out to a nice even 5 Volts, which powers the Pi.

It’s not exactly efficient, but running the steam boiler using two propane blowtorches sure makes us grin. Usually we see people trying to go the opposite direction and power their projects with renewables. We can appreciate this for what it is too, and it’s certainly not the first time we’ve see a Raspberry Pi burning through electricity for little apparent gain.

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Steampunk USB Cryptex Keeps Your Data Secure

Worried about people snooping around your USB drive? Digital encryption not good enough for you? What you need is a USB Cryptex to secure the drive from even being accessed!

Made completely out of copper and brass, [Scots72] really put a lot of effort into this beautiful piece of metalworking. The USB drive itself is encased in epoxy inside of a copper tube — the rest is built around it. Built almost entirely using hand tools, and we can only imagine how long the process took to complete. But patience is often rewarded with results like these!

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Nixie Tubes Adorn Steampunk Solar Power Meter

The appeal of adding Nixie tube displays to a project seems to know no end. First it was Nixie clocks, now it’s Nixie power meters, with the latest addition being this Nixie-Steampunk hybrid solar power monitor.

We’re suckers for a project with a vintage look, and this one pushes all the buttons. Built on commission for a solar power company CEO’s office, [Paul Parry]’s build is based on a Depression-era Metropolitan-Vickers combined voltmeter and ammeter. The huge meters with mirrored scales and the rich wood of the case – our guess is that it’s mahogany – made a great starting point, and after some careful hole drilling, nine IN-18 Nixies were sprouting from the case. A strip of RGB LEDs below decks added the requisite backlighting of the envelopes, and a Raspberry Pi was enlisted to interpret data from the company’s solar farm and drive the tubes and the meters. The project was capped off with a new finish on the case and a couple of fancy brass plaques.

[Paul] sent us the tip for his build after seeing the last power meter we covered, and we have to say they’re both great looking and functional projects. Keep the Nixie projects coming!

Steampunk iMacs With Real Turning Gears

Macs have always been favorites of case modders, with projects ranging from turning a Mac Plus into an aquarium to retrofuturistic machines that look like they came from the set of [Terry Gilliam]’s Brazil. Some of these casemods are of the steampunk variety, an aesthetic that usually means gluing gears to wood. [Valeriy] and [Cyrill] are bucking that trend with a beautiful iMac crafted from wood, brass, and leather (Russian, Google Translate)

The machine in question is a late-model, impossibly thin iMac. Unlike the old all-in-one computers with clunky CRTs, there’s not much space to dig around inside this iMac, and doing so would probably ruin the machine, anyway. Instead of a complete disassembly a wooden frame was constructed around the display, the aluminum base was covered in veneer, and the back of the iMac was covered in leather.

This is a steampunk computer, though, and that means gears. In this case, the gears and steam elements actually do something. The front of the computer is adorned with a decent replica of the drivetrain of a locomotive that spins with the help of an electric motor. There’s a USB port attached to the front, ensconced in a cylindrical enclosure that opens when a switch is flipped.

If a complete reworking of a modern iMac isn’t enough, the build also included the steampunkification of the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. That in itself is an amazing build, but to see the entire thing in action, you’ll have to check out the video below.

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Chromatic Clocks With A Steampunk Twist

There’s nothing like a good clock project, and tacking the steampunk modifier on it only makes it better. [José] built a steampunk clock that does it much better than just gluing some gears on an enclosure and calling it a day. This build includes glowing jewels displaying the time in different colors while displaying the a steampunker’s prowess with a pipe cutter.

The body of the clock is a piece of finely lacquered wood, hiding a perfboard construction with a DS3231 real time clock, a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, and a light sensor for dimming the WS2812 LEDs according to the ambient light level.

The rest of the clock is a bunch of 12mm copper pipe, elbows, and t couplers. The end of these pipes are capped off with marbles, with the RGB LEDs behind each of the ‘digits’ of the clock. This is a chromatic clock, with the digits 0 through 9 assigned a different color, based on the resistor color code scheme with exceptions for black and brown. Once you’ve figured out how to tell time with this clock, you should have no problem finding that single 56k resistor in your junk box.

You can check out the video of the clock below.

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Steampunk Battleship complete with Steam Engine!

steampunk fortress

The photo above doesn’t do this huge and whimsical Steampunk Battleship justice. It’s an amazing project that took its creator, [Ed Ross], over 2500 hours to complete.

Called Barnum’s Dream, it was said to be originally commissioned by Queen Victoria as a ship for the Crimean war, and was the largest paddle wheel steam warship ever built. It was then retrofitted with a massive train carriage to be used in the Franco-Prussian war (that’s right, on land!).

The model is just over 4 feet long and just under 4 feet tall. Aside from the steam engine (which was modified) it was completely build by hand. Almost all of the mechanical linkages and powered by the internal steam engine. The level of detail that went into this is absolutely awe-inspiring. 

If you enjoyed the background history of the ship, there’s a delightful tale of the ship’s apparent origins on [Ed’s] blog which is thoroughly enjoyable. Make sure to check it out after watching the video after the break.

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Arduino-Powered Steampunk Steam Gauge

steampunkGauge

[Murphy’s_Lawyer] had some empty space on the wall in his kitchen, so he decided to fill it with a whirring Steampunk gizmo: an Arduino-driven steam gauge.

The build began as an old 10″ Ashcroft pressure gauge sourced from eBay, which [Murphy’s_Lawyer] dissected to determine the state of its guts. Finding the gauge’s Bourdon tube intact, he got to work constructing a method of generating motion without the need for actual steam. The solution was to mount a continuous rotation servo between the tube and the case. The servo lacked the strength to flex the tube on its own, so [Murphy’s_Lawyer] fashioned a simple lever out of brass to help it along.

The electronics consist of an Arduino Uno and an accompanying homemade PCB. The code for the Uno generates random motion for twirling the servo, and three LEDs built into the face reflect values generated for speed, pause and run time. The final upgrade came in the form of a new dial face, which provides some updated text as well as a cutout square that lets you see the previously obscured gears in action. Check out the video below, then see another Steampunk overhaul: the Edwardian Laptop.

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