Instructables user [Admiral Aaron Ravensdale] just finished a high voltage plasma bulb build that makes creative use of off-the-shelf parts. As a self-described steampunk, [Adm. Ravensdale] also earned some cred by included working gears in his build.
The heart of the build is a “flicker flame” candle light bulb. These light bulbs have two flame-shaped plates inside the bulb to act as electrodes. Instead of the Argon that normally fills an incandescent light bulb, the candle bulb is filled with Neon. When excited, Argon gives off a rather unnatural purple glow – not very convincing for a simulated candle and certainly not steampunk. The Neon in the flickering candle bulb gives off a brilliant orange, perfect for simulating a flame and will surely impress the duchess during afternoon tea.
After the right plasma bulb was found, [The Admiral] scavenged the rest of the high voltage electronics from disposable cameras. Attaching three electrodes to a brass gear, the entire mechanism was made to spin using parts from an old clock and a CD drive motor. We’re always impressed with the scavenging abilities of steampunkers – we’d still be waiting for our gears to arrive if we attempted this. Check out the video of this really cool and very inexpensive plasma bulb after the break.
Continue reading “High voltage plasma lamp is also tasteful steampunk”
This amazing steam punk keyboard was sent in to the tip line, and while it’s not necessarily a ‘hack’ in the purest sense, the level of quality in the build is incredible.
Each key was crafted from brass tubing that was later filled with a wooden dowel and covered with the key cap label. While there’s no mention of how the key caps were made, we do especially like the abstract Windows Key label. After the PCB for the keyboard matrix was enclosed in a bit of plywood, the hand tooled leather was applied to the front. The name plaque that was hand engraved with a modified screwdriver is especially nice.
The build is based around the amazing Das Keyboard with Cherry Blue switches, one of the only keyboards currently being manufactured that comes close to the feel of the One True Keyboard. While it’s not a keyboard built from scratch, it’s still one of the best steampunk builds we’ve seen, most likely because not a single gear was glued to the project.
[Richard] has been working on the concept of “incorporating more feeling into our digital objects”. His design is still just a concept but hopefully someone will take up the idea because we think the results would be amazing. The attention to detail in the design is impressive, the Rotary Mechanical Smartphone as he is calling it contains a generic smartphone maintaining all the features such as the touch screen, but also including a set of interchangeable rotary dials on the back. There is the true rotary dial just like an old phone and a push button dial, for complete integration of the old and new technologies.
Once the design was complete, Richard built himself a proof of concept model to show off his work. The shell was 3D printed and copper plated to get the desired steampunk finish. The rotary dials are made from brass plate and hand finished. [Richard] has put in a lot of effort getting the finish right with electroplating, painting, and sanding. The final results are nothing short of impressive. Check out his site for some very nice photos and build details.
This custom CD-player enclosure may not be your style, but you can’t deny that the fabrication techniques are top-notch (translated). This starts with a portable CD player and a set of amplified speakers. A brass plate serves as the base for the electronics, with the CD player internals mounted from the underside. The brass dome that covers the spinning disk also started as a sheet of metal, with quite a bit of work (translated) going into shaping and smoothing to achieve these results. The base and speaker boxes exhibit some fine woodworking, and there’s even additional electronics for lights, control buttons, and to drive the two analog meters. A lot of thought went into each component of this build and that’s how you put together a masterpiece.
[Moritz Wolpert] built this gem of Victorian hardware by hand. It is a sequencer and features beautiful detail work as shown in its MySpace gallery. Other than that we don’t know a lot about it. You can also take a look at [Moritz’s] main page, but prepare to be annoyed by the hideous web-styling that really undercuts the beauty of his physical product.
[Thanks Freax via Schaltzentrale]
This single-digit Nixie clock is a thing of beauty. You might hate Steampunk or you might love it, but you have to respect projects where the design gets equal (or more) consideration compared to the function. The electronics used in the project build upon an existing single Nixie design. Instead of hiding the guts inside the clock the PCB has been laid out to augment the design. We think [Blue Metal] hit it out of the park with this one!
[Ani Niow] built this steam powered vibrator. It has a milled stainless steel shell with a brass motor structure. The motor is a Tesla turbine made from a stack of Dremel diamond cutoff wheels. This drives an off-center weight to create the vibration. She tested it using a pressure cooker as the steam source. It worked, but became so hot it had to be held using welding gloves. It works just as well with compressed air though. You can see the device at the Femina Potens Art Gallery in San Francisco or later this month at Maker Faire.
[via Laughing Squid]
UPDATE: [Ani] responds in the comments.