Steam-powered Rickrolling

This is a steam-powered record player; awesome. But wait, that’s not all. Watch the video after the break for about two and a half minutes and you’ll realize that it’s also a Rickroll. No, you’re not getting baited into clicking through to Rick Astley’s music video, the LP that’s playing on the turntable is a copy of “Never Gonna Give You Up”; all kinds of awesome.

This all started with a steam engine machined from a stainless steel bolt and a brass cylinder. It was tested using compressed air before building the boiler. But what’s a steam engine without a purpose? The problem with using a steam engine as a turntable motor is speed control. This is where we move to modern technology, using an Arduino to measure the RPM and adjust the steam engine using a servo motor.

The builder makes a comment that this sounds terrible, but considering it’s steam-powered we think it sounds just fine.


[Thanks Simon and Fred]

28 thoughts on “Steam-powered Rickrolling

  1. When it begins playing, it’s surreal. Good wacky stuff.

    BTW, if you could find some gramophone (spelling? 78rpm anyway) discs, you could make it sound much louder and better — they have deep grooves, designed to be be played back without amplification.

  2. Neat idea. I would’ve preferred a mechanical governor though. and they chose a good song to demo it on. It was bad enough that you hardly noticed the whine and other noise from the engine!

  3. Much bigger flywheel, without listening for sure. 3 or more pistons yeah! And of course a flying governor. Arduino schemeeno. 78’s would more suited to the vibe. Sorry Daft Punk. Anyone want to hack up a steam powered cassette jam box?

  4. Incredible execution, he is clearly very skilled and has an excellent eye for detail.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the concept itself is flawed, as the piston just can’t get the record spinning at the proper speed. Also, like previous commenters, I don’t get why he would use an Arduino and servo rather than the centrifugal governor which has been standard hardware on steam engines since more or less their inception.

  5. I don’t see what all of you arduino haters have to complain about.Yes he could have used a mechanical governor but he could have used a gassifier running on dried chicken shit also and I don’t see any of you complaining about that! Now for the fun one most MP3 players are coal powered so there is no reason to attach one to a steam engine (actually I know of one city at least where the MP3 players are steam powered)

  6. This is one of the reasons why some of the historical engine gramaphones used stirling engines. Much more constant torque, and better speed control. I wish the museum of retro technology was still up and running. They had lots of good pictures of such things.

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