[Build Comics], purveyors of comic strips “where tools are heroes”, have saved another pair of old, vintage, analog meters from the junkyard by converting them into a Meter Clock. The real heroes of the story are their trusty tools – Mac X the knife, Mr. TS the table saw and his trusty band of clamps, G. Rinder the angle grinder, Weldy the welder, Sharp Eye the marker, rounded up by Sandy the Sander and Jiggy Saw. The Drake & Gorham (London) meters going under the knife appear similar to vintage hardware from just after the end of World War II, such as this Ferranti Ammeter found at the Science Museum Group, making them at least 75 years old.
As you might expect, the conversion process is reminiscent of their previous projects. The original moving-coil movements are discarded, and the pointer is attached to a servo which will act as the new movement. Fresh dials are prepared to replace the original ampere markings with hours and minutes. To retain some of the original charm, the new dials have discoloration and blemishes replicated from the old dials.
The set screw which was once used to align the pointer with the zero mark on the dial is now used to activate a micro switch that enables daylight savings time. Two additional buttons provide a convenient interface to adjust the time. Precision time signals are derived from a DS3231 RTC module connected to an Arduino. A pair of seven segment displays are connected to the Arduino to make it easier to set the time. A piece of oak plank, surrounded by a metal angled frame, is used as a base for mounting the two meters so that the clock can be hung up on the wall.
Sheet metal. Beer cans. Pieces of chain. Not items you’ll typically find on the BOM for a custom guitar. But nobody told [Maarten van Halderen] that, and so he threw them all together into a gitaar van schroot, or scrap guitar for the Dutch impaired (YouTube link).
The video shows the build process, starting with plasma cutting and welding sheet steel for the body. The neck is fabricated from rectangular steel tube, with nails serving as frets. Overall it looks like a Les Paul, except for the sink strainer basket mounted in the sound hole and the crushed beer and soda cans tacked to the body for decoration. The chains are a nice touch too. And this doesn’t appear to be [Maarten]’s first attempt at scrapyard lutherie – toward the end of the video we see that the beer can axe joins a very steam-punk looking older brother. They’re both good-looking builds, and the video after the break proves they can sound pretty good too.
As you start to take in all that was involved with building these two aquariums it boggles the mind. At the time of writing the forum thread is 56 pages long and it’s not just filled up with the adoration of [Big Mr Tong’s] fans. He did so much work that every page is packed with progress pictures that cover the range of topics: plumbing, electrical, mechanical, artistic…. wow!
The curse project was sparked by a friend giving him a couple of huge acrylic cylinders which were a perfect size for custom aquariums. [Tong] even had a couple of ideas in mind for underwater artwork to fill them with. One is a replica of statue ruins that give you the feeling that the tank is a piece of Atlantis capture for your own entertainment. The other is a fascinating replica of a plumbing stack. You know, the large cast-iron pipes that carry away waste? But these are actually PVC parts with modeling clay accents. They were broken, cut, melted, sanded, and who knows what else, to arrive at this look. The different aquariums feature different lighting techniques. There’s custom-made filter baffles. We could go on and on but we won’t so check out the link at the top for all the details.
In the end he went beyond the original cylinders and built his own square tank for the pipe design. It’s a steam-punk piece so there’s even analog dials to display the vital signs of the habitat.
This is [Pierre Cauchois’] digital weather display. Since weather displays are ubiquitous in this day of smart phones in every pocket he went out of his way to give it a unique look. He started with a wooden voltmeter case, swapping the ancient display for a modern LCD screen.
He used Gadgeteer components for the retrofit. The images for the LCD are stored on an SD card and displayed on demand. Since the digital bezel will be the same no matter what the time or environmental conditions [Pierre] used the power of the .NET framework that drives the system. He made up an image using magenta for all of the dial openings. This way a sprite can be used just for the changing numbers, weather icon, and graphing area.
Looking at all that went into coding the project we think the Gadgeteer components are perfect for those that are well-versed in upper-level languages and don’t really want to deal with low-level microcontroller issues.
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.
While this mechanical mustache isn’t made for a Halloween costume, it certainly looks like part of one. Copper clad, brass, cable, and a few other bits come together in a similar style to tension based hands; the piece is then worn much like a Mardi Gras mask. To complete the rustic “old tyme” look [John] was after, the copper was tarnished using the vapor from a vinegar and salt solution. The finished assembly is steam punk delicious, but we’re saddened by the lack of steam punk eye brows to complete the look (or steam punk mutton chops, or steam punk goatee, or…)
Some things are made to look steam punk but others are steam punk. This example of the later is a camera made mostly of brass. The body has been soldered together with only a shutter and lens being purchased for the project. There is a viewfinder and separate range finder to determine the proper focus for pictures as this is not a single lens reflex.
It should be obvious by now that this is a film camera. It relies on the photographer to turn the winder until an arrow on the knob lines up with a mark on the body for proper alignment. If you set out to make one of these, perhaps you should also manufacture your own film for it.