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Jake's Hollywood Adventure and Etching an iPod

photo sensitive ipod etch

OK, I was reckless. I went ahead and etched my iPod without doing extensive tests on electrolytic etching of stainless steel. But you see, I had a deadline - a flight to Los Angeles to be on television and I wanted the iPod done for the show.

Steampunk Flat-Panel LCD Mod

side view of the steampunk monitor

The Steampunk Keyboard looked terribly anachronistic sitting in front of my Dell 1907FP flat panel monitor and while I hesitated to tear open a $300 monitor that was still under warrantee, art must be served.

Gas Mask Sawdust Respirator

powered respirator made from gas mask and automotive filter

Sometime during the work on my school bus to RV conversion I developed an allergy to pine sawdust.  So I built this powered face mask filter so I could continue to work with wood in my shop without unpleasant effects.

How to Make a Large Flash Diffuser

slave flash on tripod

Making nice photographs when all you have for lighting is a bunch of tungsten shop lamps can be a real challenge.  It is particularly hard to photograph polished brass under these conditions.  So this weekend I set out to build a flash diffuser to improve the quality of the photography on this site.

Telegraph Clacks out RSS Feeds

telegraph and steampunk keyboard

When I was a boy my father brought home from work a telegraph sounder replica kit.  He was the director of the library for a local college and the sounder kit was one of several museum quality reproductions of 19th Century technology the library had acquired. The lovely brass sounder must have made a large impression, because I have wanted one for my own ever since.

Well, here at the The Workshop if you want something, you make it.  I started my quest by cruising Google image search for pictures and diagrams of telegraph sounders that matched my recollections of the one my Dad brought home.  As it turns out all telegraph sounders are pretty much the same so it was an easy task to collect a bunch of photos and drawing from which I could extract design details and dimensions.

Philatelic Keyboards - More Model M Goodness

stamp keyboard

Andy sent me a couple of shots of his beautiful stamp decorated keyboards.  He write that he's made about 10 of these beauties.

Each of his keyboards are made with the stamps of a single nation and often commemorate a royal coronation or celebrate a particular sport. Andy's friends and family are most often the lucky recipients of these works of art.

How to Make a Cheap Lightbox

lighbox acetate and rear vent holesFor many of my recent projects I have found myself in need of a lightbox so I took a couple of hours from working on my latest project to put together this one.

Copper Plating and Etching Altoids Tins

lady ada altoids tin

With this project I wanted to try a number of new things:

  • Magazine pages as cheap toner transfer media
  • Copper electroplating
  • Etching Altoid tins with a salt water solution

The copper plating met with mixed success, but the other two methods resulted in some nice pieces.

Electrolytic Machining of Brass - Part II:

Sherlockian brass earrings, Ankh and cog earrings, and gear necklaceIn which your humble proprietor theorizes that; if he can etch into one side of a brass plate he may be able to etch completely through the plate from both sides. A fixture is constructed, current is applied, electrolyte boils and jewelery is made.

Electrolytic Machining of Brass, a Clockwork Trilobite


the original trilobyte sketchI have been having great success etching brass plate with a solution of copper sulfate and an electrical current.  The depth, quality, and speed of the etchings have been quite controllable and it seemed to me that I might be able to etch completely through a piece of brass.  This capability would allow me to make pieces of several layers of brass, so I devised a design for a test case.

Electrolytic Etching of Brass

moleskin notebook with etched brass plate

A while ago I saw Mark Frauenfelder's limited edition Moleskin notebooks on BoingBoing and immediately thought of using the electrolytic brass etching process that I've been experimenting with to make some similar notebooks to give as gifts this year.

As you can see they came out quite well and the Moleskin's two century history lends the project a certain Steampunk street cred.

A Clockwork Guitar, the Steampunk Stratocaster

paper mockup of steampunk stratocasterI have a Fender US Highway One series Stratocaster, which is a half decent guitar, but looks just like a million other Strats.  I had been planning to replace the pick guard with a black mother of pearl guard but my experiments in electrolytic etching made me think I'd like to try something a bit more unique.  Thus the Steampunk Strat was born.

Halloween Decorations 2006

Angle Lamp Repair

finished angle lamp

The Angle Company of New York manufactured these unique lamps from the early 1890's until 1929. In my opinion the Angle Lamp is the pinnacle of kerosene wick lamp design. This is a two burner version. They also commonly came in 3, 4 and (much rarer) 6 and 8 burner versions as well. Single and two burner wall mount lamps and a single burner student lamp were also made. They came in a variety of paterns and materials. This is the simplest, a tin plated steel can with nickle plated burners.

This kerosene lamp will hang over the dinette in my school bus camper conversion project and as such will need to be a functional decor piece so this is more of a repair then a restoration or conservation project.


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