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Old circuit board


I took this photo of an old hand-drawn circuit board today. I'm rather proud of how it came out. 

Game Save!

I know this is a bit out of the norm for this site, but as it IS building something outside standard systems, I suppose that's a sort of Steampunk, right? Just instead of atoms, we're using bits. - Willow

GameSave is a 5-week competition in which teams build a demo and working concept for a game which addresses disaster mitigation.

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about games and their meaning. Can games be art? Can games be educational? Are they merely escapist? Regardless of the manner in which these matters are debated, and the examples cited, it really comes down to one answer to all of these questions: It depends on the game.

Good is relative. Sometimes, it’s “good” if games can be used to teach maths to a child who is struggling at school. Sometimes it’s “good” if games can merely provide a bit of distraction for an overworked assistant.

But what if we could use a game to mitigate natural disasters?

To that end, GameSave!

. . . 

Seriously Gorgeous Steampunk Guitar

Phil writes:

Hi Jake

Just finished a sort of "future steampunk" guitar build here:


Lotsa pics on the last pages, thought you might like :-)


Oh yes! I like it A LOT! Two more shots after the cut but you should really follow Phil's link for the EPIC construction detail!  - Jake.


Meet the Makers video of yours truly

I was contacted a few weeks ago by Make Magazine's Brookelynn Morris to be part of a series of Meet the Makers videos they were doing. They've already covered some incredible cratspeople- instrument maker Sun Kim and motorcycle builder Satya Kraus have already been featured. I am completely honored to be a part of this series.

The Steampunk Bible

The Steampunk Bible is out! I helped connect Jeff and S.J. with people doing cool things in the movement and I wrote what I hope is the definitive candy tin etching how-to for this book. Our fashion editor Libby Bulloff also contirbuted articles and LOTS of shiny photography, including the best photo ever take of yours truly. 

The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes. Its adherents celebrate the inventor as an artist and hero, re-envisioning and crafting retro technologies including antiquated airships and robots. A burgeoning DIY community has brought a distinctive Victorian-fantasy style to their crafts and art. Steampunk evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, and embraces extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future. This ultimate manual will appeal to aficionados and novices alike as author Jeff VanderMeer takes the reader on a wild ride through the clockwork corridors of Steampunk history.

Get your copy today!

Fantastically detailed Iron Man figurine

Jonathan Kuriscak of Packratstudios modded/created this amazingly detailed Iron Man figurine. He also made a matching little victorianized, moustachio'd Tony Stark to pilot it. 

The mod includes a flickering-fire like effect in the suit's 'furnace'. This is the kind of amazing, dedicated fine craftsmanship I love to see. I can only imagine how tiny his brushes are, and how far he must stay away from caffeine to wield them.



Steampunk Postcoloniality

My friend Jha Goh of Silver Goggles has a great guest posting over at STEAMED!

Steampunk, from the outside, looks like it’s all about Empire, you know? Charles Stross, famous very important science fiction literary figure, had a rant about it, which I think really points to two things: the ignorance of someone who’s not involved deeply in steampunk, and the impression steampunk is giving outsiders. 

The first is easily ignored, or would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that shit like Stross’ rant makes us look bad, no matter how into steampunk we are. Steampunks glorify Empire, and Stross has the clout to spread this impression far and wide. We should be concerned about this. 

We should also be concerned about the fact that this impression is one of the first that strangers and newcomers to steampunk get. Ask any one steampunk to define the genre, what do we get? Very often, the following words are part of the phrase: “19th century,” “Victorian,” “England.”

Read the rest here.

Tardis pattern fabric

Knowing the overlap between SPWS fans and Doctor Who fans is, to put it midly, healthy- I knew you'd enjoy this Tardis pattern I submitted to Spoonflower. Spoonflower is a print on demand site for fabric- upload your designs and order them with a choice of several fabrics.

If anyone winds up making a project with this, I'd love to see it! Each little Tardis Is a bit over an inch wide, and one every 8 square inches has the door slightly ajar. It's up to you to make your project bigger on the inside. Or time travel- though let me know if you figure that one out.

Link to my Spoonflower Store.

The Bodice Rippers: EP volume II

Previously blogged band the Bodice Rippers have a new EP out, and it is wonderful. Vocalist Megan Fenske  throws herself full-on into her vocals- singing their sinister, strange, poetic lyrics with rich and gritty passion.  I last compared them with Decemberists/Tom Waits, and while that still holds true, they've matured and added jazzy/swing sound that I find totally irresistible. I want to dance-flail around, swinging arms and stomping feet when it's on. EP Volume II is on Itunes for a meager six bucks, and it's worth every penny. Link to their Itunes store, and their Facebook page.


Jigsaw and the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge

Gentlemen, ladies, and partially-sentient automata—start your irons!
Guest post by Jigsaw member James Gray
Right now, teams from thirty hackerspaces, makerspaces, and diffuse conglomerates of autodidactically-inclined individuals around the world are putting their heads together in preparation for what promises to be a creative contest of quasi-mythological, yea, of nigh- legendary proportions. Their goal: to capture eternal glory in a friendly six-week engagement, drawing upon their skills to create a project of educational merit and some portability. In short, these bold citizen-scientists are locked in a duel of ingenuity where the most imaginative builder will triumph, each putting their skills to work to Do Something about the problems facing education today.

Steampunk on BBC America

STEAMPUNKS 2011 from Andy Gallacher on Vimeo.

A lovely little piece from the folks at BBC America featuring some of my favorite New York Steampunks that aired this past Tuesday in the U.S.!

Jigsaw and Science

<p><img alt="limelight!" src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5133/5535977941_4b183b92df.jpg" style="margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px; " /></p>

<div>This St Patrick&#39;s Day, Jigsaw held a fundraiser for the space called St Maker&lsquo;s Day. We&nbsp;planned on maklng potato clocks. Because, you know, lt&lsquo;s an Irlsh holiday, and we all know&nbsp;the Irish looove thelr potatoes (I&#39;m Irlsh, so I guess that means I can say these things). It was&nbsp;my task to obtain the things with which to make them. I dug around in the local electronics store for alligator clips and wire. I dallied at the hardware store getting galvanized nails. However, I failed with the&nbsp;two obvious componants of 1) Potatoes and 2) Clocks. So we did what any good&nbsp;makerspace would do and improvised.</div>
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<div>What else could we measure the voltage of? Anythlng, really, but how about limes? Those are green, the stereotypical color of the day, and readily available at the Hideout around the corner. Nick persuaded the bartender to hand over a total of 4. We had a control llme, a boiled lime, a&nbsp;nuked lime, and a frozen lime. Over tlme, the frozen lime underwent another reactlon and&nbsp;became the thawed lime. <a href="http://www.jigsawrenaissance.org/beer-and-limes/">You can flnd the readings on our blog</a>, but the most important thing was that if you wlre the limes ln series you can power an LED. Giving you a limelight. (Oh yes, I love the puns). We also calculated that to power an iPad, you couldn&#39;t use llmes because lt&#39;s an Apple product.</div>


<div><em>[<a href="http://www.jigsawrenaissance.org/about/">Jigsaw Renaissance</a> is a Seattle based makerspace that I&#39;ve been a member of since it&#39;s inception. If you live in the greater Seattle area you should definitely check it out! - Jake]</em></div>


Putting Old Lenses on a Canon DSLR

While digging through my old camera equipment I came across my Grandfather's 35mm Exa . While I have absolutely no desire to revisit the days of film, I was kind of interested in what sort of image the old German made lens would produce on my modern Canon DSLR so I went in search of a way to attach it. 

I found machined custom metal adapters, and adapters made with scavenged old Canon lens, but I was looking for something cheaper and easier to mod.

It all came together when I spotted an inexpensive plastic adapter made to mount the plastic lens from a Diana camera on a Canon DSLR.


A Lens of Yesteryear

If I had a nickel for every time the digital vs. analog photography debate has landed in my lap, I'd be rich. At those argumentative junctures, I reassure myself that it's not the medium, but the subject which is

 important. It also underscores the importance/rewards in possessing such a disregard. As the typewriter becomes the keyboard, the camera obscura, the DSLR and the root cellar, the refrigerator, it's important to keep in mind that while we are moving forward, we can always look back. It also means that encoded in each incarnation of a tool are remnants of it's predecessors, if you have the patience to look. There is also the opportunity to re-inject this essence back into tools or decode it where it already exists. This is the heart of labours of technological love like the entirety of the Steampunk sub-culture and more concisely, projects like on the right. 

What you're looking at is the shnoz from a Zeiss Ikon Ikonette altered to sit on a Jonas Kroyer's Nikon D300. Even modernized, it manages to maintain it's early 20th century mystique. Examples of photos taken with, blueprints and condensed build log of: http://www.jonaskroyer.com/photography/photoref/archives/1049 viahttp://hackaday.com/2011/02/11/bellows-camera-to-dslr/

P.S. Jake informed me that a post in on the way which in which he implements the practicum of the theorem read here. You guessed it, rails and bellows for a DSLR. Stay tuned!

Awesome, strange, weird mash-up micro-fad at Thingaverse

Over at the Thingaverse, the free 3D model download community centered around the Makerbot, strange things are afoot. Or a leg, with a whistle sticking out of it on top of a gun. 

It seems a mash-up fad has broken out, with people taking 2 or more models and literally mashing them together, to strange and glorious effect. 

I'm so in love with this fad it makes me squeel. It's a hyper-specialized community, highly nerdy in all respects, playing and having silly fun with what is in all rights one of the most novel  and high-tech forms of makery (that's a word. I made it up, just now, for this fad). I imagine kids being able to do this simply, mashing up robot-bridge-firetruck-spaceship toys and printing them out. It's so sci-fi it just hurts.

Read more about it on the MakerBot Blog.


Image right: Dalek-whistle-canopener by Rplumley


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