Author Archive

Gallery of Found Objects

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On Saturday when I go to the dump I carry with me a long steel hook which allows me to fish interesting things out of the metal re-cycling dumpster.  I’ll also stop and look through intersting piles left curbside for collection on trash day. Some find this practice unseemly, but

Philatelic Keyboards – More Model M Goodness

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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

How to Make a Cheap Lightbox

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For 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.  I used a piece of glass from the old Xerox machine that I bought for ten dollars

Thoughts on a DIY Electro-Chemical CNC Machine Tool

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There is a class of machine tool know as CNC, or Computer Numerically Controlled.  These are computer controlled tools capable of cutting complex shapes with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability.  They generally cost tens of thousand of dollars and weigh over a ton.  They’re often available used

Thoughts on Building a Steam Car

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  December 1, 2006 I want to build a steam car or perhaps a steam motorcycle.  Why?  you ask.  Oh, just for fun, I reply. The first step in a big project is research.  I ordered the Essential Steam Power Library from  International Correspondence Schools, circa 1906.  Lindsay Books

Copper Plating and Etching Altoids Tins

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UPDATE: There's some great information on this page and it's comments, but I've recently published a far more comprehensive article here: Etching Tins with Salt Water and Electricity  With this project I wanted to try a number of new things: Magazine pages as cheap toner transfer media Copper electroplating Etching

Electrolytic Machining of Brass – Part II:

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After the perhaps overly optimistic attempt at electrolytic machining in Part I, I decided to try etching parts from thinner sheets of brass.  Sheet with thicknesses of .010 and .015" were chosen and I used the advanced image search feature of Google to search for black and white appropriately steampunk images.

Electrolytic Machining of Brass, a Clockwork Trilobite

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I 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

Electrolytic Etching of Brass

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  Update: I'm often asked about the thickness, type, and source of brass I used for these journals.  I am very lucky to have a local place, Metal Source, were I buy most of my supplies.  I used 22 ga. (.025") brass and any alloy will do.  In a

A Clockwork Guitar, the Steampunk Stratocaster

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I 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