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The SteamPunk Future

So you probably all saw Merlin Mann's Steampunk DIY video blog monologue on Boing Boing yesterday, well I thought he was being a little bit mean and I happen to know a couple of things about the future of SteamPunk . . .

Steampunk Car Project - Dashboard, Wiring, Lights

gauges in dashboard

Work on the Steampunk car continues.  Here I remove the rotted seats and mildewed interior. Rebuild and rewire the dash as well as replace the VW tail lights with reproduction Model A lamps.

Molly 'Porkshanks' Friedrich's Dieselpunk Headphone Mod

Guest artist Molly porkshanks Friedrich shows us how to update a pair of vintage headphones for use with an iPod or MP3 player.


A Victorian RV

Victorian RV - Salon

In 1982 I was a sophomore at a small college in the Midwest. It was the beginning of second term and I was again standing in line at the on-campus book store waiting to pay for a too-heavy stack of text books. The line was not moving at all so I put my books down on the floor and started flipping through the coffee table books on display. The book I chose to pick up first was titled Rolling Homes - Handmade House on Wheels by Jane Lidz. Thus the seed was planted.

This project was first published on vonslatt.com but I recently put together this video so I thought I'd collect some of the best images from the original build log and re-publish it here since was really the first  steampunkish project I did.

A Victorian RV - Construction

recycled wood and audi seat

Here is a brief summary of the construction of my school bus RV. Most of this images were originally publish at www.vonslatt.com.

Steampunk Car Project - Initial Survey

CMC Mercedes Gazelle SSK replicar front

Late in 2007 I spotted this car on eBay with a "Buy it Now" price of $1500 and, well, bought it then.  Its a 1929 Mercedes Gazelle SSK replica made by Classic Motor Carriages. CMC made these cars in the late '70s and early '80s. In fact,

I remember seeing advertisements for the kits in the back of Popular Science magazine when I was younger and thinking they looked pretty cool. I later came to realize their intrinsic cheesiness; but that makes them all the more hackable as I won't be getting email from all over hell-and-gone telling me I've ruined a collectible car!

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.

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.

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 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.


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