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Steampunk Keyboard Mod

Steampunk case modAn already venerable IBM Model M is retro-fitted with glass and nickel keys and mounted in a polished brass frame.

Update: I thought I'd pop this story up the the front page because I've been fielding a lot of mail in reference to SyFy's Warehouse 13 and the keyboard seen on Artie's desk.  The keyboard in the show is Rich "Doc Datamancer" Nagy's work - a much improved version of my original design.

For more info click through or check out Doc's website!

Modern Alchemy - The building of Ignatius The Firepig.

You may recall Patrick Johnson's marvelous short film Granite Copper Motor from earlier this year. Recently Patrick spent some time with my friends David, Dennis, and Brady, while they designed and constructed a steam boiler dubbed 'Ignatius the Firepig.'  I do so love Patrick's calm and peaceful treatment which is the antithesis of todays frenetic, falsely dramatic, cable television style.


Modern Alchemy from Patrick Johnson on Vimeo.

A short documentary featuring artists David Dowling, Dennis Svoronos and Brady Scott as they design and construct their steam boiler, Ignatius.

Directed by:
Patrick Johnson - www.journeymanstudios.com

David Dowling 
Dennis Svoronos
Brady Scott

Music by:
John Murphree - www.johnmurphree.com

Camera by:
Patrick Johnson
Ben Hartman - www.who-is-sure.com

The Gear Box


TxInkman writes:

I dabble in the restoration of old wood maschinist's chests. Gareth over at the Make blog wrote a very nice article about of a couple of my boxes and Toolmonger has featured a few of them. One you might particularly appreciate for it's moderate Steampunkyness, the Gear Box, which Gareth described as Capt. Nemo's shore locker can be found here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26012426@N08/page10/ on my Flickr site.

Wow! somehow I managed to miss this absolutely gorgeous toolbox!  I've been wanting a toolbox like this for a long time and I have a little pile of "special" wood just waiting for some free time for me to build myself one.  Be sure I'll be stealing some ideas from TXInkman!

Damnation Hildebrandt!

Things have been far too quiet, I have heard nothing from the labs of my arch nemesis Jake-of-all-Trades Hildebrandt - and now I know why.  Not since Kirk bellowed "KHAAA....AAN!!" has the interwebs heard such exasperation!  So THIS is what you've been up to?  My god man, what have you wrought?

More here and two more shots after the cut - the rest at Jake-of-all-Trades Flickr.

Steampunk Kamaro (Camaro)



When I was a boy I vividly recall encountering, for the first time,  a 1978 Camaro Z28 in a parking lot on my way home from school.  I was stunned! I thought: "OMG! This is F%$king Vader's car!"  While I now value very different things, I still have a soft spot for that particular GM marque.

So when I got an email with the subject "SteampunkKamaro" I though "oh god, what now?"  But this is actually pretty awesome!  John 'Jazz' Vernon does computer renderings of hot rod projects for people getting ready to drop a lot of dough into an old car, with his help you get to see what your project will look like when it's complete.

John writes:


Your website is the greatest! I'm a freelance designer, mostly known for my vehicles and vehicle graphics. I have a website
www.rodvisions.com for those who are building, restoring, repainting their vehicle project and want to see what the end result will look like in rendering form..

I came across your website and was inspired to offer my 2 cents worth for you and your website visitors.. the SteampunkKamaro.


John 'Jazz' Vernon

Click through for a bigger image . . .


Classy Mini Mod

Isn't this a classy iPod mod!  Neil Writes:


I've created a steampunk ipod mod, and thought you might be of interest for the steampunk workshop. Well, it's copper and wood, so it's sort of steampunk at any rate (I'd put some valves on it, but it's already the heaviest ipod as it is).

These is just a jpeg off my website "www.bridgens.ca" (under personal work). Larger versions are available there if you like.

It's all hand crafted from brass, copper and oak.

. . .


While it seems that Neil is a whiz with Photoshop - it is my expert opinion that this is a real life object!  ;-)

You'll find some more views of it here.

Steampunk Snowboard!

Steampunk snowboard!

Flickr is both wonderful for the amazing images it brings you and frustrating for the all too common lack of story to go with those pictures!

I want to know the whole tale behind the creation of this snowboard!  Be sure to click through to see it in action with its port and starboard windsocks inflated, these appear to be collecting combustion and/or cooling air for the boiler? furnace? reactor? at the rear!

Also, purple hair FTW!

Much more here!

UPDATE: Ah! and here is the story!

Dr. Steel speaks truth

I do not always agree with the good Doctor's methods. I do not believe in hierarchy and Doctor Steel's army of toy soldiers gives me great pause.  But here the Doctor speaks truth.  (via Porkshanks)

G4 Underground on Steampunk

UPDATE: Aw hey! No fair! They pulled the full story from Youtube and the segment on the G4 site just has the Abney Park part. Boo.

G4 Underground does Steampunk! Wow this came out pretty nicely. I don't look like a complete idiot and all of my Abney Park friends look fabulous as usual!

A producer showed up at the Workshop with a camera less than a day after G4 first emailed me - I had no time to clean up and I barely got the car out of storage and running.  The engine was still a little balky after its winter rest and it chose the moment the producer stood up to get a shot to start missing!  I nearly tossed him out on the pavement!

Meet Tom Sepe: Steampunk Artist, Fabricator, Performer

I had the great pleasure to meet Tom Sepe at Maker Faire last year, in addition to being a fine artist he's a fun and entertaining fellow to be around.  Tom recently produced the above video to aid him in what I'll call a journey of "Discovery" and I think it does a great job of highlighting his talent. It will also give you a closer look at some of his work which we've published here in the past.
And to pass on an overheard comment: "definitely a candidate for the SteamHunks Calendar" LOL!

VivaLaModa does Steampunk

A new online magazine VivaLaModa has a nice little write up on Steampunk fashion in their current issue. VivaLaModa is a magazine that focuses on Fashion, handmade goods, and green products, from their website:

VivaLaModa is a bi-monthly magazine created to show the greatest and coolest fashionable and hand made things that we can find. But we don’t want to talk only about fashion or beautiful stuff we find. This magazine will also host articles about green products, toys, decoration, product reviews and many more things.

We want to support indie designers and crafters who make things with their own hands (not to forget we also love vintage!), and give readers information about the handmade world.

The fragment of Empire - by Filimon

Bohema writes:

I've been followin' your site for quite long time. Always enjoyed it. Keyboard mods are awesome. Speaking about mods.
Don't know if your know about Filimon. That's a Russian modder producing steampunk various mods. They are insanely jaw dropping mods that leave me every time speachless . . .

His mod worklogs can be found at The Best Case Scenario forums. Lately he came up with insane idea for keyboard in "
<<The fragment of Empire>> (a very simple mod)" thread. Do not be fooled by very simple mod. Attention to details is much bigger than in any other top-notch mods out there.

Follow the thread for the whole build and note about halfway through he moves on to a build log for an even more impressive keyboard!

Thanks Bohema!

Wooden Steampunk Keyboard Mod

Markus, who wrote in earlier with an alternative to typewriter keys, has finished his keyboard mod.  He writes:

. . . I decided to use a wooden frame – but not any wood molding from
the DIY shop would do. I found old furniture ‘spare parts’ – this wood
is over eighty years old. It is worn, is is scratched and it is full of
wormholes . . . ideal for my project.

Old wood would make for an old looking keyboard, fair enough, but I
needed gauges to complete the steampunk look. So I unsoldered the
status lights and put in three analog displays instead of them –
they’re fully functional.

Finally, the keyboard cord is covered in brown shoelace.

The whole project is here and I think it came out wonderfully well!

New art by Aaron Ristau

Back in October Meredith visited briefly with Aaron Ristau at Maker Faire Austin. Aaron is a sculptor who works primarily with found bits of technological detritus, from his website:

Technology surrounds us. Products are obsolete within an ever decreasing amount of time, putting an increasing strain on our ability to deal with man made waste. Man's recyclable and manufactured surplus as a sculptors medium lends itself to an infinite variety of possibilities, which creates a whole new genre for sculptors'. By intricately integrating and redefining the purpose of reclaimed components, the completion of a sculpture is a triumph over obsolescence and the reward of creative vision.

Aaron has recently finished a series of pieces that are very much in the Steampunk style and to our great delight has sent them to us for their unveiling!  There are a several more pics after the cut and an amazing amount of beautiful work at Aaron's website, my particular favourite are the series of lamps and lit sculptures!

. . .

Berkeley Opera goes Steampunk!

Diane writes:

See what you'll be missing next week! (Yeah, yeah, rub it in that I am perpetually 5000 miles away from the action!  ;-) )

Ten years ago the Oakland Tribune raved about David Scott Marley's sparkling English adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann: "Marley's neat, tight and psychologically incisive rewrite of the sprawling original [is] an illuminating improvement on the version that premiered in 1881."

We bring it to life again in a pre-electric industrial world of Victorian science fiction, the world of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, where flights of fanciful imagination are powered by steam, elaborate clockworks and little bit of magic where science leaves off.

Saturday, February 28, 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 6, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 8, 2:00 p.m.

Julia Morgan Center for the Arts,
2640 College Avenue, Berkeley

Buy tickets to Tales of Hoffmann
or order by phone at 925-798-1300


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