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Victorian RV - Bedroom Redecorated

Steampunk School bus RV Victorian BedroomI've never been completely satisfied with the Captain's cabin of my bus. The original ceiling in this section was finished with perforated steel sound absorbing panels that did a good job making it quiet but collected soot and dirt and were virtually uncleanable. My solution to this problem was to cover them with cloth. At the same time I decided to cover the rearmost windows with insulation and to do some decorative wood working using the carcas of an old pump organ that was found in the trash by the roadside.

Click through for more pictures of the finished bedroom.

Tom Sepe's Steampunk Motorbike

UPDATED: See the Whirlygig Emoto tonight October 22 at the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham Massachusetts!

Wandering through the industrial neighborhood of West Oakland, You'll find more than a few warehouse art studios, each one filled to the brim with all manner of projects; from giant robots to huge metal art - and of course steam machines.

A few days ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited into the studio of one of the artists that reside there; a fine chap by the name of Tom Sepe. After sending out a call for willing subjects (aka, interview-ees), Tom contacted me and, with but a few words, lured me into his studio. Those words were simply: "Want to come see my electric-steam hybrid motorcycle?". He calls it the Whirlygig Emoto.

Get the Whirlygig to the Museum

[Another Kickstarter project I'm backing: my friend Tom Sepe is trying to get his Whirlygig Emoto to the CRMI]

How do ya get a steam-electric hybrid motorcycle across country? With your help! (and a very strong box!)

The Charles River Museum of Art and Innovation's new exhibit: "Steampunk, Form and Function" is hosting a design competition and my bike, the Whirlygig Emoto, needs help getting there!

She'll need a custom crate and rush shipping in order to make it to Massachusettes by October 22nd, the opening of the exhibit! The money will help pay for the crate and the shipping to and from the Museum . . . 

US Steam Land Speed Record Attempt

Have you ever wondered how fast a steam car can go? You are not the only one.  The U.S. Land Steam Record (USLSR) Team is seeking to become the fastest steam-powered vehicle on earth at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in early August 2011. The current record speed of 148 mph was set in 2009 by a British steam car, Inspiration, which broke the previous record of 129 mph which had stood since 1906.

The goal of the USLSR team is to blow the current record out of the water by creating a car that will travel at more then 200 mph.  The engine invented byHarry Schoell is called the Cyclone.  The Cyclone is "a compact, heat regenerative, external combustion engine that has been developed to achieve high thermal efficiencies and power-to-weight ratio. The engine operates on a Rankine cycle, and uses multiple heat recapturing processes off its cylinders, exhaust manifold and condenser to achieve thermal efficiencies reported at over 30%."  While the body of the car was designed by Chuck Williams the leader of the team and is extremely aerodynamic.  This will be Chuck's third steam car project. I wish him and his team the best of luck!

PS: The team is also looking for sponsorship.

Intro: Hello all, this is Brian Rowe, a Seattle based Hacker / Maker and member of Jigsaw Renaissance (JR) a non-profit maker space here in Seattle. JR is an collaborative community space that is open to the public that runs educational events several nights a week

When not blogging here or at JR's Blog I teach Information Privacy Law at Seattle University Law and run a volunteer organization that focus on Copyright & Patent Reform.  If you have interesting things you would like to see covered on the blog feel free to ping me at Brian <at> BrianRowe.org.

Image: The frame of the US Land Speed Record Teams Car, photographer unknown

Steam Trunk Industries Ratrod!

Steampunk RatRodIt is a truism that the people out there doing the most interesting things and having the most fun often don't have the time or inclination to post what they're up to on the internet.

Fortunately for us, they often have friends that recognize how impossibly cool the things that they're doing are and egg them on!

That's the case with Tien and Guiness' incredible Steampunk Ratrod! Click through for more info, pics and a vid of the this monster's awakening!


Cheap Yaris Cabin Air Filter

Every time I've brought my Toyota Yaris in for it's regular service I was surprised to find a $50 charge for replacing the "cabin air" filter. It always annoyed me, but they assured me it was a pain to change the "special" filter. 

Turns out that's bullshit. It's a cheap paper filter that takes about 30 seconds to replace.  Corporations use proprietary parts and slip through overcharges for simple maintenance to add to their profit, of course. But this is an ultimately dis-honest practice that risks making otherwise satisfied customers, like me, angry and desirous of revenge for being duped.

Well here's my revenge Toyota, a step by step set of directions on how to turn a $5 household furnace filter into two Yaris cabin air filters.  It took me an hour and a half to figure this out and make two filters and another half hour to write this page.  Someone following these direction should be able to make a pair of filters in an hour, saving them (and denying you) $100!


Dave Geertsen's Steampunk Motorcycle


Quote from L.A. Bike Show Website "What is it? Some bike contest entries defied classification and description..."

We know what it is, don't we folks?  It's Steampunk!  

This is the home of Dave Geertsen's home made metal sculpture on wheels,the wheels are straight but his custom motorcycles are anything but off the shelf. If you have a creative idea or a custom motor bike part you would like to have made or created by a true artist, metal worker, craftsman and biker you have come to the right place, the home of bentwheel.         [via THE NEW CAFE (RACER) SOCIETY]


Steampunk Scooter in Japan

James writes from Hirakata, Japan:

Hey!  Big fan of the site and of anything and everything steampunk...Funny thing is, there are so many people who are straight-up steampunk without even knowing that such a cult underground exists.  For example, when i was a teenager, I modified a 13inch TV i had from the 80's to fit inside of a 1930's TV box that I found in an abandoned, half burned down factory near where I lived. [I did the same thing! -JvS]

Well, the same thing occurs throughout the world, I've found.  I live in a small town in Japan in a very rural area.  Upon exiting the supermarket the other day, I came across this steampunk masterpiece!  I waited for an hour for the presumed Japanese steampunker to come out with his goth gear on and his mohawk, but low and behold, an 85 year old man comes out, grabs his lighter from his scooter, and lights up.  I went over to him to complement him on his work, and with barely audible Japanese since he had no teeth at all and had very badly fitting dentures, started to explain how he put it together in the heaviest Japanese countryside accent I have ever heard.  Classic!

James is spot on, Steampunk is not a new thing but an expression of something that has been with us all along.  What's different is that people's dissatisfaction with what they are offered in the marketplace has more and more of them turning to DIY to make their own wonderful things and the advent of the 'net gives them immediate access to how to information and each other.

Thanks James!

Toyota Sienna Evaporative Canister (P0446) and SVS Valve Repair or Think Like a Maker


Rage drove me to it.  Our 2001 Toyota Sienna failed it's Massachusetts emissions test this year, the problem was with the evaporative emissions control system  (code #P0446) so I dropped it at the dealer to be fixed. 

You see, several years ago I decided I had  enough frustration working on cars and decided to focus on more fun pursuits. 

Several things have happened since then.  #1 - I have a much better shop and more capable tools.  No rusted nut or bolt can resist the hot wrench (mechanic's slang for an oxy/acetylene cutting torch) !  and #2 - I've become a radical Makepunk. 

. . .

Steampunk Car Update - Catalytic Converter on an Aircooled VW Motor

STMPNKLots of progress!  She's on the road, registered, inspected, and passed, including emissions which is pretty cool considering that she's basically a 1972 VW Beetle that was re-titled in Ohio as a 1985 "assembled vehicle."  A close read of the Massachusetts auto emissions law would seem to indicate that a kit car of this type should be tested under the make, model, and year that the chassis was manufactured.  However, the test station can only test to the make, model, and year the vehicle is registered. 

Since this vehicle was titled as a 1985 in Ohio that's the only thing that our RMV would let me register it as.  They told me I'd have to go to Ohio's DMV to get it changed - but under Ohio's rules, it's correct!  Classic Catch-22.  Read on to see what I did.

Oh yes! and I got Mass plates STMPNK no less!

The Brass Lion - Steampunk Recumbent

You'll recall I posted a picture of my recumbent bike last week and that one of things I wondered aloud was how one would go about steampunkifying a bike?  Well Eric and Alan - a.k.a. Steuben's Wheelmen - sent me a whole passel of new photos that show exactly how one would go about this process!

Don't miss the video!

. . .

My Ride

Jakes recumbent bikeMeredith's post on the Handcar Regatta reminded me that some of you might be interested in my daily ride.  This is a TourEasy recumbent bike from Easyracers and it's how I got to work this morning.

You see, I was an avid cyclists right up until the age of 16 1/2 when I got my drivers license and set my beloved 12 speed Fuji Grand Tourer aside. 13 years and 40 pounds later I decided that I should not let my 30th birthday pass without making a change. 

So I purchased a Univega touring bike, which was a decent enough bicycle, put pretty damn un-comfortable.  In contemplating the issues of comfort and cycling I recalled seeing a story on the news about David Gordon Wilson, an MIT Professor who rode an odd looking bicycle to work called a 'Recumbent' . . .

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.

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.


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