After seeing several cool looking Steampunk style lamps on ebay, I decided that "I could do that". That statement can gets me in trouble sometimes, but none-the-less, usually works out. I scoured ebay looking for various "steampunky" looking items like steam pressure gauges, water control valves and the like. I was able to identify several of the exact parts used in the original ebay auction lamps.
For items I couldn't find on ebay I searched the rest of the web. To my surprise, many parts were available on Amazon including the Metal Cage Bulb Guards. To the left is my final creation sitting atop the dry sink we have that hides all of our network paraphernalia such as the cable modem, Wi-Fi Router, network storage and printer paper. On the right you'll find a detailed diagram showing you all the parts needed to complete this great Steampunk Project.
The art of making a Steampunk style lamp is quite simple. Think Victorian Industrial Lighting. The first thing I noticed about old pressure gauges is that some have very plain pointers while others had very ornate ones. The arrow on the end of the pointer could be just a point or it could have some flourish to it, like the head of an actual arrow. The designs of the tail were ever more extreme. The older the gauge, the more fancy the pointers seemed. The old saying "They don't make them like the used to" came to mind.
I placed bids on several and won an auction for an old pressure gauge made by the "Nash Engineering Company" It was about 5 inches across and the point had a circle incorporated into it. The tail was a crescent moon. Very cool looking. What was even neater was the water stain across the front. The brass bezel was worn and pitted, but that just added to the look and feel I was going for.
Next I needed gears. If I could find a few gears big enough, they would make up the base of the lamp. Now here's the problem with making a Steampunk anything. People are catching on to the style and everything old on ebay is being labeled Steampunk.
That of course increases the perceived value and drives the bidding up, great for the seller, but not so great for us makers. So finding gears large enough to use as a base, but still cost effective (including shipping) turned into a challenge.
I settled for a box of 8 assorted gears that I believe came off of a tractor, as one was painted John Deere green. They were a little smaller than I wanted but I had other ideas for the base. After all, this lamp was going to be heavy and will be needing extra support. One of the gears was taller than the rest and would make a great transition from the bottom gears to the black upper parts of the lamp.
Well, I decided to finally build a second Back To The Future - Flux Capacitor prop replica. I've been putting it off for some time. My first FC went to my nephew Ben for Christmas.
He is a big BTTF fan and really liked the present I made him. That was my first FC and what I consider my prototype. I'm currently working on my second one, this time for me. Head over to www.myfluxcapacitor.com to check out my progress.
Here's a picture of my nephew Ben with his Flux Capacitor when he opened it on Christmas. My last project was a full size Lost in Space B9 Robot replica and that took over 4 years to build. During that project, I learned how to mold, cast and work with many different types of materials. Those skills were put to use on this project. While my wife won't let me display my robot in the living room, I'm hoping I can install the Flux Capacitor in the family vehicle. The goal with my site MyFluxCapacitor.com, is to document the process I went through to make my flux capacitor and hopefully help others along the way.
Before I had even finished making my first Steampunk Lamp, I was already planning a second one. I had realized what fun and how simple it was. Part of the fun was looking on eBay for old looking parts that would go well with the steam punk theme. I found a great pressure gauge, which was all brass, including the dial face. Next I wanted something with buttons or switches on it. I was looking for something old but still in good shape. I looked at elevator buttons but they were all flat and wall mounted and I didn't want to have to build a new old-looking box. I'm just not good with wood. Then I started looking at intercoms and telephone switching equipment from the 1930's and 40's.
I finally came across an old small telephone switchboard made of wood with a aged metal(brass?) front panel and old-timey looking switches. It may have been part of a building or business intercom or phone system as it only had 6 switches. It had all the right things, old time looking switches, brass trim and a dark stained wood case that had some art-deco looking elememnts. There were two rows of lights, red and green, to indicate the status of each line. The row of switches were labeled Busy & Hold.
How it all started -The UPS guy had just delivered my B9 Robot Torso, so I was committed to the project. Well, actually it was my wife that thought I should be committed. It seemed like such a big project, but with all the info and resources available and help from other Lost in Space fans, I figured that I could handle it. It was a challenge to see how accurate it could be, without breaking the bank.
While it wasn't accurate down to the last screw, I believed I constructed a reasonable likeness that will be recognizable to most fans of the series. I'm an Electrical Engineer, so I figured I could handle the electronics. It was the mechanical aspects of building the B9 that challenged me. I chronicled my progress on my web site at www.b9robotresource.com. Be sure to check out the 4 year journey I took to create one of my childhood icons. Also be sure to check out the neat Lost in Space related mechandise in the Amazon - Cool Stuff Store.
Bob May - The Man on the Inside: I had the pleasure of meeting Bob May at several conventions. He was the actor inside the B9 costume. He always had a joke or story to tell. His many Lost in Space anecdotes gave a behind the scenes look at the people that made the show possible. I must have heard the story of when the production crew left him locked inside the robot as a joke one afternoon, a dozen times. But each time I laughed.
More importantly, Bob would listen to his fans. He loved interacting with them and answering their unending questions. He always appreciated it when one of the B9 robots appeared with him at a convention and would always thank us for coming.
Here's Bob pictured with my robot and me. After this picture, I had Bob sign the side panel of my tread section. We will miss you Bob. Without you, I would not have had so much fun building my robot or showing it off.