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Welcome to DPLivingston.com Written by Daniel Livingston

"How to Build" Articles

  • Steampunk Lamp #1
  • Build a Flux Capacitor
  • Steampunk Lamp for My Wife
  • Lost in Space Robot

steampunk lamp 3 sm Steampunk Lamp Assembled

Welcome to my How-To article for building a Steampunk Lamp. This was my first lamp and it taught me many things. Give it a read and see if it’s something that you think you might want to give a try. If you have any questions, send me an email using the link above.
I'm a hands-on guy and like making things. After seeing several cool looking Steampunk style lamps on eBay, I decided "I could do that". That statement can get 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 could identify several of the exact parts used in the original eBay auction lamps.

For items that 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. On the right, you'll find a detailed diagram showing you all the parts needed to complete this great Steampunk Lamp Project. you can click on it for a much larger picture. One more note. You'd think making a lamp from readily available black pipe would be cheap. It is not. You'll be surprised at how quickly the 90-deg. elbow, nipples and straight sections add up. Just buy more than you think you'll need and take back what's left over.

Steampunk Pressure GaugeThe 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.

Gears used to buil my Steampunk lampNext 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.

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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.Ben with his Flux Capacitor replica

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.


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Steampunk Table LampMy wife requested a new lamp for the bedroom. It needed to be small and needed to have a shade on it. Now I had 4 metal wall lamps in my lamp parts stash that I've been wanting to put to a good use. I purchased them at one of the big box stores. I always frequent the lamp section where they have a discount shelf or table with miscellaneous bulbs, lamps and other lighting accessories. The items are always marked down, sometimes it's a pretty good deal and sometimes it’s not. This particular time I spotted a rather large generic brown cardboard box with a single label on the side. It had a small picture of a wall sconce style lamp with a gooseneck shaped rod and a nice metal shade. It was marked down from $59 to $15 which seemed like a pretty good deal.

I whipped out my phone and looked it up on the store web site. Apparently, it was only something you could order online and it was not carried in the store. So, it must have been a return. Next, I noticed the "QTY:4" printed on a lower corner of the box. Could it be there were 4 lamps in the box? The box was sealed tight, so I didn’t want to open it in the store. Well, I took a chance and purchased it. I figured that, worst-case, I had a $59 lamp that I paid $15 for. I got out to the car and cracked open the box and sure enough there were 4 individual boxes inside each containing a complete lamp. The lamp did not seem worth the $59 retail price, and I would have been ok paying $15 for one, but I ended up with 4 for that same price. Now I had a project where I could use one.

Water Spigot Switch - SteampunkI’m also had kicking around a second water spigot switch that I had previously made. I documented that build here. Make a Steampunk Style Faucet Switch The article gives you step by step instructions for making your own water spigot switch. It is complete with assembly pictures. Be sure to check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

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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. Lost in Space RobotIt 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.

bobandme smBob 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.

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  • My 1962 Comet
  • Build a Steampunk Lamp
  • Johnny Seven OMA
  • Twilight Zone Mystic Seer

Ruby loaded - 1962 Mercury Comet It was to be the last beautiful weekend before winter set in. 60 degree late November days were unheard of in western NY. A few days before, I checked with my father to make sure he and his 2004 Chevy Avalanche were available. With him and my mother signed up for the trip I went to our local U-Haul to book an auto transport. We were to head down to Binghamton, NY to pick up a 1962 Mercury Comet. My mother-in-law had recently offered me the car after my father-in-law had passed away. He had worked on restoring "Ruby" (as he named her) over the last 10 year, never getting it back on the road. The car was acquired from a friend who had stored it since the mid 70's. I remembered it had "low" mileage, but I was in for a surprise.

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steampunk lamp 3 sm Steampunk Lamp Assembled

Welcome to my How-To article for building a Steampunk Lamp. This was my first lamp and it taught me many things. Give it a read and see if it’s something that you think you might want to give a try. If you have any questions, send me an email using the link above.
I'm a hands-on guy and like making things. After seeing several cool looking Steampunk style lamps on eBay, I decided "I could do that". That statement can get 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 could identify several of the exact parts used in the original eBay auction lamps.

For items that 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. On the right, you'll find a detailed diagram showing you all the parts needed to complete this great Steampunk Lamp Project. you can click on it for a much larger picture. One more note. You'd think making a lamp from readily available black pipe would be cheap. It is not. You'll be surprised at how quickly the 90-deg. elbow, nipples and straight sections add up. Just buy more than you think you'll need and take back what's left over.

Steampunk Pressure GaugeThe 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.

Gears used to buil my Steampunk lampNext 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.

Read More

Johnny Seven - One Man ArmyIt was a few weeks before Christmas, sometime in the late 1960's. Winters in Syracuse, NY can be quite cold and long. Just a few years earlier we had the great Blizzard of 1966, where over 42 inches of snow fell in 5 days’ time. I was now 6 or 7 and greatly anticipating a visit from Santa Claus soon. I can't recall if we had snow or not at this time but I do remember one event that stayed seared in my memory all these years. The doorbell rang and our neighbor Mrs. Kovac was standing on the porch with a rather large shopping bag. My mother invited her in and she explained that what she had in the bag was a Christmas present for her son Neil. She didn't want to keep it at their house because she suspected he would snoop around and find it. So she felt the safest place was with us. My mother gladly took the bag and agreed to hide it. Now I don't recall if the present was revealed to me at this time, but soon after Mrs. Kovac's departure I became aware that the bag contained the greatest gift of them all, the Johnny Seven - One Man Army toy gun.


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ms-bw smSo, I saw this small red plastic devil head being sold on ebay as a "replica" of the one in the classic Twilight Zone episode "Nick of Time". That's the one where William Shatner keeps dropping pennies into the Mystic Seer machine and reads all the fortunes that it spits out. He becomes obsessed with the machine and it almost ruins his life. The devil head on ebay was the wrong color and looked pretty cheesy.

I figured I could make one myself that looked better using the plastic molding skills I learned making various Lost in Space B9 Robot parts. So if you are a Twilight Zone fan, as I am, be sure to check out www.mysticseer.com where I show you how to build your very own Mystic Seer replica.

rodserling2b sm

Hear what Rod Serling himself has to say about me and myMysticSeer.com web site. (JAVA Required)

PLAY Rod Serling Greeting

So shoot on over to my Mystic Seer web site and check out how I built one from scratch.


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