Steampunk Balance


I purchased this antique analytical balance. An analytical balance is designed to weigh very accurately, usually to 0.0001 grams.  It is glass enclosed to prevent air movement from causing errors in measurement. In the old mechanical types,weight can be determined remotely through the use of outside levers and slides. This prevents air movement from effecting the measurement.

This unit appears to be fairly old, I suspect sometime in the 1920’s or 1930’s. It has a beautiful dark wood frame and internal components made of brass.

It was fairly dirty and missing some pieces.

I was able to find a similar scale at Beckort Auctions that was missing fewer parts. It was not the same scale but does have a similar construction and is made by the same manufacturer. The auction piece does show the missing balance piece shown below.

z-Balance Closeup

The scale along the top would have a weight resting on it that could be slid back and forth with a remote brass rod that slides in and out above it.

The plan is to restore the pieces I have and then fabricate a balance section from both new and vintage pieces. I plan to make the balance section in a steampunk style.

The first part of the process is to remove the black obsidian base and mechanical’s from the wood frame. The glass was also removed.

Someone had previously stripped the varnish from the wood, but when I took the sections apart there was still some varnish left on the joined surfaces. This I stripped, then sanded all of the wood surfaces.

2d Broken wood screwSome of the wood screws that held the frame together broke off inside the wood when I tried to remove them.

I used a brass tube mounted to my drill to extract the broken screw pieces.

Wood dowels were then placed into the resulting 1/4 inch holes and glued in place.

I then machined the surfaces flush on the milling machine.

3a Disassembled

The balance is now completely disassembled and the wood sections repaired, stripped and sanded.

4a F Sartorius top

In the top of the balance is this slide mechanism. It’s purpose is to allow the movement of a weight across the scale on top of the balance. The slide allows this to be done without opening the front door, eliminating errors caused by air movement.

4b Slide closeup

Above is a closeup of the slide. Below, the  brass pieces after stripping, sanding and polishing.

The frame is then reassembled. Some parts of the brass slide are integral to the frame and can be seen in the reconstruction below. The frame for the front door glass piece is not seen, but is designed to slide up and down in the groove on the front of the piece. The top frame has not been replaced in this picture. The top frame was missing the glass pane. Presumably this had broken at some point. I will need to get a new piece cut before my balance can be completed.

4h Wood varnished with slide installed

All wood surfaces are then re-varnished. The wood is most likely mahogany. It has a very rich dark color after varnishing. No stain was used.

Below are pictures of the bottom of the balance.

This is a lift mechanism. When the knob on the front of the unit (seen in the picture at top right) is turned it lifts the balance and weighing trays. In practice this essentially turns off the balance. This allows the weights and item to be weighed to be placed on the scales trays. Then after the door is closed, the lift can be released to allow the scale to balance free of air movement.

5c Lift cam shaft

This is a closeup of the cam rod and front rod removed. This is turned to lower the lifts and tray supports when weighing. Note some of the screws that held the frame together. You can see one broken one in this picture.

5d Broken cam rod holder

During the cleanup and painting of the cast iron piece that holds the release mechanism, I dropped the part, braking off a small piece. Since this is required to both hold the cam shaft in place and allow it to be limited to a 180 degree rotation it needed to be repaired.

The first thing I did was to machine a relief for a permanent clamp that would be installed. This clamp will hold the broken piece in place.

A clamp was then machined from 1/4 inch brass square rod.

Finally, I used the clamp to glue the broken piece in place with a military grade epoxy.

5k Epoxied and clamp

In the restored unit I placed the clamp onto the repair permanently. This probably wasn’t necessary as the glue joint is bonded with a 4500psi adhesive, but better safe than sorry.

The obsidian base was then cleaned and prepped for reassembly.

5o Glass plate clean

6a Back leg

The bottom of the unit has three legs. This one is the back peg leg.

It was wire wheeled, polished and reinstalled.

The two front legs are made from these brackets, with knurled screws. These allow for the leveling of the scale.

The brass nuts and brackets are shown here after cleaning and polishing.

The base and legs are reassembled and attached back to the wood frame.

The cam shaft and lift mechanism is then reattached. You can see the brass clamp I fabricated holding the repaired cast iron in place in the center of thebase.

The front door slides up and down. This small brass handle is used to facilitate this. At right it has been cleaned and polished. Below it is attached to the door frame.

8k Door Handle Intalled

With the outside frame and base completed, it is now time to move on to the mast and lifts that will ultimately support the balance section.

The mast and lifts are made from brass that has been painted black. The small brass point on the base of the mast (left) is a pointer that is used to level the scale. A plumb bob dangled from the top of the mast is lined up with the pointer by adjusting the front leg heights.

After cleaning you can see that the paint is chipping from the brass.

11a Balance lift stripped

Paint stripper was used to remove the paint from the lifts and mast.

11b Balance lift restored 2

This is a side by side view of the two lifts. The one on the left is just stripped, the one on the right is also cleaned and polished.

11c Balance lifts restored 3

This is both lifts ready for assembly. These will lift the missing balance piece when the lift is engaged by rotating the knob at the front of the unit.

11d Balance post restored

Pictured here is the mast after stripping, cleaning and polishing. The center section was re-painted black.

13a Blance post reassembled 2

The mast and lifts are then put back together.

Then mounted back into the base and frame.

These wood strips hold the glass panes into the frames. These were sanded and varnished.


The panes are then cleaned and re-installed. I used brass round head screws to hold the mounting strips in place. The top glass pane has not yet been replaced.

16a Counter weight strings 1

Here counter weights have been put back into the unit. The strings are threaded though the pulleys. They will be attached to the bottom of the front slide door.


This is a close up of the metal plate that covers the right side counter weight. It has been re-painted after stripping and sanding. The left looks the same.

16c Restored front closed (2)

The restored unit with the front door closed. The two brass holes on each side are for small posts that will rise up when the lift mechanism is engaged by rotating the knob on the front. This lifts the weighing trays removing tension from the balance.

16d Restored front open

With the front door open.

16e Restored left

Side view.

16f Restored right

Other side.

Before moving on to the fabrication part I cleaned up the hangers and weighing pans. One hanger was pretty bent and needed to be straightened. These weighing pans are supported, when the lift mechanism is engaged, with brass posts that lift up. These will need to be fabricated.

That’s all for now. The next step will be fabricating the balance and steam-punking it up a bit. Making the lift rods for the pans as well as the plumb bob for leveling are also on the agenda. The glass pane for the top frame needs to be purchased and installed as well.


When the weighing pans are in the balance they are located over the two brass wholes in the base.

17c lift pans

13g Blance post reinstalled

There are supposed to be lift rods with pans attached that lift the weighing pans when disengaged.

I decided to fabricate the rods from brass stock.

These insert into the holes and lift up and down when the knob on the front of the balance is turned. For the lifting pads I used antique brass clock gears.

18h lift pad

The gears were each drilled in three locations for the contact points under the weighing pans.

Brass nails were soldered into each hole.

The nails were trimmed and the brass pads were attached to the lift rods using 6-32 brass screws.

With that completed it is on to the leveling device. This brass point on the base of the mast is for leveling the balance.

19b pendulum post

A plumb bob/pendulum is suspended from the top of the mast. The adjustable front feet are used to get the pendulum to line up with this point. When they are aligned the scale is level and will weigh accurately. The pendulum was missing when I purchased this balance. I fabricated one from brass rod.

The top of the pendulum was turned down and drilled.

A metal spring round was inserted into the hole to provide a tie off point for some black thread.

19l pendulum ring

The thread was inserted into a hole in a suspending rod at the top of the mast. The thread is inserted through a hole and notched into a slot in the rod. A brass screw acts as a weight to help keep the thread from slipping.

19q pendulum counter weight

At the bottom the thread is tied through the spring round and the pendulum is suspended above the leveling point. By adjusting the front feet the pendulum can be made to line up with the leveling point at the base of the mast. The balance is now level.

19p pendulum on point

Here is a picture of the balance so far, with the weighing pan lift pads and leveling pendulum in place.

19r Pads and pendulum

Next will be working on a fabrication project; the balance piece itself.

z-Balance Closeup

I will use this picture as a rough guide for the balance piece. I hope to find some vintage and antique pieces to use in the design. My plan is to make it a bit more steampunk than the balance piece pictured above.


I have been working on the balance piece over the last weeks. I started by making the scale that runs along the top of the balance. For this I used a 1 inch by 0.09 inch brass strip cut to length.

21a Scale marking1

Using the mill I was able to accurately mark 20 locations along the bar.

21b scale marking 2

There are ten marks each away from the center. The two outside marks will be directly over the pans when they are hung on the balance. A 0.1 gram weight resting on the top of the beam will add 0.01 grams per marker when it is slid along the balance. If slid to the right it will subtract 0.01 grams per mark.

A 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch brass rod was cut to length and will serve as a support for the bottom of the scale.

The base was milled to fit the scale section.

The base was mounted to the scale with screws.

A quarter inch steel piece was used to make a jig that will allow accurate indexing for labeling the marks on the scale from 0 to 10 from the center each way.

A small slot was milled into the piece that fit the number stamp.

24a numbering 1

This slot will just fit the number stamping tool shown here.

The jig is clamped into place and the stamp is inserted into the slot.

24d numbering 4

A hammer is impacted onto the stamp allowing the numbers to be imprinted into the brass.

24e numbered

The numbers are changed after each stamping. This picture shows the scale with all of the numbers imprinted.

24h Scale in place

This picture shows the eventual location for this part.

A fulcrum for the center of the scale/balance was cut from one inch round 303 stainless.

25c fulcrum disk

The fulcrum will be milled from this disk.

A 1/4 inch slot was cut into one side of the disk so that it can slide over the 1/4 inch brass base of the scale. A small hole was drilled and tapped that will allow for a set screw to hold the fulcrum in place.

25g fulcrum set screw mount

This is the partially completed fulcrum held in place on the scale with a brass set screw.

The fulcrum piece was milled to provide a 1/4 in section in the center.

26d fulcrum installed 1

This 1/4 inch section was then milled to a point.

18r lift pads

The balance requires a mount for the pointer which extends down from the balance piece to this small indicator.

z-Balance Closeup

In the original scale above you can see the V-shaped piece underneath the fulcrum with a black rod extending vertically below it that is this pointer.

27a pointer mount 1

For my balance I will use a section cut from this copper ring to support the pointer which will extend downwards below the fulcrum.

A paper pattern was used to mark the copper ring for holes that will line up with the scale base mounting screws as well as a hole that will be directly below the fulcrum.

27f pointer mount drilled instlalled

This is the copper ring with the two holes drilled mounting it to the scale base.

27g poimter mount cut

In this picture the copper ring has been cut to the proper length and a hole drilled below the fulcrum that will ultimately support the pointer shaft.

27h scale in place

Here the balance is set with the fulcrum resting in the proper location. The pointer support is underneath ready for the pointer, which will be the next piece fabricated.


It has been a few weeks since I last posted, but I have not been idle. I’ve been working on and have completed both the pointer shaft and the hooks for the weighing trays. I still plan to add some Steampunk elements to these when the scale is mechanically complete.

28a pointer disk

The brass rod in the picture next to the balance shown here was used to make the support for the pointer shaft.

The brass rod was faced and cut into a disk.

The disk was drilled and tapped so it can be attached to the copper arch of the balance piece.

28f ponter disk

The disk was then drilled and tapped perpendicular to the center.

In this way the pointer shaft can be threaded into this disk.

A 7/32 diameter inch brass rod is used for the shaft. One end is threaded to the 6-32 thread size of the disk fabricated above.

The shaft when mounted not only act as a pointer, but also stabilizes the balance when it rests on its fulcrum.

31a pointer end

This black pointer was salvaged from my box of antique clock parts. It is one of the hands from a clock face. I used it as the pointer end of the shaft.

Again a piece of brass rod is cut and tapped. In this case the perpendicular hole isn’t tapped but rather drilled to the 7/32 inch diameter of the shaft. The other threaded hole is used to both add a set screw for holding the disk to the shaft as well as a screw to mount the clock hand pointer.

Here the pointer has been mounted to the pointer shaft.

This picture shows the pointer after the balance has been set on its fulcrum in the scale.

32a hanger clips

The picture above shows the brass mounting piece for the number scale I made earlier.  The scale has been removed so I can drill holes in the ends of this mount.  These holes will are used for attaching mounting clips.

The mounting clips are made from small 1/4 inch brass pieces machined to the correct size.

32e hanger clips

Each side will be L shaped.

32f hanger clips

Here one of the pieces is held in place while it is soldered together. The bottom two brass pieces are the clip. The other two pieces of brass are just spacers fro clamping.

After soldering each piece is drilled and tapped so it can be screwed to the balance.

The clips are shown here mounted to the balance in there final location. The open space is for the rests that the lifts make contact with when the scale lifts are raised.

The hanger hooks for the trays are made by cutting and bending some 1/4 inch brass strips.

A notch is cut into each hook where the tray hangers can be slipped into.

33g hangers

The clips are drilled and tapped a second time so the hooks can be attached to the balance beam.

These are closeups of the left and right hooks and clips after placing the whole assembly back in the scale.

34a hanger + pointer

In this view trays are seen hanging from the hooks and everything is mounted in there final locations.

34b hanger top

This is a top view of the balance resting on its fulcrum in the final location. The fulcrum floats so here it is not aligned. When the lift rests are in place they help straighten this out before the balance is released.

34c hanger + pointer

A closeup of the progress so far.

34d Hanger +pointer

This is another view.

The last mechanical pieces that need to be constructed are the rests that the lifts connect with when they are raised. These pieces also have counter weight nuts that are used to center the balance when no weights or test pieces are on the scale.


I’ve been doing quite a bit of work over the last few weeks. I started by making the cross pieces that are mounted perpendicular to the beam. The lifts impinge on screws in the cross pieces that allow the whole balance piece to be lifted off the fulcrum when turned off.

The cross pieces were cut from quarter inch brass rod. The ends were drilled and tapped to allow screws to be inserted into them. These will hold decorative pieces later on.

The cross piece is drilled for mounting to the beam. The center of each piece was milled with a one quarter inch notch for aligning with the beam when mounted.

35h cross piece

Each cross piece was drilled and tapped in two locations for inserting the ajustment screws that are set so the lifts impinge on each screw at the same time when lifting.

35i cross piece

Each cross piece was mounted to the beam by screwing it to the brackets that hang under the beam. These were made and soldered together earlier in this blog.  Counter sunk allen screws were used for mounting.

35j cross piece

This picture shows both cross pieces mounted to the beam.

35k cross piece

This is a top view where the four temporary adjustment screws can be seen.

35l cross piece mounted

In this picture you can see the adjustment screws impinged on the lift when mounted in the scale.

These points were machined on the lathe.

36c lift tips

The non pointy ends were machined smooth and then tapped so they can be mounted to the adjustment screw ends.

One point is made for each adjustment screw. The lifts impinge on these points centering the balance when lifted.

Instead of using hex nuts I machined disks  type nuts that match those used throughout the scale originally.

37g disk nuts

Small holes are drilled into each disk perpendicular to the threaded portion. These allow the nut to be tightened with a small metal rod. I used a 1/16 inch drill bit.

Finally each disk is threaded for use. I think I made about 6 or 8 of these total.

38a balance rods

This shows the disk nuts used to mount the adjustment screws. I used 3/4 inch 6-32 allen screws in place of the brass for a cleaner look. The threaded brass rod seen extending from the balance is for mounting counter weights for centering the balance.

38b balance rods

This is another view of the balance with the cross pieces and adjustment screws mounted. You can also see the threaded rods extending out from the balance for the counter weights.

38c balance rods

This is the whole piece mounted in the scale.

Here the hangers are mounted and the weighing pans are hanging from them on the left.

Here the counter weights are machined from brass rod.

These are screwed on to the brass threaded rods that extend from each end of the balance. By adjusting these in and out the balance can be centered/set to zero when no weight is in either pan.

These large clock gears are drilled for mounting to the back of each cross piece as a decorative element.

43c deco gears rear mounted

Here they are attached to the back of the balance.

43d deco gears

The beam is mounted in the scale with the large gears seen in the back.

44a deco gears mounted

Two smaller gears are added to the front of each cross piece for that Steampunk look.

44b deco gears front

So this is the whole scale so far. It is almost complete. A small weight (0.1 grams) still needs to be fabricated. This weight will slide back and forth across the beam. This adds or subtracts weight to the scale at 0.01 gram increments as it slides from number to number on the scale. I still plan on making some decorative pieces for the vertical pointer shaft. The last thing will be getting and installing the top glass window. This was missing from the scale when I got it. I’ve left this until last as the top being open allows for an easier time working with the scale.


I am finishing this project. There are just a few things that were left to do.

On top of the balance bar a small weight is added that can be slid between the numbers on the top of the scale. I made a 0.1 gram weight for this purpose from aluminum.

An aluminum piece is milled to a small size and then a notch cut into it to allow it to slide along the scale.

This piece is much too large at this point, but you can see the idea. The weight can be slid from number to number by the brass rod assembly from outside the scale when the glass door is closed. This prevents air movement in the room from from upsetting the balance.

45f weighing

At 1.4583 grams I need to remove a whole bunch of material to get to 0.1 grams.

This is a lot better but still 3 times the weight I need.

45i finally correct

Finally success. I am within two ten thousandths of 0.1 grams. This scale just happened to be calibrated the day I made the final adjustments.

45j center weight in place

Sliding this weight to the left adds 0.01 gram for each number up to 0.1 grams when it is slid to 10. When sliding to the right it will subtract 0.01 grams for each number.

46a whole balance

This is the complete balance assembly I created so far. The central shaft is a 11/32 inch diameter brass rod. To jazz it up a bit I decided to add a decorative wood element to this shaft.

46b decorative center

I have these small wood scraps that I will use for the shaft cover. The two larger are ironwood. The small one is mahogany. The brass tube is 3/8 inch outside diameter, which just slides over the 11/32 shaft rod.

Each wood block is center drilled with a 3/8 inch drill so they can be slid onto the brass tube.

The longer ironwood pieces are used for the outside with the mahogany in the center.

The pieces are then glued, clamped and allowed to dry.

Brass end pieces are turned on the lathe. These will mount on each end of the piece.

46n soldered end

One end part is soldered to the brass tube.

46o set screws

Both end pieces are then drilled and tapped for a set screw that will eventually hold the whole thing to the shaft.

46p glued to shaft

The wood piece is then bonded to the brass rod with epoxy.

47a turning bar

This 11/32 brass rod is used for making a jig to mount the wood to the lathe for turning.

One end is turned and threaded so it will accept a nut that will hold everything in place.

Star washers and the nuts on the right end along with the live center hold everything in place.

47g ready to turn

This is the piece ready for turning on the lathe.

The piece is turned down to the same 1/2 inch diameter as the brass end caps.

As a splash of color, grooves are machined in the piece and painted red.

47n varnished shaft

Three coats of varnish later and the shaft decoration is complete.

47n1 new front gears

I decided to change up the front decorative gears on the balance piece. These are spread out and used gears with spokes to make it all a bit more transparent.

47o the whole thing

This is the whole balance assembly that I fabricated in its final form.

47p almost done

A complete front view with the balance piece in place.

47q another view

From slightly above.

47r side view

And a side view.

47s missing glass

The top window is still missing the glass piece, which has been ordered and should be ready for install Monday. Other than that I will be making a set of weights for the balance, unless I can find some antique ones on line. Very close to being done now.

48a New Glass

Well this is the top glass plate that I had cut by a local glass store. It’s 1/8 double strength.

48b Glass set in place

This is the glass just laid in place.


And mounted in place with the varnished wood strips screwed into the frame with #2 brass wood screws.


This is a back view, where you can see my reflection. The plumb bob is suspended from a thread and is used to level the balance.


Here we can see the completed balance from the front.

48f inside

This is a closeup of the internal parts that were made. Here the front glass door has been removed so you can get a better view.

So the project has been completed. Check out the video I added at the top of this blog that shows how the Steampunk Balance is used. I have ordered some brass weights from eBay that I will be using with the balance. I also need to fabricate some 0.1 gram weights to complete the set and make a weight holder of some kind. I will add these to this bog when that is all completed.

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Steampunk Robotic Hand Lamp

21 Steampunk Hand LampSeveral years ago I had an idea for a floor lamp that would be a Steampunk robotic hand holding a a light source. This was another creation I made for my Steampunk Living Room.

19 Steampunk Lamp whole

I had a telescope tripod for the base and an arm from a desk lamp. Some large gears would serve as a counter weight and I added a sewing machine hand wheel as a center adjustment knob.

13 Original Center

I machined a center shaft where I mounted the arm. In the end the arm proved to be too weak to support the weight and needed to be replace.

11 Original Center

The connection proved to be too brittle and was replaced.

12 New Center

The arm was still used but an outside stainless steel support tube was machined for the arm to slide into.

1 Steampunk Hand Lamp 1

The hand itself was fabricated from copper and brass. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the making of the digits.

The sides of the digits were cut from copper strips. The tops were brass plate cut to fit. Brass rod was bored out and the copper and brass pieces soldered together. In this way 14 digits were made, three for each finger and two for the thumb.

4 Steampunk Hand

The back of the hand was also covered in brass, with antique clock gears imbedded to look like they powered the fingers.

5 Steampunk Hand

Each of the brass rods in the digits were tapped with 6-32 threads so brass screws could be used to hold the fingers together from both sides.

6 Steampunk Hand

In this way the fingers were fully articulated, so the hand could be wrapped around any lamp that I made.

The original lamp was fabricated from scratch, shown here with the hand.

15 New Steampunk Hand Lamp

I was never satisfied with the original lamp. Eventually I found this shell for an antique automobile head light on ebay.

16 New Steampunk Hand Lamp

This worked much better. I added the skirt and spikes to make it more menacing.

18 New Steampunk Back

The counter weight was twisted 90 degrees,

19 Steampunk Lamp whole

and the lamp was complete.

22 Steampunk Hand Closeup

Another view of the hand wrapped around the new lamp.

23 Steampunk Hand Closeup

A closeup of the hand and lamp.

24 Steampunk Hand Closeup

Another. Notice my binnacle in the background. This is a new addition to the room.

25 Steampunk Hand Lamp Lit

One more with the lamp lit up.

Technology Imagined home page.

The Beetle Steampunk Style

Back in 2017 I worked on some insects and a spider with Steampunk designs. My plan was to mount them together in a frame in order to make a Steampunk bug box.  In this blog a Steampunk Beetle was made from antique phone parts.

The shell (Elytra) of the beetle is made from an antique brass bell from a telephone. The bell was split down the middle and the end was cut off to make room for the head and thorax sections. The individual elytra were drilled and tapped with 6-32 threads. Stainless steel screws were screwed into the holes, making the ridges along the elytra. The thorax was made from brass sheet cut and shaped to fit. The head is a second small bell from some unknown vintage device. The antenna are 14 gauge copper wire. The legs are cut from copper sheet. The gear added to the back is from an antique clock. This bug is smaller than the other creatures I made at about four inches long.

Steampunk Beetle N

You can see other creatures below:

Metal Butterfly

Steampunk Spider

Steampunk Wasp Sculpture

Technology Imagined Homepage

Steampunk Spider

Back in 2017 I worked on some insects and a spider with Steampunk designs. My plan was to mount them together in a frame in order to make a Steampunk bug box.  In this blog a Steampunk Spider was made from brass rod, antique clock parts and a large aluminum tea ball.

This creature was mostly fabricated from scratch. The leg segments were milled from 1/4 inch brass rod. Each segment was milled with a slot on one end and a 1/8 inch tab on the other. Both then had holes drilled into them. The tabs fit into the slots and are held in place by a screw through the holes.. The feet are 1/8 by 1/4 inch brass tapered to a near point and drilled on the wide end. These slide into the slots at the end of the legs and are again held by brass screws. The thorax was made from a 1/4 brass plate cut, drilled and threaded to shape. A fake gear box was added to the top of the thorax. It included a winding key from an old clock. This only makes it look like you can wind it up. The abdomen is the large tea ball mounted to the thorax. This spider is about  8 inches long with a leg span of about 10 inches.

Steampunk Spider N

You can see other creatures below:

Metal Butterfly

The Beetle Steampunk Style

Steampunk Wasp Sculpture

Technology Imagined Homepage

Steampunk Wasp Sculpture

Back in 2017 I worked on some insects and a spider with Steampunk designs. My plan was to mount them together  on a frame in order to make a Steampunk bug box.  In this blog a wasp was made from antique clock parts.

Unfortunately I did not take pictures during the construction. The body length is a threaded rod that acts as a central spine along which body segments are attached The abdomen was made by coiling two clock springs in opposite directions tapering them toward the front and back. The thorax is made from four gears spaced apart along the threaded rod. This was similar to the abdomen of the Metal Butterfly  I made a couple of years ago. The head was fabricated from a brass plate with the eyes being beaten copper sheets soldered to the head. The legs are the chime levers from a clock. These would have tripped the hammers when the clock gonged. The stinger is a small nail held in place by an acorn nut screwed to the end of the threaded rod. The acorn nut was drilled in the center for the nail to slide into. The wings were fabricated from balsa wood that was varnished with multiple layers of polyurethane.

Steampunk Wasp N

You can see other creatures below:

Metal Butterfly

Steampunk Spider

The Beetle Steampunk Style

Technology Imagined Homepage

Teslapunk Electrical Switch

Teslapunk Electical Switch                                         

Technology Imagined Homepage

Several years ago I had the idea of using a vintage knife type switch like the one below to make a safe light switch for the Steampunk living room I was working on. I thought this type of switch would work well with the room theme in a slight variation in the Teslapunk style. So I made a Teslapunk Electrical Switch. For more on Teslapunk see here.10 Vintage Knife Switsh

Obviously with the open copper conductors using a switch like this as it was designed to be used would potentially electrocute anyone who touched it.

Instead I decided to use a 125VAC 15 Amp Micro-Switch to do the actual electrical switching and fabricated a light switch based on these components. Micro-Switches have a small spring loaded button on the surface that takes very little force to actuate.

11 125VAC 15A microswitch

The Micro-Switch above is the type I used.

12 steel plate holes drilled

I used a piece of quarter inch steel plate as the base for the unit.

The Micro-Switch was mounted to the plate with a piece of aluminum. A brass strip was used to  make an actuator for the Micro-Switch button,

A plunger was fabricated that would slide through two holes in the ceramic base of the knife switch. If the switch were used as designed, these holes would have accommodated  wires leading to the knife switch screw connections.  When the knife switch is closed it pushes this plunger into the brass strip that is against the Micro-Switch button and activates it.

19 Teslapunk switch mounted

This is how the completed switch will mount to the electrical box in the wall. The blue box underneath is a standard size in wall electrical box used for outlets and switches.

The completed switches. I actually ended up making four of these. I added faux mounting screws in each corner of these steel base by drilling and tapping the holes to accept 6-32 screws. The steel plate was sanded then treated with rust activator. After the rust formed the plate was coated with a clear flat finish that halts the rusting process as well.

21 Teslapunk Switch on wall closed

The switch mounted to the wall.

22 Teslapunk switch on wll open

Same switch in the open/off position.

Matching outlet covers were made from the same quarter in steel plate used for the light switches.

The back of each cover was milled to shape so that it would fit over and around the outlet plugs. The fronts had the faux screws added and then the surface was rusted as with the switches.


A completed outlet cover.

Dimmer Knobs

I also had to make some dimmer switches. One set was made from brass gears. For the knobs that normally slide onto the dimmer controls brass gears were used.  Small brass gears were mounted to brass rod and bored out to the correct diameter. The centers of the plastic knobs that came with the dimmers were cut out and shaped to insert into the brass gears.

13 Dimmer back

Copper plate was used as the back of the dimmer cover. It was framed with quarter inch square brass rod that was soldered to the copper. This frame allowed it to stand out from the wall leaving space for the workings underneath.

12 Dimmer 1 front

Larger gears were mounted to the plate at a distance that would impinge on the smaller gears silde onto the controls. By rotating the larger gears the dimmers could be turned up and down. I used dimmers that rotated to the off position.

Dimmer 1 wall

Finished copper clad gear dimmer plate.

Teslapunk Wall PlateI made another plate that had both a switch and dimmer knobs. This switch also required knobs for two dimmers. I used some knurled brass pieces here instead of gears. They were drilled out and the inner part of the plastic knob inserted as with the gears above.  The copper behind the knobs was added to make a more finished look.

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42-Pendant all

I made these Steampunk pendant necklaces with hidden compartments as gifts for Christmas.

43-Picture hidden

The pendants come apart to reveal a hidden compartment. I inserted rolled up pictures in the three I made. But any small item could be concealed inside.

The inspiration was the wood covered brass tubes I made when completing  a Steampunk pen kit from Rockler Woodworking last year. I liked the way these turned out and came up for another use for the machined wood center covers.

1 - Drill

Each was made from a small block of exotic wood. This one is iron wood. The blocks were drilled down the center with a 3/8 inch hole.

2-cutting brass

Short pieces of 3/8 inch OD brass tube were cut to the same length as the wood blocks.


These are two blocks ready for gluing with there brass tubes.

Each tube was glued into a wood block with a two component epoxy adhesive.

For turning on the lathe each block was mounted to this temporary brass rod fixture.

Each block was turned down to a cylinder shape. Grooves were cut into each pendant for added interest.

16-lathe turning 4

Each pendant was then sanded to a smooth surface ready for painting, staining and varnishing.

This is the first pendant piece after removal from the brass turning fixture.

19-stained varnished

The wood section were stained and the grooves painted in different colors. Three layers of varnish were applied after these dried.

21-brass gears

These brass gears were used for the ends of each pendant.

22-gears and pendants

Two gears of the same size and shape were used for each pendant.

23-turning gears

One gear hub was turned to a size so it would slide into the brass tube of each pendant.

The second gear was turned down to a diameter to fit into the 11/32 inch OD brass tubes that slide into the 3/8 inch tubes glued to the wood pendant.

The gears for the insert tubes were soldered into place and then cleaned up.

28-gluing brass gear

The larger diameter hub gears were glued into the brass of the wood pendant. These could not be soldered without burning the wood.

29-glued and soldered

These are the three pendants with gears glued into place. Also shown is each brass insert with its soldered in place brass gear. A final coat of varnish was applied to each pendant as well.

32-Pendants complete

The completed pendants. All they need now are the chains added for wearing around the neck.


This is the chain that was used. The small metal rings were used to hold the chain inside each end of the pendant.

The rings were clipped from 1.5 turns of this spring. The diameter of each ring is too large to slip through the holes in the gears.

The chain was threaded through the holes in the gears and a spring ring was attached through the link at the end of each chain. When pulled back into the tubes the chain is held in place by these rings.

38-Pendant 1Completed pendant with green stripes.

39-Pendant 2Pendant with red stripes and larger gears.

41-Pendant 3Pendant with single silver stripe.

42-Pendant allProject complete.

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Steampunk Floor Protector Pads

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21-Closeup complete

1-Wood Bin

This is a closeup of a firewood holder I purchased at a flea market several years ago.

2-Foot Closeup

In order to prevent it from scratching the wood floor I used some off the shelf pads. They don’t fit the feet all that well so I decided to Steampunk it up a bit.

3- Oak Block

I started by cutting some oak blocks to about the right size.

4-Stained+ Copper strip

I cut out four of them and then stained them. The copper strip will be used to add an accent around each pad.

5-copper shaped

Each pad had two copper bands applied about 1/4 inch from the bottom.

6-Copper drilled

The copper strips were pre-drilled for mounting to the oak pads.

7-Copper attached

Brass screws were used to hold the copper strips to the pads.

8-copper attached 2

Two strips were made for each pad.

9-Bore hole

The feet on the firewood bin had protruding centers. Holes were drilled in each pad for these centers to rest in.

11-4 pads

Four pads are shown here, all drilled and ready to varnish.

12- pads varnished

Varnished pads with cut and shaped copper strips.

13 copper drilled

Copper strips pre-drilled.

14-one complete

A varnished pad with copper accent applied.

15- four complete

The four pads almost complete.

16 brass strip

This brass strip was bent in this shape in order to cover the gaps between copper strips. It was cut and drilled at the black mark so it could be screwed to the pad surface and held in place.

17- Brass on

The brass strip covering the gap between copper strips.

18-felt pad

Adhesive backed yellow felt was cut to size and stuck to the bottom of each pad.

19 four pads

The four completed Steampunk floor protector pads. The screws holding the brass strips in place can be seen here.

21-Closeup complete

The firewood bin resting on the floor protector pads.

22-Final Wood bin

The firewood bin with all four protector pads in place.

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Computer Base Station

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Steampunk Computer station 2

10 Antique Desk

We have this antique hotel desk in our Steampunk living room. It fits the theme really well, but the angle of the desk surface made it hard to set my laptop on and do blogging. So I put together a small Steampunk themed base station that I could set my laptop on as well as a leather covered pad for the mouse.

Steampunk Computer Station 1

So this is the unit as completed with the laptop and mouse in place.

Steampunk mouse pad and computer base

This is the base and pad as they look.

Steampunk computer base 2

The base is made of oak with a plywood oak veneered panel across the surface. I added some gears and a small meter on the left side.

Sieampunk computer base 1

It is cut at an angle that brings the laptop to near horizontal when set in place.

Steampunk mouse pad

The mouse pad is just an oak frame that hold a plywood piece with red vinyl surface. The friction of the vinyl is enough to keep the mouse from sliding down the surface due to the angle of the desktop.

The vinyl is stretched over 1/4 in plywood and held on with carpet tape. It was then folded around the edge of the plywood and glued along the vertical edge. The plywood/vinyl piece was inserted into the routered oak frame.  Each corner is held down with copper plate and brass wood screws. The copper pieces were scraps from other projects. I decided to leave them in roughly the shape that I found them, giving a legacy to other pieces I have made.

Mouse pad corner 1

The top right hold-down was a copper piece I had used to practice soldering a brass rivet too in a old project. I thought including it here added a nice touch.

Steampunk Computer station 2

This is a view from a bit further away. It makes for a nice standing type work station.

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Faradic Battery Restoration

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101 lid open complete 1


So this is an antique Portable Faradic Battery with rheotome that I purchased at an antique store a couple of years ago.  It is an antique medical device. The left side is the cover that flips down over the base seen on the right. There is a metal cover inside the lid (right) that opens with instructions on the surface. Underneath, the cables and accessories are stored. For a little background check here.

3 faradic cables

The cables above are inserted into the connectors. The brass tubes in this picture would have been attached to the wood handles. The other end of the cables would have been connected to the brass/wood handles. When you would turn the unit on you could hold the brass tubes and get a mild electrical shock. This was supposed to do great things for your health.

It is in very rough shape. The box is cracked and the cover is disconnected from the bottom. Since it was in such bad shape, I felt I wouldn’t be destroying anything if I restored it to original condition with some embellishments.

4 Fardic description

This is a close up of the metal cover that goes inside the wood top. There is an instruction label here. You can see kinks in the metal cover from being bent at some point in history.

5 Faradic top

The top of the cover has a corroded handle and the wood is pretty dirty.

6 Faradic top

This is a side view of the bottom with the coil and other hardware removed. You cannot see it here but the bottom seams were separated probably from moisture exposure at some point.

9 Regluing base

I clamped and re-glued the bottom to repair this damage.

7 Faradic Apart

This is the rest of the unit disassembled.

8 faradic wiring

This is the inside of the control surface. The wiring looks pretty simple. The coil appears to have served as a step up transformer and relay at the same time. Two batteries would have been held inside the bottom of the box. Probably between 6 and 12 volts each. You would set the switch to use one or both batteries. One being low power and two high power modes.


When switched on the battery would energize the primary coil. This would act as an electromagnet at the same time pulling open the spring switch above on the left. This would open the switch and de-energize the coil. This would turn the switch back on along with the coil. This process would turn the coil on and off continuously, like a buzzer. Meanwhile the secondary winding would have a higher voltage induced into it from the primary. Probably some where between 40 and 60 volts AC at a lower current. This voltage is what would have been applied to the cables and that you would feel as a shock if you held the brass tubes.

This is the box after gluing and sanding.

14 Box stained

The box was then stained with red oak color stain.

This is the control surface with all the electrical hardware removed. On the right I varnished the surface after cleaning in order to hold the old black paint in place.

The hinge and latch hardware before and after polishing.

21 Handle polished

This is the handle after cleaning and polishing.

22 Varnished parts

The box has also been varnished in this picture.

23 Rheotome remounted

Here the hardware has been re-installed onto the base cover. In doing this I managed to break the fine secondary wire pointed to in a picture from the wiring shown earlier. If I want to make the system work, and I do, I will have to come up with a work around. With the primary coil still working the unit will still buzz from the spring switch turning on and off. It just won’t shock anybody until I can find a fix. I really don’t want to have to rewind the coils.

This is the metal lid inside the cover remounted. I flattened out the kinks and applied a coat of varnish to the outside (non-label side) to prevent further paint chipping.

These are some views of the hardware reattached to the box. I uses small #0 brass wood screws instead of the nails that were used originally.

32 box retsored

The restored box closed.