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.

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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

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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

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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

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Teslapunk Electrical Switch

Teslapunk Electical Switch                                         

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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.

31 Restored open

And open. The black piece is not screwed in place here. Brass screws will be used to hold it in place. You can see the holes for the screws on the surface in this picture.

This is a short video of the unit energized.  Next up is finding a way to supply the shocking voltage to the brass tubes now that my secondary coil has lost contact with the outside world. I will also polish up the brass tubes and reattach them to the wood handles. The wood handles will be sanded, stained and varnished as well. I will also try to restore the cables as best as I can.


Today I worked on refinishing the handles. The one on the left is how they started. I used paint stripper to get them down to bare wood. Then I re-stained and varnished them.

34 Handles original 1

I found this picture on line and it is from a similar unit. It looks like the handles had some cloth pads that screwed onto the ends, so they were separate from the brass tubes. I guess you would soak the cloth disks in salt water so they would conduct.

I also polished up the brass tubes. They were originally chrome plated, but I will leave them brass. I will also add some brass connector plugs to the ends.

37 Wires start

This is a view of the way the wires looked on the unit. I tried fishing in the hole on the top left in order to find the end of the secondary wire, but wasn’t successful.

38 Wires final

Here I cleaned up the wires and added plugs for attaching to the battery. I am going to use just one battery so I wired the high and low power lines to the same connector. This will turn the unit on whether set to position one  or two. Looks like I’m just going to have high power mode.

39 Ready for battery

This is another view where the battery plugs are more clear (lower left). The black and red wires are to power my electric shock transformer. The yellow wire will act as a trigger for the shock circuit I need to design. The yellow wire will be attached to the energizing line going to the separate shock coil. The small “wall wort” transformer visible on the right will be used as the step up transformer for providing the shocks. It is a 120VAC to 24VAC unit. If I use the secondary as the primary I get a 5:1 increase in voltage. For 12 volts that will step up to 60V. The coil on the Faradic battery is about 1.5 ohms. The coil on my wall wort is about 15 ohms. If I try wiring the coils in parallel the Faradic coil energizes, but the wall wort/ shock transformer doesn’t get enough current to feel anything. If I wire them in series, most of the voltage drops across the new shock coil primary without enough voltage left the activate the Faradic coil. So I will be wiring the shock coil into a separate circuit that uses the yellow wire to trigger an FET transistor, which will turn on and off my new step up transformer. This should provide a pulsing input current to the shock coil.

42 Battery location

This is the size of sealed lead/acid cell battery I will use and its placement. I will make some kind of bracket to hold it in place. This will make my Faradic battery rechargeable. That’s all for today.


I actually got quite a bit accomplished over the last week. The first things I worked on were some embellishments to the brass tubes and the wood paddle handles.

43 Brass tube connector 1

I took some brass rod stock and drilled, cut and threaded one end to accept a 6-32 brass screw.

46 brass tube connector 4

The other end was drilled to accept the connectors on the cable ends.

These brass rods were then screwed to the existing brass tubes. This makes for an improved connection. This wasn’t original to the piece, but it makes for a nicer look and better attachment.

49 Paddle gears

To act as paddles/pads for the ends of the wood handles I used these brass gears. These pads were missing from my unit and would have been much larger in the original. They are smaller in diameter, but they will fit in the cover without having to remove them from the handles.

51 paddle gears mounted

I want them to be disks not gears to I mounted them to this screw.

Then turned them on the lathe.

54 paddle ends

And then I had disks.

I cleaned them and applied rosin. I then inserted two brass screws that I held in place with zinc nuts. Then the screws were soldered into place and the zinc nuts removed.

Here they are when first soldered and then cleaned.

59 paddles 2

I filed the screw heads flatter. The disks will be wrapped in cloth like those pictured above and I didn’t want too large of a bump in the fabric. I may machine these flat before I am done.

61 paddles mounted

Here the paddles are attached to the handles.

62 designing circuit

The next part was a bit of trial and error. I wanted to switch my step up transformer on and off using the pulse from the Faradic battery primary circuit.  Here I was using a “bread board” for the circuit design.

63 final schematic

This is the schematic of the circuit once finalized. The portion on the left is the existing rheotome circuit in the Faradic battery. The parts in the middle and on the left are the FET switching circuit attached to the step transformer. The line labeled “hot” delivers a low current stepped up AC voltage of around 30VAC. It’s enough to feel, but not enough to be painful. This circuit could be made very hazardous if you used the wrong components. Do not duplicate this unless you really know what you are doing. I have a degree in physics coupled with about 40 years of electronics hobbiest experience. In other words.. “Don’t try this at home!!”.

65 Transformer init

This is the transformer I used as the step up transformer. It normally is a step down transformer from 120VAC to 24VAC. By using the secondary winding as the primary I was able to get a 5:1 step up in voltage.

66 Transformer stripped

This is the same transformer with the cover removed. Next I need to mount all this circuitry inside the wood box. Then add  some finishing touches. I will keep you posted.

103 PCB

The bread boarded circuit was transferred to this PC board before final assembly.


Before moving forward with mounting the electronics I did tidy up a few things.

67 faradic cables fraid

You can see in this picture that the cloth on the cables were frayed in some areas.

68 faradic cable repair

I didn’t want to replace them or lose the fabric look, so I used heat shrink tubing to lock the frayed sections in place. They shouldn’t get any worse now.

I didn’t like the screw head look of the paddles I fabricated so I chucked them up in the lathe and turned them down.

72 Smooth Paddles mounted

Here they are remounted to the handles.

73 PCB mount 1

I decided to mount the transformer and PC board to this piece of 1/4 inch plywood before mounting it in the Faradic Battery box.

Screws were inserted into the plywood base, for holding the transformer and PC board in place.

75 PCB mount 3

This is the completed assembly ready for mounting.

76 PCB in box

Here it is screwed into place in the box.

78 connect cables 2

I used barrier strips to attach the wires.

Two metal clips were used….

82 battery mounted

to hold the battery in place.

Next I wired the cover plate into the battery and shock coil circuit.

84 Battery wired in

Then plugged in the battery.

85 Top plate mounted

The top plate was then screwed into place.

86 paint dots

I left the ground contact black, but placed a red dot below the 12 volt contact and  a yellow dot under the high voltage shock connector.

A couple of views with everything mounted.

Some stick on felt pads were added to the bottom.

And added these rubber bumpers to the back. These also are not original..

94 Bumpers in acction

but the bumpers allow the top to swing back while protecting the hinges.

The ground line on the lower surface shown above only connects to the negative terminal of the battery when the unit is turned on only. I added this extra ground post that connects directly to the battery so I could clip the charger cable onto the battery from the outside. Again not original.

97 Charging.

Here the unit is set up to charge the sealed lead acid battery.

The completed Faradic Battery with the top closed.

99 complete open

Here the top is open, but the metal lid is closed.

101 Complete

With the metal lid open you can see where the accessories are housed.

101 lid open complete 1

The completed unit set up to shock.

102 Faradic Battery

One more with everything laid out.

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Wall Vent Cover

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14 mounted

This wooden wall vent cover is for the fan I have that blows warm air from the wood stove heated living room into the second floor. The light weight balsa fins open with air flow automatically.

11 wall fan

This is the fan as it sat before the vent cover. This blows into a bedroom on the second floor.

31 Teslapunk Smoke Detector

The vent at the top of this image to the left of the fire alarm bell is the other side of the vent in the Steampunk living room.


First I made an oak frame to fit over the pipe and fan. I used pickling stain color and a semi-gloss varnish.

2 loovers

I created louvers using balsa wood. These were wired to thin brass rod.

4 laid in place

The louvers are seen here lying in there final location on the frame. They were also coated with the pickling stain and varnished.

Brass plate was used to make mounting brackets.

7 loover hung

One of the louvers hung from the first mounting brackets.

8 diskI used brass rod to make bushings to hold the louvers in place.

9 complete

The completed unit ready to mount.

12 frame mount

The frame was screwed to the wall.

14 mounted

Then the louvers were hung in place.

15 fan on

When the fan is turned on the light weight balsa louvers swing outward allowing air flow.

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