Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Robot and snailbot

For a Secret Santa at a snailforum I'm member of I threw this little piece together:a robotengineer with snailbot for company.I'm pretty pleased how it turned out,it was fun and easy to make.Now I hope the recipient likes it as much as I do........
Picture follows after Christmas(for obvious reasons)...
edit:(January 3rd)And there it is:photographed by the happy new owner.....

Saturday, December 06, 2008

pocket pummer

Or that is what this is supposed to be when it's finished.I have to see if I'm able to build a very compact pummercircuit though.Otherwise I might just hook a buttoncell on to the led.
The other three are just things I made(yes with gears.....)simultaneously and may be used as they are or as part of a larger project.

Monday, December 01, 2008


or Another New Build In Progress.
Yesterday,with the weather really too awful to go anywhere,I've started another little project with a wooden box I had laying around.In it's former life it was used as kind of darkroom clock and quite abused.
I started to put on some parts,a piece of steel pipe,some kind of meter.And the pipe fitted perfectly into a hole in the lid and the meter perfectly into the pipe.After that I just grabbed some parts and saw how it looked.
I've added three radiotubes,a copper coil,a vintage capacitor,some other old radio parts and of course LEDS(with the option of adding a Pummer circuit....yes,again).
Also some copper and brass pieces, and a black metal transformer housing(for easy access to the batteries).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dancebot ,the movie

Today I've put some video's on YouTube,so instead of having to do with still images people can actually see my projects in action.

Y.A.P 5

Or Yet Another Pummer (the fifth one).Officially started last weekend and finished(almost)today.It's one in the line of mad scientist devices,and is still nameless.Also,this is one of the very few(I think the only)projects not to use any glue whatsoever.It's made with the wood from an enlarger,some vintage radio parts,two lightbulbs,the housing of an alarm clock,and an electroplated spring.
I guess that I'm done building pummers for a while(but you never can tell).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Last sunday I've started a new project,which involves a bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden base(yes,I know that doesn't sound very interesting,but it is just the start).The mounting was,of course, a very easy thing to do.I've added some steel support struts too.
This evening I've been tinkering with some motors,to drive the wheel.Now,that's turning out to be more tricky because the wheel isn't in such a good shape anymore.
First I had a plastic wheel mounted on the bicycle wheel so that it could be powered by a motor with a drivebelt,but that didn't work out good.
Now the motor will be mounted against the bicycle wheel,not unlike how a dynamometer is used with cars.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pummers in progress

While I've been thinking what to do with those two housings,I've started work on two new pummers.These could be classified as Beampunk,when Beam meets Steampunk that is.Also,at the same time,I've started a new project.But in which direction that one is heading I don't know yet,just that there's plenty of copper involved.......

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Parts for a next project

These two housings come from an old oscilloscope,the top one actually was inside the lower one.I'll be using them for new projects,but am not sure what that will be.My original idea was for the second one to be some kind of airship and the top one a robot head(the openeings for the yes are already there).
But now I'm not so sure.Other ideas I have are:pummer/mad scientist lamp,sort of military style equipment(sight?).The two together look like a rocketlauncher(but that is really too large to put somewhere).
So,I guess I'll be looking on the Internet for some inspiration.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Finishing up

These last few days I've been working on finishing two projects which were,well.......unfinished.
One is a solar spinner of sorts,but without any kind of electronic circuitry.Just the motor directly powered by the solar cell.
The other one is a non-mechanical object(name still to be decided).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dancebot II

It,or do I have to say she?,is finished(almost)!All I need to do is to attach the power source and hook the LED's(which are the eyes)to a buttoncell holder.
All the build notes can be found on the new site(which is still under construction).
In the meantime I've found another great artist,Jeremy Mayer
who makes fantastic sculptures out of typewriters..

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have to admit I like robots,and especially the ones from the 1950's and 60's.Sure,those modern ones can do all kinds of things their predecessors never dreamt of,but they lack the real robot look.
So,one of the projects that I wanted to build was a retro-robot.
This one(and I'm afraid there will be more)will be a dancebot,an idea that formed in my head when I was tinkering with a motor and a speakercasing........Will be continued....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Creating a new site and yet another pummer

A while ago I started a new site which is basically a collection of all the projects I've built and am building.Today I've changed it because I wasn't really happy with the home page.It's design is very simple,you could look at it as an online notebook.
The link is here.
I've also built another pummer,made with laboratorium glassware,an electroplated spring and the casing of a sewingmachine motor.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Solar dancer in the making

Yesterday I started work on a new project:A solar dancer.It is a very challenging build,more mechanically than electronically.The circuit itself is not a difficult one(I will post it later since I can't find it on the web right now).The tricky part is the balancing of the aluminium piece I'm using(including all the ad-ons).
Edit November 2nd:The Frankenvogel(as I named it)is as good as ready.I just need some feathers for the finishing touch.Today was a pretty sunny day so I had a chance to test it.
Weight is definately an issue when building these solar-dancers,mine gently moves,so the next one will be a much lighter build.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Windturbines:the sequel

After testing the two windturbines I've built I found out they generate so little energy that they're pretty much useless.It was fun building them though,and one of them(the anemometer type)now hangs on the outside of the house(just turning in the wind...)
I persevere in building one that might actually work one day.......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I've finally started work on my very first windurbine,after reading many websites and books.It'll be a very small one because I think the housing cooperation won't appreciate me building a 10 footer!
So it'll be useful for charging a few batteries or lighting some leds only.I decided to make it a VAWT(Vertical Axis Wind Turbine)and maybe try a HAWT later.
For the motor I've picked one salvaged from a VCR,just spinning it by hand gave me about 5 V .
The shaft is piece of 20 mm PVC pipe(about 8 "),screwed on that are four pieces of Sintra.
The aluminium frame comes from an old oscilloscope.
Another smaller windturbine I'm building is basically an anemometer,again using a VCR motor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New projects finished and in progress

A few days ago I finished yet another project(the Steampunk Forum is still offline so you got to do something...).This one started when I found an interesting looking piece of metal in one of my junkboxes.I wanted to use black as main "colour" and finally had a use for two black record-player arms.Another goal was to have the three motors run at varying speeds,which took some figuring out.
While building this project another immediately formed in my head.That one is inspired by the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey :

For this I selected three motors,but I already discovered that making them running at a slow enough speed is not an easy thing....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New clock and decorative piece

For my livingroom I was need of a new clock that was more in style with the interior than the current one.So,after a bit of rummaging in various junk boxes I found the parts that being put together made an interesting looking piece(in my humble opinion).
The old clockwork is there just for decoration(it still works though),the face came off an old Westclox alarmclock.
I also put this piece together,just to show the beauty of the gears....

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Symets of sorts

This past week I've been busy building a few BEAM bots which are not quite symets but are using the same principle.They are best classified as fantasy robotic insects/creatures and are very addictive to build.I have built four so far,two of which have the Miller SE,the others are waiting for parts.
The first two haven't got their solarengines attached yet and the last one now has a few extra's.Otherwise it's just a motor standing up.......

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New pummer

Today I've finished a new pummer using the circuit illustrated in this article: .The spring I aged with the electroplated method I wrote about in an earlier post.While it didn't exactly turned out to be electroplated the result was interesting anyway.Cleaning out the lightbulb wasn't easy because of the small fitting it has.During that process I managed to make a hole on one side of the glass.But that came in handy with the cleaning of the glass and the mounting of the LED(I used a 10 mm one)later.
I've left out the solar cell,instead I'll be using a switch to turn it on and off.Also I might use an adapter in place of the batteries.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

21st century Art Deco

I just finished building this piece which started when I found the old relais(the part with the four "legs"sticking out) in one of my junk boxes.It looked Art Deco in my eyes so I decided to use it for an Art Deco inspired design.
Used were:an aluminium sample sheet,an aluminium black heatsink,the relais,a processor(under the relais),a piece of copper from a transformer,a hexagonal piece from a cd player and a very decorative part from a video-head(in the middle of the hexagon).

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I've been testing the two solarollers I built,but both of them don't seem to work.As luck would have it,the two motors I used need more than 3 volts to run.Also I'm having some trouble with the new solarcells I got,the output is very low and definately not enough to power a solaroller.
The good news is that the sundancer circuit I built a few days ago works.I have tested it with a 3 V buttoncell and it reacted wildly.So that will be one of the next projects.
I have also worked on the antique sewing machine and got the flywheel moving again.The next step seems a bit harder,getting the needle to move up and down again will be a challenge.
I might just leave it at that and focus on the repainting of the machine.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New solarollers

Yesterday and today I started building two more solarollers(and have ideas for many more...).One is built out of perforated metal from an oscilloscope and quite large.The other one is much smaller and was very quickly built because the motor and flywheel were already mounted on a very useful frame.
All I needed to do was to add some wheels,the Miller SE(not yet done that)and a few things to make it look a bit better.
As for the idea's,these are a few of them:a spider solaroller,one that is very tall,one that looks like a dragracer and a four-wheeler.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Headbots giving me headaches....

I've abandoned the two headbots I was building for now because I can't get them to work.One was more or less an experiment to see if I could use just a regular motor to make one.But that didn't work.The other one is not functioning either,only with 9 volts there is some life.Nine volts,however,is too much for the 74ac240 chip.
So I've salvaged one of the bicore circuits and remade it into a pummer circuit(although that need some troubleshooting too).
The solarcells I got last week seem to have a problem with them(or the problem is me....).All in all not a particularly good weekend when it came to building.

Monday, September 08, 2008

New BEAM bot in the making

I'm finally building another BEAM bot.After the symets,pummers,magbot pendulums and solarollers I'm trying my hand at a bicore headbot.This is basically a fixed robot-head that follows a light or,what seems to be the case in my one,a dark object.
The circuit is pretty straightforward,I think the mechanical part is the hardest in this BEAM bot.
I'm making it out of an old cassette player mechanism,but the next one will be just the motor.Much easier to balance.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Adventures in etching I

From one of the members of The Steampunk forum I got the instructions for etching metal.It is a very simple process:put half a cup of salt in water(I used about 500 ml),get a battery(or batteries)or a solarcell,use some clips,put a nail or screw on the - cable and put the material you want etched on the + cable.
Of course you have to cover the part you don't want etched with tape(or something else that can be removed easily).
The results I got so far are mixed:a piece of iron worked pretty good,copper not so good(but that might have been the particular kind I used) and aluminium gave some interesting pitting.
Next test I'll up the voltage,maybe even to 12 volts........

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adventures in electroplating

From Instructables I got the steps to start electroplating.It really is a very simple process:
  1. Get some vinegar and put it in a glass or plastic container.
  2. Take one ,new ,or two used batteries.Old weak ones are ideal(they have no use anymore anyway).
  3. Get two alligator-clips,attach them to the battery(batteries).
  4. Put a piece of copper(or a coin containing copper)on the + wire.Make sure the clip itself is not in the vinegar.Put another piece of copper on the - wire.Let it stand for a few hours.
  5. After the vinegar gets a greenish tint,replace the copper on the - wire with the item you want plated.It should take about 30 minutes to get a good layer of copper.
  6. Take the item out,let it dry.Give it a clear varnish for protection.

I'm still testing different pieces of steel and iron to see what gives the best result.So far I have one piece that met my expectations,others turned blackish.
Edit September 21st:the photo above shows some of the results I got,two springs electroplated,one not.
Here is the link to the Instructables page.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another restoration project

Last weekend and the one before that I bought these two amperemeters(with a number of other meters)that were very cheap.The reason being that they are in a pretty bad condition:dirty,rusty and one of them has a cracked glass panel.This is easily replaced though.
The order of the restoration process will be:
-remove the rust
-clean them
-repaint them
-replace the glass
A nice project to add to the growing list of future projects.....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Artists that I admire I :Jos de Vink

A member of The Steampunk forum has made this wonderful machine called Machine nr8 ,"Robinson motor".It is based on a design from 1889.On his
website many more of these Stirling engines can be found most of which run on a single tea light(candle).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Restoration project

This weekend was the last time I could use my (company)car to pick up free things.But the very last addition to my orphanage of electrical and non-electrical devices is also one of the best ones.
Or will be,because now it is very rusted and in dire need of cleaning.
It is another sewing machine,my eight,or to be more precise: a shoemakers sewing machine.
I don't now what brand it is,or in which year it was made.But it looks a bit 19th century to me.
On the side it says:"patent elastic",I assume to refers to the driving belt.
Many hours of removing rust lay ahead and then some repainting.A nice project for the summer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun with VU-meters

Sometimes I salvage quite a few of the same type of parts and then start looking for a project to put them in.That's what I did with the counters.From the same type of devices come VU-meters,commonly found in audio-equipment.
I was looking for a way to make the needle move and thanks a member of the Steampunk-forum I found one.A real simple one it is too,but it didn't cross my mind.
The most simple way is to wire the VU-meter to a flashing-led(through a resistor);the needle will then move as the led flashes.
This works better with some VU-meters than others and sometimes it moves just a little.
The other way is to build a 555-circuit,then wire the meter to the LED.Or you can leave out the LED altogether but it is always good to have a BLIFNAR in your project.
Now all I need to do is find a good way to mount a lot of VU-meters together.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

turning vacuum cleaners into....

Last weekend I got this two vintage vacuumcleaners which,I think,have great potential.I really like their shapes,and the handle on the one in the second picture.Not sure what they'll end up as.I was thinking the electrolux one (in the 2nd photo) could be turned into some kind of carrying case......

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Yesterday I went to the birthplace of Philips(Eindhoven that is) to pick up an item I ordered from a charity shop.It is a box with glass test tubes,I guess about 50 of them.Very usefull for future projects like lights and The Poisoners Project.
Of course I had a good look around while I was there and left with the following items:
-copper vessel
-brass pipe
-copper sprayer(broken,but the sprayer part can be used to make a syringe)
-another copper bowl(possible use as part of a bicycle light)
-copper "thing" (The English name has escaped me)
-glass part for an oil lamp
-the glass test tubes
and last but not least a string of bullet casings

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Or in other words :the end of a Nespresso coffeemaker which wasn't working properly anymore.......I was hoping that I could use the waterpump for a future project but that turned out to be a bit too difficult.I did salvage a few useful parts like the tubes and some LEDS.

In the meantime I've managed to built a working flashing LED circuit(yes very impressive),one with a CDS resistor and a combination of those two.I know people experienced in electronics will probably shake their heads but it is my first circuit using a 555 so I was well pleased........

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Artists who inspire me III

This time it's not so much inspiration,as admiration.A few days ago while reading this
blog I noticed the link to the site of William Dubin.This Los Angeles born artist builds miniature steam-machines that run on...............electricity.His site features many beautiful made machines.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Catching up

It has been too long since I wrote something for this blog,over a month.In that period of time I went on holiday in the US again and brought back a few breadboards.
These last days these I've been working with those trying to make a simple LED flasher circuit.But I have to shamefully admit it hasn't done any flashing yet.I guess FLED's were designed for people like me.
The other project I'm working on is slowly progressing,I'm still gathering materials for it.On the look out now for a large copper pot or vessel but no luck as of yet.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Another new project

Finally I started to build something which has a Steampunkish feel to it.What it'll be called I don't know yet.But it is going to be part of the Poisoner Project.As with most of my projects I want this to be a working one and not just a decorative object.So inside there'll be a small pump which sits in a small tank and transports a fluid which then should come out of the copper pipe under the volt-meter.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Latest project

This is my latest project:a tower made out of HMPE plastics.A little bit different from my usual builds this one doesn't use any recycled materials(yet).How tall it'll be I don't know yet,I just started building and will see where it ends.Neither do I know what the finished project will look like,it probably will have led lighting and am thinking of making an elevator inside.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New work

Finally you might think.Something new emerges out of all the hundreds of parts .In this case it was a relatively simple project:I had all these counters from audio equipment and wanted to do something with them.And here it is:

The only small difficulty I had was with the motor and the driving-belt.
I still have a lot of counters left so part II of this project will surely follow.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Little update

You might think nothing much is happening right now.That is a little bit true on the building part.But the last week I've set up my workshop outside on account of the beautiful weather we have.
The old radio's I picked up awhile ago are almost taken apart.I think I keep two in one piece hoping that,one day,they'll playing again.Others I use for the parts,of some I'll use the wooden case for future projects.
A few days ago I picked about ten videorecorders,both the 2000 and the VHS system,just when I thought I was done with videorecorders.....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The steam energy festival in Almere

Yesterday I visited the Steam Energy festival in Almere(The Netherlands)after a tip from a steampunk forum member.As the name says all kinds of steam driven devices were there,from small to very big.Engines,pumps,agricultural equipment,but also vintage trucks some stands with interesting things to buy and even the Marines.
I didn't manage to leave without buying something:3 old pressure gauges.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sewing machines yet again

I seem to collect vintage sewing machines like a dog gets fleas these days.Last week I got the Phoenix and today I picked up no less than 5 sewing machines....
Well,one of those is really only the cast iron stand(and a repaired one at that).Two are sewing machines in cabinets,one a Mundlos,the other an Adler.
The Mundlos will now function as a TV stand,the Adler: I'm not sure yet what to do with it.It is not particularly nice(probably 1950's).
Then there are two sewing machines in very bad state:an Anker with a wooden base(and that is really the best part of it)and a Durkopp,in a slightly better condition.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Singer.....

This is the latest sewing machine I acquired:A Singer 29K series,(sn EB 612310) from 1937.Apparently these machines are still being produced today,proof of their reliability.
I (with the help of the owner)had to carry it (in two parts)down three flight of steps,not an easy task when you know the total weight is 165 lbs or about 75 kgs!
Yesterday I got yet another sewing machine:a Phoenix ,which means I now have 6 sewing machines.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tesla t 805 a TV/radio combi

This is my latest addition to my orphanage of vintage electronic devices.The Czechoslovakian Tesla t 805a TV/radio combi,from(I guess) the 1960's.Complete with decades of dust and in a pretty bad state.So it'll be taken a part for useful parts and the housing donated to the recycling center.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Out with the old and in with the......old

The past few days I have been very busy with sorting out the 1000's of nuts,bolts,washers etc laying around in various places.So hopefully finding the right bolt is going to be easy from now on.
Also I made a few trips to the recycling center,took apart some equipment...making my shed a little emptier.But not for long though,I picked up 10 old radio's from the 1950-60's mostly for parts.Because there is something very sad about an empty shed......
More over those radio's in a next post.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

clocks part II

After a few hours of dismantling the clocks I salvaged these parts(just a selection though).There are:
-the housings
-gears and cogs
-various metal parts
-a few movements which still work
-plastic and glass covers.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Chopper solaroller takes prize

In February I posted a picture of one my projects:the Chopper Solaroller,which I was pretty pleased about.Last month it was one of the prize winners in the Make Flickr pool contest.I forgot all about it....but it got me a 6 month Flickr-pro account.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

clocks or clox

Just came back from a trip to the US with a bag full of clocks which I won on Ebay.
I can only imagine what the customsperson was thinking when she inspected my bag!There are 13 in total,bought mainly for parts since there are only 2 or 3 that actually work.Of those 13,11 are made by Westclox and they are all different.
So I think my knowledge of Westclox clocks will rise dramatically(at this moment it is practically zero).
In the next posts I'll write about my adventures in Cloxland.......First here's the cast of characters:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Favourite blogs

One of my main interests is the Victorian era and especially the science part of it.I also like to bring that back in my projects sometimes and I'm very glad to find out that I'm not the only one.There's even a term for it:"Steampunk".
Two of my favourite blogs are these:

Brass goggles
and The Steampunk home

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Remington 12

In a previous post I wrote that more typewriters would follow and here is the proof.I actually paid for this one(shock)but only about $7.00 or so.It is,yet again,a Remington.There is a mechanical problem and a lot of the lettering and decals are gone,but for that price......
It's from about the same time period as my first Remington(1920's).
A week later I got another Remington,this one from the 1950's and in good condition and full working order.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Artists that inspire me,part II

Awhile ago i wrote about Jean Tinguely's work and how that was one of my inspirations.Another one is Stephane Halleux who creates characters,vehicles,robots and animals from recycled antique parts and other materials.
His designs have been described as a combination of Tim Burton and Jules Verne,but is of course also very steampunkish.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

chopper solaroller

I like to get my inspiration for building different projects from a wide variety of sources.In this case this solaroller chopper is inspired by .......choppers(obviously).I'm quite pleased the way it turned out.While it isn't going to win any prizes in solaroller competitions(it is very slow) it looks good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

inspired by Tinguely

This small Tinguelesque machine I built is the first one inspired by that great artist.Obviously I don't have the room to build one on his scale,but the principles stay the same.Have been working on another machine,but that one didn't work out the way I wanted so that's been shelved.
Now building one that might not be in the Tinguely style when it comes to making noise but you never know what it will look like until you're finished.

Friday, February 08, 2008


This snail-machine I made especially for an art competition for one of the snail-forums I'm a member of.Sometimes two of your interests meet and this is a good example of it.The shell is from one of my deceased Archachatina marginata's,it's glued on an acrylic frame with gears from old printers(I think),some old lights,various parts from circuit boards,tentacles made out of copper wire and the "exaust pipes" are brass parts from old VCR's)if I remember correctly).

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saved by the pinguin

I haven't posted an entry in this blog for a week or so because of serious computer problems.Fortunately I had an old Linux CD laying around which enabled me to get online.I tried reinstalling Windows XP but somehow I can't get online again,so Linux it is now.
In the meantime I discovered these things:
-even after your first freeformed solar-engine circuit works doesn't mean another one will.
-supercaps on my solarollers don't work......
-you can never have enough solar cells....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A visit to the Jean Tinguely exposition

A few artists inspire me,you can call them kindred spirits in a way.One of them is the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely,so I was delighted when there was an exposition of his works in Rotterdam.
He is best known for his sculptures made out of junk and scrap parts,which move at certain times and sometimes make sounds.
I was also pleased to see it drew many people of all ages.Of course children are always fascinated by colourful machines that move and make sounds.
It left the exposition inspired and with many new ideas,luckily I have lots of parts I kept and can be used to make something Tinguelyesque.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

3 in 1 ......

This Toshiba dates back from the 70's or 80's and gives a whole new meaning to the term 3-in-1 stereosystem.It's as if the designer(s) thought:"how can we make a 3-in-1 music system that looks like one?".Well,simply:make a frame,dump a record-player in it,slap a cassette recorder next to it,then add a frontpanel that shows a start of what could have been something nice.
They didn't take the effort to make the record-player lid cover the whole machine,like the people in Eindhoven,The Netherlands would do.No,why try to make it look like a unit?
Anyway,this device has now been put out of it's misery,the parts undoubtedly to be reincarnated in something I'll build in the future.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

And now for something completely different...

Or:a new addition to my museum of miscellaneous devices.In this case a mid 1920's typewriter.The Remington Smith Premier 10A,with it's separate keys for the capitals!
It's still working pretty good after more than 80 years,only needs a new ribbon.
For some reason I'm very interested in vintage typewriters lately.So more of them are likely to follow.And as a matter of fact,with this one came another typewriter:a 1950's Olympia.That one needs some work,as the keys only reach halfway when you hit them.