Monday, December 28, 2009

A final post.....

Well not really....but of the year I reckon.
I was planning for awhile to make a windmill-soundmachine,but the end result is not what the first idea was.Originally I had planned for metal pieces to be attached to the windmill which then would hit objects hanging around the windmill.
But I thought there wasn't enough space in my garden to set this up.So,instead,I opted for mounting both on the windmill.Although the metal pieces are now hard disk platters with aluminium rings hanging next to them.
So basically it's a rotating wind chime ......

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Siemens Superstar

I love windturbines and I love LEDS so a combination of those two is a fantastic thing.Artist Michael Pendry designed an art piece using a windturbine and 9000 LEDS near Munich,Germany.Together with the good people of Siemens he made it work.

The windturbine can be seen in this state till January 6th 2010.More information on the Siemens website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Found objects I -an update

I almost finished the project I used the light assembly in.That is ,everything except for the solar cell.Normally I build the circuit first and then the rest.But this time it worked out to be the other way around.

It'll be,surprisingly,another pummer.And then after that another one will follow,but that one will be a bit different.But more about that later.
The circuit is,once again,Wilf's improved one with a 33K resistor instead of the 47K,and a single red high intensity LED.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Found objects I

Yesterday on my way to the supermarket I found this interesting looking light assembly laying along side the road:

Which can be used for a wide variety of things,the most obvious some kind of light sculpture.Unfortunately the glass is cracked,but thick enough so that it still stays in place.Today I started on a project using this object.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Pummer nearing completion......

And that should end this Pummer building extragavanza for now.In this one I used an electroplated steel base,an electroplated spring,lightbulb and copper tube.
The circuit is the "old" one with a purple LED.

Sunday, December 06, 2009



Or Pummer Building Spree,which is what seems to happen now.I'm building three at the same time:one is with a spring and lightbulb,another one is with a porcelain insulator,copper tube and brass nut and the odd one out is a robot holding a lightbulb.
After these I'll probably build two more and then move on to something different.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New pummer,new solaroller (WIP)

I just (well a couple of days ago)made a new pummer.My first one with the improved circuit by Wilf Rigter.I made a few changes though:
the 1 uF capacitors are now 2.2 uF,the 1000 uF capacitor is 6800 uF,the 10K resistor near the LEDS is now 1K,the 47K resistor became a 33K one and it is a single LED Pummer.
The most noticeable thing about this pummer is the very large capacitor which is also part of the body.
I haven't attached the solarcell yet.
Then,a new Solaroller and another first:my first direct driven one instead of belt driven.And also the smallest one I built to date.The circuit is a 1381 freeformed one,the body came from a recordplayer-stylus case.The solarcell is missing here as well.

The new Pummer with the improved circuit by Wilf Rigter and some changes by me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New uses for old circuits.......but not as intended

After testing the Pummer circuit in a Solaroller I now know why you don't see them:because it doesn't work.What happens is that the Solaroller moves forwards and backwards with each "pumm",and while this makes for interesting behaviour it won't win you any Solaroller contests.
So,I'm keeping the one,already finished,one but added a LED which doesn't pumm but flashes,making a mobile LED flasher.
The others will be finished with the normal solar-engine circuits.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New uses for old circuits

This last weekend I had a revelation......(scary)It occured to me,while I was building a Pummer circuit,that the circuit could also be used for other non-LED projects.Like movement(probably done before)and in a Solaroller(maybe not done before).
So I started making three Solarollers with Pummer circuits,each with a different capacitor and one or two of them will be using Wilf Rigters improved Pummer circuit.
Now all we need is some sun.........

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Changing rooms...... III

The big project is finished(or has been since a few days)and I have finished a smaller project as well:the industrial looking one with a valve and gauge.
The valve I found at work,the gauge came from my favourite antique place,add to that some copper pipe,old brass fittings and various metal pieces I saved in the past.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Changing rooms......status report

Despite still having the pesky flu(Mexican or not),the project still goes on albeit slowly.The status is althus: the shelving units are in their place with most of the things on the shelves.The workdesk has also been moved.
That's all really,but if I wanted I could start painting the wall in the new bedroom.......maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Changing rooms...... next big project.Not a build this time but a switch of rooms:my bed/computer room will become the workshop/computerroom and the workshop will be the bedroom.
This is moving a slow pace:am still fighting my cold and I'll also take the opportunity to sort out the various junk/part boxes.......

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time flies.....

......when you're building lamps,or at least parts of them.I've been busy putting together some lamp bases and even parts of lamp bases.Also made some pummer circuits(yes those again)and am now building another pummer(and more to follow).
But as of now I joined the ranks of sick people,so building will proceed at a slow pace.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dual pummer

As mentioned in the previous post:the brass and copper dual pummer.Again of very simple design.The shadow shows the bend at the top(have to take another photo which shows that more clearly later).
Next project(and already on the workbench)a copper and brass lamp with a blue LED and probably of more elaborate design.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First lamp

A bit of a departure from the shipbuilding,a little side project:a copper and brass lamp.Made from some brass fittings,copper tube and two lamps with green LEDS in them.
I don't really like that very polished copper look,prefer patina and a weathered look.
The next project will probably be a dual copper and brass pummer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cardboard models.......part II

In the beginning of August I wrote about the cardboard models from this site.Since then(or just recently tbh) I've built some:the oilpump,steam engine,experimental glider and coinbank.The first one works fine,the second one works mechanically fine but not with the balloon(probably some airleaks),the third one needs some....experimentation and the last one works almost fine(but sometimes with some help).
The coinbank looks like an interesting project to make in metal and I'm planning on making an oilpump from metal as well.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Clyde putt-putt puffer

Well,here she is,almost finished,the Clyde putt-putt puffer with an,as of yet,untested engine.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Some updates.....

It's already been a week since the last post,so here's some updates:
-the wooden shoe boat didn't quite work,I think the engine was mounted too vertically.So I used that on other boat.
-the ship I was(am)building out of the soya oil can is nearing completion.It is roughly based on a Clyde Puffer

-I've been testing different(coil)engines.Including one which is just a straight tube closed at one end,thinking:"surely it can't be this simple."But it worked!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's hammer time......

This past weekend (and the weekend before that)I got some cooking oil cans which will provide plenty of material for the next projects.I immediately started on another ship made from the
edges of one of those cans.
And I almost finished the ironclad which needed some extra flotation because all that steel makes for a pretty heavy ship(the next ironclad will probably be made out of wood and aluminium).
Also I made a wooden shoe boat,which was very quickly made:just drilled some holes for the coil engine,put the small candle in with stand and it was finished.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

building pop-pop boat engines

I've been(and am)making a few of the soda/beer can pop-pop engines,and have just tested them for leaks.Unavoidably there are leaks around where the straws are attached to the metal and some on the edges.But it's an easy fix though.
Also I'm in the process of making three brass coil engines,one with just one winding,the other with two.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hans Christian Ørsted's birthday.......

Is today.And Google had another very nice doodle:

Ørsted takes the credit for first producing aluminium out of aluminium-chloride,one of my favourite materials.And he also proved that electric current sets up magnetic fields

Friday, August 14, 2009

Next project:Ironclads

I've finished the balloon car,which was basically something I threw together pretty quickly.It does work,but doesn't go very fast or far because of the weight.The next one should work better.
But that's for another time as I'm now concentrating on building the next ship:an ironclad.
I did some research which was very interesting,looking at shapes and measurements.
The base(of the first one) is wood and the engine will be a coil,there's not enough space for a soda-can engine.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of boats with floaties and a balloon car

I just finished building the first boat with a more conventional hull.The hull itself is made of aluminium of an old light fixture and already had a nice curve in it.All I had to do was fold it over,rivet it together and cut it into shape.Then make a stern and glue the Rohacell inside.
All this made the boat very lightweight,which caused some problems later......
The rudder was very easy made and one of the best parts of this boat I think.
When I tested the boat I found out that it sits very low in the water,not a bad thing,but also that it wanted to capsize(especially with the windguard on),a very bad thing.
So in the end I had to make some "floaties" to prevent this from happening.
In a change from the boat building I started on a balloon car,which is coming along nicely.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cardboard models.......

Via the great people at The Steampunk forum I found this site which has some great cardboard models including a steam-engine,oilpump,vintage truck and coinbank.
I'm thinking about using the plans not with cardboard but metal,or a combination of those.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Building a submarine.....but making a cargo-ship....

I'm building a submarine....or something that was supposed to be one,but the end result will probably be more like a cargo-ship.Anyway,it is/was an interesting little project.
Started out with my favourite Rohacell foam,then folded aluminium strips from old lighting fixtures around the ship,riveted them together,the upper part is an old piece of aluminium from an fishtank.To keep the shape I rivited more aluminium strips on it.
The commandotower is made out of two pieces of aluminium from a vintage radio.
The engine is a copper coil made from an old temperature gauge.Then there are some perforated pieces of aluminium rivited on the tower.
And started straight away on the next boat,the hull of which is made from ...yes,that material again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My new favourite material this modelers foam I got from my workplace:Rohacell.Very light weight,easy to work with and good drillability (is that even a word?)I think it'll be excellent to make the bottoms of the ships from(saves me a lot of soldering/epoxy-ing).
I've used it already in combination with some aluminium strips to make a hull quickly.
Also I've tested again the coil-engines I made and they now seem to function.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Copper coils

Today I continued making and testing the coils.I heard while I was cutting through the copper tubing from the temperature gauge the sound of gas escaping.....(didn't thought of that...)and also saw that inside the tubing was a brass wire.That basically made that tubing useless for it's purpose...but am sure I'll find another use for it.
I tested another coil,but that didn't work either,either the temperature wasn't high enough or the shape of the tubing.
Also I annealed and bended some aluminium tubing(from an antenna) the 4 mm diameter coiled really nicely,the wider parts are only good for making bends.

hunting for parts.......

Always a good excuse:going to second-hand/antique shops because you need parts for a project.This is what I got today:
-a small model of a waterpump,I think it will be excellent to use in a steam engine.
-a stand for a candle,always useful.
-two wicks,equally so.
-one pot,could be used as a boiler for the steam engine.
-a plant mister,idem.
-5 ladles,very lightweight,I'm thinking anemometer type of thing....
-one candle-extinguisher

Also in another(my favourite)shop:two miniature bottles,and a temperature gauge,basically for the copper tubing that is part of it.

And I got 3 pieces of 1/8" copper tubing,so I can now make a pop-pop boat which has a coil.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

of boat designing and golf watching...

I finally finished my first pop-pop boat,it is not much to look but is more meant to be a test subject.Originally the straws were exiting from the bottom of the boat,but I had quite a problem with making it watertight.
So I changed that and now they are exiting from the stern.After a quick test run I found out that the "engine" works but sounds slightly asthmatic.
While I watched The British Open today(congratulations to Mr.Cink) I drew a few more boat plans.One of them which involves a boat on ski's.......
Edit:In the photo are actually two more boats I've built later.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

pop-pop boat building

As I wrote in my last post:my research into simple steam-engines let me into the wonderful world of the pop-pop boat.Since then I made a couple of boilers,and am now working on a boat to put one of them in.
Since this is my first boat made from scrap metal,this is a simple design,basically a hull.
More about these boats on this excellent site.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy birthday,Mr.Tesla

Today,in 1856,one of the greatest inventors was born,Nikola Tesla.And the good folks at Google honoured this fact.Kudos to them!:

And now for something completely different:The simple steam engine project:I'm still researching and tinkering with some parts.While I was doing this(researching) I stumbled onto the classic toy that is the pop-pop boat.
Very simple to make,so guess what my next project will be?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blowing off steam.....

Or ......starting to build a steam engine of sorts.Lately I've been reading up on steam engines.The Cornell University College of Engineering has a great collecting of e-books.One of my favourites is:The history of the growth of the steam engine by Robert Thurston,published in 1902.
From that followed an idea for a new project:the making of a steam engine.I've started doing some tests,seeing which vessel is best for heating the water etc....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A little update

Actually,there's not much to update......Just got back from another trip to the US,got some supplies from Newark(the company)and a book about Nikola Tesla for fathersday.
Right now it is really too hot to do much tinkering so I'm reading The boy mechanic(book I ,I think).

Friday, June 12, 2009

New waterwheel

For The Gentlemans Challenge # 3 from The Steampunk Forum I've created this waterwheel(which could work as a windwheel too in a more open location).
It's made out of a ATB bike's rearwheel,luggagerack from another bicycle,plantpot stand,aluminium sample sheet,aluminium duct parts,and some copper wire.
The water flows into a terracotta dish with gravel.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Yes another pummer....this time it's not made using a record player arm.But with a part I just bought last week.A rare occasion indeed,usually I buy things,put them away and then after a couple months or even a year they find their way into a project.
Parts used:the base is a brass plant mister,the long blue part comes off a trophy,the top part is the blue bottle I bought last week,on top of that is a glass piece off an old lightbulb and the crown is a brass piece from an old videorecorder.
The LED is white.

Monday, June 01, 2009

More loot......

Yesterday was another very pleasant one spent at my local Emmaus.Got a few items:
one small blue bottle,a dish made out of zinc,a ball shaped glass vase,a small glass part from an old (oil) lamp,an metal rodent excercise wheel(incomplete) and 3 ladles.
And also yesterday I found two abandoned bicycles just a stones throw from my house.
I haven't made anything this past week,for a change I took some things apart again,but I have plans or a few projects.And then there's The Gentleman's challenge from The Steampunk Forum.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Artists that I admire(part..)

I forgot which part this is,I guess 5 or so.Via the Darkroastedblend blog I stumbled upon this artist: Andrew Smith who makes wonderful kinetic art,figurative sculptures and rolling ball machines.

One of Andrew Smiths kinetic pieces,which bears a striking resemblance to some of Jean Tinguely's work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Naked pummer

Naked as in showing all the components that is.I have a lot of vintage components laying around,many of them still working after 50 years or so.Of course being so old they are very large compared with their modern counterparts.
So,rather than hiding them,I decided to show them.And here is the first pummer with all the parts hanging out.
There will be more of these kind of pummers to follow.........

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pummers ,the sequel

In the last week or so I've got the pummer bug again(well it's better than the Mexican flu),and began building them or changing existing ones.
One was actually a 555 flasher (record player type)and is now a blue LED pummer,another one was just a converted solar garden light circuit and will be a dual pummer.
The third one [i]is[/i] a new one,and also a blue LED one,also a record player type.
A totally different one I built is an "underwater" pummer.Well,not really underwater,the LED is under a water filled test tube(that one needs some trouble shooting).
More pummers in progress:One with a block of plexi-glas,another "underwater"one and then I've got about 6 record player arms which I could use......

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Weekend loot

Yesterday I went to the local second hand place(called Kringloop here)and left with these items:
2 chrome-plated bottle holders(I liked the look of them but don't know yet how to use them in a project)
1 glass candlestick(probably to be used in a pummer)
2 lab glassware items
1 glass ball(it's actually some kind of designer vase)
1 copper plant holder

These past few days I've been building some circuits,but had trouble with some.And I've been playing with a gastorch to see what all I can do with it,for example:making dents in a light bulb,melting glass,setting fire to a block of plexiglas(but the result was less than satisfactory).....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New pummers.........

I just can't stop building pummers,keep coming up with new ideas.The last one will be one using a blue led which illuminates a test-tube filled with water and a water filled hollowed out lightbulb.
And I think I came up with a new version of the BEP pummer circuit,which hasn't got any capacitors on pin 3 and 4,and 17 and 16.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

LED flashing circuits...

These past few days I found out that I seem to be unable to build a LED chaser circuit with a 4017 and 555 IC.So I've resorted to making smaller circuits using transistors.For my purpose a random flashing circuit probably works better than one that uses a 4017 IC(I wanted to make a LED "plant").

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Updates and new projects

I've just returned from another visit to the US,so these past weeks not much tinkering has been done.But I did buy the latest edition of Make magazine which is a great one.One idea that caught my eye was the wind-light by Morten Skogly,but the original idea comes from a team of Japanese designers.
So that will be one of my next projects.
Of course,first I'll be finishing my second head-bot,which design has been changed slightly:the table leg construction didn't work really so this one follows the same design as the first one.
I've also bought a few supplies and can now build a led chaser.......

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Building another headbot

After the(moderate)success of my first headbot,I'm now building another one.This one,however,is a more conventional one.
The base is a piece from an old chair leg.Right now I'm not sure if the circuit will be a bicore or another type.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Headbots reprise

Last year I made a first attempt at making headbots but the results weren't good.I still want to build some though so here it goes again.After testing the circuit on the breadboard and finding out that it worked I've now soldered it together and working on the mechanical part.
This one will be a bit different in that the motor,batteries and most of the electronics are not located on the part that moves around.Hopefully this makes for a head that spins more easily.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Last year I started working on a project with a bicycle wheel,but abandoned that because it wasn't going the way I wanted it.This weekend I took it off the "unfinished projects" shelf again and decided to turn it into a waterwheel.
The wooden base was exchanged for one that will last longer outside.
I attached five soda cans with tie-wraps,when it rains one will fill up,making it heavier and then the weight will make the wheel turn(or at least that is the idea).

Thursday, March 05, 2009

First automaton finished

Today I finished my first,real,automaton.In general I'm pleased with it:the mechanism works like it should(but the shaft that goes up and down should've been constructed differently,in hindsight),the robot looks good(I think),so do the bugs.I didn't worked out completely the way I wanted it.My idea was to have the bug on the up and down shaft dodge the net just as the robot was passing.
Guess that'll be a lesson learnt for the next automaton.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Automata for the people*

As I wrote in a previous post,I've been looking at at automata for the past few days.And this weekend I've started my first one.Although you could say that the two Tinguelyesque machines I made are automata in a way too.
But this is a hand cranked, small,simple one to start with.The mechanism simply makes one shaft rotate and another one go up and down.After a bit of tinkering it now works as it should and I can commence building the figures which go on the shafts.
Because I'm not good at making human like figures,they will be robots.The idea I have(for now)is this:a robot with a net trying to catch some flying creatures........
In the meantime you can look at one automata making artist I really like:Gina Kamentsky

*a play on words:R.E.M. fans will get this....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New pummer finished

Even though I said awhile ago I wouldn't build any pummers for some time,here's another one.
I had a half finished circuit laying around so used that.Again I made it with a light bulb.
Two pieces of copper screwed together formed the basis,with a bigger steel part that I copper plated.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

BEAM robots and other junkbots on Makezine tv

The excellent Makezine TV shows this week how to make some Junkbots like a solaroller and beetlebot.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update on the projects

That little problem I had in the last post is now rectified.I've built 3 timer circuits in the past days and working on two projects to put them in:the,already mentioned,robot(but I need an extra part because somebody let the radio valve slip and the glass broke) and a simple flasher(glass bulb on a aluminium motor housing.
Also I've been looking at automata,something what I'll focus on after these projects.And I found a new artist that I admire:Tom Haney.
He even has a work titled:Tinguely's dream:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New robot

Now that I've been testing and building the 555 timer circuits I also need a project to put them in.The first one will be some kind of robot made from:an enlarger part,the waterpump(?)from a espresso machine and a radio-tube.
On a side note:strangely enough after building successfully 2 timer circuits I seem now unable to make functioning ones.They work on the breadboard but after putting them together not anymore...hmm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tinkering with timercircuits

These past few days I've been playing around about with 555 timer circuits on a breadboard.I think that they will be a very nice substitute for the pummer circuit(even though they lack the very nice fade in-fade out effect),easier to build with less components.
I also tried the 555 circuit with bi-colored LEDs,ideally the color would change automatically but for now it has to be done through a manual switch.And I finally got blue LEDs,so the next project will be with one of those.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Finishing The Poisoners Project

Now that project 2009-01 is finished it is time to finish one of my other projects:The Poisoners Project.I had a unfinished wooden box laying around and decided to clad that in aluminium sheet.The piece I have came off the bottom of an old aquarium and due to the fact it was laying outside for awhile had a nice oxidized surface.
All I need to do now is test the fountain and find a place to put the whole set.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 finished

This weekend I finished project 2009-01(but for some small cosmetic work),which was a pleasure to build.Stress free and it turned out the way I wanted it.
I haven't got a new project planned yet,at the moment I'm cleaning the Pifco lantern.That one turns out to be very rusted(no wonder it stopped working),with the outer housing in some spots rusted through.
I've removed the bottom for easy access and after a thorough cleaning will convert it into a LED lantern.

Friday, January 30, 2009

More progress on the ........

This project is going slowly but it is not a frustrating build.I've changed the wiring because some people meant to place the LED's in series but placed them in parallel instead.....So having rectified that I also cleaned up the wiring and then went looking for a suitable voltage adapter.
The one I settled on is 24 Volt,I hooked that up to a 100K variable resistor then mounted a dial on the front of the housing and onto the resistor.
With the electrical stage finished I can now focus on making the bottom,lid and backpiece.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Progress on the ......

Yes,still no name for my latest project......This weekend I did a little bit more work on it:
wiring the LED's on the inside,those will be red.And attached the copper pipes and glass tubes on the outside and wiring the LED's,these will be green.
Also I continued work on the ATC's,and have two more to go now.And on saturday went to my favourite antique-shop in town and bought some bigger(than my current stock) lab-test tubes,small lightbulbs,a larger lightbulb,a Pifco (railroad?)lantern,one frosted lamp shade and a glass vessel.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jay Leno's garage

Most people only know Jay Leno as the witty talkshow host,but he also has a fantastic collection of cars.Of particular interest are the steampowered cars like the Doble,White and the one featured in this clip:the 1909 Model R Stanley Steamer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jake von Slatt on Make tv

One of the most well known Steampunk artists must be Jake von Slatt.Makezine tv just had a great episode,showing him at his workshop creating more wonderful things.The other episodes are well worth watching too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New project 2009-01

I've started on a new project yesterday,or at least gathered some parts for it and tinkered with them.
The base is a wooden housing from an old amplifier which has an interesting wire mesh part.Today I cut some pieces of wood to size,thats all I did to it really.
This is the general idea:the copper pipes with the glass tubes go together and will be lighted up with LEDS.Behind the mesh I'll put some radiotubes(probably)and that will also be lighted up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Working on my website

These past few days I've done precious little tinkering but have photographed my sewing machines,typewriters and enlargers.I'll put the photo's on the new website with a short description of each device.
The website can of be found here.
Also I've started work on my ATC's(artist trading cards)for the Steampunk forum.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The first project of the new year

is actually not a new one at all but more the continuation of this project.So after about 6 months I picked up where I left it.Part II is the fountain part,I finally found a suitable basin.I inserted a piece of copper pipe inside the pump,then added a copper cup,and filled that with carbon filtering material.That'll help keep the water clean and adds some weight to keep the pump in place.
I will also put some rocks in for that purpose.
Now,ideally part I of this project would pump water from the basin and deliver that slowly to the poison bottle,but haven't gotten that far yet.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snail car

Sometimes some of my interests come together and produce brilliant results.In this case :snails and wonderful contraptions:

More info here