Steampunk Computer build thread

Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

August 20th, 2018, 6:36 pm #1

Always wanted to build a steam-punk type computer. The aesthetic just appeals to me. Plenty of reference material online.  I've been collecting components for a few years and am finally ready to start laying track.

So the idea is to make it fully water-cooled (plumbed in mostly copper, of course) and have as many cool dials and widgets as possible but functional, I'm just just going to bolt a gear to the side and thread a gauge into it and say "look steampunk" to me that's a bit of a cop-out to the genre.

I intend to build the entire thing from scratch, not intending to mod an existing case.

here is some sample art and a few mock-ups I've done, I'll post more as things are finalized.

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The overall form is still a work-in-progress, nothing is "bolted in" yet. The Black-And-White monitor will be functional, and displayed from a RaspberryPi daughter board

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The switches are not going to have exposed 120VAC don't worry. I will probably have them switch relays or something, or just be logic-level enables

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it's not steampunk unless there is a cool nixie-tube display. This will probably show coolant temperature or time or something
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Playing with component placings

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Such a cool water pump I had to incorporate it
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All-copper radiator
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I can actually cause these needles to deflect, will probably show system temperature or flow rate or something

Lots more images coming, I've only shown about 1/2 of the stuff I have, but I need to get my head around a bit more for display purposes.

look ahead though, I've got one of these on order: 

-Curt
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 20th, 2018, 7:00 pm #2

Noice!

One thing you can't forget, although you might have to custom-make for that angled front fascia, is corner trim. Something like this or this.

With a little work with a coping saw, some 0.030" brass sheet and a small improvised brake, you could make a brass strip to cover that front fascia seam too.

And, of course, you can use sheet brass, etched like you were making a circuit board, to make switch labels- which naturally will have to say things like AUTO-VITUPERATOR and PHLOGISTON EMULSIFIER. 😁

Doc.
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

August 20th, 2018, 7:15 pm #3

Yes I have been looking for an inexpensive way to do cool corners and decorative plates. My working title is the: Automatic Gearless Transluminator but I've been kicking around "Self-Winding Mini-Colossus" or even "Transluminal Automat"
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 20th, 2018, 7:31 pm #4

"Automatic Aetheric Transluminator". 😁

Doc.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

August 20th, 2018, 7:59 pm #5

tcurt wrote: ...bolt a gear to the side and thread a gauge into it and say "look steampunk" to me that's a bit of a cop-out to the genre.
Bless you M'lord! It does this old flux-encrusted heart good to see the old traditions upheld.

I tend toward clock dials vs. Nixie tubes for steampunk. (They're more of a Cold War thing to me, as are Magic Eye tubes.) But Nixies are just too darned cool to not use, so have at it! (Where did you get them, if you don't mind me asking?)

It never would have occurred to me to use a Galileo thermometer. That's brilliant. That aircraft(?) fuel guage is a nice touch too.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: August 20th, 2018, 6:23 pm

August 20th, 2018, 8:01 pm #6

https://www.tayloredge.com/storefront/SmartNixie/ makes modular nixie tube displays. I use one of his power supplies as well and it works great, just communicate with the boards via I2C and no fuss no muss.
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Joined: October 6th, 2014, 7:12 pm

August 20th, 2018, 9:40 pm #7

"Nixie tubes" on a Steampunk build?

Right -- time to break out The Instructional Video :) :

....
CF

"The right tool for the right job." [Anon.]
"Any tool can be the Right Tool." [Red Green]
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

August 20th, 2018, 10:19 pm #8

tcurt wrote: https://www.tayloredge.com/storefront/SmartNixie/ makes modular nixie tube displays. I use one of his power supplies as well and it works great, just communicate with the boards via I2C and no fuss no muss.
Thanks! Their prices seem pretty reasonable.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: March 6th, 2018, 8:17 am

August 21st, 2018, 12:07 am #9

Now that's what a computer should look like. Might need a Jacob's Ladder to put it properly over the top if you want to go overboard.
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Joined: January 20th, 2016, 3:38 pm

August 21st, 2018, 5:58 am #10

csadn wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 9:40 pm
"Nixie tubes" on a Steampunk build?

Right -- time to break out The Instructional Video :) :
Because a cathode ray tube just screams 19th century, doesn't it? A functional computer build is going to need some allowances, otherwise it'll have to use this as a monitor.

Not that a difference engine wouldn't be a totally cool addition, mind you.
Knowledge is not as simple as having the right answers. Knowledge is a way of finding them.
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