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Author Topic: Creating a steampunk pc - need help  (Read 10482 times)
Puppet Master
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« on: February 23, 2007, 05:23:54 pm »

I was inspired by these websites:
http://ironwork.jp/monkey_farm/computer/pc2.html
http://ironwork.jp/monkey_farm/computer/pc1.html
http://www.datamancer.net/projects/engine/engine.htm

So I thought why not make one of these myself.

So far the idea is to base the keyboard on monkey farms design, and use ideas for hiding the monitor from datamancer. Though at the same time introducing ideas of my own.

I am trying to find a corona typewriter of the same style on the monkey website, as it looks as though out of all the ones U have seen on ebay, would be the easiest to convert. Though the later corona 4 professional have more keys, I cant seem to find one.

So far I am wondering how to include the keys which are not present in either of these computers.

Which is the F keys, and others items like the windows keys.

One idea is use the handles that are present on organs etc. Another isto make a seperate section which includes the missing buttons, using the idea from the steampunk keyboard site, or even use an old phone. Though at the moment most of these ideas are up in the air, each one also having its own problems.

For the table I am going to use a sewing machine treadler table, as these I believe will be the best suited for a desk.
I am also trying to think of an idea to use the treadler peddle as an extra button for the pc. Though I am not to sure yet.

If anyone has any suggestions it will be greatly appreciated =)



EDIT:
Other websites found
http://www.streettech.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1509&mode=flat&order=0&thold=1
http://www.envador.com/cases/Dialup/
http://thrillingwonder.blogspot.com/2006/10/wooden-laptop-design-new-fad-from.html
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 06:52:26 pm by Puppet Master » Logged
Tinkergirl
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2007, 06:38:50 pm »

Hmm, an interesting and currently popular idea!

The non-typewriter keys have been handled by a few people in different ways - with Mr Von Slatt's custom-covered buttons for example.  I do like the idea of having organ handles, but I imagine they might be too far away from normal key operation, and might get annoying over time.  Personally, I'd be inclined to either custom convert some other keys (or buttons, if you take your inspiration from Mr Von Slatt) or perhaps create an angled board at the back (say, 110 degrees to the keyboard surface) and put some nice toggle switches (or rather, a switch that looks like a toggle switch, but requires you to maintain pressure to keep it 'on' - oh curse my lack of technical terms!).  That way, you could have a great many of them, and perhaps have some nice little brass engraved plates below each one to indicate its use?

Just an idea for your crucible.
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Datamancer
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 01:16:40 am »

Hello there. For my Computational Engine, I plan on building a small panel on either side of the keyboard to house the extra buttons. I actually have 2 of those Underwoods, identical model, so one of them is going to be scavenged for parts. Dont feel bad, Fedex already broke the parts machine on the way to my house. Take a look at the third thumbnail from the left on Andrew Leman's ElectriClerk for a similar idea. He made one panel off to the side, but im going to have one on each side, and the mouse is going to be a seperate unit (wireless mouse inside of a glass globe paperweight, like a trackball).
For further inspiration, be sure to check out the online Typewriter Museum. This might help you choose a model you want to start out with.
-~D~-
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 07:39:09 pm »

That gentleman from Japan has my FULL and UNDIVIDED attention.

Could you imagine a "net cafe" filled with machines of that nature, and looking like a Victorian Parlor?

I wonder about his telegraph unit.  Will he be using Morse Code to input X,Y positions he wants the mouse to be?  Is it even functional?  Can you use More Code instead of typing?

So many questions... I must pester my friend who is fluent in this gentleman's language.
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 08:24:20 pm »

For further inspiration, be sure to check out the online Typewriter Museum. This might help you choose a model you want to start out with.
-~D~-



I wish someone would make replicas of this, as such an effort is far beyond my meager skills, and an original is sadly far, far beyond my humble budget.
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 04:39:03 am »

Can you use More Code instead of typing?

You can get units that decypher Morse into text, so... yes? Putting that onto a 'puter may be a different ball of wax, though.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 09:26:23 am »

you know, it could just be me...but considering that the very aesthetic from which steampunk arises is an aesthetic brought about by an era of quality design intended for objects manufactured before the idea of planned obsolescence it seems like a really bad idea to cannibalize well made, long lasting antiques which could be otherwise restored in order to put together things which only posess a look and will not last as long....

maybe not so well said, but does anyone grasp what I am saying here? It seems like it would be more fun to take the time and patience to build something really cool from scratch anyway.
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 11:27:22 am »

I agree wholeheartedley. Scratch-built, hand-crafted objects will always high a higher place in my heart than anything mass-produced, stamped, laser-cut or rapid-prototyped.

I try to make most things from scratch, but when I cant, I only use broken, destroyed, neglected and otherwise useless parts for my contraptions. I did use an existing case for the core of the Computational Engine, but originally I had no intention of turning it into a huge, elaborate desktop setup. I just happened to have turned across an empty King radio case and thought "hey, that'd make a cool computer". Once I decided to make it a much larger project, I began fabricating everything else from scratch around the basic style of the original King radio case. The routing on the table and monitor uses a similar Roman Ogee style, and the "arches" on the sides of the monitor were chosen to match the arches on the front of the the King. The quatrefoils were added to match the chair (which I pulled out of the garbage, utterly destroyed) and pull the whole design together.

The Steampunk Bass Amp I'm still working on was made from a standup Philco radio cabinet that I bought at a local antique shop. It was completely gutted, just a shell.
I don't think I could bring myself to take a perfectly useable antique and destroy it.
That'd be like....murder.

re: the "raptop". I'm not entirely convinced it's functional at all. That mod is easily 5-7 years old at this point, and I've never seen a single photo of it turned on. It is quite beautiful though.
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WisconsinPlatt
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2007, 04:37:48 pm »

toggle switches (or rather, a switch that looks like a toggle switch, but requires you to maintain pressure to keep it 'on' - oh curse my lack of technical terms!). 


"Momentary On" is one term I've heard used in reference to those switches.  SPST (Momentary) or even OFF-(ON) [The parenthesis indicating momentary]
Bit-Tech is my source for most of my electronics modding information.

I'd thought of doing something similar to the Von Slatt keyboard and have a handful of the old M-series keyboards awaiting to go under the knife, but had never got past the conceptual stage.  Now that I've seen how he did it, I'm more motivated to pursue it but also taken aback by the clean lines and doubt I can make it look nearly as nice.

Datamancer - I've been following your mod with great interest...looking forward to updates.

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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2007, 04:50:20 pm »

Anyone mentioned the film Brazil yet?.... neat computers in that
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2007, 11:35:10 pm »

Anyone mentioned the film Brazil yet?.... neat computers in that
Brazil is brilliant!...anything Terry Gilliam is brilliant. I would even say twelve monkeys is steampunk a  bit, it owes too much to La Jete' not to be. 1984 too, though that's more on the dystopic end.
I myself think that while totally disused broken down machinery has it's own lure, I far prefer to see things in motion, hence my feelings on gears as decorative elements.
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Mercury Wells
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2007, 01:38:03 am »

Try here a for list of "Steampunk PC's" :-

http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk/emporium/index.php?topic=840.0
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2007, 01:46:31 am »

...anything Terry Gilliam is brilliant. I would even say twelve monkeys is steampunk a  bit, it owes too much to La Jete' not to be. 1984 too, though that's more on the dystopic end.
I also thought The Brothers Grimm had hints of steampunk, like some of the equipment used in the "witch" scene near the beginning.
Does anyone know what the big lenses used over the computer screens in Brazil are? I tried mounting an 8-inch fresnel lens in front of a little LCD screen once, and it didn't really have the same effect.
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2007, 02:33:01 am »

...anything Terry Gilliam is brilliant. I would even say twelve monkeys is steampunk a  bit, it owes too much to La Jete' not to be. 1984 too, though that's more on the dystopic end.

Does anyone know what the big lenses used over the computer screens in Brazil are?

If I am not mistaken they are just standard plastic magnifying screens used formally for reading aids for the sight impaired.

look to medical supply.

ALTHOUGH it is an interesting property of holographs that holographs of lenses retain the optical properties of those lenses, so it would be much cooler if you were to develop a thin glass holographic plate of a magnification of a lens (since you wouldn't need a large lens just a magnified hologram of it 'Wink   )


~Ike
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2007, 05:15:42 am »

Awesome, a little google work and I think i've found one:
http://www.herbach.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HAR&Product_Code=T6-122&Category_Code=TSH
Unfortunately holography is currently beyond my means, but that's really interesting. Not only would holograph-lenses be inherently cool, but it seems that by employing holographs of lenses on thin plates, rather than thicker actual lenses, you could save a lot of weight and space in telescopes, camera attachments, etc... anything with multiple lenses seems like it would especially benefit.
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2007, 06:53:43 am »

Awesome, a little google work and I think i've found one:
http://www.herbach.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HAR&Product_Code=T6-122&Category_Code=TSH
Unfortunately holography is currently beyond my means, but that's really interesting. Not only would holograph-lenses be inherently cool, but it seems that by employing holographs of lenses on thin plates, rather than thicker actual lenses, you could save a lot of weight and space in telescopes, camera attachments, etc... anything with multiple lenses seems like it would especially benefit.


That is exactly the case in fact several optical-tech contractors for NASA and High End astronomy applications already utilize this.

Also, I have good news for you. Holography is NOT necessarily beyond your means Cheap holograms can be made with low grade laser diodes (such as those in lazer pointers) , the plates may be purchased (I believe) inexpensivelyfrom russia and the rest slapped together on the fly.

check this out-> http://www.holoworld.com/shoebox/index.html

~Ike


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heavyporker
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2007, 04:22:16 pm »

I took a couple holography classes here at college (and plan to take another next quarter). I imagine I'd have to ask the professor about details, but yes, holograms of lenses do retain the refractive properties of said lenses since they operate on the basis of recording interference patterns into their film medium.

But why buy a hologram of a fresnel lens? Wouldn't it be so much less complicated to directly scavenge the fresnel lens from, say, a broken overhead projector? Failing that, and failing the holography route, perhaps make your own from using a metal mold and some clear plastic. A fresnel lens is just a bunch of concentric circles composed of /|/|/|/|/|/| |\|\|\|\|\|\|\    if you look at an cross-section.
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Fantômas
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2007, 06:44:38 am »

OH man you misunderstand...I am totally aware that there really is no good reason to do it at all, and that just makes me want to do it more.

does that make more sense?
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2007, 08:09:02 am »

OH man you misunderstand...I am totally aware that there really is no good reason to do it at all, and that just makes me want to do it more.

Ha!  I couldn't begin to iterate how many times have I tried to explain that concept to folks  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2007, 08:11:52 am »

amen brothers....amen.
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2007, 06:47:05 pm »

Step-by-step guide to creating this wonderful keyboard mod can be found here



Apologies if this has already been posted - no time for an in-depth check before I leave for home..!
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heavyporker
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2007, 08:33:15 pm »

Well, if you must go the holography route, there's a lot of holography how-to books on Ebay. I bought a couple and really enjoyed them, and plan on building up a nice little collection of holography books for my personal library.

It is quite possible to do holography at home, making your own table for the setup, but you must buy a *good* laser since that makes all the difference, really. And a tip from personal observation... yellow T.E.A. is the frigging bomb, especially if you want to keep it within the steampunk aesthetic with all that brass and such.

Good lord, I really have to build my own holography table. I want to make holograms so bad. They are *spectacular*.
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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2007, 10:39:07 pm »

Step-by-step guide to creating this wonderful keyboard mod can be found here



Apologies if this has already been posted - no time for an in-depth check before I leave for home..!


it appears the site is either down for maintenance at this very moment, or it is at capasity!  This simply won't do!!  I must have a keyboard of similar nature.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2007, 12:21:47 am »

OH man you misunderstand...I am totally aware that there really is no good reason to do it at all, and that just makes me want to do it more.

does that make more sense?

Oh I understand.....I understand you're MAD! Wink
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2007, 12:41:29 am »

OH man you misunderstand...I am totally aware that there really is no good reason to do it at all, and that just makes me want to do it more.

does that make more sense?

Oh I understand.....I understand you're MAD! Wink
Though I don't speak for Mssr. Fantomas, (whom I'm sure I'd misquote  Wink), I would like to quote a completely un-steampunk author to respond to this:
"Just because I'm mad, doesn't mean I'm wrong." --Robert Anton Wilson

In a similar vein, see my signature line...
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