Tag Archives: copper

Copper rose

8 May

So for mother’s day I wanted to make something special. I love working with copper and I thought it might be cool to make a copper rose. I went out to the hobby store, got some sheet copper and then found a pattern for a paper rose online. I printed out the patter and resized it for my needs. (There was only one petal in it and I needed several of progressively smaller sizes) I then taped the paper cutouts onto the copper and recut around them. When that was taken care of I got a piece of coat hanger wire, cut it to the right length, and then punched small holes in all the copper pieces. I then slid the copper petals, from smallest to largest, up the wire, fastening each petal with super glue. (Oh, and I also bent the very tip of the coat wire slightly so the petals couldn’t slide off. I folded the copper up like a cup to give it the shape of the rose. Lastly I took a pair of pliers and carefully curled the edges of the petal to give it a more organic look. (click to enlarge)

Steampunk radio

27 Oct

For the past couple of days I’ve been working non stop on a steampunk radio. While unpacking some boxes I came across this old handheld radio:

I don’t know how old it is, but it was really beat up. The battery cover was missing and the soldering was really weak. It would cut on and off depending on how you held it. Despite it’s problems I really loved this handheld radio because it let me listen to NPR when I was away from my car radio or my computer. Instead of getting a new one, I decided to fix this one up and steampunkify it.

I opened it up and saw that I needed to change the tuning dial, it just was too modern looking:

So I spent a couple hours designing a new one and trying to scale it right:

My plan was to glue the original radio case back together and then cover it in thin sheets of copper. The problem was that there is no speaker on the handheld radio; the only way to hear sound is via headphones. This left me with a big flat opens space in the center of the device. For a while I thought I would find some fancy symbol and emboss it onto the copper, but then I hit on the not so brilliant idea of rigging up a working steam pressure gauge. (It obviously wasn’t going to be real steam, but I wanted some mechanical needle that actually moved when you turned the device on)

I hit upon the idea of using a battery checker. It had a moving needle that was affected by the current flowing through it. I thought it’d be great to rig one up to the power supply of a radio, that way it would move and tell me how much energy was left in the batteries. Not wanting to destroy my parent’s only battery checker, I drove around town for a few hours trying to find a place that sold the simple mechanical ones for cheap. I finally found one (at radio shack…surprise…) and took it apart.

I then carefully removed the label behind the needle, scanned it, and went about creating a new one much the same way I did the face of the dial.

It was only after I spent hours finding and then altering the battery checker did the inherent problems start showing up. For one, there was no room for it inside the case. I would have to glue it on outside and then extend the case, making the whole thing look like a bloated lowercase “b” from the side. Then, after drilling holes into the case to try and run wires connecting the battery checker to the power supply, I discovered that the needle drew so much power in checking the batteries that the radio would not play. It was either run the needle, or run the radio. To fix this I decided to install a third battery that would power just the needle. But this then brought up the problem of how I would get to the battery to change it once it died, (I’d need a separate door, separate hinge, and a separate lock) and I would need to somehow build a switch to turn it on and off. The whole thing was just way to complicated and bulky for this radio. I might use it for another project, but not this one.

Another idea that ultimately didn’t make the cut was to use some spent 9mm bullet casings as decorate piston covers.

In the meanwhile, when I pulled off a metallic label on the back of the case, it revealed a small window. I decided it would look cool to put some gears in this window behind a bit of clear plastic, like you’re looking into the mechanical workings of the radio.

What to put on the front of the radio kept bugging me, and I finally hit upon the idea of keeping with the needle and pressure gauge, but making it static. A while back I figured out how to use the bottom of a soda can to form a metal ring needed for a steampunk monocle. I figured I’d just do the same thing, cut out a bit of plastic to cover it, and make a new steam pressure gauge and needle to go inside it.

I spent a couple of hours making that gauge. The hardest part was getting the aluminium ground down just right with my rotary tool and the plastic cut perfectly to fit inside without falling out. Another huge problem was designing the gauge. I searched for a long time looking for a straight on picture of an antique steam gauge that I could then transfer to paper. I finally found one, but needed to rename it and redo the numbers.

The next challenge was putting in small strips of copper around the sliders that controlled volume, AM/FM, and power. I couldn’t get the copper perfectly exact, so any little black plastic spots that showed through I painted over with copper paint.

When this was done, I really didn’t like how there were so many breaking lines around the sliders where the individual strips of copper met. I wanted to cover over this with some brass accents. I got some foil, found come corner border clipart on google images, and embossed them into the brass.

My next problem was to cover up the tacky plastic sliders. I spent a couple more hours fiddling around with what to put on top of them. I eventually settled on gluing together some brass eyelets and brass fastener heads.

After that it was pretty much finished!

(The bottom flap there with the hinge opens up to the batteries. I also debated putting some oxidizing solution running down from the exhaust holes up there on the top to add some streaks of green from the steam, but I’m not sure if that will look good.)

Anyways, now I can walk around and listen to NPR with my awesome steampunk radio!

For my next project, clean up the mess that 4 days straight of work created:

Amethyst necklace

3 Jul

So the other day a friend of mine told me she had been looking for a necklace comprising of a stone wrapped in wire, but was unable to find exactly what she wanted. She told me she liked amethyst and green, and I went to work.

I made a couple of trips to the craft store, but couldn’t find the type of amethyst I was looking for. Most of it came in the form of big, clunky, pre-machined pendants; I was looking for something a little more natural feeling. So I went on amazon and for a few bucks found these tumbled amethyst stones:

Next at the craft store I picked up some green glass crystals, some copper wire (I thought the bright copper would contrast nicely to the purple and green), and a copper chain. I carefully detached one of the green crystals from it’s grouping, and with a bit of crazy glue, started to wrap the stone in copper wire.

After about 20 minutes of fiddling and trying to hold the copper in place with the aid of tape, I had a finished necklace.

Runic Flash Drive

18 Jun

So a little while back Trollsmyth commissioned me to make him a flash drive cover. He said he wanted something with a troll on it, along with the phrase “Grimnir’s lip-streams” written in runes along the side. I decided to throw in “Trollsmyth” in runes on it as well. After researching around online I decided that it would be cool to make the flash drive into the shape of Thor’s hammer.

So, I went out to the store, got a flash drive, and took it apart with a razor.

I then went about creating a troll design. I found some and altered them to suit my needs. I wanted something non complex, with thick black lines. It had to be small, the entire surface area was 1 inch wide by 2 inches long, at least for the main body of the drive cover.

I worked out the runes (as seen above) and made sure they would fit inside the small on centimeter space running alongside the drive. I later would realize that I needed to flip these runs into a mirror image because of the way I was transposing them onto metal. (It’s amazing all the little things you have to think of or else risk ruining an entire project.)

I decided to try and transfer the image onto the metal via chemical etching. Basically I would take the image printed out on photo paper, heat up a piece of brass, place the image on the brass, and then iron on the ink. The image would then transfer onto the brass from the paper.  Finally I would soak the plate of brass in a solution of hydrochloric acid, found in pool cleaners, and the brass would begin to burn. The parts of the brass covered by the image would take longer to burn, thus there would be a color contrast, transferring the image to the metal.

Despite the dog’s help, the print did not transfer. A few spots did here and there, but I just ended up burning the paper and almost ruining the iron. I also tried soaking the plate in the solution, but it didn’t do anything.

With that plan foiled, I went to the craft store and got some thin copper for embossing. I also found a little wooden keychain thing and cut it to put the flash drive in.

Next I measured some paper and wrote out the runs. I pressed the metal, tracing out the letters and designs.

One of the cool little things about this flash drive is that there is an orange light on it. I cut out the eyes on one of the plates and covered it with a small piece of translucent paper. This way when you plug it in, the troll’s eyes will glow.

After I was done with the body I had to build the cap. This was really difficult. I found a little female USB slot and attached it to a bit of wood. The original piece of wood I was going to use ended up not working out, so I had to make everything out of scratch.

When I finally got the shape I wanted I glued the copper on to it.

With the flash drive body finally assembled, Trollsmyth wanted me to cover the thing in a green platina. This would give it the oxidized green copper look.

Once it dried I took a bit of fine sand-paper to it. This scratched off the green platina on the portions of the copper that were raised, like the troll’s face and the runes, leaving the green on the shallower parts.


Copper mask

25 Dec

A project I’m currently working on is creating a copper mask. I’ve cut it up into various pieces to make it easier to form, and so I can rivet it together with brass rivets. I think the dark copper on the light brass will contrast nicely. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

First I wanted to make a concrete positive of my face. To do this I had to create a paper mache mold of my face.

I then filled this mask with concrete:

I then went about fitting the paper and copper to the mask

When I finished cutting out the copper I started to shape the plates with a bit of wood. I eventually had to move into my shed and bring out the hammers. I’ll post more as it progresses.