Have you ever made anything Steampunk with Arduino?

I think it would be pretty cool to create Vintage/Fantasy themed tech with arduino.

Hi Michael and welcome to the forum. This (Project Guidance) is probably not the best part of the forum for your question, given you are at the stage of looking for inspiration and ideas. This part is really for those who have a clearer idea of what they want to achieve and need advice on feasibility or components.

I’m no expert, but it seems to me the difficult part with Steampunk projects is they should not look like electronics, even if that is what is actually going on inside. They should look like they are, or could have been, genuine Victorian/Edwardian technology - mechanical/electo-mechanical etc.

I know there is at least one member on the forum who is into Steampunk. Think his name is also Michael…


I know there is at least one member on the forum who is into Steampunk. Think his name is also Michael...

I imagine that would be me. I've done two minor things with Arduino like micro-controllers. I tend to have more ideas, but I don't always get them into a design on a costume.

The first is to make the telegraph key on my big steampunk camera into a shutter release. While the telegraph key is pressed, it will activate the focusing action of the camera, and when the telegraph key is released, it will briefly fire the camera, and then do a telegraph rendition of the word 'FIRE' in morse code using a piezo speaker. The camera I use in the big box (Olympus E-5) needs a bit of time to focus when it is in live view mode using contrast detect auto focus (when it is using the optical viewfinder with phase detect auto focus, it is instantaneous, but for the setup I need live view). However, I haven't used the morse code setup in the last few outings, instead making the telegraph key directly press on a shutter release cable. Part of the issue is just dithering around, but part is I was taking the unit outdoors where rain was a possibility (the E-5 is splash proof), and I didn't have a rain setup for the Teensy 3/Arduino Uno.

One thing I want to do when I get back to this, is use a neopixel ring around the lens as a way to light up the scene, without using flash.

The other thing that I've done more recently is put a pair of Adafruit 16-led neopixels in my goggles, using an Adafruit Gemma to control them:

Unfortunately I have gotten some complaints about the flashing lights (even though I had toned down the patterns from some of the other neopixel examples), so if I bring them back, I need to have a brightness potentiometer, and a switch to at least turn it on/off, perhaps switching state.

The patterns that I used were variants of the patterns I used when I tried to make Christmas ornaments for my family (I didn't send these this year, as I was rather stressed by the time I had to mail out packages). I posted the code over at the adafruit forum: http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=47367

FWIW, using a Gemma and an Adafruit 1200maH lipo battery, my goggles ran between 24 and 36 hours on one battery charge.

A friend of mine has used an Arduino to make the glow cloud from the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and it was a big success at Arisia (Boston based SF convention) in January. This picture doesn't do it justice:

Here's something I've wanted to do for a long time. It's funny, or more like totally zany. Imagine, if you will, a pair of sunglasses. Preferably big, round sunglasses. We make them with polarized lenses, being careful to align the polarization at the same angle in both (fixed) lenses. Then we have another set of polarized lenses in front of the two fixed lenses. Now imagine we have a motor, and a drive belt or gears, or a chain that will turn the two front lenses. We mount a photocell somewhere on the earpieces such that it looks forward though the lenses. When the light through the lenses changes, the photocell detects it, and the Arduino (preferably a very small one), drives the motor, letting in more light or less light. As the wearer turns his head, the lenses react quickly (and perhaps a little audibly), to the astonishment on onlookers. I visualize them as somewhat "steampunkish" in appearance.

Another thought I had was to build a clock movement of some sort, but not the entire movement; only the escapement, and preferably running at approximately 1 second. The idea would be to use a sensor on the escapement that feeds a digital pin on the arduino, causing an advancenent in time, but whenever the time wanders more than half a second from the real time clock, the clock would correct itself. I visualize two possible forms of clock face. One would be an LCD display, possibly backlit with flame-like flickering yellow and red LEDs, and the other, a servo driven set of hands, accompnied by a few whirring gears for visual and audio effect.

To get an idea of a possible escapement that would be my favourite, have a look on youtube for ignatz clock.