Happy Halloween, and beware of splinters!
I’ve made indoor ranges for Airsoft guns and friends have purchased SIRT laser trainers for their indoor practices. Back in the day, the Victorians even got in on the act!
We’ve cleaned out the basement and garage to a great extent this summer, and a plinking range sounds like a dandy addition to either space.
We’re big fans of the whole plastic repurposing thing. I was thinking about adding some surplus binoculars to our outfit for a parade this weekend, but the thought of several lbs of unnecessary metal and glass hanging from my neck for a few hours made me drop that idea. A set of cheap plastic binoculars spruced up with some paint seems the way to go!
Plastic is an incredibly versatile material and it is everywhere. With a little ingenuity and elbow grease you can make it into just about anything.
First off, there are toys. At any Steampunk cosplay event you can be sure you will see souped up Nerf guns and squirt guns that look like they walked right out of an H. G. Wells story. But keep in mind that if you want to paint a plastic gun that spray paint will chip over time. If you scour your plastic surface ahead of time with steel wool, sand paper or even a kitchen scouring pad you will create pores for the paint to adhere to and it will last much longer. Kinex is a line of plastic engineering toys so it is a great way to get lightweight and cheap plastic gears that you can paint to look like metal.
At the Form…
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Time to bring in some of my other Obsessions!
Another topic from the great people who brought us the “Taming Metal” series.
I hope you have been enjoying my Tips for Makers series based on the sessions at the Weekend at the Asylum festival so far. “Taming Metal” parts 1, 2, 3 and 4, were for the people who want to use real metal in their props, costumes and gadgets, but that’s not for everyone. Sometimes you want things to look a certain way but you don’t have the time, materials or skills to make it happen. And there is no shame in cutting corners or substituting one thing for another. I know some people are all about the “authenticity” but Steampunk should be a bit of silly fun and lack of know-how shouldn’t keep you from trying your hand at making something cool.
I went to a session hosted by “Dr. Quicksilver” during my great weekend in Lincoln and he had tons of advice about materials and how…
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A good read on the subject of a good read.
A couple of years ago in a panel I did on Victorian Scientists at Clockwork Alchemy, the San Jose Steampunk con, I talked about Francis Galton. “Who?” you may ask. Francis Galton may be the most talented Victorian Scientist that no one has ever heard about today. The breadth of his work is jaw-droppingly astounding. Born in 1822 into the celebrated Wedgwood-Darwin clan (and half-cousin to Charles Darwin), he had all the advantages of a Victorian gentleman, including a wealthy father who died young leaving him with the means to be a gentleman-scientist for the rest of his life.
Young Francis was a child prodigy, reading by age two and knowing Greek and Latin by his fifth birthday. He was impatient with formal schooling, however, and bounced around aimlessly from school to school. He eventually earned an undistinguished degree from Cambridge, but only after suffering a nervous breakdown. Upon the…
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I really geek out on stuff like this.
A true ellipse is, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful shapes in the universe. Unlike an oval that is drawn with two mirrored radii (or three in the case of a true “egg” shape), the radii of the ellipse continually change. It’s incredibly strong shape in structural terms and it’s one of the best shapes for table tops. There are many ways to draw an ellipse. But here’s an old method that you don’t often see referred to these days. It’s simple and can be extraordinarily precise. This method can also be very helpful if you’re creating domed framing for any type of construction.
First, establish a horizontal base line then raise a vertical line.
Swing a semi-circle with a diameter based on the minor axis of the ellipse.
Next, open the compass to the length of the major axis and strike a point to the base…
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