Steam Punk Power Supply

So a while back I talked about building a prop for a local web series Mantecoza. Well it is finally finished, thanks in good part to my father, Kenneth Backer. He helped out tremendously on this build. This was a very interesting project for me, as I normally do replicas or work off of some one else’s designs. We were basically given free reign on the design. I just had to incorporate the light fixture that was provided. We also had to finish it in 2 weeks, so ya know, decisions had to be made fast and there was no turning back. Jackie did a quick sketch of our basic idea for the “reactor”, but because of the time constraints we ended up not being able to incorporate all of the complexity of her original work. Such is the fate of most concept art.

Once we had our basic ideas it was out to my dad’s garage to see what we had laying around to build this thing with. Wood from an old desk: check. PVC pipe so old and heat stressed it was browning: check. Random fittings, valves and switches: check.

Now we were going to need more than that to make this thing look the part, so it was off the the $.99 Only store and thrift shops to find lights and other doodads. Pro Tip: $.99Only is the best place to get LEDs. $1 gets you a battery pack, round circuit board with 7 Leds, mechanical switch and a resistor!? Try pricing that out at Radio Shack.

Always look at the clearance items at Michaels.
The rivets were some scrap-booking sticker.

My dad found this gem at Savers. No idea what it was for, but we cut the guts our, ran 1 AA to the knob switch and attached it to the terminals on the gauge. It actually worked! we were able to control the needle with the knob. I added an on/off switch and some other dummy switches on the final piece.

With the casting from my hardware store silicone fuse mold we began to lay everything out.

We used several different spray paints. A bright hammered finish on the joints, a darker hammered finish on the back board, and a rustic bronze on the pipes them selves. I don’t remember the brand or the exact name. Cut us some slack, we were in a hurry. I would also like to note that I hate wood. We used 3 cans of high build filler primer and 1 can of hammered paint on that back board and the grain still came through!

 Did I mention that this needed to light up? And be pretty? I didn’t? Well it had to do both, be small, light weight and run on batteries. Well the $.99 Only store provided the light sources, but just plain white lite shinging out of this thing wouldent cut it. Luckly  Jackie had some leftover fantasy film from her Wasp wings. A little heat, armature wire and some glue and we had our prettiness! We also needed tubes coming out of the center of this “pixie warp core”. My dad took some PVC fittings and used his oscillating sander to give them a curve that would fit the center of the fixture. With a small screw in the center for support we just 5 minute epoxied them right on

After that it was time for the final assembly and testing.

The thing worked like a champ!

 And one last shot on set.

I want to thank everyone over at Mantecoza for giving my dad and I a chance to work with them. It looks like the series is going to be great, and everyone reading this should shoot over and check out their website and facebook page!

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