A Steampunk Mini PC





Introduction: A Steampunk Mini PC

I needed a PC with a COM Port to program my micro controllers.
So I started thinking and I found, that it could be a good idea to have in the same style, than my monitor, keyboard an mouse.
Beside this, I found some nice brass applications, like the tiny brass roll. Th idea comes in mind, to use this as the power on switch for the computer.
The housing was made of MDF.
The meter that shows that power is on is an old French meter, that sows irregular results. But for the power indicator it is good enough.
The HDD indicator was made from a green LED and a stained marble glued inside a brass knob for furniture.
The switch was made from a micro switch inside the case, a brass roll, and a ball nut.

Now let´s have a look inside.

Step 1: The Mainboard

The CPU FAN was terribly loud and I decided to use the case fan for cooling the CPU as well.
Its working fine and the CPU temp. is always below 45 degrees C.
I used a MICRO PSU Power supply that fits directly inside the Power connector of the main board.
It gives enough power for the board, the HDD and the external TFT.

Step 2: The Cabling

The cabling was standard.
The fan was a bit loud, so I connected it between +5 and +12 Volt to operate it with 7V.
Now its quite and cool enough.
On picture 2 you can see the small wooden block that hides the micro switch where the small cord is connected.
If you pull the cord, the power goes on.

Step 3: Back Cover

The backplane was made of brass coated aluminium.



    • Epilog Challenge 9

      Epilog Challenge 9
    • Paper Contest 2018

      Paper Contest 2018
    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Nicely done sir! Pray tell, did I miss the part about what is driving the power gauge at the top front?

    No Sir,


    I forgot to write where the meter is connected to.

    "The meter that shows that power is on is an old French meter, that sows irregular results. But for the power indicator it is good enough."

    It is connected directly to the "Power indicator" pins of the motherboard instead of a LED.

    For steampunk stuff, isn't it better if it makes some noise, anyway? Not sure why the CPU fan's noise would be a problem.


    Yes, you are right. But I am working on this computer and then the noise of a fan becomes a problem after a while.

    I thought about a voice from a steam engine running in the background. But I have a personal policy: I never built "fake things" instead of RPG stuff. But even then the machine or the gadget must be functioning.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius steam

    So how did you keep it from shorting or grounding out?

    The back cover ha a connection to the DC ground of the power supply. like all backplanes.

    The whole computer is operated by an external 12V power supply and has no direct connection to the mains. You can see the 12V plug on the left side of the VGA connector.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam

    Mr. Steam, I'm curious to know how (or if) you covered the back of this computer, where the cables plug in? The reason I ask is I've been thinking about a similar design for an external hard drive case, and I've been toying with the idea of covering the back with an brass finished aluminum radiator grille. (For a sample of the material I'm talking about, see here).

    I recently came across a discarded radiator cover, and I stripped all the fine brass finished grilles. Now they look very nice in the windows of the doors on my entertainment cabinet. They give quite a nice "steampunk" finish;-)

    Just a thought, if the back is still "naked";-)

    Good morning,

    I used a aluminium brass coated grid. I attached two pictures above in the instructables.

    And it is a good time for an update regarding the cooling. The central fan was not enough to coll the case and the CPU. Even when installing WINDOWS updates ;-).
    So I attached a very silent CPU FAN and a case fan on the top of the back. You can see it on the pictures. So the PC is still quite but now it is enough fan power to keep it cool,

    Ahh! Just as stylish as I imagined it would be:-)

    A very fine piece, I must say!
    Only a few questions...
    Where did you find the extra USB and Firewire ports?
    Also where do you find such small motherboards?
    (the "micro" and "mini" ATX boards)
    I think the power switch pull chain is an excellent idea, and I do agree with Longwinters about the decorative washers, the look nice!