Introduction: Construction of a Steampunk Light Tube

Picture of Construction of a Steampunk Light Tube

Hello everybody
Some days ago I presented my first project to you. The first incomming comments asked me to be more detailed in my next projects.
I thought a little bit and now I want to present you a very detailed description of constructing of a nice and universal usable Steampunk Light Tube.
Are you ready to follow me?
Let´s start:
We now build a Steampunk Light Tube with E14 brass sockets, acrylic tubes and copper fittings.
Later on we also create a tricky light using a drinking straw with two LED inside;-))

Step 1: First Preparations

Picture of First Preparations

Here you see what you need first:

Brass sockets from broken down bulbs and tubes.
To protect your eyes and your hands when working with glass please use leather gloves and eye protection.
The next step is to break the glass bulbs. All parts of the bulbs have to be put away.  

Step 2: Cleaning the Sockets

Picture of Cleaning the Sockets

Next you have to clean the sockets inside.There is a sort of  "concreate" in the sockets which has to be scrapped out it works very well with an old screwdriver.

Step 3: All Pieces You Need to Build the Tube

Picture of All Pieces You Need to Build the Tube

We have to divide between the parts you need for building the tube itself and the lamp or electronical parts you want to place inside.
This is what you need for the tube:
-two brass sockets E14
-a copper tube connector for soldering with 15 mm diameter inside
-an acrylic  tube with outside diameter 15 mm  and 13 mm inside . The length deopends on what will come iside the tube but try it first with a piece of about 5-6 cm.

-a cork from a wine bottle
-some brass screws and nuts M4 and washer

As the tools you need a tube cutter from a plumber or a small saw with a blade for cutting metal like copper.
First you cut the connector. The two copper parts fit exactly in the brass sockets, and the acrylic tube fits directly in the copper ring.
If you now put these three parts together the Steampunk tube is build.

But tis is only the beginning, see next step:-)))

Step 4: Creating the Light

Picture of Creating the Light

To create the light you need two LED´s eg 5mm in diameter and a white plastic drinking straw with the same dimension so the LED´s fit in.
Choose the colour you like, it´s up to you. I prefer a red and a green one together so in the middle of the small light tube there is a bright yellow light to see.
Now you can connect the LED´s seperately to the electronic (for jumping with the lights) or together. If you put them together it is very tricky to connect them with a very small wire inside the straw (nearly unseen). The Connecting wire to the electronic can either be on one side together or one each side (I prefer this way) it mainly depends of your whole steampunk object you decide.
If you don´t want to solder te LED-contact wires to the bottom contacts of the brass sockets you have to desolder the footcontact or break the innerglass parts of the socket away and fix a new contact with the screws. Plesae mention that than each socket side of the tube will lead electricity. The acrylic tube insulates the system.

Step 5: The Tube As a Batterie Holder

Picture of The Tube As a Batterie Holder

With these modern copper tube connectors  for crimping (you can get them at a the plumber) you can change the light tube to a batterie holder, or you can do it with soldering so it looks more steamy.

Step 6: Variety

Picture of Variety

At the end of this description I want you to show some varieties just to inspire you. Let´s start with a small sample for the pocket and a normal one to show others the idea of this tube.  Then you can see one with a single holder to screw in, than as a double tube, with covered wires,  with an seperate reflector, as a special steampunk tool with an resistor in to bring down a capacitor to zero or as a special tube to keep a very rare neon glow lamp safe and working inside.

I hope you enjoyed my little project and I wish you good luck to your steamy projects and constructions;-)))


Gary067 (author)2016-12-18

Great project..where would I buy the acrylic tube?

Junophor (author)Gary0672016-12-20

Hi gary067

I bought this acrylic glass tube at our local hardware (DIY)

and at ebay you can find a lot of offers too.

It wasn´t too expensive. I Think I had to pay about 3.95
Euros for one tube of about 2 meters and 15 mm in diameter.


Gary067 (author)Junophor2016-12-21

Hi Junophor,

Thanks very much for your reply.

I found a company nearby and ordered 1 meter to experiment with. It's 15mm od which should fit the copper connectors I have.

I really like the work you do ans would love to have a go at similar.



FlareFolf made it! (author)2016-06-01

it ended up fairly similar, but I made a few changes to fit my budget and the use I have for them

Junophor (author)FlareFolf2016-06-02

Hi FlareFolf

It looks really great!!

Good job!

Yours Aeon Junophor

kpomerleau (author)2016-01-26

Awesome as usual Junophor! Your a genius!

Junophor (author)kpomerleau2016-01-26

Thank you very much!!!

Yours Aeon Junophor

BradK1 (author)2016-01-16

Is there any length limit for the light ,other than the length of the straw ? Can aquarium hose be used instead of a straw (there's a DYI light tube).

Junophor (author)BradK12016-01-17

Hi BradK1

The length of the straw depends of the brightness of the LED you use. I chose the length in that way that in the middle of the straw both lights the green and the read one are mixed together two a new colour: Yellow!

So If you like try it with your LEDś and with your Aquarium hose. It probably will give a very good solution ;-))

Yours Aeon Junophor

Lcmadama (author)2015-02-04

this is so awesome! And I want to attempt to make one. But I don't want to hook it up to a battery. Is there a way to be able to connect it a standard 120v outlet using an inverter of some sort. I'm making a steampunkish type lamp with a wood box bottom and the "inverter" would be hidden inside. I would like to be able to connect it to the on/off switch which in turn would use a standard wall plug. Any ideas? Thanks

Junophor (author)Lcmadama2015-02-04

Hi Lcmadama

Your proposal sounds good! Of course you can power the LED insinde the tube with an inverter:

Greetings Aeon Junophor

BytePilot (author)Junophor2015-02-13

Conceal a 5v power supply inside the box and use that to power the LEDs.

Something like this...

nerd7473 (author)2013-10-03

Pretty cool Junophor!

tvan nunen (author)2013-03-14

Great instructable! This got me thinking about a 'fusebox' for my steampunk project. My idea was to put 4 glass fuses next to each other and point some LEDs to them, for a nice effect. But now i started thinking about filling them with some liquid and actually making them glow!

One thing about safety when braking the glass: I would reccomend you to wrap all the glass parts in ducktape first. That way, the glass won't 'explode' and cleaning will be easier.

Keep up the good work!

longwinters (author)2011-11-22

I love this project, I'm going to try a florescent fluid and a UV Led, that will make the fluid glow, if you played with the hardware you might be able to make it look like a tube of radioactive goo.
Add some kind of warning sticker to make it complete

I have seen several of your projects they are top notch, thank's for the great ideas!

Junophor (author)longwinters2011-11-22

Hi longwinters

Thanks for your comment. It is really funny that you got the same idea like me. The UV-LED´s are already there I got a very good result with tighten the tube by using superglue, fix the UV-LED eith it at each side of the tube.
I was testing a lot of such UV active stuff and here are my results:

For the fluorescent colour I use an water solution and with a spot of glycerine and 3-5% "Uranin". Don´t use more because otherwise the effect runs down. You can als use washing powder because there are also UV active substances in (white/blue). But then you have to do some hot melting glue around the tube and LEDs. The most difficulty is to get the last drop of air out of the tube;-)))

Please mention that the best result of shining is when the fluorescent minerals in the fluid reflect the light. So I also tested to place one UV-LED´above the filled tube and this looks very awsome. Try it in this way with different angles to find the best position.

Let me see your result

Yours Aeon Junophor

longwinters (author)Junophor2011-11-23

Here are some test results using Automotive Anti-Freeze, the UV light is a high out put UV Flashlight equal to about 6, 5mm leds

one shot is with the light above another is from the side and the third is one of a tube with the phosporus left in the tube.

The tube is 8 inches long and would need leds at both ends, to look even,
it is surprizingly bright.

The second pic shows the true green glow.

domdanial (author)longwinters2012-11-03

I did something similar, however later. Instead of antifreeze, I went for the less toxic highlighter and water solution. I also only used 1 uv led on each side.

I also liked the bulb bases, so that went into the design, and this is going onto a box, so the battery is just temporary.

And the idea of adding elbows and mounting it should be credited to Evinfire's steampipe lamp.

Junophor (author)longwinters2011-11-24

Absolutely crazy


Norikaeru (author)2012-02-07

I was wondering where people were getting the tubing, acrylic or glass. I can't seem to find anything similar to what is used in this project.

maxwelltub (author)2011-11-07

I ended up taking a much different root, but was inspired by your creation here. For my lamp I used glass. The outer tube is about 1.25" and the inner rod is about 1/4". I say about because they are not always 100% consistent. I attached surface mount LEDs to either end of the rod.

Junophor (author)maxwelltub2011-11-08

Hi maxwelltub

This tube looks great!!!
Well done;-)))

Yours Aeon Junophor

Jo-dan (author)2011-10-29

how do you make the pulsing effect from the heart-beat box project?

maxwelltub (author)2011-09-05

I'm having trouble finding a good source for the clips used to hold the light. Any one have an ideas?

Junophor (author)maxwelltub2011-09-07

Hi maxwelltub

Sorry but now I understand your question.

Well I just used some ordinary clips I´ve had in my toolbox. They aren`t special in a way just ordinary ones.

Aeon Junophor

maxwelltub (author)Junophor2011-09-08

I see. I thought it would be cool to use a clip that holds a fuse in place. That way you could just snap the light in and out of the holder with ease. I'll keep looking and let you know if I find something suitable

Junophor (author)maxwelltub2011-09-08

Cool idea!!

Let me see a picture when it´s ready. This was my origin idea to create an universal tube which can be used in so much different ways
Aeon Junophor

Junophor (author)maxwelltub2011-09-07

Hi maxwelltub
Iinvestigated a little bit an found this contact



P.O. BOX 1686


from an Geman Factory which build this clips

maxwelltub (author)Junophor2011-09-07

Thanks, but i ment the clips that are holding the light to the stand. I'm looking to a fuse clip or something of the sort that will hold the light in place. Thank you for your help.

Junophor (author)maxwelltub2011-09-07

Hi maxwelltub

Here is another link to the clips

On the photo you also find the number of the artiicle

Yours Aeon Junophor

Ace193 (author)2011-08-18

Hi Junophor, I don't know if someone else already mentioned it or not, but in the US we would use the word acrylic tube instead of acryltube. I know it's really hard to try to translate everything, but you're doing a great job!

tjames2 (author)Ace1932011-09-01

Yeah, that one was a real skull scratcher, Ace...

gvanghod (author)Ace1932011-08-21

hi Ace193, i dont know if someone else already mentioned it, but here in the REAL WORLD we call things what thewy're called and dont pander to ancient americans with their ancient imperial systems and made-up names for things

Taranach (author)gvanghod2011-08-21

Gee, it is a tube made out of acrylic... thus in the "Real World" it is properly called an acrylic tube as opposed to some specific brand name or appellation that might not be used everywhere.

I also find it funny that you call the Americans "ancient" when they are far exceeded in age by most European countries and yet were the forerunners in the plastics industry as well as leaders in many others... including the computer that you wrote your post upon...

Finally, people of every nation "make up" names for things that are new as well as "making up" slang terms to redefine old things, therefore the only observation that holds any truth is the reference to the old imperial measurement system... the rest is just pure uninformed and hateful "fluff" spouted by a typical internet troll.

Junophor (author)Ace1932011-08-19

Hi Ace 193

Thank you so much. You hit the point. I really didn´tn knew the right term but I will change it in the description soon ;-))))

Yours Aeon Junophor

You want to vote for my objects in the contests?....

soundmotor (author)2011-08-24

I like it! It is small, it is cool, it requires several different skills to complete. What a great project for anyone with an apartment table as their workbench! Nice job Junophor, take a bow!

nibeck (author)2011-08-23

What are the tips on the end? They look like tops to spark plugs.

Junophor (author)nibeck2011-08-23

Yes You´re right

These "spark plug connectors", you see I´ve learned this term;-))) are made of brass and it`s very difficult to get them. Today they are used in aluminium

rjquiz (author)2011-08-23

I find it funny that there are so many people out there who were potty trained at gunpoint...:P

Avatar-IT (author)2011-08-21

Nice creativity! The end terminals look like spark plug connectors, is that what they are? I will definitely be building variations of these for my mad science laboratory!

Junophor (author)Avatar-IT2011-08-21

You´re absolutely right I Used these spark plug connectors in Germany they are also named SAE-screw.

Let me see your variations when they are finished ;-)))

BrownDogGadgets (author)2011-08-18

I might just use this for my Halloween costume this year. This is exactly what I was looking for.

(You could also use some EL wire and a 3V inverter with a coin cell battery for a similar effect. Another idea I was toying with.)

Junophor (author)BrownDogGadgets2011-08-18

That´s absolutly right

I showed just a few of my meanwhile realized tube modifikations and there are a lot of new ideas left in my head ;-))))

ForgerOfPie (author)Junophor2011-08-21

Then please do so!

Your instructables are pretty good to start with, but when I read Ace's comment, I thought, "WOW!!!" Excellent translations, and feel free to ask almost anybody on this website about grammar help. You could also try for translation, and I believe it does a better job than Google Translate.

Great instructable, great ideas, great user!

jamwaffles (author)2011-08-21

I'm not one for Steampunk much myself, but this looks great! Good job with the Instructable, too.

inblack (author)2011-08-21

You're driving me crazy! So many good projects and i cant get the bulbs need for the effect

T-Hawke (author)2011-08-18

Very Cool -Awesome. So simple yet so versatile. Well Done. You inspired me to build one as a continuity checker. Thank You.

About This Instructable




Bio: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one ... More »
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