Step 1: Find Stuff
- You'll definitely want a clock of some sort to start with. Building a digital clock from scratch is a bit complicated for this instructable. I used a standard, 4-button alarm clock. The red LED displays look the coolest. Liquid-crystal just doesn't cut it for me.
- Find some other junk to embellish your clock, such as springs, cogs/gears, potentiometers, resistors, capacitors, transformers, LEDs, brass pipes, etc.
- Additionally, you may want to add extra functionality (or change the way it functions). Get some switches and buttons that work. I re-routed the wires for my "alarm-on" switch to a really nifty lever.
Step 2: Dissasemble
Rip open any other circuit-things you'll be using. I took a keyboard apart at this point. I used the clear plastic contact-layer (circuit board-looking thing) and used it to make my mounting plate look cooler. I also used the integrated-circuit board from the keyboard to make the clock look a bit more complex.
I mounted everything on the metal I found inside my keyboard, and some spare Plexiglas I had. I used tin-snips to cut up the metal. I can't offer any advice on cutting Plexiglas, though. Man, that was a nightmare....
Step 3: Assemble
Because I'm insanely lazy, I primarily used hot-glue. It's so quick! You place something where you want it, apply the glue, and you're done! The problem is, hot-glue is generally not meant for industrial-grade projects. Heavy things, (like my transformer) pull right off. And I had problems with my switch, because hot glue doesn't support jerky pulling motions. My advice: use hot glue where you can get away with it. Use superglue for everything else.
A really interesting advantage of hot glue is its spider-web appearance. Dab the end of your gun from one component to another, over and over again, and it'll have a creepy cobweb appearance.
Step 4: Hack
If you have a multimeter, use it. I use the sound-activated continuity feature the most often.
If your clock plugs into an outlet, MAKE SURE that the high-voltage portion of the circuit is isolated somehow! In my clock, a transformer steps the voltage down from 120v to something like 9v. Luckily, the leads of the transformer are shielded with rubber. If this had not been the case, I would have taken my time coating them in electrical tape and glue. The beauty of the steam-punk clock comes from its exposed electronics. 120v running through exposed wires can be deadly.
Step 5: Mount
Actually, there are a multitude of ways to set this thing up. A desk version would be nice, with some brass pipes and such...