Introduction: Steampunk Tube Magnets Will Rock Your World!

Picture of Steampunk Tube Magnets Will Rock Your World!

An Idea to make steampunk fridge magnets came in to me  when I was watching Wild Wild West. I couldn't afford building a giant spider, so I decided to put old broken vacuum tubes I got from my school into a good use.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools


Vacuum tubes --- I strongly suggest using old broken ones, because there are better uses for the working ones.

Neodymium magnets --- They are stronger then regular magnets and you can buy them in large quantities on ebay for very low price


Hot Glue Gun --- Available at any hardware store

Step 2: Progress

Picture of Progress

Just glue a magnet to a vacuum tube. You might need to use 2 magnets for heavy ones.

How many magnets would you use for this one???

Step 3: Smile!!!

Picture of Smile!!!

I hope to see photos of your fridges!

Step 4: Peace!!!

Picture of Peace!!!



Doctor90250 (author)2014-12-13

to acedocholine, the problem with opening tubes is that the interior instantly oxidizes and frosts the glass which looks horrible. maybe an led behind it would work.

chriskarr (author)2009-12-29

Not to be intrusive, but may I have the ratings for this tube? If it would be too much trouble to write it all down, may I have the tube's part-number so that I can look up a datasheet? It looks like the kind which would use around 500W just for the filament.

TheDoci (author)chriskarr2011-10-16

its a GU39A

specs are:
Uf = 6.3V
If = 85-105A
Ua = 10KV
cost = over 100$ at least

shame he distroid the tube. i would have been nice in a VTTC.

chriskarr (author)TheDoci2014-02-16

So true, Doci.

It's a beautiful collectors' item, anyway..

chriskarr (author)TheDoci2011-10-17

Dang. I was close on the 500W estimate.

Thank you for the information.

I agree, it would have been great to use in a VTTC. Of course, it may be a bit overkill and have a too-high frequency of operation for large streamers, but overkill is always nice, and who doesn't need a C-class plasma cutter?

blackcorvo (author)2011-01-20

I think this is a nice idea, but just for damaged tubes (like, with blown filaments and stuff like that), since those REALLY can't be used for anything.

But if the tubes are good, I'd put them to use in a circuit (preamp, a full amplifier, radio... whatever! XD), specially now that I developed a technique to make tube sockets at home (gonna make an instructable for it soon!).
I was only able to make them for 7-pin or 9-pin miniature tubes, but its something already! :3

teckner (author)2010-12-05

This is one bomb project.
Deceptively simple...

I think a name change would give this BA instructable more views.
Maybe, "DO IT! Steampunk magnets will rock your world!"

or something to that effect, to attract attention.

Zujus (author)teckner2010-12-28

OK. I will change the name :) we will see :D

MrGreggan (author)2010-04-12

I'm not sure if the glass section of the tubes are fragile. If they are, perhaps the tubes could be dipped into a clear liquid plastic or resin of some sort to protect them.

Since tubes are so hard to get and the ones that are available are best used in sound equipment, perhaps a clever person with glass melting skills could make decorative non-working tubes for art projects. Use cheap test tubes and recycled metal parts from old TV's. If you go to a thrift store/second hand store nowadays, there are dozens of old TV's for sale, very cheap.

acedolcholine (author)2009-08-14

I sure hope these don't work any more. There are much better uses for old stock tubes than silly fridge magnets. It's a good idea, though. Any guitarist who owns a tube amp (like myself) would go nuts if they heard old tubes were being used like this. If you can manage to open the bottom it would look sweet with an LED.

Zujus (author)acedolcholine2009-08-15

lol. I am audiophile myself, I dream to have decent tube amp, but these aren't good tubes, these are simple logic tubes also most of them are broken. :))

jmiller3931 (author)2009-02-19

Where did you find old tubes? Finding working vintage tubes is easy but expensive. Cheap non-working ones are hard to find.

Zujus (author)jmiller39312009-02-20

Mhm... Try old harware stores or something like that. Maybe you can find something on craiglist. Or I can send you some. :)

microman171 (author)2007-06-05

do the tubes still work?? Tubes give an awsome sound quility; the 'vintage' radios they put out today... I would be a shame not to use them first.

zuixro (author)microman1712007-06-05

Yeah, you should definitely use tubes old tubes that don't work anymore. That way you don't remove something functional from the world.

CaffeineHouse (author)zuixro2007-07-27

oh yeah, it would be a TERRIBLE shame to waste these tubes which have been obsolete for decades.. -_-

I heard that!!Tubes are far better for sound and analog applications, not to mention far more appropriate for radios than transistors will ever be. By the why an EMP will fry most solid state electronics,not my problem but just thought that needed to be said

Watch what you say, the audiophiles'll get ya. Seriously, though, tube amps are the $hit. Listen to one. Listen to some vinyl too...

Zujus (author)zuixro2007-06-06

Half of them might work, still i have 10 left for other projects. ;) These are old rusian tubes, they made in 60's or 70's so I don't think they work very well. ;) What is difference between all my tubes laying in a box, or hanging o a fridge? I don't throw them out. I just use them in other way. :)

Super Cameraman (author)2009-01-04

Love and peace? More like Mercedes.

Punkguyta (author)2007-10-30

These look like they're fun for hitting with hammers against concrete. That and co2 cylinders, go on, out to your drive way and try hitting one of those with a hammer, fun shit.

Xellers (author)Punkguyta2008-12-13


Punkguyta (author)Xellers2008-12-14


Zujus (author)Punkguyta2007-11-01


Artificial Intelligence (author)2008-03-21

Cool. Make it even cooler by adding a blue LED and a coincell underneath every vacuum tube. It would give them a cool and kinda future look.

Great idea!

Xellers (author)Zujus2008-12-13

Even better idea: put a tube in some sort of old fashioned lamp that you get at a home goods store for $10 and then activate its filament (or heater) and you have yourself a super cool nightlight.

gizmology (author)2007-10-04

On the fridge where people can see how cool they look is definitely better than crammed away in a dusty old box somewhere! What a great way to recycle something. I don't have any vacuum tubes, but I do have a whole confusing box full of weird electronical-type junk that I don't know what to do with...look out, refrigerator, here come the new magnets! Thanks for a great idea! :)

It's a cool idea, but why recycle something if it's something particularly still useful to some people? Some vacuum tubes are worth a pretty penny nowadays. As an example, I just purchased 2 tubes I'll use for an am transmitter for almost $15 a piece.

Xellers (author)thelightoflinux2008-12-13

I just built a Regen with some $2 tubes. Not all of them are too valuable...

Xellers (author)2008-10-02

Are you sure that you can buy vacuum tubes in radioshack? I couldn't even find any on their website...

thelightoflinux (author)Xellers2008-10-04

Xellers, you couldn't find them because they stopped selling them a couple years ago.

Zujus (author)thelightoflinux2008-10-05

Couple decades ;) but you can find high grade ones. Those are used for high end stereo equipment. But rather just check some old stuff stores.

Xellers (author)Zujus2008-10-06

If I bought tubes, I'd go here: or But I'm not allowed to build anything that uses relatively high voltages (Over 100volts), so I'm pretty much stuck with buying submini tubes.

Zujus (author)Xellers2008-10-07

What do you mean you are not allowed?

Xellers (author)Zujus2008-12-13

Never mind, when my parents figured out that I had built a 25kv ac power supply, they no longer cared about me building anything with only a few hundred volts.

thelightoflinux (author)Zujus2008-10-05

Actually, another good source for used vacuum tubes is antique stores. I just bought a dozen good tubes for an instructable I plan on doing soon.

Derin (author)2008-07-09

no,not vw sign,this one is the vw sign:

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-06

For real fun, try one in the microwave.

About This Instructable




More by Zujus:Steampunk tube magnets will rock your world!How to fold T-shirts in 2 secondsBlue Heart
Add instructable to: