Introduction: Offline Mechanical Steampunkers' Blog

Picture of Offline Mechanical Steampunkers' Blog

You are familiar with the online chatrooms, email lists, ezines, weblogs and so on, well this instructable will show you how to make and use an OFFLINE Blog.

You will be amazed at how fascinated people are with an old mechanical typewriter. Most under 30 year olds may never have seen one, let alone used one.

As with all blogs, the purpose is to be sociable and communicate, plus have a wee bit fun.

Step 1: What You Need

A typewriter. Any functioning typewriter will do. I got this lovely old classic for pennies on Ebay.

Long roll of paper approximately the width of an A4 or Foolscap sheet. I used a roll of plain lining wallpaper, cut in half and stuck together to give a longer piece on the roll. The paper should be on a cardboard tube so it rolls easily in use.

For the framework: 6 poles, bamboo or any other sticks. I used old umbrella handles

Zip ties

For the sign: some card and some umbrella spines.

Step 2: Assembling the Framework and Paper

Picture of Assembling the Framework and Paper

The framework consists of two A-frames at the sides, with a top and bottom cross bar. You will probably need a diagonal brace to keep it all rigid.

Everything is held together with zipties.

The bottom cross bar is at the back and carries the roll of paper, ready to feed into the typewriter.

The top cross bar carries the paper up and over, once it has been typed on. the paper then falls away over the back out of the way.

I found it ihelpful to have a piece of string connecting the t wo front feet of the framework, passing under the typewriter, to help prevent the framework moveing around too much.

Step 3: Making the Sign

Picture of Making the Sign

You want people to come and use it, so you need to have a sign.
This sign is made of words printed on my laser printer and then stuck on ordinary corrugated carton cardboard.

Then cut out the words or letters and lay them out on a table as you want them to look in the finished sign.

Now push umbrella spines vertically through all the pieces of corrugated card, so they are all connected on at least 4 or 5 spines. Umbrella spines have a pivoted arm about half way up and that can be used to give some crossways rigidity, but pushing it horizontally through a suitably located card (in this case the word Blog)

The two outer vertical spines can be taped to the top of the framework

Step 4: Using the Offline Blog

Picture of Using the Offline Blog

Encourage passersby to come and type whatever they like, leave messages for friends, be creative or whatever.

This event - the January Reshuffle in Glasgow - attracts a lot of families, cos of being free, so there were loads of preliterate kids who just typed randomly. I had to urge people to hit the keys much harder as they were not used to the sheer effort involved. The next outing of the offline blog will be at the Scottish maker fair:

Some of it was totally random, some selfconsciously posing and other bits were serendipitously fun. I particularly like the very end

Afterwards, I took digital images (1 example given here) of the whole lot of blogging and uploaded them to my own online blog I also transcribed the blog's text, which now follows:


or ooooo6orcan f KHUff

n ina

oran lorana
VV h lli aa liam h gggoooddddd uuuosandra and cath
bhiAn 7
meli a j y hhhhmm

jemm kkkkkkkkkkkkk jem jem

jemjem jem jem
yokjh gfd
as spring ss spri
jem jem memory jemjem
jemjem jee

je jem jemjem jemjemI MMMMM

jemjem jemjem jemjem jemjem

je mjem jemjem

kjhgipo gdjj i ii p hhf kjmn i r poijhgfmb90uo ui tfg k;lhgfe uyhgrl

meli sa uiu uyghjvbn ytou t yhjhtlgkytiehic rt er lkjg jhgt

fhnb oiukjfgt iuym g yuj kkjh tev jhgbn v uuynfhgfr vfgh jj

yu vb jh lhg ttrijhfln gfhti y jknh hufg htr jjfd gh

ytr mnbu hgfk lkfr mjng juitnn fgknbv cbvffiytr hj yt

r r rr

m u kkkkkkkk

j, yhnm




orn oran ih halow

fleago polober

awsk a for the morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts
stars to flight

marcopolo pool y

y ou

2= =) =)


ha h zel the cat sat on the mat

jugling ball hiiona welcom to the reshuffle

4 dremon driv gvon glasgow sot la nd

pi persinso

A d r da er on v tou y Osserommuadutassssm niare
iiiiiiiiiiic an you heaar m3/4A

YY L J J OL KLL8M JJ K , lvkmttty h 8876543a1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2
jjgiiruydhchmjlfyuyrwgfnmmmomsdvaffghjkklmmgvenargefhayetnowbcvonnjwhgyqthgjjmy cbvdiuyttte

jh kiiyuuuryvcb m mnjh EMMA blue dr ake mm

ste ampunk is win k ru k kleee pyyly

by good bay

see you laterby oran r r rrrrr rrr rrrrr bbbbbhhhhh k kkkkffffbvv vvv

jed iiiiiiiii iii =9 o MC C C VF F T Y YYYYYY Y Y YYY



vvvv vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv vvv jj jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj 94iiiiiii

yyy yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy kfkd so k plcdi lfjfk

kjmbnyt cgf r4 6 o7o 000000 *** * * JJJ+







owhat joy to use an old yin


jemjem j emjem jen jemej
jemej jem j em j emjem jemjem


, ,

j emjem

jemjen ll

lee ryn k yy br ley m lhe




777775 1111 1 11 11111111 eeeeeeee jjjjjjjjjjjjujjj ste s

ste am steam =umo
thank you ge the lamp. iyit eill look slovely in th e living r om.


m ybe we will h g it in the i ig room r perh ps in he hll

typr e q

De r anybody,
this is a wonderful devive
Why must we meet,
Why must we part? 2/3
Why must we bear this yoke of Must?
Without our leave, or askt or given,
By tyrant fate on victim thrust!


my name is emm a 2= 22==========k

OMG! kittehs!

mllamo help i cannot delete them.

hi this is coolH JJJJJJLLLLLLLLLmy jfjf ffjr

jj kgkgkjhiyyjhuy j gy t

h i i

rrr ah
hi i

hi I like this thing it is so cool wwwwWWo
WoW !!!!!!!!!!!m mmmmmmm n llo

hello my name is unknown

ok thidt It hard to type one!?! ! jaleu th is iswo so h rd o type on

How are you ment to preve mist kes on this thing

Ok I ,





V-Man737 (author)2009-09-03

I like the part about kittehs! Yay! And (being 25) I remember the last time I used a typewriter was when I was about 12...

Gamer917 (author)2009-08-10

lol "fleago polober"

Gamer917 (author)Gamer9172009-08-10

oops i said that a while ago sorry

Gamer917 (author)Gamer9172009-08-10

i have a bad memory

sensoryhouse (author)2009-02-27

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD When did Steampunk go from meaning "modified to run on steam" to "modified to look like a prop from Back To The Future III or The Wild Wild West, with Will Smith".

Ward_Nox (author)sensoryhouse2009-02-27

um BTFIII and WWW THAT WAS STEAM PUNK! also im 28 and I've seen used and owned a typewriter (i think i was one of the last ppl in the country to be learn typing on a typewriter actually)

inkstainedheart (author)Ward_Nox2009-03-05

Don't worry, you're not the only one! I'm in my early 20s, and my folks had an electric typewriter when I was a kid. I learned on that (and the PC at school, but I had more fun on the typewriter).

i have an electric, a brother (typewriter), a pinnock 200 ( my 1st and pride and joy) an olevitti, an adler and a 9 year old imac 3g

Ward_Nox (author)inkstainedheart2009-03-05

lol yea my typing teacher would let us do ASCII pictures b4 holiday breaks

thoughtsmtih (author)Ward_Nox2009-05-05

hmm...I used to have a typewriter...then it broke. I wish I could find a new one...

gear-guy (author)Ward_Nox2009-05-28

I'm 13 and I've owned the same typewriter since i was six, its a modern one though,but still completely mechanical.

Warlrosity (author)gear-guy2009-07-11

I have 4

typhonatemybaby (author)gear-guy2009-05-28

Excellent! You would get on with my son (Typhonatemybaby). He has several typewriters, some being modded, others for actual use: his novel is about a third done. This is in a house with three PCs and a laptop or two.

CreRe (author)sensoryhouse2009-02-27

Actually, Steampunk was a term coined to describe such fictional worlds that exist in "Wild, Wild West," where most technology runs on steam. It was not really meant to describe anything modified to run on steam.

jolshefsky (author)CreRe2009-03-05

Things modified to run on steam are called "steam-powered". (rimshot)

Rotten194 (author)jolshefsky2009-03-11


arashiodori (author)sensoryhouse2009-03-05

FOR THE LOVE OF STEAM. When did Steampunk go from meaning "modified to look like it ran off steam" to "modified to actually run off steam like some old Steam Trains."

MrGreggan (author)arashiodori2009-03-05

Steampunk means a lot more than just items that run off steam. A LOT more. It's basic premise is... "What the past would have been like if the future had happened earlier". Wild Wild West is a great example of steampunk, as are many other shows & movies. Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was a very early steampunk movie. Steampunk is usually centered on the victorian era, when the industrial revolution was in full swing and, through the use of machinery and steam power, anything was possible. I personally prefer the whimsical side of steampunk, with the crazy, could never work in real life made by mad scientists inventions. Others prefer the adventures of exploration, or the well mannered interactions between people, etc

arashiodori (author)MrGreggan2009-03-05

Which was, well, what I was saying. What was your point, again? I was merely mocking the person above me saying that Steampunk meant that the thing would be modified to work on steam. Perchance, did I confuse you?

The Wapusk (author)arashiodori2009-03-05

"The world will be saved by Steam!!" - Professor Steamhead of Ninja Highschool. Been my motto for years, that and: "CRANKS! AND PULLEYS!" As in answer to "But how would you control the Aether-O-Sphere from the ship if the ship is just floating in the middle of it?"

When did steampunk mean "modified to run on steam"? And if that was all it was meant to mean, why would it have 'punk' as a suffix? It's always been about aesthetics.

Klappstuhl (author)2009-03-08

Great idea! BTW, "lol" in old fashion: "A Gentleman Laughs" :D

lemonie (author)2009-02-25

You had some worthless input from people touching your machine. But I like the idea L

greensteam (author)lemonie2009-02-26

Worthless, perhaps but most of the typing was by small kids, who had a lot of fun with a machine they had never seen before, so WTH.

lemonie (author)greensteam2009-02-26

Sorry that looks more negative than I meant it to be. I was after (hmm) "the output you've printed is mostly not worth showing us, but this has potential" I like "fleago polober" whatever that is? L

Gamer917 (author)lemonie2009-03-07

lol "fleago polober"

BeanGolem (author)lemonie2009-02-26

I don't think any of it is worthless. It really goes to show what people (small kids apparently) would type, even if they know they can't erase it.

Warlrosity (author)greensteam2009-02-26

Woah, I'm im and I have 4 typewriters (author)Warlrosity2009-03-05

Wow! You could setup a steampunk blogspot!

Hiroak (author)2009-03-06

Hey is that a Tallboy Budweiser in the first pick? Yes it is no wonder people were typing like they did. That's great that you guy in Scotland drink American beer and not the Guinness crap... Oh and cool Idea I liked typing on my grandma's typewriter, she used in WWII and I still have it in working condition. If you go to fast with out the proper lubricants it will jam up, as is many things in life.

greensteam (author)Hiroak2009-03-06

Beer cans, records and other junk on the table were what I picked up on the wasteland behind the hall in order to have some stuff to make things with the kids at the Reshuffle event. we stuck cotton reels to the records to make roundabouts (carousels), put LEDS in bottles to make bedside lights, and generally did the whole ibling thing with them.

lorrielink (author)2009-03-05

i think that is fantastically fun! very creative.

mr. natural (author)2009-03-05

Steampunk? Maybe/maybe not. If it is YOUR art, you can call it anything you want. I think it is pretty clever!

zenviolin (author)2009-03-05

i'm just gonna put in that steampunk is more about the celebration of mechanical systems and the beauty of those systems than any specific thing such as steam power. personally i like the "actually runs on steam" things a lot more than "looks like it runs on steam" things.. it's kinda like the difference between writing about doing something and actually doing that thing. however, steam power is ridiculously dangerous, and the danger factor ramps up really quickly with size, so it's not really feasible to use, since most large steam systems today require 24-hour maintenance and small ones aren't in use due to safety concerns. personally, i like a steampunk without all the victoriana.. i like my beautiful machines served up without unnecessary frills, frilly white people, and ridiculous mustaches. i like the project.. i would like to see more things be actually made of steam, electronics, whatever instead of just looking like they are.

natnie (author)2009-03-05

Man, I kind of feel old because I used a typewriter in my tweens. I'm only 22! My family was poor, and we didn't have a computer until I was thirteen. And now I'm a web developer, bwahaha.

I digress. This is pretty awesome. Too bad your "bloggers" were more like YouTube commentors. ;)

SarahMichelle (author)2009-02-26

Ah, Nice one. The sad thing is some kids don't know how to use those sadly.... My niece for one.... I had to teach her a while ago. She thought everyone had computers... Oi!

cyrozap (author)2009-02-25

It looks like you just OCRed the text. What's with all the "jemjemjemjemjemjemjemjemjem"?

greensteam (author)cyrozap2009-02-26

OH, no, no OCRing at all, all copytyping from the original. I have no idea why there is all that jem jem stuff

discontinuuity (author)2009-02-25

Maybe next time, you should make the paper into a Moebius strip!

Actually that is Plan B. I had that in mind to but the framework needs to be more complicated. I have two portables and i think that a suitable framework to support the paper as it twists would allow the moebius strip to provide two typers with the same side of paper to communicate on indefinitely.

mikeasaurus (author)2009-02-25

must have been interesting (and a bit boring) to transcibe what others wrote, especially when it's gobily- goop. Maybe a hybrid of an electric keyboard and typewriter, best of both world, but that's another instructable.

Good job, I like the originality of it. I also like no mater where you are, what the location, mood, or atmosphere there's always someone out there who thinks writing 'bum' is funny ...and that person is me

greensteam (author)mikeasaurus2009-02-25

In fact the reason i got this typewriter in the first place was with the idea that i might electronify it somehow. I havent cos everyone in the family likes to use it as it is. My teenage son is writing a novel on it. god knows how he will do the editing. However, having taken a pile of computer keyboards to bits this week for the bits to make things with at our maker fair, i now have a better idea how they work and how it might be possible to use the circuit sheets in them to convert the typewriter. Its all just fun really

About This Instructable




Bio: Aiming to get a Show and tell maker fair going in March 2009. Anyone in UK or willing to travel, please let me know.
More by greensteam:Steampunk Sam Browne BeltSpacecadet Helmet - Instructables from the Beach #2Solar Fox-Scarer - Instructables from the beach #1
Add instructable to: