Thanks to all of your very creative designs and projeccts, you all have inspired me to build my own Steampunk Audio & Chronograph Station. This project took me WAAAY longer than I anticipated and went way over budget, but once I got started, I found it hard to compromise and kept getting more ideas, so it essentially evolved from a basic - "let's build a Nixie Clock" project to a Frankenstein project from hell. Here's how I did it...
1. Built the Nixie Clock from a kit ordered online from PV Electronics. Fun to build and completed it in 3 evenings approx. time 10-15 hours if I recall. $112 including shipping I believe.
2. Found a period case to put it in. This took several weeks and prying a 1902 Symphony Talking machine from an antique dealer who rebuilds all sorts of machines. This one had many parts missing so he reluctantly let me have it for $25.
3. Bought a Henry Kloss AM-FM Model One radio from eBay $102. A great quality radio with very simple controls I thought would be very easy to convert. Toughest part was reconfiguring the tuner to a new dial and knob and trouble shooting a missing ground that i failed to land. I violated my own rule of using a printschematic and even though I took lots of pics, I didn't have the one that I needed. To get the radio working, I had to take apart ANOTHER Model One I had and compare. Yep... One stinkin' wire that was easily removed inadvertently.
4. Bought the tesla coil from Edmund's Scientific on the web, and Aerolux light bulb on ebay. $12 and $9 respectively.
5. I had the old medical book for a Halloween prop. And had to cut it in half horizontally to fit it on the deck. iPod station was $60 (ouch) and I destroyed the charger taking it apart so I had to purchase another for an additional $20. Oh yeah the charger has an IR remote control so I cut a window in the pages of the book for it to work.
6. Additional Items:
Copper plates - etched with Muriatic acid and Hydrogen peroxide method.
DC Ammeter - bought off eBay approx $15
Brass knobs for Volume & Radio function - Antique Bobbin drawer knobs $10
Brass Channel for Clock Frame - Hard to find in USA, got from UK approx $20 (0.25 inch angle)
Copper Came for stained glass tuner dial porthole - $20 off web.
Tuner knob - Hobby Lobby $5
Misc switches, LEDs, wire, solder, terminal strip etc. - Radio Shack $60 all told...
So yeah... way over budget, but hey I don't drink so... well I did while making it. Let's get started.
Step 1: Get a DECENT work space set up. This is how I started but later it became a hassle finding screws etc. that rolled around. I know better but when I reset my workspace it went better. I had to do this 3 times so I could find my tools and parts easier. I even started with a parts tray but I got sloppy at times.
Step 2: Build your Nixie clock and find a nice compatible transformer to run it. Take your time. Trouble shooting electronics without the knowledge or equipment to do it would be heartbreaking because you rushed it. Also... NEVER throw out phone recorders or any electronic device with a wall charger. They all essentially use a very narrow selection of voltages - mine came from a phone machine.
Step 3: Find or build your case. Here is how mine started out. Note the hole for the wind up crank. This is where I put the iPOD charging eye (was an electrical fitting with a clear marble in it. If an existing case, give it a day or two and the best way to layout your project will take form.