Introduction: Steampunk Laptop

Picture of Steampunk Laptop
Hi all,
Today I will present you my newest Steampunk-Design Workshop creation.

Here you can read something about how i got the idea to built my first Steampunk Laptop.

Because my pictures are soo poor...

I deside to take a video in HD, you will enjoy it!!!

Depend on the diversity of the basic Laptops you get in this world I can show you only an overview of the single steps and the trouble you get with single parts…

For my Steampunk Laptop I use my first Laptop which still works well but is now too slow for newest applications.
It still works well for Videos, Music and Internet.

My model is the Toshiba Satellite 1100.

Parts List:
  • Toshiba Satellite 1100
  • Big Wooden Gingerbread Box
  • Profiled Timber
  • Plywood
  • Old Brass Car Horns
  • Copper T-Pipe
  • Brass Caps
  • Latchet
  • Knobs in different sizes
  • Red Velvet
  • Brass E10 Bulb base
  • LED’s
  • Switches
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Wax
  • Hinge Joints for Box lid and Keyboard
  • Enough Time

Step 1: Disassembly of the Laptop

Picture of Disassembly of the Laptop

I don’t describe the disassembly in detail. Be careful there are many tiny, tiny screws.
Also take some pictures of the metal shield.
Some parts don’t work when they are not connected over the metal shield to ground.
For example the touch pad there is a Brass plate on the lower side.
I don’t connect it to shield/ground and the touchpad don’t work.
After few hours I recognise that there was a small metal sheet mounted which I miss I supersede it by a cable.

Step 2: Monitor Frame

Picture of Monitor Frame

When I measure the Monitor and the Box I got a gap of 2.2cm on top and bottom and a 1.7cm gap on the sides.
I decide to build a wooden frame out of profiled timber.

The profile I got was 2.3mm wide.
Depend on the different gap I remove on the outer side the 1mm and 6mm.
The result is that the profile in the corner doesn’t get correct together. There is an interrupt in the profile. I smooth it a little with sandpaper.
After painting with black wood stain you don’t see this fault.

I mount the Monitor with the original metal frame on the wooden frame I use very short wood screws for this.
Because the wooden frame has exact the measurement of the box lid I am able to clamp it into it without any glue and screws…

Step 3: Keyboard and Status LED Board

Picture of Keyboard and Status LED Board

I don’t want to lift the keyboard manually out of the box but I also know that there is a problem with the keys are too high and get in contact with the screen.

I decide to use leverage force of the lid to push up the Keyboard.
I don’t have enough space for an idler pulley and ropes.

After some hours I got the idea to use a small board which is connected to the lid and pulled out when you open the box to lift up the keyboard too.
As a hinge i use chime parts from the of a wall clock.
I try it but it doesn’t work well because it was too weak in the hinge. When you use the keyboard it starts to teeter under the pressure.
I use two screws in the side of the box to absorb this pressure.
I also recognise that I can control the way if it moves in/out and the angle of the end position.
In the second picture you see the sliding block to lift the keyboard. Later I put a brass pipe on because the board flip too fast down and get in contact wit the E10 sockets with the LED’s in.

Step 4: Speaker

Picture of Speaker

The speaker design was well know before I decide to build a Steampunk Laptop.
I got these nice brass horns some month ago from Ebay. After I see them on Ebay I know that I build speaker with them.
The only challenge was to get small speaker.
After I got the speaker out of the laptop and I recognise that they are oval it was clear that I am able to use a T- copper part out of the hardware store.
I use a 1” T-Pipe and 1” Brass Caps.
I also buy a cabinet door hinge.
The assembling is very easy I put the speaker into the tube and adjust the middle of the speaker into the outlet and mark the position of the cable.
Slide it out and drill a small hole for the cable.
Then I solder the brass horn to the T-Pipe.
I polish it and put the speaker in again, I fix it with hot glue in the right position.
Then I drill a hole in the centre of the brass cap.
Above I use the hinge with the pin for the lower cap I use a short screw which fall down in the hole of the hinge when you meet the centre.

Step 5: Mousepad and Keyboard Frame

Picture of Mousepad and Keyboard Frame

For the Keyboard and Touchpad frame I use a flat profiled timber. Cut it in the right length and be very carefully with the angle in the corner! If you make a wrong angle you will see later a gap and this looks very bad…
After I glued it together I use wood stain and wax for the right look.

Step 6: Mainboard

Picture of Mainboard

First of all I cut the slots for USB, Monitor, Power plug and heat outlet in the backside of the box. I also make slots for the CD Rom and the other parts in the sides.

For the mounting of the Main board in the wooden box I use the original mounting leg. I cut it out of the plastic case and glued them in place.
I need the original mountings the get the right height and the stability inside the box.

Step 7: Wires

Picture of Wires

Wires stands for get weird.

The pins are so close together and so small I that I solder them under a magnifying glass. I need 3 hours and 5 day to solder them. After some minutes you will start to jitter and the result is that you solder 2-3 pins together.
So take time if you do something like this.

Step 8: Status LED's

Picture of Status LED's

Yippee another part that makes you crazy!
The nice status LED’s in the brass E10 bulb sockets are very nice but the replacement of the SMD Led’s though cables is terrible.

I buy a 10 piece pack of cheap 25Watt bulbs with brass socket and remove the bulb and the glass in the socket.
How you get it out I explain in another Instructables some month ago.

Then I stick small magnifying glasses in the socket which I get out of a disposable camera (lens) which I use in this Instructables.
I use normal low current LED's in different colours through the lens it seems that the complete brass tube is glowing inside.

Step 9: Final Handles and Pictures

Picture of Final Handles and Pictures

After I am sure everything works well and stable I paint the last parts.
To cover the CD-Rom slot outside and the card slot on the right side I saw some nice formed wooden plates which I colour with brass paint.
I also mount handles for an easy transport.

At least I glue a modified Compass, Clock and Thermometer on the Status Panel.

Feel free to ask if you need some special information’s or some helpful tips…

Admiral Aaron Ravensdale
Owner of the Steampunk-Design Workshop


AaronB158 (author)2016-06-26

is it me or was the keyboard keys overlooked in the tutorial?

Jetmaster360 (author)2016-02-07

Admiral Aaron Ravensdale... Is Ravensdale your real Surname or did you make it up? 'cause it's awesome!

GameSlayer05 (author)2016-01-09

Can I just say this is the coolest thing ever? I am SO making one!

Portaldominates (author)2015-02-08

Wow!!!!!!!!!This is so epic!! But,sadly my mom would kill me if I took apart my laptop.

rskydancer (author)2014-12-25

Wow!!! Build me one! I'll pay you!

andy.knote (author)2014-12-10

Excellent build- beyond amazing!!

settingsdestroyer (author)2014-10-22

just wondering how you got the "key" power on/off thing to work? and wondering since this will be my first time making a pc if using a larger laptops interior workings (motherboard etc) with a simple usb screen/monitor and keyboard would work? and finally I just wanted to say off the many steampunk laptop I looked up yours is my favorite.

HoppingMadness (author)2014-07-11

I was wondering if I could get some more detailed instruction on how to set up the lock and key on switch?

popeye1231 (author)2014-01-15

awesome steam punk and pc's

stevbob (author)2013-08-15

Please, where did you get the key caps and how did you apply them?


I use Knobs for clothes in different sizes and glue laminated paper inside...
quick and dirty ^^

Dreamchronic (author)2013-08-01

love it.very good work!

clcok511 (author)2013-07-11

put this in the radioshack thing!!!!! it is soooo cool!

AJMansfield (author)2012-06-26

CRTs are WAAAAY more steampunk.

firesirt (author)AJMansfield2013-04-05

Yes, but would YOU want to lug one of these monsters around?

AJMansfield (author)firesirt2013-04-06

I've considered building a 'laptop' with a CRT in it, actually. The end result would be something more similar in form to the Apple Macintosh Plus, except it would have a built-in keyboard that comes out on a pair of drawer slides, and speakers that come out of the sides. Wood case, brass buttons, everything.

romanyacik (author)2013-03-26

Please, tell us where the desktop software came from! It's Ubuntu, isn't it?

tbiggers-brooksby (author)2013-01-14

This is very pretty...but I have a question what size box did you use

jscott14 (author)2012-10-22

After looking at a bunch of different steampunk laptops, I still have to say that I like yours the best. This is a fabulous instructable. Thank you very much.

SGT. Desert (author)2012-09-29

N its not a main board its mother board

SGT. Desert (author)2012-09-29

N its not a main board its mother board

SGT. Desert (author)2012-09-29

nice !!!! can i use satellite c655 ???

ace12345m (author)2012-09-27

what do the f and the v on the mouse pad do?

meenzal (author)2012-05-29

I note that you don't have a QWERTY keyboard layout. How did you remap the Toshiba keys to get the layout you have to work?

No it's a QWERTZ keyboard look on this picture...

Yes, I understand that now, but I'd never heard of one of those until I saw yours. I'm used to the universal QWERTY boards and even the Dvorak boards. but I'd never seen a QWERTZ before.

Now you should think about that you life in Germany and your standart Keyboard is QWERTZ!
I never see a Dvorak and only a few time a QWERTY :-)


You learn something new every day here. Not only do I get to see your excellent laptop, but I learn of a new keyboard format!

About Dvorak: As I understand it, when typewriters were invented, typists kept jamming the machines by typing too fast. So the manufacturers invented the QWERTY keyboard to slow them down by placing keys in non-intuitive order. Their keyboard became the standard and is still around today. The Dvorak keyboard was developed to return that high speed and permits much faster typing when people get used to it. Here's a link about it:

I tried a Dvorak keyboard for a while and just couldn't get used to it, so back to QWERTY I went. People can buy Dvorak keyboards for under US $20 if they want to try one out. Some like them a lot.

Thanks for showing the QWERTZ keyboard, and again, thanks for your excellent Instructable. Awesome work!

BrefelanDesigns (author)2012-05-30

You made Hack-a-Day!|
Here is the article...

Amazing work as always, Mr. Ravensdale.
Your laptop rivals even that of Mr. Datamancer!
(Here is his)
Though I happen to really love the clockwork on the lid of his , yours seems to me more rugged and portable.

Also thought I might mention this one, it also has clockwork in the lid,
though it has a more dystopian/worn out look.
My only thing against that one is he moved the trackpad to the underside of the build.

....Since I am sharing other Steampunk projects things I've come across, I have a nice Youtube playlist of all sorts of Steampunk -inspired stuff, I've come across on Youtube... (here is the link to the playlist), matter of fact several fellow steampunkers that are here on Instructables I have in the playlist.

Anyways, good day to you sir,
and as always,
Happy Making!
~Electfire (Owner of EFW Systems)

datas_brother (author)2012-05-29

Very Cool!!! Where did you get the matching desktop overlay from?

woyzeckmurat (author)2012-05-28

Junophor (author)2012-05-28

Dear Sir Admiral Aaron Ravensdale

It is just unbelievable - what a great job;-))))

Take a bow!!!

Yours Aeon Junophor

Ludwig Von Mech (author)2012-05-28

Mein lieber Herr Admiral-

Das ist ja toll!!! Wunderbare Arbeit.

You are truly the master, and I bow down to you. This is a project that has been on my mind for several years, and you have solved several issues for me, having had the courage and skill to disassemble the laptop. You have taken the design back to 1870, but I am trying to take the design back to 1370, and I am working on a Medieval Punk design. It is far in the future, so to speak.

I will continue to praise your excellent work, sir. Keep up the good work.

nozzo (author)2012-05-28

How did you change the keyboard caps? Where did you source those lovely keys from?

I am confused I am really sure that i add a the step "Keyboard Keys"...
I will write it again!!!

But there are no changes on the caps, I paint the whole keyboard with brass colour and glue buttons on. In this buttons I glue laminated paper with the key layout...

iminthebathroom (author)2012-05-25

crazy awesome

Gazook (author)2012-05-25

Amazing work! Love the brass horns. Soldering that flat cable looks incredibly difficult. What type of soldering iron do you need for that sort of intricate work?

RIGHT... Soldering that makes you crazy...
I have a simmilar one "Smart Soldering Iron Station,digital"

And use the min temperatur for PB solder wire

Sparkytastic (author)2012-05-25

Where did you find the horns?

l8nite (author)2012-05-25

I like the whole steampunk look even though it's not for me personally, but I reallly really like this. This took a lot of imagination, time and skills to pull off. Thank you for sharing !

They are from a old car around 1920... If you search for Brass Horn you will find a lot!

nanosec12 (author)2012-05-25

Admiral Ravensdale,

Sir, once again you astound me with your vision, perserverance, and skill. There is no doubt in my mind that even the Honorable Herbert George Wells would have been proud to incorporate your devices within the confines of his Time Machine !!!

Nicely done Admiral, nicely done.

About This Instructable




Bio: Steampunk-Design builds and developed the most modern technical equipment, fine jewelry and futuristic devices implemented with funds and materials of the Victorian era.
More by Admiral Aaron Ravensdale:Steampunk Picaxe protected SketchbookWaving Key Flower a Steampunk versionSteampunk Laptop
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