Instructables

Steampunk Retro Remote Control (aka 'The Brick')

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Picture of Steampunk Retro Remote Control (aka 'The Brick')
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Most remote controls look pretty much the same, they serve a purpose.....they could look good too.  This is for my Steampunk sound system.  I haven't seen any steampunk remote controls on the web (googling 'steampunk remote control' - virtual ones exist though) so I thought I would create this one.  The hardest part is making the levers, which I thought would make this more authentic, I know I should have done this electronically.....but obviously I needed a greater challenge!

The pictures have explanations (some pictures you have to click on to see the description) as well as the text...if you have any questions please ask in the comments or PM me.

For some reason the video has no sound but it shows the remote control working.  You will still be able to see it working, just the music is not there...which is probably a good thing by not infringing copyrights.

 
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Step 1: Getting the 'stuff'.

Picture of Getting the 'stuff'.
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I found most of my pieces off ebay or my favourite op shop Reverse Garbage or in my junk box.  The wood is from an old dismantled piano, the keys from an old typewriter (ebay it's cheaper to buy the typewriter than it is to buy just the keys!), brass was a door plate panel.

Items to get:

Wood Panel
Wood Stain (optional)
Brass Plate + Brass strip for battery compartment
Typewriter Keys (10)
Compression Springs (10)
Thick Copper Wire (approx 2-3mm thick)
Glass Dome
Remote Control
Screws (brass)
Varnish (I love Danish oil)
Brass Tubes (approx 3mm square and one that slides inside of this)
Small magnets (dia 3mm)
Small piece of mesh
Battery connectors


For tools you will need the standard (or not so standard) power tools:

Router (preferably set up in a table + bits)
Dremel (or equivalent with metal cutting blade)
Drill (plus bits and brass brush for polishing brass)
Saw (I used a band saw)
Glue Gun
Soldering Iron + Solder
The usual hand tools (screw drivers etc).


AJMansfield10 months ago
This is even steampunk on the inside, too!
bricabracwizard (author)  AJMansfield10 months ago
What a great comment!
Blue_Dream5 months ago
Need this in my life! ♥
Junophor10 months ago
Hi bricabracwizard

Wow This is a great inspiration to mee
Absolutely great work
Yours Aeon Junophor
bricabracwizard (author)  Junophor9 months ago
Thanks Junophor!
ThinkOT10 months ago
I can look at hundreds of things, this one thing you made strikes me as something I want and I don't want very often. I wish you were my neighbor, how cool, the only thing I would add is a chain so my kids wouldn't run off with the remote! Thank you for taking the time to document your project, it must have taken quite a bit of effort. I love the blend of tech and raw woodworking that you have, I can dig it!
bricabracwizard (author)  ThinkOT10 months ago
Thank you for such a great comment! My biggest problem is the dog getting hold of it....:)
zawy10 months ago
To REALLY make it "steam punk" you could have to use an ultrasonic remote like they used in the 1960's up until the 1980's. A button would cause a small "hammer strike" on a small metal disk that let out a ping. One disk or bar was needed for each function like volume up or channel up. You would have to make a receiver that would then send the correct LED signal to the TV. That could also be steam punk but it would require careful sound detection and amplification without electricity and heating a filament (without electricity) to send out black body radiation light through a rotating disk (without an electrical motor) to create the pulses strong enough to activate the LED receiver on the TV. But to be really pure all the parts need to have been made without electricity too. And the mines from which the metal comes.
bricabracwizard (author)  zawy10 months ago
All good info there. That's also why I added retro to the title.
bigape10 months ago
Cool build! I sorta had a similar idea for my remote. But adding these levers depending buttons was a pretty wild decision!
bricabracwizard (author)  bigape10 months ago
Thanks! I remember reading through your TV remote build and thinking it was pretty cool. Yeah going with the levers was pretty crazy......especially as the button design has to follow the levers....'cause the levers can't cross over otherwise they will stop other levers from working as you can see from the pictures the wires had to be bent like spaghetti!
bob303010 months ago
Cool, thanks for posting.
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bricabracwizard (author)  DELETED_Evinfire11 months ago
Thanks Evinfire!
longwinters11 months ago
Wow! Every once in a while I see something fantastic here this was one of those times, I have to admit that I'm a little depressed through, my remote has way to many buttons to lend its self to such a mod
So glad you posted this, great work!
bricabracwizard (author)  longwinters11 months ago
Coming from you longwinters that has made my day. I've seen the quality of your work so I feel very honoured. You could create Steampunk joy sticks with momentary switches and that would reduce the amount of buttons.
Winged Fist11 months ago
Great looking remote! I've been thinking about something like this for a while, to go with my Steampunk Cable box and Caddy, but it's still pretty far down on the to-do list... Congrats on what may be the world's first steampunk remote;-)
bricabracwizard (author)  Winged Fist11 months ago
Thanks Winged Fist! I love your Steampunk USB hub and cables. You could probably cover your cable box and use levers like I have and not have to change the cable companies box?
Hey Bricabrac Wizard, That remote looks great! I want one!
bricabracwizard (author)  La_Sweeta_Deeva11 months ago
Thanks for the compliments!
HelmutHound11 months ago
What are the magnets used for exactly? I couldn't figure that part out. Thanks!
bricabracwizard (author)  HelmutHound11 months ago
They were really just to get the contacts to the right height and are easy to sandpaper level, plus I thought the magnets would make a better connection by being pulled towards the contacts. I hope that makes sense....it's easier to visualise than explain.