Steampunked Magic Eye Winker Powered by Batteries and USB-connected





Introduction: Steampunked Magic Eye Winker Powered by Batteries and USB-connected

About: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one side I am fascinated in neon lights and small electronic ...
Hi everybody
and a happy new year to the instructables- and also steampunk- company.

Here is my latest project: TheSteampunked Magic Eye Winker.
Since my earliest childhood I am deeply impressed of the magic light at my grandparents radio.
Whenever they where listeneing -mostly in the evening- to the radio news I was fascinated by this magic glooming light of the magic eye  tube.
So I decided to find a way of watching it again.
I discussed a lot with my friends and finally got in contact with a famous guy called Mr. Nixie. He made the propsal to invent such a special universal electronic to let wink any of thes old magic eye tubes. My option was that it has to be possible to drive this circuit either by 4 pieces of AA-batteries or by using an USB connector. Also it has to be not too expensive and available for all guys in the world.

And here is the result:

Enjoy yourself by this small video impression and if you like, follow this instructable

Have fun Yours Aeon Junophor

And now let us start!!!!



Step 1: First Draft

The Steampunked Magic Eye Winker should follow in its design my other steampunk objects and so I invented this from the already known brass parts. I combined it with some new parts from an very old petrollamp and some wodden stuff.

Step 2: Wood Works

To build the wodden holder I took two parts of 16 mm plywood and fixed them with 4 screws. After forming it to an oval I cut a big hole with an hole saw in the top plate. Then I combined  some 12 mm plywood with my beloved 3mm fiber plate and fixed it with PUR-glue. Out of tis plate I cut the slices.

Step 3: Metal Works, Part One

Now we have to do a lot of metal works.
First we have totake some pieces of brass wire 2 mm in diameter and solder it thre times to a gear. Then we take the petrol lamp gallery part and rill three holes to put the brass wire in.

Step 4: Metal Works Part Two

Now you have to cut some pieces of copper tubes. I used 18 mm and 25 mm tubes

Step 5: Metal Works, Part Three

In the next step you go on to build the Holder for the magic eye tube. I call it the "lantern"

Step 6: Modifying the Lantern

The highlight of this installation is the integrated copper web to cover two thirds of  the lantern. This gives the lantern an impression of keeping a secret .

Step 7: Combining Metal and Wodden Parts

Now we have to combine the wodden pieces with the metal ones. First we put the slices and the brass holder together. Then the gear and brass screw socket has to be combined with a wodden plate. To let the parts perfectly fitting together we have to grind them. I used a drilling machine and a file. Be careful when working with rotating parts!!!

Step 8: The Electronic by Mr. Nixie

Herr are the electronisc parts which has been developed especially for this project. But you can uses ist as well for your own creations All detailed descriüptions about the circuit and how to build them together you will find here.
Magic Eye Winker

Beyond you can see the circuit and some of this magic eye tubes in progress.

Step 9: Integrating the Electronic 1

Now the electronic parts can be build in.

I build one steampunked winker only powered by the USB connector and another one..   but this you will see in teh next step ;-)))

Step 10: Integrating the Electronic 2

The second steampunked magic eye winker runs with the fantastic looking 6E1P tube. It can be powered by 4batteries of the AA Type and you can switch over to the USB power supply. By turning the POTI in the E 27 brass socket you can influence the glooming too.

Thank you all for following and have much fun in creating your own magic eye winker project

Yours Aeon Junophor



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    Please be positive and constructive.




    I really like so many of your projects! Tell me, how/where do you find those large brass fittings that you use on several of your projects (including this one).

    Thank you!

    1 reply

    Hi DinoD5

    If you look here


    # 381276RGRE
    - Red Emperor Fire Mill Cock Valve Storz [VIC] - Roll Groove Inlet with Cap.


    # 381269
    - Fire Valve 64 Thread x 4.88 Pitch [NSW] Painted -BSP Inlet.

    or here

    or here......

    you will find these fire hose landings made of brass!

    In Germany I got them from the manufacturer AWG.

    Hope this information will help you to find these brass made valves in your country....

    Thank you very much for liking my objects. The next instructables is coming soon;-)))


    Aeon Junophor


    Hope you enjoy my other projects too....

    great Instructable!! Beautiful and artistic work.

    Thanks for sharing. Saludos

    Die Federn halten auf dem engen Raum besser und das Holzstück dahinter ist konisch geschliffen, da rutschten die Klammern immer ab.

    Hab mich dass auch gedacht. Vernunftig. Vielleicht kann man auch die Seite der Wäscheklammer benutzen. Ach, nur mit dem Eisen, gehts auch

    In the U.S. the bit shown is known as a Forstner Bit. This was invented by a fellow named Benjamin Forstner.patented in 1874.

    2 replies

    Hi wjbean

    Thank you very much for your kind information.
    In Germany ist is also called "Forstner-Bohrer" (means driller) but I did not knew that it had been invented by Benjamin Forstner and that you use the same term.
    I have already added the name in the text . In my profession as a carpenter I work a lot with this Forstner bit.......
    Have a nice time

    Cheers Aeon Junophor

    This is a really slick looking project.

    I too was fascinated by the "magic eye" technology. As I remember it was integrated into a Fischer receiver my dad had. When a radio station was tuned in the eye would "narrow." It also pulsated in time to the audio.

    That looks like an EAM 86 you must have used two different tubes.

    What does the pot do? does it change the frequency of the cycle or the width?

    1 reply

    Hi longwinters
    You are right I build two types of this magic eye winker, one with an EAM 86 tube (see step nine) and one with an 6E1P tube (see step ten)

    By turning the pot you can change the width of waving. Sorry I forgot to explain it in my text. The frequency depends on each tube and it´s temperature while working. The cycle is generated in the circuit itself and can´t be influenced.

    Hope this will help
    Aeon Junophor

    excellent job with many difficulties but well overpassed from the author....shame i dont have nixies any more and now the value goes to the skylimits in the market....

    I love the way you think outside the box, now all I have to do is figure out how to order the kit from Germany.

    The overall appearence would improve if you would find an oldtime knob to replace the light bulb socket you used at the base.

    There is one thing for sure when you make a project it is always unique and not like anything others are making, that;s why I love it when you post a new project.

    1 reply

    Hi longwinters

    A happy new year to you and your family and thanks for your nice words.

    To order the kit just get in contact to Mr. Nixie. He sends his kits to all parts of the world, and that is why I presented this instructable now after making sure that you and all the other intrested guys can order there also the different magic eye tubes are available at Mr. Nixie. I am very pleased that he asked me for a picture of my steampunked magic eye winker too to show it at his homepage ;-))))

    Yours Aeon Junophor

    This caught my eye. I used to have a bunch of old tubes, but no longer:-(

    I hope that I have the time to look into making one of these. I would enjoy it. Thanks for the good photos and descriptions.

    I can follow your deep impression on these old "Dampfradios". So nice...