This will show you how to build a cool fancy steampunk blunderbuss rifle.
(for the grunge people...its fancy, it's victorian, ...just deal with it).

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Step 1: Materials and stuff

Picture of materials and stuff
Generally it is good to overbuy on everything so you can make some choices.
Nothing in this tutorial is essential, feel free to experiment. I did. Go raid the thrift stores for all the brass you can find.

brass stuff (chandelier, lamp, candlestick, bucket, towel rack supports, coathook, screws, nuts, bolts)
wooden banister
table leg
1/4" wooden doweling
gorilla glue or equivalent
spraypaint (gold, copper)
brown stain
jigsaw or equivalent
screwdrivers,hammer, needle nose pliers, metal file, vice grips, punch (+ random regular tools to suit)
old phonebook or large chunk of wood

Step 2: Paint the banister gold/brass

Picture of Paint the banister gold/brass
Find a nice wooden banister rail and cut it off to the shape you want, and sand it and spraypaint it gold/brass.

I made several of these and the non-oak ones look best because there is no grain, a softwood is smoother.

Step 3: Supports for the boiler

Picture of supports for the boiler
2 holder.jpg
I had a bag of old bathroom parts including several towel rack supports. The supports are two pieces with a screw holding them together on the bottom. This was handy.
They have a plate on the bottom of them to affix to the wall invisibly, and then the support goes on held by a tiny set-screw. I sort of came up with what the whole structure would be sitting and marked the spots and mounted the plates.

Step 4: The candlestick

Picture of The candlestick
6 candle and holder disassembled.jpg
4 holderdrilled.jpg
Brass candlesticks generally come apart being supported by a threaded shaft on the inside holding the cylindrical parts together with a nut on the end. I took this one apart and with the extra "give" in the threads put a hole in the support to put the shaft through and re-assembled it.

Step 5: The boiler other half

Picture of The boiler other half
7 steamtank.jpg
8 steamtank screwon.jpg
I repeated the basic part from the candlestick with the brass bucket that looked neat and matched the size of the end of the candlestick.

I drilled a hole in the end of the bucket, a hole in the support and mounted it with some washers a bit of a threaded rod from the chandelier, the same as the candlestick. I left some threaded rod showing out the back to put the fancy swirl finial later.

The two supports and their brass parts can be actually mounted on the shaft of the gun later, since they were fragile, but the setscrew let them be easily dismounted and stored while I did the other work.

Step 6: The butt

Picture of The butt
11 shank.jpg
12b re enforced shank.jpg
The barrel of the gun needed a butt. This was made from a table leg that seemed to be the right shape. I stained it darker and drilled it, put in a couple of dowels and using some brass tinplate brackets, screwed in some extra support before I glued the dowels.

I put the "hard to screw in" part of the bracket (screw #1) before gluing, think about angles while assembling stuff.

It holds quite well.
I used Gorilla glue, which foams after an hour or so, and you have to wipe off, but it makes up for the messiness of my drilling. (Always use small drills and then a few larger sizes when drilling oak or metal).

The tinplate things were very small so I held them with vicegrips while drilling into an old phonebook (to protect the finish). I work outside on a cinderblock because I don't have a workshop, the cinderblock and phonebook work well for supports.

(drill then holes for the butt finial from step 12 now too)

Step 7: The trigger

Picture of The trigger
10 trigger.jpg
I used a swirl from the chandelier and an old coathook to make up the trigger. I cut the swirl off and mounted it like the butt, using its existing threaded rod, and a wooden dowel and glue. The coathook, I just screwed in after drilling pilot holes.

Make sure you can hold it properly for placement before drilling (and mount it facing the right way...doh).

Step 8: The blunderbuss

Picture of The blunderbuss
4 holderdrilled.jpg
14 blunderbuss end.jpg
16 blunderbuss bottom.jpg
14b blunderbuss end.jpg
The flared end was from an old lamp bottom (2 pieces) and another towel rack support.

The lamp I took apart, reasembled the base inverted, and used the towel support to look raygun cool.

There is a shaft from the lamp glued into a hole I drilled into the barrel. I had to actually screw the towel rack support onto the flared end so I had to drill some holes in it. (A punch to start the hole really helps here so you don't mess up the brass on the round surface).

The shaft was mounted with a nut under the base of the towel holder so you can's see it. The towel rack support upper piece holds on the cup. (it's easier than it sounds.)

[shaft, lamp bottom plate, nut, rack support bottom plate, cup, rack support upper knob]

I also spray painted the inside a nice metallic copper since it looked crappy.

Step 9: The tubing and swirls

Picture of The tubing and swirls
18 sight at end mounted.jpg
21 fancy end .jpg
The tubing and swirls were from a brass chandelier I found cheap. It had 12 arms on it so I had lots of swirls and tubing and electrical hardware nuts and threads to use (easy to buy more though, you have to get them at the electrical part of the hardware store, for some reason the wood section nuts and bolts all have different styles of threads, luckily the electrical department standardized their sizes)

The wire comes out of the tubing much easier if the tube is straighter, and don't try to twist it.

Disassemble the chandelier except the swirl part.

You can bend the tubing by hand without folding it if you are careful. I proper machine would have been nice.

I used a railing outside covered with snowpants to pad it. Any thick fabric would work though but they were just inside the door).

To bend, put the tube at the beginning and bend a little over the rail. Move down an inch and bend slightly. Repeat bending only about 10% per time every inch, until you get what you want, REALLY SLOWLY or the tube will fold and crease and look like crap. (I got better on the second one). The tighter the bend the less far down the tube you should bend each time.

This will be the hardest part not to screw up. (buy a chandelier with lots of arms...)

Step 10: Mounting the swirls

Picture of Mounting the swirls
The swirl looked great as a gunsight and conveniently fit right into the hole where the electrical cord was in the bottom of the lamp base. I just used the existing thread from the arm attachment and bolted it right on with a nut.

The swirl looked good at the back too as a finial so with the threading I left on the boiler brass support, I put one there too the same way.

So now you have two swirls with tubes sticking out of them. I had a fancy double ended connector to put the tubes together but the tubes were short. I had a third piece cut from the trigger, but it only had threads on one end.

Step 11: Adding threads (gah)

Picture of Adding threads (gah)
A threading machine would solve your problem here but I didn't have one.

I had an inch of threaded tube though which a wanted to glue on.

I tried with a stick inside (lazy right?)
That broke off when attaching the tubes

I used a proper dowel...it broke.

I used a large bolt, glued it inside. It held.

(Use steel not wood.)

I had never used gorilla glue before, it holds metal, wood, steel, but it is slow and you can't get it off of your hands. so wear gloves, or you will have BLACK HANDS LIKE A DIRTY PERSON, for several days.
It stains you.

Step 12: The butt flourish

Picture of The butt flourish
The butt of the gun needed something since I couldn't router it smooth or anything so I went with the finial from some sort of cupboard doorhandle pull. I cut off the end of the thing so it wasn't sticking out above the butt.

It actually took some looking to find a finial that mounts a the top not the ends. Most big ones were longer than the butt end. Looks good though.

I put in some screws into the holes of the doorpull and left them sticking out of the for more grip then drilled holes into the butt and glued it on.

(this would have been smart to think of in step 5, but why should your life be easier than mine?)

Step 13: Alternate ending

Picture of alternate ending
25 costume.jpg
steampunk me costume 800.jpg
I only had 4 towel rack supports and wanted to make an identical rifle, so I had to make due with what I had. An alternative boiler design used the second of the pair of candlesticks, and just the burner of a cheap oil lamp with the glass chimney supports just folded over the end to hold it on.

It looks good too.

The tubing couldn't end the same then, so I just drilled a hole in the banister and mounted some extra threaded finials on the other side. (This design turns out to be more practical actually, since the gun is easier to set down without the tubing in the way.)

Remember when you are building and designing to hold the gun in the way you would when it is done, and you will see any design flaws like sharp objects sticking into your belly. Make sure there is room for you hands on the end of the barrel and the tubing is not in the way etc.

Good luck.

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sonaps5 years ago
I seem to be the only person that finds this irking, but a blunderbuss could never be considered a rifle. Rifles shoot a single shot, at far distance, with relatively good accuracy. A blunderbuss fires many pieces of shot a short distance, and is highly inaccurate. All in all it is an amazing piece of sculpture, but I'm a bit of a gun nut so I had to say this.
.... well, tecnically, a blunderbuss could be considered a rifle if the barrel were in fact rifled, as that is the defining factor. also, a rifle doesn't have to be accurate or shoot long distance. its all in how the gun was made that determines those.

and i would consider a giant shot gun VERY accurate, considering that its practically impossible to miss (at short distance [though short is a reletive word here. i'm sure a real one could hit something at as far as 50+ yards])
solipsism (author)  sonaps5 years ago
well if it makes you feel better it shoots 0 distance and is very inaccurate since it NEVER hits anything, so I guess it can't be a rifle so it must  be a blunderbus  :)
Arbitror6 years ago
Darn, it's only a prop...
Ummm, of course. A steampunk fan should always make props, not real weapons.
im a steampunk fan but i think shadow ops is right
it should be powered by steam though
it is realy good looking though
But what if you burn yourself with the steam? Or it explodes in your face? Precautions are your friends.
solipsism (author)  Mr. Brownie5 years ago
you did notice goggles and gloves were worn?  :)

i have the peices to something i plan to build (a steampunk cannon, if ever i can get the cash to get more pieces[jobless bum....:( ] ) that i plan on includeing a fire extinguisher in. never has to be dangerous. there are multiple ways to make 'functional' weapons that are reletively save. think paintball guns.

though, mine is just supossed to shoot the gas, not a projectile.
I'm joking...
It's time to change it >:D
prop master4 years ago
all i have to say is awesome build its a very nice wepon and i am going to build my own version
MAVREV135 years ago
sick that is beast.
noneedto5 years ago
wooooow nice work mann,

this is freaking wicked ;)
fwjs286 years ago
the main image is Photoshopped, yet most of the others look like a three year old set loose with MS paint
red-king fwjs285 years ago
 that's not very nice.
fwjs28 fwjs286 years ago
ohh, but it is really cool 4/5
Would love to see how you made those snazzy goggles/hat _
solipsism (author)  Hikaru6 years ago
i already did one for the helmet....look me up
fuzvulf6 years ago
Nice work. -for small tubing, I use a screen door spring *(about $3 U.S.) and if you have a harbor freight near you you can buy a nice tubing bender set for around $30. Some of harbor freight's stuff is pretty much disposable but it is hard to mess up a tubing bender. I wouldn't use salt if you plan on keeping your piece for long. with all of the different metals, if you don't get every bit of it off and out you'll get a galvanic reaction which will quickly turn things green and pit pretty finishes.
If you've got room in your freezer, plug one end of your tube, fill it with water and freeze it. You can then bend it without creasing/crumpling it (old trumpet-maker's trick)
You can also fill pipe with sand (packed tight) for the same effect - makes it a lot easier to bend and not kink. (and you don't need a huge freezer or to wait hours for water to turn to ice) but I like the ice idea, never thought of that....
By the way, the project looks amazing, and looking forward to the goggles 'ible!
gfella6 years ago
You should make an operational one. Now that would be cool!
mrthumbtack6 years ago
Great job! Your costume is really intricate and amazing.
You've inspired me to finally post a slideshow of my own steampunk costume:

Doctor What6 years ago
Absolutely excellent. It has a lovely look!
PKTraceur6 years ago
You need steampunked shoes and knee covers... -PKT
ur like... THE STEAM GOD!!!!!!!!!!!
That is for the first pic
i agree, awesome pic
Honus6 years ago
Very nice work! Steampunk's not necessarily my thing but I can really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this.
Fildain6 years ago
Hey, in the future. If you fill the tubing with sand before you bend it you will not have so many problems with it creasing. Cool looking gun.
Another way to prevent creasing is to wrap a spring around it before bending.
I believe I saw this on how a trombone was made... Fill the tube with water, freeze the water, and then bend it. You might not be able to bend it by hand with ice in the tube, but you never know. Also, you should let the ice melt before you continue.
Iridium76 years ago
looks like something from narnia or the golden compass
thepelton6 years ago
Neat! I think I'll show this to my brother. Incidentally, I remember seeing a cartoon in a book a number of years ago in which a rifle stock was attached to a slide trombone. I think that would make a neat, kinda cyberpunk, project.
xwx6 years ago
THIS IS EPIC!!! seriously it rocks dude I like the spiraly tubes :D
Bobblob6 years ago
Nicely done and very well (and maybe even painfully) documented! I bet it took you hours to put together? Very creative use of spare part and odd bits too. You would be scary if you had proper tools I suspect! A small crit: The wooden banister shape is too pervasive for my taste. I would have changed it ( disguised it more) A hint for bending thin tubing: To reduce kinks fill it with fine sand ( maybe even salt but I never used salt) Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to your punk glasses Instructable.
SinAmos6 years ago
I have dismantled lamp parts I was going to use to make my own on version, but I never got around to it. Lamps are great for parts.
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