Introduction: Steampunk IPhonograph

Picture of Steampunk IPhonograph
I've had so much fun making this and it's such a good sound system, it takes you back to the 1900's (no I'm not really that old - that would be incredible though!). I have been interested in Steampunk for a number of years and have seen a great number of artifacts out there, some of which have appeared on 'Warehouse 13' and films etc. I have created a few myself but this is the only one I have documented. If you like this I have created other artefacts which I don't have instructables for but they might give you more ideas. Click here.

Making a Steampunk sound system has been on my mind for a year now and it wasn't until I saw Horatius.Steam's building a passive speaker for your phone instructable that I was inspired to do this, but unlike his I needed more than a passive speaker, I wanted 'POWER!'

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

Picture of Gathering Your Materials

Most of the materials I get have been from recycling depots, kerbside chuck outs and donations from friends although I did have to buy a few things for this project!

Materials List (of what I used, you can substitute anything you like):

1 x Old Cutlery Canteen (Box)
1 x Brass Horn - these are repos imported from India (one of many sites:
1 x Mini Stereo Amp - this I built from an old kit I had lying around at home, it has an LM380 audio amp, but really you should use a mono amp for this! Obviously!
1 x Transformer to run the amplifier
1 x 1.5 metre square of blue felt
2 x Potentiometer Knobs
1 x 1 metre length of shielded audio cable
2 x 3.5mm stereo plugs
1 x 3.5mm stereo socket
1 x Power lead with plug for mains
1 x Power socket
1 x Power switch (3 way)
2 x Mains driven LED lights (one red and one green)
1 x 100mm square of acrylic (3mm thick)


Soldering Iron & solder
Wire Cutters
Dremel (mini drill)
Hole Drill Bits
Wood Glue
JB Weld (epoxy)
Varnish (I used Danish OIl)
000 Wire Wool
Propane Torch and Silver Solder (although you could use a good epoxy)
Sander and Sand Paper

Step 2: Preparing the Box

Picture of Preparing the Box

I drilled three holes in the top of the box for the brass horn, phone stand and phone support.

Step 3: Sand the Box

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Throughly sand the box and get rid of all the marks, scratches and varnish.  I only used 120 grit, it was all I had and I like the slightly rougher finish which gets lost when it's varnished.

Step 4: Make the Phone Stand & Phone Support

Picture of Make the Phone Stand & Phone Support

The phone stand is just two pipes brazed at right angles.  First cut one length to easily fit your iPod, iPhone or iPad and cut a piece of pipe the height you want your phone to be at.  Cut a curve into the upright pipe and braze onto the phone stand pipe at right angles (see picture).  Cut a channel in your horizontal pipe for your equipement.  The phone support is as you can see in the picture.  Then glue all the brass in with JB Weld, leave overnight to dry.

Step 5: Line the Inside of the Box

Picture of Line the Inside of the Box

Line the inside of the box with felt - I did this so that the speaker would not sound rattily.

Step 6: Add the Electronics

Picture of Add the Electronics

The Mini Stereo Amplifier i made from a kit with my Easy PCB Holder. The wiring is fairly simple as I only used one channel of the amplifier.  I had thought of making a stereo iPhonograph but I couldn't fit two brass horns onto the box.  If you have any questions about the electronics please ask.  I think the pictures will help you.

Step 7: The Connection

Picture of The Connection

I wanted to create an old world cable to run from the phone to the input socket, I have seen various descriptions to do this, here is a link to a good one here on instructables: Miss Betsy's Steampunk Mouse step 14.

Step 8: Making Sure There Are No Sharp Edges to Ruin Your Phone

Picture of Making Sure There Are No Sharp Edges to Ruin Your Phone

Glue your felt to all the areas your phone will be placed

Step 9: Many Layers of Varnish (or in My Case Danish Oil!)

Picture of Many Layers of Varnish (or in My Case Danish Oil!)

I love using Danish Oil for wood, it really brings out the wood better than traditional varnish.  You brush it on and when it has dried for about 10 minutes you wipe off any excess oil and do this for 5 layers.  With the last two layers use very fine wire wool to smooth the surface and get rid of any imperfections and when you put on the last layer of oil and let it dry you will add such a beautiful lustre to your wood.

Step 10: Time to Enjoy

Picture of Time to Enjoy

The things I have left out which I will be adding later is the charger for the phone, a tone/EQ control (this is for the second dial) and a USB port for connecting to the computor.

I now listen to this iPhonograph more than I listen to my regular set up.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask either by comment or email - Cheers!!  If you like this have a look at my Googly Sound

Step 11: A Different Version in Stereo! Plus a Few Others I Have Made for People.

Picture of A Different Version in Stereo!  Plus a Few Others I Have Made for People.

This one also charges the iPad, iPhone or iPod.

I've put in a guide to other steampunk creations which are absolutely fantastic! How to Steampunk!


Lindie (author)2012-11-14

Nice! Love the look!

bricabracwizard (author)Lindie2012-11-14

Thanks for the comment!

Z.K. (author)2012-09-05

Great project. I really like that nice cabinet and the horn. The horn would stop me though. The last time I tried to order something from India, the shipping was unbelievable, more than what I wanted to buy. Anyway, your project is really interesting and I might try it sometime if I can buy one of those brass horns somewhere locally.

iceng (author)2012-01-16

iLike this very much.
You have my vote too.


RocketPenguin (author)iceng2012-08-25

Well, idon't like apple much, but this thing is amazing!

Thanks! I've created others for android phones and tablets. I think all electronics is fun and we need more competitors to keep the ball rolling, a major third who can come up with something completely different to apple and Microsoft.

And there is! It is called LINUX, lol.... Imagine Microsoft, and Apple, combined. You get Ubuntu!!!

I would have mentioned Linux but for me it's too similar to Microsoft. Not being an expert but I think Ubuntu has a way to go yet. I'm hoping someone will work out a more 'pictorial'

Ah. I see.

bricabracwizard (author)iceng2012-01-16

Thanks every vote and comment counts!

exoguy (author)2012-01-27

Wow! How great! 'His'Masters Voice' has finally joined up with the ipod providing a memorable, nostalgic sound. Where can I buy one?. Exoguy

bricabracwizard (author)exoguy2012-01-27

Thanks, I have been asked by a few people for one, I'm looking into the viability of producing them but it would take more tools than I have to make them reasonably economical.

farouk4 (author)2012-01-15

Hey! love your project, def deserves a vote. Just had a few questions... What kind of audio amp would you use? could you provide us with a link? Also, is it possible for you to take a clearer pic of the wiring of the system? Thank you and Great job!

bricabracwizard (author)farouk42012-01-15

Thanks for your kind comments and the vote! A link was kindly provided by Thax below, here it is:

farouk4 (author)bricabracwizard2012-01-15

Thanks a lot this is really helpful!

Dylan0614 (author)2012-01-13

Thank you so much for doing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ive been trying to work out this verry project for months in my head, FINALY ...UR AWESOME!


sunshiine (author)2012-01-13

Nice build! Thanks for sharing your hard work! Voting! Have a beautiful day!

Thanks! ...and you too!

nmoraga (author)2012-01-11

can i put 3.5 jack to this speaker? or can i make it an ipod dock? please help me. i already have the 3.5 jack cable and i cut it on its other end and then i soldered it to the positive/negative of the speaker. it works but it doesnt perform well. low VERY sound.

bricabracwizard (author)nmoraga2012-01-11

For this speaker you will need an amplifier which you could build into the speaker case and is run by a battery, make sure it's rated for 6 ohms.

Thax (author)bricabracwizard2012-01-13

Here are some on the cheap...

bricabracwizard (author)Thax2012-01-13

Well done, and thanks. You must have read my mind because I was thinking I didn't really help not sending an idea how this can be accomplished cheaply, and the amps you've linked to are so small they'll easily fit into the speaker cabinet.

puzzler300 (author)2012-01-12

thts really cool! ive been wanting make sometjing like this for a while now.

Please do! Post some pictures here or write an instructable, I'd like to see that

robso (author)2012-01-12

Amazing! Thinking it will be my next livingroom improvement project! Thanks a bunch for sharing!

bricabracwizard (author)robso2012-01-12

You're welcome!

bdolge (author)2012-01-12

Just a thought, did you consider mounting the Ipad flat on top of the box and setting up a screensaver/idle screen as a old spinning victrola platter?

bricabracwizard (author)bdolge2012-01-12

What a great idea, do you know of an app that does this?

CrystalJade (author)2012-01-12

This is the coolest thing I've seen so far! I love old school. May I ask what iPad app you're using here?

Your comment is really appreciated. The app is: Diner Jukebox

atga12 (author)2012-01-11

So awesome!! Old school look combined with most modern technology available, so brilliant, I want one!!!

bricabracwizard (author)atga122012-01-11

Thank you I'm flattered!

canucksgirl (author)2012-01-11

Very nice instructable! That's a very creative idea and deserving of a vote.

Good luck in the contest!


ilpug (author)2012-01-09

II like this so much, I must momentarily lapse into gibberish ggofijendagfkjgnkjgafknglaerglajgnkdfgfg


Yeah, this is amazing.

bricabracwizard (author)ilpug2012-01-09

I'm glad I had that effect on's made my day!

ilpug (author)bricabracwizard2012-01-09

Yay for made day!

canucksgirl (author)ilpug2012-01-11


La_Sweeta_Deeva (author)2012-01-09

What a deft piece of genius! This would look superb in my library - I want one!!!!! Just the right mix of sentimentality, functionality and design. Bravo BricaBrac Wizard!

the_burrito_master (author)2012-01-09


Cooool! Thanks

hauntedworkshop (author)2012-01-09

Very creative. I love it! I may have to talk to my neighbor who has several Edison wax cylinder players and see if we can modify one of them for his new iphone. Thanks for this great idea.

You're welcome. Please send me pictures of your creations, I would love to see what you come up with!

Horatius.Steam (author)2012-01-09


Great instructable with a lot of "sound power".

I like it!

Thank you for linking!

With kind regards,

Horatius Steam

Thanks, I always look forward to your instructables

About This Instructable




Bio: I love creating almost anything. I am a professional magician and guitarist/singer - so much to do so little time! Follow me on Twitter: @bricabracwizard
More by bricabracwizard:Steampunk Entertainment System with moving candles and parts.A 1921 Bluetooth SpeakerHow to make a CNC Mill
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