Introduction: Steampunk Mechanical Monocle

Hi there! Here, browsing some Instructables, I found a lot of steampunk/cyberpunk/somethingpunk projects, some really interesting. I fell in love with those kind of things, so I decided to make something following this stream.

I've started to look for an idea, some kind of inspiration; I've searched hundreds of sites (well, maybe only dozens, maybe even ten or so). Finally, the idea found me. The inspiration is this: if a noble gentleman who lost his left eye needs to hide his black hole, what in the earth he would use? (I know, it's a bit macabre, but this kind of accident can happen.)

This is the result of my efforts. I hope you like it, please be gentle with your comments, this is my first real Instructable (in english, not my best language: forgive me).

EDIT: Kiteman has suggested me some language improvement. I hopa that this will make my instructable more readable.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Like with any other project, we need to start somewhere. Usually I start sketching my ideas, to have some kind of blueprint to follow. This time I decide to do everything following only my creative talent (if we can call it a talent).

Materials needed:
- a 1,5 liter plastic bottle, the harder the better;
- an old leather purse (true or fake, no matter), ready to be dismantled;
- all-purpose glue, like mastic;
- an old pocket watch, not precious, not working and not reparable (maybe also not yours...);
- a piece of cardboard;
- a sheet of transparent plastic;
- elastic;
- 2 small metal hangers;
- gold, copper or bronze permanent marker;
- some uninsulated copper wire, medium thickness.
Instead of a purse and a watch you can use any kind of leather object big enough to provide the required amount of material, and any other mechanical device that can be reduced to a lot of cogs.
The copper wire should be uninsulated for showing the color. If you have a wire with transparent insulation, it will preserve the natural color of copper, otherwise it can develop an ugly oxide patina.

Optional materials:
- acrylic paint, any color you like;
- fixative or transparent varnish.
The paint is needed only if the leather's color is wrong for your intentions. For a steampunkish style, you can use black, dark brown, dark bordeaux, anthracite or wet sand color paint. It's up only to you.

- marker, color doesn't matter;
- mechanical pen, again color doesn't matter;
- X-acto knife, cutter or pocket knife, whatever you want;
- scissors;
- sandpaper (medium grit);
- some paper towels;
- a working table or something to cover your desk.
The latter two items are really important: you don't want to stick your finger to your project or to ruin a good looking desk, trust me. You can replace all blades with electric tools, at your choice.
You may need some other tool, like pliers or hammers, depending on your material and your intention. No, I don't mean that you can throw the hammer to your younger brother.

Step 2: Main Structure

Unfortunately, I haven't picture for the initial steps, because my memory is short and leaking, and I didn't though to document those parts. However, it's easy to achieve the result, following some tips.

The monocle is made using the top part of the bottle, cutted along the line in the photo. Try to make it symmetrical, or at least to give it a nice, rounded shape. It's better to avoid sharp points, they can be dangerous (the monocle, as name says, lies near an eye, and it'll be very painful if you stick something sharp in it).

Then cut away the cap holder. Be aware: here the plastic is thicker, at least in my bottle, so better pay a lot of attention with sharp tools. Finally, put the decorative plate (mine is the back of the watch) where you want to place it, trace it's contour and cut away, adding 1mm per side (for the leather). If your decoration is thin, you can glue it directly on leather instead of cutting and gluing. I need to do this because the piece is too thick and it will pop too much from the silhouette.

Now it's sanding time! Sand all edges, especially those that will be near your skin. You can sand them slightly, just to remove the major irregularity. We will cover all with leather, so we don't need to make perfect edges.

Put your monocle on your eye, try to find the best position for you (remember: the front hole doesn't need to be exactly in front of your eye, because we will completely cover it). Holding it in place, try to figure out the position of the strap. Mark it on both sides, then draw a rectangle slightly larger and thicker than the strap itself. Cut that shape away.

If you can't imagine how this thing look like, jump to step 4 to see some picture, then go back to step 3.

Step 3: Taking Apart Things

The dream of every child! Now we dismantle, disrupt and diswhat-you-want the purse and the pocket watch.

Seriously: I think that the purse is easy to take apart, just follow the seam and cut the thread, being careful not to damage the leather. The watch is a little trickier (again, I've no pics of this passage; I hope my instruction are enough): insert the tip of a thin, flat screwdriver in the small hole between the knob and the body, it should be easy visibile. Apply a little force, slowly increase it, until you hear a pop (and see the watch falling in two or more pieces). Congratulation, you have just opened your first pocket watch! You should be proud!

From now, you must use lot of delicacy in handling and storing all parts.

With a pin-point screwdriver remove all screw you can see. This part depends on the watch, so do you better for yours. Some watches have a visibile spring, others, like mine, have a "box gear" (I don't know it's real name), actually composed by two part: the box, that holds the spring, and the cover, that close the box. If it's your case, pay attention while opening the box gear: the spring can be dangerous!

However, once you have separate all parts, you should have at least two pieces of leather, one strap/belt, two metal plates full of holes, some tiny screws, a glass, the back and the front of the watch, a knob, a lot of cogs and some other things. Enough stuff to work with!

Step 4: Covering the Structure

This is an easy but long process. First glue about 1 cm of the structure, on the back side. Allow the glue to dry, then proceed 1-1,5 cm at time, tending the leather to avoid creases. When you reach the front hole (you can cover the side hole without problem, I think), glue only the side part. Then roll the leather around the front hole, matching on the other side (where you see the seam). It sounds hard, but it's easier to do than to say.

One the glue is dry, cut all along the structure border, leaving 5 mm all around. The part where the leather is touching itself, cut exactly one flap, the other at 5 mm of distance. Fold in half that flap, creating a border, then glue on the other flap. Finally, carefully fold and glue the border, cutting if you need to.

Now you have two holes covered by the leather (one is actually a leather cone). With a sharp blade, cut the leather on the side hole in 6-8 "slices". Before gluing, try to insert your plate. If the hole is too tight (there is leather, now), refine its edges to fit. The plate should enter with some effort, not too loosely. When the hole is fitting right, fold the flaps and glue them. Cut also the cone at 5 mm from the hole edge, add some perpendular cuts, fold and glue again. The last thing is to cut at the center of the rectangular hole, along it's length, and inserting the strap. This time there's no need to glue, because the strap will hold everything in place.

Fold the strap in a way similar to that used when gluing the seam, securing it from slipping.

You should obtain something similar to the pics.

Step 5: The Lens Mechanism

OK, ideally the bunch of cogs we are going to create would control the position of the lens, using the knob. Obviously this doesn't work, but we can make it look real. Let's start!

First, take a piece of cardboard. I use a 200 g/m2 cardboard, light but resistant. Cut it in the shape that fits well with your structure, marking three-four points for later reference (see pics). Paint the card with a black marker, or any color you want, then set apart.

Now take one of the holey plates as base for your cogs work. Using the always-valid trial-and-error method, create a nice arrangement for the first layer of cogs. Try to set them in a working fashion, that is, with interlocking teeth. When you are satisfied, glue all. Then create a second layer, than a third, and so on, as you like.

After the glue is dry, place the mechanism on the cardboard, then both them on the structure, finding the best position. Finally, glue the metal on the paper and set aside. You may need to puncture the cardboard to host the pins, like I did.

The result should be similar to the first photo.

Step 6: The Lens

This step shouldn't be tricky.

If you are lucky enough to find a real lens that fit, you can jump to next step without even read the next line.

Take your plastic sheet (or whatever you choose as source for your lens) and place it on your monocle. Trace the contour of the hole leaving 5 mm all around. Cut and try it. If it's too big, refine slightly the edge and try again, until you find the perfect fit. You know you have find it when the lens is only 1 mm from the edge of the hole.

If your plastic become covered with fingerprints, just wash it gently with water and hand soap.

Put it apart, avoiding to scratch or otherwise mark it.

Step 7: Attaching the Strap

The strap should be already attached to the monocle, but only to one side.

Wear your monocle, then wrap the strap around your head, reaching the monocle again. Using a mirror, find the best place to attach the free end, then mark the position on both the strap and the structure. Cut 4-5 cm more than your sign, then bend and glue 5 mm at the end (like the seam and the strap's other end). Insert the metal ring from the purse, fold and glue the strap (2 cm will be enough). It's better to have a too long piece of strap than one too short.

Cut through the structure and insert both hangers in place, then glue them in place.

Now the difficult part of this step: take an appropriate length of copper wire (at least 10 time the length of the ring) and create a hook at one end. The hook should be wide enough to comfortably hold the hangers. Insert the wire in the strap's metal ring, then start bending. Wrap the wire around the metal bars as tight as you can: there's no need to provide any degree of liberty.

Once completed the coil, cut the remaining wire. If your wire is too short, I'm sorry, but you need to restart with a longer wire. I told you: better long than short (without any sexual references, naughty boy).

Step 8: Elasticizing the Strap

Despite the unusual verb, it's a really simple step, if done properly.

First, find the center of the strap and cut. Wear your monocle and mark and cut where the two halves meets each other. This is the length you need. Lie the monocle on a working table and hold the halves with a pin or some tape. The marks must correspond. Take one or two pieces of rubber band, depending on their size, at least 5 cm of length.

Fold 1 or 2 cm of both halves and fix them with tape. Insert one end of the rubber band in the pocket you have just formed, then do the same with the other end. Try to keep all symmetrical to better distribute the stress. When you are satisfied about your result, glue all together, paying attention on gluing the right way (the rubber band should be on the internal part, touching the head). For a stronger strap, sew the rubber band to the leather.

The strap is done. Woo-hoo!

Step 9: Add the Knob

Easy. Period.

Just find a suitable point to place your knob, puncture, insert and glue. I suggest to place it on the external side, in the lower half, slightly turned forward.

Step done. Phew, what a sweat!

Step 10: Coloring (optional)

I choose to color the leather now because I'm very skinflint and don't want to use too much color. Nah, I'm joking! I do it now because I don't want to ruin the color with further manipulation. The next step will be dangerous enough in this sense, in my opinion.

However, all we need to do now is, guess what, paint!

Take whatever color you want and free the artistic spirit in you. Just be sure that your color doesn't go away with water or friction. As I say before, I made a couple of tests with two kind of black permanent marker. One was too soft and it cannot cover leather well. The other works fine, but after a night into a glass of water (to simulate a long use with sweat, and consider that sweat is also more acid), I can use the colored patch like a pencil. So I used acrylic paint.

To be sure that no white should be seen, I first color all leather with a black marker. After that, I paint a first coat, a small area at time, then I let it dry completely. Finally I paint a second layer, again a piece at time. I left it dry overnight, then, to avoid color loss on skin or hair, I prepared a mix with PVA glue and water. I put one part of each in an old deodorant spray bottle, shaken well and sprayed all over the monocle, from about 20 cm.

The most important part of the monocle is the internal edge, because it's in contact with the skin. If necessary, spray all monocle two times to cover everything well.

Once completely dry, I proceed to next step.

Step 11: Decorative Plates

As I say in the previous step, this is a dangerous manipulation. Not harmful for the maker, but for the color.

If you have a thin plate, just glue it on the leather, using just some drip of glue. If it exits from a side, clean it as soon as possible.

If you, like me, have a thick plate, force it into the hole you have prepared before, paying lot of attention. Don't slip! The hole must be of the right size. Once the piece is in place, hold it firmly to avoid escapes and use a lot of glue in the internal part. Wait in this position until the glue is completly dry. It may take a long time so watch a movie, read a book, do something that you can do with only one hand while waiting.

Often the plates are straight, but the bottle is round, so how can we reconcile those two facts? Easy (to say): we can push in the structure until we have a perfect match all around the plate edges, glue in this position and wait. Heating the plastic with an hot air gun may be useful, but before check if the glue can work at high temperature or, even worse, if it's flammable.

However, if you need to sink the plate, you may also need to change the shape of the lens and the mechanism's cardboard. This can happen because the structure has been deformed by pushing it.

Step 12: Lens and Mechanism

Almost done.

Take the lens and glue it. Be sure it is perpendicular to your line of sight plane. Use really little glue, just two or three drops. Let the glue dry, then take the mechanism and repeat. Here you can use more glue, but don't let it fall into the spaces between the cardboard and the structure.

There may be some cut to do on the cardboard, because of the knob and, maybe, other things. Try to cut as little as you can to avoid unwanted holes.

Ladies and gentlemen, our astonishing steampunk mechanical monocle!

Step 13: Improvement Suggestions

If you don't feel completely satisfied, you can add other details to your monocle. Here comes some suggestions (that I will follow, maybe):

- Add some details, like faux rivets all around the edge.
- Add some decorations on the side, around the plate.
- Add some buttons, knobs, tubes where you think they can go.
- Add a diagonal strap from the middle of the existing one to the hangers. This strap shoud go under the other ear, or even lower, near the chin.
- Change the plastic lens with a glass one, recovered from an old pair of glasses (or a cheap new one, if you want).
- Add some dirt and/or scratches to the leather to give it a more used look.

Maybe I will create some other objects that will go together with this, like a top hat, a wristwatch, a mechanical glove... depending on materials I'll find.