A Steampunk High Quality MP3 Player




About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...

Hello and greetings from The North of Germany again.

As you mentioned I really love glas domes and the RaspBerry Pi is one of my newest toys. And yes, I love indicator tubes as well. So the idea was to put all these stuff together and build a high quality MPR 3 player.

Unfortunately the sound output of the RasPI is quite poor and the next question is: What kind of software? It must be a software that can be controlled via WLAN or home network.

And of course I like to make as much technology as possible visible.

This player was build in one night during the "Nuit pour le Ferite" (German link). A project that brought together 10 Steampunks in Germany and Switzerland. Each people build or finished a project during that night.

So here is the result: MSMD = "Mr. Steam´s Music Device"

Let´s have a closer look how to make it.....

Step 1: The Parts, Preparation and First Try...



Volumio Music Player


Download the volumio image and flash it to the SD card.

If you are using the HiFiBerry you have to solder the additional connectors to your RasPi (see pic. No.3)

Fill the USB - nano stick with some music.

Insert the card into the RasPi´s SD card slot

Insert the USB nano stick to the RasPi

Connect the DAC (USB or HiFiBerry) to an amplifier

Connect the RasPi to you LAN

Connect the RasPi to power

Wait a couple of time

From any computer connected to the same LAN open your browser an type: volumio.local

Voilá! :-)

Follow the instructions on the volumio homepage to adjust the volumio.

Step 2: Building the Speakers Case

The case for the speaker was made from MDF.

I used a circle cutter to cut the holes for the speakers, the mounting for the "MP 3 tube" and the mount for the glas dome.

With some ledges I covered the edges of the case and to stabilize case from inside.

Step 3: Painting and Mounting the Case

I used mahogany glaze to paint the cover.

After the glaze was nearly dried I used a black glaze to make a vintage and used look.

With some brass applications I made the finish for the front.

Step 4: Building the Player

The player was build to fit under a glas dome all components are mounted on vulcan fibre plates.

Please have a look at the pictures how its mounted together.

Some words about temperature:

The tubes are producing some heat but I measured only 32 degrees C under the glas dome.

The upper vulcan fibre plate protects the RasPi from the heat.

Step 5: The Final Cabling

I used three power supplies to avoid noise from the DC / DC converter of the magic eye´s electronics and the RasPi.

Step 6: See It in Action

Music is GEMA free music from Bianca Stücker.

Music from the album The Violet Steam Experience "Prometheus"

The Violet Tribe


Thank you very much, Bianca!

Step 7: Making It Wireless

Yes, you can use a WLAN Adapter to connect volumio to the WLAN. But than you don not have an access point. Using the TPLINK MR3020 with the mode switch to AP you can connect direct to the WLAN provided by the TPLINK. If you switch to IFS the TPLINK can connect to an existing WLAN and provide an IP to the player and other WLAN devices.

If you have any questions, please ask.

Have fun,

Horatius Steam



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    25 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago

    Hallo und guten Abend,

    einmal hier: http://nixiekits.eu, die kompletten Bausätze und hier:
    http://www.fragjanzuerst.de, Röhren und Zubehör.


    Horatius Steam


    4 years ago on Step 4


    where did you get the metal hex rods (and the screw in metal balls) from?


    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 4

    Good morning,

    the metal rods are from eBay Germany

    The metal balls as well:

    I hope there will be available in your county as well.

    Have a nice day,



    4 years ago on Step 5

    Great project! I love it, it inspired me to make one for myself.

    I see what are the materials used, any recommandations for the speaker? I don't want a too much thing but neither a crappy sound.


    1 reply

    Good morning,

    the DAC and the software are Plug & Play. Volumio supports the DAC out of the box.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    I couldn't download and extract the file so I just made it run on raspbian and ut it along with a hard drive and two hubs, one of them is powered... I am planning on making it look steampunk...


    5 years ago

    what is a circuit cutter? i have searched for it but cannot seem to find it.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago


    Sorry, circle cutter.

    I will correct this!

    Thank you for the hint.


    Horatius Steam


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Have you looked at RUNE audio for the OS? same guys that started raspfi with the Volumio guys. I would suggest a look at it. runeaudio.com

    1 reply

    I am still building a small, portable version of a player.

    I will give RUNE a try.

    Thank you.

    With kind regards,



    5 years ago

    Very attractive looking device. Nice work.

    Forgive my ignorance; what is an "mpr3? Is that another way of saying" mp3"?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, sorry this was a typing.... whatever ;-) mistake.

    Thank you for pointing me on that...

    Wiht kind regards,