Construction of a Steampunk Light Tube




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 ...

Hello everybody
Some days ago I presented my first project to you. The first incomming comments asked me to be more detailed in my next projects.
I thought a little bit and now I want to present you a very detailed description of constructing of a nice and universal usable Steampunk Light Tube.
Are you ready to follow me?
Let´s start:
We now build a Steampunk Light Tube with E14 brass sockets, acrylic tubes and copper fittings.
Later on we also create a tricky light using a drinking straw with two LED inside;-))

Step 1: First Preparations

Here you see what you need first:

Brass sockets from broken down bulbs and tubes.
To protect your eyes and your hands when working with glass please use leather gloves and eye protection.
The next step is to break the glass bulbs. All parts of the bulbs have to be put away.  

Step 2: Cleaning the Sockets

Next you have to clean the sockets inside.There is a sort of  "concreate" in the sockets which has to be scrapped out it works very well with an old screwdriver.

Step 3: All Pieces You Need to Build the Tube

We have to divide between the parts you need for building the tube itself and the lamp or electronical parts you want to place inside.
This is what you need for the tube:
-two brass sockets E14
-a copper tube connector for soldering with 15 mm diameter inside
-an acrylic  tube with outside diameter 15 mm  and 13 mm inside . The length deopends on what will come iside the tube but try it first with a piece of about 5-6 cm.

-a cork from a wine bottle
-some brass screws and nuts M4 and washer

As the tools you need a tube cutter from a plumber or a small saw with a blade for cutting metal like copper.
First you cut the connector. The two copper parts fit exactly in the brass sockets, and the acrylic tube fits directly in the copper ring.
If you now put these three parts together the Steampunk tube is build.

But tis is only the beginning, see next step:-)))

Step 4: Creating the Light

To create the light you need two LED´s eg 5mm in diameter and a white plastic drinking straw with the same dimension so the LED´s fit in.
Choose the colour you like, it´s up to you. I prefer a red and a green one together so in the middle of the small light tube there is a bright yellow light to see.
Now you can connect the LED´s seperately to the electronic (for jumping with the lights) or together. If you put them together it is very tricky to connect them with a very small wire inside the straw (nearly unseen). The Connecting wire to the electronic can either be on one side together or one each side (I prefer this way) it mainly depends of your whole steampunk object you decide.
If you don´t want to solder te LED-contact wires to the bottom contacts of the brass sockets you have to desolder the footcontact or break the innerglass parts of the socket away and fix a new contact with the screws. Plesae mention that than each socket side of the tube will lead electricity. The acrylic tube insulates the system.

Step 5: The Tube As a Batterie Holder

With these modern copper tube connectors  for crimping (you can get them at a the plumber) you can change the light tube to a batterie holder, or you can do it with soldering so it looks more steamy.

Step 6: Variety

At the end of this description I want you to show some varieties just to inspire you. Let´s start with a small sample for the pocket and a normal one to show others the idea of this tube.  Then you can see one with a single holder to screw in, than as a double tube, with covered wires,  with an seperate reflector, as a special steampunk tool with an resistor in to bring down a capacitor to zero or as a special tube to keep a very rare neon glow lamp safe and working inside.

I hope you enjoyed my little project and I wish you good luck to your steamy projects and constructions;-)))



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46 Discussions


7 years ago on Step 4

Hi Junophor, I don't know if someone else already mentioned it or not, but in the US we would use the word acrylic tube instead of acryltube. I know it's really hard to try to translate everything, but you're doing a great job!

5 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

hi Ace193, i dont know if someone else already mentioned it, but here in the REAL WORLD we call things what thewy're called and dont pander to ancient americans with their ancient imperial systems and made-up names for things


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Gee, it is a tube made out of acrylic... thus in the "Real World" it is properly called an acrylic tube as opposed to some specific brand name or appellation that might not be used everywhere.

I also find it funny that you call the Americans "ancient" when they are far exceeded in age by most European countries and yet were the forerunners in the plastics industry as well as leaders in many others... including the computer that you wrote your post upon...

Finally, people of every nation "make up" names for things that are new as well as "making up" slang terms to redefine old things, therefore the only observation that holds any truth is the reference to the old imperial measurement system... the rest is just pure uninformed and hateful "fluff" spouted by a typical internet troll.


Reply 1 year ago

damn, want some more straws to grasp at?
im not even going to address these fallacies, im sure the readers can pick out where your comments go completely off-track for themselves


Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

Yeah, that one was a real skull scratcher, Ace...


Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

Hi Ace 193

Thank you so much. You hit the point. I really didn´tn knew the right term but I will change it in the description soon ;-))))

Yours Aeon Junophor

You want to vote for my objects in the contests?....


2 years ago

Great project..where would I buy the acrylic tube?

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

Hi gary067

I bought this acrylic glass tube at our local hardware (DIY)

and at ebay you can find a lot of offers too.

It wasn´t too expensive. I Think I had to pay about 3.95
Euros for one tube of about 2 meters and 15 mm in diameter.



Reply 2 years ago

Hi Junophor,

Thanks very much for your reply.

I found a company nearby and ordered 1 meter to experiment with. It's 15mm od which should fit the copper connectors I have.

I really like the work you do ans would love to have a go at similar.




Reply 3 years ago

Thank you very much!!!

Yours Aeon Junophor


3 years ago

Is there any length limit for the light ,other than the length of the straw ? Can aquarium hose be used instead of a straw (there's a DYI light tube).

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Hi BradK1

The length of the straw depends of the brightness of the LED you use. I chose the length in that way that in the middle of the straw both lights the green and the read one are mixed together two a new colour: Yellow!

So If you like try it with your LEDś and with your Aquarium hose. It probably will give a very good solution ;-))

Yours Aeon Junophor


4 years ago on Introduction

this is so awesome! And I want to attempt to make one. But I don't want to hook it up to a battery. Is there a way to be able to connect it a standard 120v outlet using an inverter of some sort. I'm making a steampunkish type lamp with a wood box bottom and the "inverter" would be hidden inside. I would like to be able to connect it to the on/off switch which in turn would use a standard wall plug. Any ideas? Thanks

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Hi Lcmadama

Your proposal sounds good! Of course you can power the LED insinde the tube with an inverter:

Greetings Aeon Junophor

tvan nunen

6 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable! This got me thinking about a 'fusebox' for my steampunk project. My idea was to put 4 glass fuses next to each other and point some LEDs to them, for a nice effect. But now i started thinking about filling them with some liquid and actually making them glow!

One thing about safety when braking the glass: I would reccomend you to wrap all the glass parts in ducktape first. That way, the glass won't 'explode' and cleaning will be easier.

Keep up the good work!


7 years ago on Introduction

I love this project, I'm going to try a florescent fluid and a UV Led, that will make the fluid glow, if you played with the hardware you might be able to make it look like a tube of radioactive goo.
Add some kind of warning sticker to make it complete

I have seen several of your projects they are top notch, thank's for the great ideas!

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Hi longwinters

Thanks for your comment. It is really funny that you got the same idea like me. The UV-LED´s are already there I got a very good result with tighten the tube by using superglue, fix the UV-LED eith it at each side of the tube.
I was testing a lot of such UV active stuff and here are my results:

For the fluorescent colour I use an water solution and with a spot of glycerine and 3-5% "Uranin". Don´t use more because otherwise the effect runs down. You can als use washing powder because there are also UV active substances in (white/blue). But then you have to do some hot melting glue around the tube and LEDs. The most difficulty is to get the last drop of air out of the tube;-)))

Please mention that the best result of shining is when the fluorescent minerals in the fluid reflect the light. So I also tested to place one UV-LED´above the filled tube and this looks very awsome. Try it in this way with different angles to find the best position.

Let me see your result

Yours Aeon Junophor