If you follow my instructables, you will see I have been of late making USB chargers that look a bit steampunk interest pieces. Her's another that I made for a friend. They are quite simple to make, just think something up and have a few tools from a woodshop and viola!
1/2" oak board - $8 Dalmatian wood - $12 Glass Sun from a Stained glass shop - $3 Copper scraps from copper flashing pieces. - $5
Assorted copper pipe fittings - $2 a Microwave turntable motor 120 VAC - $3 eBay. electrical ground lugs - $2
Wood Balls and some brass from a hobby store. - $4 A USB charger - $3 eBay
An Indian head penny - $2 and a pushbutton - $2
Make the sun but cutting out triangular pieces of copper an torch them together with solder in a circle just smaller than the sun. Wrap the edge of the sun with copper foil then solder it to the ring of copper. Patina to copper with Copper sulfate solution. Reference stained glass techniques for more info.
Step 1: Build the Box....
Build the box AFTER you have the internals sized up. It is too hard to try and get everything to fit on a box after the fact.
After it was built I aged it a bit with stamping numbers into the wood and used a propane torch to burn areas that looked like it overheated. Tung oil finishes it off great!
I also use hot melt glue to hold the components in the box. And... it makes a great electrical insulator!
The hardest part was using the microwave motor to get to spin the Earth and rotate the moon. The plastic gears are far too thin to stay reliably meshed. If ANYONE knows of a great source for THICK plastic gears, please advise. These are only a 1/16" thick max! If more like 1/8" it would work a lot better. The teeth also are too small so they skip a bit. Lastly, I used a 120 VAC motor for the torque. I couldn't find a DC motor with enough torque that was reasonable cost and could drive the brass tubing through the friction. So.... if you press the momentary pushbutton (Indian head penny) down, if you hit the opposite side of the AC wave, the planets reverse themselves! LOL