Steampunk Desktop Media Amp




Introduction: Steampunk Desktop Media Amp

Yay, my first Instructable!  A little background: I don't have much in the way of resources, other than the tools and various types of scrap I've managed to gather over the years, so I've become a bit of an expert at making useable art with, well... junk. Anyway, since my job allow me to listen to music while I'm sitting around waiting for people to call, and I've been on a bit of a steampunk kick for a while now  (what can I say, all that brass and Victorian design is just plain neat), I decided to make a steampunk "aural enhancer" to stick on my desk and play my media through.

Most of the parts used in this project were things I had laying around the house, but I did purchase a few things:

2 - Sweet lighting sconces, $3 a piece @ the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Best. Home improvement. Store. EVER.)
1 - single pole, single throw switch - $4 from O'Reilly Auto Parts
1 - tube of JB Stick, probably $2-3

The donor for this project was a cheap $5 USB powered mp3 player amp I got as a last minute gift for my then-girlfriend-now-wife a few years back (sorry honey... Love Ya!)

Now, obviously it would be next to impossible to make the exact same piece, and besides, who would want to? The purpose of this Instructable is to show others that you can make useful art out of just about nothing, and hopefully inspire someone to try their hand at scrapyard folk art.

OK, I think I covered all my bases, so let's get rolling with the build.

Step 1: Fixture Disassembly and Re-wiring

Obviously, the first step, once I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, was to take the sconces apart, remove the lamps, and rewire. As you're removing the lamps from the fixture, attach your new wiring to one of the old wires before you pull them out of the fixture so you don't have to try and fight around the C-curve.

The lamps are connected to the fixture with a screw-mount that is riveted to the bottom of the lamp. Make sure you save them if you want whatever you re-mount in the fixture to be removable; a finishing nail and ball peen hammer work well for removing the rivet.

Step 2: Prep Speakers and Base

The next step is to prep the base and speakers for mounting. For the speakers, I used a bit of sandpaper to roughen the back of the speaker and screw mount, then used a bit of the JB Stick to attach the mount to the speaker. Here's a tip, if you need to bend or flex the screw mount any to make the speaker fit the fixture, do it before you apply the JB Stick.

While the speakers were curing, I set to preparing the base. Originally, the brass plate on top of the base only had 2 holes, 1 for the sconce and 1 for the wall mount. Fortunately, the wooden base underneath had a third hole (giggity) at the far end, so all I needed to drill was the plate.

To mark the drilling location, I took the brass plate from the base I wasn't using, flipped it 180 degrees, and wouldn't you know it, the holes lined up perfectly. Once I had it marked, I used a finishing nail to center punch and a stepped drill bit to work the hole to the appropriate size. Basically, I drilled a step, then test fit, then drilled another step until the fixture slid in easily.

Once the fixtures were mounted, it was time to move on to wiring...

Step 3: Wiring the Speakers and Amp

Once the fixtures are attached to the base, it's time to install the speakers and mount the amp. The speakers are pretty straight forward; just run the wires through the screw mount before you solder them otherwise you'll be cursing yourself later when you have to rip everything apart and redo it :/

It's about the simplest circuit to wire, but I went ahead and included a circuit diagram anyway for reference.

Since I wanted to use 'The Device' at work, I wanted to add a cut switch for the speakers, I drilled a mounting hole in the front of the base and connected the killswitch to the negative wires coming from the speakers (see circuit diagram).

Using weatherstrip glue, I attached a piece of cardboard to the bottom of the base so the mp3 amp wouldn't short against the metal.

After running the input cable through the center hole in the base, I carefully resoldered the speaker and input connections to the circuitboard, then glued it to the cardboard under the base. Electrical tape helps hold all the wiring out of view.

Initially, the caps on the amplifier touched the desktop, so I dug some brass mounts out of the parts bin (I think they came from a WD external HDD) and glued them to the corners of the base. The notches on the top of the mount fit the lip of the base perfectly.

Step 4: Enjoy Some Tunes!

The finished product! I probably could have done more to make it look antique, but I was more concerned about the utilitarian aspect of the device. Since my computer is under the desk, I used a bit of spare USB wire to extend the power cable.

The black plastic tray mounted to the front used to be the base of the mp3 amp. I notched the sides so my Droid X and Sansa would fit.

Be the First to Share


    • Mason Jar Speed Challenge

      Mason Jar Speed Challenge
    • Bikes Challenge

      Bikes Challenge
    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest

    2 Discussions

    Winged Fist
    Winged Fist

    8 years ago on Introduction

    What a wonderful "aural enhancer"! The finished product looks beautiful, and you did a really good job of documenting the process, especially for a first Instructable!

    One suggestion: You might want to consider decorating the input cable, as I did with my Steampunk USB cable.

    Keep up the good work! Looking forward to seeing more;-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the support!

    I actually sleeved the USB cable with some brown fabric (specifically, the drawstring from an old pair of sweat pants) since taking those pictures, but haven't gotten around to taking new ones.