Steampunk Flashlight




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
I just got my steamship back from the shop. To my surprise this hand torch was sitting on the boiler cask. A mechanic must have left it behind. I’ll return it after my daughter uses it Trick-or-Treating. Good thing the intake tubing doubles as a lanyard.


Poplar wood                 Donor LED light
Plexi glass                    2 AA batteries
16 gage steel wire        Brass beading wire
Misc. Wood screws      #14 rubber o-rings
¼” Vinyl tubing             3/16” brass rod
bullet shells                  20 gage copper
1” copper pipe              Window screen
Screw hook                  Penny
Shelf support                Purple Spay paint
Concrete Stain             Black Spray paint
Polyurethane coating   Black sharpie
Gun Bluing                   Electrical wire
Momentary Switch       Thumb tacks
Hot glue                        Wood stain  

All of em’

Step 1: Find Your LED Lights

First I picked up a press light from the home improvement store. My hat off to Sylvania on the construction. It was VERY well made and took more effort than I expected to tear down.

I took the 3 LED setup and the chromed back plate.

Step 2: Glue Up Wood Blanks

I cut two strips of ¾” poplar long enough to make the handle of the flashlight. I also cut two squares for the lamp enclosure.

I glued them together with Gorilla wood glue and clamped them until ready.

Step 3: Machine the Lamp Enclosure

I marked the center with an “X” and mounted it my lathe. While spinning I marked the circumference. I then cut off the excess and mounted it back in. I machined out the enclosure enough to hold the LED and circuit board. On the same side I cut a place for the plexiglass lens.

On the other side I used an 1/1/4” forstner bit to accommodate the handle. I also rounded over the edges and drilled a hole for the electrical work.

Step 4: Machine the Handle

I mounted the handle blank into my wood lathe. I then made a lot of dust turning it into a dowel. The handle tapers on one side enough to fit into the head. I cut it down just a little longer than 2 stacked AA batteries.

Next I used a 5/8” forstner bit to drill completely through the handle.

Step 5: Cut the Lens

After rough cutting a circle on my scroll saw I hot glued it to my lens jig (a quarter soldered to a bolt). I turned it in my lathe until it would press fit into the lamp enclosure.

Step 6: Solder and Fit

I removed the original wires and soldered on longer ones. Now that these wires are on, the enclosure needs a little dremel work so they fit. Before pressing in the lens I painted it black.

Step 7: Complete the Circuit

I salvaged this switch from a Swiffer Wet Jet floor cleaner. The circuit is just a simple “light the bulb” setup with this switch breaking the current. The springs on either end of the battery tube are made for coiled 16 gage wire. Once the necessary holes were drilled, I soldered all the contacts together and glued the two pieces together. At this point I also filed a notch in the tail cap.

Step 8: Mock Up

This is where I set all the pieces on the project. Once it had everything I wanted I took it off for stain. Since this step is so specific to what material you'd use I’ll stick to the methods.

To coil the wire I wrapped it around other round things like screwdrivers and thicker gage wire. The curved pieces were drilled then hammered over socket bits or dapping dies. All steel hardware was coated with gun bluing. The copper was discolored with a torch and scuffed with sandpaper. The vinyl tubing was spray painted from the inside. To add to effect I hot glued window screen to the backside of the “heat shield”.

Step 9: Filigree

I didn’t want this thing to be overloaded with gadgetry but I also didn’t want it to be bare. First I drew on the filigree with a pencil and then went over it with a sharpie. Because the sharpie bleeds out of a clean line  I defined the lines with a paint pen after staining.

Step 10: Sludge Coat

I wanted this thing to look like it was a regular mechanic’s tool. For that I mixed wood stain with black concrete stain. I applied a heavy coat and let it sit for a few minutes. I wiped it off and applied the regular wood stain. Once that was dry I sprayed a coat of polyurethane.

Step 11: Put It All Together

Finally done. It’s gone from a plank of wood and a bunch of loose metal to a quite debonair period piece. If not, at least it lights up.

Thanks for reading.

Cabot Woodcare Contest

First Prize in the
Cabot Woodcare Contest



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    35 Discussions


    2 years ago

    are you German? Who has this at home? nicely done but how are we to make something like this, without those machines


    2 years ago

    This is fricken aweeeesome!!!!! I love it! :)


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I LOVE this flashlight. I know this is an older posting but me and my husband have just come across it. Are there more detailed instructions on how to build this if I download the PDF? Thank you so much for sharing this project.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    you know I truly hate you....-grumbles- just kidding!!!

    your my hero...I love this.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great job, I really like the fact you used other parts to construct it instead of just decorating a functional one, I admire the fun aspect of your project, I often take the fun out of mine by overthinking the details, I really like the variety of materials and style.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic old flashlight with modern interior. Congratulations with your prize!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    One question, Why is a steampunk flashlight (and other steampunk related items) so complicated and over designed? Isn't a flashlight only a light bulb, a reflector, a lens, a battery, and a switch? Crazy punks. you'd think with all that rigamarole it would light up like a saber.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Because it runs on high voltage, and a steam reservoir. Steampunk tends not to use anything less than 10,000 volts for anything. :)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know about that, but I think the thing is cool myself. Great wirehacking job :)

    Now YOU might want to go to Walmart and get a 2 dollar flashlight ... but this one not only produces light. It also emanates the creativity of the designer. That's why it's cool :)

    Seriously ...



    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Just 2 years ago my "workshop" was a piece of scrap carpet on concrete.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Not bad. The bed in my trailer converts into a computer repair shop during the daytime, then I move all my computer stuff somewhere else to sleep. We hackers use what we can and do what we can. I love your projects ...

    Lynn in New Orleans, LA.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You know, you leave me gob smacked each time you post a new project. If you won't marry me, will you adopt me? ;-)