I have been fascinated with the Steampunk genre for some time now. After visiting several websites and looking at other people's projects, I decided to create my own Steampunk ray gun using some odds and ends I had lying around.
Step 1: Step One: Design
I have no pictures for this step but the best advice I can give you is to sketch out some ideas about how you want your ray gun to look. Then start looking at ordinary and not so ordinary household items to see how they would look with a little TLC. Some items may take more effort to transform them into their Steampunk component.
I spent several hours Googling ray gun images and other inspiration. This is a great place to start: http://www.wetanz.com/rayguns/.
I had always liked the sleek and long look of the traditional 1940's and 1950's ray guns so I concentrated on that look. I started looking at things I had laying about for inspiration, and that led me to step number 2....
Step 2: Step 2: Gather Your Resources.
I started out looking at all of the parts that I had that were made from metals, glass and wood. I really wanted my ray gun to not only look authentic, but to feel authentic when I picked it up. This limited my scope to things I had in the garage, kitchen and garden shed.
Lucky for me I never throw anything away. When we had moved into our house we had plenty of left-over garden hose attachments. Most were plastic, and thus unusable for my project, but a few were made of sterner stuff. I liked these parts because they not only looked good (worn in and slightly used the way a real Steampunk ray gun would be) but they felt heavy duty and they also had a certain smell to them. I do not want to play up this quality too much, but suffice it to say these parts were calling to me.
I also knew that I wanted a nice display case. Something that had a pit of history to it and that looked good. I happen to collect old cigar boxes and I found one that I thought would be just the right size so that I could eventually display my work on my bookshelf.
Step 3: Step 3: Composition.
Once I had my parts, and an overall idea about how I wanted the project to look I needed to layout the parts and determine how I would piece them together. The best part about using plumbing parts was the threaded connectors. Since I already had a plan on how I wanted to fit them together, I simply started with the handle and moved my way down the project making my way towards the barrel.
Step 4: Step 4: Embellishment
Once the overall look of the ray gun was complete, I decided that I would look for a few more parts to give it the finishing touch. I found a rubber gasket from one of my other piles of parts (I have way to many hobby craft interests... ) This particular part came from a 1/6th scale collectible action figure from the Final Fantasy movie. I know that I said I wanted all of the parts to have a realistic feel, but this one part would make a great site, and would give the piece a bit of back story. Besides, it already had the correct color scheme so I would not have to go buy any paint to make it fit. Again, the project gods shined on me and everything seemed to fit together.
Step 5: Step 5: a Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Like I said before, I had planned to put this piece on my bookshelf in my workspace (when I am not out using it on aliens of course). I needed a suitable container for such a piece. I found the right sized cigar box (wooden of course) and proceeded to make sure the ray gun would fit.