Steampunk Safety-Goggles

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Years ago, in a school that no longer exists, I found two pairs of old safety goggles at the back of a cupboard.  My younger son claimed one pair, and we have both used them, on and off, ever since.

More recently, I came across a piece of scrap brass, already drilled with thousands of holes.

After months of reminders from Conker-X, I eventually brought my goggle bang up to the 1890s...

(This instructable only details my own goggles - Conker will be publishing his own goggles when he gets time.)

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Step 1: Lenses

The lenses required the least thought of all - we simply unscrewed the goggles, lifted out the lens, drew round them and cut the new lenses out with tin snips.

Drop the circles in place, screw on the frames, and they're done.

In practice, it was a little more involved, as I had to use my rotary tool to cut and grind some corners off to make them fit.  If you do this with a power tool, you MUST wear proper eye-protection.  With both the cutting and grinding wheels, I could feel a steady rain of particles on my skin, and hear them on my safety glasses.  Hospitals might be able to remove iron filings from your eyes with a magnet, but I have no idea how they would deal with sharp pieces of brass.

Step 2: Decoration

Decoration is always the hardest part of any steampunk project - minimalism vs extravagance, decoration vs function, new vs old.

We usually go to the annual Henham Steam Rally. - with dozens of stalls selling vintage and scrap machinery, what better place to pick up our materials?

We found some old-looking springs, an interestingly-rusty square-linked chain, and a couple of small brass knobs.

We both selected parts from our haul, and arranged them artistically around the goggles.

Step 3: Fixings, Part 1

For my goggles, I claimed the small brass knobs, and a couple of springs.

The short spring went onto the goggles' bridge - I simply threaded it over the existing chain, hiding the original chain with a scrap of black tubing, because it reminds me too much of a plug-chain.

The brass pieces, which probably started life as small drawer-handles, had long sharp threads on them.  I didn't relish having these pointing directly at my eyes, so I trimmed them with a cutting wheel.

I used a wood-bit to drill holes in the sides of the goggles, and fixed the brass parts in place with a little Gorilla epoxy.

Step 4: Fixings, Part 2

After the epoxy had set for the brass pieces, I attached a spring.

I drilled two more holes in the goggles, and threaded shortened screws through from the inside.

I bent the spring in half, and slotted the ends over the screw-stumps.  The spring's own springiness kept the whole arrangement solidly in place.

It was extremely tempting to cover the goggles in springs, or paint them, but I like the black-and-green scheme, so I decided to stop there, before I went too far (for my own taste) and spoiled them.

Step 5: Are They Still Safety Goggles?

I doubt it.

They are decades old, so it is likely the plastic they are made of no longer meets modern standards (if it ever did).

I left the plastic lenses in behind the brass, so they're still dust-proof, but the holes I drilled will have compromised the structural strength.  The epoxy might replace some of that strength, but I doubt it.

I might still wear them to protect against wood-dust, but not against flying metal or chemicals.

But, they're a good start to an eventual steampunk outfit.

I think, maybe a hat next...

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    20 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    As an alternative to the brass, which is probably not that easy to get, you could use expanded aluminium mesh. You can buy the mesh from car spares and accessories shops. It is used for reinforcing car body filler.
    It costs around £2.00 for a sheet 200x250mm
    The aluminium will of course look silvery but you can always spray paint it.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder if you really need your glass ?

    The mired of tiny holes are each a pinhole with perfect infinite FOCUS
    in a radial direction.

    The only problem I see is co-locating the intersect of two eyes..

    Also the American Optometry associations had laws passed against
    such glasses 20 years ago.


    8 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Pin-hole glasses do work, sort-of, if you're short-sighted.

    You used to be able to buy "emergency glasses" that were really a pair of plastic frames with pin-hole lenses. OK for walking home without walking into a tree, but no good for driving.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Holy Crap is that Kiteman I imagined him as an older person because old people seem wise


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Surprisingly well. The last photo on step 1 is the view through the lens for my camera, and my eyes focus better through it than the camera.