The Airship Pirate's Steampunk Jukebox




About: Dan Aetherman, Steampunker, Inventor and Adventurer - Creator of fantastic victorian machines, gadgets and movieprops - Visit me on and on Facebook:

Dear Friends, dear Steampunkers

This "Instructable" is a special one. I hope it will give you some ideas how to build some special artwork and may you will build your own Steampunk MP3 Jukebox.
Most of the parts I used you may don't find for your project, but the ideas behind will inspire you to do your own thing.
I keep it simple and the pictures will tell you the story about the construction of "The Airship Pirate's Steampunk Jukebox".
If you have questions about some steps, please write me a few words. I will always try to help you.

So let's start with this special piece of machinery...

Step 1: The Idea Behind This Project

"The Airship Pirate's Steampunk Jukebox" is a combination of 100 years of audio technology.
I combined an old tube radio with an old industry panel computer to create something new. All used parts are from the junk yard - only for the black color and some brass screws I spent a few bucks.

More information you find on my website - sorry the page is in German...:-)
  • The radio was a NORDMENDE Superstereo
  • The speakers are from a broken car
  • The two glass domes I got from an exhibition as they wrecked a sales stand
  • All the heavy brass parts are from the trash - I have a huge collection in my laboratory...  see the picture
  • The panel computer is from the electric yunk yard - I used three broken ones to get one running one!
  • The Power supply for the pc and the used wireless mouse are from the trash too
So for the whole project as shown I spent less than 15$...

Step 2: The Recycling of Three Broken Panel Computers

As I wrote before I used three broken panel computers from the junk yard. I had to mix up the inverter boards, the memory and even the fans.... but finally I got a running one... so never give up, there is always a way to sucess!!!

Because industry panel computers use a different power supply and wiring I had to invest some time to mount the standard pc power supply to the mainboard. It was really tricky

Step 3: The NORDMENDE Superstereo

The amp of this radio is working with two vakuum tubes EL84, which are used in guitar amps. The sound is really good.
I disassembled the whole radio and cleaned the electronic and the tubes. After that I cutted the cut-out for the glass domes and I sanded the wood to be ready for the black color.

The I changed the speakers, because the old ones were in very bad condition.

Step 4: The Painting

To fit into the Steampunk Look and because I like this Style I used a black velvet color for the radio, inside I panted it red. With this colors it looks like a case for some steam engine device...

Step 5: Putting the Recycled Parts Together...

To put together the whole thing again is a job I always rellay like!
Because the old radios were build in very good quality, the parts are fitting perfectly, even after more than 60 years...

Step 6: Installing the Panel Computer

I tested the Computer before I started with the project, so it was not to difficult to mount the panel and the power Supply.
To close the sides I used something like a bellow. I made them out of heavy premium cardboard...
On the second picture you can see the solution for the start button of the pc. To keep it simple I used a pivot arm, which is pressing the button on the mainboard.

Step 7: The Finish

To finish the machine I used a lot of brass parts and screws from my private junk yard.

So, that's it.

Hope this "Instructable" gives you some ideas and inspiration to do your own thing!!

Greetings from the laboratory in the Swiss Mountains

The Chocolatist



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    32 Discussions


    On my way to build my own. Downloaded the software and have several ideas. Just haven't put them together yet. Beautiful project. Great Idea!

    1 reply

    On my way to build my own. Downloaded the software and have several ideas. Just haven't put them together yet. Beautiful project. Great Idea!

    Beautiful work! Way to upcycle and reuse old "junk"! If that tray of "heavy brass parts" are from the trash, I totally want to raid the trash wherever you are. lol

    3 replies

    Thanks. I'm working for a huge biscuit and ice cream company and believe me - I have three such a trays with wonderful brass stuff...and a lot of computer parts.
    Sometimes it's even shocking for me what I find in this junk, but you know, we are living in a throwaway society.... and that's why I'm a Steampunker!!!

    Some months back I got hired on part-time at a 112 year-old hardware store; definitely a dream come true! Prior to this I worked in a huge plant where the trash and scrap-metal tubs offered awesome finds. We could purchase scrap metal for pennies. Oddly, my leaving there coincided perfectly with my bringing home the final gleanings from an older, unsellable (at a fair market price, anyway) laser cutting operation. Maintenance department set it outside and one day began tossed pieces of it in a dumpster. I spent my lunches and breaks stripping it of parts for pennies on the Kg. Everthing high-end; German pneumatics with lots of 24v breakers and adjustable timers/stuff to become functional eye-candy in a traveling road show?

    I saw that my job at the hardware "museum" was exposing me to how to more easily put stuff together, but I discovered I now lacked zeal. My vision has been a long and tiresome journey but -now, thanks to inspiration found here on these pages, I have gained my second wind. Thanks so much to you and all who freely share information!

    Color me very jealous! :D That's a great way to pick up parts. My kids have all picked up the "Dumpster Diver" habit from me. The things that we find that people throw away just shocks me! My favorite part is making money on something I found in the garbage after I clean it up and make it useful again. :D Again, well done! :D


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I am sorely lacking in programming and electronics knowledge, so the lag·time I'll be dealing with makes me want to weep :)
    Your work and sharing have brought much needed sparks back to life! Way to go, Ol' Chap!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I love your jukebox. Regarding whether people should be able to take vintage electronics and 'repurpose' them, I'm on the side of yes...give it a new life. Should only collectors be able to enjoy these treasures, often only by placing them on a shelf in their living room? I enjoy seeing them being used.
    Here's another reason I like your jukebox....I used a similar one as the basis of one of my skins for dwjukebox (aka favorite jukebox emulator program).

    1 reply

    Hi. Thanks for your comment. I checked out your skin - great work, very nice design. I have to try that! Thanks for your link :-)


    6 years ago on Step 7

    I love this idea and am looking to build one similar, but cannot for the life of me figure out what a panel computer is. Could you please explain for me? Thank you. :)

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 7

    Hi. Thanks for your comment and your interest.
    Panel computer are used in the industry to control machines. See here for more explanations about this type of computer:
    Because i'm working in the food industry sometimes I can catch an old one...:-)
    But an old laptop could be ideal too.....


    AWESOME, love your ingenuity & creativity. I've been toying with the idea of doing something similar. I was wondering what you used for the jukebox software. I've played with several, but nothing really did the trick. It looks as though you skinned something (very nicely done btw) or you programmed your own!?



    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool I started working at a junk shop so I could be first in line when the cool stuff comes in, my wife thinks I'm nuts but I am building quite a supply of goodies,
    thanks very much for posting this exceptionally cool project.

    This is just brilliant! I love the combination of all the technologies you've used.