The Steampunkers Box of Memories




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

Dear Sreampunkers, dear Friends

Do you have one of these ugly plastic electronic photo frames on your desk?
If yes - did you think to give it a new look? To make it "Steampunky"?
I would like to give you whit this instructable some inspirations how you coud convert such a TFT photo frame to a nice Steampunk Gadget.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

First of all you will need one of this TFT Photo Frames. I found an used one at home, a real ugly plastic one. It was running with an external power supply and there were some pink lines on the running screen. But I was inspired from this small piece of electronic and I had to pimp it, even it seemed to be damaged.

From a tabacco shop I had some nice old wooden boxes. The ones they use for the cigars from Cuba. They give me this boxes for free, because they sell the cigars by piece.

From the junk yard I got a brass fitting which I planned to use for the USB connector.

Because I wanted to use the USB power from the computer to run the frame I digged out an old USB cable. I collect this cables from the electronic trash, cut them off from old keyboards and so on... it's always good to have a stock of them...

Further I used a can of black color and some brass screws. The decoration on the top of the lid is from a gas valve and from a light bulb...

Step 2: The Box

The cigar box was made from a very hard wood. I didn't expect such a hard work to cut out the sides for the TFT. But my DREMEL made a really good job. After the sanding I painted the box with black color. Just before that I demounted the brass fittings...

Step 3: The USB Connector

Because I planned to use my Steampunk USB Stick "Speichergerät Nummer 1" I planned to place the USB Connector in front of the box, so that you can see the unique Data Stick.
I found a nice piece of brass to use it for my USB Connector. The original USB plug fittet perfectly into the brass fitting without using a screw or glue. After inserting the plug I drilled some holes for the screws and for the cable.

Step 4: The TFT Photoframe

After I removed all the plastic waste from the device I created a new power connection. I didn't want to use the external power supply anymore. I planned to take the power from the computers USB plug. So I soldered an old USB cable to the power connection. When I switch on my computer at work, the "Box of Memories" will start up - that's what I wanted to have!
The control panel with the buttons I didn't install anymore. There is a small remote to control the device. For that I drilled a hole into the box and installed the infrared led.
After that I soldered the USB Connector to the device and everything was ready to be mounted into the box.

Step 5: The Steampunkers Box of Memories

To finish I mounted the TFT into the box and placed the Airship decal into the lid. The decal I simply printed out on my printer...
Then I screwed the brass screw nuts to the lid and placed the remainings of an old gas valve on the top of the lid.
After I finished my little son destroyed one of my nice old light bulbs. I didn't want to waste the brass socket and reused it for my device...

So, that's it.
After I finished and I started my new "Box of Memories" the pink lines on the TFT were works now perfectly!! I don't know why this pink lines disappeared... may the device feels more comfortable in the wooden  Steampunk box than in the ugly plastic jail!!

Hope I could give you some ideas how to create your own Steampunk Picture Frame. Just do it - it's a lot of fun!!

Sincerely yours

The Chocolatist



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    16 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to make something similar although i can't find/identify the brass fitting you used on the front, any help would be appreciated


    1 reply

    Hi. I use parts from the junk yard, so most of the parts I even don't recognise - but the brass part I used here was a valve, I think a magnetic valve. Where the USB plug is in it's the fitting for a tube, same on the other side. Where the box is now, the magnet was before...may you find something close to that, important is only that the plug fits in...

    Hey, a very nice box you made. It's great to see that I could give you some inspiration!!! Hope to see more of your work soon...


    6 years ago on Step 5

    This is way cool. Congratulations on an excellent instructable. The look of the finished item is fantastic.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    Where did you get the graphic for the inside of the lid ?
    can you post it ?

    I love this, I am starting one this TODAY as a birthday gift for my aunt.

    spark master

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Some steam punk is pointless but cool looking, however useless. Some stuff might be useful. I think this is awesome actually. You can make interesting pics, (a la photoshop ) as well as other normal one and load them up. With a nice inside bezel it would be very very cool indeed. And make it with a creak as you open it up!

    cool, verra vera cool


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job. Inspirational use of agreeably ugly production packaging to make something cool and unique!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Dear Sir thechocolatist

    Take a bow, and five stars too for this genius idea and work!!!!
    I love this style.

    Cheers Aeon Junophor


    6 years ago on Step 5

    i like this very much, and the burning man photos seem perfect... i will have to give it a go :) thank you!

    Winged Fist

    6 years ago on Introduction

    A work of art work of framing... Oh, it is framed!;-) Great use of the cigar box, which looks much better stained, and the brass USB port and plug look awesome! 5 stars!