The Incredible Steampunk Radio




About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...

Based on a USW - Receiver Kit and the idea to have a Radio with a really good sound I decided to make a radio wit a special speaker system.
The Radio is incredible because of its sound. The sound fills the whole room.

Let´s see how to make it.

The green "tube" looks like the old "magic eyes".

Step 1: The Parts

You need:
  • A DIY radio kit
  • A speaker
  • Some pieces of MDF
  • Water based stain
  • Wax stain
  • Brass screew
  • Brass washers
  • A PVC tube
  • Very thin ply wood
  • A precise potentiometer (10 turns)
  • two knobs
  • A switch
  • A aluminium cone
  • A refurbished lamp

Step 2: Preparing the Panels

Drill holes for the mounting of the two potentiometer and the screws to mount the panel to the base stand and the tube holder.
Drill a hole for the copper fitting that holds the refurbished lamp.

Step 3: Building the Base Stand and the Tube Holder

Glue a 21mm piece of MDF to the base plate. On this piece of MDF the panels will be mounted.
I used several pieces of MDF to build up the stand.
I cut a hole with the exact diameter of the PVC tube and glued to the stand as well.
I used normal stain first and after it ahs been dried I used wax stain for the finish.

Step 4: Preparing the Tube

I glued thin ply wood around the PVC tube and than I stained it.
After this I glued inside the base stand.

Step 5: Building the Speaker Head

In the top plate I cut a hole for the aluminium cone and the bold´s.
In the opposite plate I cut the hole for the speaker and the bold´s as well
I used steel nuts and small tubes made od steel to mount everything together.

Step 6: Mounting Everything Together

I glued the tube into the tube holder and then I glued the speaker head on top of the tube. Picture 1 to 3
Than I glued the panels to the base plate and the tube holder. Picture 4.
I mounted the electronics inside the case and connected a 12V power supply via the switch to the LED in the tube and the radio electronics.
Then I mounted the knobs to the potentiometers.
I used a 50cm piece of aluminium as the antenna and mounted it on the back.

Step 7: Inside the Case

You can see the DIY Kit for the radio. It is a bit different from the KEMO kit but its doing the same thing.
The tuning i by a varicap and I used a poti with 10 turns to make the tuning easier.

On the button of the page you can see the holder for the antenna.

The kit was obtained from ebay.



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    27 Discussions

    The idea is to reflect the sound and increase the sound quality.
    I removed and replaced it and there was minor improvement :-)
    So I am afraid it is just for the look of it.

    Thank you for the question.

    Have a nice day,

    Horatius Steam


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Is the aluminum cone to transfer the vibrations to the top plate and tube to increase the sound quality? Or is it just for the look of it?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This looks awesome.

    Would it be possible to mount the antenna on the inside of the tube though to hide it from view? Or would that hamper reception?

    2 replies

    Yes it could. the best length is 75cm so you have to make the tube a bit longer.
    But you have to take care bout the stain. Some sort of stain contains tiny particles of metal. This will shield the inner antenna.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam

    I'm wondering if one could use either brass or aluminum sheeting to cover the tube and act as an antenna?
    This would provide a very different look, and if brass were to be used, it would dramatically enhance the "Steampunk" effect! Great project!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Amazing idea.

    Just wondering where you got the aluminum cone from?

    And what did you use to hold the plywood to the PVC tube when gluing it?


    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I was not able to buy one in brass or copper :-)

    I am still looking for one.

    I used UHU Kraft to glue the wood onto the tube.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    This looks fantastic !
    Could the 'refurbished lamp' be replaced with a Nixie tube like the 6E1P to indicate reception quality ?

    1 reply


    some of the FM IC´s will provide a signal that is an indicator for the reception quality. You can use that signal to trigger such a tube.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Try here for a radio kit:

    that's Edmund Scientific, scientificsonline dot com. Search radio kit.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You should add one of these to it... ebay item number 280766324430.

    Where in the USA can we acquire one of these radio kits?

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The VU meter is from Mr.Nixie. I have one and I will use it for a tube amp.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy a DIY kit here CLICK   it is not the same, but you can add an amplifier to it to get more power. The schematics can be found here: CLICK

    I hope that will help a bit.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Looks really good.
    Do you have any dimensions? It looks like it is a pretty good size but I am guessing fairly small just judging by the radio kit but hard to tell really.

    Thanks !!!! And great instructable.

    5 replies

    Good evening from Germany.

    Its 80cm high. The base plate is 24cm to 24cm and the head his 16cm to 16cm.

    Wits kind regards,

    Horatius Steam

    Guten Tag Herr Steam.

    Thank you for the dimension. That helps a lot.

    Did you play with tube heights or just used a height that was aesthetically pleasing? 80 CM is taller than I thought, but really give it that steampunk look.

    Anything special inside with the electronics? The kit has 2 knobs and you added the potentiometer and on/off switch. But I only see 2 knobs and the on/off.
    A picture of the inside would be an awesome addition to a great instructable.

    Really nice project. Thank you for sharing.

    Good evening,

    I will add a picture with the internals.

    One poti is a 100K poti with 10 turns for the tuning, the other one is a normal 100K.

    The switch simply switches the power from the external 12V PS to the Lamp and the receiver.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam