Tube Radio in Steampunk Design




Introduction: Tube Radio in Steampunk Design

About: Steampunk-Design builds and developed the most modern technical equipment, fine jewelry and futuristic devices implemented with funds and materials of the Victorian era.

Hi all,
Since 5 month I am a proud owner of a Tube Radio in Steampunk design.
I got a cheap Tube Radio Kit from Franzis for only 19.95€.
Here you will find a good video tutorial how you mounting all parts.
For me it was clear that I can’t use the cardboard box.
Some weeks later I seen this nice wooden box and I decide this is the right part for a Tube Radio.

Later I recognise that the wall thickness was too thick and I got problems during the fitting of the potentiometer.

Step 1: The Circuit

When you buy the kit you get also a complete detailed instruction with many pictures how you complete the circuit and fit the single parts.
Also is a video tutorial available.
For this reason I don’t explain this part.

The best way is to start with the Franzis instruction and solder all parts into the board.

ONLY the big Potentiometer for the frequency will not solder directly to the board you solder three wires on like on the other Potentiometer!

The reason is that you never will find a box where you can fit the Tube and this Potentiometer in this configuration.

Step 2: Wooden Box and Parts

I buy the wooden box in a decoration store for only 3€.

I start with the board and the tube.
My idea was that you can look from every side on the tube so it must be placed outside.
I drill a hole into the cover that and stick the socket of the tube though.
When you glue the socket in the wood it will hold also the circuit board.

After that I try to mount the pots and get the first challenge.
The outer dimensions of the box are perfect but I got many, many problems with the wall thickness.
It was my fault that I don’t look carefully enough on this point.
Just after drilling the holes for the potentiometer I recognise that the wall was so thick that the threat of the pot was not long enough to stick it through the wall and mount the nut.
In a first try I screw the pot directly into the wood if works good but now the pin for the knob was not long enough to mount the knob.

To fix this problem I remove some layers of the ply wood and I can told you that’s not funny or easy!
Later I got the right thickness that I can screw the pot directly into the wood and the knob pin was long enough outside that I can mount the knob.

During this hard job I recognise that I getting the same problem with the panel jacks!
You know what’s to do with…

The speaker was quiet easy. I drill some small holes into the wood that the sound comes out.
I also use the cardboard speaker holder and glue it in place that I can mount and remount the speaker.

When I finished with mounting all parts I see a big curl of wires and I decide to glue some cable channel in.
For this I make a longitudinal cut into a 8mm PVC tube. Cut it to the right length and glue it on the wood with the cut upside.
Now you can stick the cables inside.

After clearing the chaos I find some free space for the battery holder and the 9V battery.

The space on the base was exactly big enough that both batteries clamp each other against the walls and I need no further fix.

Step 3: Antenna

After a fist test of the radio I think about the antenna only use a wire was not stylish enough.

I look around and found the car ABS-Sensor ring.
I start wind the ring with enamelled copper wire.
It looks like a dream catcher and looks in combination with the wood box very good.
As rotary base I use a brass tube adapter from a car water pump.
It allows me to turn the antenna a half turn to every side.

Step 4: Control Knob's

After a few days of fun I store the tube radio in my glass cabinet.
Day by day I recognise a little more that something in the design was wrong.
The plastic knob’s are disturb the design.
I think about painting in default of well looking parts.
But then I found brass cap nuts for water pipes.
The dimension was big enough that I could stamp the plastic knob inside.

Attention: First measure the exact point of the clamping screw of the plastic knob and drill a hole into the brass cap nut. If the plastic knob stamps into the brass cap you can’t remove it. 

For the frequency knob I don’t found something until yet I paint it with brass paint.

That’s all from my side.

If you like my projects you can visit my Website too.

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    10 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Nice design. I really like the knobs idea.

    azi b
    azi b

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I think its a beautiful piece and I'm not into steampunk.


    Nice. I did not see a front shot of the radio, would it be possible to post one?
    Is there a frequency indicator on it somewhere?

    Great build, I know there's no room but a nice leather carry handle for your portable radio would work.

    What brand of brass paint do you use, it looks good.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    No surprize you made yet another great project.

    I did not see a front shot of the radio, would it be possible to post one?
    Is there a frequency indicator on it somewhere?

    EGADS! That is the same EXACT box I used in my Steampunk Portable Amplifier..... though I must say you made it so much more amazing than what I did..... (I got the box (here in the US) at I believe was Hobby Lobby)
    Actually looking at it again it isn't exactly the same box, unless you made some modifications... though I have a feeling that it is from the same manufacturer, as both boxes share similar design, overall shape, and also (by the looks of it) hardware)

    Anyways I suppose I will link mine, even though I don't really care for it....

    Best Wishes and Happy Making,
    (Amongst many names....)

    Admiral Aaron Ravensdale
    Admiral Aaron Ravensdale

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your pictures.
    Your box is the old design of my box. They change it every few month a little but it is ever the cheapest chinese stuff.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Simple, Functional art.

    Love it!! Awesome, Fantastic job.

    Would like to see a little more detail as to how the antenna was formed, how it was wrapped on the "wheel" structure.

    Again though Awesome.

    Congratulations on a great piece of art..