Saturday, December 1, 2012

Featured on

A few days ago I got a message from a fellow Deviant Artist, xtraneus, asking if he could have permission to feature some of my work on his website. Well, of course I said YES!!!! I was really floored and excited to be asked because I am always grateful when people enjoy my work and I take their complements to heart. Tonight I got the message from him that the page entry was ready and he had put it up on his site. I am featured along with another steampunk artisan, Amiee Steinberger [link], who made a retrofitted nerf gun into a steampowered sidearm and a 3D artist, Oscar Blanco [link], who did a cool Ipod image.

I appreciate it anytime someone comments on my deviations because it helps me realize that there are others who share my love of steampunk and I also hope that I can inspire others in some way to try their hand at creating their own steampunk machinations. It is so much fun to make these things and see works of art come from what would otherwise be cast off bits of "junk".

Please go over to the blog [link] and if you can check out xtraneous' page here on Deviant Art too. [link]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faraday Pathfinder Visual Enhancers Steamounk Goggles

Here are my newest steampunk goggles the Faraday Pathfinder Visual Enhancers. 

I had originally made these for someone who lives in the same apartments as some of my friends but they were never claimed.  When I got them back I decided to strip them down and more or less start over.  I added a few more embellishments, repainted the mask and generally cleaned them up overall.  Now I have them for sale in my etsy store and I have also posted a copy of this image on deviant art.  Check out the links and I'll post more views later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saxton Goggle Process

Here is a photo strip and descrription of the process for making my Saxton Energized Aether Airship Goggles.

I started out with a regular pair of cup style welding goggles and painted them with Krylon fusion paint so other colors would stick. The screen for one lens is plastic mesh that I later painted silver and cut to fit inside the lens ring. I took one of the clear lenses and cut a hole with a hand drill so the plastic jewler's loup would fit through but still leave enough sticking out the back so it could be glued. I then spread Goop glue all around the join and made it look rough and lumpy. Masking the lens on the loup with painter's tape I then sprayed this assembly with black Krylon fusion and let it dry for 24 hours.

Antique Gold Rub N Buff was used to rag finish the cups to make them look like old metal and I then drilled holes to add the electronic looking bits. Silver Rub N Buff was used to finish off the extended looking lens and because I didn't cover all of the black it looks like old welded metal. My partner sewed a hat band from old discontinued fabric stock and when everything was put together you have the goggles with the adventurer hat.

Check out these goggles for sale in my store on Etsy:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Gauge Faces

I have been working on adapting some new artwork for gauge instrument faces that I am going to use in making my own steampunk gauges for my goggles and other equipment.  I have pulled most of these from around the internet so I am not really sure where they came from.  The images are also fairly small because I am trying to see if they can be printed on a much smaller scale to fit inside tiny metal cases that will not be too combersome on a pair of cup style welding goggles.



Some of these I have modified in photoshop partially just to try to add age and sometimes a little dirt to get a good effect.  I think having more grungy looking instruments works well for steampunk and it's overall effect.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sellstrom Welding Goggles Paint Comparison

The latest update on the Sellstrom goggles is this comparison of the paint versus the unpainted mask.  I was able to get the goggles cleaned up then buffed them all over with some fine grain sandpaper to make a surface that paint could grab onto.  These shots include what they look like with two layers of regular acrylic Mars Black painted on as an undercoat for the rub n buff which will be applied later. 


Note too that I don't have all of the layers of lens shields back in the painted versions yet.  I am going to be working on them pretty soon to add some of the new components.  Here is the outermost shield, the one that happens to have all of the tint to it, and the other big parts that I will most likely base the design off of.

My idea right now is to drill holes into the lens and attach the faux plastic lens onto it so there is more equipment protruding forward to make these goggles even longer than they were originally.  I have also considered trying more lenses on the other half of this dark plate or maybe a different larger lens with a somewhat stranger look than the one in the pic.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Albion Dynamo Goggles New Pic

This is a new picture made using my light box of one of the cup style goggles that I have for sale in my etsy store.  The overall design is basically the same as the first generation of Albion Goggles but this style features a little more detail including glow in the dark details on both lenses.

I really like the power coils and the numbered dial on one side that can be used to "change the setting" of some function or other on the goggles.  Maybe it is supposed to help you zoom in on something in the distance.  Check out this picture of style one on the goggles that I did before.

There are two pairs of style two on my etsy store for sale right now.  Even though they are the same design there is still some variation to the painted aspects due to all of this being done by hand whch means that each pair is unique.  I had a lot of fun making these and who knows, I might update the design again later.

I put a new pic of these on my Deviant Art account so go check that out as well as my store on etsy

Monday, September 24, 2012

Excelsior Aviator Goggles

Here is a new view of my own personal goggles, the Excelsior Aviator Ocular Shields. I have been wearing these to quite a few events and I'm happy to say that they get a lot of attention and compliments from people. Mostly people tell me that they like how they look and they ask a whole lot of questions about how they were made. They are kind and I always tell them these are still a work in progress because I always see things I want to change about them.

It's basically been a year since I created these steampunked goggles and during that time I have certainly learned quite a bit about this process of creation. Things get tried and failed or lead me to amazing other steps and when I look back on the things I have made I am both pleased and a little sad if I let them go.

I'll be posting more images of the things I have made to this point, some of which are now in my etsy store to share with others. Please look at the store if you have a little time and all feedback is appreciated.


shop: [link]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Steampunk Walking Cane

Some time back I was able to buy what looked like a really old walking cane from a gentleman at a flea market just outside of Kannapolis.  The cane had a very heavy handle on the top that I could tell was made out of some substantial metal and there were the remnants of a compass right in the center of it.  The guy told me that he didn't know any of the history but was sure of three things: it was old, I could definitely fix the compass and he wanted me to buy it.  After we negotiated a little while I ended up purchasing the cane for ten dollars.

The compass has never seemed like the original item that went in the top of the metal grip for this cane to me.  It's plastic and and the needle is just your basic red tipped pointer you can find in any cheap "survival" pack.  I was intrigued by the idea of fixing the compass though and also having a decent looking cane to carry around while in my steam gear so this became one of my many projects lined up to work on.  I started by unscrewing the grip from the wooden cane itself and found that I could press the compass from inside the hollow grip and pop it out the casing.  I then took the plastic lens off and simply pressed the needle back onto the pin so it could float around again and point north.  I used Goop to glue the lens back in place and made sure to press it down enough to keep the needle from slipping off again inside the compass.  The whole thing then pressed easily back into the metal grip.

I toyed with a lot of different ideas about adding components to change the look of the grip to try to make it stand out more.  Things from wrapping coils of wire around sections of it to trying to determine how to possibly welding something seriously big on for a new look.  Some of the things that kept me from going this way was the practical, how would I hold the thing and walk around with metal bits stabbing me in the hand, to more sentimental things, should I be messing up this cool old walking cane.  Finally, I realized that what I should most likely do is expose the beauty of the old metal trapped underneath the many years worth of paint and grime.  The shape of the grip has a nice elegance to it just as it was but was so dark and blended so much with the wood of the stick that it was hard to see and appreciate.  These are the before pics:

I used a product that we have in our arsenal of tools and chemicals in our art studio called Bix to try to remove the outer layers of paint and to try to get at the metal underneath to see what it would look like.  Bix is a very powerful material that is painted onto the coating you want to remove and it soaks in to cause the paint to slough off.  The older the paint, the longer it must sit to do it's job and usually there is not a ridiculous amount of waiting involved.  In this case, I quickly found out that I would have to wait a lot longer than I'm used to.  I ended up painting one coat that sat all night long and the next day still another coat that sat for at least eight more hours.  When I was finally able to get the layers to flake off I had to use an old plastic SOS pad to liberate the flakes without taking any metal off.  I eventually came to the conclusion that one way to make this piece even more visually interesting would be to leave imperfect areas of paint to give a tarnished, aged look that is so essential to steampunk.  This is the final result of all that paint being stripped away:

To finalized it, I will spray the entire metal grip with a clear coat to protect the finish and maybe my own skin from absorbing unwanted elements out of the remaining old paint.  I just love the character that this walking cane has now that the paint is no longer hiding the metal work which has a beauty all its own.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Next Goggle Project

A friend of mine gifted some old welding goggles to me a couple of months ago and I am just now getting a chance to really study them and see what their potential is.  The first goggles are the mask style with a flip up shield which is rectangular and they are marked Sellstrom Z87. 

This kind can always be a real challenge because of the flexible mask which is made of a type of plastic that does not chemically bond to regular paints and leaves them sticky forever no matter what you do.  The only solution I have ever found is to use regular acrylic paints like you would paint onto a canvas then apply rub-n-buff on top of that.  I have not even been able to find a clear coat of any kind that you can seal the other paints with because even the clear acrylics I've tried have turned sticky as well.  Maybe you could screw down enough bits of metal objects that you couldn't see the green and just go that route (maybe later).

I don't have a real plan in mind for these yet aside from washing them really well to try to get any grease, oil and dirt off the plastic so I can start painting.  Although, since the flip section on the front is made of the harder plastic that can be spray painted I may cover the rest of the mask and try giving it a good coat of Fusion spray paint.

With the green mask portion being so soft and flexible I haven't decided if I will add very much to it yet, plus, it has a really interesting shape anyway which may really benefit from a silver/black tarnished paint job.  I would like to add a lot of stuff to the front especially on that flat plate over the eyes.  Also keeping the "flip" intact would be fun too.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Studio Conversion and Light Box Set Up

The art studio that we are using now for a lot of work is an old garage that was probably built in the 50's or 60's that we have converted into a working studio.  It was quite a feat because one entire side of the structure had rotted and collasped from years of neglect and we have not traditionally had much experience with construction.  Like all things though, we just had to work at it and learn as we went.  Now the studio is solid, safe, climate controlled and we can really use it for what we want.  Here are some before and after pics and just the process:

All of this leads up to the new light box in the studio that I made recently to try to upgrade how my photos look for my artwork.  I took a regular cardboard shipping box that measures 16 x 16 x 16 inches and turned it into a mini photo light box.  I bought thin white sheets that I cut up for the side panels and three natural light bulbs that are each 100 watts to punch the light into that small space.  It seems to be working really well for now but I can find more ways to improve it as I go forward.

When I make another one it will most likely me bigger so I won't have to worry as much about what will fit inside and plus it will give me more room to move the camera around inside too.  I would also like to find some better lamps with the hoods over the bulbs to direct more light at the sheets.  My friend also tells me that certain types of paper let the light in a little easier plus I read on another story online how you can buy artist velum to use on this type of project to a good effect.  Either way, I have been more than pleased with how my photos are coming out now and I am excited about experimenting with trying different backgrounds and generally just experimenting more with this idea.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Etsy Banner

More new stuff on the etsy store to be enjoyed by all the aether adventurers who explore far enough to find it.  A new banner based on a similar design as the first one but maybe with a somewhat cleaner look.

I used the same background but with more brown this time and a different font.  I also muted the details of the original pic even more to try to keep from distracting the casual viewer's eye too much and taking away from the main point which is to have someone see and remember the shop name.

Check out the steampunk goodness here:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Featured in Sellers-Showcase Newsletter #3 on Deviant Art

Greetings fellow journeymen. I have recently been featured in the newsletter for the group #Sellers-Showcase in their Artisan Craft folder and I wanted to share this good news. The Sellers-Showcase is a group dedicated to helping all artists get more exposure for their work and to try to make that translate into sales for those struggling artists. They are very friendly and helpful and I feel very honored to have been mentioned in their newsletter. Please check out their group page and the newsletter to find out more about all of the really great artists in the sellers group: [link]

There are a lot of good things on my Deviant Art page so if you haven't seen it yet then jump over and visit it to check my work as well as that of others that I have favorited.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

More Work on the New Goggles

I started out with another pair of the cup style goggles and I painted these with just a full coat of metal color instead of doing the black to rub n buff like I have been doing.  This is what they are starting as:

I found a couple of handles that I wanted to use on the sides of the goggles that could be attached through the vent holes with regular bolts and nuts.  One was at Home Depot and the other I found at Hobby Lobby which was only for decoration but it's metal and heavy duty anyway.

The one at Home Depot was really cheap and they had more than one style to choose from so I will be keeping them in mind for future projects.  I was also able to make my own "pressure relief attachment" that was made of a spring, a two inch bolt, two washers and a threaded insert for wooden furniture.  I sandwiched the spring between the two washers and stacked them on the bolt with the threaded insert underneath to keep them raised slightly off the goggles.

After getting all of this stuff together I put some stuff aside to make some modified lenses.  Namely parts for a plastic string holder and bits off a sheet of colored photography gels.  Soon the whole thing will come together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Home Made Pressure Gauge

So, I have been working on a lot different steampunk projects for quite a while.  So many, in fact, that I have not been able to find the time to post any new items on my blog.  One example is this part of a new set of goggles for my etsy store.  The goggles are based on a pair that I made for a friend who made me think of a more engineering style overall.  The goggles needed something that would help out with the effect of an industrial look.

I had read online several months ago about making your own pressure gauge but I lost the bookmark and I'm not sure where I found the article now.  The basic idea is to take a flush finger pull which normally gets put into a cabinet or closet door to help to open and close it.  I found a set of four that were small enough to be made to fit some goggles.

As you can see, these were pretty reasonable so if I messed them up it would be no big deal.  Next you have to use clear casting epoxy to make the "glass" for the gauge.  I already had plenty Easy Cast left from earlier projects.  The process will be to fill the finger pull partially with the epoxy then let it dry, add a custom gauge face then finish filling to top the gauge off.

In order to make the custom gauge be able to attach to whatever item I am steampunking it was necessary to drill a hole in the finger pull then put a small bolt through the hole and a nut on the outside to keep it in place.  Once the first layer of epoxy dries it will make the bolt permanent which will make it possible to bolt it onto whatever I'm working on.

I searched for quite a while trying to find the right gauge face art that would work in this custom part but I finally had to end up printing one and then cleaning it up by hand simply because the detail did not transfer well onto the very small scale that I needed.  This is the first image I found.

I printed this, cut it out and coated both sides with generous amounts of Mod Podge to protect it from the liquid epoxy.  After this covering had dried I put the face into the partially filled gauge and then covered it the rest of the way until the epoxy was level with the outer rim of the metal pull.  Once it had dried, I was left with a small gauge that could be added to my new goggles and it really came out nice once finished.

*Note: some tricks about using epoxy.  The Easy Cast clear epoxy has some quirks to it that can be frustrating if you have never used it before.  It is very easy to pour too much into your project and have the epoxy overflow.  Try to pour in small amounts and let the liquid settle a little before pouring more in.  Make sure the mixture is right which should be 50/50.  It's possible to get a sticky mixture that never fully dries if the mix is off.  And last, the epoxy is made to off gas on its own but it really can help to get all of those tiny bubbles out by exhailing on the epoxy because carbon dioxide helps the liquid release the bubbles even faster.