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: