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Scratch Build – In Progress Apparatus for Utilising Effects Transmitted Through The Natural Medium

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by NeedsMoreSteam, 15 Aug 2012.

  1. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Apparatus for Utilising Effects Transmitted
    Through The Natural Medium


    Tesla Patent 685,956 - November 5, 1901

    I'm a bit of a Tesla buff and have replicated parts of his patents in the past. This isn't a replication of one of his patents though it is in homage to the great man and his vision of the future.

    <boring history lesson>

    Tesla dreamed of providing the world with wireless. Not just wireless transmission of information which was the prime objective of the day, but wireless transmission of power!

    In 1901, Tesla began construction of Wardenclyffe Tower in Long Island. This tower was built to provide wireless communication throughout the world, and prove the concept of wireless transmission of power. The financial backing he received to build the tower rested souly upon its abilities in wireless communication. A major financial backer was J P Morgan, who had but recently won the rather lucrative contract for laying the network of copper cables that will be bringing electicity across America. When Morgan found out about Tesla's plans for wireless transmission of power using the same apparatus he pulled funding and used his influence to make sure no one else funded him either. Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower was late demolished and Tesla's method for wireless transmission of power was fogotten.

    During the Wardenclyffe years, Tesla filed several patents including Apparatus for Utilising Effects Transmitted Through the Natural Medium. This would have been the device used to receive signals and enegy from Tesla's tower.
    </boring history lesson>

    So that's the inspiration for the project. I'm going for the steampunk/teslapunk style, but really want it to look authentic as a piece of experimental apparatus from 1901 so no superfluous pressure guages and brass gears stuck all over it. ;)

    Basic Hardware:
    Asus E35M1-Pro Micro ATX Motherboard (Overclocked through the BIOS to a stable 1.85ghz)
    Kinston HyperX Blu DDR3 4GB RAM
    1TB HDD
    Generic 250w psu

    So pretty much HTPC spec. Running Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit with Gnome 3. Asus's APUs are notroiusly tricky with linux (works beautifully on windows *spit*) but got it running nicely on Ubuntu using the proprietary drivers and it handles two 1080p videos playing simultaniously without breaking a sweat.

    Right... think that's all the boring stuff out the way. Now for the pics! :D

    This is a Mini ITX case.

    [​IMG]

    My motherboard is a Micro ATX ie. NOT compatible! But it has the perfect sized frame for what I had planned.

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    and the parts do fit in the case if we rotate it 90 degrees. :lol:

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    But that DVD drive bay is pointing the wrong way and I wasn't going to be using it anyway so just drilled out the rivets and pulled it out.

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    I'm using a Sony Optiarc AD-7690H-01 slot loading dvd drive (designed for laptops but meh). I remodelled the dvd drive bay so that it can hold the hard drive and the dvd drive together.

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    And screwed the hard drive directly to the side of the frame with some rubber washers in between it.

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    Added some new screw holes to the base for the motherboard, attached the dvd drive to the hard drive and voila. Everything fits.

    [​IMG]

    Now for the fun stuff :D

    See how the CPU fan is pretty much exactly in the center of the case? I'm going to have a pipe going from the top of the unit so that it is pulling cool air in from outside the case. A bit like a chimney... but a vent. I really wanted to use a mushroom vent.

    [​IMG]

    They're really beautiful, and they would work well with the theme of the project cloaking as the receiver of the "Apparatus" but acting as a vent. Unfortunately these vents aren't made any smaller than 6 inch diameter so I had to find an alternative. Eventually stumbled on a perfectly sized clock bell. :)

    My Bell
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    But too shiny! This thing is supposed to be over a hundred years old! The answer? A hot hob and lashings of sulphuric acid! :rock: (Only attempt this while supervised by a responsible adult)

    [​IMG]

    Much better :)

    [​IMG]

    More pics to come this evening.
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2012
  2. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    Next part was etching some brass for the front panel. All the brass I'm using for this is 21 guage (0.85mm thick).

    The first part was the center panel for the on/off button. I cut a roughly circular piece of brass about 90mm diameter and then cut out a template for the parts I didn't want etched out of paper and epoxied it on to the brass.

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    I use electroetching with copper sulfate to eat away the metal. It normally leaves fairly rough edges but then it is easy to tidy up with a rotary tool.

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    Next, I used a common method of etching details onto brass by making a negative mirrored image of the word "Wardenclyffe" and laser printing it onto glossy magazine paper. I then ironed the image onto the brass sheet. the ink from the laserjet acts as the resist.

    After a couple of hours in the copper sulfate I ended up with this. (with the power button and brass gauze added afterwards)

    [​IMG]

    and after tidying it up with the rotary tool and antiquing it a bit we have this :

    [​IMG]

    The button in the center is the power button which was chrome plated when I got it but I sanded the chrome off back to the original brass underneath. :)

    I've etched a few other panels for the front but there's still more to do. :

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and I get these parts looking older by etching them all over for about 30 seconds.

    And here's how the front panel is looking so far. The wood is some scrap ply which has a nice dark wood veneer on one side. Not sure what wood it is but it is quite nice with a bit of clear varnish.

    [​IMG]

    I've also acquired some thermionic valves :clap:

    [​IMG]

    Next job is getting some more of the etching done, and finishing the other sides.

    Hope you like the concept so far!
     
  3. Blarte

    Blarte Moderate Modder

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    I liked the shiny .. but hey steam punk is good too :) .. if you could actually add a tazer in the mod.. anyone who dared pah at the tesla theme .. zap .. nes pas
     
  4. KidMod-Southpaw

    KidMod-Southpaw Super Spamming Saiyan

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    Yes! Another steam project! Great start!
     
  5. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    Not much to update on at the moment but this has just been brought to my attention

    ---> http://theoatmeal.com/blog/tesla_museum <----

    The land and the laboratory that was once Wardenclyffe is up for sale.

    There is an offer on the table that could potentially demolish it all!

    The Oatmeal is trying to raise funds to save Tesla's Wardenclyffe laboratory and turn it into a Nikola Tesla Science Center. If you love Tesla please help save the lab!

    Apologies for the plug in the middle of a project log, but it is relevant! And just to keep up with the log, here's an updated pic :)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    Added the panels to the other sides. The side on the left needs a vent cutting at the top for the psu's exhaust and the IO panel that came with the motherboard is sh*t so going to etch a new one out of brass.

    [​IMG]


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    Sill a lot more work needs to be done on these panels so watch this space!


    Having trouble finding some appropriate wood for the top and bottom of the Apparatus. Don't want to use ply this time but need to find something that matches.

    In the mean time, I've started work on those thermionic valves I got. :)

    I obviously don't want to light up the valves in the traditional way because of the amount of power they need, the heat they produce, and I'm not sure how well the ionic emission will interact with the computer's componants :eeek:

    The obvious solution is to use LEDs.

    This is how a thermionic valve looks under normal operation.

    [​IMG]
    (photo source : http://www.jacmusic.com/techcorner/ARTICLES/English/blueglow/blueglow.htm )

    Other people have used LEDs to light their thermionic valves by simply shining an LED from the base.

    [​IMG]
    ( image source : http://blog.makezine.com/2008/07/07/led-vacuum-tube-mod/ )

    Notice this is NOT what a thermionic valve looks like when it's glowing. They have a warm orange glow coming from inside the valve coming from the heater element, with a rich blue/purple glow surrounding it from ionic emission.

    The only way to replicate this using LEDs is to open up the valve. This is not easy because the tube encloses a vacuum and so it could potentially implode if I cut into the glass. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.


    [​IMG]

    I used a rotary tool with a diamond tipped cutting disc to make a groove along the base as a guide.

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    I then carefully cut a slit into it to release the vacuum. It makes an audible WHOOSH when you break through :)

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    I then cut around the rest of the groove until the glass was free from the base.

    Notice the silvery part at the top of the glass is starting to turn white. This is a layer of barium that is used to react with any stray gasses in the tube to keep the vacuum pure. Now I've cut the tube open the barium will oxidise and peel off. I can replace the look of it with some silver paint on the inside of the tube :)

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    I'm not going to use the original base so I just cut it off.

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    Next we have the LEDs. I'm using an orange LED which will sit inside the dark grey part of the tube, and an ultraviolet LED sitting at the very top of the tube. I'm hoping the silvery coating at the top will act as a reflector to shine the UV around the outside of the tube.

    The LEDs

    [​IMG]

    I didn't want the light from them to be directional so I cut off the tops so that the light spreads better.

    [​IMG]

    I then wired them up and threaded the UV LED through the center of the tube so that it sits at the top, and inserted the orange LED in the middle of the grey housing.

    [​IMG]

    The effect is quite good :) will look better when I add the silver coating at the top to spread the UV light around a bit.

    [​IMG]

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    That's it so far :D

    And an update for the Tesla Science Center. So far they have raised $634,274 to buy Wardenclyffe! :clap:

    [​IMG]

    If you can help out please visit the link below to make a donation to the cause! Cheers!

    http://www.indiegogo.com/teslamuseum?c=home
     
  7. Pranja

    Pranja Blackwolf

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  8. Shurika

    Shurika Member

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    I made the same thing for my hand-made audio amplifier. I have a transistor-based amplifier, but there are some tubes on the top of it, I used tubes tubes with few things inside it and 1 bright LED in the bottom of tube, so I didn`t cut the tube
     
  9. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    Greatest scientist full stop! :D Glad you like the project.

    Shurika - I considered simply shining leds in from the base but it didn't look realistic enough. I needed the glow to come from inside the tubes.

    Update time. Experimenting with hooking up the tubes to the HDD activity light.

    Here's a quick vid of the first test. The UV LED is a bit too bright and I need to extend the fade in and fade out time and add the silver coating to the top to reflect the UV, but it doesn't look too bad at this early stage :)



    Started a bit of work adding the USB ports to the front panel. I planned on having the small metal panel on the far right cloaked as a grill but actually holding eight USB ports.

    Took the metal panel off, made a resist template using cellotape, then dunked it in the copper sulfate for a couple of hours.

    [​IMG]

    Afterwards we had this.

    [​IMG]

    Then after a bit of hand filing.

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    But now I've reattached it to the front panel, I'm not sure if I like it there... might move it down underneath the center panel... You'll see it in the vid at the bottom of this update.

    Next step was to get an eject button for the dvd drive on the front panel. I wanted to use a toggle switch (which was originally chrome plated but fotunately turned out to be brass underneath :) ). But the problem was it needed to be a momentary switch.... which a toggle switch isn't. First thought was to use a simple 555 timer circuit but it seemed a bit overkill. Realized I could put a capacitor in series with the switch and that would make it momentary, but then the switch would only work in one position and even then it would only work once since the capacitor wouldn't discharge.

    So came up with this devillishly simple circuit using a double throw toggle switch and two 1uf capacitors :D

    [​IMG]

    So let's wire it up. Took the bezel off the front of the slot loading dvd drive and inspected the eject button. Looked easy enough to solder a couple of wires on there.

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    Bit too much solder in the pics. I removed some after taking them. :)

    Then connected the wires to the toggle-to-momentary-switch circuit and it woked perfectly :clap:

    Ejects when the switch is thrown in either direction!

    Vid of the switch and slot loading dvd drive below.

     
    Last edited: 22 Aug 2012
  10. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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  11. Steve_of_Death

    Steve_of_Death New Member

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    That looks amazing. I wish you well in your endeavors with the apparatus.
     
  12. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    Eight, yes eight, USB ports added to the front panel. Done a few other bits of work to it but you'll have to wait for those pics :D

    [​IMG]
     
  13. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    just an update about a change of plan.

    In the end I wasn't happy about the way the vacuum tubes looked on the apparatus. The LEDs were a good match, especially positioned as they were so that they glowed from inside the tube. But still not authentic enough.

    So... HDD Activity Light Phase 2 - Switching to a spark gap.

    A spark gap would look better on the apparatus, especially since in 1901 thermionic valves weren't really used in devices like this... at that point they were still only being used as diodes. Spark gaps on the other hand were very common on this kind of device. Google spark gap transmitter and you'll see what I mean ^_^

    Anyway, here's the first test of the spark gap HDD activity light.





    Still a lot of beautifying needs to be done to it but the effect is good :)

    It is made from two brass balls made for parts of ornamental chandeliers.

    [​IMG]

    I then drilled holes through them at the top and inserted ultrabright leds on both ends so that they were flush with the holes. It looks quite subtle and you wouldn't notice them unless you looked really close up as you can see in the video. :)

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2012
  14. xXSebaSXx

    xXSebaSXx Active Member

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    There had better be a fully functional Tesla coil on top of that beauty once you're done with it....

    I want to see video of the thing shooting out sparks while you stand in the background screaming "It's alive; it's alive!!!!!!" :D
     
  15. NeedsMoreSteam

    NeedsMoreSteam New Member

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    lol! the components of the computer might not enjoy being in such close proximity to a high voltage high frequency transmitter but you might like it anyway :)

    Did some more work on the spark gap.

    I put balls on the end of some metal tubing and then sealed the other end of the tube with some brass sheet soldered on after I had threaded the wires for the leds through the slits in the tube.

    Before and after.
    [​IMG]

    Then filed some shorter tubes down for them to rest on and attached them to the top of the apparatus.

    Here's the top half so far.

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    and second vid of the spark gap :D

     
  16. Angel OD

    Angel OD Pump Killer

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    Steampunk has never been my style. But DAMN... You really know how to utilize a lot of things that just blends together perfectly! :thumb:
     
  17. xXSebaSXx

    xXSebaSXx Active Member

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    Come on!!! You know you want to. :D Just stick all the electronics inside a homemade Faraday cage and mod on. :thumb:

    PS: Now that I think of it... This may very well be the first computer build where the builder is happy when sparks fly out of it. :D
     

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