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Steam Sparky, Sparky


Here is a sneak preview of my entry for The Great Crystal Cyberdrome Exhibition that will be held at Orbital 2008 next week.

Update: The pictured device is a prototype of Joseph Bazalgette's patent sewer maintenance machine, as demonstrated at the Great Crystal Cyberdrome Exhibition. Its boiler is fired by miasma and it is fitted with a variety of cleaning and pest-control ancillaries. Unfortunately the high manufacturing cost and the temperamental nature of their modified rat brains meant that after the initial batch of fifty had escaped Bazalgette was forced to employ men to maintain London's sewers. Even today, you can put your ear to a manhole cover in our capital city and hear the distant clanking of brass wheels on brick walkways and the squeal of exterminated rodents.

Steampunk Dalek

Before you ask, no, it isn't a working model.

The main body is made from a plastic Dalek bubble-bath bottle I bought very cheaply at Woolworth's in the post-Christmas sales. At the time I had no idea what I could use it for, but it looked too cool to pass up. I disassembled it and spray-painted the parts with a can of gold Plastikote paint after masking off the two silver arms on the front. The wheels, cylinders, chimney stack, and 'bumpers' came from a rather tacky brass model of Stephenson's Rocket I bought for £5 at a car boot sale. The brass brush on the end of the gun is the head of a rotary wire brush attachment that came with a mini-drill set. The pressure gauge, dome, whistle, safety valve, water level gauge, and valve are all bits and pieces I had lying around the workshop (I used to be into model engineering). All the brass parts were painstakingly cleaned and polished with Scotchbrite, Autosol, and Brasso. It is held together with a combination of screws, hot melt glue, and cyanoacrylate glue. I left the plastic bottle inside the body because the neck acts as the turret bearing - I haven't opened it so it must still be full of bubble-bath!

Update 2: I've locked comments because I was getting quite a lot of spam on this entry.


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Oh Wow!

That is fantastic!
Thanks. :)
Gobsmacked, I am. It's brilliant.
Thanks. :)
[Here via watervole] That's brilliant! I'm looking forward to seeing it in real life....
Cool. Come and introduce yourself!
That's marvellous!
Thanks. :)
OMG it's gorgeous!! Or brilliantly executed or whatever you're supposed to say about a steam-driven Dalek.

Cyberdrome will be brilliant too, can't wait!!
Say? You're supposed to scream and run away! At least this model isn't much good with stairs...
That is absolutely marvellous. :-)
Thanks. :)
Wow. Well done
Thanks, and happy birthday!
Also here via watervole, but that is marvellous, and very, very shiny too!
Good icon! :)
Well done Alex, another masterpiece!
Thanks! :)
Very nice, and practical too - assuming the bubblebath is still in there.
Yes, and given a sufficient supply of Skaroan steam-coal it can heat the water for your bath too!
Wow. * applauds *
Thanks! :)
Oh, excellent!

(BTW, if you haven't made the connection - and there's no reason why you should have! - I'm the one who is going to send you a scan of the Independent piece on Orbital).
Ah, cool. No I hadn't realised you were the same person.
Awesome. Beautiful!
Thanks! :)
This is a thing of pure beauty. I can just picture a vaudevillian voice, scratchy like a gramaphone, screaming "Exterminate!"
Ooh, I like that idea.

/me Digs an ancient dictaphone out of the scrap collection...

Hmm. It's developed a fault that causes it to generate hideous loud squealing and farting noises when you switch it on. I'm unable to decide whether this is a bug or a feature.
I may just have to marry you. This is absolutely brilliant.
Cool, a spring wedding sounds good to me! ;)

Mind if I ask how you found this page?
Two geek fetishes for the price of one!

Like it! I have to cross-post for friends to also admire...
Thanks! :)


The BBC should totally make an episode of Doctor Who set in Victorian times, with a race of Steampunk Daleks!

Great stuff!
Did you see the flashbacks to Victorian Torchwood? I really wish they would turn that into a spinoff series...


Did you use your Taig mill?

I knew your name sounded familiar! Did you use the Taig mill at all when making it?


Re: Did you use your Taig mill?

No, just hand tools, a mini-drill, and a brass rotary wire brush in a pillar drill.

Edited at 2008-04-22 04:33 pm (UTC)


That, sir, is utterly absurd.

A steampunk Dalek?

That, sir, is utterly absurd.

I like it. B-)
I am so in love!
In fact, would you mind if I knocked together an icon with that pic?
Feel free.


Saw this at kasterborous.com and followed the link here. That is amazing!
[Here via crafty_tardis]

That is just the most marvelous thing I've seen in ages. :D I love the little wire brush and the piston attached to the wheel! You, sir, are full of win.
Thanks! :)


Excellent recreation of a classic antagonist. I came across the link for your site from the SciFi channels Device.com while watching Dr. Who. I consider this a bonus as I am a huge fan of the show.
Wow, gorgeous work! I can't believe a bubble-bath bottle was the base for all this.

Also, your description is fantastic. "Exterminated rodents", indeed. HEE.
Thanks. The bottle was a neat find, especially considering how little it cost.

My friend SMS came up with the back story when he presented the Exhibition guided tour, and I subsequently wrote it down as best I could.
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