Monday, May 14, 2018

Slide of the month extra - Steampunk slide

Mid May 2018

Time to design: 2 hours
Time to build: 2 days

Original design: Bill Macfarlane

What if the petrol and electronic eras never happened? Would our society revolved around a steam technology? Steampunk stories revolve around the "alternate version of the historic past, especially 19th-century England, and involving advanced technologies usually based on steam power."
That's the premise of this slide.  

Building this slide was really several ideas coming together has I was building it based on what I had available at the time. I had a old empty CO2 cartridge that I knew would be a part of the slide and I cut it in half. Next I wanted to have a copper boiler so I used a 3/4 inch FPT adapter  and I cut it down to just above where it reduced. I sanded off the part you would normally use a wrench on so it would match the roundness of the area just above it. To have the CO2 cartridge fit inside it took a bit of sanding.  Next I took a 1/4 brass tee and cut off one of the female ends. Next I cupped the rough edge of this piece of brass so it would fit the roundness of the outside of the cooper FPT adapter. I clamped the brass piece and inserted the CO2 cartridge then heated the assembly to solder them together. When it was cool, I threaded the top of the CO2 cartridge so it would accept the core of a tire valve stem which the center was removed. Next I wound a brass rod around pen to form the coil and soldered it to the copper base and inserted the top into the core. The ruby glass is lens from a car indicator light that fits perfectly inside the brass fitting. 

Now to show the glow of the fire, I used a led from a flickering electronic tea light and inserted it into a hole drilled into the copper base. The led is connected to a battery holder and a push button switch.

Now I wanted all the electronics to fit inside the slide and to be able to screw a fitting into the bottom to seal it but that didn't work and the slide was already heavy enough. Rethinking it, I ground out the threads from the inside center so everything would fit inside. The base became a thin walled copper cap with a piece of rubber tube so the that friction fits inside the center. I had a brainstorm regarding hiding the switch and went back to the junk drawer to fine a brass elbow gas fitting. I drilled out the center of the elbow to the size of the switch and broke the bit in the process.  To remove the drill I soaked the elbow in alum and water to dissolve the bit and a day later, with the bit gone, I soldered it to a hole in the cap. I mounted the switch inside the elbow so the button was just outside the fitting. In order to active the switch I added a cap to the end and when the cap is screwed deeply into the threads, it pushes the switch turning on the led.

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