Necessity is the Mother of Invention?


Seeming as how I’m between pieces at the moment, I thought now would be a good time to take a couple of weeks and build myself a decent workspace.  She never complained, but I think Christina was about ready to strangle me for working on the kitchen counter all the time…

Seeing how we have very little room in our apartment, it needed to take up a small footprint and yet have enough storage for all my crap! Off to maya! After I had a relatively decent 3D model worked up, I hit the local Home Depot and bought a bunch of wood. Two weeks and a few on-the-fly inspirational design changes later.. voila! Workbench!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

The Æther Reactor is (almost) FINISHED!


It’s been two years!

And finally… almost there. So close I can SMELL it. All that’s left to do is buff the copper a bit more with some #000 Steel Wool, let the copper patina a bit more, hit it lightly one more time with steel wool to give it some highlights here and there, and then coat the entire thing with some clear satin lacquer. Also I need to come up with some panel labels on the front. At the moment I’m leaning towards dry-transfer type.. we’ll see how that turns out.

I decided on a final name for this piece; the Model 42 Aether Condenser. Mostly because everyone asks if it’s a still of some sort, and I guess it kind of stuck with me. I added the copper coil and the ball in the base section to reinforce the still concept, also because the base was kind of boring.. it definitely needed something. The Aether part? Well, this is steampunk, or steam grunge.. the Aether is all around us.. so it only seemed fitting. 42 is of course a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide as well as X-Files.. I just can’t help myself, I’m a geek.

The wooden control box contains the power transformer that drives the UV LED’s and the switches that control both those and the Edison radio bulb in the top can. I used vintage-style chicken-head knobs on the rotary switches, and I used some cool vintage jeweled bezel-lamp assemblies for the indicators. I replaced the 7V incandescent lamp assemblies in them with LED’s so as to not have to worry about the bulbs burning out. You can see in the photo down there the mess of wires that run this thing.. I hope it doesn’t blow up! Just kidding.. kind of.

I can’t relate how happy I am that this piece is almost done, it’s been a long arduous journey to get it to this point, mostly because I didn’t know where I was going with it, but I can say that I’m quite pleased with the outcome, I never expected to be happy with this one.

The next piece I have planned is going to incorporate a tube amplifier, speakers, and some video.. I’m super excited to get started on that one, and will post some of my preliminary ideas real soon. Stay tuned!