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  1. robinhood jw's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    From
    Denver
    Messages
    88
    Dec 12, 2012, 10:06 PM - Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #1

    I discovered Warehouse 13 after it was recommended by some friends and I saw that it was created by Jane Espenson (who wrote for Buffy and Firefly). I love the mixed historical eras of the props and equipment they use in the show. Once I got to season 2 and Warehouse 12 was mentioned (set in Victorian London), it got my imagination rolling.

    See ... I'm a big fan of steampunk and have been to the Denver area steampunk con the last two years.

    I decided I wanted to make a Tesla pistol that might have been carried by Warehouse 12 agents.



    I started by drawing it up on CAD as close to scale as I could. The limiting factor was the plastic vial I was planning to use to substitute for the vacuum tube. (The vial originally held home brewing yeast.) I found some photos online that were pretty much a straight-on side view and scaled them up and down until the tube in the photo matched the size of my vial. Then I traced it in CAD and printed it out full size.



    Once I had measurements for the various components I would need, I bought materials. Some of this I already had: the plastic vials, the walnut wood, the copper pipe coupler, the switch, the brass sheet, flat head brass screws. I bought a sheet of aluminum on ebay and I got the washers, brass rod, nuts, bolts, and the flashlight at Lowe's



    I was starting to have an idea in my head of how it would go together, but I also knew I wanted to do some Victorian flourishes to give it a vintage aesthetic.



    I hand drew on tracing paper over my CAD printout to work out how I wanted the shape to vary from the WH13 version and where I wanted the flourishes to be.



    I adjusted some proportions to fit my hand better, and then cut out some templates from card stock.



    Unfortunately, I didn't take many photos of the early part of the process. I traced the templates onto some walnut wood for the handles, cut them out and shaped them with a dremel and some hand filing. I traced the frame template onto aluminum and brass. In order to make the whole frame from brass, I was would have needed to buy a very pricey piece of 1/4" brass plate, which I really couldn't afford. Instead the frame is a sandwich of two thinner layers of brass with 1/8" aluminum in between. Aluminum turns out to be a lot tougher to cut than I expected. I killed a bunch of blades on my jeweler's saw cutting that thing out. Not to mention that aluminum sticks in your files badly, and I kept having to stop and clean out my files. I drilled and cut the side holes into the copper pipe coupler for the middle part. The thumb trigger is a brass pipe fitting tee. Some of the other pieces are held in place with rubber bands to check for fit.



    I free-handed the flourishes onto the brass with pencil and then scribed them in with an awl. I heated the brass pieces with a propane torch to discolor it. The window cuts in the copper cylinder were filed down smooth and sanded and I drilled pilot holes for the "rivets". Then the copper cylinder was also torch-discressed. I trimmed down the brass tee for the thumb trigger, and cut the brass plates that will be the side panels in the copper cylinder.



    Here you can see the "vacuum tube" assembly mostly finished. The white tube inside is from the flashlight; wrapped with a spring and some old plumbing fittings. The piece of brass rod at the end of the tube is what the copper coil will wrap around You can also see some of the other parts coming together. The washer was drilled for the 6 brass rods. The ends of the copper cylinder have a wood disc for the various screws and parts to be mounted into.



    Here I've got the handles and the thumb trigger assembly mounted to the frame, the vacuum tube mounted to the main cylinder, and the dial assembly in place. I'd originally planned on having the trigger not only light up the vaccuum tube, but to make it buzz/vibrate also. I took the vibration motor out of an old cell phone and mounted it in part of the thumb trigger assembly. I ended up not using it because it ate through the batteries too fast. It's still there, but not wired up. That's why there's 4 wires coming out of the thumb trigger to the main part. The dial face was actually designed in photoshop and printed onto a clear address label and then stuck onto a piece of brass for the side panel. I created the knob out of part of an old hose sprayer, a nail, and a green stone bead. Sitting off to the side are some of the parts that aren't built or added yet.



    The final piece. I added the coil around the barrel and the rear-facing "vacuum tubes". One of these is from an old headlight from my car that I trimmed down. The other rear tube was made from another yeast vial, a spring, and part of an old door lock mechanism. Since the batteries are inside the main cylinder, the whole rear panel and both rear tubes can be removed. The wires are covered with an old shoe-lace (credit for this idea goes to an article on steampunk workshop). In spite of the fact that there's a LOT of epoxy holding this together, I tried to also mechanically fasten parts together wherever possible. I just don't quite trust the glue to hold up all on it's own. There are usually pins or screws in addition to the epoxy at most joints.






















    All in all, this was a fun project and I'm very happy with the result. I sometimes have to keep myself from wanting to do more distressing. (It looks good like it is, stop messing with it!) From beginning to end, it took about 2 months. Since a bunch of the components were things I already had lying around, I think my total cost for new parts was around $30-40.

    Thanks for reading this looooooong post!
  2. Skyler101's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2000
    From
    OZ
    Messages
    2,442
    Dec 12, 2012, 10:12 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #2

    That is super cool...

    I have not watched the show, but am inspired to try my hand. Amazing!

    -Skyler101
  3. RPF Premium Member Blaxmyth's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2002
    From
    Wanganui, New Zealand
    Messages
    1,097
    Dec 12, 2012, 10:14 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #3

    Oh, wow! This is beautiful! It is a pleasure to read this loooooooong post - no worries and keep 'em coming!
  4. RPF Premium Member Psicorp7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2011
    From
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Messages
    1,199
    Dec 12, 2012, 10:57 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #4

    VERY nice. It captures all the points of the original but with your own unique spin. That looks outstanding!
  5. RPF Premium Member TomSpinaDesigns's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 1999
    From
    New York
    Messages
    11,031
    Dec 12, 2012, 10:58 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #5

    Lovely build... it's always great to see something with a clean, well thought out design and not just a load of greeblies on a blank gun base. Well done!!

    Tom
  6. Weaselhammer's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2011
    From
    Summerville SC USA
    Messages
    721
    Dec 12, 2012, 11:55 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #6

    I'm not a big fan of steampunk, but I have to say this is a very nice build ! you definately know what you are doing !
  7. Member Since
    Nov 2001
    From
    Seattle
    Messages
    112
    Dec 13, 2012, 12:21 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #7

    That is very cool looking
  8. Dave Porter's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    From
    Vanishing Point
    Messages
    744
    Dec 13, 2012, 6:36 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #8

    Fantastic work!

    You inspire me to make one myself.
  9. SofaKing01's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    From
    Huntsville, AL
    Messages
    6,976
    Dec 13, 2012, 8:04 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #9

    I have always admired and loved the "Steampunk" look! You nailed it! Beautiful piece!
  10. FSURobbie's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2011
    From
    Georgia
    Messages
    216
    Dec 13, 2012, 8:06 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #10

    Gorgeous piece, you should be proud.
  11. robinhood jw's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    From
    Denver
    Messages
    88
    Dec 13, 2012, 1:51 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #11

    Thank you very much - all of you!

    I was a little unsure about posting it here since it's not screen accurate, but I'm excited to get such positive feedback!
  12. Member Since
    Mar 2013
    From
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Messages
    3
    Mar 22, 2013, 2:32 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #12

    That's just rad. Totally trying this next...
  13. RPF Premium Member ahoudini's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2010
    From
    Roanoke, VA
    Messages
    1,485
    Mar 22, 2013, 3:07 AM - Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #13

    Beautiful work!
  14. Member Since
    Feb 2013
    From
    Holland, MI, USA
    Messages
    72
    Mar 22, 2013, 3:16 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #14

    Wow. This is amazing!
  15. Gibbtall's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2010
    From
    Vancouver
    Messages
    310
    Mar 22, 2013, 8:07 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #15

    Whaaat! I first thought "A steampunk Tesla Gun? Isn't that redundant?" But this is fantastic! I didn't think this gun could even be improved but you did it. I absolutely love the copper tube/dial section.
  16. Ruddigger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2010
    From
    Long Beach, Ca
    Messages
    1,449
    Mar 22, 2013, 8:53 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #16

    That is one cool gun, you did some really nice work on the grips and the cylinder in particular. I'd like to see it with an orange light as well.
  17. Nobby's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2009
    From
    Norwich - UK
    Messages
    1,362
    Mar 22, 2013, 9:08 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #17

    Beautiful work. Well done
  18. robinhood jw's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2012
    From
    Denver
    Messages
    88
    Apr 2, 2013, 1:04 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #18

    To everyone who's read and posted ... thank you so much!


    The Tesla pistol was part of a Warehouse 12 agent costume I wore to the Denver area steampunk con (AnomalyCon).



    Here's a link to the thread for the rest of the costume.

    http://www.therpf.com/f67/warehouse-12-agent-181014/
  19. Member Since
    Oct 2010
    From
    Oregon, USA
    Messages
    213
    Apr 2, 2013, 2:23 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #19

    Gorgeous! Nice use of "this and that" stuff. I have a ton of those brewing yeast bottles. Now I know what to do with them
  20. RPF Premium Member
    Member Since
    Feb 2011
    From
    Berkeley, CA
    Messages
    444
    Apr 2, 2013, 3:35 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #20

    Gorgeous. Well thought-out -- I second the comment about it looking like it makes internal sense, not like a bunch of random gears glued on top. Hate to single one thing out...but you scratched that engraving out by hand with an awl!? It looks really clean!
  21. Member Since
    Mar 2013
    From
    Southern California
    Messages
    27
    Apr 2, 2013, 5:49 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #21

    Soooo.... cool!!! Must make.....
  22. ghigham's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2010
    From
    New York
    Messages
    27
    Apr 3, 2013, 6:21 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #22

    Amazing work - you really did IMPROVE the design! And I second nomuse's compliment on your engraving. You make it sound easy, but I respect the level of skill that you have inspired us with.
  23. Member Since
    Oct 2010
    From
    Oregon, USA
    Messages
    213
    Apr 3, 2013, 10:19 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #23

    What was your mechanism for the switch? I was guessing you embedded a pushbutton switch into the brass T and put a brass cap on it.
  24. Adam Fails's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    From
    United Kingdom
    Messages
    225
    Apr 3, 2013, 10:45 AM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #24

    Wow - holy crap! That looks amazing! Great job on getting it to light up too!
  25. RPF Premium Member Sir Angus's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    From
    SoFlo
    Messages
    255
    Apr 17, 2013, 3:56 PM - Re: Victorian/steampunk Tesla pistol #25

    I would love to add one of these to my telsa gun collection!

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