A little further on…..

| September 29, 2014


My first Bluetooth speaker! Unfinished.

| September 22, 2014

I went to the markets one sunny Sunday morning and came across this speaker cabinet from the early 1900′s.  It was a completely empty case which would have housed two very large speakers back to back and used outside.  Maybe part of a PA system or plugged into a radio/record player.
Anyway I thought what a perfect bluetooth speaker it would make.  It stands 42cm high and the speaker enclosure is 35cm in diameter……this thing is BIG!  So I bought a cheap blue tooth speaker from K-Mart and dismantled it.   I took a 25 watt amplifier (which I had on hand) and output the bluetooth speaker into the amp.  I had also picked up some cheap car speakers (15 watt each – $5 AUD for both) and connected them to the amp output.
Once all was set up I pulled out my iPhone turned on the bluetooth, found the speaker and logged on…well….to say this thing is loud is an understatement, it was ear shatteringly beautiful…a party machine at heart.  My next step is to ‘beautify’ the cabinet.  I’ll keep you posted.

A postscript and a compass

| August 21, 2014

As promised long ago, I'm doing book reviews over at the Pandora Society. Here's the first of what may be many. I encourage everyone to go visit the Society – they're good people. Thanks!

Hexayurt for Burning Man

| August 8, 2014

My family and I are headed to Burning Man this year. 

I have been twice in the past and have always stayed in a tent. I was reasonably comfortable, however sleeping late was problematic. As soon as the sun rose over the RV I had pitched my tent next to, it simply got too hot to continue sleeping.

So this year I built a Hexayurt to stay in. The Hexayurt is a structure originally developed for disaster response. It's a hexagonal hut built out of foam insulating panels and super strong bi-filament fiberglass reinforced tape. The particular design I chose is made from 12  4' x 8' panels. Six of the panels are cut diagonally and connected together to form six triangles. These triangles become the roof. The other six panels are laid on their side and set out in a hexagon and make the walls of the Hexayurt. The foil surface of the panels and their insulating qualities make this an ideal structure for desert camping.

I won't go into too much detail concerning the construction of my Hexayurt. If you are interested, you should go to Hexayurt.com the repository for all such information 

My Hexayurt will be shipped to the playa on the Boston burning truck. We'll be flying in at the beginning of the event and taking the bus from Reno to Black Rock city. However, the Burner Express stop where we'll arrive is about half a mile from the place where the Hexayurt will be deposited. Keep on reading to see how I'll deal with that situation.

Hexayurt for Burning Man

I began with polyisocyanurate insulation panels from Lowe's. Unfortunately, the panels from Lowe's come with logos on both sides. I cut them so that the silver side would be on the outside, I edged all of the cut panels with aluminum insulating tape. I used the Camp Danger method to create flexible hinges so that most of the Hexayurt can be pre-taped and folded flat for shipment. Once on the Playa the two halves of the base and the two halves of the roof are taped together and then taped to each other. It should only take about half an hour to erect the Hexayurt once we get to camp.

Upcoming: Hexayurt swamp cooler for Burningman!

| June 28, 2014


We’re headed to Burning Man this year! I am in the process of building a Hexayurt for us to stay in on the playa. To keep it cool I’m going to build a solar powered swamp cooler. These are a few of the components that I’ve gathered so far. The whole build process will be here in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

Hexayurt Swamp Cooler for Burning Man!

| June 28, 2014


My family is going to Burning Man this year! I've been twice in the past and there have been a few things about my experience that were less than comfortable. The biggest problem I had on the playa was sleeping during the hot days in a tent. Once the sun rose over the RV I pitched my tent next to the heat became unbearable and I had to get up.

So for this year I have built a Hexayurt to stay in and a "swamp cooler" to keep it cool during the hot days. A swamp cooler is essentially identical to what we know as a humidifier, its a fan that blows air over some sort of absorbent material. In environments that are very dry, like the Black Rock Desert where Burning Man is held, the air exits the swamp cooler significantly cooler that when it entered. Or at least that's the plan! I'll take data and report back after the Burn.

Hexayurt Swamp Cooler for Burning Man

I found a set of brand new replacement humidifier "filters" at our town dump, and these seemed to be about the size I wanted so I started there. Very similar filters are available online as well as all of the other components needed for this build..

      <iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=thesteawork-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00J2GWLQ4&asins=B00J2GWLQ4&linkId=EN7Z6666RQQZNGZ7&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true"> 

Hexayurt Swamp Cooler for Burning Man

I cut some frames from Coroplast sheet stock and glued together a frame with silicone seal to hold the filters in the center of the plastic shipping crate I decided to use for the body of the swamp cooler.

Hexayurt Swamp Cooler for Burning Man

The 200 mm fans are made for cooling PC cases. They are very quiet and quite efficient, using a few tenths of an amp each and pushing 120 CFM of air.

Hexayurt Swamp Cooler for Burning Man

On the side of the filters facing the fans is a loop of hose with several holes in it. There is a pump at the bottom of the crate that circulates water over the filters, keeping them wet. There is also a float switch to turn the pump off if the water level get too low. The pump switch I used switched the reverse of what I needed so I added a relay to the circuit to achieve the desired action.

Welcome to the Steampunk Workshop

| June 27, 2014


I'm Jake von Slatt, a maker, tinkerer, fabricator, and all around techno dilettante living and creating just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I'm interested in the blending of 19th century aesthetics and technology with the modern world and showcasing projects of that ilk here on SteampunkWorkshop.com. While I eschews the temptation to rigidly define the term "Steampunk," I do know that it has something to do with the intersection of technology and romance. 

Email: jake@vonslatt.com

​Click through for a list of resources describing what I do here:


I'm starting to get several requests like this per week and I simply can't response to them all in detail.  However, here are some sources that may help you and do cover most of what I feel I have to say on the subject:
In addition you will find Hi-Res images that you are welcome to republish here: http://steampunkworkshop.com/press/index.html

see that little dot where the sky meets the sea?

| June 3, 2014

Like a dirigible, the Steampunk Librarian has been slowly sailing toward the horizon. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and participated in the website over the years and its various locations on the interwebs.

However! I’ll still be writing some reviews (and possibly other stuff) as well over at the Pandora Society.  Perhaps I'll see you there!

Quickest Way to Clone Windows (and Windows Server) Disk with GPartEd

| May 28, 2014

A quick tech note from the day job some of you might find useful.

GPartEd is a fantastic tool for copying and resizing disk partitions, but cloning an entire Windows disk often requires tweaking boot sectors and records after the partitions are copied and this is not always easy or intuitive. The following is a simple method to clone a Windows disk quickly without all the messing around with boot sector issues.

. . .

1. Connect drives to a host and boot the host with the GPartEd Live CD

2. Review the layout of partitions in GPartEd, delete any partitions on the target drive.

3. Right-click on the desktop and start a root terminal

4. Begin a sector-by-sector copy of the drive by typing:

dd if=/dev/sda of/dev/sdb bs=8192

(This assumes sda is your source drive and sdb is the target)

5. Let the "dd" run for a minute or two and then control-c out of it.

6. "Refresh Devices" in GPartEd, go to /dev/sdb and delete any partition you see there.

7. Finally, Copy, Paste, & Apply the partitions for /dev/sda to /dev/sdb in the normal manner.

8. Set the "boot" flag on the first partiton on /dev/sdb

​9. Fin!

Because we dd'd the beginning of the disk in step 4, there will be no messing about with Startup Repair, bootrec, bootsec, or diskpart. Your disk will just boot into Windows or Windows Server!


AEther Salon: Mail! (Edited transcript)

| May 26, 2014

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fraulein Bookworm, would you do the rules, bitte?

Bookworm Hienrichs nods and shuffles for her notebook.

Welcome to this month’s Aether Salon! Today, Miss Nika Thought-werk discusses the history, purpose and mystery of the mail, and the people that have made it possible.  Before we proceed, some housekeeping reminders:

1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or

AEther Salon: Mail! (Unedited transcript)

| May 26, 2014

[14:14] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Fraulein Bookworm, would you do the rules, bitte?

[14:14] Bookworm Hienrichs nods.

[14:15] Bookworm Hienrichs shuffles for her notebook.

[14:15] Bookworm Hienrichs: Welcome to this month’s Aether Salon! Today, Miss Nika Thought-werk discusses the history, purpose and mystery of the mail, and the people that have made it possible.


It’s been awhile…..

| May 25, 2014

This is an updated version of iPhonograph ‘Too Tone’ and has gone to Centenary Institute to raise much needed funds for research into cures for cancer.  The iPhonograph raised $1,000 in their silent auction.  This was optimised to be used with the iPhone 5 which it will also charge and can charge anything with a lightning connector.