39 amazing Steampunk computer mods
After wading into the Victorian world of brass and cogs to bring you 10 ridiculously cool Steampunk guitars, it's fitting we return the favour for the esteemed gentlemen in the computer muso corner.
We've trailed the far corners of the internet to find Steampunk's finest modded PCs, laptops, Macs and various computer peripherals including keyboards, monitors, headphones and mice.
Thanks to Steampunk Workshop's Jake Von Slatt and Datamancer's Richard Nagy (who will build to order) for creating and inspiring much of what you will see below. And the likes of Brass Goggles for aggregating the Steampunk world into one accessible place.
WARNING: If you choose to go down the Steampunk computer route yourself, don't blame us for the results. Who knows what sort of Victorian punk music this lot will inspire you to make…
39. The Wooden Keyboard
Let's kick off with something beautiful in its simplicity: a wooden keyboard with handmade typewriter digits. Here's a step-by-step Instructables guide so you can make one for yourself. Nice.
38. Professor Fates Calculating Engine
"Fourth day of the holiday weekend I got a lot done," writes The KronoNaut on Flickr. "It's coming along rather nicely. I've decided to take the empty drive bays, and make them into apothecary drawers." And why not?
37. Rendermandan's Motorized Madness
The detail here is second-to-none, but for Steampunk purists the blue lights and circuit-board-like decoration might be a bit too modern, hence its early place in the list. Still an amazing design, nonetheless.
36. Absinthetic's Tower Case Mod
There's not much modding in terms of gauges and the like, but the beautiful gold engraving makes it more than worthy of inclusion here. Props to Absinthetic (Ryan Sawyer) for the handywork.
35. The Steamputer
On first inspection, Bikeridinguitarplayinfool's emerald green mod looks rather garish, but the clockwork detail on the keyboard and copper pipes on the monitor work wonders. There's even a matching wireless mouse…
34. The Chrismas Present
This Steampunk pair were a Christmas gift from Bikeridinguitarplayinfool to his mother. A nice, simple design.
33. Molly 'Porkshanks' Friedrich's Dieselpunk Headphones
How do you listen to music, look like a Steampunk and still get all the benefits of modern technology? Take a vintage headset, a pair of modern headphones and merge them.
32. Garagemonkeysan's headset and holder
31. The Aviator
The next six entries are all keyboards, all created by the talented Mr Datamancer.
"The Aviator features a brushed aluminum frame, a black felt faceplate, and 'jewel'-styled LEDs reminiscent of an old airplane instrument panel."
30. The Archbishop
"It features a wooden faceplate in a red mahogany stain, a polished brass frame with quatrefoil designs in the side, and keys in a fancy cursive font."
29. The Sojourner
"This keyboard is crafted in polished brass, then artificially tarnished. The slightly weathered keys are electroplated in brass and are quite striking against the aged leather faceplate and parchment key inserts."
28. The Industrial
"The frame is dirty aluminum and the 'feet' are made from old transmission planetary gears cut in half. The faceplate is an aluminum mesh and the keys are made of hex nuts. The LEDs are hollowed-out round light bulbs mounted in a threaded holder."
27. The Baron Of Cyprus
"It features a polished copper frame, chrome keys, and polished copper key inserts. The main letter and number keys (A-Z, 1-0) are polished copper charms with engraved lettering."
26. The Datamancer Ergo
"This keyboard began its life as a very rare IBM Model M-15 split ergonomic keyboard. [It features] some elegant, feminine design features such as violet LEDs, an acanthus-leaf pattern etched into the brass, and a soft burgundy wrist pad."
25. Brass and Marble LCD mod
And here's Datamancer's equally-shiny modded monitor – a perfect compliment to any of the above. The frame is solid brass and the bass is marble, so expect it to be very, very heavy.
24. Steampunk Workshop Keyboard
Inspiration for some of the above designs stem from Jake Von Slatt's Steampunk Workshop original. This one started life as an IBM Model M keyboard – some sheets of brass, felt and a handful of typewriter keys later…
23. Steampunk Workshop Flat-Panel LCD Monitor
You'll want a monitor to plug that into, obviously, because as Jake Von Slatt puts it: "the Steampunk Keyboard looked terribly anachronistic sitting in front of my Dell 1907FP." The arms came from a 19th Century gas lamp – brilliant.
22. Steampunk Workshop all-in-one PC
But why stop at just a monitor? How about a beautifully-modded 24" widescreen monitor with an in-built Pentium IV motherboard and a 250 GB SATA drive. A stunning example of a fully-functioning Steampunk system.
21. The Paradox Mouse
There's a couple of Luger 9mm bullet shells at the back of this mouse by the very creative Mr Paradox. And yes, that does look very much like the actual vertebrae of a rodent.
20. Furnace Mouse
The designer Unklian was inspired by a Steampunk Motorcycle, apparently. The illuminating 'furnace' is made up from a bunch of microswitches coated with black silicone sealant for the 'coal' effect.
19. Furnace Mouse #2
Very similar to the first but Unklian had good reasons for the rebuild: "Mk1 mouse worked well but I hadn't translated 'measuring' into 'making' properly. The 2 buttons were slightly too far forward and ideally, should have been directly to each side of the scroll wheel." Extra points for the larger furnace area…
18. Russian 'Stimpank' mouse
17. The Bug
An amazing feat of Steampunk engineering, Jake Hildebrandt's 'Bug' features chunks of rotating solid brass, glowing LEDs and leaf switch buttons for "a more old-fashioned, mechanical feel.
16. The Nagy Magical-Movable-Type Pixello-Dynamotronic Computational Engine
Datamancer's longest-titled, and perhaps most gothic of all his creations. It's hooked up to an Underwood typewriter, there's a amazing centred porthole for the CD drive and there's even a flatbed scanner cleverly designed as a leather bound book.
15. The Communicator
This "antipodium PC" is a really creative example of the genre. It kind of looks like a ship's wheel… on a voyage to Steampunkville, of course.
14. Neo Victorian Keyboard / Monitor
A mini USB Keyboard and a 24" wide screen Samsung LCD monitor which can be rotated 90 degrees to be used as "a giant LCD picture frame!" For a goggle-wearing goat skull picture, obviously…
13. The Underwood No. 5
Take an original Underwood No. 5 typewriter, a Mini-ITX motherboard and a whole load of modding skill and you get a very powerful computer disguised as… well, an Underwood No. 5 typewriter. Steampunk by default…
12. The ElectriClerk
"[It's] inspired by the retro-futuristic machines in the movie Brazil by Terry Gilliam," says creator Andrew Leman. "Despite the fact that all its components are now exposed to the air, the 1988 Macintosh SE which forms the heart of this piece still works just fine."
11. Dave Veloz's Mac Mini Mod
Jake Von Slatt describes this Mac Mini makeover as "brilliant in its simplicity and execution." The gentlemen who created it, Dave Veloz, did so as a present for his soon to be wife…
10. Dave Veloz's wedding set-up
…it was used to display a slide-show of photos at the couple's wedding reception although we're hoping Garageband wasn't removed to save space! Notice the granite monitor base and leather detail – exquisite.
9. The Brass Brain
This isn't actually a mod, it's a 2500 lbs computer circa 1928 which could "do the work of 100 trained mathematicians in calculating tides." Could you get anymore Steampunk? There's further reading available here.
8. The DialupPC
"A Skype, MSN voice chat-ready (and now Google talk) PC with a retro twist." The phone, box and decoration are all antiques, the insides are state of the art (or they were in 2004, when Skype was only up-and-coming).
7. Diving helmet PC
This featured at number 17 in TheHottestGadget.com's 17 hottest Steampunk computer creations. It's a PC stuffed inside a vintage brass diving helmet – Steampunk by default – and cool as hell.
6. The Jules Verne
Those illuminating green tubes might look a bit OTT, but check out the intricate exposed mechanisims on the front panel. Jon Valjean's Jules Verne won first prize in the xLAN case mod competition – it's easy to see why.
5. The Brewery PC
Nicknamed The Brewery because of the protruding copper pipes and taps on the top. This Russian creation makes great use of LEDs, especially through the round porthole on the side. In fact, it makes great use of everything.
4. Datamancer's laptop
Disguised as a Victorian music box, beneath the gorgeous decoration sits a Hewlett-Packard ZT1000 laptop running both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. Well worthy of it's two picture allocation…
3. The Telecalculograph
We've already seen Jake (Of All Trades) Hildebrandt's Bug mouse, now take a look at what he plugs it into. The Telecalculograph is a masterpiece – big respect for the working 'furnace' – watch Jake's video to see how its "eight degrees of brightness" actually work.
2. The Frankenstein
D Mattocks' monster creation is apparently 8ft tall. It's unclear what operating system lies beneath, but the sheer amount of dials, taps, pipes and those glowing radioactive signs at the bottom are enough to make any Steampunk fan weak at the knees.
Next page: find out what tops the list...
1. The Ironwork Laptop
This beautiful Japanese creation features a wooden space bar and the enter key has been replaced with a brass bell. It's a fully-functioning computer, too (thanks to Brass Goggles for the translation). A stunning example - Steampunk at its finest...
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