I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Posted by admin on August 3rd, 2014 filed in Hacks, Steampunk

Since the one crafts shop I visited also sold leather belts and wristbands, I started contemplating Steampunk bracelets.

A clockwork bracelet is a good way to use up small, flat, non-fragile gears and pieces, that don’t fit on, say, a necklace, because they face the wrong way and only have one attachment point. I attached the small pieces to the belt holes by threading a nylon string through their central holes, and I used various tiny pearl-colored glass beads as anchors. This is what my first attempt at a steampunk bracelet looks like:


I had a second idea, a wristwatch-like bracelet that should either be a sundial or a compass. The catch with compasses is that most of them are 4-6cm in diameter — I find that too unwieldy for my wrist. Also, a Steampunk compass needs to look antique, but most compasses are made of plastic, or have very modern faces. I was looking for an affordable, timeless (optimally antique), tiny (optimally 3cm diameter), non-plastic (optimally brass) compass. Well, good luck finding that… :-(

When I had just given up, I found this keychain compass in a small store, literally 500m from my door:

Jackpot! At first glance, the plastic body and rubber shell makes it completely unfit for Steampunk. But the rubber is really just a cover, and it was easy to plop the compass out. The compass itself is of the simplest kind: A plain plastic disk, transparent, filled with a liquid, and unlabled. “Neutral” enough, I think.

I simply drew a picture of an old-fashioned compass rose, using an 8-spoked gear stamp as template, and placed it under the transparent compass body. The white foundation of the compass rose is glow-in-the-dark paint, by the way. As compass mount, I used a ring-shaped hose clamp from the fleamarket. The clamp also got two drops of glow paint, for good measure. Then I tied it all together with some white leather straps.

steampunk compass wristwatch
(The photo doesn’t yet show the copperwire and small fuses that I glued on later.)

Using such a tiny compass comes at a price, though: Any piece of metal causes interference! I walked 10 metres in what I knew was a northern direction, and the compass happily pointed 1st at the fridge, 2nd at my phone, and 3rd at the hose clamp — all of which were positively not north. Oh well.

Both bracelets are very much haphazard, but they were fun to make. :-)

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