One of the best ways I’ve found to get over a writing slump is to tinker on something else. Not just another writing project, but something that actively engages other places in my brain. For example, sometimes I paint, or throw pottery, or garden. But my favorite thing to do is put a blow torch to something. Now, I don’t claim to be a master creator like the Steampunk Clockworker (holy cow he’s amazing) but I love to dabble. With fire. And metal.
So my latest project was a gift for my co-author Tyler. Now, in our novel, the MC has a nifty steampunk cane. So I decided to make one for Tyler to take to the Cons as part of his costume. *Disclaimer: my cane does not fire projectiles, shoot oil, or double as a sword, much to Ty’s disappointment.*
I started with a length of 1/2 inch copper pipe. I also picked up a few different types of connectors, joints, and fittings in the same size. I wanted to do a copper coil around the shaft, but the only copper coil tubing I found was REALLY expensive, so I settled for rubber tubing, which i personally think turned out great.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted the top of the cane to light up or be an ornate crystal. In the end since it was for a guy I opted to make it light up. So I bought a mini solar light from Home Depot. I dismantled it, painted all the plastic bits copper, and re-assembled it.
I knew that to make the cane fit in a suitcase (because there is no way they are going to let something that looks that much like a bomb through airport security, no matter how benign it really is) I cur the pipe in the center and added a threaded coupling. That allows the piece to break down for storage and travel.
After capping the bottom of the cane with a brass cap, I left the bottom alone. Don’t want anything down there to get caught on pants, dresses, or the like.
The upper half began with the addition of two copper T’s one near the top and one near the midsection. On the top T I added a basic plumbing valve normally used on waterlines, then on the Bottom T I added a simple slip fitting for tubing. At this point I soldered all the metal pieced together.
(FIRE IN THE HOLE!)
Using clear adhesive epoxy I glued the top of the solar light into place (the long shaft was removed and the small plastic bulb cover fit perfectly into the copper pipe, lucky me) and added the tubing, wrapping it around the pipe as I went. The top of the rubber tubing is secured to the water valve with epoxy. I also filled just the tip with epoxy before putting it in place just in case I ever wanted to add liquid to the tube or something. The bottom of the tube fit snugly into the lower fitting, so I did not epoxy it in place (again, so I have the option to add something inside the tube at a later time if I choose to). I added a few small metal details scavenged from my jewelery making kits and viola. Not only is it done, but when you put your hand over the top of the cane, it lights up. The very top of the light twists off for battery replacement when needed. Finally, I drilled a hole through the cane and added a cool drawer pull I had left over for another project. It gives you a nice place to grab/hang the cane by and it looks pretty cool too.
Oh, and remember those cool faux gauges I made from that Epbot tutorial? I used the left over epoxy to add one just beside the lower fitting on the top half of the cane.
What do you think?