Steampunk Dalek!

Alex Holden made this stupendous steampunk* Dalek out of junk, shampoo bottles and paint.

The main body is made from a plastic Dalek bubble-bath bottle I bought very cheaply at Woolworth's in the post-Christmas sales. At the time I had no idea what I could use it for, but it looked too cool to pass up. I disassembled it and spray-painted the parts with a can of gold Plastikote paint after masking off the two silver arms on the front. The wheels, cylinders, chimney stack, and 'bumpers' came from a rather tacky brass model of Stephenson's Rocket I bought for £5 at a car boot sale. The brass brush on the end of the gun is the head of a rotary wire brush attachment that came with a mini-drill set. The pressure gauge, dome, whistle, safety valve, water level gauge, and valve are all bits and pieces I had lying around the workshop (I used to be into model engineering). All the brass parts were painstakingly cleaned and polished with Scotchbrite, Autosol, and Brasso. It is held together with a combination of screws, hot melt glue, and cyanoacrylate glue. I left the plastic bottle inside the body because the neck acts as the turret bearing - I haven't opened it so it must still be full of bubble-bath!
Link (Thanks, Bonnie!)

*STEAMPUNK! STEAMPUNK! STEAMPUNK! Isn't that the most lovely word you've ever heard? I just want to say it all day long! STEAAAAAAAAAAMPUNK!


  1. It’s exciting to hear that the steampunk craze has finally made it’s way to BoingBoing!
    Man, steampunk!

  2. “*STEAMPUNK! STEAMPUNK! STEAMPUNK! Isn’t that the most lovely word you’ve ever heard? I just want to say it all day long! STEAAAAAAAAAAMPUNK!”


    We’ll leave you two alone, shall we?


  3. Hot glue and screws! That’s about all I have access to. I wonder how well it holds together?

  4. Cool model, but that’s the only thing cool about the Daleks – the only bad robots to be defeated by a SET OF STAIRS. And no, the new floating daleks up and down stairs is hokey as crap too.

  5. There is a slight problem, though. If it was real, the piston would rip the wheel off, rather than turn it.

  6. Nice link, Danegeld! Now THAT’s a steampunk Dalek!

    Steampunk, steampunk, steampunk!

  7. @12 that’s not a piston,it’s shock absorber. The mount to the main body is behind the shocktube and the rear driving axle is suspended underneath on either side of the main drive train. Sheesh. Did ya sleep through Basic Early Dalek Maintenance in high school?

  8. Hummmm there’s something that occasionally annoys me about Boing Boing, but I can’t quite figure out what it is……

  9. The last time I wore a fez in public a drunk jackass got in my face about it being a Black Nationalist Muslim symbol or some BS. Why this conversation occurred between two white guys standing in front of the stage at a Jon Spencer/Alex Chilton concert has never been explained. But I consider it The Fez Effect and I’m avoiding them until it gets figured out.

  10. Steam Punk Steam Punk Steam Punk!!!! ‘m gttng trd f ll th stm pnk stff. Why not come up with a unique style all your own? I mean That little shampoo bottle gizmo is an amazing piece but still…..I don’t know..

  11. That is beautifully done.

    And +1 for the current amount of steampunk-related stuff. I’m a fan of the genre and I love that people’s creativity gets some BB love.

  12. steampunk is old :)

    That would, um, sort of be the key component of the steampunk design ethos.

  13. Steam isn’t dead. As I was telling a friend earlier today, we can thank modern steam technology for getting noisy electromechanical printers out of our homes and replacing them with quiet ink-jet printers.
    Steampunk printers… hmmm…

  14. I think we have to teach these ignorant young ones some respect for steam. How about the Steam Dragon?
    A pocket sized cylinder that has violently exothermic reactive chemicals in a chamber capped with an ampule of water. A few faces cooked off with superheated steam and they’ll mind their tongues.
    Of course it’ll be a one shot, but that could be the ironic bridge to modern technology; Disposable steampunk.

  15. …GodDAMMit, Cory! Quit posting good Steampunk items like this! You’re actually making me *LIKE* this crap :-( :-( :-( :-(

    [bangs head on wall in dismay]

  16. Steamboy is seminal steampunk, as is The Difference Engine. Jules Verne clearly anticipated steampunk :)

  17. The Steampunk / tentacles theme running on Boingboing finally made me get a copy of Lovecraft’s book out of the local library.

  18. The old Daleks could go up stairs too (except the _very_ early ones). It wasn’t shown until Rememberence, but the paper Annuals mentioned Dalek anti-gravity many years before that.

  19. i’m more excited that there’s such a thing as dalek-shaped soap bottles. someone import a couple of ’em to the US. kthx.

  20. look up hot-wire cutting on If you really want to model irregular shapes like Daleks, it’s probably the easiest,cheapest way. A hot-wire rig and a home-made tabletop vacuum former and there’s no limit to the stuff you can make. Get sophisticated and add a Dremel based CNC machine or Reprap and you can really go nuts. Or if you’re talented and poor and have time on your hands, I’ve seen good results from a broken razor blade wired and glued onto a stick.

  21. The Thermionic ElectroModulator MK VIII Steampunk Audio Amplifier is getting a re-think. Vexed by the difficulties of incorporating mercury vapor rectification (toxic vapors, critical warm up sequences, size, heat) High voltage output tubes (critical insulation, complex filtering, separate filament supplies) and high source impedance (ruinously costly transformers) I have subjected this Steampunk amp project to a complete mental overhaul. I’m thinking mirror imaged monoblocks for reduced size/weight. And paralleled smaller Pentode tubes for higher efficiency rather than single large outputs, less danger and ease of implementation. It will still have plenty of pretty glowy bottles with colorful wires spiraling out of the top. Also, the power available goes up from 25 to 75 Watts, which is always better. Mostly, this is a design I can safely lift alone. No sense designing something that’s so heavy it never gets off the bench in one piece, like a sailboat built in the basement. Build is scheduled for July and unveiling at the August Southeast Michigan Audio Club (SMAC) meet. Steampunk cocktails will be served, so start polishing your monocle.

  22. bless Sir Ross, you grace us with your skill and forethought.

    If the weight is a problem, could it not be done to separate the stages in individual cars borne on their own steel wheels? Flexible cable linking between them and perhaps a small engine to draw the whole thing along a track from drawing room to parlour? Further, can we not make appeal to the BB readership for sources of transformers at more reasonable cost – mayhap even donated?

  23. Oh, I like the self propelled idea. Anything that means less lifting for me. I have sourced wheels for this project, but they are of the passive variety. I was thinking propulsion by appropriate traction animals. Trained Dachshunds in livery, perhaps?
    Interconnecting separated chassis is the classic solution to the weight problem. Break up the problem and deal with the issues separately. The downside is multiplied floorspace or rack space. I only have 900 sf of Playroom to work with here and recklessly increasing the acreage occupied by audio gear would mean displacing furniture that has earned a legitimate right to be there. Downside #2 is safely conducting 7 power supplies of 1,500v, 10v, 10v, 7.5v, 150v 7.5v and 6.3v at various amperages between the two chassis (15 insulated conductors). That creates another set of problems.
    Issue #3 is utility. I want to build the thing but not own it forever. To have a fighting chance of recouping part of the perilously high parts cost (to say nothing of labor), it has to be able to actually drive real world speakers with some defensible level of efficiency. The original design would have been only 5% power efficient at best. I can get that up to 20% – 30% without affecting the appearance if I go Push-Pull rather than Single Ended.
    More engineering issues. I need to make some calls to the transformer winders & see what they can set me up with, then take a long walk in the woods to think and think and think.

  24. can’t at least the heater filament power be by Telsa Coil transmission? I leave the trivial interference problem to your capable hands.

  25. I wonder if the TV Show “Punk’ed” stole it’s title from the Steampunked term? Just makes you kinda’ wonder, hey? Don’cha know?

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