Written 6 May, 2008
I’ve been wanting to make a steam engine for a long time.
Finally, I had a reason.
The giant steampunk bobbing bird needed a source of power, something to drive the cogs and belts and flywheels that provide her—or, rather, the platform upon which she perches—with a means of locomotion.
I had great fun building the engine.
First, I made a big boiler. I used a cylinder with cut spheres at either end to make a tank and texturized it with a cast iron texture I made from a picture of a metal bucket I found on the internet and tortured with GIMP, my image manipulation program. I used metal bands to reinforce it (and hide the seams) and applied the Whimsy logo. I set the tank on two walls made of brick (Sweetie’s suggestion; I started with wood).
Below the tank I placed a metal firebox with a heavy windowed door; I tweaked a standard door script to play sounds of a heavy metal door opening and closing; I adapted the sounds from clips I found at Freesound.
Inside the firebox I stuck the logs from a fire pit I made months ago. These whoosh and burst into flame when the word LIGHT appears in chat and extinguish when BLOW is chatted. I added pipes for exhaust gasses and used Outy Banjo’s Fog Script to create a plume of thick white smoke.
At one end of the boiler I placed a pressure meter and an emergency shutoff valve. At the other end I added a translucent pipe through which bubbling liquid can be seen.
Above the boiler, I placed a smaller brass tank.
On either side of the brass tank are flywheels I based on an antique design. On top I placed a governor and a touch-activated whistle.
When I was done, it certainly LOOKED like a steam engine—a jury-rigged, homemade engine, perhaps, but a steam engine nonetheless.