Since you can now pick up a set of chumby guts without bothering with the standard casing, the real fun for the platform is in fashioning a unique housing for the internet-connected widget display. That can be as basic as the cardboard box the components come with, or you can go the route of one particular Etsy seller and put together a somewhat Steampunk-esque retro enclosure.
Called the Chumbophone, as far as we can tell the various brass horns, controls and other appendages are all decorative rather than functional. The only real controls are the power button, the front panel key and the chumby's 3.5-inch 320 x 240 touchscreen, which is still enough to browse various web widgets, control music - either streaming or local - and do everything else that makes chumby so appealing.
You've got to give Hi Tech Systems some credit for effort: to help their broadcast video controllers stand out at a recent industry expo, they put together the Comptometer, a Steampunk-styled console which, so the backstory goes, gives access to 1930s broadcast footage. The controller is full of nixie tubes, brass buttons and analog dials, and a rather loveable "test calibration" system made up of tiny clacking hammers.
Video demo after the cut
Steampunk is definitely here, and it's not going anywhere any time soon. Whether you like it or not. And while we've covered it before, this time it seems a bit too much to handle. We love flash drives as much as the next person, and Steampunk is a great design aesthetic, but let's be honest: price matters. Apparently, not everyone got that memo.
We've had a few Steampunk items come up on here before, and we'd be lying if we said that we didn't hold a natural affinity for these things. How can you not? The workmanship alone makes these gadgets pretty amazing, and whil the aesthetics might not be for everybody, we find it hard to deny the sort of primordial attractiveness these devices have. Like this cell phone for example, which was caught on picture from Russia, and encompasses everything Steampunk in one solid form factor. We've got plenty of shots after the break.
Steampunk continues to divide opinion, with some still entranced by etched brass, cogs and masterful repurposing of what would otherwise be thrown away as trash, while other think it a tired meme that doesn't know when to give up. We're thinking that both groups would find some appeal in Moritz Wolpert's Steampunk analog synth, however.
The one thing better than a great vast Steampunk gaming PC is winning one, and that's just what's going to happen with this custom Jake Hildebrandt creation. Crafted from wood, copper and a variety of brass embellishments, the guts of the PC are just as impressive as the exterior (though thankfully a whole lot more up to date): an Intel Core i7 965 CPU, 12GB of DDR3 RAM and dual ATI Radeon 4870X2 graphics.
You might remember the Steampunk Frankenstein case mod from last month: an 8ft behemoth of brass, ominous lighting, tricked-out gages and water-cooling. Creator D.Mattocks has been in touch to let us know the huge PC is now finished, complete with some much-welcome Steampunk tweaking to the drives (which previously were left bare plastic).
As insane Steampunk PC case mods go, this Frankenstein machine by D. Mattocks will take some beating. Standing almost eight feet tall, and bristling with copper piping, vintage gauges and glass indicator lights from an old navy ship, it's not so much a computer as a tribute to H.G. Wells, Dr Frankenstein and the sort of coffin Isambard Kingdom Brunel would've probably liked to be buried in.
The vent was salvaged from an old church, and now acts as the air inlet for the water-cooling system. Meanwhile everything is backlight with green cold-cathode tubes, which manage to make the Frankenstein Computer look even more ominous. Happily one of the gauges does actually show the computer temperature, though there's probably not a steam blow-off valve.
Distinctive, beautiful and just plain strange, the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical is the brainchild of Vianney Halter and the engineering masterpiece of the DMC Group's Jean-François Ruchonnet. A wrist-watch built around a winch-driven chain fusee movement, it has a tiny 450 link chain and nickel silver drums; altogether there are 1,352 separate components.
Steampunk projects are no strangers to the front page of SlashGear, and here's one of the more outlandish and impressive. The work of Brass Goggles forum member Herr Döktor, it's a Steampunk space helmet; it may have started off as a propagator dome and a plastic plantpot, but over the course of 53 pages it evolved into the marvellously detailed helmet you see here.