Steampunk Couture: CNC Goggles

by gianteye, published

Steampunk Couture: CNC Goggles by gianteye Jun 30, 2010

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I started this project long, long ago. I was teaching at TechShop and had the time, tools, and a drive to make something serious. You see, I have had this long history of mixed emotions about steampunk. On the one hand, it is a wonderful and beautiful to look back on generations past and reflect on all the awesome things they have done. It is great to be inspired by Tesla and Grahm Bell and all the guys slaving away in steel mills wearing top hats. On the other hand steampunk has also become a label for hastily made shoddy things muddled together with hot glue, watch gears, and brass spray paint.
Often times my philosophy is to not have opinions on things until I have done something substantial to justify them. This is me putting my money where my mouth is. This is my highly engineered, hard labor, meticulously calculated answer to why steampunk is awesome. There can be so much cool in the intersection between math and metal and leather and science and I think everyone should give it a try.
The whole set of photos from the project is on display here http://www.flickr.com/photos/gianteye/sets/72157624394079042/
You can see a bit more on how the metal components on the goggles were made here http://www.flickr.com/photos/gianteye/sets/72157619078382624/ and find out a bit more about the prototyping process here http://makersmarket.com/seller/gianteye/blog
I fuel my insatiable love for design and adventure through ventures like selling digitally fabricated jewelry on etsy. You should take a look at http://gianteye.etsy.com or get in touch with me at m sinbox.org if you have ideas, advice, job offers, commissions, or cake.


First you need some leather. I got mine laser cut from ponoko ( http://www.ponoko.com/showroom/gianteye/steampunk-couture-goggle-leather-pattern-4567 ). They use a 2.5mm thick natural leather that was perfect for this project. If you cut your own out, make sure to cut your leather suede side down with something adhered to it to keep the leather from shifting due to the heat. I will often use a piece of printer paper stuck on with a light coat of spray adhesive. Transfer paper also works well for this purpose. The laser cutting leaves a decent amount of soot around the edges, so I cleaned everything off with rubbing alcohol before dyeing and conditioning the leather.
The black parts of the leather were dyed with a water based leather dye, and the white parts were actually painted with an odd little container of tennis shoe whitener I found at a pharmacy. I softened the leather with Neatsfoot Compound, but almost any leather conditioner/softener/oil will do. I left everything to dry overnight so there would be less of a chance of dye rubbing off on my thread as I stitched everything together.
Refer to the PDF I have included ( http://www.thingiverse.com/download:10190 ) for details on where your fastenings shall go. The snaps are pretty simple to figure out and should not cause mutch of a fuss. The buckles and Dee rings are also fairly self explanatory.
I felt like I went through miles of embroidery floss. My fingers ached and I was covered in tiny needle inflicted holes by the end of the process. The hardest part is keeping the feeling in your fingertips long enough to stitch up the whole thing. It is important to remember to stitch the eye cups (the circular parts that attach to the goggle hardware) together before attaching them to the mask.
If you own a CNC machine you will know what to do with the stls. Otherwise, you might consider getting your own set of goggle hardware printed here http://www.shapeways.com/shops/gianteye (the gold plated stainless steel seems like a pretty excellent option). Print out a Left Hand Body, a Right Hand Body, two Front Plates, and a Nose Bridge. You will need to assemble your 3d print with the 6-32 self tapping screws I have specd.
Be sure to remember to cut yourself out a set of lenses. They're simply 1.6" dia circles cut out of .11" acrylic. You can also find a set of patterns here http://www.ponoko.com/showroom/gianteye/eyepieces-for-steampunk-couture-goggles-4568 I used 2 way mirror stock from Tap Plastics. It worked out great, but it is incredibly easy to scratch off the thin mirror layer. Be careful when handling it.
Good luck. I hope this helps you in drafting out your own digital fab projects. I've tried to include everything I can to help people through making their own goggles, but this is by no means a complete tutorial. I am, however, hoping it provides a strong framework for you to experiment with your own digital designs and maybe even your own kickass steampunk styles.
Thank you.

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i've tried to open the file for the leather parts (.dxf) and at printing it's too small. is it not to scale ? and if not, what scale should we use ?
thanks :)

Those are very beautiful, great work!

Seriously? You charge us for the leather pattern?

This can be 3D printed to. I used a printrbot, and it came out pretty well.

I printed it in white abs plastic, although I had to run the file through http://cloud.netfabb.comcloud.netfabb.com
so that it sliced correctly. Well done, this has been my favorite project yet!

Awesome !!!

I love them !

Looks pretty nice. Could almost work as a bra too if you would adapt the size a little... :-D

Cool ! And precisely detailed :)