Small Projects #52: Steampunk Unity Weather Station Done!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Madmark2 posted 08-11-2021 11:53 PM 778 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 51: Lacewood Box with Brazilian Rosewood Tray Part 52 of Small Projects series Part 53: Walnut Air Filter Stand »

This started out as an offshoot of my humidor project. I buy in pairs and so I had a spare hygrometer. An idea of a weather station began to form.

Unity Weather Station, on top of a table stereo, on top of an Edison Phonograph.
Wax to Bluetooth in one century.

I call it the “unity” box because of the variety of woods:
  • White (maple)
  • Black (wenge)
  • Brown (walnut)
  • Red (purpleheart)
  • Yellow (yellowheart)

I found a $12 LED module with time, indoor temp, outdoor temp, and power voltage. It can be programmed to cycle at various speeds and display more or less info. It even allows calibration of the two temp sensors and the voltage reading. Pretty cool for a little $12 unit.

The black thing projecting up in front of the Storm Glass is the indoor temperature sensor. The longer (~24”) outdoor probe is routed out the back. The cord was double knotted and glued in place with some loctite adhesive. The indoor probe was held in place temporarily with a pair of wire ties as the probe mount was glued with more loctite.

$11.69 at Walmart

Here you can see both modules on the project CAD drawing.

Modules on front of box.

So now I’ve got time, temp, and RH% data but I wanted something a little more esoteric. I found this thing called a “storm glass” that changes from liquid to flakes and clouds up for storms. This will be projecting up from the top.

Storm Glass. From WalMart

Here is what the Storm Glass is supposed to indicate:

How it’s supposed to work.

Because the layout was tight & complex (and I just got the free nanocad program working), I drew the plan in CAD.

Fuzzy CAD drawing.

All the required holes were laid out and then piloted using a jig to ensure consistency. The 1/16” pilot holes were enlarged as needed but also acted as transfer markers.

I’m sorta on a steam punk kick, and for access to the interior, the top and back are secured with stainless steel allen cap head screws. Six on top and four on the back. The wood is drilled and tapped for 6-32 machine screws.


The time/temp display self dims at night but could still throw an annoying amount of light. So I added a couple of sustained push buttons. One will blank the time/temp module and the other will control a RGB multi color changing LED hidden under the storm glass. This should make a really pretty night light.

The push buttons are fancy with a glowing blue LED ring around the buttons.

$5 ea. at SuperbrightLEDs

The whole thing runs on a cheap “wall wart” 12vdc power supply. The current draw is minimal so small barrel connections will work.

The storm glass comes with a simple 2×2 bock of cheap wood with a 1-1/16” by 1/2” flat bottom hole. Between the glass itself (~31/32” dia) and the hole is a thin plastic ring. I pried it out and will reuse it in my stand. This should give the “correct” mount. The instructions for the sealed weather glass are very firm that the contents should be treated as sorta-HAZMAT if the vial is broken.

The hole for the vial is 1/2” deep but the lid is only 1/4” thick so obviously it can’t directly mount. The color changing LED is 1/2” diameter and about the same high. So a total lid mount of 1” is needed. Solved with a 2×2x3/4 block of scrap glued to the underside of the top.

Mounting block.

Time to cut the panel holes.

Hole cutting went great. I’m getting better at scroll sawing, but am still having issues with the lower blade clamp.

One of the modules dropped in after light cleanup with 80 grit on the 1” nose sander (a wonderful gadget for things like this). The other took a bit of rasp filing in the corners but went in easily.

Out of the clamps after panel cutting. Finishing next.

50%-50% poly-MS mix is “flooded” on for maximum penetration and fewest “holidays”.

After first soak of 50%-50% poly the colors are great!

I’m waiting on the 1-1/16” forstner to drill the hole for the storm glass, so more to come.

Bit arrived today. When I checked in the original hole it seemed a hair loose. [email protected]#$%&() hole is metric! I drilled it and the plastic collar wanted to buckle when I tried to insert it. It went in, but wouldn’t seat. Hrrumpf! Try as I might, I couldn’t get the storm glass to seat.

Soo … I pulled the collar out and used loctite adhesive to mount the Storm Glass. A small bead around the hole worked and looks fine.

Friggin’ giant LED wasn’t the size the Chinese data sheet said nor was it the same size of the one I used to size the hole. Gel superglue acted as filler and doesn’t show.

I got everything wired and tested and it all worked. All the wiring was soldered and covered with heat shrink tubing (Factory don’t use no steenkin’ electrical tape!).

Everything worked on the first try and looks both steampunk and Fronk-en-STEEN!

Ready for final assembly.

Completed project. Time/temp is set to sequence every five seconds. The color changing LED cycles at its own pace (they come in two unspecified speeds, slow and fast.)

Steampunk unity weather station.

Pretty cool! And it sorta matches my table stereo project.

  • RH% gauge — $8
  • Time/Temp indicator -‐ $12
  • Storm Glass thing — $22
  • Lighted push buttons, 2 @ $5 ea. — $10
  • Power Jack & plug — $7
  • Wall Wart (on hand)— $5
  • 10×6-32×1/2” Allen cap screws & plastic washers, $.15 ea — $1.5
  • 4x rubber feet — $3
    Around $70 in hardware
About 1/4 bf each of:
  • Walnut
  • Maple
  • Wenge
  • Yellowheart
  • Purpleheart
    Prices too crazy right now to make a meaningful estimate. Guess at $30?

Labor, umm, about 20 hrs counting CAD. But this was for me, so price wasn’t really an issue.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

0 comments so far

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics