Halloween is one of my favorite times a year. I was Batman three times in my life and only once as a kid. Pumpkin carving is something I also get into. My first pumpkin at age nine was an old farmer smoking a pipe. It even had a twinkling red LED in the corncob pipe. After burning up a handful of LEDs my dad taught me about current limiting resistors.
Fast forward 20 years and I am still shoving LEDs into pumpkins. This year my inspiration comes from steampunk, a growing subculture fascinated with steam-aged garb and future technology fusion. Steampunk was born of the H. G. Wells and Jules Verne visions of futuristic technology and style. Call it what you want, Steampunk is an inspiring movement of makers and re-users of technology and materials.
Here is my steampunk-inspired pumpkin.
I cobbled together whatever I could find that resonated steampunk. I found my Mom’s old purse that had some faux leather, brass loops, and a gold chain. I also grabbed an old candle holder, a lampshade, a door hinge, a metal coffee filter, and some brass brads found at a thrift shop. My Dremel was used to drill, cut metal, and cause sparks (insert grunt).
Where do you start?
Get some things together…
Going Next Level
I knew that I was going to add some technology to the design and I settled on an automated fog machine that would blow smoke from the ears of the pumpkin. Okay, I know it’s a little literal, but it is a steam pumpkin, not just a steampunk inspired pumpkin. Once motion is detected by the Passive IR sensor, the pumpkin turns red and shoots a blast of smoke from its ears.
Using the ioBridge IO-204, I rigged up the fog machine to trigger when someone walked in front of the pumpkin. I used a passive infrared sensor from Adafruit to detect motion. The IO-204 has an upcoming feature that allows for onboard logic, meaning you can break off of the Internet and have local controls take over. To integrate it with the fog machine, I tapped into the wireless remote control that came with the fog machine. This made it easy to control using a single relay. To light the pumpkin, I bought a BlinkM RGB LED Blaster from Sparkfun. The LEDs are high-intensity lights that you can mix colors together. It turned out to be a neat touch. When someone gets close, I set the color with the IO-204 to an evil red to accompany the smoke.
For more information and more “How-to” detail, check out Instructables.com.