How to make a robot look steampunk?

Dear: LMR

Hello this is me Noah. You should know I am trying to build a steampunk robot chassis. This robot is going to be made of cardboard, arduino uno, and other materials. What I am trying to ask you is this how do you make something look steampunk, what materials do you use to make something look steampunk, and how to design a steampunk texture for my robot? I could use all the help I can get so thank you. By the way this is what I have done so far.

From: Noah 


PS: Good luck.


Dear: LMR

Just to let you know I have just finished making my robot look steampunk. I have never built a robot before nor will this be my last. Thanks to all who helped and this is my mechanical done. Make sure you look here for more information.

From: Noah


Make them look functional
If you add gears make them look functional. In fact, make everything you can look functional rather than decorative.

For example, I’m planning a rather large steampunk robot. I plan to add something that will make it look like pistons power the wheels. I’ll probably use plastic plumbing pipes for the cylinders, and hook up the pistons to the back of the wheels. Yes, the wheels will power the pistons, but at least it will look like the pistons power the wheels.

There will be gauges in various places, and a few screw down valves.

The paint job will be for the most part in black and white as if over forged iron. There are a couple of robots here with the look I want, and they got it with a very thick layer of silver spay paint, and then a thing layer of black over top. That should give it a textured look. I’ll have to experiment on some pieces of scrap wood to get it to look right.

Another suggestion is to make it look like a firebox. Have a small grated opening and have a couple of LEDs there to simulate the look of a fire. There should be something in YouTube where you should be able to see a steam engine in detail.

You can also make it look like rivets are holding it together. I’ll be doing this by creating such things with my 3d printer.

LEDs are great for a lot of effects. I’ll be surrounding both “eyes” with AdaFruit NeoPixel rings so I can put whatever background color I like on the eyes.

My robot is designed to look sort of humanoid. It will obviously be a robot, but it will balance on the two bottom wheels and be about five foot tall. When I get the money I’ll put arms on it, but they won’t be able to lift much on my budget. The end point is a butler bot based on Groucho Marx as a butler.

If you have weaponry, try to make it look old fashioned, such as Gatling guns rather than lasers. There are a couple of Nerf guns that could be changed to have a steampunk look.

Make up a story with exciting names. For example “This robot is the first prototype of Professor Doomboggles giant army of steam powered penguins.” sounds much better to me to me than “I just made this for an art project.”

If possible, try to make the wheels look like something out of the Victorian era, rather than just using skate wheels.

I like Duane’s idea of using copper tape. I would, however, practice putting the tape on your base material so it looks natural. You might even be able to get thin brass sheet at a hobby store and make the sides and top of your chassis out of that.

One place you can look for steampunk ideas is instructables,com. Just search for “steampunk” there.

Hey guys I think I know what I will do and thank you:)

I have been google searching for the past two weeks how to make something look steampunk and I finally got an idea what to do. I think what I am going to do is buy copper tape and other metal tapes and cut gears out of them buy rolling them up and cutting them into the size I need buy making a fabric out of them and then making gears out of them. Also I am then going to then paint my robot black and finish it off with metallic paint to make my robot look rusty metallic. Then I am going to unpeal the sticky gears and paste them on. The order I will put the gears on will be mildly random but not too random because I am going to put them in a way so they look like they could move.

Next I would like to say thank you to all that helped me and gave me ideas because I will incorperate as much as I can into this robot so thank you:).

I already was going to do that.
But I appreciate you telling me how I could do that, thank you.

I already was going to do that.
But I appreciate you telling me how I could do that, thank you.

Good luck with your robot:)
Tell me how it goes.

Sorry, I can’t resist…

That was a really weird video but entertaining.

Dear: deshipu

That was hillarious. It is diffucult to believe there are more videos like it. Scary but funny. “Just put a little bit of gears on it and call it steampunk” they said and I so agree with that. I am afraid my father might find me wierd but I think I will show him that. Thank you. :slight_smile:

From: Noah

I hope you don’t believe tat.
Did you actually listen to the song? It was specifically saying that just gluing gears on something doesn’t make it steampunk. You want the gears to look like they gave a real function. I strongly agree with this.

The decoration should look like it has some function even if it doesn’t.

Oh, and to light a vacuum tube, it is possible to take it apart very carefully and put an LED down low.

I did listen to the song but I found the music funny.

I think I just found a new genre of music I really like and also I did listen to the video. You see I watched the whole thing and I found the video creative, helpful, and intresting. The reason I said what I said before was because I never knew there was such thing as steampunk music. Thank you.


Lots of em.

I don’t think I will use brass.

You should know I am not going to use that much brass but if I do I will use aluminum and paint it to look like brass but thank you anyways.


Should work as well, also leather would be nice…What kind of robot will this be anyways?

How to make aluminum gears?

Dear: LMR

Just to let you know I bought today all the parts I will need to decorate my robot. Right now I am stuck making the gears. I am using aluminum flask and I have no idea how to cut them how would I cut them.

From: Noah

This robot will look a lot like popet.

It will look a lot like Jaden’s popet and a little bit like my own design. I am coming up with new ideas for this robot everyday. I don’t have a drawing but I do have a solid idea.

Salvage or buy

Salvage or buy cheap plastic gears. I read you are already going to paint so why bother making aluminium gears. Just use plastic gears and paint them. If you use soft plastic you can even cut spokes with a knife to give them a classic look.

Do you know a good place with gears?

Do you know any toys, junk, stores, or websites where I can buy some gears because I have nothing salvage at my house that has gears? Thank you.


Chinese sellers on Ebay sell bags of plastic gears for little money. You could also search for used clockwork gears or maybe you know someone who has a (non valuable) not working wind up clock.

Thank you. I will try.


HiI tried some time ago to


I tried some time ago to make one steampunk looking robot -

I used an empty can for the body, sanded a little so paint paint can stick better. I painted it with golden acrylic paint.

Head is made from a polistyrene ball, painted in same way. Arms are made from pine wood also painted in gold.

The rest of “scenario” is made from various pieces of wood, plastic, wire painted in gold and shades of brown.

Hope it helps