How to draw Steampunk Machines

How to Draw SteamPunk Machines

Mission: The purpose of this web page is not to teach you how to draw. I will not be going though technique, perspective, color, line weight, software, or any of that stuff that you can easily surf up. This page is to only to inform artists who want to draw steampunk machines, but doesn't quite fully understand how steam works. The focus is to add enough elements to your drawings, to make your steampunk machines more believable. Validation: I feel that too often, steampunk designs are too fancy, trying to go too cool and end up loosing that all important look & feel of old tech steampunk. I think that it is important to first state that I make real working steampunk machines / robots for a hobby. My steam site: Crabfu SteamWorks, contains lots of miniature, real working, live - steam machines. There has been overwhelming media coverage of my work, probably because it took it from the fake sci-fi movie magic, into the real world. Through experience and trial and error, I've learned not only to make something look like it would work, but actually does work.

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How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www. to keep it simple. My devotion to the steam hobby however. the steam pipe can come out elsewhere visually. However. and how it works by looking at each part of the machine. sketch whatever shape and size stack looks best.. the force of the steam shooting out of it. sometimes the steam pipe comes out of the boiler. First you have to understand steam.. Another words. which just means inside is a bunch of tubes for the fire to heat & boil the water fast. there are no set rules for concept art. this is just a quick explanation of parts.crabfu.. I don't think that my art is really that great that it deserves a "how to". and get fed through the fire again. Sometimes they have a camel dome looking thing on top. another words. This is also just a guide. Steam pipe should be drawn on top of the boiler. where steam comes out. this info is taking from personal experience from working on small scale live-steam engines. Steam Power Components Boiler: The boiler is usually cylindrical and long. The "smoke stack" usually comes out of the boiler to one end. helps drawl the fire more inside the flues. In this case. Most of the examples below are found on model engines. you just make whatever appeals to you. However. not really to educate you in details of steam power! :) However. as one end of the boiler is fired.. Boilers usually have a stack somewhere. Anyway.. links my steampunk designs a level of authenticity that often lacks in steampunk art. to balance out the design. it is important to understand some fundamentals of steam power. Please keep in mind that these are super simple explanations of different components of Disclaimer: I am an animator and concept artist by trade. steam buffs will probably will tear these description to pieces :) but I feel that it is important to get the basic idea without having to go into dry and boring detail. Often steam exhaust from the boiler goes into the stack. this is called superheater. as something that could have been built in Victorian times. size and shape of the stack varies a lot.. By no means am I an expert in steam engines. The purpose of it is to boil water. make pipes coming out of the top of the boiler. which works off of the same basic principle as the big ones. and how to design a machine that "looks" convincing. 2 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM . in order to make your drawings look believable. The reason for the stack is to vent the fire. Therefore. this is steam for artists. pretty simple concept :) Most boilers have flues.

With coal. of any shape (although most everything is cylindrical). usually sticks out of the burner a bit. The fuel supply for gas can be a container. gas.crabfu. You also need to design an area for someone to fed the coal/ Burner / Fuel Heat / Fire can be generated in a variety of ways. connected to the bottom of the boiler. with pipes going into the burner. or anything that can burn really hot.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www. Gas mixes with air in the process. Engine There are a variety of different types of steam engines. you need to draw up some design of the burner mechanism. 3 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM . They basically are just pistons in which steam pushes. all end up with an axle spinning in a circular motion. This usually evolves the fuel source being coal. and the amount of fire can be controlled by valves on the gas tank. with a door. as well as the amount of air is mixed for the fire. you need to design an area which the coal is fed into. as well as a supply of coal / tender. With gas. and in a variety of ways via linkages.

and pushes in when it gets to the end of the travel. but it makes the engine run a lot smoother. the engines only runs in one direction. complex looking linkages. boxes attached to cylinders with pipe. They provide oil & lubrication for the pistons inside of the cylinder. None of this is all that important in drawing steampunk machine. the drive shaft can be reversed. Flywheels are always attached to the shaft that the pistons drive. 3) clutch driven. So to put it simply. If it is double acting (pushes both in and out) then it usually contains a box like shape on the cylinder. but with the use of gears.pushes piston out. They can be right on the cylinder area or on the pipe going into the engine. and it does have a purpose. which usually looks like some sort of lever. The flywheel keeps the momentum going.crabfu. This is for another link connected to the shaft to open and close valves to allow the steam to fed though each end of the cylinder . 2) For double cylinders.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www. they lubricate. a valve can reverse the direction of the steam flow. Shapes is basically a big cylinder with a small long cylinder coming out of it. cylinder. otherwise the engine runs sporadically and can stall. here are the basics of how to draw them. or a manual hand pump. with an arc piece that guides the lever. usually 2 spinning balls powered by the 4 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .. (piston is inside and not visible). Draw a cylinder.. Flywheel This is usually a large heavy wheel. levers & valves near the engines. all you have to remember are these shapes: Cylindrical for the cylinders (duh).. They are usually attached. and flywheel. and therefore the engine runs backwards. They can be cylinder shaped container. or very close to the engine. with a box on the side. Some steam engines can be Without going into steam engines in detail. You don't absolutely need a flywheel. Steam is piped through the cylinder to push the piston in and out. There are three ways that this can work: 1) Engine can be reserved by linkages to change how the steam is piped in by a Stephenson's linkage. Governor Cool looking device. Oiler/ displacement lubricator These things are just what it sounds like.

This device is must be straight up in order to function properly. Pumps can be manual hand pumps. pipes. allowing oily water to be trapped inside and condensed. it spins the governor. Water Sight Glass This is just a way for you to see how much water is in the boiler. Safety Valve: This is just a safety mechanism. Hand operated valves controls a variety of things. another easy part to draw. and cylinders.. This is not absolutely necessary component. Usually a pulley is attached from the engine shaft to this device. They are basically sensors for pressure within the boiler. If the boiler runs dry and still firing. Of course modern insulation can be used. it will vent out steam to prevent an boiler explosion. pretty easy to draw. it will fail.crabfu. only letting clean steam out.How to draw Steampunk Machines main shaft of the engine. but basically it stops or lets steam through. especially when there are lots of it. Wood lagging is the coolest looking. so when the pressure within the boiler gets too high. Anyway. and the centripetal force makes the balls fly out. and I draw them often. These are little analog dials. Valves Valves are just cool. Water pump / tank Water pumps and water tanks are used to pump water into the boiler while it is steaming. giving it that classic look . maintaining water level.. When the engine spins up. Insulation is just ways of trying to minimize heat loss.. which restricts the amount of steam that is piped into the engine. These can be applied to boilers. The purpose to control the amount of steam going into the engine. The steam exhaust from the condenser can then be fed into the main stack on the boiler. and feed it into the boiler.steam out of the main stack. This is attached to the boiler. not water :) It can be vented to the stack. or a glass tube. and doesn't have much variety. but without it. and connected between the engine shaft. This action causes a mechanism to pull up a linkage. or connected to an engine (uses the power of the engine to pump the water). Sight glass can either be a window. Gauges Pressure gauges shows how much pressure is present. It takes water from a reservoir. just another cylinder. especially if the boiler is small. however. and the steam inlet to the engine. up high as it needs to let steam out. hopefully at the same rate that the engine is using up. Condenser The condenser traps the oily steam exhaust from the engine. they just give it a old tech look and feel. or how much is feeding though etc. Pipes are often covered with rope or coated with a white substance. This is not absolutely necessary. but prolongs the duration of the run. in which I have no idea what it is made of :) Gears 5 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM . Insulation Insulation is most commonly found with marine applications. it can be fed into any stack. almost anything that can retain heat. Engine exhaust is fed into it. things could get quite messy and covered in oil.

but make sure that you are gearing down by drawing little gears to big gears.. etc. Sprocket/Chain Sprockets and chains are good for driving something far from the engine. Linkages basically just transfer circular motion to something else :) The master of linkages can be found at mechanicalspider. Linkages There are a variety of linkages. However. sprockets and chains are easier to fail.. Small engines needs to be geared down quite a bit. you need to put in some thought. They are also more forgiving than gears. or at least some piping coming off the boiler. Examples of some amazing scale traction engine: 6 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .. Steam is forced through it via some sort of a lever (often a pull chain type) and makes that classic steam whistle. especially the if the linkage is big and a focal point. The bigger it is.. they just need to look right. steam flow. don't worry about what each lever might do.. Clutches. remember.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www. To make linkages look right. as they don't need to be exactly right on to work ( I use lots of it in my steambots). sometimes curved spokes. Lots of gears just looks cool anyway. just make them look right. lots and lots of them. not really work right. Draw lots of them for the operator.crabfu. as with locomotives. but the more steam is used up. they can derail. High pressure can drive pistons straight to wheels.. Old gears are usually spoked. Whistles Steam whistles are attached to Levers Levers can control a lot of things. the deeper it sounds. engaging and disengaging gears. for a drawing to be convincing.

shafts. even if you decide the finish project will be detailed and well rendered. For the purposes of demonstration. and heaviest part.. horizontal. axles etc. Fist. come up with ideas. otherwise it's not worth the effort.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www.. as well as old steam locomotives & vehicles for reference. Add some personality or character to you machines. Work loose first. Learn how to draw cylinders in all angles. Worry about how it works after you have some rough sketches and shapes of something compelling. as long as you get the feeling and idea across. it is only a stylistic choice. However. They can be vertical.the human mind is really good at connecting and making sense of just a couple of lines.crabfu. a biped robot? a car? a tank? a multi legged walking machine? Don't under estimate "character". it comes in handy. Next.. you can go as detail as you like.. Next. I usually prefer the loose and lazy Ok so now I know each component. I can't stress this point enough. Lay out the boiler first as it is the biggest. and well constructed. 7 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM . Pay attention to weight and center of gravity. draw up some cylinders. even if it is inanimate.. Once you are familiar with the parts.. from gears.. but always use the references to keep it authentic and believable. of a wheeled steam machine below. or even at an angle. and collect images of components. you don't always need to carefully draw out each teeth of a gear . Surf up each part above. balanced. just flop it down and call it good. Whatever chassis you have.. and eye catching machine. The #1 goal should be a well designed. where do I start? Remember the basic shapes and design of the parts above (most everything is cylindrical in shape)... Boilers are filled with water. fuel tank.. Plan out what you want it to be. I have provided simple mechanics. almost everything on steampunk machines are cylindrical in shape. water reservoir. draw up main axles. should support the weight of something really heavy. Make room for some sort of a firebox or burner. therefore they are very heavy. What is it? heck if I know. condensers.. provide where power needs to be directed to for locomotion. you can then free sketch at will.

so I like showing all of the mechanisms as much as possible. try to keep the old tech feel.e. or geared to it. Engines can be at any angle.. however. they function just fine however they are positioned.. I think the compelling part of steampunk is in how open and simple things are. At this point you can cover up any mechanical detail that you can't.crabfu. However. Design out the body work. you can route it however you want using beveled gears ( Then decide where to lay out the engine(s). if you get confused about how something works (as I often do) you can cover it up with body work. working out shapes and define planes & edges as you go 8 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .. Lay out some gears or sprocket/chains that will be visible.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www. The pistons must power directly to the main drive shaft. The easiest is to just make the piston shaft in the same direction as the drive shaft. 90 degree from engine to axle) Work out the locomotion. or are too lazy to figure out :) Lay down basic shading or color.

crabfu. levers etc. Add accents such as Victorian inspired scroll Add strong shadow and shading. rivets etc. As well as add detail with valves. Final design: 9 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www.

and steam traction engines. You have to pay attention to the limitations of simple mechanics. say..How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www..crabfu. copper. usually a single boiler can power one or two engines. or If you decide to add color. One last comment about design.. 10 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM . or really stupid.. Unlike electronic motorized robots. I think a good steampunk design is in part looking really dorky. and electronic / computer controlled on how and when each motor runs. They often are black. they can make a machine look very elegant and ornate. Even if you have lots of engines.. Don't go hollywood on me folks. Check out Victorian scroll work. where you have the luxury of having a motor per joint. walking motion. The best way is to limit the number of engines. then you loose that steampunk flavor :) So that's it. as well as colors of maroon. When you try to make them too cool. Accents in brass. surf up old steam trains. but not always..... and use linkages to transfer from circular motion to a. hope that this can be an inspiration for you to tackle on some steampunk sketches... you are still limited to having no electronics to control how each one operates (if you wish to stay totally low tech steampunk). powering each joint. dark green. or blue.

How to draw Steampunk Machines 11 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .crabfu.

How to draw Steampunk Machines 12 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .

com/steamtoys/diy_steampunk/ 13 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .crabfu.How to draw Steampunk Machines http://www.

crabfu.How to draw Steampunk Machines Special thanks to cedesign for letting me steal some pictures from his impressive and beautiful collection of model steam engines. Back to Crabfu SteamWorks Free hit counters 14 of 14 02/10/2006 12:33 AM .

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