Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

My first post on the forum, so I guess this is my introduction.

Hi guys, I'm interested in your thoughts as to how furniture or wall art might look in a DP style. I'm a cabinet maker and have an interest in making something definitive that fits squarely into this genre. I make one offs all year for museums & I think I can get close by tricking up some Art Deco standards or motifs, but it's how far to go with that before it looks over the top.

There's a lot of graphic references on this site and I'm normally expected to make a facsimile of something from a picture or description so if you know of a reference that'd translate into something three dimensional, please send me a link.

The page I've linked to shows some of my more traditional stuff and some biomech things I'm currently working on: https://www.facebook.com/May65design

Please help if you can, I'm keen to try something new.


Metropolis poster

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Some cool stuff you linked to. Here is my favorite example of dieselpunk furniture I've ever seen online:

Deven Science, that's a good start. Is the distressed/salvaged rusting heavy industry feel a defining characteristic?

Stunning work, Mr. Dwyer!

How do you think 3D printing is going to change your style in the future?  Any interest?

Tome, thank you. positive comments are greatfully received.

3D furniture from 3D printing? If I were pressed for an analogy.... if you compare the most advanced shoot 'em up RPG today with the video games when I was a lad, I'd say we're still playing Space Invaders. There's a long way to go for 3D printing to replace the final stages of finishing most furniture.

It's actually a complicated question to answer, so I'll take the easy way out and generalise.

Firstly, the skill level involved in each discipline. I would not expect a computer programmer to understand how to veneer a compound curve as I can barely understand how to de-frag my computer, yet a higher than average understanding of each other's trades is essential to achieve anything approaching a decent finish.

Secondly, as a maker of, mostly, one off designs, the hour to hour ratio for making a 100 hour cabinet and having the programme written specifically for that one off cabinet would be very expensive indeed, unless the client wanted the kudos of owning a mostly 3D printed piece of furniture and believe me, there aren't that many of them out there.

Thirdly, there already exists some very efficient cad/cam CNC programmes that can do 70-80% of our job for us by producing essentially flat pack furniture from very rudimentary drawings. I don't know, maybe some of those 'packets' of data could be transferred onto a 3D printer. As I understand it the three dimensions, X, Y & Z would be universally understood within those programmes.

Finally, there is hope for the 3D printed version of furniture as interest and investment grows from the big boys, let's say IKEA for instance. If you're knocking out 10,000 cabinets of exactly the same finish to exactly the same sizes, wouldn't it be worth those extra hours of programming to remove that 0.5mm overhang or have all those sharp edges removed for a perfectly safe and tactile finish?

So, for me, the answer's no, it won't change my style........but I can feel the technology creeping up behind me.

I was thinking of more decorative pieces of flair.  For example, a 3D printed hexagonal skull mixed into a traditional Mackintosh weave made of wood, and then all painted the same color.

 Tome, Way too much time on my hands in the afternoon at the moment, otherwise I wouldn't have given you the War & Peace saga above.

I like the idea of wall art better than furniture currently as I'd like to find my feet with the tenets of DP so I don't keep second guessing myself. The trouble I have with 3D printing is the finished product looks 'Lego..esque', you know, you can see the layers the p.c. has built up the form in. I'm sure that'll get better with more sophisticated programming in time.

If I could have an ideal specification, some rules as to what defines DP wall art, that'd be a great help.I get the Retro Deco feel, I'm sure I can get that across in something, it's just what do I mix it up with?  Though I do like your Mackintosh weave with a skull in it idea.

Just for reference, I'll put up a pic of a Biomech mirror I recently finished. It demonstrates what a few offcuts of MDF, a little galvanised conduit, some spray paint and a badgers skull from a railway siding near my home can do. I want to do something similar in DP, I just need to understand it a little better.


Ah.  Makes sense.

I have a friend in the bio-medical sculpting business (replacement hips, pieces of spines, custom pacemakers, etc.) and their printers are really high resolution (when they're not milling from titanium).  I sometimes forget that the home printers are still 8-bit quality.  Good for general concepts, but more of a pain than they're worth.

As for dieselpunk, you're on the right path.  To me, dieselpunk is anything that combines Jazz Age style with the modern day.  Whether you make a flapper dress out of contemporary wicking materials, or you throw a Tesla engine into a Model A, it all counts.  The key is your intent.  The defining question is, "are you recreating the past, or are you updating it?"

Hi Tome, I finally got to read my Dieselpunk book to the end and after reading your interview at the back, I realised I'm one of those guys who has been making DP stuff all along without knowing it. I'll narrow my focus a little & we'll see how the next thing turns out. Thanks for the guidance on this. It's helped galvanise some ideas.

No problem.  

My philosophy is, "if you're making good art, keep doing what you're doing."

Not a defining characteristic, just an option, and more to my tastes. I make custom bicycles with dieselpunk flare, and many are rusty, crusty, and show their age. I'm a fan of patina. In the case of most of my bikes, I feel like it took 60, 70, even 80 years to earn that look, so who am I to clean and paint it?

There are exceptions. I'm not a fan of faux-patina. Some choose to intentionally "age" what they've made, be it a cool computer case, bike, furniture, or whatever else. If I've made something new, even if it is made to look old or from another era, I don't age it. I'll let time do that.

Martin Dwyer said:

Deven Science, that's a good start. Is the distressed/salvaged rusting heavy industry feel a defining characteristic?

I spend most of my year making the faux patina you mention for museums all over the U.K., so I'm glad when I can leave something well alone and let the honesty of age shine through. Failing that, I try and imagine the item as pristine as the day it was made and how the artist had intended it to look with vivid colour and fresh, sharp textures.

That's why I was asking what the consensus was on here, whether an item should reflect the years, or jump back in time and re-imagine the alternative history that some talk of here, if it is a re-imagining then I guess it can work both ways.

I have some ideas, now I just need some time to realise them.

I am going to build my new office / gentleman's cavern into a World War 1 / 2 bunker.  Any good ideas for a starting point on a dieselly desk? I am already picking up about 300 burlap sandbags (to be filled with crumpled newspaper and cardboard) and a large topo map for the walls.

Not sure if I should delve into vintage or try and find something new?

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