A Phonograph!

So I’ve got a three day weekend to Get Excited and Make Stuff. I am so excited about this!

I mentioned before that I was making things for my department’s Halloween decorating. Namely, things in the vein of Edison’s haunted lab. I’m working on making a prop phonograph, with audio edited (and added to) from original 78rpm phonograph cylinder recordings from the ’20s.

It’s gonna be SO COOL!

Looking at the National Park Service’s website for the Thomas Edison Historical Park, I got some ideas about what kind of phonograph I might be able to make.











I’ve started making the phonograph from parts I’ve found at various thrift shops around town. I’ve never been a Props Girl, but I’ve been having tons of fun making things for this Halloween project.

I started with a box I bought at Ross. I added some gel stain, left it outside in the desert sun, schmeared some backyard dirt on it, scored it with a screwdriver and sanded some spots. It’s starting to look nice and distressed, despite having a stupid snap closure. Maybe I’ll figure out something to replace that with later, before I actually need it.

Then I started messing around with something to make the Horn out of. I found a piece in the floral department. I ripped the foam out and tried (unsuccessfully) to sand the glue out. I think it adds an interesting enough bit of texture that I don’t mind.

I started spray painting the horn with a base of copper, then with glossy black. I walked back inside, and then by the time I got back outside to check on how it was drying, the plastic bag had blown up and touched the horn. The copper layer on the plastic flaked onto the the still tacky black paint on the horn in a pretty serendipitous way. I was really happy about it! This was exactly the thing I needed to do to make the paint look like it was flaking off a metal horn, not like the metal was painted onto a piece of plastic. Eureka!

The colors are really working well together. So far, I’m pretty happy for my amateur efforts.

Then I had an epiphany about making wax cylinders. I’ve seen some really cool mock-ups made out of toilet paper tubes and thread, which is what I was originally going to go with. But then, after having this itch in my head about what they really looked like. Paint rollers. The taper on the end of the paint rollers mimics the look of wax cylinders much better, so I’m going to see how I can make paint rollers hard and smooth enough to be workable.

I coated some cut-in-half paint rollers with some Hard Coat Mod Podge. So far, not so great, but I also coated a toilet paper paper tube with Mod Podge. Just in case. Something is going to work.

I’m still working on all the moving bits, like a linear actuator to move a “needle” across the “wax cylinder”, and a belt and gear system to make the cylinder spin.

Then I got the idea that having a severed finger and little toe might be cool. I made them out of air-drying Fimo clay.

Still so much to do! So excited!!


~ by jesstracey on September 11, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: