Professor von Explaino: Thing-o-meter

Blast, late. Sorry about that.

One of the key aspects of the Professor persona is devices, von Explaino is always inventing and concocting so he must have held or otherwise carried equipment of an aetheric and esoteric nature. The first device I created, with the great assistance of Baron von Borg and Del von Gadgetus, initially for the "Brisbane Romp" charity event and then updated to be taken to a Valentine's Day nightclub with a Steampunk theme. This was the Thing-o-meter, so named because while the general device would remain the same, its specific purpose would change to become a detector of Something depending on contents..

Goal: A weird device. A 'detector' scope of some description, so it needed a collector end and a reporting end.


  • Glass fronted display box from Bunnings (hardware store)
  • Dark mahogany wood stain from Bunnings
  • Brass photo frame/ box corners from Bunnings
  • Brown cloth covered electrical cabling, attached to brass-looking light fittings from Reverse Garbage (recycling shop)
  • Carpet sample from friends
  • Brass hinges from Bunnings
  • Wooden chair leg from Bunnings
  • Plunger cup from Bunnings
  • Tuning fork from eBay
  • Pin and miscellaneous bits from friends
  • Metres of glow-in-the-dark cable from a birthday gift
  • UV Fluorescent tube from JayCar (+battery)
  • Electrical switch from JayCar
  • Small brain for the Clue-o-meter from a novelty store
  • Small heart for the Love-o-meter from a kids science magazine

First all the wood was stained, twice. Gave the box a rich quality, unfortunately I used a walnut matte stain on the leg so it was less impressive. The plunger was taken apart, it was a screw-ended model, leaving me with the plunger cup that would fit snug over the end of the chair leg. The back of the box, which comes off to put things in, had the carpet sample glued onto it to provide a thematic backing for the visual display unit of the device. Once the wood was dry, the light fitting was dissected and the small end attached to the leg with glue, and the large end was screwed onto the box back via hinges. This meant we could hide all the circuitry and battery for the fluorescent tube in there, so the on-off switch is sticking out of a hole in the light fixture. The UV tube was secured over the carpet end so that when it was shut it would be in the middle - giving the most light coverage. Baron kindly drilled a hole through the plunger cup and into the wooden leg so that the tuning fork could be jammed in there to keep the whole thing joined.

The 'Thing' in thing-o-meter is whatever's front and centre in the view-port when the device is in use, thus determining its name - the Brain powers the Clue-o-meter, and a Heart powers the Love-o-meter. The brain had a mounting block made for it by a pin and left over parts; the heart was just stuck loosely to the glass by its own sticky nature. The rest of the box is then filled with the tangle of glow-in-the-dark cabling when the UV light is activated the box becomes filled with eerily glowing cables.

Imported comments

  1. [Dan, 2009-07-27 06:36:49] Nicely done.
  2. [Professor von Explaino 2009-07-27 07:09:02] Thanks, Dan. Taking today off to try and scrounge up some more device-creation materials from various places. Any suggestions?
  3. [Dan 2009-07-28 05:47:43] Kids toys have a suprising number of cogs inside them. Stolen Day Ward Unit supplies can be pulled apart into interesting shapes, the sort that could be used for a steampunk gun (I am told).
  4. [Professor von Explaino, 2009-07-30 10:06:54] That sounds totally not suspicious in any way! Unfortunately no day wards around here
  5. [chris, 2010-03-18 16:27:34] love that shirt!