Monday, December 20, 2010

Cogs, gears and getting your hands dirty.

Here is part of the reason I love steampunk. When I was in the Army I was an FCS Technician, FCS stands for Fire Control Systems and does a terrible job of explaining what FCS techs really do. Essentially I was responsible for every electronic piece of kit in the Army which wasn't used for communications (Radio techs or Crypto techs handled those) as well as optical and fine mechanical gear. The things I repaired during my time ran the gamut, Night Vision goggles, field photocopiers, massive generators, delicate compasses and tank turrets. I wasn't especially fond of the Army but I did love fixing things.

These days I don't see the inside of machines as often as I used to, so, when the opportunity presents itself, as it did last weekend I tend to dive in. Getting my hands into worm-drives, gears and sprockets, oiling them and watching as the stiff parts loosen up, figuring out what all the bits do without manuals or instructions and making it all work with only oil and simple tools. I even had to fabricate a replacement for one plastic bit that was broken, they don't make those parts any more.

Steampunkers are a community of bodgers and tinkerers, sometimes I think it's the glue that holds the whole movement together. Does everyone who's into steampunk love to get their hands dirty and figure out exactly what that spring over there does?

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