Jake Von Slatt’s Wimshurst Influence Machine How-To Series


If you’ve ever dipped a toe into the aether of steampunk subculture, you’ve likely heard of Jake Von Slatt. As the proprietor of The Steampunk Workshop, he’s been a champion of true steampunk making, both in re-imagining and re-creating Victorian technology. You’ve likely seen him in Make magazine, and his creations have graced the stage with the likes of Abney Park.

One of Jake’s most intriguing projects is the Wimshurst influence machine, which is an electrostatic generator of electricity. Aside from being quite beautiful–there’s that whole steampunk aesthetic thing again–the Wimshurst has inspired makers all all types, and as Jake mentions in his blog, he’s seen quite a few unique approaches by other makers. Says Jake:

I was a little surprised and quite pleased when I realized that the contract from O’Reilly Media (the publishers of Make:) had me retaining copyright for the material I submitted. ¬†What I sold to O’Reilly was basically a right to use and to publish first.

Even better yet is that now Jake has posted the entire 5-part series “How to Build a Wimshurst Influence Machine” on his blog, the very same that was featured in Make magazine #17.

While I hear a bit of disdain among some critics of steampunk, Jake and his workshop have been continually pushing the boundaries of making with steampunk flair, going far beyond modded computers and keyboards. It’s hard to argue with the artistry, dedication, and imagination behind Jake’s projects, that’s for sure.

I’d say that a Wimshurst influence machine is one heck of an awesome winter project for any makers and tinkerers out there. Just don’t forget your Leyden Jars.


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