With its sleek, machined body and a brass adapter for a steam hose poking out of its motorized base, this steam-driven vibrator is a taste of old-fashioned goodness.
Yes this beauty has been all over the net this past week already, but it bears repeating. After all, it's not very often that you get to see a modern vibrator powered in exactly the way the first vibrators were powered! (Yes, it's true: The very first vibrators in the nineteenth century were steam-driven. Cool, right?)
Inventor Ani Niow spends her off-hours at a mysterious underground rebel based called Noisebridge, where she came up with the idea to create the ultimate weapon in the war against freedom: A steam-powered vibrator. And damn, it's gorgeous. I don't mind saying that I'd like one of these next to my bed. Or in it.
Niow introduces the device on her Flickr page:
you're probably asking, does it really work? the answer is you betcha. its been proven to work (and vibrate) off of compressed air, I'm seeking a more powerful boiler than my pressure cooker so I can actually run it off of steam so please let me know if you know of one.
this is prototype so its got some quirks, the engine isn't quite as optimised as I would like (it takes way more pressure than it should to get it working) and the offset weight I need to machine some more.
it weighs about a pound (5/5: measured it and its close to 2.5lbs exactly) and is pretty damned smooth to the touch. when I tried to run it off of steam earlier though it got REALLY hot, you have to wear like welding gloves to hold it and even then its almost too hot to handle. another reason I'm using compressed air for the moment.
She's looking for a small steam engine to power it, so if you've got an old espresso maker or something more powerful you might want to pass its guts along to her.
Niow explains a few design decisions on Hack-a-Day:
I decided on the Tesla turbine because I could build one in the shop and it was more of a universal engine, could potentially run it off of anything that's pressurised enough. The engine isn't optimised and currently it takes far too much pressure to run it then it really should and I'll be doing some experimenting with other designs soon.
This is more of a proof-of-concept/prototype/art piece than truly practical, anything that would work as a power source is going to be too big and too loud to be sexy, I knew this when going into it.
As for heat, maybe version 2.0 will have one though I've not run it off of steam long enough to see how much the heat transfers. When I was machining it I discovered that if I was machining the engine section, it would become really hot but the shaft would only be warm and the head was cool to the touch, and vice-versa. Once I have a more optimised engine I'll experiment with steam more.