Steampunk-ish Radio Communicator

The idea for this was to initially create a sort of communication device that someone might’ve pieced together and built for themselves.
“The Journeyman’s Communicator” or “The Soothsayer’s Communicator” were initial ideas to help the blockout phase along.

I knew I wanted it to have elements of communication and a bit of fantasy.
So the front has the whole radio needles and nixie tubes with a grammophone,
the left side has this telephone kinda thing going on which I imagined were dismantled from a working telephone but put onto this contraption so the person wouldn’t have to carry multiple things around?
on the right there’s this celestical clock thingy, which was the only bit of fantasy I thought I could’ve added, something to study or communicate with the stars… or… something. Not really sure what it is but I liked the shape and idea at the time I blocked it out.

Gathering references was important since I had no clear idea what precisely the object would look like finished. Having these references helped a lot with trying to figure out where things could be placed around.

For the Steam Gauge, Telephone and Radio numbers I thought it’d be neat to have them not be looking industrial-like with their numerals embossed in metal as my references were, but rather have them in pencil, to give a hand-made touch to the numbers; which would further help sell the effect of it being a DIY project - someone putting together stuff for themself. I created these with custom fonts and a bit of hand-drawn lines with a mouse in Photoshop. I used a few warps to make the numbers not too uniform.

For the clock’s rings I created textures with fonts too, in a way that I could easily paint them onto the mesh as a height map in Substance Painter.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the rear, I thought about having some stained glass and steam/gears barely visible as a silhouette.
I’d made the texture in Substance Designer but it didn’t feel visually cohesive, I struggled with the rear design for a while before giving up and having it plain.

I’d like suggestions as to how this could’ve worked, or some other designs I could’ve tried!

Wireframe overlay:

Modelled and rendered in Blender (Cycles)
Textures/Materials created with Photoshop & Substance Painter
Soundtrack in the YT video is “Address Unknown” by The Ink Spots


Things like this deserve to be recognized more, the amount of work you put in is amazing. The amount of research done just to make things that much more realistic WHILE keeping a distinct style that is recognizable by just looking at it, everything about this is SO well done it’s insane! Legitimately made me smile so much, I love this, GREAT WORK


Thank you so much for your words, it’s so encouraging to read a comment of this nature!
Having felt the same way about other works of art I’ve seen and wondering how I’d ever make something of that caliber - to now read this for something I made, is heartwarming. I genuinely appreciate it, thank you!


I featured you on BlenderNation, have a great weekend!


You’re on the #featured row! :+1:



Thanks for all the details, too!

About how long did it take from initial idea to this version? ( I say “this version” because of your request for suggestions. Maybe a relief valve on the pressure gauge, letting out little puffs of steam a couple times?)

Finally, can you estimate how long it took to render the entire video?

Again… Amazing!


I got the Fallout reference, very cool!

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Amazing work, so much details.

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It took about 2 weeks of time between work and sleep haha.
And a relief valve would’ve been a nice touch! Having puffs of steam around was something I envisioned too but never got around to making outlets for the steam. :stuck_out_tongue:

I left the PC on overnight to render the entire video, Cycles* 128 samples for 1500 frames @ 24fps, with 150% scaling, denoised with OptiX.

I wish I did :sweat_smile: Is it cause of Moonshine? I wanted to toss that name in somewhere feeling it’d sound funny to have a radio broadcasting ‘moonshine’ like silly talk.

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I can’t believe the amount of work you have put into getting this just right, the small details are perfect. I love the ageing on the metal. Really inspiring to see this level of focus in a design - great work.

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Thank you! I’m glad the details aren’t going unnoticed, it’s a joy to make them!

Honestly it wasn’t just the music, the object matches a lot with fallout style too :laughing:, I liked it a lot, good job!

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This is just incredible. The surfacing work is just immaculate. Not too rough, not too pristine. You ride the line with grace. I strive to be you one day lol.