Questions tagged [steampunk]

For questions based in worlds where technology is typically steam-powered rather than based on electricity.

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27
votes
26answers
3k views

How to limit the usefulness of an anti-gravity mineral to airship construction in steampunk?

Airships are awesome, but making them realistic while retaining the awesome factor is hard due to how relatively little weight they can realistically carry. I was thinking about ways to mitigate that ...
3
votes
4answers
145 views

How do you navigate on a cylindrical world?

In my setting, the inhabited world is basically a huge cylinder sticking out of the pole of a gas giant with a breathable atmosphere: Everyone lives on a side of a giant wall, basically - the top is ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

How would limited and mostly narrow living space affect pre-industrial warfare?

In my setting, the entire known world is clinging to the side of a humongous nearly vertical cliff. Living space is a kind of commodity since there aren't many cliff benches large enough to build a ...
9
votes
6answers
287 views

Advanced mechanical engineering without electricity in a traditionally medieval fantasy setting?

Could you have advanced mechanical engineering without, say, advanced electrical engineering accompanying it? Thick clockwork, clickety clackety stuff, does it need steam/electricity by default? How ...
1
vote
0answers
65 views

What are the technologies which has a prerequest of quantum mechanics [closed]

I'm thinking about a world where the planet was wrapped by a force field that experiments which lead to quantum mechanics and special relativity gives the false result. I'm wondering what technology ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Logistics of a steam-powered subway system

I'm building a steampunk city, and I wanted to include an underground subway system, where things like goods and people might be transported to different parts of the city. But the logistics of ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

How would a Steampunk voice synthesizer work?

I have a character who is mute and they would need a voice synthesizer to assist them in their day-to-day communications (shopping, working, romancing, etc.). How could that work in a Victorian-...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

How functional/versatile would airships utilizing perfect-vacuum-balloons be?

tl;dr: My world has airships using vacuum spheres made out of a super-strong and lightweight material. I'd like to know how versatile such airships could be used, and how big the spheres would be ...
3
votes
2answers
144 views

Mounting a cybernetic prosthetic arm

So I have a steampunk setting with some magic and I have a young, 20 year old female character who is supposed to have a full prosthetic arm. It might be assumed that the answer to this question could ...
5
votes
5answers
469 views

Automated Steampunk Artillery

I have a world with late 19th-century steampunk technology. The major nations are at war, and one of them has depleted a lot of its manpower. I thought that they could try to design automated ...
6
votes
6answers
368 views

Materials preferably available up to early 1900s ideal for mechanical wings

My universe is focused on a steampunk-esque atmosphere although with more modern technologies up to the early 2000s (yes I am aware of dieselpunk, atompunk etc, but in here the steampunk aesthetic is ...
25
votes
18answers
5k views

Why would a compass not work in my world?

I’m trying to build a world with steampunk-level technology, but would like it if compasses didn’t work/exist (or, failing that, if they were prohibitively expensive or difficult to get hold of). The ...
3
votes
2answers
201 views

Coal or coal analogs without Carboniferous?

In my world, there could be no Carboniferous, during which the overwhelming majority of coal was deposited on our planet. No swamps probably exist either, cutting off that way of generating coal as ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Would lack of petroleum oil help make planes impossible, or uncompetitive to airships?

In my steampunk world (developed to roughly 1870-1910 levels of technological development), there are no oil deposits and flatlands are highly valuable due to their relative rarity (the entire thing ...
17
votes
16answers
7k views

Could they send a satellite in space before the 15th century?

Suddenly, on one of their routine maintenance space missions, NASA or SpaceX (or whoever else) finds a big, clunky piece of metal with some kind of mechanical, crude mechanism and a big mirror with a ...
7
votes
5answers
203 views

Can clockwork robots have any sensory apparatus other than touch/contact/pressure? [duplicate]

Ignoring the constraints of mechanical computation, what sensory modes are even available to such a robot? Even in the 21st century artificial odor detection is rather primitive, and we have over a ...
8
votes
3answers
287 views

Sensors for a clockwork/fluidic robot?

So, mechanical computers are a thing, as are pneumatic and hydraulic actuators. Combining those ideas, it's not that hard to design simple purely-pneumatic/hydraulic robots--provide them with a ...
3
votes
3answers
721 views

What medium to use to drive steam engines?

I want to create a Steampunk setting, but I'd like to introduce another medium than water to do the inner-engine work for me. Of course, water is a fine medium for steam engines, because: it expands ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

highly resistant metal or other material in late 1700s

What metal or material could be used to make super high-pressure canisters in the 1700s? It is for use as a fuel or propellant for a piston-driven engine to power vehicles, due to the fact that a gas ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

How would medieval/Renaissance-era castles protect themselves from air raids?

Context : my fictional universe is set in a time period akin to the european Middle Ages/Renaissance. Think of the 1400s-1500s for reference. In most aspects (political, social, industrial etc.) my ...
5
votes
7answers
452 views

Roman air force

I need help in figuring out how to form an air force in the roman empire. In my story a time traveller goes back in time to ancient rome and becomes emperor and begins his attempt at modernizing the ...
3
votes
3answers
447 views

Steam-heated Balloons?

In my world, one of the main methods of transportations is via hot-air balloon. These balloons are propelled by aluminum(or other lightweight metal, it doesn’t really matter) steam engines, and the ...
9
votes
4answers
239 views

what could be used for flexible piping in the 1780s

How and out of what could flexible, thin air-tight tubes be made of at around 1780? These tubes need to be around a centimeter wide, with a 7.5 mm tube going through it. It must also be heat resistant ...
8
votes
9answers
1k views

How could a steampunk zeppelin navigate space?

it's my first question here, I'll try to be clear. I'm creating a story where there is a steampunk style civilization that has to face advanced civilizations in planetary and spatial battles. I'm ...
2
votes
3answers
842 views

Impact on the Environment of a Steam-Powered World

So in the world I've been creating, I decided that the inhabited world (which is actually pretty small because of reasons) uses steam power as its main source of energy. This inhabited area is about ...
6
votes
7answers
493 views

How would you design and build an American Civil War Steam Gun?

I am writing a Steanpunk novel and am interested in having a "plausible" Union Steam Gun that would help turn the tide in an Alternate History American Civil War. The gun can be either a machine gun ...
22
votes
13answers
5k views

Fantasy Military Arms and Armor: the Dwarven Grand Armory

I'm having some trouble coming up with arms and armament for my fantasy world's dwarven race. I have a few ideas for what they could wield but I'd like a few more to really make this army feel Alive. ...
7
votes
5answers
371 views

What are some ways an airship could be landed without people on the ground?

In my novel, an experimental airship needs to land in a field but it's in a foreign country where there was no coordination ahead of time to have people on the ground help tether it. Is is still ...
22
votes
18answers
4k views

Quick destruction of a helium filled airship?

I am writing a steampunk novel and am working on a scene where an enemy quickly overwhelms and destroys a US airship. The enemy has flying gyro sleds and a large airship of their own that is armed ...
6
votes
6answers
493 views

Realistic rollerblade steam propulsion device, like something that might have been invented with 18th century technology. Is it possible?

This was an idea generated by my sister that I thought was very interesting. I intended to make it work by strapping rollerblades on a person's legs and utilize a compressed gas/steam-powered pumping ...
5
votes
4answers
253 views

What would the port of an airship be called? [closed]

Marine ships and boats have ports. Airplanes have airports. In scifi spaceships can have space ports. What would be the airship equivalent in a steampunk world where marine ships are still heavily ...
4
votes
1answer
262 views

Steam-powered organ

Today I visited a two hours long organ concert (man, it was amazing) and weird idea have popped up in my head: organ powered by steam instead of pressurized air. This also made me thinking that it ...
3
votes
2answers
232 views

How high can a Victorian-era kite sail be flown?

A big problem with Steampunk airships is how to propel them. Steam engines tend to be too heavy to be useful. And sails cannot be used, because unlike sea-going ships, airships are in contact with ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

A society built an airship. What else? [closed]

A steampunk society managed to develop functioning airships filled with helium, powered by a steam engine. They mine this helium from an underground reservoir along with other natural gas. What else ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Biggest possible Steampunk Airship? [duplicate]

I have noticed that one thing that is very common among steampunk airship art is that the size of the decks beneath the gas chamber is outrageously larger than that of the real world. Example: ...
0
votes
4answers
354 views

Need help developing a weapon for destroying a dam [closed]

I am working on a story that happens in a dystopian world where the only source of energy is Coal. I wanted to know whether it is possible to break a dam by pressurizing Dam walls with coal GAS ...
5
votes
2answers
198 views

Hot air balloons lifting bridges in volcanic areas are possible?

In this world, there is a land isolated by a lava line, and the only way to get in there, is across a bridge levitated by hot air balloons. I had the idea of making a wooden bridge being supported by ...
9
votes
13answers
5k views

What historical events would have to change in order to make 19th century “steampunk” technology possible?

I know this is similar to this question but I'm not interested in suppressing 20th century tech to create 21st century steampunk, but in creating late 19th century steampunk with fantastic, Jules ...
4
votes
3answers
302 views

need help building a convincing Airship steam engine room [closed]

Building a world with airships that are powered by steam engines. Big boiler, water tank, lots of coal. Enormous engine room. Propellers, masts with huge sails. There are steam-powered automatons in ...
14
votes
10answers
4k views

Could solar power be utilized and substitute coal in the 19th century?

Would it be possible for a nation with 19th century to very early 20th century technology and history and hot desert climate to utilize solar power for electrical generation as a substitute for coal ...
-2
votes
1answer
158 views

Steam-Assisted Victorian Engineers - Why the secrecy? [closed]

Background Isambard Kingdom Brunel FRS 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859, was an English mechanical and civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in ...
20
votes
10answers
4k views

What types of things could go wrong in an airship during a storm?

In the scene of one of my stories, an airship gets hit by a violent storm. Apart from exploding (which isn't helpful to the main character), what other things could go wrong that would be fixable? ...
6
votes
4answers
315 views

How could it rain oil?

It’s 2019 in an alternate steampunk/dieselpunk universe. Population growth, dwindling resources, and the evil overlords have everyone cramped into big cities, toiling away in the hope of something ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

Super Strong robotic prosthesis steampunk Style

I'm thinking of a character that has the magical ability to transform parts of his body into technology, similar to Generator Rex or Bleeding armor iron man, but only with the technology that he "...
7
votes
5answers
280 views

Can-and-String Telecommunications Network - Repeaters and Amplifiers

Background We know about the can-and-string telephone. There are various claims about the maximum distance over which this is effective. Let's say 100 feet is possible without too much loss and ...
1
vote
0answers
355 views

Atomic Steampunk [closed]

I know steampunk, or rather, steam and coal technology is very limited, needs lots of space, little portability and little energy use. But nuclear plants use the same thing, the only difference is ...
7
votes
1answer
356 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Feasibility of a purely mechanical grayscale “computer monitor”

Based on a previous question asking about mechanical computing (Babbage engines, etc.) I wondered how a steampunk story could present the concept of a modern computer monitor in a steam-driven ...
22
votes
8answers
6k views

Would Moore's Law apply to mechanical computers?

We know through the works of Babbage, Lovelace, et al. that mechanical computers (computers operating through gears, cogs, etc., and powered by steam or some other arbitrary non-electric power source) ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Steam Powered Door

I'm no engineer, but I was wondering how a steam-powered door would work. I want it to be difficult to open unless you know how (not a simple "twist the doorknob and open"). There is access to plenty ...