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The Giant Steampunk Robot of Blackthorne

Thomas Willeford's Giant Steampunk Robot at Blackthorne Resort. Commissioned by Jeff Mach.

Yes! There really is a Giant Steampunk Robot on the property!

And yes! You can take pictures of it. You can even take pictures with it! (Just please stay behind the wires, to protect the Robot’s surfaces.) Or you can do what we do… just stand there staring at it, sipping a cool beverage and hoping that it doesn’t decide to wake up and take over the planet.

It might even be on the legendary Secret Halloween Scavenger Hunt…

Here’s what Roadside America said about it:

“In the town of East Durham, on the property of Blackthorne Resort, there is a 17-foot-tall steampunk robot. It looks like a perfect representation of its theme and should please any steampunk fan. As you roll into the property you should see it on the left, inside a tall, open, prefab steel building.”

[Tyler Salls]

From the Robot's free-roaming days, by Phl17.

Roadside America continued: “The robot is a permanent guest of the resort, and was built in 2014 by Thomas Willeford, a famous steampunk “maker.” He said he eventually wants to build a 25-footer with room for him to sit inside and operate the controls.”

The Robot also made it into Makezine:

“Thomas Willeford, of Brute Force Studios, is a giant among makers in the steampunk community. When Jeff Mach, organizer of the Steampunk World’s Fair, wanted a giant robot, he enlisted Willeford to create it.

Over 15 feet high and more than 1,000 pounds, the robot is constructed of ¾-inch plywood sheathed in Masonite. It is finished with furniture tacks and painted to look like riveted metal. Though unmanned, the torso is big enough to fit a person inside, and the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are poseable. It took 45 12-hour days to build, with 17 people assisting at one time or another.

“I intended the robot to be a symbol of how creative steampunk can be,” says Mach. He also wants to support cancer awareness in the steampunk community. A plaque on the robot is dedicated to “Hearts of Steel,” listing, among others, CJ Henderson, a writer and editor of steampunk literature who recently lost his battle with cancer.”

The Robot has its own little Facebook page –

Do send us your favorite robot photos! Email them to or message them to us over at The Steampunk World’s Fair Facebook page!

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