1.) After collecting TONS of reference pictures and video clips, I started the process. I began to draft out on paper what a simple top view of the entire reactor would look like, getting the feel for the parts that compose it. I did this several times until I fully believed in what parts made up each section.
2.) I then found a scale to work by. I found many pictures that all had the same measurement of one (fairly large ring in comparison) to be about 1.8 inches in diameter. Knowing the real scale, I could begin work on the computer as I found the "zoom" tool does not work as well in real life.
3.) I started with what I nicknamed the "Top Ring Assembly". It is composed of 3 main parts; the "Inner Ring, Notched Ring, And Support Beams" All of these parts were planned to fit together to then be assembly with the other large groups. For all of these designs, I made a new .dwg file for all of the 4 sections that I came up with. I organized these as follows: Top Ring Assembly, Middle Ring Assembly, Bottom Ring Assembly, and Misc Parts.
4.) As with all prototypes, there are flaws. Before making any other parts, I printed my initial top ring to realize that if it were made, it would be fair to thin and would easily crack with the numerous ovals in it. I literally...went back to the drawing board and re-designed the piece from the bottom up. I re-printed the piece on paper and approved it suitable for production alter on.
5.) After drafting out all 30 or some parts with multiple views in 2d (top side back etc), I triple checked all of the dimensions to ensure that they would fit together in the end. I the made up a part sheet with all of the parts on one layout, and their proposed thicknesses and properties (clear/frosted/colorless). I sent them out to a friend to laser cut all of the pieces out of various thicknesses of acrylic plastics.
6.) While waiting for my parts to be cut out miles away, I thought of electronics and assembly. The assembly was the most crucial thing in my mind as I would need a guide to help me piece together the 3 in x 3 in x 3 in puzzle I would have to create. I started to bring my 2d drawings to the world of 3D. One, by one, I extruded them, cleaned them up, an moved them in their true positions on my reactor. I figured that assembling the parts in 3D first would prove to be helpful when piecing together the real thing with tweezers and a magnifying glass.
7.) In chime with the modeling, I also thought that housing the 10 LEDs under each transformer would illuminate the ring, while hiding the LEDs themselves.
8.) As of right now, the completion of this project is paused. I will have my prototype completed hopefully by the release of Iron Man 3. I also have made the actual designs on this page tiny enough not to be stolen and used by the entire public. If you would like copies of the original designs, or the layered file, message me and I will gladly share :D
I hope you all like these, I had a fun time figuring out how this all worked to make this tiny arc reactor! If you would like any advice, tips, or general help just shoot a message to me, I'd love to help you!