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Who wants to be billionaire-genius-power generator Tony Stark? I do! Since the billionaire and genius parts are a bit out of reach, I figured I could at least make a cool Arc Reactor to wear and pretend.

And since I recently purchased a CNC kit from mydiycnc.com and have been learning to use it, I thought it would be a great tool to help me out.

My goals were to make a relatively thin, wearable reactor that could be backlight with LEDs. And of course to do it on the cheap, since I work for a non-profit and don't make that much money.

So what you need to complete this Instructable (but feel free to substitute with what you have available):
Materials:
- Some plastic sheets - I picked up some scrap acrylic from a plastic fabrication place, they sell by the pound. If at all possible use cast acrylic vs extruded, since cast will cut without melting much better - I used two thicknesses - 8.5mm (clear) and 2mm (white).
- Plastic Glue - You could use super glue or something else, but a purpose made plastic glue will give you the best bond
- Spray paint - I used black, gold, aluminum
- Copper clad PCB board - to make the light panel for the reactor
- Surface mount LEDs (25) - I used SMD LEDs so I wouldn't have anything poking me in the check on the backside, but using standard LEDs or even LED ribbon that you can get online would be a fine alternative (and that already has resistors built in)
- 27 ohm resistors (5) - To limit current to the LEDs - the value you need make vary depending on the LEDs you use, you can use this handy dandy calculator to figure out what you need: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz
-
Masking tape - for painting the parts
- Magnet wire - I used some that has a clear varnish (so you can see the copper), but you could also use the inner core of some stripped wire
- Other wire - to run to the power supply
- Design plans - I will include the Sketchup files and CNC files (with the .ngc extension for EMC2) for your planning pleasure.

Tools:
- CNC Machine - I know I know, not many people have these (or even may have access). And every time I saw an Instructable that said "just hop on your CNC/3D printer/laser cutter and do this" I was like 'Yeah right." But since I've gotten one, its what I'm of course going to use. That said, all the parts in this are totally makeable without the machine, using a rotary tool of some sort (likea dremel). A CNC just makes its go easier, quicker, and more accurately.
- Dremel - You'll need some sort of rotary tool to cut the plastic shapes out (if you're not CNCing) and to clean up and modify even if you are.
- Sandpaper - For painting prep (I used some 600 grit)
- Soldering Iron + Solder - For soldering the LED panel and the wire wraps
- Wire Cutter/Stripper

Step 1: Planning

To start off, I created a mock up of the reactor in Sketchup, a great (and free) CAD/Modeling program. I created the different parts based on images from the movie (the first one) and what other people had done. As it went along I modified things, but the basic design was to cut a main clear ring, 4 stepped sections to support the inner gold rings and slotted ring, and other 'U' sections to mark out the wire wrapping portions.

I planned on cutting all the pieces out, then test fitting. After that, paint would be applied, then everything glued together for a final assembly.

For backlighting I wanted to make a PCB with an array of LEDs that would be behind a white plastic panel, so that light would diffuse. First I lit up a single LED to see how the light would diffuse through the white disk, and got about a 2 cm circle of nice light from about a 5mm space from the disk. So I used that 2cm circle in skectchup around a component of the LED (just a box of the correct width and length) to roughly lay down a layout for the LEDs.
From this I drew out the connections to be made (I decided on 5 rows of 5 LEDs based on this: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz)
Then I drew lines in between all the sections of the PCB so the CNC could separate all the various sections - not the most effective way I know, but I was strapped for time and didn't have the time to figure out how to make a legit one from Eagle

I've attached the Sketchup file for anyone that's interested.

So now I've got all the CNC files I need, time to start fabricating!
Awesome project - thank you and well done. This is the best arc reactor project. Now I know what project is up next on my own MyDIYCNC CNC machine.
one of the best build reactors I've ever seen!
That's an amazing idea!
This looks great! Especially under the t-shirt. Good job.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm an IT professional in Philadelphia - but thats just my day job. I love to repurpose things, and since I grew up not having ... More »
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