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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.

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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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