Picture of How to make an Iron Man Arc Reactor
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Feb 2012
A long time in the making but I'm finally pleased to announce that this arc has be superseded by a newer design which I'm calling the MkII. The MkII features laser cut parts from a metallic coloured acrylic and avoid copious hours of bending and cutting small pieces of wire. These are available as kits of full arcs from my website. 

May 2010
I've updated this arc reactor design based on the recently released sequel. This newer instructable features better tips on how to make the fiddly parts and an easier to build design.

The Mk1 arc reactor is now available in kit format. So if you ever wanted to make your own but couldn't make the parts yourself, now you can buy a kit containing all the parts, instructions and shaped polymorph.

Iron Man Arc Reactor
This instructable is one of two parts detailing how to build an arc reactor and an iron man mask. Both work together but are written as seperate instructables for clarity. This part is for the Arc Reactor the Iron Man Mask can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-an-Iron-Man-Mask/

My costume was built for a fancy dress party but it is so cool I'm thinking about wearing it else where.

First I needed something to copy, I work best when I'm copying someone elses ideas so I used the following screen shot of Tony Stark in Iron man as a basis for my arc reactor. As you can see it has 10 well defined sections and a glowing centre. I'm also going to use the sleeveless T-shirt and I attempted to grow my own facial hair in time for the party.

I'm rather pleased at my attempt to make the arc reactor and very happy with the segments of light that eminate from it. I'd also like to pay respects to the other arc light reactor on instructables, imagine my horror as the weekly round up arrives in my inbox only find out that I had been beaten to the write up for the same project.

Update - September 2010

Halloween is coming rounnd again and yes I'm still making them so order now in time for halloween.

"Will you make me one of these?"
I finally got round to making myself a webpage about these and all of my other projects, it's still a work in progress but I think it covers the basics for now.

"I live in X where can I buy Polymorph From?"
I get this question a lot, sadly I don't live in x so my insight is never very helpful. Google is your friend as always but if that fails or you don't feel you can create a mould to shape the polymorph contact me and I will happily sell you some polymorph and/or a shaped disk.

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AM VIJITH, from india,(tamil nadu) ,,. if i mistake any word's iam sorry... sir i say that movie,. after i say that ,my mind is telling that to make it ,.,,. so i got a plane with that,but i can't produce becouse i can't buy the sutable objects (substance) ...,, i want to know that any one really produce any arc reactor///? plz tell me the truth,,,... plz..,,,,

jcarey82 years ago
with all due respect. I agree with you for the most part but you cant look at the movie as a factual point.. i know you said its fictional but, the detail of your comment made me think that you have given this a lot of thought, well planed thought.. but i wanna say this.. the arc is not that far away as you think, of course the actual " movie Arc reactor" is.. but its not impossible to make one.. the focal point would have to be the "cycle" cycle per minute.. once you create a power source or at least an idea of what kind of power source you want and can use.. then concentrate on the power cycling so it can be self sustained.
in closing i would like to say thank you majidkhan536 for shearing your thoughts because i can tell the intelligence in your Analise.. it was awesome.
johnaobrien2 years ago
Just wanted to thank you for the instructable. I plan on making one of these with my grandson next week. You have made it easily understandable and it looks simple to build. I live in the states and so I had to purchase my plastic from sparkfun. I got the resistors from radio shack (they do not have flat ones in the store). Everything should be here next week and we are putting the mold together this week. Thanks a bunch for the great instructable.
Stark seems to use Palladium isotope from his missiles as the reactor's fuel. Once the reaction starts, the energy harnessed is enourmous at 3 GJ/s or equivalent to 3 GW. (That's more than twice energy required for time-travelling (which needed only 1.21 GW of power) in Back to the Future films).

This power can be used to power up his suit for a long time for his enhanced reactor, not the first one.

To make this extremely efficient power supply, I believe we can. And I believe it is possible. But I think that it can be done only in a few hundred years.

The movie is purely fictional and I believe that the writer are just fantasizing about the perfect energy source. (Dreams mostly become true eventually). If we are living in 19th century, people won't believe you if you can send sound wave and pictures accross the globe. Now, it's possible. So what makes an arc reactor impossible?

It can be done. But not in recent time.
but is it possible if the reactor power source being replaced by a car battery?
what does a nine volt battery look like or what is its symbol?

Its the rectangular one.
sequret963 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afsn71yqTP0 heres mine
monsterlego3 years ago
what colour LED did you use?
check out the stark reactor on this chick.
whoa 8X
i can make it
you sure look cute
cool im making 1
Nice...so now everyone has an excuse to stare at your chest. "Wow, nice arc reactor!".
TheSniper3 years ago
How many would you say you've made thus far, msraynsford?
msraynsford (author)  TheSniper3 years ago
A better question would be "how many people have managed to follow these instructions to make their own?"
I've made a fair few now but I did post this several years ago so it's a slow and steady trickle.
What I never understood about iron man was why did he not get the shrapnel removed when he got back? He walked around with a power source in his chest...
Is there a type of clear polymorph?
kijo93244 years ago
go on google and look up"circuitry basics" or something.
i had half a course in high school on it and i was probably not there often before i dropped out.
easy stuff
Colonel884 years ago
Quick question, how deep is the wood cutout thing? Im guessing around 10 mm deep, then some 5 mm for the other portions to stick out.
althor0154 years ago
Hope some one is still reading these and commenting on them. I am trying to build one of these and am unsure of the wiring schematic.

Which symbols are the resistors and which the lights and how do the outer wires follow the ring?

Bah! Wish I had taken electronics classes!
msraynsford (author)  althor0154 years ago
Still reading and commenting, sadly it sounds like you'd be better off googling for some beginner electronics tutorials.
ironman224 years ago
nice job man i would like to try to make one like these
itjmiller4 years ago
I'm very new to this, but I have to ask. Are the resistors supposed to be on the negative side of the circuit? Do resistors really work that way? In the wiring diagram, it shows that the positive current goes through the LED, then through the resistor, then to ground. Is this a mistake, or does it not matter which side of the LED they are placed. The first diagram (from ledcalc.com) shows the resistors on the positive side....
How many grams/ounces of polymorph did you use?
msraynsford (author)  MrEvolution474 years ago
I use 35g of polymorph but this will obviously depend on your mould and I'm managed to eek mine down to the smallest amount possible now.
dalangalma7 years ago
I have a question - where are the resistors in this photo? Are they the little bumps next to each LED? If so, are they soldered together or did you just glue them in contact? Fantastic instructable, by the way. I'm really excited to try it myself.
msraynsford (author)  dalangalma7 years ago
They are the little bumps next to each LED. I pressed the led and the bump into blue tac to hold them roughly in the right place before I soldered them together. It makes it a darn sight easier with these small components.
so yeahhh...my iron decided to not work right plus i couldnt find a tip sharp enough for this small of work. couldnt keep a tin for anything. ended up killing 2 leds.

shouldve just bought the complete thing. there went 30 bucks. haha my suggestion? buy the complete and leave it to the professional. :S
ramboboy5 years ago
awesome what about the batteries
those you put in an Altoids container or anything else that can house 1 or 2 9 volt batteres

http://www.instructables.com/id/Iron-Man-Arc-Reactor-prop/ (this isn't his but it's really useful)
Neogarex4 years ago
Jason Amigo5 years ago
Since you used one resistor for every two LEDs, did you double the ohms of the resistors?
Here is an image of an arc reactor that I made using this Instructable as a guide. My more complete build out instructions can be found here: http://www.instamorph.com/?p=14 Used a new brand of polymorph called InstaMorph, which you can buy on Amazon or their website. http://www.instamorph.com They are Prime eligible too which was nice since I got free two day shipping as a Prime member The LEDs I got a Fry's electronics. They have the perfect stick on surfacemount LEDs for this project.
cool where did u buy everything
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