A-35 Doomsday Device




Introduction: A-35 Doomsday Device

"if it doens't happen in 2012, we can always do it ourselfs..."
Thats the slogan for this project..  we have to end one way or the other!!

(Just kidding...)

However..  a device like this is very cool to own so I decided to build one myself.
Instructed by the movies "broken arrow" and "armageddon" and the luck of having a
self destructed microwave oven I got to work on building a doomsday device similar to what you see on television.

(of course with my personal ideas and designs)
The fun of building it is that you can build something great into your own image or idea.
Video below:

Step 1: Parts, Components and Plans...

Alright here is the fantasy material:  I was very impressed of the nuclear devices used in the movie Broken arrow..

It was sort of mobile, small, and did have a very impressive user interface.. (buttons and display)
Due to copyright stuff I cannot show you the movie pictures but this will give you some idea...

Otherwise I will recommend to watch the movie anyway, its a good one.
I do have some other plans as well with it so I build some extra features into it, but thats for later.

PLEASE BE AWARE that I dont not want you to build it "exactly" like this one. I do want to you to see the idea that you can build some beautiful stuff out of things that normally was thrown away of discarded. Its a beautiful art to recycle and make something nice out of worthless scrap...

!!! WARNING !!! microwave ovens are using at least around 1000 volts to work and hold a charge when the thing is unplugged. Leave it for a couple of days unplugged and then discharge the internal capacitor. If you dont know how to do it safely, dont do it at all.
Another WARNING I should give you is that microwaves can contain berrylium, usually a pink isolator on the output of the miicrowave transmitter, dont use such models those can give you serious lung disease.

This project was a long time on my mind, it really started when our microwave oven died, a big BANG was needed to take it to mirco wave heaven. After discharging the internal capacitor I removed all the electronics from the mircowave oven and gave each wire a label.

Over time I collected a lot of scrap parts and junk..  Just pieces of metal,plumbing parts, computer parts, tape recorder components etc.  Everthing you may think is usefull some day for a project. I collected whatever I thought looked dangerous, unknown, and I-do-not-want-to-tough-that parts... (like high voltage transformers) I am sure if I can collect and find pieces, so can you, all it takes is time.

Some parts were already provided by the microwave oven like the transmitter inside...  I toke it apart and used the copper core as the "anti matter collector" (see step 3)

Step 2: Starting the Build...

Without a design (just a basic idea) I drilled holes in two platters of a old harddrive. Next shaped some aluminum and made it in such a way the core would be held in place. Some basic measurement, math and using a pair of compasses can do a lot.
(check step 5 to get a idea how to use the pair of compasses) Basically you can go wild with any crazy idea.

Around it I some copper wire and some "electronics" to help it do whatever it should be doing.
(contain the anti matter flow or overload in the not-real-world)
There is still no design here, it just have to look scary.

The copper wire around it would prove difficult, its like holding up a lot of wires at the same time.
It would just coil up in every way possible, I build aluminum struts to hold them up by themself.

Next some additional steps to hold everthing together...

Step 3: Anti Matter Collector

Almost done... I build in some yellow led's into it to make it glow somewhat, this was done without any idea, more like:
It looks good, lets do it approach...
There are four wires in this picture but I needed them to wire them all up parallel because I did not have enough pins free on the arduino.

Some magnets around the platters and aluminum pipe around the threaded bar to make it more smooth and proffesional.
The threadbar is longer on one side to fix it on the base of the machine with special nuts.
The copper wires are kept long for now, but only the led wires will be connected for real..

Step 4: Casing..

The casing needed to be cool, lightweight and strong and to protect the parts in it (timer, ani matter collector and core)

The anitmatter core (a modern garden light from a DIY store) provided the measurements for the casing, I kept it small but kept in mind that atleast a pvc pipe and the garden light should fit into it. I just laid it out, toke the maximum diameter from the biggest part and added 0,5 cm on it. The lenght is not importend right now..

The casing then was build from cutting boards used to prepare food, it was strong, cheap and easy to work material.
I did have to see a few stores before I was satisfied with these cutting boards, others were to flexible to use.
More threadbar for the basic construction and more pipe that goes over it. (picked that grey pipe up on a yard sale)

It all keeps together by nuts and threadbar, same construction as the anti mater collector.

Step 5: Cutting and Building the Casing

A layer of papertape made it more easy to work on, some basic tools for drawing a "standard shape" and just let you fantasy go how it should look like. I like working on paper before I build something but 3D software tools are very usefull to... (I just dont use them)

Keep a few things in mind:

- Its shape should not compromise the structural integrity.
- it provides maximum protection
- always make it a bit stronger then usual.

I needed 3 pieces, each with a unique design because of the parts they hold, also keep in mind to keep the bars well out of the way from the buttons and display. (a open top side)

I think these things over many times before I do anything at all, think of what they should do. How the part can be build to the best design possible and what problems it can give. (breaking, being in the way of something or just ugly...)

The pvc / plastic stuff was easy to cut wit a electric saw, keep it on low speed because any faster it will heat up and melt the pvc together. (very low temperature at all time) Any workbench can help you cutting this stuff properly. For the "circle" inside I use a special saw for curs and round figures.

Step 6: Test Fitting Construction

Some test fitting, looks cool right?

The grey pieces of pipe were cut by a lathe, it made it possible to cut them smooth and very precisely.
If you dont have one just rotate the round bar around while sawing it to the correct lenght.
They will also hold the grey support plates in the right places without any extra bolts or nuts.

Remember to make anything smooth and nice with sandpaper, a good finish is in the details.
Especially the plastic will leave some fluffy stuff on the edges when cutting it.
The splitter core was put into place just to test if it will fit or not in the three holes.

Step 7: Housing for Electronics

A pvc pipe provided the base for all electronics inside the doomsday device, to enclose it completely I needed to build some extra parts.

For the console I cut and shaped these round pieces, those are to support the control panel to the upper part of the housing and to close it up nicely. I needed to put a bold in the middle for the lathe to hold on to while spinnig around, the perfectly shaped piece of wood was sawn and fitted on the console with to screws. Later that piece will be painted grey to make it even stronger and give it a nice metallic look.

After that I cut the pvc pipe to the correct lenght and started to work out were the console should go.
Using some very simple methods like a roll of tape to keep the pencil at the correct height and a flexible measuring tape for the curved round pipe. I cut that piece out with a proxxon (or dremel) tool and a metal cutting blade, again using low rpm or we would melt the pvc. Next was some basic sanding of all the edges..  The gap in the workbench and some tape to hold it in place worked out wel for a round object.

Step 8: Microwave Electronics

Now its time to make the electronics of the microwave oven work again, the malfunction was in the high voltage part of the micro wave machine and not in the small electronics. (Lucky me)

The system needed a normal 12 volts to run, unfortunately to make the clock work it needed a 50hz pulse. (normally given by the AC voltage of a transformer) After that it was cut down to 25hz by a diode. luckily a servo tester (for little model airplanes, boats, racecars etc) would supply the same on/off pulse.

- Next I noted which connections would go to buttons: start, stop, 10 minutes, 1 minute, 10 seconds, and set)
- The emergency stop wires (if you open the microwave door)
- and the 4 digit display

Since I needed to reconnect them later I needed to know what connection did do what..
This is paying attention and writing down on paper every voltage, circuit, function and every other detail needed...
(by function I mean the relays for powering on and off the high voltage circuit, this may be different by any other microwave oven.)

The button pad was seetrough so we can follow the lines on there to the right pinout connection and write down which pin goes to what button. Next I made the circuit board ready for mobile use, this means removing the transformer and any other 220 volt circuitry.
The servo test circuit was bolted on there and I solderd some new wires.  (5 volt use, 12 volt for the counter, ground et..

Step 9: Control Panel

Like all builds, I started with searching in my collected stuff.
The parts were easily found in my scrapbox...

A old tape recorder provided all the push buttons for the doomsday device, I laid them around the way I wanted them to have and drew everything out. (again on paper tape sticked on a sheet of aluminum) I did have to order the digits from conrad.com together with the battery and other stuff. The panel will make it possible to connect a charger for the battery's and a connection to the arduino for external commands or to "hack the doomsday device" to make it stop or reprogram the timer.

Cutting a wire? Pfff... no way... this device needs to be hacked to stop it...

The round shape of the pipe will hide the edges of the panel and the display will be build into the design.
To protect the digits, a small piece of plexiglass (scrap again) was used, it also connected the aluminum pieces together.

The aluminum was covered in tape and then the design was drawn onto it with a pencil. Different saws were used to make the holes for the buttons and the outer shape. Of course some filling was needed to make the buttons fit perfectly, I sanded the scratches on the panel away with a light piece of sandpaper.

Step 10: The Display

Before we go in to this, I recommend you read first a bit about led displays and how they work, it will give you a better understanding how I wired them up.


Basically they are all tied together and only 1 digit is shown at a time, but because is goes so rapidly we see it as one hole display. For this build I placed them in such a way that the digits would be centered in the middle. (not the " : " in the middle)
And I placed a smaller digit on the left, at first I wanted a millisecond counter but due to high cost it became a "run around" digit, showing that the anti matter core was rotating. (the control for that was just a looping light kit)
Basic print provided the base for the digits, a black paper became the background for the display.

BE ABSOLUTELY SURE that you know how to wire up (hey your notes please) and that you did bought the right digits, especially the way the cathode and anode are placed. Some led digits work different then others. Be sure to measure that with a multimeter before you start working on soldering the the wires. (all 65 of them)

At the end a test run to be sure that everthing was working nicely.

Step 11: Electronics and Housing

A short chapter but I should point out that the electronics were hard to fit in one round housing.I just barely got it in there, the key to it was to try and refit and retry it again. (it also means I had to remove some features from it as well) 

The electronics from the mirco wave was hard to suspend on the front panel without any extra bolts being seen. Only two bolts hold it in place, one being extented by a piece of plastic, not great but it will hold.

This was measured the best way I could but I ended up making the plastic piece twice, things like that can happen. Just learn from the previous mistake and go for it again. The advantage is that the bolt supension can be very easy adjusted higher and lower, things can sit just 1 mm apart from each other with ease.

Step 12: Arduino Board and Circuitry

This is my third mayor project with a arduino and so far I must say it opened up a new world for me.
More can be done with so little and things are made so easily because the programming will take care of the difficult things.
(how and when it should work, change things on demand etc...)

I did not made any diagram to show you, but I can tell you that every circuit is so simple thanks to the arduino, you can practically guess it. The relays in this picture are directly controlled from the arduino pins, so are the leds (execept the core) and the transistors.
I can give you a overview from the pin connections:

pin  5 & 8 = lpd8806 lights (core)
pin  3 = anti collector lights
pin  7 = "Relais "main"" sensing" (Checks if the Microwave elekrtronics is in "waiting" mode)
pin  2 = "Relais ""power"" sensing" (Checks if the Microwave elekrtronics is in "running" mode)
pin  4  =  red stop light
pin  10 = ready light
pin  11 =  yellow rec light
pin  9  = blue hold light
pin  6 = 10/1/10s buttons or core servo
pin 12 = Switch hold detect (finds out if the hold button is pressed)
pin  13 = Weapon(red)  / power(blue) button

pin  A0 = pause counter relay (pause counter)
pin  A1 = stop relay (same as button)
pin  A2 = rdy relay (same as button)
pin  A3 = lock buttons relay (disconects buttons)
pin  A4 = I2C clock (used for external commands commenucation)
pin  A5 = I2C data (used for external commands commenucation)

When the microwave electronics are activated the relay (normally used for the high voltage) is now acting as a button, completing (or not) a circuit that tells the arduino what to do. By using other buttons the arduino can act on its own like changing the colors of the lpd8806 leds. Or the arduino can activate a relay that controls the microwave elektronics like completing the circuit "stop" or "ready" or pause the counter with disconnecting the "emergeny stop" wires with a relay.

Its all very simple circuitry and if your have some experience with elektronics there shouldn't be a problem to make this, its just a lot of wires. One mistake I made was that the 78A05  (max 3 Amps) became very hot, a little cpu fan was installed later on to cool the voltage regulator down. The 78A05 was found in a old broken power supply, lucky me...  These things cost 7 euro's easy..

Step 13: Anti Matter Core

Meanwhile I build the generator "core" primary consisting out of a garden lamp and some extra electronics.
First I removed what I did not needed from it until I was left with the core. (the part that gives light)

I removed the 230 volt fitting and start to cut a hole in the bottom for a servo, cutting it in such a way the moving part of the servo was in the center of the light housing.

On top of the servo I placed these aluminium pieces, these will rotate around the leds in the middle.
They were made from aluminium profile bend in a vice and screwed on the servo adapter.
This model was just strong enough to handle the load directly on the axis.

The led's are from the well known LPD8806 led strip that you can buy a reel at the time.
Cutting them in 3 pieces that will go around a center pipe mounted on the lid, these will change color depending on the settings.
Red for destruct mode, blue for power, the black adapter was made on a lathe to make it all fit with only two screws.

To hide everthing we are sticking on the inside a big sticker usually used for windows, it wil show the shadows and leds but you cannot see what is inside of this "core."  Work slowly for a better result, lots of people want to know whats inside of it and give it extra attention so we cannot use little bubbles of air.

Step 14: Putting It Together (core - Clock - Antimatter Collector)

In the meantime I got two 12,5 cm lids for the pvc pipe which is housing the electronics. The reactor core can be bolted on with only two scews. Its surprisingly how little space there was left, the servo just barely fits between de upper circuit board and the control panel. Some capacitors needed to bended down to make room for the servo.

The battery packs needed to bend in a round shape, I do not recommend this procedure because it could harm the battery packs.
(I did not have any other choice, I did it carefully and taped them in just to be sure)

The lid on this side will hold them down on the bottom, a L shaped bracket will keep them down.
The circuit board on the other side will prevent them form slipping further in.

A 6,3 mm headphone connector (female) was used for the safety pin mechanism, in normal use it will complete the singal for audio to the speakers. But when a plug is inserted the singal to the speakers will be cut off. (in our case ground will be interrupted and the device will be turned off)

Step 15: Merge of All the Components...

Wauw... It really starts to look like something... 

Now we need to put the componentes together, first we disassemble the left piece from the case.
Next we can simple slide in the unit into it's case from the left to the right.
Then we have to sort out some wires and put the lid on, holes were made for the wires and solderd them up.
A extra feature was put on by adding a special water tube, makes it look more dangerous.

Unfortunately I became to realise that the grey tubes were to short, this was solved by adding extra metal rings to them.
The extra threaded bar was sawn off when everthing was perfectly in place.
I added some yellow black tape to it as a warning sign, and four extra holls in the front for the handle bars to hold on to it.

Step 16: The Finished Product

After programming the arduino by usb and some testing this is what I came up with:
(script can bedownloaded down below, please be aware of errors and stuff. (I am not really a good programmer)

I am very pleased with the result, I cannot show you the "hacking" trough I2C yet because I did not made the equipment for that yet, but I will some day. Here is a little youtube clip to demostrate the A-35 or "doomsday device"

I hope I inspired some people to have some new ideas or plans for something similar, atleast we can make 2012
happening on time.


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    Question 2 years ago

    Heya, back in 2012 when this prop was made, I've saw it and immediately fell in love with it, it compelled me to go further and get better at doing electronics and stuff; today, I was commenting with a friend about this exact prop and it took ages to find it, even forgot it was on instructables; Sadly the videos are dead now; Was wondering if you have them hosted somewhere else, I wanted to show my friend your incredible doomsday device in action, haha;


    6 years ago

    I just don't have sufficient tools or moneu


    6 years ago

    Great work! I might use it when suiting :P


    7 years ago on Introduction

    great piece of work!!! I'd love to see it in real life... although I'll get more depressed coz I'll never make anything like this... insufficient tools and time (I'm broke and I've got to work heheheh).

    Very professional Instructable. Thanks for sharing!!!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    awesome....great job. great detail.....


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! Really nice job! Would be cool to see the servo in the anti-matter core speed up the closer to zero the timer is (and even ramp up the brightness of the led's the closer to zero the timer is also).


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmmmmm....I've always wanted to get arrested at the airport!

    This is so cooool! It would be great if at the end of the timer it made an explosive sound and shot out confetti....would be a must at parties!

    Khem Caigan
    Khem Caigan

    10 years ago on Step 16

    Great instructable! Who manufactures that cool outdoor lamp, and what is the part number, please ( googling "tilos" wasn't much use at all )?


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 16

    This is all I could find on the box: Sencys tilos Artnr. 5250821 Hope that helps...


    10 years ago on Step 16

    Would be great to integrate one of those 'do nothing boxes'.
    When the timer reaches 0, a little finger pokes out of a trap door and presses the disarm button.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Now its getting personal FutrixEnterprises... I think it's a matter of taste, I know it's a 98% useless device good for a laugh or a scare sometime... But I get the most satisfaction to build something completely futuristic and then make it completely functional and real as it should be in the Si-fi world. Not here on earth with again another pc case or something, and there is simply no room to make it real and functional with a pc or ipod amplifier in it. IF it can be done I would have just like the groovy gun project. In this project there was no room for it any more, I really tried so hard. (Who the hell would build a ipod docking station in a weapon of mass destruction? playing: "R.E.M It's the End of the World as We Know It" the last 5 minutes ) It would be epic!!

    I think you're question is valid, but it is just not my style..

    Thats fantastic, epic job. But like someone said a lot of work just for some giggles.

    Why not ditch the power up or make it fake and condense your display to the bottom or top and turn it into a PC case and have a destruct sequence when people turn it on and dont have the logon?? I'd love to see a PC case version!! If you do let me know?? :)


    10 years ago on Step 16

    that is awesome and is giving me many bad ideas!

    perhaps...... and these are just suggestions to make it awesomer....install a xenon strobe to go off when the countdown gets to zero... replace that copper wire loop at the bottom with EL wire and make it pulse... and RGB LED's in the "anti-matter collector" up top and have the danger states "fade" into each other instead of switching off?

    great job!


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 16

    You just resumed most of my ideas. Looks like Professor Farnsworth needs some more doomsday devices :)

    Mad inventor
    Mad inventor

    10 years ago on Introduction

    you should really put a loud siren in there that goes off when it reaches 0 to scare the living s**t out of anyone who activates it.