Introduction: Easy Arc Reactor From a Gatorade Bottle!

About: Watch this space for projects on science, engineering, and tech. I explain how and why things work, by breaking apart everyday objects and DIY-ing the heck out of them.

On my Youtube Channel, almost everything that I've created is out of 3D printers. I understand that most of us don;t have 3D printers, or just want to build something on the weekend without much planning, designing, etc.

So this time, I decided to make something completely out of trash. I was tempted at many occasions to either 3D print some parts, or use something off the shelf, but I fought that urge. So, here it is ladies and gentlemen, just in time for the Avengers Infinity war movie, an Iron man (1) arc reactor, made out of a Gatorade bottle, and some copper wire (and a few other parts, obviously).

If you are not an avid reader, here is the full video with detailed instructions:

Step 1: Time and Resources Needed


If you have all the equipment with you, the assembly should take you about 4-5 hours. I suggest you split this into a 2 day project. One day to do the 'art&craft' bit (cutting, wire winding, gluing), and the next day to do the electrical stuff, connecting LEDs, soldering LEDs, and sticking the Arc reactor to your shirt/vest (you could make a giant hole in your chest and fix it there, too, but I strongly recommend against it).

Resources/ Parts:
- A Gatorade Bottle. Please refer to the picture/ video to ensure you get the correct bottle (Some countries sell the shorter version of the bottle which will not work). We will mainly be needing the bottom, and the cap.

- Some copper wires: Make sure you get something not too thin, but not too thick either (thick wires are hard to bend and shape around the reactor).

- 5 LEDs: I use normal 3V LEDs that could be bought for cheap on ebay ($1 for 100LEDs).

- A resistor: It's good practice to connect resistors whenever using LEDs to avoid burning your LEDs. A 100 ohm resistor would do in the setup that we are building, but if you are using different components, and would like to know how to set it up, I have a detailed video about using LEDs and the resistance that goes with each configuration here.

- A working 9V battery: This will power the arc reactor *Iron man theme intensifies*

- An old 9V battery: This will be our 9V battery connector (explained later). You can use a generic 9V battery connector, but keeping true to the theme of building this project out of used parts, I used this old 9V battery to make the connector.

- Soldering equipment: To solder your LEDs and resistors.

- Hot glue gun: To glue various parts together

- Superglue: Or whatever you call it in your country.

- Some long wires: - These will connect from your chest-piece to your 9V battery, which should be kept away from the chest (probably in a holder on your belt).

- Black cardboard: Or a black piece of rubber for the details on the centerpiece (Not essential).

- A toggle switch: This can be taken from an old toy.

- Sanding paper: To sand the surface.

Step 2: Cutting the Base

I was amazed to see that the bottom of this bottle is shaped exactly like an arc reactor! What's more: it has the same spokes in the center, and a wide and flat outer area. Hey, it even tells you where to cut it.
In the photos, I have marked with a pen the part where to cut. Once cut, the base is marked with 10 increments of equal distance.

I marked with a cross the alternative sections. This is where the copper wires will be wound (5 sections of wires, and 5 sections plain).

The middle part was also cut out (luckily, the bottle is again already marked where the outer flat section ends!).

As you see, the bottle makes it really simple, without the need for fancy equipment to cutout an almost exact ar-reactor!.
Let's continue. Well begun is half done.

Step 3: Gluing the Cap to the Base

Hey! Dont throw away the rest of the bottle yet!

Take the cap (paint it white) and cut the inside of it. The outer edge fits perfectly in your already cutout arc reactor, You can fit it in there, and glue it with some superglue to ensure it fits in tightly.
Now, we are ready to wind the copper wires.

Step 4: Winding the Wires

This is the most tedious part of the project.

Make sure the wires are tightly wound, and glues together at the end of each wound.
I used a small piece of copper wire and wound it at the bottom to ensure the whole winding is tight. Again, I would suggest you to refer to this video here for a timelapse of how this is done.

Step 5: Centerpiece

1) Centerpiece from the bottle bottom (inner circle).
The inner circle of the arc reactor is made from the bottle's bottm (inside) part (as shown in the picture). This has to be cut to fit the center of the arc reactor, and glued properly (Make sure to sand the centerpiece before installing).

2) Staples:

The staple pins are added to give it a more authentic look, and to hold the copper wire tightly together.

These staples are longer than normal(12cm by 13cm).

3) Cardboard outline to add details:

I cut out a black cardboard piece to serve as the outline of the inner circle to make it look more realistic, and add some contrast. You can make this ring our of rubber, or just use black paint to do this.

Step 6: Zap Zap - the Electronics!

Most of you might find the electronics part of the project complicated. Trust me- it's not.
Just follow along, and you should be powering up your very own arc reactor in no time.

First of all: You will need (at least) 5 LEDs. You can have more if you want it brighter (But it will not last as long).

You also need a resistor (10 ohms or less), and a 9V battery.

First, setup the LEDs on a breadboard, to test your circuit. The connections are as follows: 2 sets of 3 LEDs in series (Negative - Positive Negative - Positive). and each set is connected in parallel to each other (Positive - Positive) and (Negative - Negative). The resistor is then connected at the end, to the negative of the whole setup.

Once you are confident and your setup works on the breadboard, it's time to move on and solder them as described above. Once soldered, glue them into the slots of the arc reactor (as shown in the pictures).

Make sure the LED circuit doesnt touch the copper windings.

Step 7: Battery and Testing

Use a 9V battery for this project.
As shown, I made a holder/connector out of a used 9V battery's top (since I was using mainly trash parts), and attached it to the side of the battery with some tape.

After attaching it to the shirt with some hot glue, and testing to make sure everything worked, it was time to save the world!

Step 8: Putting It on and Final Thoughts

This project turned out to be better than expected!

I wore this vest to comiccon, along with my Ironman Repulsor, and it was quite a headturner!

So get your Tony stark face on, and go ahead and build your own!

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure