Introduction: Easy DIY Tron Identity Disc

We like science-fiction movies and one of our favorite classic sci-fi movies is Tron and its subsequent reboot/sequel as Tron: Legacy. To honor this this cyberpunk classic film we decided to create a replica of the iconic identity discs seen throughout both films. In this Instructable, we will detail how to build a scale model from wood, with pulsing LEDs on the inside and outside of the rings, as well as a stand to house the electronics and make the disc more presentable.

Step 1: Initial Design

Our initial design focus on only the ring and using 3-D printed materials. However at the start of this project, constraints were changed causing us to rethink the design as we went. However the size and shape of the disc remained the same. The disc is built out of two wooden halves which are to sanded down to create a smooth and curved edge leaving enough space for ten LEDs to be place upon the outside of the disc. The wiring for this prop is to be contained in the hollowed out disc itself and use a 9 volt battery to power 10 5mm LEDs in paired in series and then in parallel with each other.

Step 2: Step 1: Bill of Materials and Hardware


  • 1 x Ardiuno Uno R3
  • 10 x 5mm LEDS of your choice color
  • 2 x 8" x 8" x 3/4" wood pieces
  • 1/32" thick piece of 24"x8" plywood
  • Numerous 3/4" nails
  • Wood Glue
  • 60-40 Solder
  • Various lengths of solid and bradied wire


  • Band Saw
  • Scroll Saw
  • Files and Sand paper of various grits
  • Hammer
  • Soldering Iron

Step 3: Cutting Your Discs

Begin by drawing two concentric circles on both your wood boards. Each board should have two concentric circles (meaning they share the same center point), one with a radius of 2 inches and the other of 4 inches.

Then using a scroll saw cut your wood following your lines for the outside. Then precede to drill holes in the center in order to cut out the middle of the disc. Once you have completed cutting both hollow circles out precede to the next step.

Step 4: Disc Contouring

Now that you have both your discs cut out basically, it is time to go back to give both halves of your discs that iconic bevel.

Go back to your scroll saw and adjust the table level to around 45 to 50 degrees in order to get the tapered look on the rim of the disc. Closely cut the disc around the rim until you have a beveled the entire outer edge. Now, using the same angle, use the scroll saw to cut the inside edge of the disc so both edges are beveled. Make sure that you are beveling in the same direction for both edges. Finally bevel your other disc so that you now have two halves of a complete disc.

Once you have completed cutting both halves of the disc continue by sanding a filing the edges until the disc is smooth and round around the entire disc. About halfway through this process we began using a dremel in order to give the disc a smoother edge. Furthermore, by using the dremel we were able to create a channel on the inside of the discs to allow our electrical components to be stored.

Step 5: Cutting the Wood for the Stand

It is time to build the stand/structure that will house the the electronics, including arduous and power source, for our disc.

Start by getting you necessary plywood and cut it into five pieces with these dimensions using the band saw.

  • 4 x 8" x 2.5"
  • 1 x 8" x 8"

Once you have done that cut out some small 1" x 1" wood squares from some 1/2" material in order to use them to hold your nails when you build the stand. Furthermore cut out a slot out of the center of the top square piece in order to act as a support for the disc to be fit into.

Step 6:

Step 7: Nailing It In

Now that you cut the necessary material for your box it is time to construct your box. Since we will have to access the electronic components when completing the construction leave out your 8"x 8" piece for now.

Using a hammer and 3/4" nails as well as wood glue, begin to create your box by nailing in the scrap wood pieces a 1/4" lower than the top lip of the box in, so that the top lid of the box is flush with the sides. Continue nailing in the scrap wood pieces to each upper corner of the wood until you have built a box with no bottom or top.

Step 8: Completing Finishing Touches on Wood

Now that all the wooden pieces are now cut and sanded down to size, continue by painting both the box-stand and the discs black and insert a switch into the top of the box by drilling a hole and sliding the switch in. Make sure you fasten the switch into the board, in our instance we used hot glue.

Step 9: Soldering the Circuit

For this crucial part of the build, it is important that you determine the length of wire needed for every pair of LEDs before you begin soldering. The circuit consists of 10 5mm LEDs separated into 5 pairs with each pair connected in parallel to the others. Each pair of LEDs is put at equal intervals around the disc and fastened into place with tape or hot glue to make sure the components don't move out of place.

Each pair of LEDs is soldered together with varying lengths of wire depending on the placement of the LEDs around the disc in order to allow the wires to exit out of the channels created at the bottom of the disc. All the five pairs are then splice into a positive and negative solid wire which is then connected up to the switch and battery.

Step 10: In Conclusion

Overall, this project was a good project that introduced our group into the electronics unit. We especially liked how our project was a blend of woodworking and electrically circuitry which played upon all our strengths as a group of three. However, an important change to this project would be the materials because we initially started off deciding to using a 3-D Printer for a solid majority of our project. Sadly though, our parameters were changed forcing us halfway through the project to changed our material being used. Next time we would improve the base stand's aesthetics and size by making it smaller and built more sturdier. Furthermore, some of our LEDs were unable to light up so a major improvement of our circuitry would also be improved upon next time.

Step 11: Sources

This source helped us decide upon the basic circuit design needed as well as the possible resistors required in order for the circuit to not blow out the LEDs

Initially we decided to use an Arduino to add more flare to our disc. However, after troubleshooting for days, this source became obsolete however it did help us learn how to use Arduino to program LEDs in certain ways for patterned light work.

We initially decide to complete our project using 3-D Fabrication for a majority of our project and as such we needed to know how to finish 3-D printed objects to give our project a nice smooth surface. However, after our parameters changed a majority of our sources once again became obsolete.

Prototyping and Model Making for Product Design

This book helped us every time we were determining to change up our project in face of some challenges such as the change of materials or the change in deadline. We learned about the basics of prototyping and how certain materials and ways of design require more time, materials or skill