How to Build a Flux Capacitor

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Introduction: How to Build a Flux Capacitor

With just a few simple parts, you can build a flux capacitor that lights up!

for this project you will need the following

17x white or warm white 5mm leds

3x test tubes measuring 12 x 75 mm

3x sections of 1.5 mm2 mains arctic wire (yellow) 200mm long

3x 90mm long nails

555 timer led flasher, it looks somthing like this

6 push button switches or electrical terminal posts

12mm acrylic about 100x100mm

3mm acrylic window the size of your rebate.

18mm mdf 340 x 280

12mm mdf 231 x 110 (x2)

306 x 110 (x2)

228 x 280

3mm mdf 300 x 255

70 x 231 (x2)

70 x 276 (x2)

Step 1: Making the Door for the Box

I'm making the door from 18mm mdf so that when i put a pencil round on the edges it wraps around nicely and isn't far off from the box used in the real one, I first cut some mdf to 280x340mm

then take the mdf and mark about 45mm in from each edge creating a rectangle in the middle, then mark a 42mm radius on each corner and proceed to cut it all out, i used a jigsaw for this.

i cut a template out on my laser cutter with both a 42mm and a 25mm radius, I used the 25mm corner and clamped it on my wood and used a router with a flush cut bit to give me a nice rounded corner on all 4 edges (see pic 3 and 4 )

I then used a rebate router bit to router out a rebate in the opening we just made, i'm using some metal edging that measures 14mm wide so i need to make sure my rebate 14mm wide or close to that, the edging grips material upto 3mm so i need my rebate to be 15mm deep in the 18mm material to give me a 3mm edge left over.

Step 2: The Box

For the full dimensions of the box used in the film click HERE

first I cut some 12 mm mdf, I used 12 mm as it doesn't need to be as thick and it makes it lighter.

(12 mm) 2 @ 110 x 306

(12 mm) 2 @ 110 x 231

cut the parts out then assemble a box 4 sided box, your outside measurements should be 110 x 306 x 255 mm

this would be a good opportunity to use pocket hole screws but i don't have the attachment to use it for 12 mm material so i just glued and pinned it together.

I then cut some 70 mm wide strips of 3mm mdf and lined the inside to create a lip on which the back will rest on.

the size of the backing board will depend on how accurately you cut your box parts but aim to make it about 2 mm smaller than the opening.

I then sanded the edge flush, ready to receive the box front.

Step 3: Finishing Up the Box

At this point you can choose to either screw the front on, or add hinges and a latch, I chose to screw it for simplicity and to add extra strength to my box as had only used pins. before screwing it on i used a really small router bit on the 110 mm edges just to ease the sharp edge.

then after screwing the front on I used a large round over bit on the front edge i think it way maybe 12.7mm radius.

I then cut the backer board out and put 4 pocket holes in it.

I also cut a back panel out of 3mm material, 300 x 250 mm a bit smaller than the back just so its not as visible.

Step 4: Painting the Box!

first start by filling any pin holes with filler, then sand any edges smooth with 120g sandpaper, I then used a brush and roller to apply some waterbased acrylic primer/undercoat, after the first coat the edges will fur up so you need to go all around the edges and sand them smooth, 120g or higher is better, i also sanded the whole thing just taking off any high spots, this process is called de-nibing.

i then picked a suitable spray paint,i used Rust-oleum winter gray which i found here in the UK and turned out to be a nice match, other people have used battleship gray or RAL 7031,

I applied the first coat hardly covering it and then I went over with a couple of coats, if you want you can then go over with a spray lacquer to make the finish more durable.

Step 5: Adding the Window

I used some rubber metal edging that can be found on ebay, after cutting it too fit i then cut some clear 3mm acrylic and glued it to the edging on the inside with CA glue, this worked really well but make sure you make your window a bit smaller than your opening just so you can press it all down.

Step 6: Making the Solenoids

I first got a 90 mm pasloade nail, any nail will do but this worked out be perfect for it, i then got a 12 x 75 mm plastic test tube with a plastic push cap and cut the cap flush and then drilled a hole in the end of the tube, I then pushed a nail through the cap and through the hole in the test tube.

In the first solenoids i made a bracket that glued on like the original but i ended up not using it as i didn't have room for it inside and everything else was working alright.

I 3d printed my solenoids on my printer and i added a colour change at a layer hight in prusa slicer, this is so that I have a nice base white to paint and i can keep the plugs red.

I primed and then used some gold spray paint on the solenoids.

Step 7: The Light Bars

I cut out a square of 12 mm acrylic big enough to get 3 light bars from, I then sanded the flat face of acrylic enough for some gray primer to stick to it, this Is just so that the light from the leds are more projected through the edge of the acrylic which is what we want.

I then put the square back on the laser and cut out the 3 light bars, because 12 mm is quite thick for my laser i set the focal point to 6 mm and did multiple passes which works really well.

drilled 5 evenly spaced holes with a 5.5 mm drill bit which fits a 5mm white led perfectly.

I then soldered some wires onto 15 white leds.

Step 8: Mounting the Solenoids and Light Bars

I first centered the bottom light bar then i glued it down with hot glue, from that i could set out the other parts, at this point template would of been great however i lined it up by eye and it seem to work out okay, just keep measuring each side to try and keep things even.

I then masked of a line so i can then transfer the holes from the light bars onto the backing board and then I proceeded to drill the holes.

I also cut 3 sections of 1.5 mm2 arctic yellow cable which fits perfectly into the holes in the red caps and glued the end to the backer board.

Grab the test tube we made earlier and glue it to the solenoid with hot glue making sure its parallel with the light bars.

I also cut off the top of some push switches and fitted them to the solenoid, I used 2 on each solenoid.

Step 9: Adding Leds!

there are multiple ways of adding light to this, I decided to use 15 individually wired white leds. To control them i bough a simple led flasher kit from eBay that uses a 555 timer to create a chasing pattern, this is perfect for what we need.

I assembled the kit, normally 10 leds are used but instead i used 5 and wired up every other led on the board. i then wired a usb led to the power terminals on the board.

I wanted more light inside to light up the solenoids so I wired up two more leds, and hot glued them in place and then wired another usb lead onto it, i did it this way as i encountered some flickering of the two leds so i powered them from a separate lead with a dual usb wall adaptor. I then mounted the backer board inside and screwed it in place with pocket hole screws, I then fed the wires through a hole and screwed the 3mm board on the back.

Step 10: Finishing Up

I needed some labels, they are sold on ebay and are quite readily available, you can also get an old label punch machine, but I decided to buy a red on white engraving laminate and laser engrave and cut them out, to make clean up easier its best to peal the top protective coating off and wipe wd40 down to create a layer which then makes the residue easy to wipe right off.

all the files for this project can be found below

If there is any questions please don't hesitate to contact me or comment below.

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    12 Comments

    0
    CMoz
    CMoz

    1 hour ago

    Genius project! Love this so much!! Thanks for sharing.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    11 months ago

    Really great instructable. Amazing results!
    FYI - For you and anyone reading this - For the labels, it would have been much easier to use a dymo label maker (<$15 new on Amazon; search for "DYMO Embossing Label Maker"). I guess you refer to this as "old label punch machine". Using a Dymo machine would apparently be the same method for the labels as on the original. For background see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embossing_tape

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Tip 1 year ago

    This is great!
    There is also a series on Netflix called Movies that made us...has an ep on this.

    0
    dick55
    dick55

    1 year ago


    Would be nice to define "flux capacitor" because I forgot its fictional. Had to google it.

    0
    zs6ldt
    zs6ldt

    1 year ago

    Absolutely fantastic! Hats off!!..

    0
    kostya.bukarev
    kostya.bukarev

    1 year ago

    Let me guess... Back To The Future.

    0
    ChrisR296
    ChrisR296

    1 year ago

    Instructions unclear; I built this and woke up in 1901. Took me months to get back.

    0
    AntonioB127
    AntonioB127

    1 year ago

    What a great job!
    and What a great tutorial!
    Wich laser unit do you use? Model, Power?

    0
    travderose
    travderose

    1 year ago

    Well done! This is awesome!

    0
    AnniBot
    AnniBot

    1 year ago

    You are not gonna believe it, i was going to make the same project for this same contest!

    0
    Ronna Farley
    Ronna Farley

    1 year ago

    Looks a lot like the one in the movie! Pretty cool!!!!