Introduction: How to Build Iron Mans Arc Reactor.

i have always loved iron man and when the first film came out i saw some "collectible props of the arc reactor" floating around on the web. they were great and i wanted to see if i could make one.

i had access to a laser cutter so i gave it a try.

this is how i made mine. its maybe not screen perfect or cannon but i like it and it was fun to make.

the second image is the main one i used to make my prop. its from

Step 1: Marterials and Tools.


1mm thick acrylic any colour as its will be sprayed but black is better.
3mm acrylic clear/white/glass green
2mm acrylic any colour as its will be sprayed but black is better.
1mm styrene
1mmx1mm styrene rod
1mmx2mm styrene flat bar
mirroed acrylic plastic. 3mm

some sort of wide mesh plastic of fabric.

fine copper wire.

electrical wire

white EL sheet and all accesories for battery power.
random electrical part from junk.

acrylic paints of all colours.

spray paints.

electrical tape (red)

glue.i use liquid solvent cement for acrylics but its pretty potent so be careful whe using it.


sand paper

i used a laser cutter for a lot of the work on this, but thats because i had access to one.

you can use online companies that will cut your files

you can do it by hand but the finish you get from a laser cutter is better.

Step 2: Plans and Cutting.

i got some images from the fint of all knowledge that is google and found some really nice large images so i took them into Illustrator and drew up some plans.

so when you have drawn up all the parts of the main reactor :

-the main ring
-the wire wrap bases
-the central oval hole ring
-the small rings in the center
-holding ring.
-(any parts you can think of that i missed or you want to add)

get them cut out in what ever means you have chosen to use.

-the main ring : green glass perspex acrylic.
-the wire wrap bases : 1mm perspex acrylic (any colour as these are sprayed, but if you can get black do)
-the central oval hole ring : 2mm perspex acrylic (any colour as these are sprayed, but if you can get black do)
-the small rings in the center : 2mm perspex acrylic (any colour as these are sprayed, but if you can get black do)
-holding ring. : 3mm perspex acrylic (any colour as these are sprayed, but if you can get black do)
-base : 3mm perspex acrylic (any colour as these are sprayed, but if you can get black do)

the wire wrap bases are made by having two sets of identical parts : the top and bottom and the two side parts. the side parts need to be bigenough to fit over the green glass coloured perspex ring and to hold the top and bottoms off the ring.

the two side parts are little N shapes lowwer case n or upside down u if you get what i mean :) 

Step 3: Construction Stage 1

take the four central rings and stick the 1mm x 1mm bar to them and make sure they are correctly spaced as per your plans.

extend the bar into the middle of the rings as they can be trimmed off later but they will also hold up the center mesh.

cut the central mesh into a small circle that will fit inside the smallest central ring.

take the 2mm x 1mm flat bar and cut three equal lengths and then heat with a flame or line bender or hair dryer (be careful using heat, it can burn) and bend them into a right angle then when they are cooled bend anothe right angle making a rough s shape.(see picture 3)
The height of the curve is small , only 2 to 3 mm high.

once all three have been glues onto the oval cut ring place the small central ring over them in the center and trim them to hold that ring in place. (see picture 5 for how this should look)

the wire supports are glued together now but only the two side parts and the top so they can be clipped over the green main ring but still can be removed. (see picture 4)

The holding ring is a two layer setup the top layer will be bigger then the central green ring with the wire bases on.
the bottom layer is the same outside size but the inside is smaller as to act as a base onto which the green ring and wire bases will sit.

Step 4: Painting and Constuction

Paint the oval cut ring assembly and all the parts of the wire bases and the holding ring with a white spray primer.

Then paint the oval cut ring assembly and the wire base parts a flat off black (very very dark grey)

the tripple center ring assembly should be painted a brass copper colour.

once all the parts have dried you can start adding the wire base parts to the Green ring.

place the wire bases onto the green ring equally spaced out. then you can put the bottom parts onto them to make complete.

see pic 5 and 6 for the wire base in progress.

Step 5: Wire Wrapping.

take the green ring with the wire wrap bases attached and begin to wrap the fine coppe wire round each base.

try to be as neat making sure the wires end up side by side not all over each other.

once all have been wraped you can see how it will look later on in the build.

Step 6: Lighting

Use the holding ring you have made and cut some "cuttable" EL sheet to the size of the inside of the lower layer so the EL sheet will sit inside the ring and light the whole rear of the arc. 

under the oval hole ring in my model i made a ring of the thin copper wire and wrapped a small section of red electrical tape at three or four intervals.

then glue all the parts into the holding ring and the base.

the wire from the EL sheet will come from the side of the prop.

Step 7: Rear Cage.

Originally i intended in stopping with the front pannel but then i thought i could make the rear cage to complete the prop off.

so draw up some plans that will make the rear cage.

two support rings one large one roughly the the same size as the holding.

i had ten slots for the cage sections to clip into and the smaller ring shows ten as well but it should actually have 20 as the smaller sections of the cage have to lock into that one aswell.

i cut two discs to finish the bottom of the cage. these were cut out of 1mm styrene.

you need 10 long supports and 10 half length supports. the half supports are the same as the long ones just with out the tp half.

assemble the cage. once it is all glued and the glue has dried spray the whole thing matte black.

cut a white disc that will be supported by the cage where it widens out. the disc has to be small enough to fit between the top supports and not too small to fall through the supports in the middle. (see the 5th picture.) 

Step 8:

make a small plug out of scraps of plastic. 2 3mm layers with 6 1mm holes cut in and thenspray it black and glue in 6 x 1mmx 4mm bits of wire for the prongs of the plug. take a white electric wire red electric wire and a black one and glue them into the rear of the plug and glue it inside the base of the cage.

in the third photo you can see that in the bottom of the cage i added some random electrical parts to make it look like the rear cage has some sort of purpose.

Step 9: Assembly of Main Prop Final.

when every thing is dry and the glue has set.

its time to put the two things together.

take the wire that is trailing from the el sheet and feed it through the upper section of the cage.

then stick the whole front pannel onto the cage.

Step 10: Base and Stand

when the main prop is finished you will need somewhere to hole the EL inverter and the battery.

make a box base where all that and a switch will fit.

then use a tube or pillar to run the cable from the inverter to the el sheet to power the lights of the prop.

then make a small cradle to hold the prop safely and also show it off.

make it out of the same colour as the cage or paint it the same colour.

Step 11: Finished!

now your arc reactor is finished and ready for display.

you can create a little plaque to go around your prop. i did and i copied the "proof that tony stark has a heart" from the film, but you can put your own name for a little fun.

this is a optional extra to the prop.

thank you for looking at my prop making instructable. any questions or comments fire away ing the comment section!


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