DIY Iron Man Mk. 1 Arc Reactor (Done Super Cheaply, of Course...)

Introduction: DIY Iron Man Mk. 1 Arc Reactor (Done Super Cheaply, of Course...)

About: Maker, adventurer, aerospace enthusiast. Digital fabrication evangelist.

Here's my own take on building an Iron Man Arc Reactor prop. It is by no means dimensionally accurate, but I tried to stay true to the look and feel of the original movie prop.

As is typical with my builds, I shunned spending money on anything but tools. This was made from scratch with nothing but love (or insanity) and elbow grease. I really don't think buying plumbing parts or hacking a tap/puck light is nearly as cool as crafting every last piece. Total cost of materials for this should be under $10 if you creatively recycle and plan ahead.

I started this project over 2 years ago but forgot about it through my senior year and first year of grad school. I got really bored recently, and with my own apartment (and work space) decided to stop being a slacker and start putting my tools where my mouth was.

If you want me to do a show-and-tell video, as well as explain some of the finer details of my arc reactor, let me know in the comments below. I should have a blog post about this project in a couple of days... /weeks... however, so check up on at some point for the goods.

Music used: The Land of the Wizard by

UPDATE: I have a video of me wearing this to illustrate how it looks -->

Double Update: Instructional Video Companion Post that includes more information than I could fit into the annotations here:

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Halloween Props  Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest

Make It Glow

Participated in the
Make It Glow

Be the First to Share


    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    6 Discussions


    7 years ago

    Whoa. Just. Whoa.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I should probably have included it here, instead of just on my blog post. Whoops.
    Here you go:
    Acrylic Sheet, 1/2" Thick
    Copper Wire (magnet wire @ radioshack)
    1/16" Square Wire (For random decoration, optional. Just improvise otherwise.)
    Scrap wood, plastic (for spacers. I used popsicle sticks since they're thin and have a consistent thickness...)
    Clear plastic dividers from a CD spindle (but any rigid plastic sheet would work)
    White LEDs (they'll take on a blueish tint in-camera, as is)
    Wire (stranded or solid is fine)
    Nylon Straps, 1" wide + Triglides & Buckles (available at craft stores or Amazon)
    Paper (to fake the features I couldn't make...)
    Steel grill/mesh (mine was from an old speaker)
    Duct tape, crazy glue...
    Foam tape (as a sort of adhesive filler material for imperfect surfaces)

    Did you ever do a post telling us how to make this? I love a good step-by-step, as a cosplayer, and this is a really clever way to make it! Please, if you have the time and all, I'd LOVE to see a full post explaining the steps.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I never did get around to making a proper full-on tutorial post, but at the request of someone on YouTube I did make a blog post that's quite a bit more detailed than the video annotations I put up.

    If you have any specific questions, do feel free to ask. I enjoy sharing, and love seeing other peoples creativity.