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:



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    6 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Whoa. Just. Whoa.

    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.

    1 reply

    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.