Hey everybody, this is a project I did a few months ago and thought I would share a "how-to". I've noticed in the prop/gaming world, people are always fascinated by the glowing, irradiated Nuka Cola Quantum from the Fallout game series, myself included. When I went to make this one there wasn't much about making a glowing Quantum that didn't involve and old Coke bottle and tonic water that glows under a black light, which for some isn't an ideal prop to have on display, plain LEDs can give a similar look and are easier to deal with assuming you have some soldering capabilities. This is a bit on the more complicated side of a DIY project, but most of the skills I used in this build were skills I learned to do this project, the resources on each of these methods are readily available online. The glory of the internet! Enjoy!
Step 1: Step 1: Materials!
I don't have a fancy photo layer out of the materials you'll need because most of the materials vary based on what's available to you. I'm sure there are better brands and makes of these materials to make this a cleaner job that I did, so below you'll find the list of general materials:
- Four 3v white LED's
- Electronics wire
- 3V coin battery
- Coin battery holder
- 2-way switch
- Shrink tubing
- Soldering Iron with solder (for electronics)
- Inkjet printer capable of printing on adhesive paper
- Vector drawing program
- 3D modeling program capable of exporting STL
- 3D printer/access to a 3D Printer
- XTC 3D or another clear epoxy
- Preferably an airbrush
- Translucent paints
The 3D printing step is where I can see a lot of people sighing and leaving this build already, but fear not! If you don't have a 3D printer, there are plenty of 3D printing websites where people will print pieces for you and some of them can be fairly cheap based on your area! I typically recommend 3D Hubs, that's what I used before I had 3D printer. You'll also need to be able to do some basic 3D modeling, but that's easy to learn and this isn't a complicated model.
Step 2: Step 2: 3D Modeling
If you already have some experience 3D modeling, great! If not you may have to look for some resources on basic modeling skills. You would need almost a whole Instructable itself to learn the basics of 3D modeling, so for the purposes of streamlining this build I'll leave that to you. You'll also need a program to model in, I recommend 123d Design by Autodesk, it's free and easy to learn!
I used Fusion 360 for my model. The specifics of the model are again dependent on what you want. I went with the newer version of the bottle from Fallout 4, however some prefer the version from the previous Fallout titles. Which ever you go with the main features for the glowing effect are that the model is hollow and the outer walls are only about 4-6mm thick, and the bottle can be separated at the area where the label goes. I did this by modeling the bottom half with an offset rim, then copying the bottom and subtracting it from the top half leaving perfect spot for the two to friction fit together. This is so you have access to the internals and the battery when it need replaced. Also be sure to model a spot for whichever type of switch you have. Ultimately, the final design is up to you, so long as the walls are thin enough and you can split the model after it's printed this should still work.
Step 3: Step 3: Printing
Next you'll need to get these pieces printed out. If you own 3D printer, then great, get some clear filament of your choice and get to it! if not you'll have to look for someone/somewhere to get your model printed from. As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of websites that do just that, I used 3D hubs before I had a 3D printer. Where ever you choose to get your model printed just be sure to get it printed in at least 200 microns resolution and get it printed in a clear filament.
It's important to note that the goal isn't to end up with a crystal clear bottle, it just needs to be clear enough for light the pass through.
Step 4: Step 4: Finishing
This is probably the most arduous part of the build, the finishing. You'll want to start by sanding each bottle piece as thoroughly as possible. When you think you can't sand any more, you'll wan tot pick up a clear epoxy to coat the pieces in. The best thing to use is XTC 3D, as it's made for smoothing 3D printed pieces, but it can be a bit pricey so theoretically any epoxy should do, but be sure to read the labels before using just to be sure! I tinted mine as I was testing that for the final color, however it was too clear and showed the print lines, so theres no need to tint the epoxy. You'll want to do a few coats of this with more sanding in between until you end up with a nice and smooth Nuka Cola bottle!
Step 5: Step 5: Paint
The net step is one of the most fulfilling, paint! For best results, use an airbrush, however you can use and method of paint you prefer, so long at the paint is somewhat translucent. I used Createx detail white and blue. the idea is to start with a base coast of frosty to translucent white to hide the shadows left by the print lines, then start adding diluted coast of your choice of blue until you reach the shade you desire. I went a little too heavy with the blue and ended up with a darker blue than preferred. Also be sure to test the paint after each coat by lighting an led and dropping it in the bottle, then closing it. This'll make sure you're happy with the glow before you do all the wiring. Then weather the bottle with your choice of paint and you're almost done! Just be sure to seal that paint job with a clear paint, normal rattle can paint will work just fine, just be sure to test your paints in a piece of scrap material to make sure they can be used together!
Step 6: Step 6: Wiring
This is another step that may require some outside knowledge. The idea is to wire up four LED's, two in the top and two in the bottom to spread the light evenly. Had I documented/planned this better, I would've had a wiring diagram, but I didn't so we'll have to make do. The basic idea is to solder a wire from the positive end of the battery holder to the two way switch, then split into four separate wires that go to the hot end of each LED. Then solder a wire from each LED together and back to the negative end of the battery holder. Be sure to cover end solder connection with heat shrink tubing. The specific outlay of this circuit and it's placement in the bottle can differ, I'm sure someone could do a much better job than I did, I simply mounted everything on a wooden dowel glued to the inside of the bottle. Also you'll want to make sure the circuit is hidden in the area where the label will go, and that you can access the battery.
Step 7: Step 7: Label and Finish!
The last touch you'll want is the label! You can easily make one at home by using a vector drawing program to redraw the label. Using photos from the game or online for reference, you can redraw the label shapes and texts, then color them to best match the in game label. You'll also want to make template for the shape of the label by applying masking tape over the area where the label will go, then sketching the outline of the label. Peel this off and set in on some white paper, then either scan it or take straight down photo of the template and import that into your vector drawing program. I used Inkscape, which can be difficult to learn at times but is completely free.
When you're happy with the label you've drawn you'll want to printer is on adhesive paper. If you're using an inkjet printer, be very careful with the label until you apply it and seal it with clear paint to seal the ink, the oils form you skin can wipe off ink! Once it's sealed you can weather the label and call it a day!