Infinity Mirror - Tony Stark Arc-Reactor Thing





Introduction: Infinity Mirror - Tony Stark Arc-Reactor Thing

I'm creating a robot, but am finding that it's better if I break the build down into smaller projects. This is one of those projects, and it seems to have a look that could be used for other things as well.

Step 1: Destroy a Lady's Compact Mirror.

I took the mirrors out of their plastic housing and used a dremel buffing attachment to buff the silver off the magnifying mirror. This was a horribly tedious task, and was really difficult to keep from chipping the glass. It took about an hour or so to remove the enamel paint and silver coating from the back of the mirror.

In the future if I ever decide to do this type of thing again, I may invest in a dental lathe with proper buffing attachments.

After the silver coating was off and the glass was perfectly smooth, I added some automotive mirror finish window tint, effectively making a 2 way mirror.

Step 2: Cast a Separator Ring

In this step I created the plastic ring that separates the two mirrors and houses the peripheral lights that will illuminate the interior of the Infinity Mirror. First I sculpted the ring out of mineral oil based modeling clay. Make sure you don't use plasticine or sulfer clay as the sulfer interferes with the epoxy's reaction and will prevent it from setting up properly.

Then I screwed up and made a plaster mold of the clay ring. This was a screw up because plaster is very porous and the epoxy will stick to it like nobody's business. I also used old epoxy I had laying around since the summer and the reaction went badly, turning into a kind of foamy plastic as it cured. 

After kicking myself for not thinking the process through properly, and cleaning the gummy crappy foam rubber cast from the plaster, I recast a silicone ring to take the place of the clay one I destroyed when I made the plaster cast. 

Using a lot of mold release on the silicone ring I then made a mold of the ring using flexible silicone body-double from SmoothOn. I then used some fresh epoxy and cast a translucent plastic separator ring. It was a thing of beauty.

Where do I get epoxy, silicone and sculptural supplies?

Step 3: Introduction to ShiftBrites

Now, I want the infinity mirror to be able to change colour according to mood, so, I needed some multicoloured LEDs to do the job. I suppose I could have used just the LEDs, the Arduino and some custom code, but the ShiftBrites are really cool looking, and offer a level of control that would have been difficult to achieve just using the Arduino. Using a custom Arduino library written by Ashley Hughes, I managed to get the ShiftBrites working.

Each ShiftBrite assembly contains a little microprocessor that allows you to address any of the lights in a serial string containing as many lights as you want, using only a few input pins on the Arduino. Not only will this allow different colors, but also different lighting patterns, different flashing and strobing effects and all sorts of cool stuff.

Ashley Hughes ShiftBrite arduino library:

Where do I buy ShiftBrites?

You want Arduinos?

How do you program for Arduino?

Step 4: ShiftBrite Code & Really Rough Prototype

This one is fairly in-depth, but it's all covered in the video. Enjoy!

Step 5: Final Assembly!



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    20 Discussions

    This is awesome but if you didn't want a mood changing thing going could you have just wired up a ring of LEDs to a switch and battery for the same effect?

    1 reply

    Yup! The trick was to get a convincing 'performance' out of the robot. It's actually an animatronic puppet, so the colours need to be dynamic according to the dialogue and robot's movements.

    From the start of this part of the project, I didn't think the eye-build would be as complex as it ended up being.

    What really puts the icing on the cake is that you actually kind of LOOK like Robert Downey JR.........


    You have similar problem with metal in your blood?

    1. state the purpose/utilitiy of the project upfront. I have no clue what this is supposed to do
    2. if the mirror is glass - and I think it is - see if you can use chemicals/solvents to remove the mirror backing, better still just buy an item named watch glass from a scientific supply house. A watch glass is a concave dish of transparent glass.

    5 replies

    1. It's just supposed to look cool. Use it for whatever is appropriate. I'm using it for an emotive EYE in a robot. But it could also be used as an Arc-Reactor prop for cosplay, or a Borg type head attachment, etc...

    2-a. I'm not sure which solvents would eat through enamel mirror paint.

    2-b. The idea was to use cheap parts and whatever I had on hand to create something cool. The watch crystal would be a nice touch though. I might use that in version two, right now everything is just a proof of concept.

    To remove enamel paint, buy some 100% acetone at the local beauty supply place, you know, the stuff you use to remove fingernail polish. Then use denatured alcohol to remove the acetone and clean the glass.

    You could probably use cellulose thinners from the automotive shop, it'd be a lot cheaper than acetone from a beauty parlour

    What a cool project. As for a purpose, take a look at Kuryakn motorcycle parts. They sell an infinity LED timing cover and air intake cover that use this same basic idea. The 3D effect on these units are amazing and sell for several hundred dollars. Not sure if your LEDs give the same effect but they look as if they do. Nice work.

    Use paint stripper from the hardware store to remove the paint and reflective coating. I used to refinish furniture and you always have to be careful not to get stripper on the mirrors, lest you ruin them. I know I learned the hard way

    1 reply

    It just looks cool. It's actually for an emotive eye effect on a robot I'm building. Green is for happy, red is for DESTROY-DESTROY! That kind of thing. ;)