This instructable will show you how to make your own arc reactor
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Resistors 180R and 330R
Red and black wire twisted into a length
9V battery clip
An old DVD case
Hot Glue Gun
Needle nose pliers
Wire Cutters, side cutting
Step 2: Wooden Disks
The LED's for the arc reactor are hand soldered to a wooden disk. This forms the base for the whole reactor. I've looked at PCB's and other materials instead of the 4mm ply but this comes in at the cheapest base cost and with a bit of practice you can hand wire and solder the LED's in 45 minutes.
To make nice round disks I use a wood router. The routers tend to come with an attachement for making circles but these only work for larger type circles so some lateral thinking is required. Instead of holding the wood and turning the router we can hold the router and turn the wood.
Affix a flat piece of wood to the router plate.
Place a bolt through the wood at the desired radius from the router bit, this will be the centre of the circle.
Drill a hole through the ply at the centre of the desired circle, the same size as the bolt.
Slowly lower the wood down over the bolt until the router has cut a hole through the wood.
Rotate the wood through 360 degrees, being careful not to run your fingers through the router bit.
Repeat as many times as needed, I tend to do 10-20 in one sitting.
Photos to follow tomorrow when it become daylight outside again.
Step 3: Wiring the LED's
Once you have the wooden disks it's time to begin wiring the LED's. You'll need some good pliers and cutters, one wooden disk, the LED's and resistors and a large blob
of blue tack.
Take the surface mount led's and cut the right number off the end of the packing. Turnthis upside down over the blue tack and slowly peel the cover off from under it.
This will leave your LED's all neatly lined up on the blue tack. Push the gently down before they all start to move.
Tin the pads of the surface mount LED's. Apply just a small amount of solder to each of the legs of the LED.
Next line the surface mount resistors up to the LED's, press them lightly into the blue tack too. Heat up the pad that you want to attach the LED to and gently push the
resistor towards it. This will ensure the resistors are attached firmly to the LED.
Using the template you'll read about in the next step, place it over the wooden disk and use it to mark the desired locations of all the LED's. The central LED will be
placed over the bolt hole.
Warm up the glue gun. Use a very small spot of glue to hold each LED in place on the disk. Don't worry too much about accuracy because when you solder the LED the
glue will melt and give you a chance to realign it.
Strip the end of the kynar wire while it is still on the roll. Hold it up to the desired gap on the board and cut a piece to the desired length. Hold the wire with the pliers
(usually a small length) and strip the other end of the wire.
Now when you dab the wire and LED pad with the soldering iron, the solder already on the pad should melt and the two will stick in the desired place, don't forget the glue
melts though so be careful not to nudge the LED before it sets again.
Imagine the wiring as a spiral, there are 8 LED pairs, each pair connected with a 180 Ohm resistor.
Apologies for the arc reactor with Green LED's, next time I make a white one I'll update the photos
Step 4: The Front Panel Details
Start with a template for the desired shape of the details. This is a little easier for you as I have provided one in the images below. Print this detail and cut out the bits that are not required.
Take the DVD case, preferable black, and remove the cover. This should give you a nice flat surface from the front of the case.
Draw round the template, and mark the front of the case, with a pencil
I chose to cut the shape out roughly at this point so that the plastic would lie completely flat on the cutting board.
Using a very sharp scapel (new blade) cut the template details out from the plastic, until you are left with a circle of the deisred size. Make sure that it fits into your polymorph mould (see next step).
Step 5: Polymorph Moulding
The previous arc reactor had a mould that pretty much disintegrated when the polymorph was removed from it. This is obviously no good for making multiple disks so I needed a sturdier solution.
Using the 4mm ply I made the wooden disks from I fashioned new mold. The polymorph should be 12mm deep so the mould is made up of 4 layers (the bottom one doesnt have a hole in it).
Cut 4 pieces of ply all the same size. Line them up one on top of the other and drill holes in all 4 corners, put a bolt through the top 3 pieces to hold them all in place. Using a hole saw, or the router again, cut a hole through those three pieces. This ensures that all the holes line up with each other.
Assemble the mould and place the plastic details in the bottom. Calculate the amount of plastic needed by filling the mould up with granules. be sure to pile the mould high to account for the gaps between the granules.
Heat up the polymorph using hot water from the kettle, you need to work the polymorph a little to ensure all the grains are stuck together and there are no fold lines left in the plastic.
Squeeze the polymorph over a sink because there will still be water left between the granules (which will be hot too)
Push the polymorph into the mould working it right down onto the detail. and once it is looking smooth and is right up to the edges then place the LED disk down on top of it.
Slowly depress the LED disk into the polymorph, it will give but it is a slow process. As the polymorph cools you can release it from the mold and take the opportunity to gently fold the edges over the disk. this holds the disk firmly in place.