Intro: Pocket Sized Iron Man Arc Reactor
UPDATE: now cast the outer ring with resin looks much better!!
After seeing all of the Marvel Films, Iron Man, The Avengers etc... i decided to attempt to make a small arc reactor which i could use for a costum party or something. so i began by taking measurement, drawing and modleing a few differnt materials. so here goes!
-aluminuim tubes( differnt diameters)
-Thin Insulated copper wire
-electritioans wire(red, black and blue/purple)
-clear 10mm plastic sheet
-black acrylic plastic
-black high density foam
-11 Blue SMLED's or EL Wire(0.5m)
-a Push switch
Tools you will need:
-drill with hole cutting drill bits
- measuring tape
Step 1: Cutting to Size
Depending on your size you may need to increase the diameter of the base or decrease it. For mine the diameter was 100mm across. using a compass half the diameter to get the radius and set your compass using a ruler. it should now be set at 50mm. place it on the wood and draw the circle in pencil. you can cut this out by free hand or using a circular drill bit. the circular drill bit cutts out a perfect circle so this is probably best. once it is cut sand all the edges and surfaces as this is the part touching you skin.
Step 2: The Lighting
Surface mount Light Emitting Diodes(SM LED's) were a great find on the internet. you can get them from store like Maplin or Rapid for as little as £0.11 a light! because they are so small they don't make the thickness of the Arc reactor much thicker. this helps keep it as small as possible. The SMLED's are very powerful. using the information of Rapid electronics i calculated how much current and voltage i needed for all eleven SMLED's.to save you working this out here it is: A nine volt Battery with 5 x 180ohm resistors and 1 x 330ohm resistor.
the resistors and the SMLED's come in a large enough casing for you to solder them by eye. but i recommend buying a solder with detachable heads so that you can also purchase a fine tip soldering head. This will allow you to be more accurate and look a lot neater than mine looks!
Before soldering the parts toghether mark out where each resistor and SMLED will go. to do this dived 360 by 10 as this is how many you need on the outside. this will give you 36. using a protractor mark every 36° with a line. and fine the center of the material. now using a small amount of super glue, glue all of the components down. for the first attempt i used a thin piece of wood but even this was to thick and when using a solder it burnt the wood a bit. so for the second attempt I used some thin acrylic plastic which was lighter and the glue set a lot better.
Once all of the components are glued down you can now measure how much wire you need between each one. cut all of the wire out and lay it down without soldering it just to check. after you give yourself the all clear begin to solder all of the wires to the components. remember to leave a long bit of wire sticking out so you can later attach the battery pack and switch.
if you can not solder or fine any SMLED's then you can always cheat by using and item called EL wire. This is thin wire that can be lit up to produce a large amount of light. you can also get it in lots of different colours. The EL wire also comes with a switch as well as a double setting switch so you can make it flash or just constantly stay on.
Step 3: Clear Plastic Rings
I have cut 3 clear plastic rings from a sheet of acrylic. These give the reactor height and enable the light to pass through and spread out. like a prism. for this I just measured the same measurements as the base plate and cut it out using a circular drill bit. File and sand them and polish them to get ride of any unwanted smudges. If you cut out three squares and then clamp them together it will make sure you cut out the same circle.
Step 4: Rapping the Copper Wire
the cooper wire seen on Tony Stark's Arc Reactor is probably the most defining feature apart form the ultra bright blueish light. the wire is actually a transformer which ups the power from the generator to make a super conducting magnet. this increases the yield of power produced by the generator which enables him to power his suit. Unfortunately I do not have enough time or money to make a working one. Probably because i am only 15 and am still sitting exams!!
Anyway.... again mark out where you wish to pu the wire. have less or more groups than mine i dont really mind as it is your project now. using a modle making drill drill a small hole through one of the clear plastic rings you have just made. now loop one end of the copper wire through the hole and drip a tiny bit of super glue on it and leave it to dry. now rap the rest of the wire around keeping it as tight as possible to keep the professional look. do the same on all of the sections until you fell there is enough wire on each one. to finish solder the end of the copper wire to the top of the rap around and leave to cool. try not to bend the wire when rapping it around as its is almost impossible to get the bends out as you can see in the picture below.
Step 5: Interior Design
The internal design had to be looked at for quite some time because if i had to much i would cover up the light and it would not shine through as much. I made a few templates and tested different materials to see how the light would show. I liked the templates a lot but i did not have a small enough saw as i am doing every thing by hand. if you have access to a CAM machine it would be really good as you could make so many designs like the ones i have made on paper.
As i couldn't do this I looked at using simple round shapes. this is where the tubing came in. select 3 difernt sizes of your choice for the inside of the circle and make sure they fit!. using a metal saw and a clamp, clamp the first tube into place and cut it to 10mm as this is the distance the plastic rings come out to if you have used the same methods as i have. cut all of them out and then file and sand them down, polish and buff them to make them extra shiny. being shiny means that they will be able to reflect more light from the SMLED's which is what we need. if you want you can cut them into little bits. this means you can take out segments of the circle reducing the weight of the whole Arc Reactor. The lighter it is the better as you wont feel it in your pocket when in transportation.
Step 6: Construction
Glueing the reactor together must be well done. if the glue smudges it may bend the light making it look odd. also making the appearance without the lights on look odd. before glueing you must drill four holes evenly spaced around all of the panels including the base panel. these must be in the same place on each panel. make sure there is a little room for the bolts to move around. now make a bigger hole in the base panel this is were the nut will sit so there is no obstruction when wearing the reactor. Now dab a small amount of araldite under each of the copper wire areas. don't put to much as it may seep out of the sides. do this under each panel under the area of the copper wire. this can be done by placing the bolts in then the glue then adding a layer then glue then the next layer and so on. once all of the pieces are done screw on a nut with a nylon thread using a spanner or a pair of pliers. leave the Reactor over night to make sure it is all dry and set. now lay some more araldite on to the plastic base of the reactor then lay the foam on the top of it. this does not necessarily need to be clamped but you can if you wish. once this layer of glue is dry use a Stanley knife to cut the foam into a circle.
Step 7: Final Touches
Measure the lenght from the centre of your chest to your pocket. i suggest for people who are right handed measure to your right pocket and the opposite if you are left handed. make sure you add a bit of extra lenght so the switch and the batteries do not slip out. with this measurement cut the three colours to the the length. the third wire does not connect to anything it is just there to look interesting. now clamp the ends into a vice and begin to twist them together. this will create a ridged length of wire that does not get bent or flex as easily. solder the black and red to the two wires sticking out that you left from earlier. using shrink rap or electrical tap rap up the soldered joints. You could use glue but it isn't as good and leaves a mess as it doesn't all stick. Solder the switch on the black wire and solder the battery pack on as well. cover these solders with hot glue.
Using a spare piece of copper wire I rapped it around a pencil to make a coil like spring sort of shape. this looked really cool so i have put it on the outer ring of the inner core. test and adjust different patterns and designs of your choice to see what they look like.
Using some old bendable plastic I cut out a stand much like the stand s you can buy for your iPod. the Arc reactor can now be placed on there for viewing or when you are not wearing it.
Step 8: Wearing It
The picture below is with the EL Wire as unfortunately I broke the base of the other one by using the wrong batteries! it lights up well in the day as well so the blue light is clearly visible to the audience, in darkness it is even brighter.
Many other Instructables showing you how to make one of these has a strap or a necklace that you wear to hook the Arc Reactor to. I thought it would be far better if somehow you could have it on your chest without using this strap system. I tested blue tak, white tak, and many other random things but the best was a clear sticky substance that you get when your new bank card is stuck to a letter or something. so i got a layer of that on the back. it stay on with out having to be touched for about half an hour when moving around etc but can be pressed down to reassure the grasp.
Annoyingly when you put it in your pocket the sticky stuff picks up all the fluff and little bits in your pocket so i vacuum formed a shallow cover that can just be taken off and put on when not using it. I am sure this will help keep it sticky for longer as well.