Intro: Pulsating Warp Engine
When you are in the middle of an experiment to reanimate the dead, or need to power up a time machine or force field (in case you manage to reanimate the dead), nothing beats near limitless potential of a Pulse Engine.
- Stack of CDs
- Foam core board (or whatever firm material you like to build projects with)
- Plastic card - you can also use an old CD case
- Wood craft pieces - From Michaels
- Marbles, ping pong balls, or whatever round shape suits your fancy for electrode condensers.
- Scrap wires - can be skipped depending on the look you are going for
- Small Piece of Wood for base - mine is part of a wooden shelf, about 8" x 8"
- LED chaser stick for car - was on clearance at Auto-Zone for $5
Also need some tools and paint:
- Glue gun
- Sculpey - in case you need to make spheres or other details
- Super glue
- X-acto knife
- Drill & drill bit sized to match diameter of LED stick for me it was 3/4"
- Craft paints - I used brown, turquoise, green, silver, and grey
- Run-n-Buff - bronze
Step 1: Making the Base
For the Base
I cut a wooden shelf so it was 8" x 8" and drilled a hole in the middle so I could put the LED stick in from underneath.
NOTE: You can avoid this step if you prefer the power cord runs out the back.
Decided a pentagon shape was a good look, so I drew out a circle on paper, and then inscribed a pentagon in it so all the angles lined up correctly. I cut out the template and used that to cut the foam coare board to the right shape.
I wanted the base to support the LED stick, so I hot glued several pieces together to get an appropriate height, in my case 2 inches. Then used the same drill to make a hole to match the base.
Looking back, I should have either drilled the hole all at once to make it cleaner, or drilled a hole for the cord only in the base.
I also cut out shapes from the plastic card for embellishments and also to make the sides of the pentagon.
Simply hot glued them into place and painted them afterwards.
You can see some individual pieces that fell off during one of my moves. Making it more sturdy, which is why I figured my rebuild would be a good instructible. :-)
Step 2: The Column
Building the Column
CDs are made of polycarbonate, which has the nice effect of acting like a light pipe for any light shown on it. This is why the LED stick will radiate light out of the stack, and the aluminum layer keeps the light from bleeding through.
I had a lot of junk CDs I wanted to find a use for, and so this project was born.
Stack the CDs. In my project, I had two different sized CDs (small ones were installation disks for flash drives and such).
The regular sized CDs I stacked 15 high, and the small ones I stacked 40 high. So, for this project, I used six stacks of standard CDs = 90, and 5 stacks of the smaller ones = 200. Yes, that is a lot of CDs, but better to reuse than throw them in the trash!
I glued my disks together, but you don't have to. If you are not going to be moving the piece around much once you are done, then just stacking them works perfectly. I ended up moving to a new place three times after I built this, so the disks shifted a little.
Even if they do shift, just press your fingers along the edges and it squares up again. Since I decided to take this to a convention or two I didn't want to fiddle with the stacks being out of alignment and also to make the whole thing more solid so it could handle being moved better.
NOTE: Choose your LED stick carefully! I discovered that the one I got flared out slightly at either end, I guess to fit into some kind of bracket or something. The result was that the ends were bigger than the spindle hole in the CDs. It was a bit tedious to run a drill bit through each stack of CDs to widen the hole and I did lose a few CDs due to cracking from the drill bit catching on them.
A smaller diameter LED stick would have eliminated this problem.
Step 3: Top Piece , Extra Bits, and Painting
Using the template for the base as a guide, I cut out some more foam core to make the top of the column. Just another pentagon shape that matched the base, and then made another pentagon one inch smaller. I should have made another template for the side pieces since they are just trapezoids, but I cheated.
I used the bottom pentagon to measure out the length of the bottom of the side piece, then did the same with the top piece after arbitrarily choosing one inch as the height of the side piece. Then I just connected the lines and cut them out.
After I glued the pieces to make a raised form, I grabbed the wooden bits to make the electrical condensers. The marble and wooden beads just weren't big enough spheres for the scale of this, so I used Sculpey to make balls and fit them to the wooden dowel shapes. It would have been better to roll up the right sizes and then drill them after baking so the balls didn't deform. Even still, the rough appearance of the balls adds to the old look of the item.
Then I hot glued the wooden pieces into the top piece, then painted everything (other than the wood base and CDs of course) with the brown paint as a base coat. I filled in corners with some black paint.
Next, Used the Rub-n-Buff to make the end on the condenser pieces look metallic and painted over the wooden bits with silver for contrast.
NOTE: I used brown first in case I missed a spot with the silver paint, then it would just look like rust instead of a piece of wood.
Finally, I used some watered down turquoise paint to simulate corrosion and patina. Then a little green dry brushed in a few spots and the weathering was done.
Step 4: Assembly and Final Effect
First I pushed LED stick into base, then stacked the CDs on the LED stick.
Then I topped with the condenser top and hot glued into place.
The piece is basically done, but I decided to add in some bunches of wires in the back to make it look like it was connected to other things, and also discovered that without the CDs glued together the whole thing was a bit wobbley, so I added a threaded metal rod to make sure the thing didn't fall over or break the LED stick.
To do that, I just drilled a small hole in the base for the threaded rod, and used a few nuts to attach the top piece to the threaded rod. Then the wires served the dual purpose of hiding the rod.