I didn't have a lot of time to make a great Halloween costume this year so I figured I'd do something relatively simple that was still eye catching and cool. I wanted my Arc Reactor to look pretty realistic, but not necessarily 100% movie accurate, so it's kind of a cross between a MkI and MkII version. There are some things I'd change on the next version (andI'll point them out) but overall I'm pretty pleased with it.
The reactor is attached to an old heart rate monitor strap and it's powered by a 3 volt battery pack that just slips in my jeans pocket. It's light weight and is comfortable to wear for several hours at a time. In the photos below you can see how bright it is- it easily shines through my t-shirt under normal office lighting conditionsand is very bright at night.
Follow along and see how it's made.....
Update: see page six for the new style reactor!
image not found
step 1Tools and materials
There are a few necessary tools:
jeweler's saw (or some kind of saw to cut metal and plastic)
needle nose pliers
thin brass sheet
plastic sheet ( I used Delrin- you can buy Delrin and acrylic sheet from Colorado Plastics)
clear acrylic sheet
copper wire- 22ga and 24ga thickness solid wire
sheet metal- 22ga thickness (.025in or about .5mm thickness)
PCB (printed circuit board)- at least 4" square (Radio Shack sells some that measures around 4.5" x 6")
several small bolts - I used 10ea2.5mm bolts and 3ea 3mm bolts w/nuts
3 volt battery
11 ea NTE30027 surface mount LED's - I bought them from a local supplier but you can order them here: http://www.cablesandconnectors.com/30000-30.HTM
battery hook up wire
As an option for LEDs and making a circuit board you could use these instead-
I'll make specificnotes about the materials used and possible substitutes/workarounds on the specific construction pages.
Please note: be careful cutting sheet metal as the edges can be very sharp and it's pretty easy to cut yourself.
step 2Start with the backplate
The first thing I did was draw up a general plan so I could figure out how everything would fit together. The outer diameter of the Arc Reactor is 4",so if you print the plan photo to that scale it will give you a good guide and help you get everything lined up correctly. All the measurements used in the drawings are in inches and they are really just to be used as a guide- I really just eyeballed everything as I was making it. By no means are they meant to be exact measurements. The most important thing is getting the proportions correct soeverything will fit together during the final assembly.
The easiest way I found to cut out all the parts is to draw the patterns on paper and then glue the patterns to my sheet plastic or sheet metal using rubber cement and cut the patterns out with a jeweler's saw. Then file all the edges and smooth them with sandpaper.
So let's start by making the outer ring/backplate assembly. Begin bycutting a 4" diameter disc from PCB material. There are two copper traces cut (or etched) into this as well as a couple of solder pads on the center so you can solder down the LED's. There are 11 LED's- 10 for the clear ring and one for the center lens. The LED's I used are a surface mount type part# NTE 30027. Even though they are a surface mount component they are pretty easy to solder to the coppertraces.The LED's sit directly under a clear acrylic ring and they are spaced 36 degrees apart- just make sure they are all facing the same direction! I simply connected the LED copper traces to the center solder pads and then drilled two small holes and soldered some wires from the back of the board to go to my 3v battery.
Instead of having to make a circuit board and solder all the...