In 2008 I needed a costume fast. I had a party to go to in a few days and I was at a loss as to what I should make. I was half way through moving and money and time were both in short supply. I built this passable version of the Arc Reactor from the film ‘Iron Man’ in about three hours. As I wasn’t going to take it out from under the shirt it didn’t need to be near film accurate, just look the part. Ah, the magic of Hollywood…. I got dozens of great complements about it from the various parties I went to…”
11 bright white LEDS (3.3 v @ 30 mA – running at 40 mA) that I bought from Jameco (I think it was from them, if not then some guy at the local swap meet). Great little LEDs, not so bright that your battery goes dead in an hour but bright enough to be seen. The base is a cut up polypropylene CD cover, notches taken out of the edges for the LEDS. Lets hear it for the nibbling tool! Black matboard with aluminum foil serves at both light baffle and as reflectors. Hot glue, lots of it. Like two sticks. Umm… 2 33 ohm resistors in parallel provide way too much current for the LEDS, but what the heck. Nothing burned out and it was mighty bright.
Diffusion provided by poster tube cap. This was hot glued to the polypropylene CD cover. A funny bit, the poster tube end cap propted this entire project. I saw it and thought it wold make a nice diffuser for something else. Kind of a micro non-tapping tap light. Never got anywhere with it but I did end up using it in the end.
Battery pack from an old project (provided 4.02 volts, I think I have a bad cell, should have been 4.2v) and a 20 year old switch taken from an project. The blue wire is old Ethernet cable, I was short of connecting wire so as you know, just about any bit of copper wire will do. It’s all tacked onto some Radio Shack perf board and bound up with tape and Velcro (have to be able to swap the batteries ya know).
The entire device is hung around my neck via a black shoe lace that is gaffer taped to the back of the polypropylene disc. The battery pack goes in my pocket andthe tshirt is your basic gray kind. All done. Simple but effective. Pretty good for three hours from initial concept to final build photo.
Like I said, it was a very popular costume. Made the guys with the glow in the dark Arc Reactor t-shirts look like pathetic posers. Hey, get a soldering iron and a hot glue gun if you want to be cool!