Arc Reactor prop build

Stripped most of the paint off and experimented some more.
The black+metalizer mix doesn’t really work - it continues getting darker as it cures further and completely kills the finish eventually.

Here’s a new attempt:

I’ve experimented with giving the edges more polish and adding some artificial marring to get it to look less uniform and more worn out.

Also added some scuffs to the mounting wings with a very coarse grit sandpaper:

Any better?

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Thing i’ve learned today…

NEVER EVER strip paint from resin parts by dipping them in acetone.
As it turns out, doing that causes thin features (i suspect they weren’t 100% cured either, as it happened only on some) to distort extremely rapidly and crack. It’s uncanny - one moment it was fine, and then in seconds, some very thin bits of the top casing bulged, distorted and cracked.

Lesson learned :smile:

Had to re-print the top casing (and modify the thickness of some parts to prevent further warpage/cracking). Then one of the coil forms cracked, so i had to repair that (methyl methacrylate glue seems to work nicely). Now waiting for it to cure fully, then it’s back to sanding again.

In the meantime…


Absolutely love it! Can’t wait to see the LED placement to light it all up!

Not too happy with the way the finish on the top casing turned out, but it’ll do for a first attempt…


That turned out really sharp! Are you going to add some LEDs?

Yup. Although i’ve hit yet another delay (decided to strip the paint and re-sand, had a lot of work so never got around to).

really fantastic. what might look kind of cool is to brush a thinned black paint into the ridges of the parts that are over the clear ring, and then wipe it off the top of the ridges, leaving a partially translucent black in the grooves.

very cool!

Ah, i’m actually planning on winding some transformer wire onto the “coils”.
I did make them “ridged” so they look like wire (actually, i’ve also painted them with metallic copper paint since the last photo) in case the plan fails, and to make it easier to wind (also to make any gaps between the wire not show the bare “coil form” underneath, but look like yet more wire).

That is looking fantastic. I love how OCD you are too since you keep stripping perfectly good looking parts to repaint :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Looking great though. can’t wait to see the finished product!

Hahahah, i’ve stripped the paint yet again.
As it turns out, Testors Metalizers are simply too fragile/sensitive for this particular application.

No matter how i prep the surface, it will rub off the very edges during buffing. Unless i roughen the surfaces up with sandpaper and apply really heavy coats, but then the finish doesn’t look convincing.

So i’ve decided to try and hit it with Alclad instead. It won’t look as good (Alclad’s more sensitive to surface irregularities and i haven’t quite sanded/polished everything up perfectly), but it should be more durable.

I’ll let the glossy black enamel base dry for a day or two, then blast it with Polished Aluminium Alclad probably.

In the meantime, i’ve done some tests with Neopixels and the printed transparent parts, and the effect is… Not that good. Turns out the clear resin has quite a bit of chromatic aberration and has a pronounced scatter in the blue part of the spectrum (looks like a colloid). This has the effect of accentuating the individual dies (RGB) a Neopixel is composed of - the actual primary colors end up even more visible (when observed through the printed ring and diffusor) than by naked eye.

I’m going to try and diffuse the Neopixels with sandpaper and hotglue, maybe that’ll do the trick. If not, i’ll switch to cold (outer ring) and warm (inner ring) white LEDs.

Yeah I think you’re just running into the limitations of 3d printied clear resins. I mean I’m sure you are definitely aware of that and I think thats the fun of this project for you as well as the challenge but sadly they just can’t compete with traditional 2 part epoxy resins and molds for clarity.

Fully aware of the limitations, just wanted to see how far it can go :smile:

Didn’t have much time to finish painting the casing (crunch time at work), but hooked up some Neopixels to an Arduino and played around a bit with them. This is what i whipped up as the boot-up animation + the (subtly flickery) steady state:


Its beautiful :cry:

Any advice for someone who wants to play with an Arduino for the first time?

So awesome

Just follow other people’s examples and tutorials. Easiest way to get into programming anything (or, actually, into anything in general) is by tweaking and reverse engineering existing stuff.



At this rate you’ll end up with a WORKING arc reactor :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Fantastic work.

Really cool Ante!
Is that just a weird reflection or why is one copper painted transformer part looking different than the others?

Ah, no, that one has had actual wire wrapped on it.
I’m trying to find a wire diameter that looks okay, but isn’t too much of a hassle to wind, this was a test with 0.5mm magnet wire.

In other news - i stripped the paint yet again :smile:
But just the clear-coat off the transparent ring. I was testing using Mig AMMO Crystal Glass to give the bottom of the ring a blue tint. It’s a transparent acrylic paint used for tinting windows, periscopes etc. on armored vehicle models.

The result was… less than pleasing, LOL. In short, it tends to pool like a wash (haven’t tried with an airbrush) and is very uneven on big surfaces. And worst of all - despite being billed as “water-washable”, if you leave it on a few hours, there’s absolutely no way to get it off without stripping the whole clear coat along with it. Seems to bond with enamel coat, despite being an acrylic paint.