Monthly Archives: April 2016

Final Project…For Now

I’m officially as done with this project as I can be before the due date. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to wrap all of the exposed wires with electrical tape so I don’t get any shorts, which is why the blue color looks a little too green at the moment. I also didn’t have time to cut out a hole or slot or something for the wires to come out of so they are sticking out of one of the holes in the coils on the top. However, I have decided to print out another diffusor that is the same size as the bigger casing and coils that I had to print to fit this monster together and move the RGB LEDs to the bigger set of pieces that I printed. If I end up implementing this, then I will need to re-solder everything and can tape it up and cut out proper holes when I’m done with that process. I would then be able to put plain white or blue LEDs, or maybe both, in the smaller set of pieces that I originally printed out and have one Iron Man arc reactor that can change colors and be really cool and another Iron Man arc reactor for wearing as a Halloween costume eventually.

Here is the latest and greatest video of this thing put together and flashing according to the code that I uploaded to my arduino board:

Overall, I really enjoyed working on this project, even though it was extremely tedious, and am pleased with the output. Even though it’s not perfect, yet, I love it so much and am proud of myself for accomplishing this hefty task while on a time limit. I can’t wait to keep working on it over the summer and will try to keep you guys updated on how things are going, even though it is no longer a requirement for a class.

Soldering Part 2

I finally completed the massive amount of soldering for this project. I decided that the best way to connect each group of 3 RGB LEDs was to make 28 small wires, 4 for each connection, and solder them from one group of 3 to the other. This task was extremely tedious because I had to cut the wires to the right size, then strip both ends off of each individual wire, then solder it to the correct groups. Here is a picture of how I connected each group of 3 RGB LEDs.

Soldering Wires

I tested them as I soldered another group to the end to find any shorts in my circuit. I eventually got to the end and tested it out.

All Green All Red All Blue 

Once I was done with the final test, I soldered some breadboard wires to the end of the last group so I can run them out to my arduino board.


Once I uploaded my new code to my arduino board, the RGB LEDs light up blue then flash red in a heartbeat pattern.

My only two problems left are I have a small short in my circuit that causes the red to glow only when the wire is in a specific position and the casing is now too small for my diffusor with all of the extra wires I had to add to connect the RGB LEDs. I will be printing new casing and coils to hold the diffusor and the wires and checking out that short soon.

Soldering Part 1

So this week I started soldering the LEDs together. I began by placing them in the holes around the outside of the diffusor. I then oriented all of the LEDs in the same direction so I could make sure I would solder the ground prong on one LED to the ground prong on the LED next to it, and the same idea for the red, green, and blue prongs as well. I bent the LEDs prongs to the shape that they would be soldered in to fit into the casing.

Ready for Soldering

I then began soldering them together prong-by-prong and LED-by-LED. I decided to solder them in groups of three because the LEDs prongs in one group of three aren’t long enough to reach the group of three next to it.

Soldering Set-up

So, because I need 24 LEDs to light up this arc reactor, I needed eight groups of three LEDs. Soldering these LEDs together, with four prongs per LED was a huge affair that took around 2 hours to complete.

Group Positioning 

I tested each group of three LEDs as I finished soldering them with a coin cell battery to make sure I didn’t have a short in the circuit and to test out the solder joints. Once I got all eight groups of three LEDs soldered and glowing, I placed them into the diffusor and placed the diffusor into the casing. It’s a tight fit but hey, at least it’s in there.

Full in Circle  Full in Casing

The next step is to connect the eight groups of three LEDs to each other somehow, tape everything up with electrical tape, and run wires out to my arduino board to light it up.

3D Printing an Arc Reactor

I finally got everything for my Iron Man Arc Reactor printed out. It only took me a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to print 5 hours and 15 minutes worth of printing. I started with the smallest piece called the core.

The Core 1

The core took 15 minutes to print and is very small. I printed the diffusor next with my special clear white filament.

The Diffuser 1

This print took 2 hours and 30 minutes to print. Luckily I had the Think Lab all to myself when I was printing and was able to print the last two pieces in the other printer while the diffusor was printing. I printed the coils next.

The Coils 1

The coils took 1 hour to print. I then started printing the casing, which was the last piece I needed to print. I tried printing the casing twice but both times the filament wasn’t coming out of the extruder. I then found a clog in the extruder and had to take it out before I could try re-printing it.

The Casing 1

The casing printed on the third try and took 1 hour and 30 minutes to print.

All Pieces 1 All Pieces 2

Now that I have all of my pieces printed I can start putting LEDs in the diffusor, soldering them together. and making sure they can light-up.