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Low Budget Flux Capacitor

A replica of the Flux Capacitor that makes time travel possible in Back to the Future. We built this for my son's school assembly. It took roughly a weekend to build and cost about £15.

To keep the cost down, most of the parts came from the Pound Shop. The most expensive part was the box, which cost £5 at Tesco. We later added a Pound Shop bike light, a couple of sheets of plastic and a few bits from my spares box for details. I cut the backing panel and the small angled strips that form the raised platform from plywood. The cables were lengths of mains flex fixed to the sauce dispenser caps using steel pins. After painting some of the parts, a quick test assembly looked promising.

I desoldered the white LEDs from the head lamp and connected them to lengths of wire. They fitted pretty neatly inside the bag seal tubes. I had planned to tint them yellow to match the colour of the lights in the film, but found that the yellow was visible when they were switched off, which didn't look as nice. I butchered the Pound Shop bike light and patched the white LEDs into appropriate parts of its flashing sequence to create quite a nice animated effect. I bypassed the bike light's switch with a momentary switch taken from the head lamp connected to a length of wire.

All that remained was the box itself. I cut the window out of the lid and also an access panel in the rear of the box to allow for changing batteries. I cut the gasket from a sheet of black plastic, and the window from a clear sheet and hot-glued them onto the box once it had been painted. The Flux Capacitor assembly then slotted neatly in and was screwed into place. The Dymo labels should really have been red, but in the interest of keeping the costs down I stuck with the black that came with the labeler.