Another flux capacitor build...


New Member
" The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style? " - Doc Brown

A little bit of background first.
Nearly every weekend before Covid-19 came along you could find me sitting in a TV production truck outside some sports venue or another working the broadcast of various games for the networks. In March, just as college basketball tournaments were getting underway, everything came to a screeching halt. I, along with everyone else in televised sports was suddenly thrown out of work.
Fortunately, within a couple of weeks, I was called in by a production company that I do a lot of work for to help them renovate two of their production trucks. Over the months of April and May I was able to keep working and make enough money to keep the bills paid through the summer.
Okay, so what does that have to do with Back to the Future? Glad you asked! :) In all the years I've spent hanging out in the back of big trucks full of electronics, I keep thinking to myself, "I should really hang a flux capacitor in here somewhere and see if anybody notices..."
Well, the time has come!
I'm writing this preface to hopefully head off the purists who will point out that my flux capacitor is not completely "screen accurate". My intention with this project is to build a reasonable facsimile of the prop from the film without spending a ton of money. Most notably, I cheaped out on the enclosure, substituting an ABS electrical enclosure of the same approximate dimensions for the more expensive fiberglass one used in the film. I'm also going to use thermal print Dymo labels instead of the older embossed style because we used the same type of labels throughout the new equipment installation and I want to make this prop look like it belongs in this environment.
Anyhow, on with the photos....
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The coil assemblies for the Torr Relays are 3D printed. Files come courtesy of RPF member madmacs.
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Lots of sanding and filling and painting and sanding and filling and painting...
Test fitting things together. (I made a 3D printed tube to test the fit of the other parts while I waited for my acrylic parts to arrive)
The labels for the relays were provided by RPF member Valor of
I printed them on an inkjet printer onto some silver mailing address labels
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More test fitting...
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The internals all get mounted to a piece of 1/8" hardboard.
Warm white LED's illuminate the light blocks under the tubes. I also have some cool white LED's that will strobe for the "88MPH" effect. All the lighting is driven by an Arduino Nano with some transistors attached to handle the additional current of multiple LED's. The circuit will be powered by a 12V wall wart. I've mounted a circular 10 pin connector on the box which will allow connection to a wired remote control. (for now)

Finished prop photos coming soon. I'm just waiting on the gasket for the window in the front of the box so I can complete the build. :)


New Member
Got it done. Just in time for the first shoot with the newly redone truck.
Sorry for the ugly cell phone video, I didn't have my good camera along yesterday.
A little side note: When I went to print out the labels for the front of the enclosure, I found that I was out of tape for my label maker. I went to the office supply store in search of replacement label cartridges and they were sold out. However, for only $3 more than a pack of replacement cartridges, they had an embossing Dymo label maker with red and black tape, so I bought it and made the older style labels. Came out looking pretty good, I think.


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