The Rock VX Gas Canister Build

The Kaiser

HI there - I'm Will and I've been lurking on the site long enough that I felt I should finally post one of my own builds. My apologies up front if I neglect any standard forum posting conventions.

I just completed my VX canister prop from "The Rock" and I wanted to share some photos and info. First I want to give a shout out to RPF member Nitrox who shared some excellent photos from his work-in-progress build on an earlier thread and who was kind enough to answer some of my questions as I was getting started on my own version. You should check out his thread if you like this build: The Rock - VX Gas Build

Here is my finished "string of pearls" canister with the outer storage container.



The Build

String of Pearls

Materials: The balls are hollow 40mm blown glass beads that have two small openings. I found mine on AliExpress, but Nitrox mentioned he sourced his from Ebay. There are 5x strings for a total of 50 pearls. Like the screen used prop, the green goo is Banana Boat Aloe Gel. The spacers between each "pearl" are rubber grommets with wire rings in the middle, and connected by red magnet wire (the magnet wire is almost purely aesthetic).

Process: There were a giant pain and took way longer than I expected. I ended up trying five different approaches before I found something that worked well. The original prop has a tube running through the pearl strings, but my first plan was to epoxy them together and have a rigid column. This was a terrible idea and led to a number of broken pearls. I tried some small tubing as well, but ultimately chose to use monofilament fishing line. I used a large syringe to inject the gel into each pearl (it is quite satisfying to have a large syringe filled with green goo) The process I used required the pearls to be filled and sealed as they were threaded onto the strand, which was challenging. Over the course of making the pearl strings I believe I had about 12 break due to a combination of manufacturing defects, clumsiness and dumb mistakes. Unsurprisingly, thin glass spheres are pretty fragile, so I was very happy that I ordered quite a few extras.



After the string was completed, I soldered the magnet wire to each of the spacer rings. Soldering four wires to each of the 50 pearl spacers made me want to take up a different hobby.


After each string was completed I added the electrical connectors to the ends with epoxy and eventually tested hanging the strings after gathering enough courage. Then it was time to start on the canister




Materials: The "lid" of the canister is made from SmoothCast 300 resin, laser cut acrylic, and brass. The main body of the canister is PLA, aluminum rods, and acrylic. The center guidance chip pedestal is made from brass and PVC.

Process: I created a pretty mediocre 3D model of the canister from reference photos and printed some of the parts. Because the lid would have a decent amount of weight from the hanging pearl strings, I wanted to have that part be quite string, so I made a mold of the some of the printed parts and cast them in resin. I also used laser cut acrylic to help make things more durable.


The highly advanced electronics in the lid are just a cut down buck converter with some random wires soldered on to the PCB.


The main body of the canister is 3d printed, but to help with stability, I used aluminum rods for the uprights. The base of the canister is made from stacked 1/4" acrylic.

The center guidance chip pillar is made from brass pipe and the upper section is PVC with some grooves cut on the lathe. I wanted the guidance chip to be removable, so I made a little retention clip for the chip


The guidance chip itself is a decent stand in for the screen version



If folks are interested, I'll provide some details on the outer storage case, but essentially it is an old tank shell case, with a paint job.





It was a lot of work, but fun. I will say it is very satisfying to take the pearls out of the canister and hear the clacking of the glass. Anyway, thanks for looking at the project and my appreciation to the makers who have previously posted their versions of this prop. It has been great to have those for as reference and inspiration. If you are interested I have a few additional photos of the build on my instagram @aplancomestogether



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Sr Member
Wow. Why do I hear Mr. Cage saying "string of pearls?" Exceptional talent!

I love that you figured out the monofilament method because rigid just would not have been right. Out of the park. An stellar build !!!
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The Kaiser

Wow. Why do I hear Mr. Cage saying "string of pearls?" Exceptional talent!

I love that you figured out the monofilament method because rigid just would not have been right. Out of the park. An stellar build !!!
I ended up going with two separate monofilament lines just to have a bit of redundancy. Thank you for the very nice compliment!

The Kaiser

That's beautiful. I never realized the glass was so thin. Makes me nervous just thinking about moving it, let alone putting it together.
Thank you! They are quite thin, but I was the failure point most of the time. There was a lot of this kind of scene in my work area. Thankfully aloe gel it is less face-melty than in the movie.

The Kaiser

The rods are .25” aluminum. The visible part of the rod is 18.50”, but the they recess into both the base and the top section about .75” (so the overall length of my rods were 20”). Hope that helps!
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