Ghostbusters Proton pack build
Ghostbusters Pack build
After building the ghost trap a few years ago, I wanted to build the proton pack. But knowing this was a big job and having a son who wanted a full sized Tardis (See my Tardis build hub) I had to put the project on hold. Still building a Tardis was fun and it looks great in the back yard.
Then things changed after Both Julie my partner, Isacc and I went to a comic con in Newcastle. We dressed up and had a great day, but while we were there we saw a group who worked for a charity dressed as Ghostbusters. Isacc and I both loved the idea with Isacc loving the cartoon and myself being a big fan since I was a kid. So this got me thinking...
Once we were home I had mentioned the props they had used saying that with the plans I could make a copy of the film pack. Isacc my son thought his was a great idea eagerly asking me if I could also make him a pack as well, so he could be a Ghostbuster for next Halloween.
Of course I said yes, if I was going to build one pack I would make him a pack as well. Isacc being just six at the time jump up and shouted yes with joy while I could see thoughts of ghost busting running through his mind. Now all I had to do was work out how I was going to do this task and if I could even build not just one pack, but two on a very small budget.
Just a few days later Isacc had now begun to ask me when I was going to start building the packs. I knew Christmas was just around the corner and that I needed materials so I could start. So I said that I would begin the project in the New Year. This gave me some time to sort out the plans, which I downloaded from the internet before I began the task of gathering materials so I could begin.
I knew I still had some wood, plastic and other odds and ends left over from other past projects, so I found out what I could use and began to collect them together while I worked on my writing and covers for my ebooks.
Christmas came and left and after a fun festive holiday the New Year quickly came in. Now I knew this was going to be a big job so I began the project very early in January. I have added some pictures so you can see what I mean and the process of the construction of these packs.
The proton guns
First I began with the Proton guns, I figured that these would be easier to store until the pack were finished. Looking at the plans the best place to start was with the gun box, and main barrel and handle tubing. I constructed the base of the gun box from wood and decided to use copper piping for the handle and barrel. Now I had the wood already and after speaking to a plumber I managed to pick up some copper piping off cuts for free (28mm width) I cut the piping to size following the most detailed plans I could find and quickly ran into my first problem. Cutting two holes in each gun box, this could have been expensive but I found the drill bit I needed in the pound shop, believe it or not. Saving me about £15 off of my budget, which I knew I would need later.
After fitting the two main tubes to the gun box I started work on the hand grips. I carved these out of wood using a Stanley knife. This took some time having to make not just two hand grips but four, two for each gun before I then glued them to the main gun tubing.
My next job was to build the gun runs; these are the base plates that I would later fix the metal gun clips to so they could be attached to the packs. I made these out of clear plastic and finished the detailing with wood. Again these were fitted to the base work on each gun.
Now I knew I needed to work on the wiring for the guns, but before I did I continued to build the many other small details, heat plates, more tubing and the trigger box.
I fitted the many smaller details but made sure I left the trigger box and the top of the gun box open. This gave me an access port to work on the wiring once the rest of the guns were built.
My next big problem was the old style switchers, I knew I could not build working copies and needed them to be accurate to the original props. I searched high and low for the parts and although I could have ordered them off of the internet, again I knew from checking that this was expensive. Instead I found the parts in Maplins and they were much cheaper than on the internet.
Now I had the parts I could start to wire up the gun, so I dug out my old soldering iron and purchased some LEDs for the lights in the gun. Another good tip for this is to buy your LED lights from the pound shop again as you get ten and wiring for just a pound. Also the battery pack will come in useful later.
This was tricky as it had been a long time since I had wired anything up, still Isacc wanted the packs to do something and as I had purchased working switches I also felt each switch should be functional. Now if you are not good with wiring then stick to a simple torch like system (One on off push switch to light the barrel end) I on the other hand wanted the whole gun to look like the film prop. So I built a main power switch, to turn on the gun lamp in the gun box and power indicator on the side of the gun box. this was then run to a fire switch which would be used to light the end of the barrel and to make matters just a little more complex, I also wired up the other to switches to adjust the barrel light output and power indicator bar on the side of the gun box.
This took some time, but was worth it in the end and the main thing I needed to remember was that all the wiring had to be run out of the back of the handle so it could be connected to the power pack and other light built into the pack when I got around to building it. I tested the system to make sure it all worked properly before I completed the final detailing on the guns and closed up the gun boxes. Then I painted them, added the wiring for final details and fitted the clear barrel chambers on the end of each gun. Now time was getting on so I fixed these in the fire position to save more work and time. See pictures for reference.
The Proton packs
I could now look at the plans, the packs looked overly complicated and to be fair, they were going to be one hell of a job. So I figured that I should start with the mother board or main back panel of the pack. (as everything would need to be fitted to this one item)
So my first problem was what to build them out of. I was lucky, while on the lookout for free or cheap materials I could use I came across some old signage. This was plastic which was good for keeping the weight down for Isacc’s pack, but also easy to cut and very sturdy at 10mm thick. I marked out the panels and cut them out with a Stanley knife. This was not easy, but it did mean I would get a more accurate shape than with a hand saw.
I now had the mother board for each pack so I could get started on the different elements to the packs,
Gun mount, EDA box, iron arm, injectors and so on.
Now I took care to build each element and unit to the pack as a different build, following the plans and keeping the detailing right. I also had to remember to make each part for Isacc’s pack smaller so he would be able to wear it. (I used the mother board of his pack to make sure each part would fit and still be accurate to the plans but on a smaller scale.)
As I finished each part I mounted it to the mother board slowly building up the 3D packs. But to make sure I could fit the final electrics I left the coolant mount open from the cyclonic generator (or round raised bit on the back) So I could fit the wiring later. I also did this for the injector boxes (The box with the blue power lights) so all the wiring could be done later.
The packs took several months and I was heading into the summer by this point. I had done a lot and had the packs finished other than small detailing and labels. But my next problem was now finding the tubing to run the wiring through to connect the guns to the packs. This was solved by finding some outdoor water piping. I found this in a shop called Wilkinson (or you can find it in any major garden supplier) and was only £2 per length of 2 meters.
So as you can see from the pictures the packs looked great, but still quite plain. I knew I needed to fit the small parts, old style resisters, electrical fitting and wires. Again I began hunting for the parts but I couldn’t seem to find the parts I needed without ordering them in specially. Then it hit me, I could just carve the bits out of the same plastic I had used for the packs. I had kept the off cuts and knew the material was great to work with. So that is what I did. At first I wasn’t sure they would look as good, but found that with some good brass paint they really looked the part. Also the added bonus was that all the detail parts were non functional and just there for the look, so didn’t need to work. These now made the packs look great and they were almost ready. But first I had to sort out the back pack straps.
Making the packs wearable
So the film props use what is called an Alice pack (which is sort of a metal frame with fabric webbing) that the straps are attached to, then the pack was fitted to the frame. I was aware of how heavy the packs were getting and of how little time I had left to finish the job. So I did away with the Alice pack’s and went for a sturdy single bar that was fitted directly to the main packs. From this I fitted the straps (which to save time I used from one of Isacc’s old school back packs and for mine I purchased a cheap full sized back pack bag. Which I cut the straps from) the straps were stitched into place on the bar before I fitted a pad to keep the straps separated and in place. The base and adjustable part of the strap was fitted directly to the lower part of the mother board using a large screw and wide metal washer.
The packs could now be put and looked amazing. The lights worked great and Isacc was very impressed and excited for Halloween. But something was still missing.
So at first I looked at making the labels myself on the computer. But as I looked into this I found there was a load of labelling to be made and it was hard to find the wording from the film props. So I again looked on line and found a printable sheet of all the needed labels and where they fitted. This was great and made the job so easy, now making the packs look finished.
The finished Props
We now have two film standard Proton packs and as you can see they look great. I will look into fitting sounds later, but for now we have some great film props and Both Isacc and I had a great Halloween with the best costume out there.
I hope you have enjoyed this hub, and good luck to all who want to take on this project. It took me around 8 months to complete, but to see Isacc’s face and get the feedback from people on the packs, well it was all worth it.
Ring ring, ring ring...
Hang on, time to bust some ghosts...