Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Job is Too Big - A Proton Pack Build

No Ghostbusters costume would be complete without a proton pack build.
I have a month to build the pack, finish the rest of my costume, and finish my son's costume.
I'm cutting it a bit short and will have to shortcut some details (which I will fix after Halloween).
ghostbusters proton pack
The pack on Halloween.
ghostbusters proton pack wand
The wand on Halloween.


I used Stefan Otto's plans to draw a Sketchup model. This way I have all of the pieces together in a 3d model that helps visualization.
ghostbusters proton pack model
Sketchup pack model.

ghostbusters proton pack wand model
Sketchup wand model.

ghostbusters proton pack wand model
Sketchup wand model.
The motherboard is 1/8" hardboard. While I cut it out first, it probably should be the last thing (but everything lined up really well). After trying to assemble the pack the night before Halloween, I've realized hardboard is a mistake. The material de-laminates too easily to be structural. The brackets I epoxied to the hardboard did not stay in place, ripping the hardboard.
The pack will be mainly 1/4" MDF and various sizes of PVC pipe.

Supplies:
1/8" hardboard, 1/4" MDF, 1/2" MDF, 3/4" MDF, 1" PVC, 1 1/2" PVC, 2" PVC, wood glue, super glue, epoxy, styrene plastic
Note, while I used various sizes of MDF, you can always stack 1/4" MDF.
I also installed a light board, sound board, and speaker.
The boards are from gbfans, and the speaker was a 6"x9" I had lying around.

Tools: 
Table saw, jig saw, drill press, drill, scroll saw, belt sander, disc sander, finishing sander, hand saw, hole saw bits, router bits, file, rasp, clamps
I also used wood glue, 2 part epoxy, and super glue.

I made the individual pieces according to the plans, accounting for the thickness of MDF. Once the pieces were glued, I sanded them to remove any edges, or used a file as needed.

For the cyclotron, I cut out a template, though I could have just drawn a template, to layout the pieces. I cut pieces to form each squared edge. Since the cyclotron is squared and not perfectly round, this seemed to be the best method. I had to cut my angles a couple of times before I find the 'right' angle. I glued the pieces together. To get the curves I used flat pieces that I will sand/fill later. I then cut a piece of MDF to fit on top of the shape. The vertical pieces of MDF held together surprisingly well.  I decided to save myself the trouble and bought a cake pan. If you go metal instead of wood or plastic, you will need a metal hole saw bit for the cyclotron lights. I ended up getting a metal hole saw a few days before Halloween.
ghostbusters proton pack
MDF Cyclatron and cake pan.
Test fit pieces early and often. Make sure edges align.

Once most of the individual pieces were completed, I glued the booster and IDA arm. Next, the filler/spacer was glued to the booster. Then I glued the crank generator and gun box.
One thing to note, the motherboard is not make to cover the IDA arm. It's best to box it up. 

ghostbusters proton pack
Pack beginning assembly.
I used a punch to mark the holes for the cyclotron lights. I should have punched the holes before epoxying the cake pan to prevent denting the metal. I also should have drilled a hole in the 1/4" MDF base to run wires to the lights before epoxy. I put a dent in the cake pan, but hammered it out. The bumper will cover it. I later went back and cut out some more space from the back of the cyclotron to fit a speaker.
ghostbusters proton pack
PVC tubes added to pack.

The ion end cap is a piece of MDF wrapped in an aluminum can.
ghostbusters proton pack
Ion arm end cap.

The shock mount consists of 1.5" and 1.25" washers epoxied together. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to mount them as I didn't have time to make the bumper.

The wand is also 1/4" MDF and PVC pipe. I used a heat sink from a GM radio. It was cut to size.

I realized as I was starting that I wouldn't finish. For one, if you wait until October to order Ghostbuster parts, changes are you will find them out of stock or a long shipping wait.
If you need parts gbfans.com and nickatron props are the best places for any needs you might have.

Once everything was together I prepped for paint by sanding the pack and using filler for any chipped corners and gaps. I would have preferred to have more time so  I could have primed and sanded the pack an additional time.
ghostbusters proton pack
Pack preppred for paint.

I drilled holes in the pack for the motherboard brackets, and added an MDF speaker bracket and LC-1 mounting bar in the cyclotron
ghostbusters proton pack speaker
Mounted 6x9 speaker.
I epoxied aluminum angles to the motherboard. I hot glued them first to confirm the location. Riveting through the hardboard would not have worked. The aluminum is an angle from the hardware store, tapped to fit 1/4-20 socket cap bolts. It turns out epoxying the brackets to hardboard doesn't work either. Avoid hardboard unless it's for detail/trim work. You can't bolt through it, and you can't glue brackets to it.

The sound board is screwed to an aluminum angle that in turn is epoxied to the inside of the pack.

ghostbusters proton pack sound board
Sound board.
The frame is an LC-2 alice pack from the military surplus store.
I have a strip of wood that will catch the bolts at the bottom of the frame. I will need to add insert for bolt attachment. I will also need to drill a hole in the alice pack frame and add an inset and bolt for the upper connection.
ghostbusters proton pack frame

Paint will be a hammered metal finish with flat black to dull it out.
ghostbusters proton pack
Pack.
ghostbusters proton pack wand
Wand.

As Halloween approached, I had to forgo a few details. I didn't order a hose/pipe kit in time, so rigged 12 gauge speaker wire for the hoses. The booster ladder will have to be added later. I was hoping to have time to make the bumper, but that didn't happen it either.
ghostbusters proton pack
'On' switch behind the filler tubes.

With three days to go, the wand was a box with two tubes, nothing more. I was able to install the light and sound kit. If you order the kits from gbfans, be sure to get the connecting ribbon cable =). I didn't realize I needed it and had to special order the supplies. If you are building more than one sound/light kit it's more economical to order the separate components for the ribbon cable. Also, instructions for both circuit board kits are on the gbfans site.

Elbows, cushion clamp, and part of the shock mount - pieces I didn't have time to add.




I plan to weather the pack, and finish all the details, after Halloween. That will probably start sometime in 2015. While I had hoped to get farther, I'm happy with what I had for Halloween. I really wish I had time to make the bumper though.
ghostbusters proton pack

The pack easily went above and beyond other Halloween costumes. I'm already thinking about next year =)


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