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By Spooky
#62311
So I've built three quick proton packs all with good public success and with little to no cost. They have all been based on the toons but the ideas still apply.

Now my first one was an RGB pack and it was out of household items. It was small and odd looking but it really got the idea through and I won a costume contest. With the wood and paint I probably spent about 15 bucks tops.

My second one was an EGB pack done with Irricanian's plans. It was a smash hit and even though it was from the short lived cartoon with the suit on everyone knew what I was going for and LOVED it because it was just outrageous looking. I loved that pack and sold it for 70 bucks; It only cost me 45 so I made a small profit for my next one.
http://www.gbfans.com/fans/props/proton-packs/954/

This newest one cost me about the whole 70 bucks and was a custom RGB pack. Little movie, little cartoon, little me and I think its great. The big cost here was electronics but everything else would be cheap still.
http://www.gbfans.com/fans/props/proton-packs/1367/

All of these packs took me from one weekend to a week or two in time as well.
If you manage things well, hit the right stuff, its easy!

So here is what we do!
Materials:
If you are not wood or metal savvy then the right materials can help ALOT. The motherboard will always have to be wood so it can hold the weight accordingly. I suggest a large piece of MDF as its cheap easy to work with, light, doesn't look silly like plywood and you may get more then one pack /prop out it thus saving money. Now for alot of the other stuff you have of course heard of people using cardboard and if you have that lying around thats a great idea because its now free and with the right glue work you seal the edges and no one is the wiser. If thats not an option go buy foam board. One or two pieces should be enough to do a pack and its rigid and light. For either one make sure you have a sharp KNIFE to cut the stuff with, no scissors or dull butter knifes or some crap.
GLUE! Make sure you have the right glue. I buy Household welder, its not too expensive goes a long way and HOLDS real well. If you use too much though the stuff can never dry so be careful. But when used to fill gaps it paints over well once it really does dry and can help hold your pack down even.

Substitutions:
Don't be afraid to think outside the box. If something on the pack looks like something else...try it! A well placed and painted white out bottle, film bottle, hose cap, or lid can replace a lot of little things.
All of my packs have used these three things, nuts, hose caps, and found plumbing materials.
Hose caps for a pool that are used to winterize your pump are soft rubber/plastic that can be cut and used to run hoses on your pack to. They hold paint well and easy to cut a hold into with a knife. Before you go buy them ask a friend with a pool if he has a few extra!
Nuts make great connectors for those small tubes! They look authentic and are real cheap and don't need anything done to them. I'm sure you have tons laying around.
Plumbing materials also make great knobs, connectors, and other things. On my new pack I took a nut hider for a toilet, painted it silver and attached it to the cyclotron. It looks real cool and thus looks like its hiding a nut that holds down the bumper. Those type of things can also be drilled with a loose screw and painted to look like a knob on the thrower. Go check out my pictures for more ideas with that kind of stuff.
A lot of the stuff on the packs are very box like or hell are boxes. Think about what is the same size, a project box, a Tupperware box, and card box, etc.

Don't rush!
If you set one hour a day aside to do this you will be done quick but make sure you use the full time. Turn off the TV if you need to. Work slow and work smart and it will smooth out well.

I could go on so its better that you ask questions and I answer. So get asking!
User avatar
By UltimateGBfan
#62345
Spooky,this is a reall great guide for the Halloween noobs.

If I may,I'd like to add something to the Don't Rush section.

Get you a CD player or MP3,put some of your favorite music on and get yourself in the mood.For me the Ghostbusters 1&2 soundtracks do wonders for when I work on GB props,just as the Star Wars soundtracks get me in the mood for SW props.

But again,take your time and DO NOT rush.
User avatar
By Spooky
#62499
I'd be all for it, especially if questions start being asked and this becomes a helpful tool for future use...well thats why I made this thread.
By GhostGuy
#67502
i found a detergent cap that would make a decent HGA. Slight bevel to it but otherwise the right size.

Ac Moore had aluminum cake pans in the wedding section which weren't too expensive and are almost perfect for the cycloton, better than the two I found at WalMart.

You can make the Ion Knob out of twelve 1 1/2" and 1 1/4" washers and a 3" long 1/4" diameter machine bolt. Home Depot has them cheaper than Lowes and has the right type of flathead screwdriver machine bolt in the little baggies for the GB2 pack. I couldn't find a 1 1/4" washer with a larger hole on the end, so I'm going to drill that out to be more authentic, but you could go without. The baggies come with three bolts so I had one nut to secure the washers togheter and I'll have another to secure them to the pack. Seems a little shorter than the plans say it should be though. Can always use a few more washers if you wish and a longer bolt if needed. Btw, the center hole sizes on the larger washers is slightly bigger than 1/4". Can't be helped they, don't seem to make them exactly the right size.

A pringles can is slightly larger in diameter than the N-Filter.

They also used to sell White Out botles that looked just like the clippard minimatic things, but I haven't been able to find any in stores, they're all oval shaped now. I guess I can buy a couple off amazon...
By GhostGuy
#67859
Here's some more tips:

At Michael's craft store, they have these little wooden wheels, like toruses with the middle filled in, which look just like the three circular pieces on the side of the particle thrower. At least as far as I can tell from the one piece resin parts for sale which go in that area. I can't seem to find any reference pics for that side of the gun!

Here you can also get aluminum paint, which is the kind you'll need to make your parts look like metal, according to another member here. (Silver supposedly doesn't look right.)

And, you can get reasonably wide strips of basswood. The right size for building the gun and probably most of the boxes on the pack.

The only thing they didn't seem to carry was 1/2" x 1/8" strips, which are what you need for all the ridges on the boxes on the pack. Those I found instead at AC Moore which also has basswood strips, but hides them really well way in the back of the store on an aisle end cap.

Also, don't run yourself ragged looking for handlebar grips or trowels with grips similar to those on the gun. I looked everywhere. Even if you managed to find some, they'd likely be too small in diameter. You'll have to either make some grips, or buy some resin ones. I reccomend just buying the resin ones because this is probably the most difficult part to make besides the cyclotron bumper.
By SG1&AtlantisFan
#67867
strips of basswood
Ok stupid question from a noob time...

Ive seen it mentioned as basswood a few times by various people.... this is a type of wood or a typo for balsawood? Im more used to working with metal and have little to no knowledge on woodworking. But I do know that balsawood breaks pretty easily. Just want to make sure before I buy the wrong thing.

Thanks
By GhostGuy
#67880
strips of basswood
Ok stupid question from a noob time...

Ive seen it mentioned as basswood a few times by various people.... this is a type of wood or a typo for balsawood? Im more used to working with metal and have little to no knowledge on woodworking. But I do know that balsawood breaks pretty easily. Just want to make sure before I buy the wrong thing.

Thanks

I meant to touch on that in my post, because I'd been wondering it myself.

Bass wood and balsa wood are two different things.

I'd seen some large pieces of bass wood, plaques, which looked similar to pine on passing glance. But only yesterday did I actually find thin pieces of basswood. I happened upon it accidentally while looking at the balsa wood. Craft stores keep them together.

The big difference between bass wood and balsa wood is that balsa wood is very lightweight, and will snap and splinter easily. Even a thick piece can be easily broken.

Bass wood on the other hand seems to be about halfway between balsa and pine. A 1/8" thick piece you can bend along the grain, but whereas doing so would easily snap balsa, the basswood is resilient. It's also harder than balsa, halfway between balsa and pine I'd say. It also seems to have a weight somewhere between the two. It certainly weighs far less than MDF does, and unlike MDF doesn't contain nasty formaldehyde.

I've always avoided the use of balsa to make anything because balsa sucks, but this basswood seems pretty awesome. I selected 3/16" boards for my construction. The 1/4" ones seemed too thick, and the 1/8" ones too thin with too much bend to them. The 3/16" boards have a little bit of give, but as soon as I form them into boxes and things that's going to go away completely.

In short, I chose bass wood for my gun casing because it's light, but strong enough, easy to cut, and easily available in smaller board sizes. As I mentioned earlier, it even comes precut in the right width and thickness for the ribs on the various boxes on the proton pack. I'm even gonna use it to make the heat sink on the gun.

Bass wood seems like it'll be so easy to work with actually, I don't see why anyone would build a whole pack with something like foamboard. I guess it's not quite as easy to cut as foamboard, but it'd only be a little more time consuming, and you don't have to worry about how to paint it.
By GhostGuy
#68221
More tips:

2" PVC has the right outer diameter for the HGA and the Booster & EDA Box. Home Depot sells it in two foot lengths, which will be more than enough for both parts. Don't bother loking for a PVC coupler or something that's the right size for the HGA, they don't exist.

Two 2" PVC couplers however are the right diameter for the N-Filter. However thicker material will be hard to cut and drill especially if you reinforce the connection with a short length of 2" PVC. And you'll have to fill the seam with bondo. I've heard 2 1/2" PVC might be the right OD (outer diameter) for the N-Filter, but good luck finding that, I haven't found any.

1.5" PVC for the power cell injectors can be found in the bathroom sink repair section in one foot lengths with a flared end. Since you only need 6 3/4" of the pipe, you can just cut that part off. $2.75 each. A longer piece of PVC from the PVC section without the flared ends might be cheaper, not sure, but these are definitely easier to transport.
User avatar
By Gareee
#69651
Halloweener here, and long time GB fan.

We're trying to make something at least somewhat film accurate, but we'll see how well that goes.

First thing we did, was order two desert flight suits online, as well as two pistol belts, and two alice pack frames. Still waiting for those to arrive.

Next we picked up the cut basswood motherboard parts on Norm's plans, and I picked up a larger sheet of insulation foam to try to make the syncronous generator. I found a 2 tier rubbermaid lazy susan for the cyclotron, and we've picked up some various led lighting things for lights.

We started following Norm's plans, but the proton pack is scaring me a little. Could be just last minute kitters taking on a big project like this. I can spend about 3-4 days a week on building two proton packs guns, and a pke meter and trap.. hopefully that will give me enough time.
User avatar
By Mat
#69947
I would say to focus on each seperate project at a time, two at a time. That way you'll have something for this halloween should you be able to not finish all of the seperate projects in time. :cool:
User avatar
By Zack
Moderator
#70001
PROTON PACK FAQ!

It's funny when you get right down to it, if you're in a hurry, the pack looks complex but most of it is just different sizes boxes and pipes and then some colored wires. A lot of it I think can be faked when you get close to Halloween. Most of the main details I think can be nailed with various substitutes for doing everything exact. Slap some labels where they go and it's doubtful anyone on Halloween night will be the wiser. :D

This is a great topic, hopefully it will help some people down to the wire! I think I'll sticky it at the top for awhile. :cool:

The plumbing and electrical department are great. You can spend awhile in the hardware store just looking at/for stuff.
User avatar
By Spooky
#70039
Awesome

I agree usuing your imagination for most of the stuff is key. You need a 5" box? Look around! I've seen odd electrical boxes, project boxes, sandwich boxes, styrofoam out of packing.
Just random cardboard boxes can be cut and retaped!

Its all about stoping and looking at what you have and what you need and not always sticking to the plans that someone else did.
User avatar
By Gareee
#70082
We're trying to walk that line that looks a little more film accurate, but also is budget, with available parts. A few hours in lowe's, home depot, and michael's have yielded just about everything we need, sprinkled with some dollar store items.

I'll start posting some pics once we get closer to assembly, in a new thread. (We're building two goggles, two packs, 1 ghost trap, 6 ghost bombs, various belt items, and if time permits, a pk meter of some kind.)

One week in, we've printed all of norm's instructions, we've finished two sets of goggles (I want to do a bit more work on) and aquired everything for proton packs and wands with lighting.

Still not settled on a few different cyclotron lighting method, but I have 2 possibilities for each pack.
User avatar
By Mat
#70140
Cardboard gives good results if you cover all of the surfaces in scotch and/or ductape to hide the grain of the cardboard. My first pack I made the core from cardboard, covered it with ductape and/or scotch tap, then generously painted over everything with a black acrylic paint. I chose acrylic paint back in the day because it more or less gave it a thin, plastic-like coating and an even finish!

Cardboard is great. It cuts fairly quick with an exacto knife, and in terms of materials, you can't get much simpler.
Everyone starts somewhere.

I remember hacking the crank knob. I took a bottle cap off a coke bottle, cut down a pencil and glued it to the cap and painted it grey. For the cylinder in the top right of the pack, I used the cap off a can of spraypaint. They did the job.

Split loom you can get from Canadian tire (If in Canada) or rona for cheap.



Glad to hear you guys are making progress! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
User avatar
By seekandannoy
#70425
More tips:
1.5" PVC for the power cell injectors can be found in the bathroom sink repair section in one foot lengths with a flared end. Since you only need 6 3/4" of the pipe, you can just cut that part off. $2.75 each. A longer piece of PVC from the PVC section without the flared ends might be cheaper, not sure, but these are definitely easier to transport.
Is that 1.5" ID or OD? I wasn't thinking and I bought 1.5" ID PVC and am now in need of the proper size.
By GhostGuy
#70438
More tips:
1.5" PVC for the power cell injectors can be found in the bathroom sink repair section in one foot lengths with a flared end. Since you only need 6 3/4" of the pipe, you can just cut that part off. $2.75 each. A longer piece of PVC from the PVC section without the flared ends might be cheaper, not sure, but these are definitely easier to transport.
Is that 1.5" ID or OD? I wasn't thinking and I bought 1.5" ID PVC and am now in need of the proper size.

It was OD. I didn't go by the listed measurements, I measured everything with a tape measure.
User avatar
By seekandannoy
#70446
Rad. Good to know. I'll have to go look for that, then. I was already so flustered from several previous hardware store trips just scouting for parts that when I got around to buying everything I wasn't even thinking and just went by what I had written on my list.
User avatar
By Gareee
#70551
Yeah it IS a daunting task.. shopping for a bazillion possible parts we are nfamiliar with, and then possibly adding additional parts to replace things we can't locate, or are unavailable.

I think I have 6 or 7 lowe's trips under my belt now just for this stuff, not even counting other store trips.
By spandex wondermonkey
#71396
One of the things I've used in the hectic run-up to halloween in the past is a substitute for the clear gun barrel. Simply go to any tobbaconists and pick up one cigar for each proton gun (i.e. you're building two packs? buy two cigars) but make sure they are in clear plastic tubes. Should be easy to find. Heck,if I can find them in south Wales,you guys in less rural areas should have no trouble. those tubes look suprisingly accurate once you drill a hole on the one end, drill the hole the right size and you can even get the tapered edge to it. Most people know someone who smokes who will have the cigar off you if you don't, or they make good Ray Stantz props a la Ghostbusters 2.
Also,one of my friends used a square plant pot for his gearbox/crank generator. cost him about £1 and was suprisingly accurate. The gearbox sticker and crank knob covered the holes in his, and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one similar. If you can't, a thin sheet of card or plastic stuck over them will do it. A few bits of card,plastic or basswood strips and away you go!
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By monolith21
#71946
I meant to have a screen accurate pack done by now. I've been assembling the costume over the year and its pretty much done. I just couldn't get the money together to do the pack right. I decided to throw something together and was pretty bummed that it wasn't going to be perfect but now I'm having a lot of fun with it! It'll be a total Frankenstein but then again so was my cardboard box pack that all the kids loved when I was 8.
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By Borzou
#71957
Cardboard gives good results if you cover all of the surfaces in scotch and/or ductape to hide the grain of the cardboard. My first pack I made the core from cardboard, covered it with ductape and/or scotch tap, then generously painted over everything with a black acrylic paint. I chose acrylic paint back in the day because it more or less gave it a thin, plastic-like coating and an even finish!

Cardboard is great. It cuts fairly quick with an exacto knife, and in terms of materials, you can't get much simpler.
Everyone starts somewhere.
This picture: http://www.gbfans.com/fans/props/ghost-traps/941/3/

Trap I built in one week, in a one-bedroom apartment using an x-acto, foamboard, plastic sign, Bondo, and spray paint. Knobs from guitar store and Radioshack. Stickers printed off on my home printer.

All it requires is a little gumption and a lot of replacement blades.

Note: The pictures that come after that are months after Halloween after I had the chance to order parts from Irricanian.
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By Gareee
#71980
If someone needs a quick n dirty cyclotron, walmart has these lunch salads that have a perfect diameter bowl. The holes would be easy to cut, and they are already black. I'd suggest doubling them up, since they are very thin plastic, and odds are, the deli section would just give you a few (or you could have some tasty salad!)

Only downside is the top is rounded, rather then being mostly square.
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By Mike_D
#72339
I went to the dollar store and found a 2-pack of those microwave plastic covers (you put them over whatever your microwaving so there wont be a mess) for a buck. I primed it, made the rings around the red reflectors out of foamies and it came out pretty nice:

Image

Heres that blue strobe light thing that people have been using around here that you can buy at wal-mart:

Image

For the cyclotron lighting, I bought these from k-mart:

Image

They are battery operated with a toggle switch. I popped the ghosts off the LEDs (very easily) and taped the lights in pairs (because there were about 10):

Image

Image

I'm also updating my old foamboard proton packs I made back in 2005, AND making a newer one thats going to be more accurate:

Image

Bought the pack frames from Wal-mart in the camping section (they had packs there with metal frames). I just bought an ALICE frame Monday for the newer pack in construction.
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By Gareee
#72355
Greattttt.. now the wife wants to replace our skellie lights with the cycling ones.. happy now? ;)
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By Gareee
#72401
The skeleton lights don't cycle? What do they do? If they're constant on, you might as well have just tossed a flashlight in the pack. :-)
They slowly color shift.. each led has 3 colors is shifts to.. it's a pretty nifty lighting effect, but not cycling".

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