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By Chris Brewin
One of the things that I've been considering, especially after having recently replayed TVG is how cumbersome it might be to be trying to track a ghost with a PKE then have it suddenly appear within you and your neutrona wand's line-of-sight. Think about it. You'd have to turn off the PKE, stow it in the holster then draw the wand, or hope you have it hanging from a fob on your belt. I've also been thinking about how impractical the current holsters are. From what I've seen, you need two hands to take it out; one to grasp the body and slide it out and the other to grab the handle.

What if there was a way to have it secured to the belt but allowed for one-handed draw and use, while also featuring a way to let it go worry-free to free up both hands for wand operation?

I give you my concept of the "Quick Action" PKE holster...


On a bed of leather, we have attached a retracting zip-line "pass holder" type cord which features a molded cuff that fits snugly around the bottom of the handle. While stowed, gravity pulling on the meter keeps the cuff seated and the spring-loaded zip-line keeps it in place while in use. This gives the user the ability to let it go "worry-free" because as soon as it is let go, the coil will pull the meter back to the holster.

Also featured is a simple retaining clip to keep the meter snug against the user when not in use. This clip would be designed to be installed into the leather pad by the user to allow the user to choose left- or right-hand operation.

I realise that the tension on the coil would have to be sufficient that the meter's weight when dropped won't cause the cord to spool out further which could lead to the meter hitting the ground. I'd also shape the cuff to be snug against the handle, but have the opening shaped like area where the handle narrows before getting to the body, so that it can be easily slid on and off without scratching the meter. But hey, it's just a concept - so far. I'm considering paying about $25 for a sample sheet of Worbla and playing around with the idea, then I'll see if the GB of BC might be willing to help me with field testing.

Constructive input is most welcome! :)
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By Chris Brewin
So my "long story" about my PKE meter purchase goes something like this...

I found a meter on ebay for $200. A steal, right? So waited for the auction timer to drop. One or two others bid on it, but I won the bid for $245ish. Well, PayPal wouldn't let me process the payment. Something about an issue with the seller not being reputable or something; they gave me a different reason almost every time I called to try to fix it, so who knows? (If any of yousaid The Shadow knows to yourselves, you're awesome!) So I had to cancel the purchase and go back on the hunt again.

Then! I found one starting at $50!!!!! Yeah, that's right! But by the time the end of the auction came around, 30some people had got the price up to about $215. Yours truly skated away with it at the last minute for $235! Then was the fun part... they only deliver to the US and I'm in Canada.

I signed up for a US address service that gave me a US address to ship to. I used that address to make a US ebay account and finally, the sale went through. Little did I know that the insurance options, shipping and duty clearance costs with the US address service I signed up for were going to cost another $140, I would have gone with a different seller and paid a bit more for the meter, but less on shipping. Anyway! Long story short, I've got a PKE waiting for me at home.
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By Chris Brewin
So I've been doing some research. I'm going to try making one with a leather backing and one with a backpack strap-type webbing and get the pros and cons for each. I've also been looking into retractable key caddies and I've found one or two "Super Duty" caddies for about $15 that look like they can handle up to one or two pounds.

I was looking into worbla to use as a thermoplastic out of which to make the retaining clip and caddie attachment cuff. It looks super easy to use and pretty versatile. My one main concern is it's low-ish activation temperature. With it being so low, it means that being on parade (or waiting to get in to a con) on a hot, sunny, summer day could create conditions where the worbla went back to it's pliable state and the whole thing could fall apart.

Then I talked to a buddy who makes sheathes for knives. He got me going down the road of kydex. I think this is the stuff. You need a pretty high-temp heat gun or oven to activate it, so there's little risk of holster malfunction either on parade or if one leaves one's kit in the car during the summer. Once I get home and get back to my PKE I'll order a sample sheet and play around with the making the parts.

If it works well and y'all seem to like the idea, I'll either create a post specifically for sourcing the materials and an instruction package to DIY or I might consider selling them as kits.

More to follow in May once I'm home.
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By MrLithium
Looks like a solid concept! I just wonder about the strength of the spring loaded winch thing you have. Usually those aren't very strong, although the ones I've seen are usually only for something like headphones so I'd imagine they make stronger ones.
I've only ever worked in leather because my dad makes custom gun holsters, but the Thermoplastic clip sounds like a good idea. I feel like you'd want something with a little bit higher of an activation temperature because if you're out in the sun and the plastic is black, it's going to get really soft. Maybe use something like nylon? I know you can 3D print nylon, as far as purchasing sheets of it and forming it by hand, I don't have any experience.
Let it be noted that 3D printing nylon is a bitch. It's strong as hell but it warps so much if the temperature isn't controlled well.

Looks good so far! Keep it up
Chris Brewin liked this
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By Chris Brewin
I've done a bit of research into the materials.
1) I've found some heavy duty retractable key caddies that can hold up to 3-5 lbs of keys, which should easily handle the weight of the PKE.
2) I considered using Warbla, but as you mentioned, it's got an activation temperature that could be problematic if one leaves it in the car or wears it on parade in the summer. Kydex has a much higher temp and is often used for gun holsters, so that's the road I'm going to take.

I'll have more updates once I get to assembly in the fall/winter.
MrLithium liked this
By grogking
Just another thought, Neodymium Magnets might be helpful. They are super strong. Not sure how they might affect the electronics though.
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By MrLithium
Just another thought, Neodymium Magnets might be helpful. They are super strong. Not sure how they might affect the electronics though.
Magnetism has no effect on electronics for the most part unless they involve mechanical magnetic hardware like hard drives. In the case you need to protect something like that, you can use a small plate of a ferrous metal on the side of the magnet you need to protect electronics against and it will "dilute" the magnetic field.

Essentially it just blocks it. I like this suggestion though. I myself have never used Neodymium magnets in builds but I'd be lying if I said it hadn't crossed my mind. They seem easy to use, the only issue I could see with it is mounting might be an issue. Smooth Metal and epoxy don't hold well together
By grogking
I have used them for foam costumes to hold pieces together. Best practice is to glue them to the inside so they attract through the object. I have had some glued in that were so magnetically strong that they ripped out the glue when pulled apart.
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By Chris Brewin
Hmm. That's not a bad idea... The primary goal is ease of access while providing "emergency" release. The secondary objective is minimal wear/modification to the PKE. A clip on top would certainly cause wear (however minimally) with each holstering/drawing. Since I'll primarily be using my Matty PKE and the bottom does have an outer and inner shell, I may be able to Dremel a small pocket in the two shells to allow for the magnet.

I'm still toying between leather or heavy-duty strap webbing for the base of the holster. If I'm using magnets, there may be a case to be made for webbing as it will be far easier to pop the magnet into a small, stitched, pocket to secure it to the base.

Great input so far, folks. Thanks for the help!
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By Chris Brewin
I've been looking at some pics the Matty PKE (because it's home and I'm not) and I'm not sure I can comfortably hide magnets within the inside of the prop. For the size of the magnets needed, I'd be worried about doing too much damage to it and/or having the magnets interfere with the mechanics/electronics. That, and after a few searches, I'd be looking at having to buy a minimum of 10 and I just don't need that many. I think I'm back to the clip.

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