User avatar
By Jimm
My brother and I built our first packs (Studio Creations shells with scratch-built, vaguely-accurate wood parts) over a couple weekends leading up to Halloween 2010. It was a fun and rewarding experience, but shortly thereafter we vowed to someday make "real" packs. We talked about having them finished before February 14, 2016, but didn't make that deadline (...bummer). Ultimately our agreement was that if a third Ghostbusters movie was ever made, we'd have our packs finished before it was released.

Our First Proton Packs, Halloween 2010

We've been collecting parts for a couple years, but the time has come to start putting everything together. We shared an apartment in 2010, but now live about 80 miles apart, so progress will be made primarily on weekends. We have most of the parts we need, and 12 weekends left to get it all put together.

  1. Mounting Motherboard to Frame
  2. Assembling Bar Graph Bezels and Riveting L-Brackets to Motherboards
  3. Mounting Shells to Motherboards and Replacing Vertical Cross Bars on Frames
  4. Cutting Out N-Filters and Filing Out Bar Graph Slots
Parts List

This list is incomplete. It will be updated as our builds go along, and at the end will be a checklist of every part found on our packs.
  • Fiberglass Shell (GBFans Shop)
  • Aluminum Motherboard (GBFans Shop)
  • Mounting L Brackets (Ejgunth87)
  • 3/16" Large Flange Rivets (Ejgunth87)
  • 1/4"-20 Socket Cap Screws (Ejgunth87)
  • 1/4" Washers (Ejgunth87)
  • ALICE Frame
  • 1" x 1/8" Steel Flat Bar (Home Depot)
  • 3/16" Rivets (Home Depot)
  • Rubber Spacers (Nickatron)
  • 3/8"-16 x 2" Carriage Bolts (Home Depot)
  • 3/8"-16 x 2" Button Head Socket Cap Screw (Menards)
  • 3/8" Chrome Washer (Menards)
  • 3/8" Lock Washers (Home Depot)
  • 3/8" Hex Nuts (Home Depot)
  • N-Filter (GBFans Shop)
  • Thrower Body (CPU64)
  • Bar Graph Bezel (Spongeface)
Last edited by Jimm on May 15th, 2016, 8:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
By Jimm
We had our first day of actual work on the packs yesterday, and it went pretty well. We decided to start by mounting our motherboards to the ALICE frames.

The GBFans motherboards already have the three holes for this step, which was extremely helpful. We used 3/8"-16 x 2-1/2" carriage bolts with 3/8" lock washers and hex nuts.

Two quick notes. I believe that 3/8" is slightly larger than accurate (which would be 1/4" if I'm not mistaken). Also, the bolts were longer than necessary at 2-1/2" (2" bolts probably would have been fine).

Using slightly larger bolts meant we needed to drill out the existing holes in the motherboard, but the bolts fit perfectly in the slots on the ALICE frames. We also marked and then drilled a 3/8" hole in the crossbar of the frame for the third bolt. We didn't like how the square piece of the carriage bolt rested against the frame, so we filed the hole into a square.

Square Hole for the Carriage Bolt

The Carriage Bolt Sits Flush in the Square Hole

We are using Nickatron's rubber spacers, which also seem made for 1/4" bolts (probably should have taken the hint at some point, right?). We were able to get our 3/8" bolts through the spacers with a little bit of effort.

ALICE Frame Upper Rubber Spacer

ALICE Frame Lower Rubber Spacers

Following GohstTarp's example from his build thread, we filed down the sharp edges of the motherboard and then washed it using dish soap, water, and grade #0 steel wool.

One more note. These ALICE frames come from our previous packs (pictured in the first post). They're the one piece we'll be carrying over from our old packs to our new ones.

Motherboard Mounted to Frame, Inside of Pack

Motherboard Mounted to Frame, Outside of Pack

That's it for proton pack updates, but we had two more exciting things happen recently. Our patches arrived!

The Real Ghostbusters of Minnesota Logo Patch

Having our logo patches made us start to feel like a real franchise, but this helped even more:

Ghost Corps Certificate and Pins

I never framed my high school diploma, nor did I frame my college degree that I paid thousands of dollars to get. But this got framed the very next day.

Framed Ghost Corps Certificate

The next step for our proton packs will be mounting our shells to the motherboards.
SAMIAM liked this
I love that patch!!

One thing I would suggest, if you can reinforce that center bolt in the Alice I would. If thats a aftermarket frame, they are very flimsy, especially when you take the structural integrity out of them by drilling larger holes. A friend of mines broke, mine bent at the point, and I've read horror stories of packs hitting the ground and shattering because of it. Some people get some steel slats and replace the original center support, others have come up with neat methods as well (look at what Pyhasanon did) Its worth looking into while you're at this stage instead of regretting it later. This is my biggest fear. My pack ison the lighter end of the scale (22 lbs) and I still think its too much stress on that point.

Other than that, Ill say again, I am seriously in love with that patch! I also felt like our ghost Corps cert was cooler than my HS diploma.
Jimm, SAMIAM liked this
Hey, thanks Riggs! The patches were designed by a friend of ours, based on the Fearsome Flush card art. We couldn't be happier with how they turned out!

Thanks for the info about the frame. I didn't realize how weak that piece is, nor did I consider just how much weight would actually be hanging on that one point. I found a couple builds and I think we'll try Mat's method of replacing the vertical bar with a steel slat.

Between that and using slightly-too-large carriage bolts, our builds are off to a somewhat rough start... :walterpeck:
SAMIAM liked this
I think you're off to a great start! I used a 3/8 carriage bolt on mine too. You're just in a great time to make it stronger before you go much further or regret it later. I know its always my fear, and I really should've done it when I was building.

Keep up the good work!! Can't wait to see these!
Jimm, SAMIAM liked this
Work continued this weekend as we assembled our bar graph bezels (from Spongeface) and riveted L-brackets (from Ejgunth87) to our motherboards.

Spongeface's assembly instructions for the bezels are intimidating, to say the least. We only needed two, but bought four so we could afford to make mistakes here and there. We followed the directions as best we could, and by "we" I mean "Steve" because I was too scared to do any of this myself.

Tint Applied to Lenticular Pieces

Decals Applied to Plexiglass Pieces

None of the bezels turned out perfect. The tint didn't stick down on the edges of the plexiglass (even though we used 600 grit ultra fine sandpaper as instructed) and the decals ended up tearing here and there.

Tint Applied to Lenticular Pieces with Imperfections

Decals Applied to Plexiglass Pieces with Imperfections

The decal film that Spongeface suggested in his instructions made the black portions of the decal look much cleaner. The clear portion of the decal (or maybe the plexiglass itself) was a little cloudy afterwards. It was less noticeable once the bezels were fully assembled.

Decals Coated with Liquid Film

Fully-Assembled Bar Graph Bezels

With one of the most stressful parts of the build completed, let's move on to something easy...

Nah, let's attach these L-brackets. We read through kind2311's tutorial and found a few useful tips. First, we measured the thickness of the shells at each mounting point and placed the brackets accordingly. We held them in place temporarily using painter's tape. We put the shells on top to make sure everything seemed to fit like we wanted it to, then marked the bracket locations on the motherboard.

L-Brackets Positioned on Motherboard

Once we were (mostly) sure we had everything positioned correctly, we drilled through the brackets and motherboards, then pulled the rivets.

L-Brackets Riveted to Motherboard, Inside of Pack

L-Brackets Riveted to Motherboard, Outside of Pack

Next up, we'll be drilling through the shells and into the brackets, then tapping the holes. We started on Steve's pack already, but only got two done because we were exhausted (and so was my cordless drill). The GBFans shell has several spots marked, including all four spots to be drilled and tapped.

First Hole Tapped in Shell

But it wasn't all work this weekend. There was a Ghostbusters pinball release party at the nearby Surly Brewery on Saturday night, so we took some time to mingle with other fans.

Oh, yeah, and Ernie Hudson was there too!

The Real Ghostbusters of Minnesota with Ernie Hudson
With a fully-charged drill, we picked up yesterday where we left off last weekend. With the L-brackets already riveted in place and the positioning of the shells already figured out, it didn't take long to drill through the shells and brackets and then tap the holes.

Shells Mounted to Motherboards

The big project this weekend was replacing the vertical cross bars on our ALICE frames with stronger ones. We are forever grateful to Riggs45 for suggesting that we do something to reinforce the top mounting point on the frame. When we went back and looked at them again, we realized just how flimsy that part of the frame was.

We followed Mat's method of replacing the vertical cross bar. We cut some 1" wide by 1/8" thick steel flat bar to approximate length, then used a vice and a rubber mallet to bend it to match the curves of the old bar. Once we were happy with the shape of the new bars, we cut them down to the appropriate length.

We lined them up on the frame, drilled holes, and pulled 3/16" rivets to hold them in place. Our rivets had a 1/4" grip range, which was a little short for the bottom of the pack. Instead, we used a couple of the large flange rivets left over from mounting the L-brackets to motherboards (since those rivets also had a 3/16" diameter).

1/8" Thick Steel Vertical Cross Bar

The new bars are a huge improvement and replacing the old ones was definitely worth the effort. Again, special thanks to Riggs45 for giving us a heads-up. The old bars were extremely weak and flexible, and I think it wouldn't have been long before they snapped. And even if that did happen, we probably would have just bought new frames and not realized we'd probably have the exact same problem next time. So if anybody else has tips like that going forward, please do not hesitate to let us know!

Replaced Vertical Cross Bar

The last step was to drill a hole for the top mounting point. Since the carriage bolts were a little long at 2-1/2", we replaced them with shorter 2" bolts instead. We also swapped out the top carriage bolt for a button head socket cap screw (also 2" long) with a chrome washer.

Button Head Socket Cap Screw

The final step was to put it all together: shells mounted to motherboards, and motherboards mounted to frames.

Shell Mounted to Motherboard Mounted to Frame

And with that, we've now accomplished what we wanted to get done during our first weekend of our builds. But, we're much better off now than we would have been if we'd gotten this far two weeks ago. Slow and steady is going to be the way to go, I think.
Great start guys. That's quality work there.
SAMIAM, Jimm liked this
Thank you to all of you for the encouragement! It's been six years since either of us has done anything like this, so the kind words are a huge confidence-builder! :cool:

As Jimm said, any and all suggestions are welcome, and appreciated. If you see us doing something questionable, we'd love to learn a better way.

To TK5759, thanks for the offer! I think we have most everything we need at this point, but we are looking to upgrade a few small items to authentic bits and bobs. Jimm posted a list here: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=41301

Jimm liked this
More progress! Another big stressful part of the build is out of the way. This weekend we cut out the fiberglass N-Filters from our shells.

N-Filters Cut Out of Shells

They aren't attached yet, but we'll be adding our aluminum N-Filters to the shells soon.

Aluminum N-Filters

The other little bit we got done was filing open the existing bar graph slots on our throwers so that the bezels would fit.

Thrower Bar Graphs
SAMIAM liked this
Just found this thread and caught up. You two are doing a fantastic job and I can't wait to see more.
Jimm wrote:Spongeface's assembly instructions for the bezels are intimidating, to say the least.
I felt the same way looking through the instructions, but the many details he includes in all of his instructions really help. But that being said, the bezel assembly will probably be one of the last things I tackle.

Keep up the great work.
SAMIAM, Jimm liked this
The long weekend gave us an opportunity to get a couple big steps completed. First, we attached our aluminum N-Filters.

Loctite Putty

We used a general repair putty from Loctite and let it sit for a full day. After that, we were able to clean up the outside. The N-filters came from the GBFans Shop, which I meant to mention last time.

N-Filter Attached with Putty, Outside

N-Filter Attached with Putty, Inside

Finished N-Filter

There's more to do with the vacuum lines (which are also from the GBFans Shop), but they're attached to the shells so far. From inside, a 1/4"-20 x 1" socket head cap screw, fender washer, and lock washer are used to hold it in place.

Vacuum Line

A trip to RadioShack yielded a couple potentiometers, so we were able to attach them (and our crank knobs) as well.

Crank Knobs and Potentiometers

Both are legit black crank knobs (from the GBFans Shop). Steve likes his, but I'm looking for a grey one. If you're reading this and have one to spare, please let me know!

Last, but definitely not least, we attached our bumpers. Both came from Nickatron, but each is different. Steve wanted a clean-looking bumper and sanded down the seams on his, but I went with the Volguus bumper and did absolutely no clean up on it.

We used 4" stove bolts that go through our GBFans metal bellows, the bumper, a fender washer, a 1/2" steel spacer, the cyclotron, another fender washer, a lock washer, and a hex nut. Unfortunately, we were only able to find combination slotted/Phillips-head bolts, but will hopefully replace them with slotted heads if we can find some.

Bumper with Stove Bolt

Bumper with Steel Spacer

Here's something we did that could probably have been easily avoided. We found 10-32 x 1-1/2" socket head cap screws to go through the arms of the bumpers and into the sides of the shell, but they weren't threaded all the way to the head. Shorter, fully-threaded 10-32 screws were available, but we weren't sure they'd be long enough. Using a die, we painstakingly added threads that went the entire length of the shaft. I don't recommend doing this, but it worked. It would have saved a lot of effort to buy some that were already completely threaded, but we didn't want to spend extra time searching for them.

Screws with Extra Threads

On the outside, the screws go through #14S brass flat washers. On the inside, each screw gets a flat washer, lock washer, and hex nut.

Bumper Arm with Screws and Brass Washers

I'm not sure that we went about attaching the bumpers using the best method possible, but they're on there now. It was a lot of work, a lot of arguing, and a lot of time second-guessing decisions, but finally having the bumpers attached feels like a major hurdle is now out of the way.
SAMIAM, Doctor Disney liked this
User avatar
By Jimm
This week, the first thing we did was finish up vacuum lines. We cut short lengths of 3/4" wooden dowel and bolted them to the shell, then slid some of that sweet, sweet 3/4" splitless loom over it. We put the loom in the vacuum line first, then eye-balled the desired length and cut it. I'm not sure what length we ended up with, but it looks as long as we wanted it to be, so that's good enough for me.

Vacuum Line Tube

Next up were the HGAs, ordered from the GBFans Shop. Just like GohstTarp, we had to use a Dremel tool on the shell in order to get the HGAs to sit flush. I swear, as long as GohstTarp stays at least one step ahead of us, our builds are going to go just fine.


Next up, we attached the end caps to the ion arms, and the ion arms to the shells (all from GBFans). Like others with the GBFans shell have mentioned, we noticed that not all four corners of the ion arm sit flat against the shell. Ours weren't nearly as bad as some others we've seen, and we were able to get them tightened down pretty well with a little effort.

End Cap Attached to Ion Arm

Ion Arm Attached to Shell

That's it for now, but these are starting to look less like shells and more like proton packs.

Progress So Far

I mentioned before that my brother and I are about 80 miles apart, which means hauling parts back and forth every weekend. We have a couple large plastic tubs that the shells (and eventually completed packs) fit inside, but this weekend we added a layer of foam to the inside.

Proton Pack Case
SAMIAM, Doctor Disney liked this
Thank you, tlr11077!

These tubs are from Walmart. They're quite a bit deeper than the packs require, but we plan to pack our suits and boots in there for travel. The tubs have wheels and handles, as well, so we don't have to lift them much when they're fully loaded.

They look like this one, but I don't remember for sure whether we grabbed the forty-gallon size or something else. We mainly went by the dimensions.

Jimm liked this
After a short break, we're back with new updates!

Steve's birthday is coming up, so recently I surprised him with an early birthday present: super-padded shoulder straps!

Super-Padded Shoulder Straps

I bought LC-1 shoulder straps on eBay (one seller only had left straps, another only had right, so none are a perfect match) and then I shipped them off to Nickatron's seamstress who added the thick padding. We decided to go with larger, modern kidney pads for added comfort, but we did get LC-1 waist straps (also from eBay).

ALICE Frame Straps and Pads

To attach the Clippard R-331 to the shell, we started by drilling a hole for the bottom peg on the valve. Then we drilled a smaller hole next to it and used a small file for the notch on the peg. Once the notched pegs were sitting comfortably against the shell, we marked the locations for the two screws. With the holes drilled we used 8-32 socket head cap screws held on with washers, lock washers, and nuts on the inside of the shell.

Clippard R-331 Valve

Next up, we started attaching some of our aluminum pack parts from the GBFans Shop. Mounting the booster tubes was pretty stressful. We spent a good chunk of time making sure the tubes were positioned where we wanted them to be, then drilled the shells and tubes and tapped the tubes. From the inside, they're held on by three sets of 1/4"-20 x 1" socket head cap screws, lock washers, and fender washers.

Booster Tube Holes

Booster Tube Holes, Shell

Booster Tube

Booster Tube, Top

After booster tubes, we attached beam lines and filler plugs. These were less stressful, but we still spent a good amount of time staring at photos, then staring at the parts positioned on our shells before we drilled anything. The beam line is held on with a socket head cap screw, lock washer, and fender washer. The filler plug is attached with a button head socket cap screw and a fender washer because there's less room there on the inside of the shell.

Beam Line and Filler Plug

Keeping with our theme of parts we're nervous to attach, we moved on to the injectors. These turned out to be less difficult than we thought they'd be. Unfortunately, our 1/4"-20 tap showed definite signs of wear after getting Steve's mounted to the shell. Rather than continue with the dull tap, we decided to wait to attach my injectors until we get a new tap. We also have injector brackets (from Crix) but did not attach those yet either.


Luckily, our 4-40 tap was just fine, so we were able to attach our Dale RH-50 and Pacific resistors to our ion arms.

Dale RH-50 Resistor

Pacific Resistor

The last part we attached was the ribbon cable clamp on the cyclotron (also from Crix). We found a lot of variation in reference photos and other people's builds, so we ended up just placing them where we thought they looked best, which was roughly centered above the top left cyclotron lens.

Ribbon Cable Cyclotron Clamp

That's it for now. Even though we have almost all our parts and materials, there's no realistic way we'll have our packs finished by July 15th. Obviously, building them right is much more important than our self-imposed deadline. We're now hoping to have them completed by the end of August, which I think is a much more attainable goal.

Proton Packs So Far
SAMIAM, Doctor Disney liked this
Doctor Disney wrote:
TK5759 wrote:If you guys need parts, I have an extra full set of Crix resin parts. Same parts as found here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=34823&hilit=crix+resin
Do you still have those parts available? I have been trying to contact Crix for a week but he hasn't responded back to me.
PM sent.
Doctor Disney liked this
User avatar
By Jimm
With a brand new 1/4"-20 tap, we were able to start by attaching my injectors. After that was done, we drilled the holes for the ribbon cable, but we're not sure what size they're supposed to be. We used a 1/2" drill bit, since that was the largest we had on hand. I guess we'll see if that ends up working or if we need to make the holes larger later.

Ribbon Cable Hole

Next up were booster frames. We were both very excited for these, because we never had them on the junk packs we built back in 2010. These came from Crix and they are gorgeous, probably my favorite piece on the pack. They're mounted with 10-32 socket head cap screws and #10S brass washers, plus a 1-1/4" P-clamp from the GBFans Shop for the ribbon cable.

Booster Frame

We spent a lot of time debating how we would attach our elbows and straight fittings. GohstTarp's build led us to bishopdonmiguel's build and the idea to use a brass coupler as a nut on the inside of the shell. We found a handful of them that ended up fitting pretty well, but they are excessively long to be using as nuts, so we will likely cut them down later. The best part of doing it this way is that we didn't have to glue them in, meaning we can remove them relatively easily if we need to. I was lucky enough to get a pair of real Legris straight fittings from JaysOccult, and Steve is using GBFans Shop replicas. We both have SMC elbow fittings for now, but hopefully we'll be able to track down those elusive (and now expensive) Legris elbows someday.

Legris Straight Fittings

Elbow Fitting

Brass Coupler "Nuts"

I find it slightly annoying when a build doesn't document the thrower's progress very well. It seems like the thrower goes from being a bunch of parts to being fully-assembled without showing any of the progress. So without further ado, here we are doing the exact same thing!

Clippard R-701, Front Knob, and Top Knob

Front Cylinder

Knurled Side Discs

Rear Cylinder and Side Knob

Thrower, Bottom

Honestly, once we started attaching the various knobs and other pieces, we were moving at such a rapid pace that we didn't want to stop to take a picture of every hole as we went. It felt like real progress and we didn't want to break our stride. There is obviously work left to be done, but the throwers are looking pretty good so far.

We first attached the Clippard R-701. We couldn't find slotted fillister head screws, so we used combo head machine screws temporarily.

We knew we wanted to attach the gun tracks (from Ejgunth87), but in order to get the position right we decided to do the rear cylinders (from Freeky Geeky) first. With those bolted on, we were able to position the gun tracks on the bottom of the throwers. We used a gun track disc from the GBFans shop, an S-hook with disc from Freeky Geeky, and a V-hook from Ejgunth87.

Finally, we sped through attaching a bunch of other thrower parts. The front cylinder came from Crix; the knurled side discs came from Freeky Geeky; and the top knob, front knob, and side knob all came from the GBFans Shop.

We pieced the throwers together by getting parts from a number of different sources, which meant a little extra work to make everything fit together. It was worth it to get the parts we wanted to use though, and we're definitely happy with the results so far.

Ghostbusters 2016

We probably could have made even more progress this weekend if we hadn't kept going out to see the new movie a bunch of times, but it was good to take a few breaks from the build too.
SAMIAM liked this
Great progress guys. For those couplers, cut 1/4-inch+ off the end and use as a nut. Since these are tapered, you can use the ends but discard the center. If you have room in your shell, throw on a washer or two if you have trouble cinching them up.
SAMIAM, Jimm liked this
bishopdonmiguel wrote:Great progress guys. For those couplers, cut 1/4-inch+ off the end and use as a nut. Since these are tapered, you can use the ends but discard the center. If you have room in your shell, throw on a washer or two if you have trouble cinching them up.
Thanks for both the advice and for having the idea in the first place!
GohstTarp wrote:The packs and throwers are really coming along nicely. Some great teamwork here.

BTW, I ended up ordering my slotted fillister head screws from Fastenal.

Looking forward to seeing more.
Thanks as always! Looks like a Fastenal order is in our future.
SAMIAM liked this
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