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By TragicManner
#4907986
Hey Everyone! The main body of this post is to go over my impressions of the Spirit Ghost Trap, what I would like to change on it, and how I plan on doing some of the modifications. At the bottom of the post, I have a few questions and pleas for help, so if you'd like to skip to that you can.

Introduction
So, over the weekend I picked up a Spirit Ghost Trap and made an unboxing video as well as a teardown video.

Since I'm new to prop building, and really like that these traps were produced, I thought it would be a great idea to try and mod one of them. So, taking what I learned taking mine apart, I've decided to set a few goals.

Project Goals (In rough order, order and list items subject to change):
  • Replace the mechanism for opening and closing the doors with something that can be triggered electronically [COMPLETE]
  • Replace the existing circuit board with an arduino and supporting hardware for controlling LEDs [COMPLETE]
  • Replace the existing wheels with bearings [COMPLETE]
  • Look into either reinforcing or replacing the existing handle [COMPLETE]
  • Replace the power panel on top of the trap with a new plate that can be removed to access some components inside [COMPLETE]
  • Add an aluminum/faux-aluminum plating to the front of the trap [COMPLETE]
  • Either paint the existing large panels to make them look like aluminum or replace them with aluminum [COMPLETE]
  • Paint all the black surfaces [COMPLETE]
  • Add more accurate plating around the yellow status bar graph LED opening [COMPLETE] (I decided against adding plating for now, and instead added a LED holder for the additional yellow LED)
  • Replace all fake knobs with functional knobs, give the top LED a more film accurate casing, replace the power switch with a more screen accurate toggle [COMPLETE]
  • Add actual screws where they exist in the films, including on the aluminum plating, on the sides of the yellow status LED housing, etc [COMPLETE]
  • Remove the existing belt buckle and replace it with different belt-attaching hardware [COMPLETE]
  • Add a pedal [COMPLETE]
Phew! Looks like I have my work cut out for me, even though I'm starting with an already fully functional trap!

First Impressions
For reference, I took measurements:
  • The body (not including the handle) is 11 7/8" long, 4" wide (closer to 5" including rods/vectorplate/resistor/etc), and 4 3/8" tall. With the wheels, it stands 5 1/8" off the table.
  • The handle rod is 5 1/32 inches long... sort of. It is made up of two half-cylinders (hollow in the middle), the top half goes the full length, but the bottom half is 4 7/32" long and it attached to the top of the rectangular bar portion of the handle.
  • The rectangular bar part of the handle that extends into the trap itself is only 2 19/32" long. It is actually mostly solid, though it has a hole of about 3/8" in diameter that is drilled through the middle to accommodate the mechanism that opens/closes the trap doors. At 1 27/32" the bar becomes hollow and open on one side, with plastic flaring out to keep the handle from coming out of the trap (see pictures below). This hollow area is about 5/8" x 5/8" x 3/4", but again, it's open on one side to allow space for the plastic arm that pushes down tabs to cause the trap doors to open.
  • The doors are each 7" long and 1 9/16" wide. Both have pins that extend a bit further, with one of the pins having gear teeth on it for the open/close mechanism.
  • Under the doors is an open compartment where two green LED lights shine into. The compartment is roughly 4" wide, 6 1/4" long, and 2 3/8" tall.
  • I can take further measurements upon request
This Post Contains Spoilers
Included Hardware:
  • 2 Green LED lights for the compartment beneath the doors
  • 1 on/off switch (not a toggle)
  • 1 - Red LED for the indicator light by the on/off switch
  • 3 - Yellow LED lights for the yellow status lights
  • 1 - gear assembly for the door open/close mechanism that includes two gears that connect with the gear teeth on the pins on one side of each of the doors
  • 1 - switch that is toggled when the doors are open
  • 1 - 1 1/2" speaker
  • 1 circuit board that controls the LEDs and speaker
  • 1 battery bay that holds 2 AA batteries
This Post Contains Spoilers
The trap quality is... well, it's good in some ways, but definitely not in others. I've opened up 9 of these traps now (I've only bought 2 of them, most I opened at the store to verify they were good), and most were fine. If you'd like to see the issues, expand the spoiler below. I'd say three of the 9 had major issues that made them undesirable, the others I passed on due to personal preference.
  • Minor paint issues (paint not covering all of painted surface, bleeding, other imperfections) (8 traps)
  • Trap door mechanism failed to work properly and/or didn't work consistently (2 traps)
  • Side rods broken off (1 trap)
  • LED not lighting up (1 trap)
  • Major paint issues (no finish on metallic parts, lots of bleeding, other imperfections) (1 trap)
This Post Contains Spoilers
When buying, check over your trap to make sure it is fine before leaving the parking lot. Spirit has been very accommodating in exchanging any traps I've gotten that have had issues. Also, a lot of these issues don't matter if you are planning on modding the trap (depending on how you want to mod it).

In general the paint jobs on these are not great. And the handle honestly seems like it's not going to last long. Pulling up on the handle, the way it's meant to be used, seems relatively solid, but if you put any pressure DOWN on it, the top half of the handle cylinder seems like it wants to separate. The other issue with it is: It does not extend very far into the trap. Ideally, a handle would go all the way to the trap floor, or attach to something sturdy in the trap to avoid the handle breaking out of the trap. These reasons are why one of my goals is to either reinforce the handle or replace it entirely with something that will be much more sturdy. The only other real nitpick I have is with the design of the trap: I hate that it splits down the middle. It means, to get inside, you have to completely take apart the whole thing as it is now (more on this later). Other than those things, I really don't have any complaints given the price. The plastic is relatively sturdy, which makes the body pretty good and also quite light. Cosmetically, I think you could totally upgrade the look of these with pretty minimal work. So if you like the current lights/sounds, and don't plan on adding a hose/pedal, you could spend a Saturday painting, adding the small aluminum plates, and replacing a couple of other components like the red LED and adding some physical screws and you'd have a pretty legit looking trap.

Current Plans
Door open/close mechanism:
Right now I think I have two options.
  • Remove the "pen assembly" from the handle that currently pushes the tabs that open/close the doors and replace it with a solenoid that pushes the tabs to open/close the doors
  • Remove the handle entirely, replace it with a new, sturdier handle, and use two servos to drive the existing door gears
The idea for the solenoid was the one that came most naturally, as it more or less mimics current functionality. I got the idea for the servos from countspatula's ghost trap, though I think the gear assembly in the Spirit ghost trap MAY (I hope!) make it a little bit easier to rig things up. We'll see.

Check out this video for more details:
https://youtu.be/O70c7el8s2A

Also, some pictures of the handle for reference:
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Help/Feedback Requests:
So, right now what I need the most help with is figuring out which approach to take with the door open/close mechanism. I am leaning towards the servo approach, but would love to hear what more experienced trap builders think.

The other thing I need help with is finding the correct cosmetic screws:
At my local Lowe's they have both hex and button head screws in black. I was looking at this post in this thread for size reference, but I'm a bit confused. They look perfect to use on my trap mod, but I am not sure which sizes are correct (or close to the correct sizes). Here are a couple pictures of the screws, I was thinking that M3 looked close to the smaller screws, and M5 to the larger screws, but I can't quite tell and am not sure if I'm comparing apples to oranges or what here.
EDIT: Whoops, forgot to include the pictures of the Lowe's screw drawers
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This Post Contains Spoilers
EDIT: Added details on which goals are currently being worked on with IN PROGRESS and COMPLETE tags
Last edited by TragicManner on October 29th, 2018, 3:09 pm, edited 8 times in total.
By BRD 527
#4908003
Awesome post! I wish I saw this an hour ago, I got my preorder trap today and just finished replacing the on/off switch with a metal toggle switch and installing a quick connect coupler :)
NickFame13 liked this
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908004
BRD 527: I would love to see pictures! I haven't quite gotten to that point yet, but I should soon. I'm hoping to get my design more or less figured out with the trap doors, get some prototypes working, and then start to mod the trap.

So, in the hours since posting my initial post, I've started to dig into servos, and I think my basic design is going to be this:

Mount two servos inside of the trap with a push rod arm and some push rods that go up to each of the tabs that control the doors. Then set the servos up to completely open the doors, then completely close them when done. It seems like this should be relatively straightforward, but I still haven't figured out exactly how and where I am going to mount the servos. Space in the main cavity is going to be TIGHT with all the stuff I want to do with this project, so I may need to get creative. We'll see once I get more components together.

One of the nice things about the servos: The way the traps come out of the box, if you turn them upside down, there is a bit of wiggle room for the doors and they open up a little bit. This is PARTICULARLY problematic when considering carrying this thing around on a belt: The door will make a clacking noise every time it opens every so slightly and then closes again. With the servos and the push rods in place, the servos should keep the doors shut. Hopefully I'll be able to keep the amount of give really small so the trap doesn't make that kind of noise. Also, maybe I should put some rubber pads where the doors hit the plastic of the case to avoid the clicking altogether.

I'm still trying to figure out all the arduino details. I'm more used to raspberry pi projects, but I picked up an arduino kit for tinkering and prototyping. I'm wondering if I should eventually get a nano to drive the project when it's finalized, or if I should go with something like the pro mini instead. Still looking into all that, but any advice there would be awesome as well!
By Acfq48
#4908042
For anyone on the forums who is interested, here is an initial proof of concept and walk-through of where to attach the servo motors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw04lMt5nko

I could use some help getting the code up and running. Ideally, on my first build, I'm trying to do only do the servo motors, a single open/close pedal with only a single press input, and then a three or four additional white LEDs that I can put into the trap. This much, I can probably hammer out some code to get it up and running with decent reliability.

However, for my second build, I'm going to try to do all of that, but then also replace all of the LEDs in the front and the red light on the back so that they can activate in sync with the pedal presses. Also, maybe try to attach a 2mb adafruit soundboard to upgrade the sounds. Does anybody have any advanced arduino experience that can help us get that coded up?

Thanks!

Alex F.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908043
UPDATE! Servo PoC has been rigged up and is working! See a video of it here.

So, today I spent a TON of time at the hardware store looking around for different parts I wanted to find. It went okay. There was a lot of stuff I was surprised they didn't carry: I was even unable to find even 1/4" split loom tubing! For how long I spent at that hardware store, I walked a way with way less than I was hoping for.

Anyway! Let's get to the good stuff: I found a hobby store locally that sells micro servos. And at $4.99 each, they were the perfect price. Unfortunately, they didn't have the model I was hoping for (the TowerPro MG90S), but they did have the Tower Pro SG90. So I picked up a couple of those and just HOPED that they would be powerful enough to drive everything. I also picked up a couple of 20" pushrods that are meant for micro servos and are PERFECT for this, especially because they both come with a nylon sleeve. The reason why this seems particularly helpful is because I can use the Nylon sleeve as a sort of sleeve that I glue onto the tabs so I can hook the pushrod into them. I got the idea from this video by a guy named Alex who has been working on his mod as well. He used a nut, which is probably WAY more durable, but I think the nylon sleeving will probably work. I'll keep an eye on it, and if it seems like it starts failing I'll look into an alternative.

So, with the proof of concept working, I'm going to start looking into how to more permanently secure the servo. I bought a 3/8" square dowel that I could use as rails that the servo could screw into, which would be great. I could glue the rails in and then screw into them, allowing for the servo to be removed. Alternatively, I could just keep using hot glue, which would allow me to swap the servo out if I need to. Perhaps I'll stick with hot glue for now, just be a bit more thorough with it and see how it holds up. Here's a shot of the square dowel and the servo to show the idea of the rails, though I think I'm going to get a smaller dowel if I ever decide to do the rails.
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I also picked up a couple of wooden dowels to make a new handle. I believe I've mentioned that I wonder if the handle on the trap is going to be a point of failure in the future. It is held into place by a small skirt of plastic and keeps it from slipping out of its slot. I want to make a handle that will go down into the trap that is reinforced more thoroughly than the handle is now. I've planned on having it go all the way to the floor of the internal cavity and screw it into some wood that is, in turn, screwed into the bottom of the trap. I've been thinking about reinforcing the bottom a couple of different ways to make this more sturdy. I'm not too concerned with having a few extra screws/components on the bottom of the trap, as long as they are relatively in line with the overall appearance. Here's a shot of the dowels I'm planning on making into the new handle sitting next to the original handle for comparison:
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I'm curious if wood is the way to go, but it seems like it would be really sturdy and pretty easy to make look right.

Finally, on the that topic, the handle will need to be painted, and to make sure it matches the rest of the trap, and to make the trap look a little nicer, I plan on doing a satin black paint job on all the black surfaces. I picked up some rust oleum universal, mostly because it specified that it works well on both wood and plastic.

I also got some metallic paint of the same rust oleum universal. I got the titanium silver thinking it would be closest to aluminum. I'm not so sure if I'm in love with the results. I tested it out on a piece of poycarbonate scrap form a previous project. From afar, it looks decent, but up close it's very obvious that it's paint. This picture illustrates well how it looks up close. I have it sitting next to a piece of aluminum to compare (Sorry the lighting is so bad):
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So I think I'm leaning towards getting a thin sheet of aluminum and having panels cut out of it for the sides and front. The main reason I wanted to avoid that is that the aluminum will have to sit on top of the already raised fake panel on the side of the trap, and it'll be obvious it's a layer of aluminum on top. And since things are already sticking out so far, I'll need to get a thin enough piece of sheet aluminum that won't make the panels stick out super far, but at the same time I don't want the aluminum to be distorted or sticking out from the plastic in the corners or sides, as thinner aluminum has a tendency to do. I guess the other option is removing the fake plastic paneling and using some wood glued on the inside to keep the new, thicker pieces of aluminum in place.

Also, I'm on the lookout for parts for the trap hose and pedal I'll be adding to this. I'd LOVE to do something similar to Sean Charlesworth and make a modular hose that I can detach easily. If anything because, if I end up having multiple traps in the future then I could just use the hose with the trap I take out with me. But I have no idea how to do the 3D printed piece that fits into the couplers to run power through and also allow for disconnect. I'll have to look into it more. And while we're on the topic of the couplers, HOLY CRAP. Those things are expensive. Though, if you live anywhere near Akron, Ohio, apparently the store Hose Warehouse carries the Foster quick disconnect parts for really reasonable prices. Adding the shipping on, though, is pretty expensive. I've looked around for 1/8" couplers and they are both hard to find, and almost universally expensive. The closest thing I can find is this socket and this fitting on amazon that are... well, they are not really screen accurate, and they are still pricey at $14 worth of parts for each side of the hose, and adding on $28 just for one detail on the hose seems a little out of scope for this project, at least for now. For added accuracy I guess I could paint part of the socket silver, but that's just extra work and cost for something that isn't quite right (says the guy who is spending a ton of time and money modding a not-very-screen-accurate trap). I'll have to be on the lookout for something that is close enough, but not too expensive.

On a final note, I remember reading a diy proton pack thread where the guy who did it kept a running total on how much he had spent on the project. So I'm going to start doing that now, too! I'll only include the things that I'm certain I'll be using, though if I swap parts out in favor of better parts in the future, I'll adjust the running total accordingly.

Cost Summary
Spirit Ghost Trap: $49.99
Micro Servos (2 @ $4.99): $9.98
Pushrod/nylon sleeve kit: $6.59 (though I'm only using one of the rods from the kit so far, it came with 2)
Running total: $66.56
By BRD 527
#4908065
Nice find with the servos and I like your idea for the replacement handle! I was thinking about the side plates today too I think I'm just going to paint mine and drill out the fake screw n add real ones.

I like how when you remove the front insert with the fake knobs there is all that room. I made a plat for the front last night from a DVD case I cut up with a hobby knife, painted it flat white with krylon fusion (temp base cote to match sides) and temp bolted it on for now, need to get knobs now!

Idk how to host/post pics could Email you a couple tho if you want
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908113
@BRD 527: I have been using https://postimages.org for posting images, it has been working great and even has preset sizes to make huge pictures better for the forums. As for the paint, what paint did you end up using? I have some metallic paint, and it's okay, but not quite what I was hoping for. I should probably also get a light gray primer to help the stuff look nicer, so I may try that a little later.

At any rate, I got my arduino! So I got it all set up and running, and I wired a few things up, including a button to simulate a pedal, and wrote some code to drive it all, and it works really well!

Here's the code :
https://pastebin.com/VAgebAxa

And here is the first video after getting the arduino all wired up to a single servo (I've made significant code changes since this video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K85QkGYRnw

So, after getting both servos working and everything looking pretty good, I sat down to close the case up and try it out with the effects and everything and... I ran into a pretty significant problem.

Since the trap comes apart down the middle, you have to get everything in place and then close the shell and that's that. There are no good ways of getting in to the other components after the case is shut. Best spot is where the holes for the wheels are, and even those are pretty small. What this means is, since the tabs that the servos need to hook up to to control the trap doors are part of the gear assembly, and that gear assembly isn't in place for both sides until the case is closed, it's not possible to hook up both servos before closing the case. And once the case is closed, it's too difficult to get to the servos to get the pushrods hooked in properly.

So I thought I might dremel out the panels and make replacement panels that are removeable. Not a bad idea, really, except that the inner compartment below the doors is ALSO connected to the side panels that are already in place, so I would need to cut both the panel from the side that it is technically a part of, as well as all the other plastic connections that go to it. Too complicated and too much risk of ruining something. So I have decided against that. And because of where the servos are located inside, there isn't a great place to cut into the side of the trap to get to them. For example, if the plates that hook onto the larger plates were located next to the servos, it would be easy to cut a hole in the side of the trap and put the plate over it to cover it up, but no such luck.

The only other option I can think of that would work would be to make a little sled for the trap to sit on. Most ghost traps have that plate on the bottom that everything sits on anyway, and while the spirit ghost traps sort of do, adding a bit more bulk to the bottom would make it look a little bit more faithful. Then, I could cut holes in the bottom and cover them up with the sled. So that's an option, I suppose. I do have a piece of polycarbonate that is probably the perfect thickness for it, so I'll have to look into that thought.

The other solution, that Alex suggested and that makes a lot of sense, is to cut the "bridge" that makes up the gear assembly. That would effectively make it so easy door has its own gear assembly, and allow for them to be put in place before closing the trap. The only problem this creates is, that bridge is actually structurally significant, and visible when the case is closed, so a cut down the middle would be pretty glaringly obvious.
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Overall, I'm VERY hesitant to cut into the actual exterior of the trap because I was hoping to keep things as stock as possible, but that's obviously not a realistic expectation at this point. Either I need to find an alternative to the servos, or an alternative way to mount them, or just leave them as-is and cut into the case somewhere.

On the cosmetic side of things, I picked up a can of rust oleum painter's touch 2x with an aluminum color, and it looks MUCH better than the stuff I tried last time. So I'm probably going to paint the side panels that color, as well as the little panel I am making for the front of the trap. Here's the paint next to an actual piece of aluminum:
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By ZachAttack622
#4908174
Love these ideas and looking forward to your final trap! I'm also looking for a way to access the trap from the bottom as well for an ecig/vape mod.

Anyone know of a way to add a "door" between or around the wheels?
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908185
So my current idea is to pick up some polycarbonate (you can get a $5 piece of it at Home Depot) and cut it to the size of the bottom of the trap. Then I want to cut off the plastic that hold on the current wheels and basically cut holes into the bottom of the trap, around the wheel holes, leading to two holes in the bottom, one near the back, and one near the front, like this:
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After making those cuts, I would drill holes into the polycarbonate for the bottom of the trap, paint it black like the rest of the trap, and secure it to the trap using some removable screws, allowing for the plate itself to be removable.

What this would also do is allow me to attach my custom handle straight to the bottom piece of polycarbonate, allowing that piece to support the whole trap and avoiding stressing any of the existing, more brittle plastic.
By ZachAttack622
#4908187
Great idea! I was considering adding a small hinge to one side and some sort of a cam lock (or similar) idea to the other but the polycarbonate might be an easier and cleaner solution.

Can't wait to see your progress on this! Take care!
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908228
Thanks for the input, comments, and advice everyone!

I just gotta say that, today, this project JUST GOT REAL (ghostbusters).

Ahem.

But first, the other day I got a few things done. First and foremost, I verified that you can run the Spirit LEDs and Sound hardware on the 3.3v power out from an arduino. This is great, because it means I can power both my servos and the stock sound/LEDs with a single power source. There's a chance it may shorten the life of the components, but so far I see no indication that this is the case, and I've run it for about 3 hours total. Here's a demo:

https://youtu.be/LXLOEnYC3vs

I also ran the trap on a 9v battery for about an hour. I was curious how well a 9v would fare after knowing I could run everything through the arduino's power, and it did okay. Towards the end of the hour the LEDs were getting a bit dimmer, the servos were moving a bit slower. So if all you need is an hour at a time, I suppose a 9v battery would work. But for a full event/night where you'll be using the trap on and off, having to stop to swap out a 9v battery may not be ideal. That said, I'm pretty sure you could mod the current battery compartment to hold a 9v if you wanted, so swapping it out wouldn't be too hard, I suppose.

I also got quite a bit done on my trap handle replacement the other day. To start, I got a 3/4" Forstner Drill Bit at the hardware store for $10.28. Since I'm not including tools and such in my running total, I figure mentioning the cost in the post when I talk about them will help. The reason you need a bit like this is it makes a REALLY smooth, clean cut. So I used that and I measured out where the middle of my poplar 3/4" square dowel was and, starting close to the top of the dowel, I drilled in as carefully as I could to make the hole RIGHT in the middle so it would perfectly fit the 3/4" poplar round dowel I got. It took a couple tries, but since I started at the top I didn't need to lose much wood each attempt. I just moved down an inch or two and tried again. That hardest thing was making sure I drilled straight all the way through, so keep that in mind. If you have a drill press, I'm sure it would make this step MUCH easier. Here's how it turned out:

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Once I was happy with that I put the square dowel in a vice and placed the round dowel into the groove I had just cut with the drill bit:

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I then drilled down into the dowel, very carefully, with the help of a friend who helped keep the round dowel steady. Just take things nice and slow and make sure your bit is the right size (and length!) for the wood screw you'll want to use. I used one of these #8 1 5/8" screws. So, once you get the hole drilled through both the round dowel and into the center of the square one (you'll do this all at one time), go ahead and countersink down a little bit to give some room for the screw head so the screw is just slightly below the surface of the dowel, so none of it is sticking up above the curve of it:

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I went a little too deep, so don't go as far as I did! The great thing about this is, if you use a star-head screw like I did, it looks VERY close to the hex-head screw that some trap handles have in the same place, so when you paint the whole thing black it'll look pretty dang close to how it should.

Now you'll want to put some wood glue on the two dowels like this (I used titebond III):
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Then drive the screw into the wood dowel, nice and slow, paying close attention to whether or not the dowel starts to split. If you made the right size of drill hole, you should be fine. But if you notice any wood start to split, STOP, back out, and redrill your holes. If you see no sign of splitting, drive your screw through until you see it just peek through:

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Now seat the tip of that screw into the drill hole in the other dowel and make sure things are lined up nice, and then continue to slowly drive the screw in. Watch for splitting, stop of anything happens. Once the screw head is seated, don't overtighten to avoid splitting the wood. Things should feel sturdy, the handle shouldn't wiggle, but you don't want to screw in too far and split your wood. Smooth out any excess glue and then let things dry:

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And that's how I did the handle.

So TODAY I had a few hours to just go out into the garage and work on things. I tried to get pictures along the way, so here we go:

I've been taking things a bit slow to kind of absorb what my plan is and really get to know the ins and outs of the trap. My biggest hope is to leave the structural integrity of the trap stronger than when I started, and I think I made some great progress towards that today. Also, I've solved my problems with accessing the servos after the trap is closed, as you'll see.

So, to start, I wanted to make a few pieces to go on the trap itself. A piece to go on the top back of the trap, and a piece to go onto the bottom of the trap. Both of these will cover holes I'll be cutting into the actual spirit ghost trap.

So, to start I went to Home Depot and picked up a $5 piece of polycarbonate:

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Not only is there enough to do the piece for the whole bottom of the trap, but also for small side panels, the top back panel, and the front of the trap!

To cut the pieces, I measured the trap and then cut into the plastic using a drywall scorer and a utility knife:

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The drywall scoring tool actually worked really well on polycarbonate, and I only used the utility knife to more or less finish things off. Just push the scorer down really hard, pull towards yourself (watch for fingers!) and stop when you have to turn towards a different angle. If you plan your cuts with this motion in mind, you can mostly be cutting towards the edge of the sheet of plastic, which makes things easier. So I cut out the bottom board:

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At this point I took my dremel cutting tool, with a metal-cutting disk on it, and started cutting out the places in the trap I wanted to cut:

Starting with the top back of the trap, I outlined where I wanted to go, taking care to note where the screw hole goes. You DON'T want to cut that. I suggest cutting around that first, so you know where it is:

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Note how I cut around the screw hole first:
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Then I carefully sheared the layer of plastic above the screw hole away:
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With all that done, I looked to the bottom to figure out where to cut. So far, I've only cut on the side where the circuit board and servos are. I wanted to make sure I didn't cut out any of the plastic that was meant to support the trap if at all possible. Notice in this picture the bits of plastic that you don't want to cut that help support the bottom of the trap (sorry my pictures keep getting rotated by the site I upload them to):
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So I lined the area I wanted to cut with painter's tape (probably a good idea on the top too, I just forgot about it when I did that):

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TONS more access now when the trap is closed. Now to make a cover for the hole on top of the trap. This was MUCH more complicated. I had to carefully measure the dimensions of the area and make a pieces of plastic to match.

First, I sketched out the shape I wanted on the plastic. Then I used the score and cut method I used for the larger piece for some of the easier cuts:

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Once those were done, I took the piece and put it in a vice and carefully cut out the smaller details with a dremel. This turned out okay, but I'm sure there is a better way of doing them:

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Finally, I took the handle and put it in place and made sure everything fit. Anywhere that didn't, I used a sharpie to color over what was too large and/or needed to be trimmed, and then trimmed (CAREFULLY, you don't want to cut your fingers) with the dremel and my utility knife until everything fit and looked good.

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Next, with the plastic on top in place, I carefully looked where I wanted to put the screws that would hold it in place and provide the cosmetic screw placement you see on the traps in the movies. I wanted three of the screws to be functional in holding the plate in place, so I found the thread size of my screws (M3 x 0.50 screws, btw, I could only find metric) and luckily I was able to borrow a metric tap kit from my father-in-law to tap in the threads. To start, I used a 3/32" drill bit to drill into the spots I wanted to put the holes. ONE THING you want to take note of, is if you put the screws where the screws are on most traps, you will end up drilling right into the plastic for the screw used to join the two halves together, so I scooted them back a bit:

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Once I had those holes in, I clamped the plastic firmly in place and screwed through the same holes into the plastic of the trap. Do this VERY CAREFULLY, especially if you want to tap in threads, because you want a straight, snug pass, and plastic is really easy to mess up.

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Take a lot of care with the hole in the middle, and carefully clamp the two sides of the trap firmly together, but not too hard! If you clamp down too tight, I'm pretty sure the plastic will buckle and/or break, leading to extensive damage.
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Finally, I tapped in the threads, and then put in screws. Lookin good!
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I still need to cut the other hole in the bottom I want to cut, drill out screw holes for the bottom plate, and get all that set up, but that's all the technique I used to get this done today. I'll upload a pdf in the next couple days with templates you can use to make all the same stuff I did here and for other parts I plan on doing soon.

EDIT: AHHH! I forgot to add the details on cost!

Cost Summary:
Polycarbonate sheet: $4.98
3/4 inch square dowel (Poplar): $2.95
3/4 inch round dowel (Poplar): $2.98
Cost for this post: $10.91
Running total: $77.47
robandliv liked this
By BRD 527
#4908299
I think I figured it out! all the screws added sofar to the led plate, wings and face plate are real I just drilled holes and screwed them in. In the case of the face plate they are functional and currently holding it on. The knobs are temp I just stuck them on for the pic tho I may end up using them and screwing them on from the back. The round knobs are resin from another trap im working on and the square ones came off an old Heat/AC control head (knobs for slide switches) for my car lol

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User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908323
BRD 527: Looks great so far! I love how much better the face of the trap looks!

So, pretty excited about today's update! I'm slowly, slowly learning what I need to get this thing all decked out the way I want it. It all takes time, and I've been looking into everything from 3D printing to spending time at a fastener store (apparently these sorts of things exist!) and it has been really interesting!

I have been going back and forth on whether to spray paint the side panels of the trap Aluminum-color, or actually put aluminum sheet over them. So this morning I ran down to a plate metal shop to find out how much it would cost.

I originally wanted them to cut the sheet metal and drill holes into it, but even JUST cutting the sheet metal to size was going to cost over $40, which was going to blow my budget way out of the water. So I just bought the sheet aluminum I needed, which came out to only $5 because I was able to find some scraps that worked for what I needed to do. Sweet! Only one problem: I had no idea how to cut the stuff. Luckily, the guy at the metal shop gave me a tip: With my thinner sheet of aluminum, he knew that students would often cut them with those really large, drop-handle, swinging paper cutters. So I called around and found one I could use for free at the library.

Cutting with the paper cutter was actually amazingly easy and precise. Since the thinner sheet I bought was only about .028" thick, it cut really easily. It has lines and guides to help keep things straight, and I brought my trap and a set of calipers with me to make sure I made everything fit just right.

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Once I got my two large panels cut (I only did the large ones today) I removed the battery panel/vector plate and set it aside, as well as the batteries. Then I used my dremel to remove the fake knobs and the one small plate using a metal cutting wheel, then I put on a small grinder attachment to grind off the fake screws and excess plastic from cutting:

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When cutting off the small side plate, make sure you do it from the side instead of straight down. There is a lot of structural stuff underneath it, and cutting from the side avoids cutting all of that.
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Then I drilled into the aluminum. I have a little template that I used to mark where to drill, and I drilled out the spots with a 5/32" drill. Then I set the plate on the trap and, with a 9/64" drill, carefully drilled out one hole into the trap. This allowed me to then take my M4 x 0.70 screws and screw them into the hole and have them bite into the hole without having to use a nut on the other side. As I drilled each hole into the trap, I then screwed in the screw to help keep the plate exactly in place and make sure it lined up just right with the plastic plate underneath it.

The 0.028" aluminum sheet I bought worked perfectly to sit on top of the existing plastic panels. I was worried they would look bad, but they look great!

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So, I still have a lot to get done. I am getting a few pieces 3D printed and will hopefully get those in the next day or two. I found out there is a library nearby and they have VERY reasonable prices for 3D printing, especially because I don't have to get it shipped to me.

I'm at the point where several things are kind of waiting on other things to be finalized. I need to finish drilling holes into these new panels, but want to use a drill press to do them to keep things really accurate, so I'll need to track one down. Also, several things are going to need to hook into the bottom plastic plate I cut the other day before I can paint it, including the new handle and the wheels. And I have to get a toggle switch and drill the hole for the red LED to be able to finish up the back power section top plate and paint it as well. So I am realizing I need to get all these little pieces together before I can proceed with a lot of the final steps on several of the goals, which is why so many are in-progress. Most of them I'll get together via 3D printing, and hopefully I can track down the others and get to the point where I can paint stuff!

EDIT:
Cost Summary
Aluminum sheets (0.028' and one around 1/16") - $5
M4-.70 x 10 socket cap screw - (0.80 x 4) $3.20
Post Total: $8.20
Running Total: $85.67
Kingpin, NickFame13 liked this
By Acfq48
#4908778
Have you been able to update the code? I've been working on a PCB that will allow us to more easily solder and construct future traps. On the current design, I switched around several of the pinouts to help them more easily fit onto a smaller PCB and added in the option to power the board through a 5v, 6v or 12v power supply depending of which buck converters you used. I also left as many of the digital pins open as I could to allow for multiple LEDs and resistors. It'll work with the code we have as is but it will allow us to greatly expand and I could always move around some components on the board if we need to. Let me know where you're at.

Thanks buddy!
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4908873
@Acfq48: Here's the code I wrote several days ago, I tried to notify you about it but somehow I don't think you were notified about my comments on youtube: https://pastebin.com/Zh6S7xrh

That code above is the latest version of the code I've written and can control two servos and up to four LEDs using an arduino Uno or Nano. I handled a lot of it using coroutines, which are awesome because it allows me to create several parellel processes on a single-threaded system, such as an arduino.

So! Most of the work I've done recently have been with the handle. To prepare the trap for a handle that extended through the whole thing, I needed to cut a couple things. First off is the gear tabs, which I needed to cut down from the center of the gear assembly to make it so they don't block the path of the handle. Here you can see where I marked them, and note that the cut does not go across the whole tabs, as cutting them down the whole length would keep them from triggering the switch that lets the circuit board know when the doors are open:
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I cut them using my dremel, like so:
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And as you can see here, cutting them like I did allows them to still hit the door switch:
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I also used my dremel to cut off the belt clip that comes on the Spirit trap, and then I extended the hole under my servos just slightly to allow the handle to come through:
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This allows the handle to be attached to the bottom plastic board that I am adding to the trap, which allows me to put all the wear and force put on the trap to go to the bottom plastic plate and the handle, avoiding any breakage to the trap itself. But since the handle only has a small surface area that can attach to the plastic bottom board, I decided to mount an overkill steel l-bracket I had laying around to the side of the handle. It was too big, so I had to cut it down to size to fit in the hole on the bottom of the trap:
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I then lined up the handle in the trap and gauged where I would need to drill holes into the handle base and the bottom plastic board to connect them together:
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I then measured out on my bottom plastic board where the wheels would need to go using this page from Sean's ghost trap plans.
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Then I used a drill press to drill out two holes in each little wheel space. Here I had drilled one of the holes:
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I then started painting my handle. I started with a Rust Oleum Painter's Touch Flat Gray Primer:
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After applying two coats of that and letting it dry (with about 45 minutes of drying between them) I put on a few coats of Rust Oleum Painter's Touch 2x Satin Canyon Black:
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That's it for the handle for now.

The other thing I wanted to do was cut my about 1/16" aluminum for the small side plates and front plate of the trap. I decided to try and cut it with my chop saw. If you're going to do much cutting of aluminum on your chop saw, I recommend getting a non-ferrous metal cutting blade that is meant to run at the same RPM of your chop saw. It worked out pretty well, though the cuts were a bit rough.
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To cut out the inner portion of the front plate, I went slow with my dremel:
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I still need to clean up the cuts a little, but they look pretty good so far! Here's the front plate:
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Cost Summary:
Rust Oleum Satin Canyon Black Paint: $3.86
Rust Oleum Flat Gray Primer: $3.86
Total for this post: $7.72
Running Total: $93.39
By Acfq48
#4908958
This looks great! It took me a bit to get things going. On my previous builds I had to use an older version of the Arduino IDE software (1.6.2) in order to get some of the servos to work. However, with the coroutines, I suppose that this build needs the updated 1.8.4 IDE as it worked on that one and not the old one. Either way, this this is up and running well. I cracked open my initial trap, removed the arduino from the socket (I highly recommend that if you go to the nano instead of the uno) and tested out the latest version of the code. It's running well. I like that you were able to implement many of the ideas that we discussed into the trap. The doors closing automatically worked perfectly the first time out. My next step is to complete my gerber file of a printable circuit board. I'm leaving a few pins open just in case we discuss some improvements in the future but if you have any experience with PCB boards, let me know and I can send you the file. I'm also working on a cable method utilizing coax cables to link the trap to the pedal. Running pure coax would be far too stiff so my plan is to cut and strip just the end with about an inch worth of cable and then solder it onto a standard 24 gauge wire so that the trap can roll out easy. I'll let you know how this comes along.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4909001
@Acfq48 Glad that the code update helped get things working! Let me know if you need anything else. I guess it's not surprising that the coroutines need the latest IDE, hopefully that didn't cause too much trouble!

I spent some time last night working on the "backbone" or "skeleton" of the trap. The idea with this is I wanted to create a sort of structure that takes most of the load, beatings, and wear and tear that the trap will go through to allow for it to survive taking it places. Probably (definitely) overkill, but it has allowed me to do a couple of small things to make the trap a bit more screen accurate, too. Though some of these things can probably be achieved without it, I liked the idea of making the trap a bit more durable.

First off, I wanted to add bearings for wheels, and to do so I got a couple of the axles printed from countspatula's 3D printed trap files at thingiverse. The file you need for the axels is bottom_axle_x2.stl. I then went to a shop and bought these screws to go with them:
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The one downside of these screws are they are not black, but I will spray paint them when I take things apart and spray paint the bottom plastic plate. I found that these screws were a little bit tight going into the ABS plastic axles I printed, and part of the reason is that ABS tends to contract when cooling, as I was told when I was getting them printed. So, because of that I recommend testing out your screws, and if things are a little tight, you can use a 5/32" drill bit to clean out the holes for the bearing screws, and a 7/64" bit for the screws to mount the axles. I didn't really use the 7/64" bit, though, those screw holes didn't have as much as a problem as the larger ones. Once I got that all figured out, I screwed on some skateboard bearings I picked up at a local skate shop for about $5.
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With that done, I went about opening up the wheel openings on my bottom plastic plate:
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I ended up using a dremel cutting disc that was pretty small from using it to cut metal before, and that worked out fine. I just went really slow and was really careful, and I ONLY cut in the direction I show in that shot above. Since plastic melts with these discs, you can use the disc to kind of melt away the small remainder of plastic that is there after cutting the longer sides of these wheel openings. ALSO, BEFORE CUTTING, I found that my wheel holes were a little too far apart, and ended up bringing them closer together by a few millimeters.

I then carefully drilled holes into the bottom plastic plate using the 5/32" drill bit to allow for the axles to attach to it. I then took my handle from before and mounted it onto the plastic. These things together basically make up the "skeleton" of the trap:
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And here it is, with the trap placed onto it and the handle in place:
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And a shot of underneath (I still need to finish drilling a few holes):
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And there you go. As of now, I have all the major components together for the main trap except for one of the knobs (still haven't decided if I want the GB1 or GB2 knob that goes on one of the small side plates) and the way I'm going to attach the trap to my belt. I just need to paint everything, finish drilling holes into the aluminum side and front plates, mount some knobs, and make sure the handle is secure and sturdy with everything screwed together, and then I'll finally be able to start looking into the pedal.

Cost Summary:
Skateboard bearings (4): $5
#10-24X3/4"screws: $1.18
#6-32X1/2" screws: $1.18
Post total: $7.36
Running total: $100.75
By Acfq48
#4909018
This is looking really good! I soldered on the additional lights last night and the only thing that I could see that could be improved is that the delay for the pedal press is no longer present. Now it may not be able to be easily added in since there are coroutines but if its possible it would be nice since holding down the pedal continually cycles the open/close sequence. Also, while I love the updates that you're doing, it seems to me that it would be far above and beyond what your standard fan might have the ability to do. Ideally, I'd like to see GB fans using the spirit trap more than the Matty collector. The price difference and ability to repair and improve the trap would far outweigh the benefits of the Matty. I think, especially over time as the Matty traps begin to wear out and break down. I'm trying to put something together that needs only a rotary tool kit and a glue gun/super glue. Is it ok for me to use this code in that system? I've already completed one build but I'm going to do a step-by-step guide when I build my second trap. Ideally, I'd like to include a parts list, total cost breakdown and pictures for each step of the build. I'd like to get total build time down to less than 4 hours. That may be pie in the sky thinking since you and I both know that the first build takes days but we'll see what I can put together to take out as much of the build time as possible.

Also, another potential add-on that I could think of would be to use digital pin 12 as a way to trigger the original soundboard's activation sequence. What I mean by this, is on the trap there is a connection point on the gear box. This runs to a green wire with a two prong connector that then connects to a grey wire that then plugs into the original soundboard. If we could use pin 12 to activate the sequence and then around the 13 second mark the sequence breaks for only a split second and then instantly restarts we might be able to have the trap remain open for more than then standard 14 seconds. Now this might make the previous "auto-close" functionality redundant and it would create a small break in animation between switches and the sound effects would change from regular to slimer to regular again etc. but it might be a cool feature if it can get up and running. There would have to be a variable on both the length of the reset as well as the delay between resets. This way it can be finely adjusted so that the trap can have as little downtime as possible and that the power down sound might never play. i.e. it might be 10 seconds of play, .25 second reset, 10 seconds play, .25 seconds reset etc. until the pedal is pressed. Once again, this is just an idea and may prove more time consuming than it's worth to implement.

The other add-on would be to have very small flashes of lights on the PWM pins after the trap has closed. just a few flickers that imitate a trapped ghost.

All just thoughts but so far, this trap is cheaper, brighter and easier to maintain than the Matty and it's probably going to be the gold standard for the next ten years until they make a new and improved Matty Collector.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4909122
So, first things first! I've put my arduino code up on github, and you can access it there, together with updates here:
https://github.com/tragicmanner/arduino ... uster_trap

(EDIT: The github page has the latest code, that fixes the issue when holding down the pedal)

@Acfq48: Thanks! So, the door opening and closing problem doesn't need a delay, it needs to be solved using better state logic. Turns out I was not checking properly that the pedal was still being pressed down, haha. Effectively, there was still a delay, because it was basically waiting until the door open sequence ended before it would close the door, so the system has inherent delays with the state management that it uses. As for my updates, I'm really not making this so much to be a guide for other people as it is me just showing how I'm modding my trap, according to my own goals with it. I do have to say that a lot of what I'm doing probably isn't all that practical or helpful to most people, but I am having a lot of fun doing it. Also, on the topic of Matty traps, I'm certain a lot of people will want to mod their Spirit traps, and I imagine that they will likely be a popular choice for modding, and for many I think they will be a great alternative for the Matty trap. But since the matty trap is smaller, better constructed, comes with a fully functional pedal, and is generally more screen accurate out of the box, I think it will always be the preferred option, with the Spirit trap being a fun, mod-able alternative. That said, I am planning on using my trap as my main trap, and that's why I'm modding it as much as I am. By the time I'm done, my trap will be much more screen accurate than it originally was, and I'll have probably spent the same amount on the product as the cost of the Matty trap when it first released. Which, cool as that is, it's still going to be a little off in some ways, so I'm always going to wish Mattel would produce another run of the traps.

I've got another update coming, but I'm not sure when I'll have time to write it up, so I thought for now I'd just let everyone know that I have my code up on github. But the cosmetic changes I've wanted to do are well under way, so that is going to be really fun to show off!
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By TragicManner
#4909228
Alright, I've put off posting for far too long.

To start off, I wanted to finish up the "skeleton" or "spine", though I've also been calling it a cradle lately, as that is more or less what it does. At any rate, it's the bottom piece of plastic that has the wheels and handle screwed into it.

To start, I sanded the bottom of the bottom piece of plastic with 220 grit sandpaper. The reason was because the plastic I was using from the hardware store had a UV resistant coating on it, and I wanted to remove that. I also wanted to make it more likely to hold the paint and be more opaque. It worked great. Then I took a couple of washers that I wanted to use to reinforce the handle and its bracket to keep the screws from wearing down the plastic and made sure the bolt and screw I was using to mount the handle and bracket looked good:
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I then drilled holes into both the bottom plate of plastic and the bottom of the trap using a drill press. I drilled one hole, and then put the screw in place to help make sure the bottom piece of plastic didn't shift. I wanted to make sure the bottom plastic was as perfectly aligned with the bottom as I could manage. The screws I used were #6 x 3/8, 18-8 stainless steel screws. The holes I drilled were drilled using a 7/64" drill bit.
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I then took all the screws I wanted to be black, including the screws for the handle and bracket, for attaching the bottom piece of plastic to the bottom of the trap, for mounting the axles and the bearings, and I pushed them into a piece of cardboard and, together with the bottom piece of plastic and the washers for the handle, I primed and then painted them all my satin black that I used for painting the handle (Rust Oleum 2x Painter's Touch Satin Canyon Black). I'm not entirely sure how necessary the primer is, and if I could have gone back, I probably would have just gotten a flat black primer, but anyway, no worries.
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I do have more screws on the bottom of my trap than you see in the movies, but I don't particularly mind. I actually like how it all came out.

I then took the trap and disconnected all the electronic components I could:
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The first order of business was to finish removing the remnants of the built-in belt clip. I carefully made lines of where I wanted to cut, and then carefully went along them with my dremel cutting tool:
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I then carefully scored the front of the last little bit I needed to cut out and then broke it off with pliers to avoid cutting into the parts I wanted to keep:
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And there we go:
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I then took my large aluminum plates and affixed them in place using a couple screws each, just enough to not move around, and using painter's tape, I taped the components I wanted to have connected to the large side plates into place and, using my drill press, I drilled out the holes I needed using a 3/32" drill bit, though it was a bit tight, so if you don't like how tight it is you might try the 7/64" bit. I again would put a screw into each hole as I drilled them out to help keep the components exactly where they needed to be in relation to further holes drilled:
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You'll notice I had drawn lines on the aluminum to indicate where I needed to drill using a pencil. Don't do this! The pencil leaves behind marks where I pressed against the aluminum. It's probably better to use a fine sharpie and then clean it off with some hair spray or something afterwards.

I then carefully measured out where the red rods needed to go and drilled, again, 7/64" holes where the holes are in the back of the red rods that came with the spirit trap. I was then able to attach the red rods using the same #6 x 3/8" screws I used to attach the plastic bottom plate to the bottom of the trap.
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The rods didn't come out perfectly parallel, the bottom one is slightly slanted up, but they are pretty dang close!

I then drilled out some holes for the knobs going onto the side plates:
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So the knobs, the vector plate, and the resistor I printed from countspatula's 3D printed trap plan. Just know that the GB1 vector plate and GB1 resistor are a MUST for this trap, as they are the only ones that fit properly, if I remember correctly.

Now, you may have noticed that I had some painter's tape in some places on my trap. At this point I got the painter's tape back out and finished covering up any holes and gaps so I could paint the trap itself.
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I also put some packing tape on the back of the trap to cover up the speaker hole. I had a nice, thin packing tape to use. A thicker might be used in the future if the tape ends up getting too easily damaged, but any tape will work for this really. Just line up the tape with the inside edge of the trap, and then trim around the sides in as straight a line as you can. It turned out great.
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I'm getting really close to getting everything on the trap wrapped up. I just need to finish drilling holes into the knobs on the front plate and get a few more components, like the Foster male connector to go in the back of the trap. I also need to buy a power switch that is more screen accurate. I've also got to finalize the electronics, which is actually going on in the background a bit. More on that soon.
EnderWeggen liked this
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4909326
Electronics Part 1: Basic Setup

So my initial electronics setup involves a few things:
  • 2 Servos (we've covered these already above)
  • 1 Arduino (Uno or Nano, though the smaller Nano is better)
  • 1 Power Switch (you can use the one that came with the SH trap)
  • 1 Pedal Switch (however you have your pedal switch hooked up)
  • (Optional) Some extra LEDs
  • EDIT: A Power Supply Step Down Module (Buck Converter) that can output 3V
Everything else is driven by the Circuit Board that came with the SH trap.

Here is the (admittedly messy) schematic. Now, I am pretty new to electronics, so if anything on here is incorrect, inefficient, or otherwise could use improvement, let me know! Use at your own risk! (Schematic has been updated to show buck converter)
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Some notes on the Schematic:
  • Power wires are red
  • Data pin wires are orange
  • Ground wires are black
  • Only two additional LEDs beyond the original are added in this schematic, but you can add fewer (or even none!) or more
  • All of the empty pins on the SH Trap Circuit connect to the original components
  • I initially used a 9v battery, not sure how efficient this is, but it works
So, if anyone wants to follow this schematic, it's pretty basic to set up. Just grab my arduino code and upload it to your arduino. You can definitely use the Nano or the Uno. Also, make sure you follow the directions from the readme or the github page, they outline things like adjusting your servos, settings up your LEDs properly, etc.

Take your battery (in my example a 9v battery) and hook the positive terminal up to the VIN pin on the arduino, just make sure your battery, even if you're just using a 9v, meets the voltage requirements for the VIN pin on your arduino! Now, attach the negative terminal of the battery to the power switch of the trap, and then attach the other side of the power switch to the GND pin on your arduino. It should now break the circuit to the arduino when it is on off, and turn everything on when on on (imagine that!). Also, you won't be able to use the original battery compartment here, unfortunately. For that, you'd need at least 5v, and two AA batteries max out at around 3.2v.

Next disconnect the black wire that runs between the power switch and the SH Trap Circuit Board from the power switch, then disconnect the red wire that runs from the circuit board to the battery compartment from the battery compartment. Connect the red wire to the output of your Buck Converter. Then connect the + input on the buck converter to the 3v3 pin on the Arduino. The black wire will go to the - output from the buck converter, and the - input on the Buck Converter can connect to the arduino ground (I believe it needs to be a completely different ground than the one you used with your battery). Now the original SH Trap Circuit Board is set up to run off the power from the arduino. At this point, I would also verify that the buck converter is outputting 3v by using a multimeter.

Now, to wire in your pedal, you'll need to follow the general instructions from this arduino page on buttons. Use any non-PWM digital pin you want, though I wired mine up to pin 2. Both the arduino article on buttons and my schematic show how to wire it all up, but let me know if anyone needs clarification and/or pictures.

And just like that, you are set. Now, when you hit your pedal, the servos will open the doors on the trap, and the built in switch on the trap will notify the SH Trap Circuit Board that the doors are open, which then will trigger all the original LEDs and sounds. Tadaa!

I'm currently working on a more complex electronics setup that will allow for more screen-accurate behavior from the original SH trap LEDs, as well as some additional other stuff, so I'll post about that when I'm done with it.

EDIT: I'm now recommending that, if anyone uses this design, investing in a DC step down module (Buck Converter) to go between the 3.3v power on the arduino and the power in on the SH Circuit Board. The reason is that the 3.3v that the arduino supplies is just a little too high for the resistors on the circuit board, and it will most likely shorten the lifespan of your LEDs. Even though everything works fine running the 3.3v directly into the SH Circuit Board, it's probably taxing those components way more than you want. Just look for a Buck Converter 3.0-40V to 1.5-35V Power Supply Step Down Module, several of which exist on Amazon or most other places you prefer to get your electronic components from. They are pretty reasonably priced.
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By TragicManner
#4909730
Okay, probably time for an update, as it's been too long since I've posted anything.

So, first off, I finished up a couple of big things recently. I got in my foster connectors in, which allowed me to finally put some work in on the hose, getting the foster connector put into the trap, and finalizing some of the electronics. I'd probably have wrapped up with the project completely by now, except that I've gone through a bit of scope shifting. At first I planned on reducing the scope of the project and not doing custom audio, but looking at the project now I just can't imagine not going all-out and making this as awesome as possible, so I decided to keep my original plan of completely replacing the SH circuit board and doing custom electronics. The only electrical components that I'm definitely going to keep are the three yellow LEDs that are used for the meter bar, and even then I am going to be making their behavior more screen-accurate. I may be keeping the speaker, depending on how well it works with the components I get later this week, but otherwise I will be replacing the two green LEDs with white ones, as well as adding a blue and a pink LED to the compartment below the doors to give a bit more of the blue/purpleish look that you get from the trap in the films.

Alright, now to get to the overall progress. So, I was never able to find the red light housing that was completely screen accurate that didn't cost a pretty penny. I might pick up something in the future, but for now I needed something that was more screen accurate than what came on the SH trap, but wasn't going to contribute significantly to the cost of the project. I looked around until, one day, while cleaning up after my kids, I saw one of their twistable color pencils, and inspiration struck!

Crayola makes a line of twistable color pencils where the knob on the top of them that you turn to extend/retract the colored pencil itself are different colors. Here are a couple:
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And here is the red knob after removing it from the pencil, putting an LED inside of it, and lighting it up:
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The first thing that needs to be done to these is remove the little tail they have so it looks like this:
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Then I taped the top portion of the thing with painter's tape so that only the bottom little skirt was exposed, and I painted the skirt an aluminum silver color. A little bit of silver paint got up onto the housing itself, but I removed it with a nail, of all things, just carefully scratching it off. Some of it still kind of is there, but overall I think it looks great.
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I drilled holes into the piece of plastic that I'm using for the top of the power box. I can't remember what size I drilled them, I believe about 1/4", but they were still a little tight for the color pencil knob, and the little tabs that hold it into place snapped off. No worries, because it still had a little bit of a ridge that fit into the hole very snug, and I used a hammer and a thick rag over the knob to tap it into place.
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You likely also noticed in that picture that I bought a toggle switch to replace the sliding power switch that comes with the spirit trap. Looks much better!

3mm LEDs fit pretty well inside of these, if slightly loose, so I just put a very light rim of hot glue on the bottom ridge of the twistable knob underneath the power box cover and then slid the LED into the bottom, making sure to pull some of the hot glue along with it while also avoiding getting the hot glue on the top of the LED itself. Worked out pretty well.
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I also decided to add a yellow LED next to the right of the graph bar opening. I bought some 3 mm LED holders and drilled a hole that was about right (but still slightly snug) for the LED holder. I then pushed a 3 mm LED into it, and I think it looks great! This holder was a bit rounded, but more angular/minimal ones can be found as well.
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So, when looking at countspatula's plans for his 3D printed trap, I immediately fell in love with the idea of being able to remove the hose from the trap, so I wanted to make sure that was an option. Looking into the electronics, though, I found the process a bit involved (even though it's incredibly ingenious) and decided to look into alternatives. Since I was using the foster connectors, and since I was going to have an actual hose in between them, I figured I'd look into doing everything with pneumatic components.

So to do this, I needed to find an air pump that would, ideally, fit inside of the bellows of the pedal, and an air switch.

At first, when I looked up what an air switch even was, I found the clippard air switches, which I was really excited about because, what better than an actual clippard component to drive this whole thing?! The problem? They are a bit pricey, and even worse, the LOWEST air pressure rating that the clippard air switches have is 6 psig. Which, you know, how hard can it be to hit 6 psi?! Apparently it's pretty difficult, especially when you consider that the hose along the way is more or less reducing the air pressure because it's pretty flexible. But with a 1/4" OD hose with an 1/8" ID, the extra thickness of the hose helps... but ultimately it is actually a lot when passing through 10+ feet (with the additional hose inside the pedal and trap) so I don't recommend the clippard stuff unless you have a really nice air pump thing.

A cheaper option, and one that I actually prefer in a lot of ways, was to just buy a cheap garbage disposal air button kit off of amazon. I picked up this one, though there are several on there that would work. Just make sure it comes with the actual air switch, as that's the most important part. The one I bought came with the air switch, some tubing, and the button. The amazon page also listed that it just needed 0.3 psig to be triggered, which sounded WAY low to me, but once I got it it turned out that's about right. The button that came with it actually isn't much help for a couple reasons: The form it is in doesn't work out of the box with the design of the pedal (obviously), and though it could turn the air switch on and off with its own tube, once I hooked it up to push air through the entire hose to the trap it just wasn't strong enough. So instead I found a finger paint pot that my kids had from when they were younger and cleaned it out. It's by crayola (seems to be a theme for this post!), and the pot itself is made of a very flexible plastic that allows it to work quite well as an air pump. So I melted a hole into its lid using my soldering iron until it was JUST BARELY the right size for the hose that came with the air switch kit, pushed the hose into the lid, and then hot glued around it on both sides of the lid. I then screwed the lid back in place, hooked it up to the entire hose, and sure enough, I was able to trigger the air switch no problem due to its increased air volume. Awesome.
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What I particularly like about this set up is that now the foster connectors are being used for one of their designed purposes, meaning I don't have to modify them at all to get the behavior I want. The downside is easily that, with the switch moving out of the pedal and into the actual trap, this setup takes much more space where space is at a premium. Luckily, since the air switch I have connects directly to the hose it came with, I just cut it in half and have some of it for the pedal side, and some of the hose for the trap side, which means I can basically run the hose anywhere in the trap and wire it up there.

Also, countspatula's design for the pedal has space for wires to go out of the bottom of the bellows, and the best part about this is that it has plenty of space for the hose that came with the air switch I bought. Even better, the little finger paint pot I'm using as an air pump has basically the same circumference as the 3D printed cylinders that go on the top and bottom of the bellows of the trap, which should mean this thing will fit perfectly inside the bellows.
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Cost Summary:
Knob from Twistable Colored Pencil for Red LED housing: Free (I stole it from my kids, the cost of a pack of these is just s few bucks at most stores)
Toggle switch: $5.49 (seems a bit high, but I had a hard time finding one I liked)
Finger Paint pot for Air Pump: Free (again, another thing I stole from my kids, but you can find them for about $7 for a bunch of them)
Garbage Disposal Air Button/Switch kit: $9.21
Post Total: $14.70
Running Total: $115.45
By TheStairsGoUp
#4909916
Dude!
Thank you for doing all this and sharing your work! It's really awesome. I'm trying to follow along but I'm getting errors on my end on the Arduino code. I'm a total noob at Arduino so I'm sure this is all 'operator error' lol. I'm wondering if I didn't add the Coroutines library correctly? Not sure.
Anyway, thank you again. I'll keep at it and check back in if I find a fix.

Also, for the pedal and cord, I'm planning to use a 1/4" audio cable (like a guitar cable; they come with gold sleeves so they can look like the real deal) with a painted-up BOSS FS-5U pedal. That way I can attach and detach at will but also it can stay locked-in pretty strongly for rolling out.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4909928
Hey! Glad that you are benefiting from the posts I've been making! More than happy to help clarify any issues.

Okay, I'm going to explain how to set up Coroutines in the most detailed way I can, so if I'm getting way too simple for you, I apologize. I just want to make sure anyone who has a similar question is able to figure it out.

So, on the Coroutines library, if you are using Windows, the first thing to check is that you have an Arduino folder in your My Documents directory (Usually located in C:\Users\<username>\Documents but varies depending on what version of Windows you are using). In the Arduino folder, you should have a folder called libraries. Inside of the libraries folder, you'll want a folder called Coroutines. It's inside this Coroutines folder that you need to have Coroutines.h file that drives all of the Coroutines stuff. In summary, you'll need to have the Coroutines.h file inside of C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Arduino\libraries\Coroutines where <username> is replaced with your Windows user name.

Once you have Coroutines in that location, the code should work without issues. I am working on a version of the code where the Arduino replaces the original SH circuit board. Halloween is just around the corner, so I'm trying to get it finished up as quickly as I can!

I really like the idea of using the audio cable to run the pedal. I considered this as well and I think it makes a lot of sense, especially with how easy it is to use a guitar cable for this sort of thing. The biggest issues with the foster connectors is how much force it takes to connect them, and I'm afraid that, over time, disconnecting and connecting the cable will flex the rear of the trap to the point of cracking. But using a guitar cable essentially avoids this because they take WAY less force to plug in, and still stay attached reliably enough to be used as desired.

By the way, are you putting the male plugs on the trap/pedal side of things, and using a female to female cable between them? I was considering this design and didn't find the parts I needed to make it work with pre-made cables, but I would imagine with the right parts this would be doable.
By TheStairsGoUp
#4910039
Oh, Tragicmanner, the simpler the better, bro. No worries about that -- I'd never even heard of an 'Arduino' until you mentioned it in your YouTube video :)

Okay, so here's a bit of the error code I'm getting. I'm on Mac OSX High Sierra. And if it helps, you're previous code (without the Coroutines library) works fine:

In file included from /Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/sketch_oct12a/sketch_oct12a.ino:1:0:
/Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/libraries/Coroutines/Coroutines.h:30:3: error: stray '\302' in program
<title>littlebits-arduino/Coroutines.h at master · renaudbedard/littlebits-arduino · GitHub</title>
^
/Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/libraries/Coroutines/Coroutines.h:30:3: error: stray '\267' in program
/Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/libraries/Coroutines/Coroutines.h:30:3: error: stray '\302' in program
/Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/libraries/Coroutines/Coroutines.h:30:3: error: stray '\267' in program
In file included from /Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/sketch_oct12a/sketch_oct12a.ino:1:0:
/Users/<me>/Documents/Arduino/libraries/Coroutines/Coroutines.h:168:10: warning: missing terminating ' character
<!-- '"` --><!-- </textarea></xmp> --></option></form><form class="js-site-search-form" data-scope-type="Repository" data-scope-id="21553177" data-scoped-search-url="/renaudbedard/littlebits-arduino/search" data-unscoped-search-url="/search" action="/renaudbedard/littlebits-arduino/search" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="get"><input name="utf8" type="hidden" value="&#x2713;" />
^

I'm fairly certain I've got the library and Coroutines.h file setup correctly. I double checked how to do it here: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-all ... -a-library
To do it I downloaded ONLY the Coroutines.h file and placed it manually into the "Coroutines" folder inside the "libraries" folder that the Arduino IDE installation automatically created. Does that sound right? Did I miss a step here?

As for the pedal and cord; I'll be putting a female connector on the trap. So it'll go Trap w/female connector -> guitar cable -> BOSS unlatching pedal with female connector.

Again, thanks for doing this at all. It's pretty tremendous of you. Who am I gonna call? Tragicmanner, that's who.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4910047
Out of curiosity, what version of the arduino software did you install? I did have someone mention to me that it is not compatible with older versions. A bit of a stretch, what with you just learning of arduino recently, so you probably have the latest, but I guess it's something to check. On my machine, if I click on the help file menu and then select "About Arduino", I have version 1.8.6. If I remember correctly, that about menu item is in a different place on most mac applications, so you may need to look around.

Also, since the error you are getting seems to indicate that something is wrong with Coroutines.h itself, this link is to the version of the file I'm using. Grab that and replace your Coroutines.h file to see if maybe that makes a difference.

As for progress on the trap, things have been a little slow. I'll hopefully have an update soon, I've completely reworked my electronics so I'm no longer using the SH circuit board. Also, I have more details on buck converters and some other options.
By TheStairsGoUp
#4910063
HOLY CRAP! That Coroutines.h file fixed it!!!

You're the man!! Ahh, very exciting. Now on to the next steps. I'll check back in with progress following your build.

Did I mention you're the man?

Awesome.

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