This is for other Ghostbusters Props that don't fit into the categories above.
User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#374189
Okay, I've wanted to build an ECU for a while that we can use at conventions and other events... and Hell's Inc.'s build has finally lit the fire under my butt to get busy.

I thought I'd start a thread of my own, in case anyone's interested in following a second ECU thread with slightly different methods.

I want to underscore the fact that I think chibigear's build is AWESOME!
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... =7&t=28767
I'm just taking a different approach to my build.

To start, I looked at reference photos, same as chibigear did, and I came up with measurements that fit my needs. I drew it all out on paper, made my cut list, and headed over to Home Depot for lumber only (at this time).

I bought one sheet of .322" sanded plywood and three 1" x 6" x 8' pine boards. I had the store cut the plywood down to the overall sizes of the "main/back plate" and the face of the "body" of the unit (that way, it would fit into our vehicle for the trip home).

First, I cut the lower part of the "main/back plate" using a jigsaw. Then, I chopped the pine boards down to make the sides and braces for the "body" part of the ECU. This far, everything is put together with only wood glue and finish nails (a pneumatic nail gun saved a lot of time).
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Then, I chopped the pine boards down to make the sides and braces for the "body" part of the ECU. This far, everything is put together with only wood glue and finish nails (a pneumatic nail gun saved a lot of time).
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Here's a view inside the "body" of the unit... I braced it so I would have good strength for the door while trying to keep the upper chamber open for wiring the electronics.
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Here are my pencil outlines for the door opening and door itself. I left 1" overlap for the door to cover its opening when I'm done. Yes, it's off center, because I wanted it that way. In some of the reference photos, it looked like the side with the handle had more room, and it will work better to give myself more room to rig a mechanism to hold the handle in the up or down position.
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I cut the door opening using a Formica Finishing tool on my router. It has a ball bearing on the end that traced right along the inner frame and cut the door opening exactly the same dimensions as the bracing for a flush fit.
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After working on this project for one weekend (off and on for a few hours, here I am.
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Going forward, I will finish up rough fitting all the pieces together. Once all the major components are present, I'm going to sand heavily, then I will use a large putty knife to cover all the surfaces lightly with body filler to fill in all the imperfections in the wood. That should take care of any wood grain patterns, big blemishes, or seams. Once that's cured and sanded, I am going to brush the entire unit with fiberglass resin to provide the unit with a surface free from any organic patterns... I'm hoping this technique will yield a surface that will look like steel when it's painted.

I'm open to suggestions, criticism, and any other help the boards might have to offer.
I will post progress photos as I go forward.

I'm most excited about the method I've devised to display this prop... I don't want to say too much, but I hope I'm able to execute in reality as well as it's come together in my mind. (that project will be part of this one... but I won't start on it until I'm about done with the ECU itself)
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User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#374436
Update: Tonight, I worked on building the "chamber" inside the door of the ECU... and working on fabricating a proper handle for the door. I know lots of people don't like the Matty Trap for one reason or another... but its availability has kind of made it the "standard" trap GB costumers will have with them. So, I decided to build my ECU's "chamber" around the Matty Trap. Given this, I was determined to make my ECU capture and hold the cartridge, just like in the film. I devised a plan and executed it.

Here is a YouTube video of the "chamber" in action. (the duct tape is only there until the glue holding all the panels together cures.

http://youtu.be/5IIMMzCjkhI


Here are some photos of tonight's progress, too.

Internals of the ECU "chamber." The pin in the back activates the "cartridge release" button on the Matty Trap.
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Internals of the ECU "chamber." The rail on top near the back applies pressure to the LED display portion of the Matty Trap to hold the cartridge in place, so the body of the Trap can be pulled free while the cartridge remains in the "chamber."
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Internals of the ECU "chamber" with the top in place.
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I think I found the perfect ECU handle. This item was under $4 at ACE Hardware.
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I used a Dremel to get the basic shape of the handle (took about 10 minutes).
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I used Apoxie epoxy putty to get the rough shape of the final handle. Once this cures, I will grind/sand it into shape.
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User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#374496
For the utility light fixtures, I'm thinking of using the tall, plastic cups (without handles) that you can get with the Magic Bullet blender machine. They're just about the right size, and they're a LOT cheaper than vintage utility light fixtures. (just use a low wattage bulb, so as not to melt the plastic).

I'm open to recommendations. :)
#374502
pOOpTarT wrote:For the utility light fixtures, I'm thinking of using the tall, plastic cups (without handles) that you can get with the Magic Bullet blender machine. They're just about the right size, and they're a LOT cheaper than vintage utility light fixtures. (just use a low wattage bulb, so as not to melt the plastic).

I'm open to recommendations. :)
For all of you, the magic bullet cups seem to be the Best ones for Containment Unit projects. The Matty Unit's lights are 5.4-5.6mm wide, and that times 12 makes the 3 inch wide MB cups just wide enough. I have ordered a set of these, thanks to pOOpTarT for the ebay link.

They will ship from Germany, and as soon as I get them, be prepared for update on The Hell's Inc. Containment Unit as well. I will start doing the plans on it this weekend.
#374531
I got mine ordered, too! Cost was under $13 shipped for two of them. That's sure cheaper than buying vintage glass & metal fixtures (plus, they'll be lighter and a little harder to break when I transport this thing).
#375533
Okay, here's an update on my progress.

My pushbuttons arrived I ordered off of eBay for $12 total (including shipping):
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For the big utility lights, I'm going to use Magic Bullet blender cups. They're just about exactly the right size, and you can't beat the total price from eBay of $12 (including shipping). When I build these up, I plan on using wire to fabricate the "cage" around each housing. I also want to rig super-bright white LEDs inside colored glass bulbs for the red and green lights.
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Here's a shot of the inside of the door assembly. The "gasket" is made from gray foam gym mats. I cut the mats with an electric knife and assembled the panels with Goop. The "lines" in the gasket were cut by hand to appear more "fluid" than hard and straight.
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Here's the chamber all primed.
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Here's the primed door assembly with the painted "gasket" in place. I painted the gasket with Plasti-Dip spray paint to make it look more like black rubber... it came out nice.
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Here is the body of the unit ready for patching, sanding, and painting. Before I do much more, I need to build and install the handle, cut holes for the instruments/buttons, and get it attached to the main plate, so I can cut holes for hooking everything up from the back.
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Here is the main back plate primed and ready for patching, sanding, and painting.
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Here is my (nearly) finished door handle. I am still working out a solution to attach it to the door in a manner I can still flip it out and twist for accuracy.
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User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#376804
Update...

Here's the inside of the lower curved part. Sides are 1" x 6" pine, face is 3/16" Masonite board... it bends really well, but is firm.
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I made my "dump handle" from 3/4" curtain rod cut at 45 degree angle, hole drilled and countersunk for screw.
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The body needed to be square, I used aluminum flashing to make the body... then I packed it with Apoxie. I also used Apoxie to transition from the rod shape to the square shape. I'll sand smooth and paint.
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Apoxie ground and sanded smooth... turned out nice.
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Installed...
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For now, the dump handle is rigged with an elastic band to make it stay in the up position... I need to work on making it stay in either up or down position... but whatever.
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Painted dump handle... finished just like I wanted.
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I reworked the door handle to make it function properly. The gold bolt will fit flush inside the door (countersunk under a label). This allows the handle to flip out AND turn. YAY!
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Hinges for door. Glued to door with Goop, bolted to body.
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I added trim pieces to the door... and you can see the countersunk gold bolt that will hold the handle.
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Door installed. I couldn't find or fabricate the kind of door holder rods I wanted, so chain will have to do for now. I might paint some tubing silver and slip it over the chain for a more accurate look, later.
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Mockup of the unit assembled. Ring around handle is 1" x 6" pine cut to shape with a scroll saw and rounded edges using a small router.
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Electrical gauge and 3 lighted buttons mocked up. These panels were a snap to make... went very quickly.
(I chose to use a 12v gauge, even though it's not accurate, because, I can wire it into the systems running the lights... since I'm sticking to a 12v source.)
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I assembled all the parts with wood glue and finish nails. Feels very solid, but not too heavy.
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3 little panels and the ring around the door handle... ready for primer.
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Everything primed and waiting for hammered undercoat tomorrow. (I'm opting for the hammered finish to further hide the wood grain and other surface boogers associated with wood construction). Wish me luck!
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By SPJ
#376832
I cannot wait to see this baby finished. So far it looks awesome. I could see you getting requests to duplicate this thing for some of the larger franchises.

As far as the door closure rods have you tried looking up pnuematic(s) on the net? Just a thought.

Keep up the great work.
User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#376849
Yeah, I thought about using a pneumatic rod system for the door, but I couldn't find one of a length I liked. :( I'll keep looking, though.

I realized I should probably fabricate the mounts for the big red & green lights before painting final coats. I'll be hitting the hardware store for flanges and conduit fittings, as the lights will have to be (inaccurately) mounted to the top of the unit, since it won't be permanently mounted to a wall. I plan on having conduit come out of the top of the unit then make a u-turn at the top, and fitting the light enclosures (and LEDs) to them in place.

Honestly, I could fabricate and install these later... we'll see what direction I go. I'm just happy it's coming together.
User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#377352
Here are the rigs I've constructed for the big red and green lights. Yes, they're not accurate (Magic Bullet blender cups)... but they should work great. I'm going to get one red and one green light bulb, break off the glass part, and replace the "guts" with a super-bright LED, so I can stay with my 12v power source. Wish me luck.
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Here are some various photos of my ECU being painted with red oil-based enamel paint. One coat isn't covering the wood grain the way I hoped, so I will be applying a 2nd coat tomorrow night. The can says I can recoat within 24 hours, and this thing needs it. Once everything's normalized, I'm going to top coat using a rattle-can for uniform coloring and further hiding of boogers in the paint. I want it to look great!
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User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#377623
I'm figuring out the lights now. I want the following...

- white light inside the trap chamber
- 3 buttons to light (red and yellow when you press them, and green to stay lit)
- large "bulbs" to light depending on "dump" handle position

I may see about getting someone to program the entire sequence on an arduino, so I can wire all the lights and necessary switches to make it "work" properly... but for now, it will be a little more "static" and less interactive.

Oh, and I'm using an inaccurate electrical meter on the front panel for a reason. I'm going to use a 12v DC meter, so I can actually hook it up to the system to monitor power. The needle should jump a little when different lights/switches are activated. I hope it turns out as cool as I am hoping. :blush:

I've decided to use a 12v 2amp power adapter and not use a battery-based solution at all. I should only be using this prop at locations where power is available, anyway.
User avatar
By pOOpTarT
#378204
Okay, structurally, I'm done. Here's what's left to do...
- decals/labels
- electronics (lights)
- trim pieces (inside door, angled box on right side, small box and ribbon cable near top, etc.)

Here are photos for this update:

Small panels anchored with Goop and socket head bolts, fake rivets (made from wooden plugs) added and secured, fake bolt heads (made from real nuts, washers, and Apoxie) added and secured.
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Closeup of fake panels before trim added.
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Closeup of fake bolt heads. For these, I combined a nut and a washer by packing them full of Apoxie epoxy, then sanding the top and bottom flat with an orbital sander. These are affixed with Goop adhesive and painted in place.
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Closeup of fake rivets. I bought 3/4" wooden plugs, then I cut the bottoms of the plugs off, so I could affix just the top halves of the plugs with Goop adhesive. Worked great!
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Here are my Magic Bullet tall cups. The "before" cup is on the left. The "after" cup has had all the extra tabs Dremel'd off. I kissed the rough areas left from cutting with a propane torch to make the plastic transparent again. Worked great (and these were only $3 each!)
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Trim pieces affixed to small panels. The gauge is a 12v DC meter which I will hook up to my actual electrical system. The knobs turn, but they do nothing. The 3 buttons will light up. Green will be steady on while the red and yellow will light when pushed.
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Here's the assembly hung up on my wall. I hung it with two heavy screws in the studs. I was able to hang it by myself, so I'm guessing it's under 35 pounds or so... as it was pretty easy to move around.
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Here's a shot of the unit with the white border added on the door. I used reflective safety tape... it only glows like this if a flash is used. (I used the same type of tape, but red, on my N-filter... it glows when a flash is used... makes for neat photos).
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Here's another shot of the front of the unit taken using no flash.
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I can't wait to finish out the remaining "to-do" items and get the electrical installed. I've got the button wiring done, but I don't want to install until I have everything ready to go. It might be a few days until my next update, but I will post when I make some more progress.
#381252
Okay, time for an update... this time, with VIDEO!!!

I used real light bulbs in my unit, but I modified them to use LED guts (thinking about power draw and heat generated... remember, my fixtures are plastic). I cut the bulbs' bases off using a Dremel cutoff wheel. I wrapped the line to be cut with tape first, then cut slowly... the glass cut like butter (wear a mask and goggles).
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Here's a shot of the nearly finished unit open. You can see the white light emitting from the trap chamber (2 white LEDs), lighted buttons, working power meter, and lighted bulb up top.
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Here's another shot of my nearly finished unit with the door closed.
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Now, here's a video of the unit in "operation." Enjoy.
http://youtu.be/KqO8CBgc4Dc
#384010
OMG This is the most amazing thing ever! I am so jealous of your skills! Well done!! Thank you for posting all the pics
#389008
Okay, it's been a while since I updated this thread with my progress.

Since my last update, I've added some trim to the ECU... and I've started building the "display wall" for us to use at conventions and events. The thing I'm most proud of is that the "display wall" will also double as a storage/transport crate! When I remove the "dump handle" from the ECU, the unit will attach to the inside of one wall panel, and the other panel will close around it protecting the ECU during transport and storage.

Here's a shot showing some of the trim work added inside the door. I gutted an old SCSI cable for the small wires and steel braid. The black "boot" is also installed behind the chamber in this shot. I need to add a couple more decals (one to hide the inside of the handle pin, for sure.
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I'm really proud of how well this trim work turned out. I used electrical fittings (thread by compression) and some split loom to make these. I just used a 3/4" drill bit and then threaded the fittings into the wood.
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Here's a shot of the wall (face down). It's bolted together to make one big 8' x 8' wall. One half uses 2"x4" frame and the other half uses 2" x 6" frame... this gives me enough room to store the ECU inside as a crate without adding unnecessary weight to the assembly.
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My wall halves are match marked, and drilled for 5/16" bolts.
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Here's a shot of the carriage bolts, washers, and wing nuts.
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Here's what the crate looks like closed. When painted, I'll wrap this closed crate in a drop cloth and band it with ratchet straps.
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Here's the bracing system I worked out. It consists of 2 boards (one 5' and one 8'), a hinge, and a platform where weight can be set. It's held to the wall by two 5/16" carriage bolts (one top and one bottom). When about 30# of weight is set on this brace, the wall can be pushed forward from the back... and won't tip over at all. I'm planning on covering/hiding the back of the wall with either a drop cloth or dark tarp attached with staples. This will hide the ugliness and provide our team with a place to store a few things.
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You can see that I made sort of a socket for the brace to fit into at the top. The upper and lower pieces are attached to the wall frame with long screws, and the carriage bolt goes through all 3 boards for a secure fit.
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I fit the ECU to the display wall using two 5/16" machine screws. It's very secure.
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I got the primary color applied to the wall. It took 3 coats to get rid of most of the wood grain... I only applied one coat where the ECU goes to help with splinters and such. I used a long nap roller to give the paint some texture. (Yes, that's a 4" square hole cut in the wall for me to run the power cable from the ECU out of the back of the wall.)
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My next step is to paint the cinder block "seams." I bought 2 small cans of paint... one lighter and one darker. I'm going to use a dry brush technique to apply the lighter color first, then the darker color... to give the illusion of mortar seams. We'll see if it works out.
#389470
One more update...

I added 3 more decals to the inside of the chamber. Two "Danger High Voltage" and one "Ghost Trap." Yes, the yellow one isn't entirely accurate, but it's on the toy... and it hides the pin/hinge for the door handle.
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Horizontal lines painted. Drybrushed using one lighter color, then one darker color over.
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Vertical masking. I made single tape runs every 8", then using a razor, I sliced alternating segments out, and used the sliced out segment to create the 2nd border for each mortar seam. This went pretty quickly.
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Masking coming off.
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Closeup of masking and finished mortar seams... I think this will do just fine.
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The wall is all DONE! (except for the holes I need to drill to mount the ECU securely INSIDE it for traveling when the wall is in "crate mode."
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I do have a cool "Laser Area" decal I'm going to put on the wall, too... but I'm going to wait until it's setup at Con, so it doesn't get boogered up.

Optional "to-do" list left:
- paint or mold lines on big red & green bulb domes
- add conduit (2 lines)
- add ribbon cable to top left corner

We'll see if I get around to these final items before Phoenix Comicon. :blush:

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