#4940017
Hello all.

Recently I purchased the plasma series wand and I’m in love. I’ve been wanting a proton pack for nearly 20 years, and since I’m almost done with school, I could use an early graduation present from myself.

I’ve been looking into the best way to go about this. I’ve considered purchasing from Ben of Kent, as this seems like the best way. I’ve also looked at the shell in the store but I’m sure by the time I’ve bought all the other parts it’s as expensive as the kit.

I do have a 3d printer so I could always print extra parts. However, my printer hates me.

Does anyone know the best way to build a pack under $500? Ideally I’d like to build another wand as well since I’ve treated the plasma series wand like a newborn.
#4940022
Honestly the best way is just to take your time.
Purchase one part at a time, going with the best possible parts that you can afford and let them accumulate until you have everything you need to start assembling.
That way you'll vastly minimise having to make compromises and end up with a far superior pack compared to one thats been built based on a limited budget or truncated time scale.

There are a lot of options out there in terms of construction materials and accuracy.
Its far better to invest in higher end parts over a longer period than to buy cheaper or less accurate parts and have to replace things later due to wear and tear or a lack of robust construction.

Many prospective pack owners these days come at it from the perspective that it needs to be purchased all in one go or they have to find the cheapest option to be able to afford it but spreading the cost and being patient always results in a much better end result and a happier owner to boot.
Taking the extra time also substantially improves on the final fit and finish of a pack as it affords you the time needed to really do your homework and learn about the many nuances of the original props and the pitfalls to avoid while replicating them.
Kingpin, deadderek, jpetrutis81 and 1 others liked this
#4940025
RedSpecial wrote: September 28th, 2020, 7:09 am Its far better to invest in higher end parts over a longer period than to buy cheaper or less accurate parts and have to replace things later due to wear and tear or a lack of robust construction.
I want to second this. I tried to go "budget" with an Anovos pack. Granted, that pack has quality issues but even if it arrived in perfect condition, there are just issues with the resin or other replica parts that will drive you crazy. Just get the right thing the first time.

Whatever your budget is though, plan to spend more. Everything adds up so quickly, even the small things like screws and spray paint.
RedSpecial liked this
#4940039
I once spent a year saving up for an aluminium Proton Gun, taking a small chunk of each payslip until I had enough for the thrower, postage, and likely customs charge. Sure, it was a while to wait, but the end result is worth it: lighter and stronger than the resin kit I'd used for my first Pack, and accurate to the screen-used props from the first movie. :)

The added benefit of taking your time is it gives you the luxury to check out the build threads that are either ongoing here, or archived, to see what other folks before you have achieved... And they'll in turn give you ideas for your own build. :)
#4940062
Buy a quality shell, back bone of your pack. Spend the money. But you can go cheap every where else as long as you make sure everything is screwed/ bolted down. Don't glue! This allows you to upgrade as you go. Switch out 3d printed parts for real ones over time, use the spengler wand for now and build one down the road. Gives you affordable pack with potential.
Mercifull liked this
#4940110
There are some great insights here, and I generally agree that waiting, saving, and picking up quality components over time is a very valid, and very informed way to go about it.

I went the route of getting a 3D printer to build out my pack using PakRatJr's files and Windrake's neutrona wand for the wand. I bought PVC pipes for some parts, including the wand handles, found some pipes at home depot that worked for the injectors, built out the electronics using a modified version of CountDeMonet's electronics guide, and printed out parts for everything I couldn't find. Some details of my pack build are in my pack build thread but I didn't do a great job outlining every last detail.

End of the day, here are some rough estimates of how much some things cost:
- Ender 3 3D printer: $200
- 4 spools of black PETG filament: $100
- several cans of black, silver, and bronze/copper spray paint: ~$30
- several cans of filler/primer: $20
- wood filler: $5
- Tons of JB Weld: ~$15
- Screws to put it all together: $15
- GB Fans Clear Acrylic Tube w/ Frosting: $15
- Ribbon cable clamp: $12
- Split loom: $12
- Neutrona wand and pack tubes: $12
- Various switches and buttons: $15
- Stainless steel mesh: $6
- Wires: $20
- Car amp and speakers: $33
- MP3 Module: $10
- Arduino nano clone: $6
- Neopixel sticks: $10
- Neopixels for other lights: $15
- Lipo battery: $21
- Alice frame: $30
- Various PVC pipes: $10
- Bolts and washers: $8
- Office Depot prints of labels: $10

And that's just the stuff I can remember, and it comes out to: $1,125

I spent tons of hours printing, reprinting, sanding, assembling, priming, and sanding, and painting all the different components I printed.

I even made all of my colored lenses by cutting out plastic from clear plastic packaging and coloring it red (for cyclotron lenses) and blue (for powercell lens) using sharpies. I found twisty caps from some colored pencils that worked for some of the other lenses. I 3D printed everything I could and then painted it, like the clippard valves, most of the knobs, elbows, etc. I still haven't sourced the gauge on the wand. I tried to keep things as cheap as I could while still making it how I wanted.

End of the day, all I can say is: it all depends on what you want your journey to be with your pack. If you want to get a kit and get everything in-hand, it looks like the Ben of Kent kit is actually pretty well priced considering what you get and the quality of everything. I haven't kept up on the latest details, but I've always heard good things.
#4940134
I would say that the absolute cheapest way to make a durable long lasting proton pack is by 3d printing it and 3d printing as much of it as you can (though I will admit to being biased).

If you make it right you can swap out parts for the real(tm) stuff when you are able. I THINK my original 3d printed pack costs between $400-$500 not including the printer. I used around 5 spools of PETG and it took around a month to build.

There are other ways of building an inexpensive pack, like doing a foam build or other materials that can look really good, but wont have the durability a 3D printed pack can have.

If you want to look into 3d printing your pack check out this FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3DprintedGBprops

Its ridiculously active and its all dedicated to 3d printing your GB props, but mostly its about making the pack. The guy that runs its, Quentin, really did some good work making a fully 3d printable pack (he just completed his V2) and helping people build it. Im sure if I looked hard enough I could find some inaccuracies, but it really is a VERY good model and he obviously put some good research into making it accurate. Its also ready to go in all one place with a lot of support.

Be prepared to be so sick of sanding.

I would also second that CountDeMonet's 3d printed pack build that a LOT of people use with their builds.
#4940223
You know those people who have a project car in there garage, they spend a few hours here and there working on it, getting new parts every once and a while when they have the extra cash. Well that approach works great for proton packs as well. Best of luck, and enjoy the ride.
RedSpecial liked this
#4940224
ecto88mph wrote: September 30th, 2020, 11:21 pm You know those people who have a project car in there garage, they spend a few hours here and there working on it, getting new parts every once and a while when they have the extra cash. Well that approach works great for proton packs as well. Best of luck, and enjoy the ride.
AkA money pitt
NotSabbat liked this
#4940226
Studio Creations has a vacuum formed shell that's pretty cheap for about $128. I bought two then came here to the shop for the motherboard ($50), motherboard mounts and lenses for the lights. We own a 3D printer so we plan on 3D printing all the greebles. I too have a Spengler wand that deserves an bigger sized proton pack, so this will be a good start.

If you wanna get to the nitty gritty of a low-budget pack, I've built packs completely out of EVA foam and foamboard with Christmas lights for the lighting. It was pretty effective.

But that's just answering your topic question, like the others said you could always piece quality parts together over time for a better product.
NotSabbat liked this
#4940257
LtPinkerton wrote: September 28th, 2020, 4:41 am Hello all.

Recently I purchased the plasma series wand and I’m in love. I’ve been wanting a proton pack for nearly 20 years, and since I’m almost done with school, I could use an early graduation present from myself.

I’ve been looking into the best way to go about this. I’ve considered purchasing from Ben of Kent, as this seems like the best way. I’ve also looked at the shell in the store but I’m sure by the time I’ve bought all the other parts it’s as expensive as the kit.

I do have a 3d printer so I could always print extra parts. However, my printer hates me.

Does anyone know the best way to build a pack under $500? Ideally I’d like to build another wand as well since I’ve treated the plasma series wand like a newborn.
I'd say: it depends on your skills and tools you have at hand (so...you need "the tools and the talent" ,anyway - scnr). Much of the COST point can be substituted by WILL and EFFORD. So i'd consider a ply-/scrapwood-pack a lot cheaper, than all the printing'n stuff. Add a few printed details (or even resin) for convenience and you're good to go. The are even some very talented builders, who did a complete styrene plastic-sheet-pack. Whatever works for you (or you'd like to work with).
The only things that more or less MUST be bought, is stuff like certain cables (especially the ribbon cable) 'n hoses (like for the outer wiring and the split loom)
Greetings n good luck!
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