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.