This is for other Ghostbusters Props that don't fit into the categories above.
#4943517
Hi all, I've been looking forward to sharing this having been inspired by so many others on here :)
(It's my first attempt at writing a build post like this, so any feedback is much appreciated!)

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The (almost-)finished article

It's been >30 years since I last had a suit. This year, just after I happened to receive my Spengler Wand, we were invited to a Halloween Zoom quiz. This re-ignited my latent desire to once again dress-up as a Ghostbuster (and therefore be able to run around the house tying to 'bust our long suffering cat, Brian).
Naturally I'd already decided what I was dressing as before the rounds were announced... Thankfully fastest finger won, and we secured the GB round (not that it would have changed my choice of costume if someone else got it of course, but I digress...)

For the initial version of my new suit I went with the simple and easy to remember philosophy of "use what I have or is readily available [as I believe Egon and Ray would have done, and the prop builders actually did], so long as it's in the spirit and general aesthetic" (yes, my philosophies usually have caveats...)
I told myself total screen accuracy wasn't what I was going for and therefore made a quick and dirty Belt Gizmo out of an old leather large-calibre bullet pouch, a stick of RAM, some LEDs, resistors and network cable:
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First attempt for reference only - now obsolete! Note the curly cable originally attached to an adaptor I made to go on the battery cap for my Spengler Wand, but I was so disgusted with myself I quickly gave up on that idea...

This was good enough for our Zoom quiz (as it was out of view!), but not even remotely accurate and it was really bugging me... as many others have said, accuracy is indeed a slippery slope! It also annoyed me I'd installed LEDs on something and they didn't actually do anything.

I'd read Cristoval's Pure Rook Spongeface Gizmo Build (/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=46169) several times and longed for one of my own - or at least something similar/closer in the meantime. I also enjoy designing and building my own stuff, so figured I'd stick to my philosophy of "readily available & in the spirit" and see what I could come up with, with some sort of working light effect and somewhat closer in appearance to the original than my first attempt.
I knew I wanted the Belt Gizmo and DaughterBoard to be electronically linked and one should influence the other, so I decided the DB would somehow signal the error light on the BG.

I started off with the idea of using a suitably sized electronics kit for the DB and found the Velleman MK103 (https://www.velleman.eu/products/view/?id=337995) available on Amazon for less than £7:
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It's a simple sound-to-light board that I figured I'd power from, and send an error light signal to, the BG. It has a potentiometer to control sensitivity, although I also ended up covering the microphone with a rubber end-cap to further attenuate the input.
Next I looked for an 8-channel LED sequencer kit to illuminate the 'tubes' and found the Velleman MK107 (https://www.velleman.eu/products/view/?id=338563) for under £9:
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I would mount this somewhere on the BG board (which I wanted in the size/shape of the GB1 board). This kit has a potentiometer for effect speed and 8 different sequences.

So the over-all aesthetic I chose was that of an 'upgraded' or 'repaired' GB1 board, using what was available at the time (think Back to the Future pt. 3 but newer tech instead of older); that is to say, a newer "controller" board had been mounted over the top of the old one.

– – –

Edits: Embiggened pics, tweaked text.

The next post will begin with building the tubes:
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Hope you enjoy!
Dave
Last edited by Nighty80 on December 27th, 2020, 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
cristovalc, tobycj, xan_theGBFan and 2 others liked this
#4943521
Part 2: Totally Tubular!

I started with a vague plan to make each tube out of a section a pen, with a piece of multi-coloured ribbon cable (GB2 style) and a hidden LED inside, capped with black rubber end-caps. I tried several variations before finally settling on black ribbon cable with a piece of 6mm² wire mesh cut out and shaped into a (very basic) seven segment display element.
I cut 9x 10mm diam. clear pen tubes at 32mm; having tried various sizes, this gave the best compromise in terms of the visible 'opening' vs the 9mm minimum height required for the bottom cap to hide the LED. With the caps installed it does make them slightly taller than proper nixies, but I think they're acceptable for a first attempt :)

After all the mesh elements were cut to size, I painted them with 3 coats of 'Brilliant White' PlastiKote paint which builds up to give a nice phosphorescent-coating effect and acts as a reflector for the light emitted by the LEDs. I left both right-hand segments of one of the elements unpainted to be my error light:
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I carefully measured, cut to length and perforated the ribbon cable between tracks to allow the legs of the element to slip through, so I could bend the legs back on themselves to effectively 'staple' the element to the ribbon.
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I then formed the completed ribbon/mesh piece over a narrow rod to introduce a curve through the vertical axis, to match the contour of the inside of the pen tube and give the glue a better contact patch. These were bonded into the tubes with hot glue (which I hate, but the contact adhesive I'd tested OK on different ribbon ended up eating the insulation of the black ribbon I ended up using :facepalm:).

The 9mm diam. rubber caps were cut down from 15mm O/L to 4mm and 9mm for the top and bottom caps respectively, and I made holes in the bottom caps for the LED wires using a hot needle. The LED wires were extended and sleeved with red heat-shrink, and installed into the bottom caps which securely slip over the tubes:
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PRO TIP: It's really easy to kill LEDs with too much heat, especially when using temperamental heat-shrink right up to the base of the LED and a hot air gun without a nozzle; I used a tap-holder to hold the LEDs and act as a heatsink with a few folds of aluminium foil as a deflector.

Edits: Embiggened pics.

– – –

Coming up in Part 3: Electronics!
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Last edited by Nighty80 on December 27th, 2020, 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
tobycj, Glenn Frederick liked this
#4943571
Part 3: Electronics

- DaughterBoard (Velleman MK103):
During assembly of the MK103 kit I deliberately left out 2 LEDs, so I could easily send the signal back to the error light on the Belt Gizmo. I'd also draw power from the BG, avoiding the need to hide another 9v battery.
I toyed with several ways to isolate the back of the DB and to attach the belt clip, as I also needed a way to secure the curly cable and somewhere to hide the cable joins. Eventually I decided to cut a patch of leather and 'borrowed' the belt-clip from the Mrs' tape measure, which I riveted on permanently*, and used some rubber feet as standoffs to give ~6mm clearance behind the board. This also gave me something to cable tie through to secure the curly cable and naturally somewhere to hide the joins:
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Also note the connector for the BG, not present in the final version.
* Don't worry, I'll buy her another one!


The leather was originally brown so I used a mix of black PlastiKote paint and water (ratio approx. 30:70), and applied thin coats with a sponge until I got the desired finish. I then applied a couple of coats of black leather polish before putting it all together and testing... So far so good!
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- Sequencer (Velleman MK107):
This time I left out all of the LEDs/tubes on the Velleman kit, as I hadn't worked out how long the tube wires needed to be - or even if I was soldering them directly to the sequencer itself or something as yet unknown...
(At this point I still only had a vague idea of how this would all fit together and was going by drawings. I was originally going to have the sequencer at the top (above the holster strap), but after printing and cutting out a GB1 board to scale I realised it wouldn't fit... but it would fit below the strap almost perfectly, but couldn't be sure until I'd got a holster...)
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‘Coincidentally’ I received a Gizmo holster from my lovely wife for my 40th, which allowed me to confirm scale, positions of everything and so-on.
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This was also when I realised my tubes were too wide to allow 8+error, so I decided to drop one of them and simply solder one LED onto the sequencer.

Now that I knew the sequencer had to go at the bottom, I needed something for the tubes themselves to solder too [to?], somewhere for the battery, switch and a way to link it all together.

- Gizmo Board:
I decided stripboard was my best bet, so ordered one sided DIN 160x100mm FR4 stripboard from RS Components (P/N: 523-0666 <£5). The colour wasn't ideal, but figured I could paint it later if I wanted. I cut the board down to size and shape (although I purposely left out the top centre cutout for strength, given the stripboard is perforated):
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I spent a few days designing the circuit layout using free software DIYLC http://diy-fever.com/software/diylc/, which made it a million times easier than using paper!
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Once I was happy with the design I marked up and cut the tracks on the back of the board. This was a bit of a chore as the track cutting tool I'd also bought had gone blunt after the first cut. In the end I used a 3mm drill on a low speed to cut the tracks, being extremely careful to not go too deep, and carefully de-burred and continuity checked everything to confirm the tracks were indeed isolated properly (it only takes a tiny sliver of remaining trace to bridge the gap and therefore screw everything up):
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Edits: Embiggened pics, formatting & tweaked text.

– – –

Coming soon... assembly and testing!
tobycj, cristovalc, Glenn Frederick and 1 others liked this
#4943653
Part 4: Assembly

With the tracks cut I began by soldering the horizontal jumper wires, then switch and battery holder. I soldered wires onto the sequencer (1 for each channel/tube plus power), before mounting the sequencer to the board using decent double-sided foam tape:
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Incidentally, I'm left-handed and wear the BG on my right hip - I therefore positioned the switch at the top right corner so it's at the front for easier access while I'm wearing it.
The battery holder and cable retention mount were also attached with double-sided foam tape, as I couldn't drill through the board due to the 'live' tracks behind.

Unfortunately I only now decided that I should have painted the board after all, so did my best to carefully paint around everything now soldered/attached to it... In the end I decided to incorporate the paint I'd got over pretty much everything and call it 'weathering' with another light coat and some dry brushing:
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Next I cut the tube wires to size, formed them into a curve and soldered them to the board:
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Unfortunately I don't think the curly cable mount is strong enough to resist a particularly hard tug, so I decided not to solder the cable joins and simply use a connector block, which will hopefully act as a weak-link and protect the rest of the board by breaking away relatively cleanly:
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The completed board is secured in the holster by velcro, so is nice and easy to remove when necessary.

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"Tweaking the nip" (not to be confused with tickling the dragon's tail) - I covered the microphone on the DB with a 9mm rubber end-cap to limit its sensitivity, as I didn't want the error light flashing constantly; it has the side-effect(/bonus) that it looks a little bit like a nipple...

Still to do:
- Paint the gold tracks on the edge connector at the bottom of the board, but I'm crap at painting and haven't had the guts yet!
- Design and make a shelf to secure the tubes, as they're a bit vulnerable as they are.
- Record a video of das blinken lights to post on here...

Budget: I think so far this has cost me about £35, plus the holster.

– – –

Thanks for reading and much love to all those who inspired this attempt,
Dave :)

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jpetrutis81 liked this
#4969807
Thanks River, I had a lot of fun making it!

Since I'm here I realise I never got around to posting an update; I made a shelf for the tubes out of some aluminium angle I had left over from another project and found a nice edge connector to finish off the traces at the bottom of the board:

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RiverofSlime liked this
#4970893
pirate_phil wrote: June 20th, 2022, 6:01 am loving this. bit of a newby to working with electronics but how did you power it. was thinking a powerbank but unsure what voltage it would need to power the entire thing thanks
Hi Phil,

Both of the Velleman kits operate on 9v, so I have a single 9v battery mounted on the Gizmo board, effectively hidden behind the holster front 'strap' to power both. The Daughter board receives power via the curly cable:

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RiverofSlime liked this
#4970895
Post #4943521 goes into more detail, but basically I cut down a pack of pens of suitable diameter and made the display elements out of black ribbon cable and painted wire mesh cut into small sections.
The LED is at the bottom, hidden by a rubber cap, with another shorter cap at the top. I extended the LED wires and used red heat shrink - although be warned, it's really easy to kill LED's with too much heat so be careful!

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#4970897
Oh and if I was starting over, I'd probably use orange LED's for the main tubes, and red just for the 'error' tube.
I think the LED resistors on the Velleman board would need to be different values, as orange has a different forward voltage so they'd be a bit dim if I recall :)

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