So you all made packs yourself? Do you consider yourself a handy person?
For my first I had assistance from two prop builders who'd had a few years of assembling Proton Packs under their belts, where we spent a day and a half working on it over a weekend... I think I assembled the Gear Box and part of the Spacer (though my memory's a little hazy, after about eight years).
I fully assembled the Pack's second thrower (the first I'd inherited assembled, but unpainted), from drilling it to install the handles, to painting/decaling it, to installing the light kit. I also fully painted, decaled and weathered the backpack portion. I also repaired and strengthened the N-Filter after it got a knock from a lady's handbag on its first public outing.
So I'd say I'm sorta-handy. The next Pack I'm planning to assemble I'll be assembling solo.
If you know of any prop-builders who live near you, and you're friends with, I'd definitely encourage you to get into contact with them... The weekend I spent with those guys who helped me was a lot of fun, and it was a major learning experience.
And one of the better (if not best) ways to prevent getting overwhelmed was to produce a to-do list, break the Pack up into bite-size chunks and a clear series of steps.
So the pieces that you can buy from GB fans and other places, they don’t require any machining or welding do they? Is it just a matter of buying them and assembling things in the proper order?
The parts stocked in the store shouldn't need any machining or welding (though some like the Pack shell would require drilling for various bolts, and the motherboard would require drilling to install the A.L.I.C.E. frame and L brackets to mount the shell) Even the piping pieces the store stocks for the 2016 Packs don't require welding as these can either be fixed with adhesives or screws (which I believe some of the 2016 Pack props featured).
Although there's no established order to install them, I believe it should be relatively straightforward.