#4897731
For this, my first build thread here, I’ll be showing what went into these Ecto Goggles I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, just in time for the Rose City Comic Con:

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(Note: At some point I'll probably lightly weather this prop; it looks a little to pristine in this state.)

I’m going to include some background and go into some dead ends I hit along the way. I’m hoping others can learn from my mistakes.

Since joining the Portland Ghostbusters a few years ago I find myself suiting up much more frequently. When appearing in public people inevitably ask for pictures, and I’m happy to oblige, but I’ve always lamented that those photos almost never capture the most interesting part of the outfit, the Proton Pack. I usually try to angle myself to the camera to at least show the side of the pack.

So in an effort to make photos taken from the front more interesting I decided to build a pair of Ecto Goggles. This is my first attempt to build an accurate prop of these. I threw together my first version in 1984 when my friend Bryan and I built our packs. I used the super-cheap and fast (but highly inaccurate) “safety glasses and PVC pipe approach,” which worked at the time.

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Now that there’s a plethora of screen grabs and other builds to reference I set out to build a pretty-accurate prop. As far as I can tell (based on internet searches) there aren’t any photos of the real prop outside of publicity photos or screen grabs, so it would take some close analysis (and luck) to create an accurate replica.
Last edited by WShawn on September 30th, 2017, 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kingpin, robandliv, twmedford23 and 1 others liked this
#4897732
The first task was the visor shell. Back in the late 80s, while geared up at a convention in So Cal, Bryan and I were approached by a couple of other guys dressed up as Ghostbusters. Their gear wasn’t too bad, but it was clear they didn’t have access to reference photos like those I took in September of 1984 in Scottsdale. They were kind enough to give us a couple of Clippards, a couple of other small odds and ends, and a vacuform pull of a night vision goggle visor with some details indicated in pencil.

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This visor kicked around in my possession for over 25 years until last year when I decided to add this prop to my arsenal. Because the Ecto Goggles were never, like, my most favorite prop my initial plan was to just throw something together using this piece as the foundation, using PVC pipe and other odds and ends to create something in the ballpark of the real prop.

I was worried that a vacuformed visor would be too flexible and delicate to withstand punishment, and I was also concerned about the soft detail. I hit upon the idea of using the vauformed piece as a mold for a fiberglass visor.

I coated the interior of the vacuformed piece with mold release wax and airbrushed in PVA. I tested a small area to see whether the resin would melt the plastic:

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The vacuformed plastic didn’t melt, so I proceeded to glass the whole thing:

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I had to tear this makeshift mold a bit to get the fiberglass piece out, but it came out fairly cleanly.

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But as I started to study frame grabs and other builds I realized I was in for a TON of work to clean up the piece. The radius transiitioning from the visor front to the flanges that rest against the face (through padding) was way too round; it should have been a much sharper transition. Sanding that down would have been almost impossible. I considered completely cutting off the flange and building a new one from sheet plastic or recasting it from fiberglass. Then I noticed that, instead of being square, my vacuform mold was tapered, wider in the back (which makes sense given the nature of vacuforming). The front rim was also pretty screwed up.

At that point I decided it would be much easier if I just spent $30-$40 bucks to buy an authentic PVS-5 visor off of eBay. I purchased a blank frame from Nightsite (Sean Fagan), the go-to guy for these things.

These side-by-side comparisons show how messed up that vacuform/fiberglass version was:

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My time has value, too. Buying a real frame probably saved me 30+ hours of work or more. Well worth it.

After buying this visor my perfectionism kicked in, and I decided I wanted to try to make a finished prop as close to the actual one as possible.

I planned to detail this visor blank with snaps and rivets according to the directions penciled onto the vacumformed piece we were given over 25 years ago. But while commenting on this build thread:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=42654&p=4897608#p4897608

Conqueror_Worm informed me that what I thought were rivets were actually smaller snaps for the face padding. I set out to locate comparable snaps, but after several hours of online searching I found out they’re very hard to come by.

So again, in an effort to save time and hassle, I went back to eBay and Nightside to buy a visor that came complete with the snaps. He had a few that were pretty grungy but reasonably-priced. These versions had the battery pack above the visor. I guess this is the “B” model of these?

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The small snaps were pretty corroded. I threw increasing strengths of acid at them to brighten them up, but nothing seemed to make a dent. I ended up sanding them a bit. As I later learned when adding a single snap to the right side, it's hard to add snaps to molded plastic, so having them already set into the shell, despite being corroded, was another big timesaver.

I removed the stickers using some adhesive release I'd had kicking around for, like, 30 years.

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I used Micro Mask to protect the metal pieces and primed the visor with Krylon Grey Sandable Primer.

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Per Conqueror_Worm’s thread I used Tamiya TS-28 Olive Drab Spray Lacquer for the final olive-drab coat. I don’t know if this is 100% accurate, but the color of the prop varies widely in the movie under different lighting conditions.

I then let it sit this way for, like, three months, which was a mistake. The primer and paint had really hardened, making it very difficult to peel off the Micro Mask, especially on the small snaps I’d sanded. The Micro Mask and paint really bit into those rougher surfaces.

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With the basic visor prepped it was on to the most technically complex and time-consuming part of the build, creating accurate lenses.
Last edited by WShawn on September 30th, 2017, 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
#4897736
I’ve seen many solutions to creating the lenses for Ecto Goggles: Plumbing parts, resin lenses, various real lenses scrounged from surplus or thrift stores, lathed aluminum, etc. All have their advantages and disadvantages.

I wanted to go for the most accurate lenses possible, so I decided to give 3D printing a try. Though I make my living animating and modeling in 3D I’d never had anything 3D printed, so I wanted to see how the process worked.

My first idea was to use camera calibration tools in Cinema 4D that would align the 3D camera to the face plate of the visor from a screen grab. With those angles worked out I could model the lenses in alignment with the shot, essentially creating a series of cylinders on top of the shot. This shows the basic setup.

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This was sort of working, but sort of not. Because the shot was dark and low rez it was difficult to isolate the axis lines the software needs to determine the camera position and focal length. So my setup wasn’t a perfect match, and with the shot so dark it was almost impossible to see detail in the black lenses.

Then I got really lucky. I found this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=40943

in which Glenn Frederick identifies the left lens and provides a link to photos he took of both lenses with measurements to his Facebook page. The quality of the photos vary:

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but had enough variety and angles to produce accurate 3D models. It took 4-6 hours, going between all of the separate photos to produce these models:

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Glenn’s photos indicate that the original lenses reside in a sort of wider, knurled base made of chrome and plastic. This is definitely not what was used in the movie, so I had to pore over frame grabs and clips to try to figure out the configuration of the bases. Knowing the height and width of the flat face plate I came up with a diameter of 56mm for the bases. Determining the profile was much harder, because it looks different in different shots. In general the base appears to contained smooth, rounded bead detail, based on its specular highlights.

This shot makes it look like there’s a shorter rounded base with a single rounded detail above that:

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Later in the scene it looks like the side is taller and there might be two rounded details:

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Then there’s this outlier configuration, which I’m guessing was an alternate or reworked prop. The faceplate appears to be behind the rim of the visor frame, the base profile looks more square than any of the other shots, and the glass in the short lens is closer to the end of the lens than it is in other shots (like Ray’s first encounter with the Onionhead ghost).

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I originally submitted the first version (with the single raised bead detail) to the 3D printer, but there was a technical problem I had to correct before printing. I then started to study the clips again and decided the second version, with two raised rims, was the better option. Here’s that model:

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Here’s a surfaced render, for fun:

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In hindsight, maybe the first version is correct. Oh, well.

Because 3D printers can’t cantilever detail straight out from the side of a structure I modeled the “nubs” the screws go into as separate, tiny models. I was originally going to have the knurled knobs printed with faux threaded shafts, like this:

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But the 3D printer guy said such shafts would be really delicate, so I hit on the idea of printing the knobs with a hole in them and using a bolt with the head cut off to be a real, metal shaft. This would make it much stronger, and I could use the bolt to help secure the nub to the cylinder.

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I used 3D Hubs to find a 3D printing service near me in Portland. I used Hydra Research Hub. I had the parts printed using black ColorFab nGen plastic, 200 µm height. The cost came to $30.13.

Here’s the result:

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this was about what I expected. I knew it would take a lot of sanding and filling to clean these up. I didn't expect a seam along the side of each lens.
#4897737
I set out sanding and filling the printed pieces to make them acceptably smooth. Each lens took 4-6 hours to clean up:

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I couldn’t think of any reasonable way to fill, sand and smooth the stairstep effect visible in the inner ring of the base, so I left those as-is.

With the lenses mostly cleaned up I carefully glued the nubs to their associated rings on each lens using Loctite’s special plastic superglue. I then used a drill press to carefully drill through the nubs and into the cylinder walls. I used wood blocks to keep the piece perpendicular to the drill bit.

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I used a tap to cut 4-40 threads into the nubs and knob heads.

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I had to putty around the nubs to create the curved transition to the rings indicated in the reference photos:

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The smoothed pieces painted with black primer:

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I modeled feet into the lenses so they could be screwed to the aluminum face plate. I marked the hole locations on the parts. In hindsight I should have extruded the feet another 5mm or so toward the center of the lens. I had to be careful to place the holes where they wouldn’t come out the other side of the base.

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I used my drill press to drill the wholes. I carefully set the depth gauge to ensure I didn’t drill too far.

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I tapped the lens to create (weak) threads for 1/4” long 4-40 bolts

I created a template in Adobe Illustrator to shape and cut the aluminum faceplate. Here I’m drilling the holes for lens feet:

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Important tip. Don’t use black primer unless the final piece is to be black because it hides a lot of flaws (I’ve been using black primer on my PKE meter build). The long lens looked pretty bad when I painted the silver parts, so I had to go back in to fill in gaps I hadn’t seen, then primed that grey.

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The next pass at the painted lenses, properly filled and smoothed. Krylon semi-flat black, Krylon silver. Not perfect, but acceptable. A sanding stick made from a trimmed popsicle stick was invaluable in smoothing the area between the ring and base of the silver section.

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I realized that I’d molded the ledge for the glass of the longer (silver) lens too close to the end, so I Dremeled out the molded ring. With that removed I used that opportunity to smooth out the inner walls of the lens. I originally thought the stairstep effect could look like lathed artifacts, but it ended being too prominent, especially when painted silver. I then glued in a small strip of styrene into the barrel of the lens to act as a ledge for the clear flat circle of glass I’d use for the lens. I made a little gauge to make sure the ring was level. I ended up going with a thinner piece of plastic for the ledge than shown here:

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The real prop uses flat glass in the lenses, so I replicated that. I used Testor’s clear plastic cement to glue the “glass” into the short lens. That glue didn’t look good against the silver, and I spent a stupid amount of time trying to find the best way to hold in the glass for the long lens. Mistake, fill, sand, paint, repeat. I tried clear caulk, but that failed. After some research I ended up coating the plastic glass with Pledge acrylic floor wax and then gluing it in with superglue. The Pledge coating prevents crazing. Despite trying to be careful I still smudged some CA on the glass. The glass in the movie has some crud on it, too.

I wanted to be able to see out of these goggles so I drilled holes for the eyes:

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Because the holes were very crudely cut I cut out some better-looking holes out of very thin plastic. When placed behind the lenses they’d create the appearance of nice, round holes:

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The lenses are bolted to the plate:

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The idea was to create a sandwich between the front plate, the recessed rim of the plastic visor, and metal strips on the right and left edges of the plate. Socket head bolts would secure the plate to the strips, which I tapped to match the bolts. There would be a giant gap between the plate and the left and right vertical rims of the visor. Those areas are always shrouded in darkness in my reference shots, so I have no idea whether those holes are filled on the real prop or what. I didn’t want big holes there, so I used JB Weld to create L-shaped pieces. The plate would bolt into the back part of the L and the sides would fill the holes.

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On to detailing.
#4897752
Some excellent work there on those lenses, I wish I had that tech when I was making mine out of plastic tubing. :) How're they, weight wise?
Thanks. I mean it when I write that I got somewhat obsessive over making them right.

Given all the time it took to clean up these 3D printed parts I might have been able to scratch-build comparable lenses from sheet styrene with a similar amount of time and labor. The bases would be hard.

These printed ones are pretty light. The "glass" is just some clear plastic I cut from a little watch box, so there's no real glass weighing it down.

Shawn
#4897753
Those Lenses are absolutely amazing!

You really manage to Capture all the details that were on the original Prop!

Here, you earned this :crunch:
Thanks so much for posting those photos, Glenn! They were invaluable in getting the dimensions right.

I'm impressed you tracked down both lenses. Where did you find them?

Shawn
Glenn Frederick liked this
#4898774
Those are hands down the most accurate set of replica lenses I've seen.
When I saw Glenn's reference measurements of the left eye lens, I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone well versed in 3d modeling used them to create models.

I've been searching ebay on a daily basis for the past few years for the laborec lenses with my hopes of ever obtaining them dwindling haha.

I know you've put a ton of work into the modeling.... If you ever choose release the files to the public..you'd make a lot of nerds like myself happy :)
Glenn Frederick liked this
#4898798
Thanks so much for posting those photos, Glenn! They were invaluable in getting the dimensions right.

I'm impressed you tracked down both lenses. Where did you find them?
I had searched everywhere online for the right lens and I tried to figure out what the left lens was, all the google searches keep bringing me to here and the RPF !

Then one day I decided to look up everything I could on the company that made the Laborec Camera.
It seems that these cameras were more commonly used in Japan, after a few searches on some Japanese auction sites I had found some listings that had cameras with the adapters!

But to my Disappointment it was strictly local delivery, no international Shipping on any of the sites I had Visited!
I still hadn't Identify the Left Lens but I was shocked to have seen a Variation of the Right Lens.

Then after searching online and searching Locally, I had finally found someone who was pretty sure he had one in his inventory which he sent me a picture of the Instruction sheet for the adapter which was for the Right Lens but when I finally saw what he had it turned out to be the unidentified Left lens!
#4898960
This is the most amazing thing I've seen. Can this be printed with a mini 3d printer (120 x 120 x 120 mm) or would I need a larger one?
Thanks.

As I wrote, I used a 3D printing service near me to print the lenses; I don't know what your printer can handle.

The long right lens is around 80mm tall and 55mm in diameter at the base. It seems like your printer could handle that.

I'll try to post the STL files for the lenses later this week.
#4899147
Glenn or WShawn,

Can either of you confirm that black lower half sections of the left and right lenses are the same diameter?
They appear to be the same diameter in Glenn's photos (I would assume they would be if they were intended for the same camera), but I can't tell for sure.

I've seen lots of fan made replicas where the left eye black lens is a little wider than the right eye lens. But it appears in the photos here the bases are almost exactly the same except for length.
#4899148
Glenn or WShawn,

Can either of you confirm that black lower half sections of the left and right lenses are the same diameter?
They appear to be the same diameter in Glenn's photos (I would assume they would be if they were intended for the same camera), but I can't tell for sure.

I've seen lots of fan made replicas where the left eye black lens is a little wider than the right eye lens. But it appears in the photos here the bases are almost exactly the same except for length.
They're different in diameter! The left lower portion is a lot wider.

I never was able to get the T ring adapter off the left adapter but I am positive that it would never fit my Laborec 2.

To my understanding there was three different generations of Laborec Cameras and the one that comes with the included adapter being the right side a Laborec 2 has a different size and thread.
#4899152
Sharper photos with multiple measurements would clear this up, but based on Glenn's Facebook photos and some educated guesses I modeled the wider black plastic parts of each lens to be the same diameter, 4.36cm. This screen grab shows the sections I'm referring to. Regarding the actual "bases", where the lenses mate with the flat mounting plate, I think the movie used something totally unrelated to the actual Laborec adapters. I've seen no photos of these Laborec adapters with mounting bases that are anywhere near what's seen in the movie.

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Glenn Frederick liked this
#4899153
Here's a zipped folder with STL files of each of the parts I created for this build. I've tweaked the ledge on the right lens so the glass sits a few mm further back in the cylinder than in my original model. I've also extended the four "tabs" in each base (into which I tapped holes for small screws) a bit so there's more room for error (to keep the holes/screws from poking up through the mounting rings).

http://marshall-arts.net/Ecto-Goggles-B ... 0-4-17.zip

The scale is in mm.

If you want to change the configuration of the mounting rings from what I've created you'll have to do that modeling yourself, or wait a month until I have time to dig into that part of the geometry.
#4899167
I just checked and the left side is about 3 cm wider at 46.1 cm!
I assume you mean 46.1 mm. So 2 or 3 mm wider than the comparable part of the longer lens.

I did the best I could with the available photos and had to make educated guesses when I didn't have clear photo reference. If you ever get a chance to post new sharp photos that clearly show every diameter and length (preferably in millimeters) I'm sure the group would appreciate it.

Nice job in tracking down those lenses, BTW.

Shawn
#4899284
Im very excited to print these!
I had an insane stroke of luck this week. By pure luck I found the bottom half of left eye lens labeled as an unknown lens on ebay. Almost at the same time a laborec camera popped up for sale that included the silver top half of the right eye lens.

So I'll have half of each lens lol I'll 3d print the rest! :-D
Glenn Frederick liked this

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