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By mburkit
#4903037
Greetings everyone!
You may know my buddies and me; you may not. What I would say is that my friends and I have been building Ghostbusters props for years. After years and years of building movie gear, we realized that we wanted to be a little different, so we set upon a 12 month process. Out of those 12 months, Mr. Jack Doud and I got together every weekend from January until New York Comicon in October for this project, minus 1 or 2 weeks. Needless to say, there was a lot of work put into these packs. Let me walk you through our journey. I hope you are excited to wade through a fraction of the 100’s of photos we took!
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Building the Master
First and foremost, we needed reference. Jack Doud and myself took to screen capping from the show itself, but we quickly realized that the size of the packs changed CONSTANTLY. Because of that, we ended up sticking to the production images done for the show Bible, such as this one:
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With our source material squared away, we then did a quick mock up in an evening with foamcore, so we could figure out our dimensions. . .

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We also worked out the body of the wand as well.

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Once we had our dimensions worked out, we then set upon a 2 ½ month period of scratch building the master out of 0.125 styrene. It took us almost 3 months to create the master because we wanted it as smooth as possible so we had as little clean up as possible on the casts.

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As you look at these build photos of the master, I would like to point out that we added an extra inch of material to the overall depth of the pack, for molding purposes. This would then let us make a clean cut with a rotary tool on our fiberglass casts.

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After we finished up the master for the pack shell, Jack then moved onto making a master for the wand.

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For sake of cutting out a good chunk of the build process, I am not going to really go into the molding process. We made silicone molds and made resin, fiberglass, and/or foam casts from for our build.

You may be asking yourself, “Okay, so they cast that pretty styrene master, but after they made the molds, what did they end up doing with the master!?” Good question. . .

We painted it and used it to celebrate July 4th!

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My next post will consist of the building up of our actual gear. Until next time!
jackdoud, Kingpin, CaptCyan and 6 others liked this
#4903055
Welcome back! Let’s jump right back into it with . . .

Molds!

I know I said I would not get too deep in the weeds with the molding process, but I figured I’d start off with a small glimpse.

I would like to preface this section by noting that we had to literally make EVERYTHING for these builds. The only things we did not have to fabricate ourselves were some of the buttons and some of the LED lenses. So there were a TON of molds involved in this project. These are just a small fraction of the molds we made. These are for the main pack shell, the Ion Arm (2 halves), the switch block on the bottom of the pack, and the cosmetic piece under the booster tube.

Pack shell mold with just the gel coat . . .

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Pack shell with fiberglass

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Ion Arm (2 halves), the switch block on the bottom of the pack, and the cosmetic piece.

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Bumper mold

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We went through almost 15 gallons of silicone for this project.

And here are the fruits of all that labor:

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The never ending “Clean Up”

Historically, I have ever only built one Proton Pack at a time for myself, so I had no idea how much work it would be to build 6 at once. The amount of repetitive monotony involved in this project became obviously apparent as we entered this stage, and it honestly never gave up until the end. So let’s dive in!

Now, even though we are the Ghostbusters of New Hampshire; half of the team lives in Eastern Pennsylvania while the other half lives in the namesake state, New Hampshire. At this point, we are in August of 2017 and Jack and I decided to drive up to HQ in New Hampshire for a build weekend. We will start off with some photos from that weekend.

First we have a few of our shells, untouched other than some filler putty to address some bubbles.

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Then the trimming began. . .

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HOLES!

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Our bumpers had a slight seam as well, that needed to be cleaned up.

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Starting to look more like proton packs. . .

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We may have had made a small mess. . .

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And we used up a ton of primer.

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As many of you may have noticed, we had to cast our Ion Arms separate from the pack. We still wanted them to all be one “solid” piece with the rest of the packs. That process involved clamps, nuts and bolts, and filling.

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Sadly, we had to do a ton more work then we initially thought we would, so we had to truck everything back to PA to finish up the packs as a 2 man team. Here are some more photos as we inch closer to the time to do final paint and assembly.

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Next time, you will get to see the making of the wands and other extraneous parts of the pack, including the foam grips, the custom straps, motherboard and maybe even the electronics!

I will leave you with a slight teaser!



Until next time!
jackdoud, Kingpin, SabaSka109 and 2 others liked this
#4903057
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mburkit, jackdoud liked this
#4903101
Welcome back, true believers!
Time to get back at it. So far, we have talked about scratch building the master; casting everything, then the endless cleanup of our resin and fiberglass parts. Today I want to get into the minutiae of all the bits and bobs that really bring out the detail of our build, before I eventually get to the final fit and finish of the project.

So let’s jump into it!

There were a few major problems we had to sort out with our build. On the movie packs, they used 1970’s military equipment for the strapping and supports for the proton packs. The cartoon did no such thing. They just drew generic grey straps. And on top of that, they are mounted through the aluminum back plate; which in the community we often refer to as the “motherboard”.

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We looked at TONS of premade straps; specifically in both automobile and aviation. There was nothing close to what we wanted. So we ended up making them ourselves.

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We ended up having our buddy George drive up from Virginia to help us craft padded straps that met our construction needs. Here’s a shot of our “Ultimate Badass,” Dr. Marish, begrudgingly stuffing upholstery foam into one of the 12 shoulder straps we made.

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You may recognize Adam from his amazing Ecto-1 Build that he has been working on for the last 7ish years. (Found here: https://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t ... ght=ecto-1)

And for the waist strap, straight from China!

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These straps were then attached through the motherboard upon final construction (pictured here was test fitting the concept)

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Our motherboards were hand cut with a jigsaw out of 1/8” thick Aluminum. It was SUPER fun having to cut out the 4 holes for the strapping plus the grated plate (pictured in above illustration) for 6 packs. Its times like this project that I just wish I had a plasma cutter.

Here’s Adam test fitting the first pack that we had the motherboard and straps attached to.

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Beyond the straps and motherboard, we also had to figure out how to attach the gun, which is usually referred to as the “wand” to the pack; as well as the trap and trap pedal. We reached out to an old friend, who’s user name on GBFans was “Krix” to help us. I had looked at the production design (pictured above) and attempted to design something real world that would actually clamp around the rear handle of the wand. I came up with this. . .

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He also was nice enough to make metal hooks for us too, that were drilled and tapped so that they could be attached to our packs without any showing screws.

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Which I also want to preface: because you did not see ANY screws or bolts on the cartoon packs; we very specifically wanted absolutely none visible on our packs. Most of our screws mounting points are on the motherboard or cleverly hidden on the packs. The only screws you can really see on the builds would be on the wand, which are visible in the cartoon as well.

We utilized L-Brackets, just like the movie packs do, but instead of having them riveted to the motherboard, ala the film props, we reversed it and have them screwed to the inside of the shells instead; either hidden inside the ion arm or behind the bumper.

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I will go into the electronics more later, but we mounted 2 speakers to the motherboards, as well as a 20 watt amp and a 12v rechargeable battery.

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All of these things were designed to be able to be disconnected from the rest of the pack, so we could completely separate the motherboard from the rest of the pack, for ease of maintenance.

Beyond that, we also had to make our own acrylic lenses for the cyclotron, which we did by layering 3 pieces of clear acrylic, to get the desired “split” effect of the lenses, as seen in the cartoon.

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I think that will be it for this post. Next time I will get into the construction of the wands as well as maybe touch more on the electronics.

I’ve been trying to end each post with something that I thought was amazing from the build to put an exclamation point on the post. Today, I do not have a video, but instead, I will leave you with the photo of 4 out of the 5 of our group standing together in our finished uniforms.

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Until next time!
jackdoud, Kingpin, SabaSka109 and 2 others liked this
#4903147
Got your stick? (Holding!)



With that lovely introduction, let’s get into the construction of the wands!

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We had a LOT of discussions about how to cast and assemble the wands for this build. Initially, we were apprehensive about having them straight resin because we were worried about the wand being brittle and easily break, so we attempted to devise a way to cast them in fiberglass just like the pack and the majority of our traps. At the end of the day, we settled on resin because we couldn’t figure out how to do it any other way. I want to also note that the scratch building of the master was all done by Jack Doud, because I was busy designing, coding, and prototyping the electronics. Let’s check out his work!

The main body of the wand.

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Trigger box

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Mocking up the left side box that would house our future Volume knob for our audio.

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Speaking of knobs, our buddy Nick was willing to design and 3D print knobs for us, because the knobs on the wand are nothing that we really could find off the shelf.

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We also wanted the big yellow toggle switch to work as our actual main power switch on the packs, like in the cartoon. Needless to say, we had to design and cast our own switches. . .

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As a way to add some rigidity to the wands, we decided to make sure that our front and rear aluminum handles were connected by an inner aluminum tube that would run through the inside of the body. Here’s us first figuring it out with some PVC tubing.

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Followed by actual aluminum.

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Another issue we had to solve was the firing tip of the wand. On the movie packs, there is a clear acrylic tube that is used as the barrel of the wands and the lighting can simply be hidden deeper in the wand. The cartoon wand does not have that luxury. We had to scratch build, then cast our own dark blue tips that we had 12v LED bulb cast into. Here is a shot of us testing how clear/opaque we wanted to make the tip.

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Another huge thing we had to figure out was we wanted firm foam grips on our handles. Again, Jack scratch built masters and design molds that let us to insert the already painted grips into the mold and cast the foam around them. These things are amazing and comfy.

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Here’s some miscellaneous construction photos of the wands.

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And finally, our first, fully assembled wand with electronics and all the other bits and bobs, including the knobs, front cable wrap, and rear yellow hosing all there. Seeing one finally lit up and working was amazing to say the least.

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And with that, we will finish up this post with a teaser for next time . . . we will talk about electronics!

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Thank you for looking!
jackdoud, Kingpin, SabaSka109 and 1 others liked this
#4903155
That's a lot of work!
I find it interesting that most RGB packs I've seen are built larger than what they are in the cartoons.
The problem with the cartoon is 90% of the time the animators didn't give a crap and it only got worse as the series went on. The packs often looked small in the cartoon because they were being drawn from odd angles and they didn't bother to properly scale and draw the true perspective. The size we went with was based off the series reference sheets that Matt's been posting along with rounding out to whole numbers to make it easier to find usable parts in the real world. Even I'm of the opinion that the ion arm seems large and sticks out really far in relation to what it "should" be but once you lock it into real-world physics and geometry it's accurate.

It also doesn't help that our group ranges in size from a miniature bigfoot to a bipedal chihuahua with gigantism. The pack's going to look different on different people, we tried to strike a happy medium.
#4903157
That's a lot of work!
I find it interesting that most RGB packs I've seen are built larger than what they are in the cartoons.
As Jack stated, that is because the packs were constantly changing sizes in the actual cartoon. We decided that we would base our size off of the production Bible artwork.

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H2Ghost, machina28 liked this
#4903162
Your RGB proton packs are awesome. Do you have any plans to maybe make and sell them later on?
Sadly, no. The amount of work involved in creating these things is just too cost prohibitive for us to take the time needed to make and sell them consistently. I know I haven't posted about the electronics really yet, but just to solder together and install electronics into one pack takes me 24-30+ hours of work. And that's just the electronics! I love these things but they are a pain in the butt to build.
#4903166
Your RGB proton packs are awesome. Do you have any plans to maybe make and sell them later on?
Sadly, no. The amount of work involved in creating these things is just too cost prohibitive for us to take the time needed to make and sell them consistently. I know I haven't posted about the electronics really yet, but just to solder together and install electronics into one pack takes me 24-30+ hours of work. And that's just the electronics! I love these things but they are a pain in the butt to build.
I can totally understand that, it's easy to sink a lot of time into any project doing something that you love working on.
#4903209
I'm a massive fan of the Real Ghostbusters series and I've always loved the cartoon version packs, these are looking awesome well done brilliant
#4903253
beautiful build, bummed it won't be offered to the community! would of loved to rock this! maybe can work a trade in the future once im done with my stunt build ;) ;)

(will start that build thread right here in the coming weeks)


-Ron





Your RGB proton packs are awesome. Do you have any plans to maybe make and sell them later on?
Sadly, no. The amount of work involved in creating these things is just too cost prohibitive for us to take the time needed to make and sell them consistently. I know I haven't posted about the electronics really yet, but just to solder together and install electronics into one pack takes me 24-30+ hours of work. And that's just the electronics! I love these things but they are a pain in the butt to build.
#4903771


And we are back!

Today, I am going to wrap up our showcase of the construction of our Real Ghostbusters Proton Packs. At this point in our story, I had roughly a 2 week break from work as I transitioned between offices at my company in August, which turned into me spending roughly 80 hours prototyping electronics and developing the code to run it all. Our electronics are running off of a single Arduino Duo with 2 audio shields; one shield to manage our audio tracks from a micro SD card and the other shield to translate the audio into usable data for me to have a visualizer on the pack.

Jump ahead to roughly the end of September, 2017 and I am rushing to get lights and sound working in 3 of our packs for New York Comicon. I won’t go too crazy with photos of the electronics for 2 reasons: A) for most people, seeing a bunch of chips soldered to a perforated board is not exciting and B) I honestly did not take many photos of them.

With that, let’s at least look at what we have!

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A box full of components for 6 packs. This is just part of what we ordered.
Here’s one of those shots I said no one wants to see. . .

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I don’t know how to design printed electronic boards, so all of our packs are just point to point components on perforated board. It takes forever to solder together just one board. These boards are then mounted onto a bracket that is installed inside the Cyclotron area of the packs.

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This is most of what goes onto the bracket. What is not shown are the LEDs that are installed on the 3 arms coming off the main bracket. They are for the Cyclotron LEDs. This bracket is held in place by the L-Brackets that also hold the bumper to the Cyclotron and mount the pack to the motherboard.

Speaking of the motherboard, here you can see the other half of the electronics are installed onto it. These consist of a 20 watt Amp, 2 speakers and the rechargeable battery.

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We wanted to be able to adjust the volume from the wands of the pack; so we used Ethernet cable to replace the potentiometer in the amp and extend it through our yellow hosing up into the wand. As you can see in this photo, we used a quick disconnect for Ethernet cable so we can completely separate the motherboard from the pack; for ease of maintenance.
The other bit of fun that comes with installing these electronics is the custom 72 LED matrix in the Ion Arm that doubles as both oscillating bargraphs as well as the visualizer for our audio tracks when we are in our “boombox” mode. It takes roughly 8 hours to install all of the LEDs onto the styrene holder and wire it to the main board of the electronics.

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Not pictured are the rest of the electronics in the pack. Namely the main instrument panel on the bottom of the pack that let’s use control the main kill switch; turn the Amp on and off; recharge the lithium battery; and we have an AUX port in case we want to play alternative audio from a phone or something. Then there is the wand itself, which houses the custom “On/Off” rocker switch seen in a previous post; along with a pilot light and the flashing tip. There are also 2 knobs and several push buttons that have functionality with our electronics; controlling the volume of the audio; the “Mode” the pack is in (Pack Mode/Boombox Mode); and firing the wand.

Altogether, I would say that constructing and installing electronics in each pack takes roughly 30 hours a pack. Needless to say, only 3 of our packs have full electronics right now because I get burned out really quick constructing them. It is really tough to convince myself to spend 30 hours on my weekend to do these after I worked a 50 hour week at work, haha.
And with that, here is our debut video we did in our hotel room at the Yotel in NYC, prior to walking the floor at NYCC 2017.



And that’s pretty much it for the packs! There was obviously a bunch of other things we needed to build for the full get ups; such as our custom suits, belts, belt gizmos, and of course, who can forget our traps! If anyone is interested, I can do another post, specifically highlighting some of the build process for those things.

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Other than that, that’s how we went from the “Ghostbusters of New Hampshire” to “The REAL Ghostbusters of New Hampshire” in one year.
machina28, Kingpin liked this
#4904068
I had to open up my pack over the weekend as mine was the last to receive the Ion Arm LED Matrix. While I had it opened, I figured I'd take a photo of the guts, since I did not have one in my original post about the electronics.

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Annnnddd I took a slightly longer video at home of everything working. Sorry ahead of time, I have a ton of shitty Alternative Rock on my pack because I'm a weirdo.



Enjoy!
Henners liked this

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