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By archinate
#4921187
I picked up a Spirit Ghost Trap for Halloween last year - overall I was thrilled with the product for the price: lights, some sounds, and a great overall look. This summer, I started to take it to the next level. I wanted to give it an authentic look. I found this great video on YouTube showing a repaint with other mods. While I'm not following it exactly, there is a lot of great stuff in there for making the Spirit trap look like a true prop.

Here is a snapshot of my progress to date:

First the tear-down...

Taking the thing a apart is really straightforward and the internal electronics are really simple to remove. Most of all, I'm happy to see how much space there is on the inside. Installing or extending the electronics is made much easier with the space available.
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My focus has been on the cosmetics of the trap itself: There is a missing panel, the molded screws are not very realistic, the main knobs don't move, and the paint job is as basic as it gets. So the first task is to prep the trap for painting.

I cut of the knobs using a tooth saw. I was able to get a very clean cut which allowed me to preserve the knobs while also leaving only two small holes on either side of the trap.
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Next I cut out some panels out of acrylic. One panel would cover up the hole on the "battery side" of the trap. While the other has been inserted behind the larger hole on the other side. I super glued these panels in place and drilled out holes where there will be hex screws.
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I then gave everything a light sanding to prep for painting. I wanted to try out the "paint chipping" effect so I first hit the entire trap case with metallic silver paint...
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I then masked off the areas I wanted to keep silver and applied some tooth paste at various corners and edges of the trap where I wanted to have some paint chipped away after spraying on the black paint. Here is a shot of the chipping effect and you can also see the hex screws used in various areas of the trap.
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For getting some "turning knobs" on the side, I used the original parts I cut off the trap. The knobs were hollow so I filled them with JB Weld putty, sanded their back side flat and hit them with black spray paint. I then threaded a screw threw the trap and screwed them on. You'll also see that I used a similar technique on the red capsules to make them removable (originally, they were glued down on pegs)
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Here is a shot from the inside - note I also masked off the inside zone and hit it with a chrome paint. This will bounce light around much better than keeping it a black inside.
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Here are some shots of the trap fitted back together after the cosmetic updates - overall, I'm quite happy with the results so far. It is looking less like a store-bought Halloween toy and is starting to look like a real prop.

Some parts for a pedal have arrived today, and I have mapped out getting some fog effects going. Stay tuned...
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GBDRE760, Kingpin, TragicManner and 1 others liked this
By GBDRE760
#4921236
Great stuff! That silver looks great. I haven't had much great luck with silver spray paint except using it on brushes to "dry brush" in the scratched up effects which has worked excellent for me. I also havent tried the Krylon Fusion All-In-One silver just yet, for that simple reason, but after seeing it look that well, I think it is worth a shot.
User avatar
By archinate
#4921500
I've been making some more progress here - I have been testing out an e-cig fog effect and I have also been assembling the pedal using a few of the excellent hardware kits by CharlesworthDynamics and the GBFans metal vector plate.

Here are the parts layed out. I ended up cutting a pedal base out of layered acrylic. It worked well since I had easy access to a few pieces. I'd like to 3D print or cut out a piece out of MDF in the future.
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Assembling the pedal has been pretty straightforward. With the hardware kits, it's really a matter of using photos to position the pieces, spray painting a few parts, and drilling out a few holes. With the vector plate, I used a similar weathering technique of creating a chipping effect with toothpaste in areas before spraying and rubbing them away after.
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I also picked up a resistor to replace the exterior molded resistor on the vector plate. I sanded down the molded resistor and screwed in the new one - everything lined up nicely!
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Another kit I picked up from CharlesworthDynamics was the hose kit that includes some nice connections for the trap and pedal. The assembly also allows for wiring to run through the pedal to the trap in the future.
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Now on to the fog effects...

This is still an incomplete project mostly because my fog setup here is not yet reliable. When it get it up and running, it throws off a lot of fog for a cool effect with the standard Spirit trap lighting. However, the ecig coil burns out quite quickly due to the power supply. I will need to try a few lower voltage batteries (recommendations welcome!). I also don't like the tenuous hose connection between the pump motor, and ecig. It is all very fragile and tends to easily come apart quite easily. I could secure it better, but then accessing the coil becomes a chore. I really wish there were more "mini fog" machine options out there.

You can see here the setup. I have a battery set up in the cavity under the trap box. I opted to keep the pump and e-cig assembly in the trap box itself so I can access it in the event of a part failure or when I need to refill the fog juice. The fog assembly is on a separate circuit from the light/sound circuit that comes stock with the Spirit trap. That way, I can have it run the basic effects without the fog.
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Here are the initial results - even with all the technical flaws, it sure looks cool in photos!
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If anyone has any advice on the best practices for a mini fog machine setup, I'm happy to hear them.

What combination of parts (battery, ecig, etc) tends to work the best to get good fog output while minimizing burnout?
jpetrutis81 liked this
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4921550
That look super cool! It's too bad it's having issues.

So the problem might be that you're running too much voltage like you said, and also that you are running it for too long. A combination of these things will really mess up those e-cig setups.

For the voltage, the solution is actually pretty simple. If you get a DC to DC Buck converter that gives you the correct voltage output for your e-cig, you'll be able to fix the voltage issue. So no need to change the battery if you don't want to as long as your voltage is being adjusted. I have a set of buck converters that I use that allow you to adjust the output voltage, so those might be a good option (these are the ones).

Could you give more details about your setup? What kind of vape pen are you using, what voltage does it run at? What battery are you running? Are you using that same battery for driving the Spirit Halloween effects?
User avatar
By archinate
#4921553
For the voltage, the solution is actually pretty simple. If you get a DC to DC Buck converter that gives you the correct voltage output for your e-cig, you'll be able to fix the voltage issue. So no need to change the battery if you don't want to as long as your voltage is being adjusted. I have a set of buck converters that I use that allow you to adjust the output voltage, so those might be a good option (these are the ones).
The DC to DC buck looks like exactly what I need to calibrate the system for appropriate voltage-to-fog output. Thanks for the insight! I have tried lower-powered batteries and voltages and the fog output is weak. Higher voltages have a very limited lifespan on the coil but it looks cool. I think I may also insert a press button to also give myself some better control (everything is presently tied to a switch that activate the other electronics also - although the fog set up is on a separate power source than the Spirit lights/sounds.

I found an Aspire ET-S Clearomizer at a local vape shop. It works well, although I did have to drill a small hole on the top of the top battery connection to push air through the tube from the pump. Its a 12V battery (so yes, way over powered for the coil) but the DC to DC buck will definitely help here.
User avatar
By archinate
#4921554
I created a screw-on panel using some plexiglass scraps and a dixie-cup hook. The panel allows me to center the hook along the trap's center seam and offset the hook a bit so its easier to attach to the belt connection.
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It's a nice overcast day here so I decided to take a few shots of the trap after working out some cosmetic details such as decals paint on the front knobs. And here are some shots...
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Kingpin liked this
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4921579
That looks great. I love how much a little bit of effort on these Spirit Halloween traps can actually go a really long way.

Drilling that hole in the vape pen is pretty standard practice if I'm understanding you correctly. Gotta get that air from the pump through somehow.
By Egoner
#4922338
For the fog effect; have you considered using an ultrasonic transducer? These are widely available and pretty cheap and seem to work well for making small amounts of fog like you're looking for. They only need water to generate the fog and don't have coils that will eventually burn out.
User avatar
By TragicManner
#4922403
I just looked into ultrasonic transducer foggers and the major problems you have are:
  • They have a habit of spraying liquid around (usually water)
  • They need an active airflow to be able to get the fog to "rise"
  • They need a relatively large body of water to be able to submerge the component
A lot of this seems pretty prohibitive to me with a ghost trap because the fog needs to leave the trap for full effect. Current smoke effects involve air pumps, so the air thing isn't really an issue because you'd just need to put a fan under the water container to blow it upwards, so that's not a huge problem, but the nature of the amount of water and how it would need to be stored in the trap seems problematic to me. The potential of spilling together with water getting thrown around by the component seem like deal breakers to me.
User avatar
By archinate
#4923360
The DC to DC buck worked perfectly for this - and now I can control the amount of fog that will be thrown off! Thanks for the tip, TragicManner!

I also rearranged a few things in the trap box so I can more easily access and change things up in the future. I arranged the pump, e-cig, and DC buck on a plate of spare thin plexiglass. The plate is then attached to the inside of the trap using velcro so I can remove the assembly and quickly swap out or add parts. I also added a power plug so I can detach it from the trap electronics which has the added benefit of allowing me to also recharge the battery without having to dissemble the trap to get to the battery I put in for the fog.

Overall it feels much more stable and flexible than before.

The assembly...
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Inside the trap...
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More fog action...
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TragicManner liked this

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