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This is a semi step-by-step guide of how my girlfriend Jess and I built our Ghostbusters proton packs for Halloween 2008! We ended up spending just under a month and just over $200 on each pack. Not including random tools here and there that we needed.

No expensive lightboards or sound packs here. This is 100% homemade and on the cheap.

Here is a couple stills of the final pack.
 
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Step 1: Costumes

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The costumes themselves were simple as hell and only took a night to do.

Flight suits off of Amazon.com
Paratrooper Belts off of Amazon.com
Boots off of Amazon.com

Then a couple custom patches off of Ebay to read 'Hogan' and 'Morrison' and of course the No Ghost symbols and we were pretty much good to go!

Just a few details needed adding like the gloves, circuit board (which were junked old sound cards) and some random tubing which can be found easily at Home Depot.

But in making a Ghostbusters costume remember...90% of the work in the pack.

Step 2: Cutting the Motherboard

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To start off we cut the 'motherboard' out of masonite board we found at Home Depot. This is the same stuff you'll find clip boards made out of. Just a much bigger sheet of it. We then downloaded the blueprints we needed from [ GBFans.com]GBFans.com and cut away using a Dremel. This made a HUGE mess by the way, so do yourself a favor and either cut it outside or in a space that's easily cleanable like a bathroom.

Step 3: Sculpting the Parts

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Once again we started out by looking at stills and downloading the blueprints we needed from [ GBFans.com]GBFans.com. But the site was also great to find out how most people went about constructing their own packs. We found that most people seemed to cut their parts out of wood and/or vacuum form them. We on the other hand didn't want an all wood pack because of the weight, and vacuum forming was just going to be too complicated and expensive.

So we cut our parts out of insolation foam. This stuff is very dense and very pink. And perfect in terms of weight and ease of use. Jess and I had both used this stuff while at art school (SCAD) and with a little work you can get some great results.

But we also went one step further to really get things smooth and the corners sharp by coating each piece with spackle and then sanding it down. This really is the key to getting a foam pack look like machined parts. It even leaves a very nice and subtle texture that really feels like steel machined parts.

Then by adding a couple pieces of PVC you start to really get down the shapes needed for an authentic Proton Pack.

Again Home Depot was the store of choice.

(These are obviously just a couple of the parts we made, and don't include the battery pack etc.)

Step 4: Dollar Store Heaven

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Another great place to find parts is the Dollar Store. That's where we found a perfect plastic Tortilla Bowl and a few colored document folders that we used for gels in the battery pack and Cyclotron.

Step 5: Bumper

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This was made by simply bending a piece metal window siding we found at Home Depot.

Step 6: Getting Ready for Paint.

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We used Gorilla glue to join all the parts to the motherboard. And now we're pretty much all assembled and it's time to get the packs ready for paint! And a BIG part of getting them ready is by putting a heavy coating of Gesso over the entire pack. Why you ask? Well foam has an odd reaction when exposed to the chemicals found in most spray paint.

It melts.

So to prevent that we gave it a protective coating for Gesso.

There are some water based spray paints out there made by Krylon, but we had a hell of a time finding Matte Black. This stuff tends to spray on kind of runny anyways, so this is the preferred method we found.

(Other random parts on the packs include a Radio Shack project box for the mounting of the Wand, and craft wood ribbing glued onto the appropriate parts)

Step 7: Back in Black

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Now that the packs are all painted we then started to attach the ion arm and the black ribbed tubing (electrical department Home Depot).

Step 8: Light 'em up!

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Now here's the really fun part. Making the LED circuits.

This should be treated as a separate project as it did take quite a bit of work, and should only be taken on by someone who has soldering experience.

The battery pack is a simple chaser circuit, and the Cyclotron is just 4 blinking LED's daisy chained together each with a slighly higher capacity capacitor.

To make life easier I went ahead and just purchased ready made kits at [ AllElectronics.com]AllElectronics.com. Just dig through their LED and Kit sections and you'll find tons of fun stuff to play with.

We then put them into the pack and were ready to move onto most expensive part of the pack...

Step 9: The Gunbox and Wand

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To start out I sculpted it out of clay based on the dimensions of the blueprints. I then made a silicon mold and casted it out of resin.

I ended up needing around 7 lbs of silicon to make the mold which ran me $125 for 10lbs. That was the big expense since I had to order it online. The resin you can find at pretty much any craft store and was only $25-$30.

Then with a little sanding this puppy was ready to go.

The grips were handles found in the gardening department at Home Depot, which we then spray painted matte black and wrapped in standard electrical tape.

All the little parts on the gun were made out of sculpy. And the same approach was taken on the pack as well.

Step 10: Alice Packs

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We ended up attaching our motherboards to the ALICE packs using simple zip ties that we pre-drilled holes for. Then just added a couple pieces of Pipe foam for added comfort.

Step 11: Wiring it all together and finishing up.

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All of our electronics made their home inside the Gunbox. And each circuit had it's one closed power source of a standard 9v battery. This was done to keep things simple and extend battery life from 3 hours to almost 9.

This took a few hours to wire up each one and resulted in a rats nest of wires inside, but it got the job done. Electrical tape and hot glue is your friend during this step to prevent any shorts.

I added in a LED Bargraph that lights up and also a tri-color LED in the gun tip, which was made out of a turkey baster found at the Dollar Store.

Step 12: Demo Video

And that was pretty much it! All the stickers were found once again on GBFans. Here's a demo video of it all working!


Step 13: Random Stills

Anyways, I hope this instructable helped you out. And good luck in building your own pack! It was a much bigger undertaking then either Jess or I thought it would be. But it was so much fun to do together, and we're both so happy with the final result.

Plus it finally fulfilled my childhood dream of owning my very own Proton Pack!

To end here are just some random stills of the other parts of the packs not mentioned in this instructable. Oh and also my cat because she's awesome.
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DavidG314 months ago

Great Job man!

BENJI666BROZ8 months ago
Would you want to sell it?

what kind of insilation foam did you use? It looks a lot thicker then what I'm finding in my area.

Can you use cardboard instead of masonite board?
halo10113 years ago
dear zombiedug some guy that works for placement says that is his proton pack so can you help me out from beleving him please thank you sincerely cody sucena who ya gonna call?
ZombieDUG (author)  halo10113 years ago
I'm sorry but your comment wasn't very clear. Who exactly is claiming that my proton pack is theirs? Because it most certainly is NOT.

Thanks,
Doug
halo10113 years ago
dear zombiedug i am also trying to build a proton pack as im just wanting you to know that i am inspierd to build one with your premisson could you please email me the instrutions for me to build one. thank you
aliencatx4 years ago
humm...i would have never thought of that, good one :)
klevien4 years ago
Quick question, where did you get the ribbon on the cyclotron? Did you just have it laying around? Thanks!
The ironman4 years ago
stick a flame thrower on it
i like how you roll
what are the values of the capicitors. My friends and are trying to figure out how you did this.
Nik8424 years ago
Which LED kit did you buy? And do you have a video of the lights, battery pack & cyclotron, so we see how yours ended up?
luka11844 years ago
Can you make one for me and send it? PM me ;D
please tell me how big is the pack it self is it 3 feet or what i need to know and the middle is
ZombieDUG (author)  greatscottbttfride4 years ago
Once again, please refer to the blueprints that I linked to over at GBFans.com . It's all right there, you just need to read them. Thanks!
blahblah864 years ago
how much is the final weight? you seemed to use a lot of wood, and in the ones my club and i have always made have as little wood is possible (mostly pvc - we make one or two wood packs then vacuu-form {did i spell that right?}), and they're still a good 10 or so pounds.
ZombieDUG (author)  blahblah864 years ago
Since most of it is made out of insulation foam, the heaviest part is the motherboard and frame. The motherboard is made out of particleboard, so it's very dense but much lighter than your regular milling woods. In the end the final pack only weighs 5 or so pounds.
what kind of window sliding ?
ZombieDUG (author)  greatscottbttfride4 years ago
Just generic plastic window trim
how big is the pack it self is it like 4 feet long im trying to build one to some day as well i love your version of the proton pack so awesome
ZombieDUG (author)  greatscottbttfride4 years ago
check out the schematics over on GBFans.com for all scale questions. It's roughly 3 1/2 feet though.
ZombieDUG (author) 4 years ago
2 years later and I'm still blown away by how much you all like the packs! I'm currently working on a "part 2" to this instructable on how to add arduino controlled lights and sound...and even a rumble pack for the gun! Schematics, code, the works. So keep your eyes open, because I should have it up just after Halloween with pictures and a new demo video!
lysa6134 years ago
really cool
lysa6134 years ago
that is the best proton pack ever i want one
lesh_dude5 years ago
I'm trying to build a proton pack using your instructions, and I was wondering if you could think of any more "wallet-friendly" alternatives to the ALICE pack.
You could probably make a similar frame out of PVC fairly cheap and pick up a used backpack at your local goodwill-type store fairly cheap and find a way to attach the straps to the PVC frame, after you have painted the frame of course.
ZombieDUG (author)  lesh_dude5 years ago
Sorry, not really. That's kind of the one thing that's an absolute necessity for this project. The best thing I could offer would be the check your local Army surplus store though. They might have it for cheaper than what you're finding online. Good luck!
cook$4 years ago
A proton pack is not a toy.........
dramaplay4 years ago
Hi, I have to make 30 proton packs for a special needs camp next summer. Can the mold make many wands can it make? Also, do you think they end up sturdy enough for kids to use the whole summer? Thank you.
ZombieDUG (author)  dramaplay4 years ago
If you follow the recommendation of the silicon grade I used to make the mold of the gun box, you can easily get 30 made. As for the question about the sturdiness of the packs, that really comes down to how much time and care you put into constructing it. Instead of using a glue gun, you could always use epoxy for example. But you still need to be careful or yes, the packs will break since it's made out of foam predominantly. Good luck on your build! Sounds like it's for a great cause.
Thanks, ZombieDUG! - dramaplay
kerry635 years ago
Were you at the Greenville Parade the year before last in costume? If so the costumes looked great.
ZombieDUG (author)  kerry635 years ago
Ha, no I was not. But I'm glad to see there are other Ghostbusters keeping the streets safe out there!
flio1915 years ago
This is so brilliant! Wish I had seen this before Halloween.
matheust5 years ago
What types of cans did you use for the N-Filter and HGA.
ZombieDUG (author)  matheust5 years ago
 They were just Pringles cans that we raided from the Dollar Store. There's a ton of great stuff at that store if you do a little digging.
ZombieDUG (author)  matheust5 years ago
They were both just Pringle's cans we got at the dollar store.
what did you use for the gun mount clip there in the first pic ? i am bulding my pack now and thats kind of a hang up...lol
ZombieDUG (author)  schpadoinkle5 years ago
It's an invisible picture hanger. Basically just a bracket that lays flat with another sister bracket. Pretty much every hardware store should have it, just ask an employee. Because when we were looking for one they were hidden in a weird corner of the store.
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