Introduction: Ghostbuster - Costume [1984 Version]
Ghostbuster's theatrical release was in June of 1984 and I consider my 9 year old self to have been fortunate enough to revel in the experience. It had everything ... Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, some romantic themes which flew directly over my head, and a catchy theme song, which was always a hit at the roller skating rink. To this day I still enjoy the film and it's been on my costume list for at least a decade.
Various Proton Pack Kits can be purchased, but they don't come cheap. Resin kits can be obtained for several hundred dollars, or you can go all in with an Avonos Spengler Legacy Proton Pack for $3500.
I make costumes for fun. I don't go to any cons - just attend one local party and hand out candy on Trick 'r' Treat, so I'm building on a budget.
Since I've been doing this for several years and have a hobby workshop, I had most of the supplies on hand. My final cost was $110 - half of that being for the clothing.
Coveralls ($40), belt ($7), and embroidered patch ($10)were acquired via Amazon. I have linked them in my storefront.
EVA foam floor mats
PVC pipe [1/2", 3/4", 1 1/2", 2"]
PVC fittings [1/2" 90s and T fittings, 3/4" T fittings]
Wooden dowels [5/16", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4"]
Electrical wire [Various gauges]
Sheet metal screws
Computer ribbon cable
Triangular LED hazard light ($3)
EL Wire kit
Toggle switches ($6)
Barge contact cement ($28)
Industrial Velcro ($10)
PVC primer ($4)
Gray primer ($4)
Spray paint [Black, White, Red, Metallic Silver] ($5 each)
Rub 'n' Buff [Silver]
Step 1: A Quick Word on Templates, Plans and Tools
When it comes to working form fabrics and/or foam, I like to make templates. I start with contractor/builder's paper because it's cheap ($12 for a 3ft x 140ft roll), so I can mess up repeatedly and be free of regret. Once I'm satisfied with the paper template, I transfer it to poster board, which I label with the costume name, part name, and year of creation. I also include any pertinent details - left/right side, center locations for holes, part quantity, foam thickness, etc.
I save these templates in case I need them for the future. Maybe I'll want to make a revision to an old costume, or in this year's case, I might want to make multiple Proton Packs for a group. I do get commission inquiries now and again, but I usually decline due to time and budget.
***Sharing is Caring***
I have attached a PDF of my templates to this step. Keep in mind I didn't make my templates in the digital realm, so I had to slice some up in order to fit on 8.5 x 11 paper. They were scanned, edited into a single PDF, and labeled. Alignment marks are present for reconstruction.
This is the first year I've worked from established plans. Usually, I'm just using reference pictures and designing from scratch. Since a Proton Pack looked rather involved, I searched around for plans, of which I found several. I decided to go with Stefan Otto's plans as they were drawn as schematics and included imperial measurements.
Stefan Otto's Plans
All the plans
Keep your razor knife sharp by invest in a sharpener - I use a Kershaw Ultra-Tek with WD-40 for lubrication. As for the actual knife, it's just the cheap retractable style with the removable sections.
Other often used tools are a beam compass, small compass, dowel center finder, disc center finder, tape measure, and a seamstress tape measure.
Step 2: Elbow Pad Fabrication
To get the project rolling, I started with the smallest part of the costume - elbow pads. I tried a few different sized circles before deciding on using the Barge can [Fig. 1]. With one circle drawn, I just moved the can until the oval size looked proportionally pleasing. For those into sacred geometry, that turned out being a Vesica pisces.
Once I had the poster board template made, I traced it onto an EVA foam mat four times and then cut out the parts. A center circle was removed from two of them, to give space for my bony elbow - I used a spray paint cap for the size [Fig. 5].
The two layers were glued together and edges flushed up using the oscillating belt sander [Fig. 6&7]. The arched grooves were made with a Dremel, outfitted with a mini drum sander attachment [Fig. 8]. I wasn't happy with the lateral seam between the layers, so I added a strip of 1/8" craft foam around the perimeter [Fig. 9]. The top edges were rounded over using the Dremel and then a heat gun was used to add curvature to the pads, as well as seal the foam [Fig. 10&11].
Note: Whenever the Dremel is referenced in this Instructable, it's always the drum sander attachment.
For pad strapping, I used a 3" wide scrap of brown spandex - left over from my TMNT Mikey costume. A 3" PVC pipe was the stand in for my arm, so I could determine the necessary length [Fig. 12]. Once cut to length, the spandex was attached using hot glue, with the seam overlapping at the inside center [Fig. 13]. This method has plenty of grip - the pads never slipped or slid down while wearing.
Step 3: Capped PVC Tubes
Before starting on the Proton Pack, I knew I was going to need several capped PVC pipes for various cylindrical components. PVC cement was slathered onto the PVC bead board planking (remnants from a recent bathroom renovation) and the pipes pressed into the glue.
After the cement cured, the pipes were separated and excess planking trimmed off using the bandsaw. The cap was quickly flushed up using the oscillating belt sander.
Now ... onto the Proton Pack.
Step 4: Powercell & Injectors Fabrication
Construction began with a relatively basic part, so that I could familiarize myself with the layout and language of Stefan's plans. The plans are more like schematics and include all measurements in metric and imperial, so I won't get granular with that information.
This and the Ion Arm turned out to be the only solid parts because not only did it consume more material (foam & Barge), but it was also time consuming in regard to letting the contact cement dry. Stacking foam like this also results in more visible seams, which I prefer to avoid whenever possible.
The holes in the bottom panel were drilled with a 1 1/4" Forstner bit, which worked well on the dense floor mat foam. However, when it came to the 1/8" craft foam, Forstner bits grabbed and tore it up, so a razor knife was used.
The raised details was done with 1/2" wide strips of 1/8" craft foam. I used hot glue because it's faster than contact cement and easier to apply in small/narrow areas.
The Injectors are x" lengths of 1" capped PVC. A 5/16" centered hole was drilled through the cap for electrical wire, which will be added during final assembly.
Step 5: Ion Arm Fabrication
Apparently, I failed to take work in progress pics of the Ion Arm, but it's a very basic construction. It's a four layer lamination - two layers are 2 1/2" x 3 1/4" and two are 2 1/2" x 5 3/4" [Fig. 1]. A small rectangle is glued to the front face of the longer half. It has two socket head screws which are just for show, so I drilled holes, added hot glue, and pushed them into the foam [Fig. 2].
A hole is drilled on the top for a short 1/4" dowel and a hole on the bottom for a longer 1/4" dowel.
These two pictures are of the completed project, so you're seeing a glimpse into the future in regard to wires, knobs, and other details.
Step 6: Gearbox Fabrication
The gearbox was a combination of solid lamination and hollow construction. The front panel is a three layer lamination in order to achieve the proper angular look and elevation in regard to the center cylinder. As with the Powercell, raised details were done with 1/2" wide strips of 1/8" craft foam, attached with hot glue [Fig. 2].
The rotary crank assembly could easily be cut from foam and glued as a static piece, but I decided to make it turnable for whatever reason. The main body part was drawn onto 3/4" plywood, cut out at the bandsaw, and shaped using the 1" strip sander. The internal retention disc is a slice of a 1 1/4" dowel [Fig. 3]. The spinning knob is a 1" length of 3/4" dowel, tapered using the strip sander, and attached to the main body with a sheet metal screw, which was left loose enough so that the knob can freely spin [Fig. 5]. The connecting rod is a 1/4" dowel and the foam part was used to determine the necessary length [Fig. 6].
All of the external parts were stained black using leather dye [Fig. 7]. The 1/4" was fed through a hole in the front panel of the gearbox, retention ring pushed on from the inside, and a few drops of superglue added to lock it in place [Fig. 8].
Note: Internal piece of plywood provides support for future parts.
The knob can't be rigorously spun, but it adds some movable interaction to the pack nonetheless.
Step 7: Booster & EDA-Box Fabrication
I'm really not sure which component is the Booster and which is the EDA-Box, but this part gave me the most trouble. The depth on the plans would've made it stick out further than anything else on the Proton Pack, so I deviated a bit.
I started with the PVC parts - the first being a 11" long, capped 2" diameter pipe. The second being a 3 1/2" long 3/4" diameter pipe, which is capped on both ends. However, one end is cut at 45° [Fig. 2]. This unique cylinder gets merged with the corner of the foam box, so I traced it on the bottom of the foam assembly, made the cut with a razor knife, and cleaned up the edges with the Dremel [Fig 3]. It was adhered with contact cement, but I added hot glue on the inside for insurance [Fig. 4-6]
The foam box has angular sides, so the top edge of the front panel has to be beveled at 45°. This assembly is large enough to hold the large 2" cylinder with a bit of breathing room. The top of the box is the most involved because it's pierced by the 2" PVC and has to be notched around the 3/4" PVC. For the notch, I took a cautious approach - removing a smaller area than required and sneaking up on the fit with the Dremel. For the large hole, I realized I could trace a section of 2" PVC cut to 45°. The bulk of the material was removed with a razor knife and the Dremel to finesse the fit [Fig. 7&8].
I made a template for the back panel, because I knew I might need a few layers in order to achieve the proper depth on the pack. It ended up being a three layer lamination and I added two small foam strips onto the top layer to space the 2" pipe away from the back [Fig. 9].
Two 1 1/4" dowel slices were cut and glued to the front of the box for the button details [Fig. 10]
Step 8: Cyclotron & Spacer Fabrication
I took the time to make a template for the top of the Cyclotron, which includes center locations for the four holes, but it's just a 9" diameter disc. 1 1/8" strips of foam were cut and then glued to the bottom perimeter of the disc [Fig. 1]. The top edge was then rounded over using the Dremel [Fig. 2]. The disc for the bottom of the Cyclotron is 10" in diameter.
The spacer, which looks like a backwards 6, followed the same template, trace, excise from foam life cycle. 2 5/16"" strips of foam were cut and glued to the adhered to the bottom perimeter [Fig. 3].
Note: Since the perimeter is longer than my strips of foam, I positioned the seam at the bottom where it will later be covered. I also reinforced this splice with an overlapping piece of foam glued to the inside face.
When it came time to assemble, I traced each part's location onto the mating piece and used it for a reference when applying contact cement. Bamboo skews were employed to ensure proper alignment because once the contact cement meets, it's bonded - unless you want to tear out chunks of foam [Fig. 4].
The rings around the Cyclotron holes are 1/8" craft foam. The outside diameter was traced from a 2" PVC pipe and the inside was traced from a 1 1/4" Forstner bit [Fig. 5]. They were cut out with a razor knife, glued in place, and the inside hole cleaned up with the Dremel [Fig. 6].
Step 9: Bumper & Shock Mount Fabrication
The bumper was templated/traced/cut and the center hole drilled with a 1 1/4" Forstner bit [Fig. 1&2]. Later in the process, I end up adding a 1/4" wide strips of 1/8" craft foam to the edges as dictated by reference pictures -attached with hot glue.
The shock mount was a 1" capped PVC pipe, within which I then cut sequential, circumferential grooves. I made these cuts using a small parts crosscut sled on the table saw. A stop was clamped to the saw top, sled advance until hitting this stop, and the part slowly rotated until the groove was fully cut. I'd then retract the sled, move the stop block on the sled's fence for the next groove position, and repeat. A total of six grooves were cut [Fig. 3&4].
To finish the look, a center hole was drilled in the cap, 1" fender washer glued to the top, and a small sheet metal screw driven by hand [Fig. 5].
Step 10: Hydrogen Gas Actuator and N-Filter Fabrication
The HGA is a 1 7/8" length of 2" PVC. The four socket head screws are just for show, so I just hot glued them into their respective holes [Fig. 1]. The center screw is countersunk and I had to add a dowel to the inside for backing, so as not to totally blow through the PVC [Fig. 2]. I used this center hole and a longer screw to secure the part to the side of the gearbox (into the embedded plywood), but it could also be permanently glued in place.
The N-Filter is a 3 7/8" length of 2" PVC. Eight equidistant, circumferential holes were marked 5/8" from the capped edge and drilled using a 5/16" bit [Fig. 3&4]. This part is merged with the Cyclotron, so I traced around the pipe and carefully cut the foam with a razor knife [Fig. 5]. The pipe was put in place and traced again for the bottom flange, which was also removed [Fig. 6]. The Dremel was then used to smooth rough edges and perfect the fit.
Step 11: First Assembly and Painting
At this point, I needed a change of pace, so I glued all of the separate Proton Pack components to the Mother Board. A template was made for the Mother Board and it is just one layer of EVA foam. Since it's longer than a single floor mat, there is a seam, which I hid underneath the Cyclotron assembly. All of the free standing/solitary PVC parts were left unglued at this point, to make painting easier.
The PVC cylinders were first coated with Valspar Plastic Primer. Most were finished with two coats of satin black spray paint, but a few received a Metallic Silver finish [Fig. 4&5].
The "foam assembled" pack was then heat sealed and sprayed with two coats of Plasti Dip [Fig 6&7].
Step 12: PEX 90° Fittings, Hexagonal Stock, and Half Cylinder Fabrication
While the Plasti Dip dried on the pack, I fabricated smaller details.
PEX 90° Fittings
I scoped out brass elbow fittings at the home center, but they were too big and around $6 each. I opted instead to make my own from 1/4" PEX. Both ends of the tubing were cut to 45° using the miter saw, then they were cut to a length of 1 1/8" using the small crosscut sled on the table saw - rinse and repeat that cycle five times [Fig. 1]. Superglue on it's own wasn't strong enough for the joint, so I ended up inserted a 1/4" dowel into one end until it bottomed out, and then filling the other end with hot glue. These fittings were spray painted gray.
The easiest way to make hexagonal fittings was to mill it on the table saw. I have a lot of Poplar off cuts, so a strip was cut to 7/16" square and then the blade was tilted to 45° and the fence adjusted until the cut resulted in faces of equal width [Fig. 3]. Once the blank was done, I used the crosscut sled to cut my required lengths. These were spray painted copper.
The sides of the Ion Arm required two different sized half cylinders. I made full cylinders using the same PVC bead board and cement technique, and then cut them in half using a small sled on the bandsaw. These were spray painted black.
Step 13: Neutrino Wand Fabrication - Main Body
With the Proton Pack nearing the finish line, it was time to focus on the Neutrino Wand. The front and back pipes are offset from each other and I knew I wanted them to be connected for rigidity. After giving it some thought, I decided PVC tee fittings hidden in the main housing was a viable solution [Fig. 1].
I made a template for the main housing, traced out mirror images, and cut them out [Fig. 2&3]. These were glued to a bottom plate, so that I could dry fit the PVC assembly and determine how it would be secured. The PVC need to sit in a diagonal orientation and I didn't feel that contact cement would be enough, so I added 3/4" plywood for bracing [Fig. 4-6]. The bottom layer of plywood would also serve as a solid structure for an upcoming hanger.
A top plate was cut long and glued in place[Fig. 7], as well as a double layer back panel. The angular back panel had to be notched to fit around the PVC pipes and I decided to go with a friction fit, so that lights could be added at a later time [Fig. 8]. The PVC stub protruding from the back, is a capped 3/4" PVC coupler [Fig. 8]. Cheap toggle switches were glued into the angular panel, but they are only for show - fun to flick up and down, but no functionality [Fig. 9].
Step 14: Neutrino Wand Fabrication - Handle, Barrel, Grips, Bits & Bobs
The grips were another design struggle, but in time, I decided on 1" wide EVA strips for the base plate and 1" wide 1/8" craft foam for the sides [Fig. 1&2]. These are 5 1/2" in length and fused to the PVC with contact cement [Fig. 3]. Finger recesses were shaped using the Dremel [Fig. 4&5].
Measurement side note:
Back Handle Length [3/4" PVC Pipe]: 11" overall
Front Barrel Length [3/4" PVC Pipe]: 12" exposed (I didn't measure before glue up)
There are some ring details on the front barrel, so I used the 3/4" PVC to layout the rings and then sketched the shape before cutting the parts from foam [Fig. 6&7]. These sit on each end of the front grip, so I glued them all on at the same time [Fig. 8].
Strips of 1/8" craft foam were wrapped around the barrel and short sections of doweling adhered with contact cement to match reference pictures of buttons and knobs [Fig. 9].
Once I was happy with the overall look, I put it in the make shift spray booth and hit it with two coats of Plasti Dip [Fig. 10&11].
Step 15: Neutrino Wand Mount Bracket
From what I could tell from reference photos, the wand mount is basically a sliding dovetail, so I started by turning some aluminum flat stock into a dovetail using the bandsaw and 1" strip sander.
The second step was to trace this dovetail onto 1/2" plywood and carve out the pocket with a few chisels [Fig. 1-3].
The third step was to add aluminum side rails to hold the dovetail captive in the pocket. They are 1/2" wide x 2 1/2" long and secured to the plywood with superglue and two pan head screws [Fig 4&5].
The dovetail is attached to the Gun Mount Box with two long pan head screws with sprinkler hose as spacers [Fig. 6]. It's at this point I realize I have no work in progress photos of the Gun Mount Box. It is extremely similar to the Gearbox - a hollow foam box with 1/8" foam for the raised details and a lamination of embedded plywood (3/4" and 1/2"). In order to add rigidity to this side of the pack, I ran a 5" screw through the Gun Mount Box and into the Gearbox - it worked perfectly.
A slot had to be carved out for the pan head screws and this was accomplished with the drill press and a chisel [Fig. 7].
The mounting plate is attached to the bottom of the Neutrino Wand with one screw, so that the angle can be adjusted. The two front corners were radiused on the strip sander and it was spray painted black [Fig. 8&9]
Step 16: Final Assembly: Cylinders, Wires, Fittings, and Labels
Final assembly started with the Proton Pack:
1. PVC cylinders were glued in place with contact cement.
2. N-Filter glued in place and hot glue added to look like weld bead [Fig. 2].
3. HGA was attached with it's solitary screw [Fig. 3].
4. 1/4" dowels glued into the Ion Arm [Fig. 4].
5. Wooden hex fittings and PEX elbow fittings glued into their proper placement [Fig. 5&6].
6. Lengths of electrical wire glued in place based on reference photos [Fig. 7&8].
7. Gun mount dovetail screwed in place [Fig. 9].
8. A computer ribbon glued in place and a few zip ties added.
9. Braided cable sleeve connected from the Gearbox cylinder to the Cyclotron Spacer.
10. Braided cable sleeve glued into hole on Cyclotron Spacer [Fig. 10]
The Neutrino Wand followed a similar process:
1. Barrel glued in place [Fig. 10].
2. Back handle attached - left unglued for easier storage [Fig. 11].
3. PVC cylinders glued in place
4. Electrical wire glued in place.
5. Mounting plate screwed to the bottom [Fig. 12]
The last assembly step was connecting the Neutrino Wand to the Proton Pack via a length of braided cable sleeve [Fig. 13] ... then it was onto labels.
I found a few sources for downloadable labels, but went with the link below. I printed them out on a color laser printer, but them out with a razor knife, and attached them with contact cement, using multiple reference photos for placement [Fig. 14-18].
The Pack and Wand are predominately black, but a few dowels on the Wand were painted with acrylic paint to simulate lights. Silver Rub 'n' Buff was then used to add highlights and/or weathering to edges [Fig. 19]
Step 17: Cyclotron LED
Lights ... we need lights.
I wanted to light up the Cyclotron ... on a Budget. Before I glued it and the Spacer up, I removed discs in a stepped fashion, so that they could be replace with a friction fit.
It just so happens that Harbor Freight has an LED hazard light, which has a flashing red mode ... for $3.
The light was disassembled and a pocket traced/cut for the LED array [Fig. 1-3]. Two sides and a recess were cut in order to feed the battery pack and switch/circuit board through to the back [Fig. 4].
The battery pack was secured with hot glue and I added a strip of craft foam to help hold the batteries in place. Another piece of foam was added to cover the circuit board and the rubbed switch boot was adhered with superglue [Fig. 5].
This two tier or stepped plug is pushed in place and held with friction. The on/off switch is still accessible via the hole in the back of the Motherboard.
Step 18: Neutrino Wand EL Wire
I've had an EL Wire kit, which I won in an Instructables contest, at least two years. This seems like a good of time as any to put it to use.
The kit is a battery pack which splits off to five separate EL wire strands about 3 feet in length.
I started by fishing the white strand from the main housing, through the barrel, out a hole at the bottom of the barrel, and then wrapping it around the barrel. This was underwhelming, so I repeated the process with the orange strand [Fig. 1].
Since blue/green/pink strands remained, I decided to cut slots into the top of the Wand housing and just tuck them inside with the battery pack. The slots were made by first drilling holes and then removing the waste with a razor knife [Fig. 2&3]. The battery pack barely fits [Fig. 4] and I drilled an access hole in the side, so that I could access the on/off switch with my pinky [Fig. 5].
Step 19: Alice Pack Rack Fabrication - Round Stock Components
The Proton Pack is mounted on an Alice Pack Frame. They can be purchased for around $50, but I made mine out of PVC.
I started by bending the top angle on two lengths of 1/2" pipe. The pipe was softened with a heat gun and I set up a temporary form on the workbench - clamped plywood for a fence, can of WD-40 for the smooth radius, and my desired angle marked on masking tape [Fig. 1-3]. It's just a matter of softening the pipe, holding it against the fence, slowly bending it to shape, and then holding it in place while the PVC cools and re-solidifies.
Note: I wore a respirator and had an exhaust fan running.
With the angles bent, I cut the pipes to my desired length using a small parts crosscut sled on the table saw [Fig. 4]. Horizontal sections were also cut to x" lengths [Fig. 5]. For fittings, I used two 90° elbows and two tee fittings. The frame was dry assembled, orientations marked with a sharpie [Fig. 6], disassembled, and then final assembly was done with PVC cement.
PVC Pipe Lengths:
Step 20: Alice Pack Rack Fabrication - Flat Stock Components
For the flat components, I revisited the 1/4" PVC bead board planking [Fig .1]. Aluminum flat stock would be a suitable alternative because it's also easy to machine with woodworking tools.
The mid horizontal brace was cut to a width of 1" and left long. It was tacked in place with hot glue, so that it could be heated and bent around the 1/2" pipe for a perfect fit [Fig. 2&3]. Excess length was removed using the bandsaw and the edges cleaned up using the oscillating belt sander [Fig. 4]. It was attached with two rivets on each end.
The bottom horizontal brace was cut to a width of 1 1/2" and the bending process was repeated. I was able to use clamps instead of hot glue, which was helpful since the glue tended to melt ]Fig. 5&6]. Since the bandsaw left a lot of chatter, I opted to cut off the excess using the table saw [Fig. 7]. Shaping of this part was achieved using a combination of the table saw for the straight cut, oscillating multi-tool for the angled sides, and Dremel to smooth the ragged edges [Fig. 8-10]. The grommet holes were marked with an awl and drilled using a 1 1/4" Forstner bit [Fig. 11]. Since the rivets weren't long enough to surpass the inner wall of the tee fittings and I had already drilled holes, I glued short sections of a wooden down inside the pipe and then use pan head screws.
The vertical brace was cut to a width of 1 1/4", attached with a screw at the bottom, and then bent to match the curvature of the sides. The top was secured with a rivet, excess trimmed off using the bandsaw, and the edge cleaned up with the Dremel [Fig. 12-14]. The point where the vertical and horizontal braces intersect was fused with superglue.
For the small, angled, side brackets, I made a template. I held some graph paper in place and sketched until it looked right. The sketch was refined and transferred to poster board [Fig. 15]. Two pieces were cut (mirror imaged to hide the beads in the PVC) and shaped using the oscillating belt sander and 1" strip sander [Fig 15-18]. Holes were drilled using the drill press and I used the actual part to transfer hole locations to the 1/2" PVC pipe [Fig. 19]. The top end of the brackets were secured with rivets. The bottom end was fused to the horizontal brace with superglue.
Step 21: Alice Pack Frame to Proton Pack Connection
The Proton Pack and Alice Pack Frame are connected using two 5/16" bolts and T-nuts. One location is buried within the Cyclotron and the other is under the Gearbox.
The Cyclotron T-nut was embedded in a piece of 1/2" plywood and then glued inside the pack with contact cement [Fig. 1&2]. The Gearbox T-nut was hidden in a wooden dowel slice, capped with 1/8" foam, and painted black to blend in with the pack [Fig. 3].
I knew that no matter how long I fussed over measurements, if I just drilled two static holes in the Alice Pack Frame, the Proton Pack would end up being mounted too high or too low. The solution was to cut slots for adjustability. Start and stop holes were drilled with a 5/16" bit and the waste material removed with a utility knife. The key to cutting PVC board with a razor blade is multiple, light passes [Fig. 3&4].
The slots work great - just set your desired height and tighten the bolts.
The frame was finished with Valspar PVC Primer and then satin black spray paint [Fig. 6].
Step 22: Alice Pack Strapping
For the nylon strapping, I sacrificed a messenger style laptop bag. I prefer salvaging these parts because I have yet to find an adhesive that works well for nylon to nylon connections. Superglue just soaks in, hot glue peels off, and contact cement also lets go. I've tried my small sewing machine, but I just broke needles. With a bag like this, the buckles are already sewn in place, which saves time and expense.
I broke down the strapping as follows:
1. A long section of the messenger bag shoulder strap became the Alice Frame waist strap.
2. The remaining shoulder strap material became the upper sections of the Alice Frame shoulder straps.
3. The messenger bag flap clasps became the bottom sections of the Alice Frame shoulder straps.
The pads for the shoulder straps are just 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" rectangles of EVA foam, to which the nylon straps will adhere with contact cement.
Assembly is as follows:
1. Top end of the clasp section were glued to one end of the EVA foam pad [Fig. 2&3]
2. Waist strap and bottom end of the clasp sections were screwed to the PVC tee fitting with the internal wooden dowel [Fig. 4].
3. Top end of the shoulder straps were attached to the 1/2" PVC pipe with two rivets each [Fig. 5].
4. That top strap was then fed through the retention thingamabobs and the excess strapping secured to the EVA pad with 1" wide strips of industrial strength Velco [Fig. 6].
I wasn't sure the Velco was going to be strong enough to support the entire pack, but the finished assembly is only 8.7lbs, so it works just fine.
Step 23: The Keymaster of Gozer
The Warden agreed to be The Keymaster ... after flogging me for initially suggesting Slimer. She bought a pair of "nerd glasses" and assembled an equally nerdy clothing ensemble, but I pushed the idea of his stainer helmet. Surprisingly ... she agreed and even found a vintage “seven star” strainer on Ebay. It was assembled by the Warden 2 hours before a party, with minimal assistance. It's not screen accurate, but it makes the character instantly recognizable.
I was able to drill out the rivets securing the feet, but had to grind off the handle rivets with an angle grinder and abrasive disc. I then carefully hammered out the dents.
For the electrical posts/connectors I used short sections of sprinkler hose, which were attached with small sheet metal screws from inside the strainer.
The rubber chin strap was attached by just feeding the elastic band through two opposing handle holes and double knotted.
The wiring is just scrap electrical wire I had in the basement - some left straight and some wound around a pen in order to achieve the coiled look. All wires were pushed into the open end of the sprinkler hose, preceded by a dab of hot glue.
In order to add more detail and fill empty space, small capacitors from a salvaged computer motherboard were hot glued to the strainer.
Step 24: Ghostbusters Sign Fabrication
The night before Trick 'r' Treat, I decided I needed a sign to up my costume presentation game. I then decided it should be fabricated in layers for a 3 dimensional look.
Layer 1: A 22" square was measured and cut [Fig. 1].
Layer 2: I used a beam compass to draw a 21 1/2" diameter circle and then a 11 1/2" diameter circle. A 2" wide strip was then drawn through the center. This was cut out and the internal parts retained for the ghost's body, which was shaped and beveled with the Dremel [Fig. 2].
Layer 3: Top section is the ghost's head and right arm. Bottom section is the left hand. The two layers which comprised the ghost were laminated with contact cement. They were shaped and beveled with the Dremel [Fig. 3-6].
Note: I tried to draw these parts freehand, but I'm terrible when it comes to drawing. I ended up using Excel to enlarge the image, so that I could trace it onto the foam.
All of the parts were heat sealed and then two coats of Plasti Dip applied. Each part was painted it's respective color and once cured, the layers were assembled with contact cement [Fig. 7-11].
The face and hand details were cut with the Dremel and sanding drum and then painted with black acrylic latex [Fig. 12].
The sign post was just a standard 2x4, which I painted black and drilled a hole towards the top to accept a 1" PVC pipe. The sign was hung using zip ties.
Step 25: Glamour Shots
The clothing items are as follows:
Khaki Dickie coveralls: $40 on Amazon
White double grommet hole belt: $7 on Amazon
Screen Accurate 4" Ghostbusters-No Ghosts Embroidered Patch: $6 on Amazon
The name tag is 1/8" craft foam - spray painted white and then my name spray painted red with a stencil
Link to my Amazon Costuming List
Overall, I'm very pleased with the end result and since I left internal voids accessible, I can always add more advanced lights and/or sound.
As mentioned early on, the entire Proton Pack/Neutrino Wand assembly weights 8.7LBS. Hitting it on door frames or low staircases was my only issue.
It turns out there is a local Non-profit group called Massachusetts Ghostbusters, so I could possibly put more miles on this costume. Since I have templates, I could always make more packs.
Step 26: Trick 'r' Treat Night
Trick 'r' Treat setup was quick this year since I just had to screw the sign post to the retaining wall and get into costume. Once the sun set, the Proton Pack LED and EL wire in the Neutrino Wand were clearly visible.
As kids rounded the corner to the street, could hear them exclaim "Ghostbusters!!!" More often than not, that was immediately followed by them singing the synthesizer melody from the theme song.
Some kids wanted their picture taken with us, but more adults asked this year for sure.
It was a bit dreary outside, but it was 70 degrees, so some kids were out. We saw around 50-60 and just about depleted the 16qt stock pot of candy.
Step 27: Videos
First Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2019