Introduction: Luigi's Mansion 3: Poltergust G-OO (from a Real Vacuum!)

About: Make it so.

Howdy y'all,

Another video game build and a familiar one, built in an unconventional way; Luigi's Poltergust G-OO from Luigi's Mansion 3, made with a real vacuum!

The idea came to me when the game was on my mind and I stumbled across an unwanted vacuum laying on the sidewalk on my way to work (a common sight in London) and in that moment I saved it from a trip to the landfill and planned out how to convert it.

Every vacuum is different and so there is no definitive way to do this; this Instructable is to show off ideas and techniques to adapt to any vacuum. The cool thing about that is every creation is completely unique and my hope is to see all kinds of variations and creative solutions to other Poltergusts!


  • Vacuum of choice
  • Various Spray Paints
  • Acrylic Tubes
  • LED Strip
  • Acrylic cement, Superglue
  • Fish tank silicone
  • Soldering Iron (optional)
  • Hair gel (no, seriously)
  • Dremel

Step 1: Discovery + Disassembly

The vacuum I'm working with is a bag-less cylinder, the style that inspired the in-game poltergust. It's a generic brand and comes apart with Philips screws. All that's inside is the motor, a filter, a switch and a plug, all of which can be discarded (this cuts out 90% of the weight) Put the screws and springs in a container for later.

Once disassembled, categorise each part, clean and sand up to 600 grit (fine grit) ready for paint; you can skip sanding and painting if your vacuum is already red!

Note: Regardless of where you source your vacuum, after disassembly it is vital you clean all surfaces with warm soapy water! Vacuums suck up all kinds of stuff!

Step 2: Painting

When your parts are clean, apply paint primer to the surfaces. Most vacuums parts are made from ABS and take primer and paint well; you can identify this by inspecting each part and finding a number '7'. Other materials have different numbers (eg. Polypropylene is '5') so it's important to check as different plastics take paint differently.

When your primer has set, apply the respective colours to each part. It's handy to keep source references to identify the right shade of colour and where the colour should go. I opted for top half red and bottom half black. Finish off with a top lacquer coat.

Step 3: Modifying + Adapting the Original Container

Here's a unique problem with my vacuum: My container has a port where the nozzle goes; I don't want that, it needs to be plugged to look right. Most ports are located elsewhere on a vacuum. This is a prime example of how different vacuums have their own pros and cons, and the ability to overcome these obstacles will come into play.

My solution was to cut a round piece of acrylic, heat bend it and cement it into the container. It looks clean and the cement fuses the two plastics together which makes it water tight, however an additional application of silicone will be applied later.

The cylinder is two sections: an open internal section and a closed external section. The inner section houses the LED's and the outer will hold the hair gel. I cemented a 100mm acrylic tube to the handle and cut a ring that sits on the end. When this modified handle inserts into the container, the two halves become apparent.

Step 4: LED Strip + Installation

It's important to get the goo right. It draws the most attention and makes it recognisable as the poltergust. The best thing about the goo itself is it glows with life; using LEDs is a must.

For my purposes, I'm using a 2 meter, battery powered, multi-colour strip with a built in controller. LED strips come in all shapes and sizes and it's well worth looking into what suits your poltergust.

Wrapping the LED strip around a pipe is the best way to compact your strip. I used a 50mm acrylic tube that friction fits into the handle. LED strips come with an adhesive backing for easy mounting so peel off the adhesive and wrap around the tube.

Place the power pack where it is easily accessible. I opened up a slot in the exhaust for easy battery access.

An immersive interaction you can add is using the original vacuum switch as your on/off, instead of the battery pack switch. De-solder the original switch and run it through to the vacuum switch.

To diffuse the LEDs, a sheet of tracing paper cut to size wraps inside the container. All of these factors added up results in an effective glow.

Step 5: Wheels and Straps

I chose a simpler route for the wheels. The source material wheels have slots in them with green glowing out, however I didn't want to implement another light source (meaning another switch and battery source) so I kept it simple. I added a metallic effect by rubbing graphite into the middle of the wheels; this can be achieved with paint too.

For straps I recommend 2 identical belts, one for each arm. I bought mine for £3 each. Approximate the placement and rivet the straps into the base of the vacuum. I did 3 rivets for each strap.

If the straps are too big drill 4mm diameter holes into the belt and tighten until you get the right fit. I added 2 extra holes (one tight and 1 loose) for bigger and smaller people.

Step 6: A Change in Design

The previous placement of the cylinder had the old opening, screw posts and the text 'max' right in the middle and it bothered me enough to change it. I had a feeling with some minor modifications I could rotate the cylinder 180 degrees and sure enough, it fit almost perfectly.

I chewed away some excess material in the receiver to fit the hinge. I also chewed away some slots in the handle so it could slide over the container slots. Lastly I chopped off the cylinder screw posts.

When assembled it looks like it was always meant to be this orientation and looks much better. At this stage I cemented and applied fish tank silicone to all joints for a true watertight seal.

Step 7: Gel

The container is sealed, it's time to add goo!

My choice of goo is hair gel: it's cheap, it diffuses light well, the air pockets make it look interesting and the viscosity is ideal; it flows when pressure is applied but stays in place when left so it doesn't slosh around.

Note: Regardless of what liquid you use, this can get quite heavy. 1 litre of water is 1 Kg and I used about 500 grams. This is one reason why I spaced the container out into two sections.

The goo goes on the outside container and needs access. A 6mm hole is sufficient. A large 100ml syringe is ideal. Scoop hair gel into the opening of the syringe and start filling it up! An alternative to a syringe is using the pot itself and a soap bottle tube and squeeze it in.

Fill it up as far as you want to go and plug with a plastic tube the same diameter as the hole you drilled.

Step 8: Hose Connector

Another obstacle for my specific vacuum is the hose connector. My connector went straight to the cylinder but I plugged mine and rotated it for aesthetic reasons. The one in-game comes out to the right arm when Luigi wears it.

Source a PVC tube that fits your nozzle snug and route a hole in the side of your vacuum to fit the tube. In my case I had to chew away some excess material inside the vacuum. Once it fits check that the vacuum parts still close properly, then cut off the tube excess and cut the connector shape. (I used a Dremel for all cutting and routing in this step.)

When the shape is right, apply metallic paint and lacquer. Fit into the hole checking the orientation, scrape off paint on the inside to help the glue stick and apply epoxy glue.

Step 9: Flashlight + Electronics

I wanted my flashlight to connect to my nozzle handle and be removable, so my handle was based off the diameter of the nozzle. I found a PVC tube that fits on the nozzle handle with friction.

Glue a plastic hemisphere to the tube. I added a chamfer on the inside of the tube first for more surface area between the tube and hemisphere. I used an EMA hemisphere, an acrylic bauble or anything similar will have the same effect.

Repeat the same paint job as the hose connector. For the black detail I masked 2 strips after the black was applied and before the silver.

To make the diffuser, cut an acrylic disc that fits in the hemisphere and lightly sand one face to 'frost' it; this helps diffuse the light.

To fit the electronics in, I routed a small slot with a Dremel in the hemisphere for the bulb and a slot in the tube for the switch. I pulled all the wires through the switch opening to solder.

The schematic for the flashlight is a simple circuit: Bulb, Switch and 9V as seen in the diagram. I used the switch I saved from the LED battery box, a small Halogen DC bulb and a 9V connector. When connected, the 9V shoves up the tube and the nozzle slides in. That's it!

Step 10: Complete

One vacuum later, we have a poltergust! Now I just need a Luigi costume to go with it and do a proper photo shoot.

By far my favourite feature is the power switch. It's so satisfying to boot up the LED's by slamming the power button. Makes for a great mood light or night light :) The flashlight looks great and really illuminates in the dark. It weighs less than 1Kg and fits snug when I wear it.

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