Introduction: 2016 Ghostbusters Proton Pack REBOOT
For Halloween 2016 I decided I wanted to be a Holtzmann inspired Ghostbuster. This endeavor obviously required my own proton pack. Now, there is TONS of information out there for building the original Proton Pack,even here on Instructables, but it took a long time to accumulate the information needed to build the Reboot Pack. So, I'd figure I would share my build process as my first Instructable.
Disclaimer:THIS PACK IS NOT ENTIRELY SCREEN ACCURATE. It is missing several pieces, and I took creative liberties with it due to time restraints and lack of certain materials. But with the same techniques, you should be able to build your own pack to the level of screen accuracy you desire.
I also did not record all of my steps. I wish I had, but I did have to work quickly on this build in order to finish in time for a Costume Contest (which I won, by the way!) I hope to return to this build and modify/rebuild for a more screen accurate prop.
I hope this Instructable helps anybody looking for Reboot Pack references. There is a lot of information available on GBFans forums as well.
Step 1: Materials
The boxes on the actual Pack are Hammond Project boxes. It was difficult to find plastic versions of the ones used in the film, and they can be expensive, so I decided to use FoamCore posterboard to construct my boxes and the actual frame of the pack.
Here's a list of my tools and materials:
3 sheets FoamCore posterboard - about $1.77 at my local Walmart
Military surplus A.L.I.C.E backpack frame - I was lucky enough to be able to find one in a local antique store for $25
1/2" PVC pipe - about 5 ft
1" PVC pipe - about 2 ft
1 1/2 " PVC pipe - about 3 ft
11-12" Mesh Colander - I found mine at Ross for $8, but you can easily find one on Amazon
Small styrofoam balls - I used 1" ones from an assortment pack I found on clearance at Walmart
Craft box or ammo box, about 12" wide - I used an ammo box from Walmart for about $5
Flat round thumb tacks
1/2" to 3/8" braided toilet connector
1/2" to 3/8" compressor shut off kit (valve) - $6 at Harbor Freight
Any pressure gauge - I had one from an old tire pressure gauge
Thin craft foam
Zip ties- Large and small
Mesh splatter screen - I found mine at Dollar Tree
1/2" split wire loom roll - About $3 at Harbor Freight
Small electrical box
Small bag of assorted twist-on wire connectors
Dollar Store flash light (optional)
Assorted nuts, bolts, and screws
Metallic silver spray paint
Flat black spray paint
Hammered copper spray paint
Black acrylic paint
Black electrical tape
Miscellaneous wire - I took apart an old car fan
Miscellaneous buttons, switches, bottle caps, etc. - for embellishment
Print out Decals
Hot glue gun - Low temp
Box knife - make sure you have lots of replacement blades or a sharpener
Self-healing cutting mat
Mask or ventilator for spray painting
Step 2: The Base
The base of the actual Proton Pack is a sheet of aluminum with several holes and slots in it that has a curved bend in it to hold the contents of the pack. My base was a bit simpler. It is made from foam core.
The reference photos given by the director (thanks, Paul!) indicate that the frame is 21" tall, a foot wide, and 5 3/4" deep. To give myself some wiggle room, I cut the large back piece at 22" long and 13" wide. This accommodated the width of my ammo box. I then cut a bottom piece at 13" wide and 6" deep. I attached these 2 pieces with hot glue. I then worried about the strength of the bottom giving out, so I purchased a set of 2 L brackets from Home depot and attached them on either side of the base. This beefed it up enough to where I felt secure about it holding the weight.
Step 3: The Cyrogen Reservior... or the Box!
I found an ammo box similar in shape and feature to my reference photos. To add the rivets, I used a box of flat thumbtacks. The plastic of the box was pretty thick, so I first used a small nail to puncture hole every inch or so where I had marked in the lid. I made the measurements based on the reference photo and just however I thought looked best since my box was not the perfect shape. I then used a hammer to (gently) drive in the thumb tacks. I then gave the whole thing a coat of flat black spray paint.
On the sides of the box are some mesh lined panels that hold the black and yellow rod in place. Behind the mesh of these panels are some spherical-looking objects, dubbed "Ghost balls" by Indy Mogul host Eric Beck, who has a great video on YouTube for this build.
I found a reference for the measurements of these panels, and cut them out of foam core poster board. I spray painted them black, then hot glued wire mesh that I cut out from a Dollar-Store cooking splash guard. WARNING: be careful when cutting the mesh if you use the same kind as I did. It got everywhere. I had to use tweezers to pick tiny shards of metal wire out of the carpet. It wasn't fun.
These seemed flimsy and a little sloppy when all was said and done, so I might try another way of making these panels in the future.
For the Ghost balls, I cut my styrofoam balls in half and spray painted them silver. I then hot glued them to the sides of my tackle box. I was only able to use 2 halves per side.
I had to add some scrap pieces of foam core on one side because the tackle box had a clasp that stuck out. In the future I will probably cut the clasp off with a Dremel tool, but I didn't have access to one at the time, so I just stuck a few pieces here and there to extend the mesh panel out a bit. Once it was painted, it was hardly noticeable (except to me.)
For the pipe above the box, I used a length of 1/2" PVC pipe painted flat black. I wish I had had the time to do a nicer paint job on this, but since I had a deadline, I just used a piece of reflective ribbon to achieve the black and yellow hazard tape look.
Step 4: The Cyclotron
The crown jewel to the proton pack is of course the round, colander-like center piece.
For mine, I found an 11" metal colander at Ross for $7.99. I was extremely excited (see my expression), because it was identical to the one I was eyeing on Amazon but had failed to order in enough time to not pay 10 billion dollars for expedited shipping to receive it before my contest.
I intended to create a front piece for this, but I didn't and it ended up looking fine with the copper tubing in front of it. The only fan-produced screen accurate front pieces I've seen have been 3D printed. I took a crack at it with a piece of foam core and some small dowels, but I didn't like it so I didn't end up using it.
Because the outside of the colander wasn't getting any primping, I added some elements underneath for more detail. I used the backside of a dismantled battery operated fan and attached that to the foam core base with hot glue in the center of where I intended to place the colander.
Around the inside of the colander, I attached 4 strips in a cross formation of black card stock. I then hot glued in some red wire around the inside. I also spray painted half of my wire loom roll with the hammered copper, and coiled that on the inside.
I'm sorry for not taking photos of this process. I was kind of making it up as I went. I would like to add red LED's and ribbon wire on the inside in the future.
I attached the colander to the base with hot glue. This held up ok for the contest, but is starting to detach now. I will find a better way to attach it if I decide to use this pack for a convention.
Step 5: The Boxes
This was definitely the most tedious, but most rewarding part of this build.
The actual boxes used in the films are called Hammond Project boxes. They are made of aluminum and are expensive, and also pretty difficult to modify, as some are on the pack. I don't have experience working with aluminum and I don't have money coming out of my ears. SO, I made my boxes from foam core and hot glue.
I found some measurements on the net, but I also just eyed a majority of it to fit on my pack. The cool thing is, hot glue looks a lot like welding when you spray paint it, and once I hit these with a little bit of weathering and some small details, they looked great.
I didn't take a ton of photos of the process, but it was very "learn as-you-go." I traced, cut, and used a lot of duplicate measurements to make it easier.
-Use a SHARP blade to cut the foam core. The foam dulls your blade pretty quickly, and if you aren't using a sharp blade, the foam on the inside of the board starts to tear, and looks pretty bad. I bought a box knife set for $.89 at Harbor Freight and some replacement blades for about 2 bucks. Worked great.
- Sand the edges for rounded corners.
-Add screws for a realistic feel.
For the long box, the PVC pipe runs through the entire box for added strength where the copper colored pipe is attached.
Step 6: The Copper Tubing
This step literally happened RIGHT before the contest. Like, within 30 minutes of my leaving the house.
I cut down the pieces of 1/2" PVC pipe to measurements that I just eyeballed. I then painted them with hammered copper spray paint and once they were dry, hit them with a light dusting of black to make them look older and more weathered. The copper paint was slower to dry, so I was standing in the bathroom with my hair dryer on these suckers trying to speed up the process.
I attached them to the base with hot glue to the base and attached the one portion to the top left box as seen in the previous step's photos.
Step 7: The Odds and Ends
These are the various pieces that add a lot to the pack but don't really need their own step.
For the small electrical box with miscellaneous wires, I salvaged some wire from the battery operated fan and cut it into small segments. I then used wire nuts to attach them front and back in the holes of the outlet box that I had painted flat black.
For the valve, the most difficult part was mounting it. I made a small L shaped piece from foam core and use a couple 1/2" PVC elbow joints fixed together with some scrap PVC to create a mount on the base. This was pretty flimsy, so I'm going to have to think of an alternative solution, but it worked for the time being. This valve attaches to the toilet connector, which I glued down at the bottom near the box and side panels. I had to zip tie the valve to the little platform, which I didn't like the look of but couldn't really help because it was so flimsy. The wire loom for the gun is hot glued into the top of the valve. In the future I would like to find a way to make this detachable for easier portability/storage. (Maybe magnets?)
For The pressure gauge, I used a tire pressure gauge I already had. The little air nozzle part was detachable. To get a more screen accurate look, I cut small pieces of craft foam and glued them around the gauge to look like the rubber cover on the gauge used in the film. I then taped off the face and spray painted it black.
I attached all these to the box and/or the back base with hot glue. I used a metal flashlight handle to fill in the empty space. On the film pack, there is an additional Hammond box, but I didn't have room for that on my pack.
Step 8: The Gun!
The gun was the part I stressed out about the most. I eventually got to a point though where I was just like, "I'm gonna wing it," and then it turned out better than I thought it would.
I essentially created a big, base box shape, and then modified it to make it look more unique. I cut out a chunk in the top and made it cave inward for more dimension. I added a slanted box at the top for a control panel. I even glued on the pieces of the box that my thumb tacks came in. I added a bottle cap for a knob, a PVC end cap from my scrap pile and miscellaneous screws.
I printed warning labels and other symbols from an original proton pack reference (cheaters sometimes win.)
I ran two different widths of PVC pipe through the box on opposite sides for the handle and barrel. Both got a layer of black electrical tape for "grip."
On the handle end, I used a switch I ripped off of a dollar store flashlight. It had a red button and a switch, so it looked great.
On the barrel end, I used a scrap of 1" PVC and glued it into the 2" barrel. I wanted to drill holed in the pipe, but didn't have the proper tools so I just sharpied some cuts in instead! Ingenuity, people. It looks great from a distance.
For the cable, I used the rest of the wire loom lightly spray painted silver. I coiled some leftover wire from the fan around it and attached that with small zip ties. This was glued into a scrap piece of 1/2" PVC which was covered with black electrical tape and then glued snugly into the 1" handle. The end of this cable attached to the valve as mentioned in the previous step.
Overall, I was very pleased with the end result.
Step 9: BONUS! Holtzmann's Glasses
I loved Holtzmann, so I wanted a sweet pair of specs like hers.
I scoured the internet and eventually landed in Etsy, where I found great pair of vintage safety glasses. They had the rounded ear pieces, mesh side walls and the outward hinge so they can hang off your ear. I was pumped!
To make the lenses yellow, I found transparent headlight repair tape at an auto store. THIS BRAND IS NOT AS CLEAR AS I'D LIKE IT TO BE, but it worked for the time being.
At first, I cut a pice, stuck it on the lens, traced it, stuck it on my cutting mat, cut it, then stuck it on the outside of the lens. This process sucked and did not give me the desire effect. So I then cut out a paper template of the lens and then traced that image directly onto the roll of tape. I carefully cut this out and then applied to the INSIDE of the lens. This process was much better, but since the lenses were concave, I had to make slits to the center of the lens where air bubbles were getting trapped. This released some air and got rid of most of the wrinkles.
In the end, I wasn't completely happy with the end result, but it was mostly due to the brand of tape I used. And it's no trouble at all to change since the tape peels right off. I'll look for some more transparent tape in the future.
Step 10: Finito!
I had so much fun creating this prop. It took a lot of time, energy, and money, but the process was so rewarding. I ran into so many snags and setbacks, but having to use my brain and creative ability was awesome and more fun than I can really describe! Plus, I learned a hack of a lot along the way. People loved this prop and I got a TON of compliments and people wanting photos of it.
Like I said, there is SO much I want to improve on with this pack that I'll probably end up tearing the whole thing apart and putting it back together again.
I hope this helps someone out on their journey towards being a Ghostbuster. If not, It just feels good to share the process.
"Who ya gonna call?"