Intro: Home Made Ghostbusters Proton Pack
*UPDATE* SINCE UPLOADING MY INSTRUCTABLE IVE MADE SOME IMPROVEMENTS TO MY PACK, SEE FINAL STAGE FOR IMAGES AND DESCRIPTION.
Hi , here are the steps to how I created my own ghostbusters proton pack, it's not completely screen accurate but close enough that people wouldn't really notice , some parts I purchased offline but most were items I found around the house, this all depends how accurate you want your pack to be! as a kid I always wanted a proton pack so one day I thought "screw it I'm making one", now it's your turn!
Step 1: Materials Required!
below is a list of materials I used to complete my ghostbusters proton pack, obviously some of the things I used could be substituted for anything you find that resembles the parts required! These are just what I had at hand whilst making my pack.
Hot glue gun and glue sticks (or any kind of glue , this is just the easiest and probably holds best)
Thick cardboard / plywood (I used very thick cardboard that was used to top pallets where I work)
Kingspan wall insulation ( this I acquired from a friend who works on a building site ) I used 2 different thicknesses.
5 mm EVA foam (camping mat from pound shop)
Various length pieces of cable
Plastic tubing ( I used one from an old air bed pump I had in the shed)
Empty berroca tubes
Plastic bottle lids
Spray paint (various colours)
Long plastic tube
As I go along I will tell you where exactly I used each part. It sounds like a lot but you will be suprised what you can find around the house when you look!
Step 2: Back Board
This is the cardboard I used as the backboard, I found a picture of a proton pack online and did a rough sketch of the shape onto the back board, I simply held the board to my back and asked if it was the correct scale before moving on, luckily I managed to get the size very close pretty much straight away ( may have something to do with the fact I've seen ghostbusters about 6 million times : ) )
Step 3: Cutting Out Main Body of the Pack
once I had a rough idea of the size I traced the shape onto a piece of A3 paper , I then used this as a template and drew the shape onto a sheet of kingspan wall insulation I'm not sure the exact thickness but I think it was about an inch thick, I cut the shape out twice and glued them together to achieve the correct thickness for the main body , I then cut 2 different size circular shapes out of the board to add the body, see picture above for reference!
Step 4: Covering Body With EVA Foam
again this step isn't essential , the reason I decided to cover the body in the foam was to keep a nice smooth texture, the kingspan insulation is often very rough and wouldn't look great unless sanded smooth or covered.
I also added the squares around the bottom of the main body to give the effect shown on the packs in the film.
I then cut various blocks out of the thickest kingspan to use as the electrical boxes, this took time as I had to keep smoothing the edges and making slight adjustments until I was happy with the sizes I had created ,
i didn't need to cover these block as I used the flags in the back garden the sand them smooth,
I then cut strips of the foam and glued them to blocks to create the same look found on the movie packs ,
I used an old poster tube I had as required, see pics for reference !
Step 5: Adding Details and Cutting Out Back Board.
after I was satisfied I had all the electrical boxes made I then laid them out on the back board and made any adjustments I had to before cutting the shape of the back board out ,
I used an empty berroca tube for the clipards ( simply take the lid off turn it upside down and glue it in place , you have a clipard ! )
I also used bottle lids as the little buttons on the pack, after glueing everything in place onto the back board I then added the plastic tubing (old foot pump for an air bed) to the front of the pack.
See pics for reference...
Step 6: First Paint Job.
after I was satisfied with everything this far and I had the backboard cut out and glued In place I sealed the pack using PVA glue, this has to be done otherwise the foam will simply soak up the paint and will not dry properly and probably won't cover the foam,
I then gave the pack its first spray job, this is when the pack really began to come to life , I used car spray paint I found in the pound shop , I bought a few cans just to be sure as they run out pretty quick!
The cylinder shape in the top right corner was an empty vitamins tub I had from Holland and Barrett, this was one of the smaller tubs, the one at the bottom on the cyclotron was also a vitamin tub but one of the larger ones you can get!
Step 7: Few Little Details.
i then added a few details to the pack including the plastic piping to the side box , this I purchased from BNQ it was about £2.50 for 4 metres so it wasn't expensive , I also cut four rings out from the EVA foam and used them for the cyclotron, again I made sure this was all glued in place before moving onto the next step.
Step 8: Adding Alice Frame / Back Pack Straps
this is where I got the the point where I had to start looking else where for the parts I needed,
I went online and found an army store selling the Alice frame the same as the one used in the movie, it cost me £25, In the past I have simply glued straps from an old backpack onto the main backboard of the pack this worked fine but this time I wanted to get it a bit more screen accurate!
I used strips of strong fabric and glued them on either side of the frame to hold it tight to the backboard.
I then cut out a clear red document folder I found at work into the circular shapes for the cyclotron, this also gave the pack more life!
The bumper I made from the EVA foam and used a hose pipe connector as the shock mount! Remember to seal the foam before painting!
Step 9: Adding Labels and Wires.
once I had the Alice frame on it was time to add the labels to the pack,
I googled "ghostbusters proton pack warning labels" and a link came up to the GB fans website ,
on there I found a document with all the required labels on, I printed the labels on a colour printer and used thick sellotape on both sides to create a laminated look,
I then cut them out and glued them into the correct places using google images as a reference.
Then added the red wires where necessary , I found the wire in maplins electrical store but found it was too thin so eventually used a thicker wire that I spray painted red and blue.
Step 10: Making the Thrower.
the thrower is probably the weakest part of the pack as I found it quite frustrating to get the size right ,
I used the thick kingspan and cut the correct shape out, I then covered it in the foam as I did with the pack,
I added the plastic tubing to both sides of the thrower for the handles, and added a few little details including the clipard ( berroca tube!),
I then sealed the foam , sprayed it black and labelled it up correctly, I struggled to find hand grips for the thrower so ended up using the handles off a few old tape guns I had at work, they actually looked quite good once cut into shape and glued to the handles ( sorry this is vague but as I said I kind of just made this up as I went along and hoped for the best! )
Step 11: Connecting the Thrower to the Pack.
once I had the thrower built it was time to connect it to the pack, I cut a circular shape out of the foam on the correct point of the pack , I used an empty plastic drinks bottle ( regular pop / soda bottle depending on where your from!) and cut the bottle at the neck, I then tucked the edges of the bottle under the foam and glued it in place leaving the funnel end sticking out,
After glueing the plastic tubing ( old air bed foot pump tube ) to the handle of the thrower I then cut a hole in the lid of the pop bottle and fed the tube through about half an inch then glued it in place, I could then screw the lid to the funnel end stick out of the pack , this created a sturdy connection , hopefully the images above will make more sence than me trying to explain it !
I then used the clip off the back of a tape measure as the hook and created a base on the pack for it to hook on to.
Step 12: Touch Ups and Final Details.
so now you have your pack complete with thrower! Once I had the two connected I used a black touch up paint just to go over any little scratches I found along the way, I am yet to wear my pack with full ghostbusters outfit but it's proudly sitting in my room awaiting the day I get to finally wear it! I also purchased a light kit from eBay which I then fitted but this was personal preference and is no essential, I purchased the Ribon cable from Benofkent props who also sells complete pack kits ,they are a very polite and reliable seller who I would highly recommend.
Step 13: Final Images!
So that's it for my proton pack build, it took me around 3 months building as and when I had time between work and family life! I still make little adjustments all the time , I am very proud how my pack turned out and I hope I helped in anyway guide you towards making your own childhood dream come true! I am not an experienced prop maker by any means I just used my love of ghostbusters and patience as my guide! Good luck !
Step 14: Updates and Improvements.
As I stated above I have made several improvements to my pack since I uploaded the tutorial,
Bumper: my old bumper was made from foam but it was too floppy to hold up the shock mount so I made a new one from a plastic ruler, I cut it accordingly and heated it so I could bend It to the correct shape.
Power unit: I never had one before as u can see on the original pics, it was just annoying me that it was missing so a bit of pvc pipe did the trick.
Brass (look) fittings: I looked for these online but they were very expensive so I ended up making my own from plastimate (moldable plastic) they actually add a lot to the pack for such a small touch.
Cyclotron: I actually remade the whole cyclotron, I wasn't happy with how it looked before or how unsteady the led fittings inside it were, I ended up using a plastic chocolates tub and individual sections of an egg carton to hold the leds sturdier, it worked well and looks and feels much better.
Thrower: as I said in the original tutorial I was unhappy with the thrower, I remade it from very thick card board, I also added lights to it, I used Christmas lights and added my own switch to make it easier.
My pack now also has sound, I made the thrower so I could mount an ipod shuffle onto it, I ran an audio jack lead through the thrower down the pipe and into a speaker which is fitted inside the n filter on the pack, it works great and hearing that start up sound never gets old!
Thanks for checking out my updates, I'll keep updating as I make improvements to my pack.