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Project: ProtonPack (On Hiatus til 10/1)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Pete_Venkman, 20 Jul 2005.

  1. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    First post, first mod!

    I'm constantly looking at these forums (i.e. Bit-Tech, HardOCP)...in awe of the things that people pour time, money, and ultimately a computer into. It's incredible how talented some of you people are...and creative! I've always wanted to build my own PC from a pile of scrape materials into something recognizable as NOT A COMPUTER. The best of the modders always have good themes...Gnome, Crimson Sky, ZapWizard, Mashie, etc.

    Looking at these works of art, I NEED TO MOD!!! My initial idea the other day was to build a bomb like the one built by the kid in 'The Manhattan Project'...one of my childhood fav's. After finally tracking the movie down after visiting five different rental and movie stores in the area, I realize that that particular bomb casing will not only be too narrow in diameter, but I won't be able to fill it with enough stuff to make it look right. I continued to brainstorm :wallbash: about other objects from some of my favorite movies. There HAS to be something from a movie that I like, that hasn't been made into a PC yet. There HAS to be. So what else is there? Think about good movies! For some reason I have Caddyshack stuck in my head...wtf? A golf bag pc? dumb! What else has Bill Murray been in? He's funny. Ghostbusters? GREAT MOVIE...but what could I use from tha...

    A PROTON PACK!! EUREKA!!

    Holy hell! I remember when Ghostbusters first came out, I was obsessed with it! I had the plastic kid's Proton Pack toy with the Particle Thrower and the flimsy foam 'particle stream'. There was even a short time that I insisted on people calling me "Peter" (hey, I was in Kindergarten). What a perfect idea! Plus it will make my pc uber-portable for LANs! Damn! I've seen plenty of computer mods and been to dozens of sites, no way someone's done this before!

    So cue the research montage! Apparently there's a whole society of nerds that build prop Proton Packs from anything they can find (sound familiar?). There are tons of sites on the internet about these people that dress up and visit places with all their ghostbusting gear. And many of them are kind enough to provide detailed drawings and specs of the things they have built. From Proton Packs to ghost traps to the goggles that Ray wore in both films. Perfect! I perused several sites and chose three sets of plans that seemed detailed enough for my needs. There are even people that provide the original prop pieces that the studio used to build the packs in the first place. What luck!

    So with a memory stick full of plans, pics and links...and a stop at the office supply store to snatch up some posterboard and foamcore I begin! :dremel: My attempts at modding in the past have failed due to poor planning, impatience and plain idiocy. NOT THIS TIME FRIENDS! I plan to build a complete foam and posterboard mockup of the pack first, altering the plans I have found to allow the inclusion of a working PC. I'm also hoping that by committing myself to a worklog, I'll be more motivated to follow through to the end on this one.

    Here's a pic of a finished, home-built prop Pack that I found, I hope that mine ends up this good looking.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 19 Sep 2005
  2. Cardan

    Cardan What's a Dremel?

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    that sounds like a really sweet idea. can wait to see what happens
     
  3. PirateTheMeep

    PirateTheMeep What's a Dremel?

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    I like the concept now lets see some parts.
     
  4. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    Update I

    My first post was actually written three days ago when I started this idea. I took me three days to work up the balls to finally post it. In those three days I have gotten some work done on the initial mockup.

    1)Converted 'Stefan's' AWESOME PDF plans into Macromedia Freehand files that I can more easily manipulate.
    2)Finished the first draft 'motherboard' backplanes of the proton pack. (Yes, it's apparently really called a motherboard in the proton pack-building community)
    3)Watch Ghostbusters twice (research was never this fun at Purdue).
    4)Finished several parts of the mock pack including the 'ion arm', 'power cell', 'gearbox' and 'ppd'.

    The stand-in pc motherboard with oversized AGP card
    [​IMG]

    The Powercell - Upper left with blue repeating lights
    [​IMG]

    The Gearbox - Upper right, tube goes into it
    [​IMG]

    The Ion Arm - Sits above powercell
    [​IMG]

    The PPD - Sits next to powercell, need to add cylinder
    [​IMG]

    The Motherboard - I made two of these, the base for all parts
    [​IMG]

    This process was done quickly and haphazardly, using the foamcore and some elmers wood glue. The only reason I'm mocking this up this way first is to be able to work out where the internals will sit and how that will effect the outer shell parts. I still haven't decided what to build the final beastie out of yet, but I'm leaning toward thin wood and some aluminum. Then of course sanded, puttied, primed and painted. Only time will tell.

    I guess I should lay out what I want from this project in the end...or what criteria must be met for this to be declared a success by me:

    1)It has to look like a Proton Pack, with some considerations for the internals.
    2)It has to function as a computer. This machine is my main numero uno rig. At this point the wife and I are saving for a house so I can't be buying parts for a second machine. This rig is my everyday machine as well as my gamer...and must be rugged enough to lan with.
    3)It must accomodate upgrades. I'm not tailoring the interior to any one hardware configuration...the case will hold a full sized ATX motherboard with a complement of cards, hard drives, an optical drive and a power supply as well as cooling.
    4)The case will be air cooled for portability (and because I have no need for water cooling at this time).

    In altering the original plans, I will include a second 'motherboard' set back about 1"-2" from the normal one, this will create more internal space for the PC motherboard and cards. I do not intend to use a riser card. All of the aesthetic proton pack parts and lighting will be fixed the outer motherboard and hollowed out to allow the pc computer parts (mounted on the inner motherboard) to sit inside. The plan is to be able to remove the top of the proton pack to service the computer. I'm hashing out structural designs now to ensure that the top portion will be sturdy enough to be bolted onto the inner board.

    More later, I hope to finish the foam model tonight. And watch Ghostbusters 2. :idea:

    As a side note, alot of the websites I got the plans from for the Proton Pack include information about scavenged electronics parts that went into making the original packs. An example is the 'Clippard Minimatic Flow Control Valve R-701', of which there are three on the pack. Trouble is they cost $19 each...for what amounts to nothing more than a non-working electric component. I'm trying to figure out a way to fabricate them myself out of cheaper materials (plastics, scavenged knobs, etc.)...as any real money I spend in this project I would hope to go toward meaningful parts. We'll see how that turns out.
     
  5. bootupbuddha

    bootupbuddha grunge modder

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    Frist of all you forgot to add 'Bootupbuddha' to your list! :D

    Secound of all - Now this is a mod that I can get into.... Really looking forward to this. I am into movie props and I have seen the sites that you have posted about. So I am Really looking forward for your updates. (must catch breath...)
     
    Last edited: 21 Jul 2005
  6. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    Sorry to leave you out, BootupBuddha...I don't know how I did as I spent a good portion of yesterday studying your 'Perforated' log. High qual work there, I bow to your mastery.

    I would be satisfied if my work is half as good as yours and some of the other greats. :jawdrop:
     
  7. c.u.later

    c.u.later What's a Dremel?

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    sounds like a great idea, will be watching this.

    but.... i cant see your pics :(
     
  8. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    First electronics question - i.e. I'm retarded

    I'm hoping that the graphics are back up now and that it was just a hiccup on the webserver last night...if not let me know

    Last night I finished the top half of the foam components and decided how the motherboard tray would be oriented on the inner backplane (i am henseforth replacing the term motherboard with backplane when talking about the proton pack part...i'm confusing myself). The think the space between the two planes will be dictated by the thickness of the optical drive...which should set the motherboard in far enough for the outer pack components to cover it. A few will have to be altered tho to cover pci cards, tho not as substantially as I had originally feared.

    Since I'm at work and can't do anything more with my stuff for now, I'm turning my attention toward the electronics. Beyond soldering the occasional wire, I'm an electronics dunce. I have no idea how to make the circuits to run the repeating light portions of this project just yet. So I'm turning to you, the people of Bit-Tech! The first part I'm working on is the light display in the power cell. According to the size of the diagrams and the foam model I have, the window for the power cell lights is .375" wide and 4" tall. I plan on using 16 5mm blue LEDs, rubbed diffuse and placed behind a fogged piece of plexi. the LEDs will be turned so that their longsides are facing outward, like so:

    [​IMG]

    I can figure out how to orient the LEDs, wire and solder them. In the movies they light up starting at the bottom going up until all of them are lit, then blank and repeat. It only takes about a second for them to all become lit up. Thinking ahead, this might be a little annoying, no? My plan is to have the lights function as a processor or harddrive activity meter. This would of course be more functional, and I've seen that people already have built circuits to this effect. I have a few leads on plans to work this out, does anyone else know of any good plans anywhere to make something like this? The Bit-Tech article seems simple enough to follow...but it uses 10 and 20 LED versions. I'm not knowledgable enough to know if I can use 16 LEDs in that circuit without effecting something else.

    :confused: :waah:
     
  9. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Multimodder

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    Sorry mate but im afraid its already been done!!!!

    Yep me and my dad made on in around 1989 for a fancy dress party when I was 8. Shame it was make out of cereal packets though :D :waah:
     
  10. ReFredzRate

    ReFredzRate Relix Headshot!!

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    I love the idea mate! :D

    I'll be subscribing and keeping an eye on this one!
     
  11. PirateTheMeep

    PirateTheMeep What's a Dremel?

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    Looks very promising, looking forward to it! Great idea, there's far to much of the same modding going on here at bit-tech.


    Good to see some inovation.

    -jeffrey
     
  12. PrometheusCon

    PrometheusCon What's a Dremel?

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    Woo! I've always wanted to build a Proton Pack and goes around the neighborhood during halloween in a ghostbusts costume. Your mod looks promising!

    Ahh that BSing was just for 1 thing. I have gone to a page with free plans, but could you give me the sites to your plans. You said you had 3 sources but I could find only 1. Google > me
     
  13. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    Cleaning < Modding

    No progress or pics today...sorry guys. I had to clean the apt last night and do some laundry. :waah:

    But I did buy the first piece of raw material that will be part of the final pack! A 2'x4' slab of 1/4" Birch Plywood! Normally, I would be bias against using wood, especially plywood, but the quantity-to-cost ratio of wood versus aluminum dictates that wood be the major player. I'm only hoping it will hold together in the thinner areas of the outer backplane. Anyone have any experience with this type of material? I'll be searching the forums most of the day. The Birch has a nice finish to it though, and was only $8.13 for the big piece I got. I've secured use of a jigsaw as well, so I should get some cutting done this weekend.

    As for electronics, I talked to a friend who is a bonafide electronics wizard about the 16 LED array I wanted to build. He talked me down to 10, as the controller chip he recommended handles 10 best. I'm gonna space out the LEDs to fill the window of the power cell better...and also turn them so that the front faces out (conventional style). He had some concerns about the viewing angle of the LED, even after being diffused. So my plan now is to set them back from the window about an inch, and surround them with a 'deflector' made out of foam core or the like. I'm debating whether or not to line the deflector with foil or with black paper. In other words, whether it will be better for the light to be bounced around the deflector chamber or for it to be absorbed to localize the light.

    I'm kinda let down about the drop from 16 to 10 LEDs...but I'm not holding myself to it for good. If the 10 LED setup doesn't look right I'm gonna try to figure out the 16 version.

    Cripes. :wallbash:
     
  14. bootupbuddha

    bootupbuddha grunge modder

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    On that jig saw, go and invest in some really good blades it will make a world of diffence for only a few dollars.

    On the leds, then build two units and go up to 20 leds, its only four more than you wanted to do and will look better.

    Hope I'm helping. -ric
     
  15. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the advice, Buddha.

    I figured I would have to buy blades anyways, since the jigsaw is like a 4x hand-me-down.

    If I make two of the led 'meters', is there a way to chain them so that the display will go from the 10th on the first to the 1st on the second? Could it just involve altering the voltage 'thresholds'? I'm trying to apply general logic to this electronics thing...i'm such a n00b.
     
  16. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    I thought I had three, but I only found these two links:
    http://archive.ghostbusters.net/planslist/1/
    http://www.gbproject.com/plans/pack/

    Interestingly, there isn't a bedrock 'plan'...all the ones I've seen are a little different. The second link points to a very good set, but I've found some of the measurements are off. I've basically been using that one to see how the parts look as well as finishing. The plans I'm sticking to I dunno where the hell I got. They're a series of PDF files. The people who author the different plans all list different sources, such as actually measuring a real prop on display at a Planet Hollywood.

    Still, better than just the two movies for me to frame-through for hours on end!

    In the parts front, I found rigging for the shoulder straps and belt at a local army surplus store. They have the OD green like in the films as well a SWAT black, which look a TON nicer, but I think I'm gonna stick with the green straps and belt to match the movie. I don't need to start deviating now!
     
  17. TheMuffinMan

    TheMuffinMan Minimodder

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    Dunno if you're interested at all ,I have the original toy version (ghetto blue one) with most stickers intact, i'm sure a mobo and everything would fit inside haha
     
  18. PrometheusCon

    PrometheusCon What's a Dremel?

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    Ahh i had the 1st link but the second link i didn't! Thanks!
     
  19. Pete_Venkman

    Pete_Venkman What's a Dremel?

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    Monday Update

    Didn't get much done this weekend. The heat index in Chicagoland was breaching 100...
    [​IMG]

    It's also hard for me to work with tools that need an 'outdoor environment', since I'm on the second floor of an apartment building. But I did manage.
    [​IMG]

    Still I was waiting for some scumbag to call the landlords.

    Here's the hand-me-down-forever Black and Decker jigsaw...freshly outfitted with a new blade and ready for action. :dremel:
    [​IMG]

    Two minutes into the action I realized that the extreme vibrations of the little beasty made my hand itch something fierce, so I drafted this workout glove into duty (used once for paintballing).
    [​IMG]

    And after fifteen minutes of dodging the extreme sun and glares from other renters, I had the first backplane cut!
    [​IMG]

    I had intended to sand it down last night and get it ready for putty, but the first season of 24 found it's way into the DVD player and I couldn't find the sand paper. :duh: Speaking of putties...I was going to just use bondo to smooth out the wood grain and fill in the edges, does anyone recommend something a little easier to use (i.e. no mixing)? I have used Bondo, so it's not a huge deal, I just wanted to know if there's something that folks use on wood that they'd like to recommend. My aim is to have this board NOT look like wood after it's painted.
     
  20. kickarse

    kickarse What's a Dremel?

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    I think it's gonna come out well considering how much thought you've put into it!
     

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