Introduction: Cheap Ghostbusters Proton Pack!
Hello fellow nerd! I recently decided I wanted to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween but didn't have a lot of time to build my own proton pack completely from scratch. In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how I made an almost replica pack for under $100 in less than a few days!
I also made this completely in my matchbox-sized dorm room with hardly any of the tools I actually needed.
- Spirit Halloween Proton pack (I mostly see them for up to $70, but if you scour the internet, I found mine for $45!)
- Ribbon cable (Link)
- Walmart "Toy Glock" gun (what the heck?! Also I can't find a link online)
- Walmart Halloween Light Pack (Link)
- Alice Pack Frame (I got mine used on eBay for 22.99)
- Red Push Buttons (Link)
- Mini Toggle Switches (Link)
- 100pcs Colored LEDS (Link) (I don't recommend these ones)
- Some gold-colored plumbing fittings (not sure what I used, but have fun with it!)
- Brass Rod
- Cable Clamp
- Black Poster Board (x2)
- Zip Ties
- Masking tape
- Black, Brown, Green, Rust-Colored Paints
- Matt Black Spray Paint
- Drill (Optional)
- Soldering iron (Optional)
Step 1: Preping!
The first thing I did was strip the Proton Pack from any wires, screws, and took every piece that could be taken off, off. (Taking pictures of where things were before is really helpful!) I set those aside and taped off all the stickers (You could take them all off and replace them after, but I didn't really mind masking) and used a medium grit steel wool and scuffed up the entire surface of the Proton Pack to prep it for painting.
Step 2: Painting!
I taped off anything that needed to be silver and coated the whole Proton Pack with one coat of Rust-oleum ultra-matte spray paint and let it sit for half an hour before putting on a second coat.
Step 3: Lights and Wire!!
I'm going to be honest. I'm the WORST at the wiring. I know enough to get by and maybe not catch anything on fire (on purpose). The proton pack comes with its own sound and lights... but I tried to mess with them and they no longer work... What's a Proton pack without lights?! A big, plastic, vacuum cleaner! So I did what any other crafter would do and improvise.
Walmart has these great, cheap little "Halloween LED Packs" for like $3 that have about 5 different settings. I used these in the red cyclotron lights (that's nerd talk for the bottom round thing with the lights that cycle around) and wired the button all the way up the pack into the wand.
I also found a "Toy Glock" (what kid needs a toy Glock?!) at Walmart that has a "4 LED chase light effect" every time you shoot it. I took the red and yellow LEDs and soldered bright blue LEDs for the blue "Power Cell Box" (Nerd talk for blue flashy light on the left side of the pack) and ran a wire all the way up the pack to a switch in the wand.
The last wiring I did on this was for all the lights in the wand handle. For this, I used 1 red LED for the first section, 3 yellow LEDs for the yellow meter bar, 3 white LEDs for the midsection, and 1 orange LED for the upper half of the wand box and wired them to a smaller battery pack inside the wand with a switch close by.
Lastly, I put 2 purple, 2 white, and 2 red LEDs in the tip of the wand, leading down to a rumble motor (from an old controller, totally optional), and put it on its own little battery pack with a red momentary switch attached.
Lastly, I cut a pair of old headphones and wired the auxiliary end to a large speaker so I could connect it to my phone. Was this smart? Maybe. Does it work well? Sorta. Do I know how to do what I actually wanted? Nope! But that's okay!
Step 4: Parts! Assemble!
At this point, you're almost done! Do some research on the original packs and put the parts you took off in part one, back on! Make sure every hose has a purpose and every adapter is secured! (You bump into a lot of things with one of these on your backs)
Because I'm in a dorm room, lacking the many basic tools, if I needed holes for wires or switches, I used a lighter on a screwdriver to pilot holes all over my pack. This is the easiest way to put the "Ion Arm" on. (Nerd talk for the brass rod protruding on the left side of the pack)
Step 5: Alice Pack Frame and Back Panel
In the movie, Proton Packs are mounted on military and hiking Alice pack frames. This helps distribute the weight and is more comfortable to wear.
I glued together two black posterboards and put the Proton Pack on top and traced its outline. I cut this out and zip tied the board in 6 different spots around the perimeter (You just want to make sure it's secure.) I then Ziptied the whole thing to the Alice pack frame.
Step 6: The Best Step!!! Weathering!
This is my all-time favorite part of any build. Making something look old, worn, and used, gives it so much life and character. I started off by dabbing orange and brown colors into certain corners and nooks to make it look older and rusty. I also went around some of the hoses and knobs with a neon green to make it look like Slimer was getting a little too close to the pack.
Watering down browns, blacks, greys, orange acrylic paints are a really easy way to weather a prop. Add a little bit of paint in a dixie cup with a few drops of water. Then use a paper towel to pick up some of the watered-down paint and wipe down the prop. This is SUPER easy to overdue so be careful.
Step 7: Have Fun With It!
Now you're done! You've finished an unlicensed nuclear accelerator! Go bust some ghosts!
I had a really fun time figuring out how to finish this. It took a lot of work but I think the end product was really worth it!
If you have questions on how to build this or specific questions on how I did something, don't hesitate to ask!
Participated in the