User avatar
By Petzrick
#4960399
It's November 18, 2021. I just saw Ghostbusters: Afterlife and decided it's a damn good day to stop stalling and get my proton pack build online!

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Trust me. It'll get better…

Technically, I'm working on my third build (after two abandoned/incomplete builds). But for me, this started in 1997 when I saw the DC Planet Hollywood pack in person. Then and there, I had no choice. Vinz Clortho had given me terrible nightmares when I was five, but Ghostbusters was my favorite film. No contest.

Originally, I worked loosely from Norm Gagnon's plans (1998, Revision 3). I also added random garbage that I thought looked cool. The picture above (only recently assembled) is about how far I got before starting over (the first time).

More to follow…
Last edited by Petzrick on November 26th, 2021, 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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User avatar
By Petzrick
#4960442
I ran into some extreme turbulence throughout the following decade and progress was very slow. Around 2011, I shifted from a junk build to a somewhat accurate build. Let's just say, "more recognizable."

Here's my original plywood MB and a few of the wooden pieces I made (without the sillier extras).

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I decided to buy a shell (with shock mount) off of eBay. Regrettably, this was before I learned of the GBFans blacklisted seller list. Beyond the ethical issues, this resin shell was in poor shape, not very accurate, and heavy.

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I still wanted to use some of my odds and ends with the resin shell, but then I got this and there was no turning back.

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After packing up all of my original parts (save some socket head cap screws), I got a thin aluminum MB (1/8" I think). Luckily, I had already been issued an alice-frame in the military.

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After a lot of repair work, I spray painted the shell. The paint did not turn out well.

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Resin crank knob and ion arm. Painting went a little better on the ion arm.

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I got a MMM thrower. Not a kit—it came as shown in the picture.

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I mainly just worked in the LEDs, switches, and buttons (Jupiter Electronics).

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I did design my own shoddy, rudimentary pop mechanism using a toilet paper roll spindle and 550 cord. It worked about 50% of the time and when it jammed, you had to partially disassemble the thrower to reset it.

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N-filter

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I cut the booster tube myself. The resin ladder and HGA are from eBay sellers, but the bumper is Exoray! My pack was not worthy.

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I made injector tubes from PVC pipes using the hot glue method for welding lines.

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PPD, beam line, filler tube, GB1 ribbon, tubing, and legris elbows (two resin and one modern equivalent). I made the injector tubes from PVC pipes I got at Home Depot.

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Progress was still proceeding very slowly (more turbulence). In 2014, while I was in grad school, I wanted to use the pack for a video project (mainly as an excuse to goof off and try animating a proton stream). I rushed through what was left and "finished" the pack. By "finished," I mean that it was good enough for my cheesy video, but not something I really wanted to show other pack builders.

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The typography jokes are not as funny as I remember.

The pack stayed finished until a few months later. After staring in awe at the Spengler pack reference photos from Profiles in History, I decided that my pack needed major improvement. I opened up the shell and started planning an overhaul.

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In retrospect, it would have been a much better decision to start over completely…
Last edited by Petzrick on January 22nd, 2022, 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4960593
My first goal was to improve the thrower. I filled and reshaped several areas on the resin body. The bar graph was just a hole showing the bare LEDs, so I added a bevel with styrene strips and used part of a CD jewel case as a lens. I also started upgrading smaller parts, such as the heatsink.

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I repainted the grips and used several weathering techniques to get that worn look. In addition to roughing up areas to show the base coat, I did a few enamel washes. Up until this point, most of my paint work had turned out fairly sloppy. But with the grips, I started focusing more on details.

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Stripped down and ready for repainting

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New base coat

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Repainting complete with some weathering. I was happier with the results (but not satisfied).

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The MMM thrower originally had no bottom for the trigger box. I put together this aluminum cover with magnets.



I decided to upgrade the Jupiter Electronics kit with GBFans lights and sounds. First I pulled out the awful mess that was my earlier rush job.

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Ugh… The thick resin would require a lot of modification for the GBFans kit to fit, which would require repainting again. Other things continued to nag at me, especially the PVC tubes (too small) and my shitty pop mech.

So I decided to scrap the thrower entirely and made a big order from Freeky Geeky.
Last edited by Petzrick on November 21st, 2021, 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4960599
While waiting on the new thrower parts, I turned back to the main pack. My blacklisted shell still had really bad areas. The shell's edge had big cracks, gaps, and an additional resin rim in many areas.

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I worked on cleaning these up and modified a new aluminum MB to better fit the odd proportions of my shell.

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New base coat. I was using the toothpaste method for weathering.

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I also worked on improving the other components, such as the injector tubes. Originally, my fake weld lines (hot glue) were pretty thick. I sanded these down for a cleaner look.

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Everything else was also repainted.

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Not as embarrassing this time.

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I also added awesome stuff from GBFans: bellows shock mount, stickers, metallic labels, dry rub transfers, tubing, cyclotron lenses, etc. This was years ago (2016) so I can't remember exactly where and when everything came from. But I do remember getting seriously hyped up by that bellows and dry rub.
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By Petzrick
#4960704
After using my pack for a video project earlier, I became concerned about the strength of my alice-frame. From that single use, the heavy resin pack had bent parts of the vertical bar to match the contour of my back. I also read about bars cracking on this post.

Luckily, Mat's build has a great solution for this. After carefully removing the bent up aluminum bar, I cut a steel bar to the same length, drilled holes, and did my best to match the bend (the one that's supposed to be there).

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After several experiments to match the color and finish, the bar is reattached and riveted back into place. I wish I had known about this when I was still in the military. Proton packs aren't the only thing that mess these up.

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After reading this great post by Julz, I got to work on cutting up a hockey puck, and continuing to train my feet to function as a vise.

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For the lower spacers, I cut blocks of wood and surfaced these with aluminum. These were only crooked temporarily.

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My previous MB was too thin, so I replaced it with the correct 1/4" thickness. When working on the shell, I trimmed the MB's edge to match the shell's quirks more closely. This is easiest to spot at the odd angle on top. I saw numerous posts where builders created templates for speaker holes, so I made my own in Adobe Illustrator. For the pattern, I wanted to keep it simple and uniform.

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Holes tapped

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Countersunk

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Cleaned and sanded

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Last edited by Petzrick on November 21st, 2021, 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By EnderWeggen
#4960924
Love the Shell it may be a bit off but no one but us ghost heads will ever notice. I had the same trouble with the POP so I just over did it and wound up with a lever action non pop.

I think you've earned it :crunch:
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By Petzrick
#4960969
Thank you! I should've left the shell as is, and then focused on improving things for my next build. I unfortunately kept messing with it. I've got several more posts to get caught up to where I am now.

I got obsessed with trying to make my bad pop mech work, and then was blown away by how well the Freeky Geeky mech worked. At least the frustration taught me true appreciation.
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By Petzrick
#4961027
Next I tackled electronics, and got so into it that I didn't take any progress pictures. I also finally took the time to learn how to solder correctly. This photo is pre-ziptie wire organization.

Pssdffjay's build was immensely helpful. His build helped me figure out speakers, the speaker hole template, the ABS shelf, and the cyclotron lens holder. For the power cell LEDs, I cut and bent a 1/4" aluminum panel into a C shaped shelf.

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For the cyclotron lens holder, I used a breadboard and the aluminum tray brackets from a project enclosure. This fits over the larger Pyle speaker and a blue brick battery (covered in electric tape and caution tape).

I also made a weird little stand for the N-filter LED so that I wouldn't need to attach it to the shell.

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I partially dismantled the blue brick so that I could install a kill switch and LED on/off indicator on the back of the MB. The LED is obviously not accurate but it was fun. It also ended up being surprisingly helpful. Below the kill switch, I installed a volume pot, but set up the shell so that volume could also be connected to a second pot under the crank knob on the gear box.

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I also got a fantastic switchcraft charging plate from Nathan Stevic (nstevic01). This was a pack detail that I learned about during this stage of the build and it immediately became one of my favorite details. Nathan's work on these is amazing.

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User avatar
By Petzrick
#4961741
I think this was when the project started to graduate from hobby to obsession. Abandoning my manilla envelope stuffed with notes, I got organized.

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I still had a good amount of time to wait on my thrower parts. While I waited, I worked on making a replica flash bulb for the thrower tip. I found several different ways to mess up acrylic LED holders. After ordering a couple replacements, I bought an acrylic tube and cut a few myself. I used extremely fine sand paper on the ends.

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For the bulb itself, I used a vintage GE AG-1 flash bulb. In order to fit a working LED inside the bulb, I cut it open by following the methods in Gohsttarp's Build and Canpara's Build. Quite a few flash bulbs were sacrificed in the process.

I also saw reference pictures in Legend642's Build that showed the socket really well. This area doesn't have a lot of visibility, but I wanted something similar. I cut open a Bic ballpoint pen and plugged it with a plastic LED socket, which I painted white. I then glued this to a random plastic piece I found, which was then glued to the flash bulb.

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Inside the bulb, I used a white strobe LED from Spongeface. Spongeface's work is amazing.



Getting a little out of order here with my build: I ran into issues with my flash bulb later. It looked pretty nice, until I used Freeky Geeky's awesome pop mech a few times. This converted my thrower into a dangerous projectile weapon. When the flash bulb was launched, it also cracked my thrower's acrylic tube. This would be after I installed most of the electronics, so it was not a quick fix.

I don't know where the bulb went, but I did hear it shatter. For my second flash bulb (seen in the video above), I also cut the bottom of another GE bulb, and covered both with a small amount of epoxy. Back in safe working order.
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By JWils23
#4961744
Can’t tell you how many times I launched my flashbulb with RJ’s pop mech. I ended up switching from the spring to bands because that spring was so violent. But the bands he supplies typically don’t last that long and stretch or break. My wife has these elastic hair ties that really stretch but don’t seem to lose their elasticity or break as easy as the little black ones. I swapped mine for these a few months ago and have had no issues, still a nice pop but not nearly as forceful.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y2SKLPP/re ... DDG4?psc=1
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By Petzrick
#4961745
Thanks, that's a really good tip. Definitely very violent—a good example of why safety goggles are useful.

I opted for the band version pop mech from the get go. Part of the problem was the glue I had originally used. After using epoxy on the bulb, I also added a dab on the fake socket and acrylic holder, so it's never coming out again. Umori also recommends putting some padding inside at the impact point, although this does lessen that cool metal sound. I only had to replace the original band once or twice, but eventually switched to a band that I think is similar to your wife's. They seem like they'll last years.
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By Petzrick
#4962085
My package from Freeky Geeky finally arrived—incredible work by Umori. Having all the parts on hand got me very motivated.

Particle Thrower Parts List

Freeky Geeky
  • Body/rear handle
  • Front handle
  • Trigger box/instrument bar combo
  • Rear cylinder
  • Heat sink
  • Extension lever
  • Pop mech (rubber bands)
  • Clear tube
  • Brass washers
GBFans
  • Front, top, and side knobs
  • Gun track
  • Trigger tip
  • Side discs (smooth)
  • GB1 V-hook
  • Wand lights kit
  • Stickers and metallic labels
  • Dry rub transfers
Spongeface
  • Wand tip LED expansion kit
  • Flash bulb LED
  • Inner core white strobe LED
  • Bar graph bezel with lenticular overlay
Not certain—I'm still playing catch up on my build so this was a few years ago.
  • Trigger tip: GBFans or Freeky Geeky
  • Thrower grips: GBFans or Nickatron
  • Gun track discs
  • Green tube: Possibly Jupiter Electronics. I can't tell if it's real or a replica.
Main Plan

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Test Assembly

After installing components and making some adjustments, I did a temporary test to make sure everything fit and worked correctly.

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I got a brighter inner core LED from Spongeface. I had trouble finding a flashlight reflector that looked right and fit well. Ironically, the reflector I ended up using was from a D-cell anglehead flashlight, like in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. I used the one sold on GBFans or this one. Both are similar, but I don’t believe either are authentic GI flashlights. Years ago, I had been issued one of these, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find mine. In the marines, we called these moonbeams.

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The heat shrink on the ear will need to be added a second time after painting. *The picture below was taken before the bulb was weaponized and launched into orbit.

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The front grip was cleaned up and sanded for a good fit. I made a channel inside for the wires. A small portion of the wires would be visible between the grip and main body. In reference pictures, these were combinations of red, white, and black. The yellow wire looked inaccurate and there were too many wires.

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Holes were drilled through the grip into the rear handle. I tapped these for socket head cap screws. These should be replaced with rivets later, but I may stick with the screws. I fixed one of the grip holes that I had messed up. The barbs (Clippard #11752-1) would need to be trimmed later.

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Test complete.

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Paint/Label

I dread painting. A lot.

For the thrower and its components, I used Rust-Oleum satin black (same as shell).

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For the grips, I used Rust-Oleum matte burlap as a base coat (close match to the color of the resin). Then a coat of satin cinnamon and then satin black. I did subtle weathering, by roughing up areas and applying enamel washes.

After a few frustrating, failed attempts, I finally got a decent paint job done.

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Electronics and parts were partially assembled. Dry rub transfers, stickers, and metallic labels from GBFans were applied.

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I put together the lenticular overlay from Spongeface's bar graph bezel kit, which makes the animated bar graph LEDs look even more badass. Not easy to assemble but worth it.

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I accidentally rubbed off part of the tiny six (the bowl) in this diagram. Hard to notice unless it's pointed out, and it would look intentional with more consistent weathering. I went ahead and did my best to fix it anyway. This made me realize that all the transfers could be damaged fairly easily.

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Time to learn a new skillset. I decided to air paint the entire pack with a clear coat.

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Because everything was mostly assembled, I thought this was going to be really difficult, but it wasn't too bad.

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The hardest part was finding a paint I was happy with. I made samples using some aluminum siding and tested protection for the transfers and the overall finish. I.e. the test below has good protection but the finish has some bubbling and blotchy areas.

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[placeholder—Add the clear coat that worked and picture if you can find it.]

I made this device using a rotating TV pedestal and a toilet paper holder. It was ridiculously helpful.

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Assembly

Most of the front barrel wiring would be hidden by the grip. The ear was heat shrinked again. The front grip would be removable, attached by a diagonal screw through the ear…

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…and another through the barrel lock. The five wires in the top left of the picture below would be partially visible and needed to be flexible. For the visible area, I heat shrunk three of the wires together to hide two, including the yellow one. I then put clear heat shrink on all of the wires.

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I upgraded the original GBFans wand lights with the expansion kit from Spongeface. I made an LED holder to go in the pop tube, using part of a toilet paper roll holder tube, gaskets and electrical tape.

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Zip ties and wire clips were used to organize and make space.

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The thrower was just about finished at this point.
Last edited by Petzrick on December 3rd, 2021, 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar
By Petzrick
#4962551
To finish up the thrower, I trimmed the barbs on the instrument bar and rear cylinder. I then added the green Clippard tube, using a heat gun. Later, the white hat light lenses were replaced with the milky white lenses that GBFans had manufactured. I may do additional weathering but want to keep it subtle, since I'm certain there will be natural weathering in the future. i.e. I'm a klutz.

Particle Thrower:

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By Petzrick
#4962561
Thank you and sorry for the confusion. This build has gone sideways and backwards.

MMM is Multi Media Mayhem. It sounds like he's not doing props anymore. Really nice guy. I had bought a thrower from him in 2012, but replaced it with the Freeky Geeky later on.
User avatar
By JWils23
#4962576
That thrower is a thing of beauty! RJ really makes some great stuff, even if it takes a looong time to get. Well worth the wait.

The dry rubs are actually a bit more resilient than you think. They seem to be most delicate right after application, I had the same issue where I smudged one as I put it on. But I’ve handled mine a ton, along with other people trying on the pack and playing with the thrower and all of the dry rubs have held up perfectly.
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By Petzrick
#4962590
Thank you! RJ's skills are amazing.

I think you're right about the transfers. I did mess with mine not long after applying, and it was more than a light bump. Also, I was already thinking about a clear coat, so it gave me a good excuse.
User avatar
By gerard55
#4962646
Petzrick wrote: December 3rd, 2021, 2:39 pm Thank you and sorry for the confusion. This build has gone sideways and backwards.

MMM is Multi Media Mayhem. It sounds like he's not doing props anymore. Really nice guy. I had bought a thrower from him in 2012, but replaced it with the Freeky Geeky later on.
Don't suppose the mmm one is for sale if you still have it? :-o Been looking for a prebuilt one for a while now.
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4962651
Sorry, it's not in a great state. I was in the process of overhauling it when I switched. I'm thinking of going back to finish fixing it up at some point.
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By Petzrick
#4963016
A short tangent…

I’ll get to this later, but it became apparent that I had a lot more work to do on the shell. In the mean time, I had been using this box to hold the thrower.

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Hasbro had just announced the Spengler wand. I liked the odds and ends stand. I was at Lowes and passed by a door threshold. This gave me an idea, so I wandered around grabbing random things and sketched this down.

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I cut a section from the threshold, removed the foam from the bottom, and tapped holes for carriage bolts. Getting the measurements was tricky and I ended up doing this twice.

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I ground down the heads of two carriage bolts and cut each at different heights. This took a long time, because I had limited access to tools then.

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I made two holders from plumbing C clamps, gasket plugs, closed cell foam, and assorted washers and spacers.

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Test fit. Tapping the holes in the threshold allowed some vertical adjustment to get the thrower positioned straight.

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Time to give it style with caution tape, split loom, and zip ties. Getting the caution tape to fit in the grooves was the hardest part of making this stand.

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Embossed label

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Small rubber feet underneath

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Finished

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By Petzrick
#4963232
To make a long story short, I decided to redo the shell completely. I tried several upgrades but still wasn't satisfied with the resin shell. It continued to bother me that it was from a blacklisted seller and I kept finding inaccuracies.

I wanted to mention a few learning experiences (before I started over). I cut out the original cast-in resin N-filter and replaced it with an aluminum one from GBFans. This was so I could add the awesome Fincher e-cig venting kit.

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Instead of repainting the entire shell again, I only did specific areas. Before doing this, I worked on improving the power cell window and cyclotron ring holes. I made depth gauges to help.

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Although my shell texture wasn't that good to begin with (spray texture), I lost all texture on the cyclotron. I followed Chris Bosh's tutorial to retexture and was amazed by how well it worked. Bosh's tip about soaking the Homax in hot water made a huge difference for me. For my new shell, I will definitely use his tutorial again.

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After repainting, I had a new problem. I had cut off my original N-filter and was, unfortunately, all out of dry transfers. GBFans didn't have any for sale at this point and I couldn't find anything that looked nearly as good.

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After doing some googling, I realized it wasn't that difficult to get these made. I wanted it to look similar to the GBFans transfer on my thrower. In Adobe Illustrator, I made a few variations (stroke weight, detail, size) and had some sheets printed up in two shades of red. I also included my logo and a little warning label for the MB (so I'd remember not to leave my pack on while charging).

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The top middle dry transfer is mine. The other two are GBFans.

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The last thing I did before giving up was make an L bracket for the injector tubes. Yet another cool detail I had no idea about. In trying to figure out placement, I found more shell inaccuracies that I hadn't caught before.

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And here is the overhauled resin shell before I moved on. Considering how it looked before, it had come a long way. But at this point, I was hooked and had gotten too close to this project.

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Don't worry—the resin shell wasn't abandoned.

I then considered several shells as a replacement. Some aspects of the idealized shells appealed to my own design sensibilities. However, I also loved the authenticity that comes from the odd quirks and imperfections of the real packs.

My first choice was too ambitious. I was going to get a GBFans shell but had the opportunity to get a variant of the notorious Venky shell. The connection to a real pack seemed very cool (Definitive History and Lineage of the Stunt Pack Shell, Bowelrock Shell Production Tied ?, etc.). There were also some big problems that I naively thought I could fix. More than anything else, I wanted to fix the valley and reduce the egg shape of the cyclotron. My plan included cutting the shell apart!

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I needed accurate measurements. I spent a long time going over builds and staring at the reference pictures. I referred to these three builds the most: Updating Stefan's Plans with New GBFans Plans, GBFans Pack Plans, and the Chris Bosh build. The information discovered by these prop builders and others has been invaluable. If anything on my pack turns out right, I owe it to this community.

I compared the accurate measurements to the Venky variant shell using a digital caliper. As the list of fixes grew, I got overwhelmed. I also found measurements that didn't match other Venky shells, which was baffling—some areas were smaller than the Venky—which was already smaller.

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I might do something with this in the future, but decided this shell wouldn't work for me. *Later on in my build, this shell has been helpful as another reference.

So I switched to the GBFans shell. In addition to better accuracy, the quality and durability of the shell is excellent. Not that I would have tried doing something this reckless, but I bet I could sit on it and it would hold up just fine.

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Although this was many steps backwards, it felt right. From junk to resin to fiberglass, I was now building a hero pack.
Last edited by Petzrick on December 11th, 2021, 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By tobycj
#4963266
Interesting to follow your journey in this!

Point to note, I think the aluminium stock you've used for the injector tubes bracket is a bit thick, so you might want to revisit that still.
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By Petzrick
#4963278
Thanks! It's been chaotic to say the least.

Good catch on the bracket. Later on, I ended up redoing the L bracket with 1/8". The original bracket also has an inner curve that's thicker than the rest.
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By Petzrick
#4963292
Before starting over on the shell, I had worked on replacements for a few components. I had already gone through several Legris elbow replicas, but wanted to get these looking more realistic. I was lucky enough to get some nice replicas from Mr_Stay_Puft. He cast these from real ones… and he better put those in a vault and look over his shoulder from now on! Joking. Mostly. :boogieman:

He had put real barbs in the bottom and a 5/32 brass tube in the top. I decided to replace the brass tube with a grab ring similar to the ones used in the real elbows. In the picture below, the elbow on the left still has the brass tube. I messed this one up a bit but it was originally in great condition. There are better pictures on Mr_Stay_Puft's for sale post. The second elbow is one I started to drill out.

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For the grab ring, I used "old new stock" Legris 4mm unions (3106-04-00). The push button and the grab ring are not difficult to remove.

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Making room for the grab rings was not easy. I used a drill bit by hand to start opening up the hole. Then I used an X-acto blade to slowly whittle a new edge. I repainted with "Gunship Gray" and clear coated.

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Next was the excellent GBFans aluminum HGA. Ever since working on the Freeky Geeky thrower, I had an itch to get more aluminum parts. The HGA originally had tapped holes in the Spengler configuration (I think). For mine, I wanted to line them up so I filled the holes with JB Weld SteelStik. I used primer to make sure I had these filled seamlessly. Then I flipped it over and tapped it again.

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Clippard and replica Legris elbows screwed in

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After painting, I used epoxy to attach a replica label from Freeky Geeky. I drilled a tiny hole in the center but there's no screw.

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By Petzrick
#4964134
My original ion arm was a sink discharge tube mounted on a cheese grater. I had replaced it with a resin arm, but it was time to upgrade again.

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Concurrently with building the HGA, I worked on a new ion arm using an aluminum arm body and cap (with brass rods) from GBFans. I also purchased real resistors and used one of my Legris elbow replicas.

I painted the cap black (pre-weathering). I can't remember if the arm was already tapped for the three resistors and elbow, or if I did that. For the larger Dale PH-25, I used a second brass ring as a nut inside the arm.

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I tapped the arm for the cap. I sanded the top slightly, so that the cap would be level.

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The yellow and blue tubing in the picture are temporary. I painted the arm and weathered the cap. Checking reference pictures again, I noticed (for the first time) that the real rods were not brass but copper. I looked for a replacement, but couldn't find anything for sale that was as nice as the GBFans design.

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I started to wonder if I could just make my own… Yet outside of this hobby, in my life on the real world, unsympathetic circumstances slowly manifested against me. Bad craziness and real wrath-of-God type stuff. And this was before 2020 started.



About a year later… I'm back (more or less). Now with very different circumstances, I had no idea how to start working on my build again. Eventually, I picked up right where I left off but got very obsessive about making my own rods with screen accurate knurling.

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I wouldn't be able to say if the values I used were correct unless I could get my hands on the real ones. Based on the reference pictures, I used 4 and 1/8” for the front rod length and 1/2” for the space before the knurling. On the rear nub, I used 11/16” for length and flush knurling. I used 1/4" as the rod's diameter, which is consistent with other replicas I've seen and appears to match up with reference pictures. You can get copper rods of this size from numerous stores.

1/4" is also a common face width size for knurl wheels. At a glance, the knurling face width looked like it might match the rod's diameter, but I thought it looked smaller. I decided to base my measurements on the Murray pack pictures taken by Demon Vice Commander. These have excellent resolution. I also thought that knurling on the other packs appeared similar.* On the pictures, I scaled lines to compare rod diameter (yellow) to face width (red).

*The Spengler pack clearly uses a different TPI (teeth per inch) on the rear nub and the front knurling looks like it's either missing or obscured by black paint or oxidation.

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In three of the pictures, rod diameter was 130% compared to face width. In one picture, it was 125%. Keep in mind that these are fuzzy measurements, because of lens distortion, shadow, rod curve, picture quality, etc.

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Apologies for the sloppy notes. Using 130% would make the face width ~769/4000", which is very close to 3/16", a common face width size (this would have made the difference 133.33%). 125% would have made the face width 1/5" which is not common.

Next, I compared pictures of 3/16" knurl wheels to the pack reference pictures to determine pattern and TPI (teeth per inch)—male diamond and 25 TPI. Of course, you can't knurl without a knurler, and this is where it got tricky.

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If you're using proper machinery with a lathe, there are a lot of options. But there aren't many hand knurlers to pick from, let alone affordable ones. Nearly all of the ones I saw were limited to a 1/4" face width, which may explain why this shows up on a lot of replicas.

I had no idea if this would work, but I bought this hand knurler from MSC Direct, which came with 1/4" straight pattern knurl wheels (above picture). I hammered out the knurler pins and put in 1/16" rubber washers and the correct 3/16" knurl wheels.

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I couldn't get it to work.

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I was about to give up when I noticed that one of my wheels was defective. The cut was just slightly off, but enough to mess up the pattern.

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After getting a replacement, I was back on track. I purchased a tube cutter to cut up the rods, but also made small cuts to mark out my measurements. The small edge also helps with knurling and making grooves.

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Not necessary, but I used tape to help with lining up the knurler, which tended to be difficult. I think I loosened up my hand knurler when I was messing with it, and had some additional wiggle. I always did knurling first, in case it didn't turn out.

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I knurled both the front rod and rear nub. However, on most of the packs, the rear nub doesn't appear to be knurled. The nub on the Spengler pack does have knurling, but uses a different TPI than the front rods on the other packs. I knurled my nubs with the same pattern as the front. The knurling does serve a functional purpose, making installation easier (thumb grip). And it looks cool.

If the knurling turned out okay, I'd file out a groove so that the rod can be screwed in flush (based on the GBFans design). The groove can be cleaned up but it isn't necessary. Next, I'd thread the rod end with a die. I found it to be a lot easier to chamfer the end first. If the threading isn't lined up right, the rod will end up being crooked.

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The rods are cut with the tube cutter.

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I then used a deburring drill bit to chamfer the rod ends. As mentioned above, this helps with threading the rod too. In the picture below, my aim was off a bit.

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Most of the screen-used packs appear to have a filleted end, some cleaner than others. The chamfered edge is still visible on some. The DC Planet Hollywood and Spengler packs appear to have a more visible fillet. I prefer the clean, idealized look of the GBFans rod.

Making a fillet is a lot trickier than a chamfer. To do it right, you need an end mill specific to the fillet curve radius. And it's not normally done by hand! This took me a moment, but my solution was to put a metal file in my table vise, put the rod in my drill, and just wing it.

*I bet you could find some rods that have already been professionally filleted and skip this part. Although, considering how rough the real ones look, it might be possible they did something similar to this.

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After getting the shape right, I used sand paper to clean the end up. I also worked on cleaning up other scratches and rough spots on the rest of the rod.

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Once I had most of the scratches cleaned up, I did wet sanding with a very fine grit (2000 I think).

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In the picture below, the first set is the GBFans brass rods. The second is my finished set. The others are mostly completed rods that still need to be chamfered, filleted, and cleaned up.

On the front rod in my finished set, the distance between the threads and knurling pattern ended up tighter than 1/2" so may I replace it later. However, the DC pack looks like it's less than 1/2" so I don't think it's a big deal. I could also make the end messier like the real packs, but for now, I prefer the idealized look.

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With the right equipment, the rods would have been much easier. But for me, improvisation was part of the challenge. I was successfully pulled back into the build.

After installing the rods, I added yellow 5/32" (4mm) Legris tubing. If I can get my hands on some, I'll replace it with Nycoil. The 1/4" blue tubing is generic. I think it's supposed to be Clippard, so I'll be on the look out for that too. I kept the blue tubing a bit shorter like the Murray pack in GB1.

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Essentially complete. Later on I will need to blacken the rods, do a little more weathering, and some more painting after the infamous ugly weld. This is a small detail, but I also want to paint and weather the tops of the 10/32" socket head cap screws.
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4965236
I had modified my Exoray bumper to fit my older resin shell and needed a replacement. I looked at a few replicas, including a production lineage cast. Eventually, I chose the Crix bumper. The quality is excellent and it's exactly what I wanted: idealized and clean but still looks accurate.

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I measured out exactly where I wanted everything to line up. I drilled the side bumper/shell holes together, but I drilled the center holes separately. The holes probably wouldn't line up perfectly, but I found that I usually got better results whenever I had to fix something.

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Here's the bumper (with the beautiful shock mount from GBFans). It's hard to tell in this picture, but the carriage bolt is slightly crooked.

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Easy to fix—JB Weld SteelStik and re-drill—but a little tricky to line up. I made the bottom bumper hole wider to get some wiggle room. I used a flash light to find the right angle. This also showed that the center hole positions wouldn't match even after the angle was fixed.

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With a level, I could see that the bumper was sitting at a slight horizontal angle. I got out my heat gun to adjust the bumper shape.

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The Crix bumper was way too tough for my cheap gun, so I got out my BFHG.

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I heated up the bumper and held it in the position I wanted. I did this a couple times and it lined up just right. This also improved the overall fit of the bumper to the GBFans shell.

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tobycj, kahuna900 liked this
By tobycj
#4965354
If you're doing a GB1 pack then it doesn't seem that the bellows had a screw all the way through the bumper and into the cyclotron.
Petzrick liked this
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4965383
Thanks! I should've shown this.

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I've got the carriage bolt attached from the inside of the shell, through the bumper into the bellows. There's also a steel spacer in-between. Is that right for GB1? I've seen that done in other GB1 builds but I'm not completely certain. It's sort of the opposite for GB2 packs, but there are a lot more references of the actual packs that show that. I can still fix mine.
kahuna900 liked this
By tobycj
#4965398
Petzrick wrote: January 14th, 2022, 5:33 pm Thanks! I should've shown this.

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I've got the carriage bolt attached from the inside of the shell, through the bumper into the bellows. There's also a steel spacer in-between. Is that right for GB1? I've seen that done in other GB1 builds but I'm not completely certain. It's sort of the opposite for GB2 packs, but there are a lot more references of the actual packs that show that. I can still fix mine.
The thinking changed on that less than a year ago. It looks like the bolt was only through the bumper and didn't bridge the gap to the cyclotron at all. Possibly changed to increase the bumper stability for GB2??
Petzrick liked this
User avatar
By Petzrick
#4965400
Wow, I completely missed that. Thank you!! Easy to fix. I just looked over a discussion on this in Mburkit's incredible Omni Pack Build. It's got the 4K screen cap where you can see the bolt head on the back of the bumper.

In the GBFans reference section for the screen used bumper, there's an inset hole on the back of the bumper with a washer inside.

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This is after it was modified for GB2, but I'm wondering if it's possible that they had something similar for GB1—just the inset hole and washer for the bolt head to tighten against. What do you think? Of course, unless someone whips out a dental mirror, no one's going to actually see this but I thought it might be cool to include.
EnderWeggen, tobycj liked this

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