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Make Your Own Ghostbusters Proton Pack with Household Items

Build a DIY Ghostbusters Proton Pack with Everyday Items

By | Geek | No Comments

For those that grew up in the 80’s, Ghostbusters was a major phenomenon. Well, the same could be true with today’s kids, as a new Ghostbusters film hits the theaters this summer.

After catching this flick, instead of purchasing any officially licensed gear, consider making your own Ghostbusters Proton Pack. Your kid could be the first one their block that is fully prepared to capture ghosts. Just remember, if you’re using more than one proton pack at a time, don’t cross the streams.

Imgur user Pics4internet recently posted an example of his own DIY project. He challenged himself to build a proton pack for his son over the weekend, primarily using items he found around the house.

First, the creator of this project gathered a bunch of old junk to see what would work best for constructing the pack. He brings up a good point about these types of projects. You should ignore the original color and purpose of the objects that you find. Focus instead on the shape.

There are two main components of the proton pack – the pack itself and the gun. For the pack, the original poster gathered a plastic dog bowl, a peanut butter lid, an almond snack pack box, a tic-tac container, glue stick, binary clock, paper tubes, and an R/C car wheel.

Getting the basic shape layed out with household items

pics4internet | Imgur

The binary clock gives a neat little LED show along the back of the pack, once fully assembled. Though, you could use any toy that blinks. The OP chose the binary clock because the blinking of the blue LED lights resembled the rising and falling blue bar on the real packs.

After gathering the supplies, he laid everything out on a table on top of 1/4-inch foam core board. Lay everything out to get a sense of the scale of the project. This will help you position the items and make sure you got everything you need.

From there, he began cutting out the basic shapes out of the foam core board, starting with the cyclotron shape along the back of the proton pack. He traced the shape of the dog bowl and then used a #10 X-Acto blade to cut the foam core board. Two pieces are cut.

Cut out the cyclotron shape

pics4internet | Imgur

Holes were then drilled into the dog food bowl to serve as light sockets. A peanut butter jar is cut and then fitted to the side of the dog food bowl. A series of pieces cut from toilet paper rolls are glued to the cyclotron shape.

Completing the proton accelerator assembly

pics4internet | Imgur

Strips of balsa wood were glued to the top of a couple of small cardboard boxes to create the heat sinks. When using cardboard boxes, he suggests stuffing napkins into the boxes. This helps them keep their shape.

Create heat sinks on the boxes out of wood

pics4internet | Imgur

A series of balsa wood panels are then cut. These will line the exterior sides of the proton pack, securing the two pieces of the cyclotron shape. At this point, the overall design is starting to take shape.

Line the exterior of the proton pack with balsa wood

pics4internet | Imgur

Additional odd and end pieces are fitted and either glued or taped to proton pack. The original poster appears to have experimented with various layouts and materials before finding what works.

Finalize the layout of objects for the proton pack

pics4internet | Imgur

Once the proton pack is mostly completed, you can begin preparing the LED’s that will go inside the dog food bowl. Individual LED lights were attached to 4 bottle caps from what appears to be Gatorade bottles.

LED lights glued to plastic bottle caps

pics4internet | Imgur

The entire LED, battery, and circuit setup get sealed into the dog food bowl with red lens tape. The creator of this project powered the whole thing with a 9V battery hooked to a switch, which should last the life of the proton pack.

Proton pack LED assembly

pics4internet | Imgur

The entire contraption is connected to a piece of board that will be used to create a backpack. In fact, an old backpack is taped to the backer board. Before finishing off the project, he added a few final details, such as a printed CAUTION label and blots of paint to create the appearance of wear and tear.

Finished proton pack complete with stickers

pics4internet | Imgur

The end result is truly amazing. Anyone, young or old, would be envious of this proton pack. If you would like to give it a try, then check out the original post on Imgur and see for yourself how to build a DIY Ghostbusters Proton Pack.

Build Your Own Life-size BB-8 Droid For Just $120 in Parts

By | Geek, Play, Technology, Workshop | No Comments

We all seek different things in our friends – companionship, encouragement …or a “bleep-blop” talking robot and intergalactic partner in the fight against the Dark Side of the Force. To have the kind of relationship that Luke Skywalker had with R2-D2 was my ultimate bestie goal so when I saw the first videos for “The Force Awakens” featuring a new droid whose body rolled effortlessly across any terrain while its head remained upright, I was immediately asking “what sorcery is this?”

Like many other curious tech enthusiasts, I found myself on the waiting list for one of Sphero’s BB-8 toys. But 17-year-old engineering hobbyist, Angelo Casimiro, just couldn’t wait. These toys were even harder to come by in the Philippines and cost over $200! Instead, he decided to build one for his toy-collector father as a Christmas present. What Angelo quickly learned was that the greatest gift his father received was the time they spent building together the week of Christmas.

What I like about Angelo’s method is that he doesn’t use fancy 3D printers, CNCs or milling machines you typically see for these types of projects. With a few tools, a little bit of Arduino circuitry, a free remote control phone app and creative use of household items, this father-son duo brought their favorite droid to life!

Build the body with a beach ball and paper mache.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

For the body, Angelo took a low-tech approach using a fully-inflated beach ball as a mold that he then fortified with newspaper strips and paper mache – sort of like making a pinata. Once dry, he smoothed out the surface with wood putty and a bit of sanding.

The head is made from a styrofoam ball cut in half.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

The head is a big styrofoam ball cut in half, hollowed out and also smoothed over with wood putty and sand paper. A Christmas ball ornament, cut in half and painted black from the inside made up the large glossy eye piece.

Painted BB-8 head with eye.

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

Using photos and videos online as a reference, Angelo’s dad transferred the robot’s designs to their creation using a compass for curves and tailer’s measuring tape for straight lines. After a few coats of orange, black and gray paint, the body and head looked like the real thing!

BB-8 Arduino circuitry

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

As for the “brains” of the droid, an Arduino Uno micro-controller board communicates with other boards that control a set of wheels inside the body allowing the BB-8 droid to move around with the same agility as in the movie. Arduino Uno receives its commands via Bluetooth from a free phone app designed for remote-control cars to steer the droid around. The head remains upright and rolls effortlessly over the body through a set of speaker magnets holding the two pieces together.

Head mechanism for BB-8

Photo: ASCAS | Instructables

To make it easy to replicate his project, Angelo includes all the artwork templates, Arduino code, droid sound bytes as mp3s, and wiring schematics as downloads in his step-by-step tutorial.

No more excuses, it’s time to fulfill my childhood friendship goals!

Check out Angelo’s DIY Life-Size Phone Controlled BB-8 Droid on Instructables for all the details to build your own.

This Awesome Baby’s Marty McFly Costume and DeLorean Push Car is an Epic Parenting Win

By | Geek, Holiday | No Comments

For Cooper’s first Halloween, his Back to the Future-loving parents dressed him up as Marty McFly. But a simple wardrobe change doesn’t sacrifice nearly enough free time to satisfy a true gearhead so his parents spent weekends and nights throughout the month of October to build a DeLorean out of a plastic child’s push car.

Back To The Future Cardboard Costume

Goines | Flickr

Cooper’s mom, Cory, has always loved cars since she was little and grew up going to car shows with her father so what better way to tote your 1-year old son around on Halloween (or any day for that matter) than in a customized Step2 push car? To recreate the iconic DeLorean she used cardboard, tape, paint and some EL lighting with the help of her husband, Jeremy.

Back to the Future Cardboard Costume

Goines | Flickr

The result? A perfect mix of geek and gearhead complete with hovering wheels, the OUTATIME license plate, and Mr. Fusion. The best part – the time machine will allow Cooper to amass the largest stockpile of candy of all time! All he has to do is visit every Halloween night in the history of time and dump any of the lame candy like raisins, pretzels or apples into Mr. Fusion for fuel.

After all, isn’t that what all 1-year olds want?

Back to the Future DIY Cardboard Costume

Goines | Flickr

Check out more photos of their Back to the Future Halloween costume build here.

Use Your Gaming Console's Joystick as a Gear Shifter for Your Car

Swap your Gear Shifter with a Gaming Joystick

By | Automotive, Geek | No Comments

If you consider your car your significant other, then chances are, video gaming is your mistress. These two fight relentlessly for your attention so why not enjoy both at the same time by flashing a little geek pride in your ride?

If you devoted a lot of your young adulthood to old flight sim games like X-wing vs. Tie Fighter then hopefully you haven’t yet parted with your joysticks like the Quickshot Warrior or Thrustmaster.

Swapping out your manual stock shifter for joystick is actually pretty easy as the author of Geek Greek and TDI Club member, NarfBLAST, can attest. All each of them had to do was remove the stock shifter knob by twisting, pulling or unscrewing it and pushing down the collar to expose more of the shift column.

Joysticks are typically comprised of two plastic halves that are held together by screws so you can open them up and remove any extra components you don’t need. Buttons can be wired to do a variety of things like activate interior lighting, sound the horn, trigger high beams, start the engine, deliver some NOS, or even engage “ludicrous” speed.

Joystick Wiring

NarfBLAST | Geek Greek

Now attaching the joystick to the shift column can be a little tricky and I’ve seen all sorts of methods. Geek Greek filled the base of his joystick with epoxy putty and let it bond directly to the column. But if you change your mind, you’ll probably end up breaking the thing trying to remove it.

Gurobuzz at Instructables came up with a less permanent solution so it fit snug but you could still remove it easily. Drill a hole going through your shift column (preferably in a non-threaded portion) where the handle screw can go all the way through. This will prevent the joystick from shifting or twisting around while you use it. Protect your shift column by covering it with tape or plastic wrap. Fill the base of one of the handle halves only halfway up with bondo and let it cure. Be sure not to cover up any wiring or switches. Then do the same to the other half but fill it right up to the edge. While it’s still wet, cover it with plastic wrap and unite the two halves on the shift column and let it dry in place. This way you can always unscrew the two halves if you ever want to change up the wiring or get another shift knob.

Others have managed to install a threaded base to the handle so it screws on like an aftermarket knob. Although the look of a flight control stick is undeniably cool, I don’t know how much trust I’d put into a plastic toy so I’d keep the stock knob handy in case you ever find yourself with a hand full of plastic shards.

Flight Control Stick from Huey Helicopter

NarfBLAST | Geek Greek

Or, you could get the real deal – like this one that came out of a military Huey helicopter. These pop up on eBay all the time and some even come with the column so you could modify it to fit your car. They’ll cost you a few hundred dollars, but you plan on making it a permanent addition to your ride it’s well worth the reliability and peace of mind for even the hardest of drivers.

Check out the post at Geek Greek for details on how he installed a Quickshot Warrior 5 joystick, NarfBLAST’s thread for the Thrustmaster joystick install, Gurobuzz’s Instructable for specifics on wiring it up and Wexy21’s walkthrough for the Huey helicopter flight control stick.