Proton Pack Rebuild

Restoring 1984 Kenner Real Ghostbusters Toy Pack

Project Intro

1984 was an important year for many people, for me... it was the year of my birth; but us 80s babies were also lucky or tainted enough to grow up with films like Gremlins, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Terminator, The NeverEnding Story, The Last Starfighter, and of course Ghostbusters. Movies that warped our little minds creating a generation of artists and writers that carried that wonderfully inventive and boundless imagination on 35 years later. Seeing as the much anticipated 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' movie is being relesased this coming summer, I thought I'd do a little rebuild project in honour of the original film which inspired so many of us back when we were kids... Or just shorter kids.

2019 Proton Pack Restoration

1984 Kenner Proton Pack

At the tender age of five, my mum and dad were awesome enough to have graced me with one of those Ghostbusters Proton Packs, there may still be one lurking in your attics. I guess it was based off the animated series 'The Real Ghostbusters', although the show aired two years later. Best I can guess is the design of the toy was manufactured as the movie or series was being developed. Either way, I remember going completely nuts when I saw this thing and showed it off at my fifth birthday party.

There I am, looking as fashionable as ever. The yellow hose and foam has long since perished, the stickers are hanging on only by dirt I think and it's taken a beating over the years; but I decided to sort of 'revamp' the old girl and use some 3D printed parts to make this a functional prop with lights and sounds.

 
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Designing In Fusion 360

I modelled the parts using the size of the toy pack as a guide with calipers. By simulating the original pack in 3D space I could gauge an accurate size for the printed parts. I liked how the toy was based off the animated TV series, and I guess at 5 years old I wouldn't have seen the Movie yet; so I looked at some resource images and kind of made a hybrid pack that included some elements of the movie version such as the Power Cell, Crank Generator and Injectors, as well as the original stickers on the toy itself. This was so I could house some of the electronics and also to add to it's overall aesthetic vibe. The little bulbs and vents were designed so that some light can escape from the particle thrower, neutrino wand... The gun bit.

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3D printed parts

Most of the parts were 3D printed in PolyLite Blue PET-G (supplied by 3d Filaprint) on the creality CR-10 Mini. Although some parts were also printed using SLS printers and the Anycubic Photon printer in clear and grey resin. Pretty much everything added to the pack was designed in fusion 360 and 3D printed with exception to some EVA foam as a base, a few screws and bolts, some hoses and a bit of filler and paint. I cant remember the total printing time for this project, but I remember not getting any sleep that week, so lengthy. Pieces such as the Bumper and Injectors were printed on the Photon and gave a nice smooth finish to the parts when painted.

 
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Lights and Lasers

The Particle thrower is controlled by the Prop-Maker FeatherWing by Adafruit. I programmed the board using CircuitPython to control a switch, push button, RGB led, 4 Ohm 3 Watt speaker, Neo pixel Jewel and the built-in accelerometer to activate the sound and light effects. I also included a re-assembled spot laser in the barrel of the thrower which is activated by a little switch on the handle. This bright green light coupled with the pulsing colors of the RGB led & Neo pixel made for a pretty neat effect once triggered. Rotating the handle around 45° activates the flashing lights & blast sound, and shaking the handle anywhere beyond 45° activates the cut-off effect. The Cyclotron and Power Cell lights are controlled by a simple PCB board running a light pulse routine. Be sure to check out the short demo video below. Caution - the lights are bright.

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Final outcome

And there it is. I made a PVC pipe frame and bolted it to the back of the pack, I also added some stickers and straps from an old backpack to finish it off. All in all the project took about a month and alot of that time was spent learning the programming language. I'd never really soldered any boards before so this was a nice little learning curve and im pretty pleased that I was able to add something back to a simple toy that brought me and others a lot of happiness as children. Hopefully my kid will get as big a kick outta playing with this as I did.

 
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  • Created by: K Meadows
  • Completed on: 23rd December 2019
  • Software: Fusion 360
  • Purpose: Prop
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Project completion:

Thank you for taking the time to look through my work, you can watch a time-lapse video of the proton pack build below. Any questions give me a shout.

I'm always keen to work with other designers out there and collaborate on further projects. Please take a moment to share my project and do Get In Touch.

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