What is an Arduino?
So, before I get into how I employed an Arduino to produce the sound effects and coordinate the lighting, I'll get you up to speed as to what, exactly, is an Arduino.
In technical terms, an Arduino is a combination of a programmable microcontroller and a circuit board containing everything needed to interface to it with a standardized pinout.
In simpler terms, think of it as a mini computer you can send computer code to to instruct it what to do with all those pins.
Welcome to the first "Exordium" post. These are not tied to a specific project, though may appear in the middle of one if I feel some additional information would be handy. Basically, these are intended to be 'introductions" to a subject matter that may appear or play a prominent role in current or future projects. As the following Proton Pack project posts will dive into some electronics work, I figured something like this would be timely and handy.
May 2016 treat ye nicely and bring much inspiration and motivation for multiple machinations made mightily by you many maniacal makers out there!
Here's a shot of the Mad Lab, where I hope to keep making things myself and writing them down for your inspiration :)
So I had a good pack base going. Now I needed a neutrino wand and get that tray lid painted for a cyclotron. I mentioned way back in part #1 that the wand probably would not be as 'accurate' as the rest of the pack for lack of finer details, budget, time, and the fact that no one can think of what it looks like without a photo reference. All the same, I wanted it to at least look reasonably similar and still look like a usable prop(I didn't want it to look like a toy). So with that in mind, I dove in.
Layering the foam
So, now that I had the EVA foam, it was time to assemble the 'base' of the pack. Basically, the bulk of the shape of the backpack portion.
Looking at how much foam came in the pack, and how it would all work layered, I realized I could do not only the base but many of the blockier bits protruding from the pack in EVA foam as well.
So I went ahead and used some poster board (available at pretty much any department store) and drew some shapes in with a Sharpie. For the round part at the base, I used the lid...er...cyclotron as a reference, making the shape about half an inch longer in radius. I figured three layers for the rounded bit, one layer for the absolute base, one layer for the thinner piece for the 'step' and about 4 layers per blocky bit. In the end, it would look something like this:
Note: This post is longer than usual, due to amount of description as to how I came to various conclusions. So don't g
So now that I knew what I could do and wanted to do, it was time to figure out with what I would do it.
I knew I needed an Arduino, and a Wav Shield. I happened to already have the former (that I never used) so I proceeded to order the Wave Shield from Adafruit. If you're ordering an Arduino for the first time, and you're Canadian like me, consider Spikenzie Labs as it'll save you a ton on shipping and currency exchange. That and they're cool folk out of the Montreal maker scene.
I'm midway through writing part 2 of the Proton Pack Project. But I figure some might be wondering what else you can expect from this site after the Proton Pack is finished.
Well, here's a tentative list, in order, of incoming projects. This may very well change, but these are the projects I do plan on working on, in order:
So even if Ghostbuster props aren't your thing, stay tuned as the madness continues!
So, for the inaugural project post on Makings of a Madman, we'll dive into my build of a Ghostbusters Proton Pack.
This build will be different from most on this page since, at the time of this writing, it's already done. So I'm cheating a bit. But I took a number of photos during the build and figure the progenitor of the idea to have this blog topic deserves a proper build log.
A small disclaimer, this is not my first time building a proton pack. I had assembled one before using literally only those things found at a scrap yard back in the mid 2000s. I was hardly using any reference images at all so it only really looks like a Proton Pack if you don't quite recall what a Proton Pack looks like. It did, however, have some flashing lights and was hooked into a cheap mp3 player for some basic audio tricks(I had to skip to the right track, and hit play, but the illusion was 'good enough at the time').
"Inside every sane person there’s a madman struggling to get out."
Réal is a jackass of all trades, master of none, with interests in politics, human interface design, animation, video games, VR, technology, and making random stuff. Has a skill to have both too much time on his hands and nowhere near enough to get stuff done.