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').
The original proton pack I made using only materials acquired all at the same time at a scrap yard years ago.
This is the easy part. Basically, Google Image Search was my friend here. Just Googling "proton pack" brought a wealth of images to base a design on. It helps that there are plenty of actual Ghostbuster enthusiasts out there meticulously compiling everything they can find. Within minutes I had more images of Proton Packs than I knew what to do with. So I narrowed it down to those more likely to help me with a rough approximation:
So, as I mentioned before, I wanted to do blinky lights and sound effects on this one. So this required a bit more research. I was familiar with a device known as an Arduino for some time now and knew it would be capable of doing the basic stuff I needed with it. Notably:
For those unfamiliar, an 'Arduino' is a low cost development platform composing of a 'microcontroller' (think 'basic computer on a chip') and the accompanying electronics to make it easy to program via USB, test it via the same, and interface with other things, custom and prebuilt(known as 'Arduino shields'), using a standard pin and power configuration.
If that sentence sounds scary, it really isn't. It can basically be considered "embedded electronics for dummies" with all the power and flexibility that used to be prohibitive to access if not a trained and well stocked electrical engineer and logic programmer.
The nicest thing about Arduinos is that they were developed with the hobbyists in mind and are very popular. So finding tutorials, examples, pre-made 'shields' to do fancy things, etc... is extremely easy.
So I knew I'd be using an Arduino...but how to make it make noise and, more so, store sound clips I could access programmatically?
Well, Googling "Arduino wav playing" brought me to a shield known as a 'wav shield' from a hobby-electronics company named Adafruit.
So, I roughly knew how I'd get the light and sound show going. What the pack looked like. What the wand looked like. Time to begin figuring out what parts I'd need, and we'll go over some of that on the next post, stay tuned!
Part 2 is now up here!
"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.