Saturday, 17 January 2015

Proton Pack Lighting 101

The 3D printed Ghostbuster's proton pack that I'm making needs some lights. Today I concentrated on the 'cyclotron' lights. These plans have been created by dedicated fans who have stop framed the original film to produce accurate drawings.

These need to be red when illuminated, but as dark as possible when off. To achieve this, I 3D printed a LED diffuser using clear PLA.

Using superglue, I stuck this to some car window tint that I had left over from creating the skeleton effect for halloween:

This makes the diffuser look 'black' when the LED is powered off:

But reveals a nice red when the led is illuminated.

I'm using TLCR5800 hight brightness LEDs that normaly fit into my Lasertag muzzle flashes.

Fame (sort of, though not by name) on the Atmel blog.

Still putting mine together! Get the files from:

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Making parts look right...

My Ghostbusters proton pack replica uses several pneumatic fittings that were available to the prop builders in the 80', but are no longer manufactured.
A result of limited availability and demand has led to some crazy prices for these parts.
The parts that can cause problems are: The Legris Banjo:

I've seen originals of these going for $100 each on ebay, and a resin cast replica which needs some finishing will cost over 20GBP with postage from the US.
Another part is the Legris straight fitting:

These again will cost me around 30GBP to import from the US as a pair.

So I decided to make my own.....

I asked the Iron Man of Maine to measure the ones he has, and I coincidentally had some brass hex bar of exactly the right dimentions.

I had to make two of these, so first I parted the bar:

Then I turned it down to give the pipe exit 'nipple':

I then drilled the hole to 5mm. I did this after the turning down as the nipple walls are quite thin and I didn't want to risk damaging them whilst turning down.

I then turned the part around, and reduced the bar diameter to allow me to thread it, using the oldest tap and die set in my collection. I used this as the threads of the metric dies I have seemed too coarse compared with the reference picture:

I used the end stop chuck to hold the die against the workpiece to get it started:

To create the circular depression in the top of the part, I used an old lathe tool that was made by my wife's late grandfather. This has a really small tip and is right angled to allow me to apply it to the end face of the work piece:

It came out looking really well, but too shiny. So I applied some dilute ferric chloride solution to the machined surfaces for a couple of seconds to dull them, before washing off with water:

For the Legris Banjo, I decided to try 3D printing. They came out quite well, and I smoothed them out with acetone vapour. For a brass like effect, I bought some some antique gold metallic paint. But it was too 'gold' So I added a trace of black.

It came out looking OK, but I tested it on a brass bar I had lying around:
The bottom 2cm of the bar have been painted. It looked so good I had to scratch the paint to make sure it was actually covering properly.

After painting the banjo, I think this is not too bad. I've put the parts on Thingiverse.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Someone saw a cockroach up on twelve.....

Proton pack design is pretty well complete. tommyb345b has beaten me to completion with my own design. But my copy of it is coming along nicely:

All the files are available at: Thingiverse

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

More 3D printed proton pack

I've been continuing with my build of a 100% 3D printed (actually about 97%, see next post) Ghostbuster's Proton Pack. The 'synch generator' has many thin rectangular details around its radius.

These can be seen in Steffan Otto's plans:

My plans is to glue these into place, but I need to adhere this lot:

Onto this:

In this style:

There are two problems here:
  1. The parts are thin and liable to fall over whilst the glue sets.
  2. The parts are angularly spaced at 16.36degrees.

I printed onto A2 paper the CAD drawing I had for the synch generator:

Then I aligned the synch generator onto the print:

I then hot glued the details into place, using the print as a reference.All in all...a successful job:

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Home Sweet Home

I've just fitted a Nest Learning Thermostat to my central heating boiler.
I discovered a few weeks ago that the thermostat on my wall is not actually connected to the boiler. This would explain why I was unable to regulate my house temperature by adjusting it, the boiler is controlling itself.No wonder my house is hot.

We have thermostat valves on all the radiators bar one, and I thought we could do better.
I got a good deal on the Nest thermostat. Nest Labs were bought by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion, and so I'm expecting great support from this product. It is WiFi enabled and iOS and Android apps allow you to control it remotely. It also has self learning modes, and given a zip/postal code, knows the external weather conditions, so it can learn how quickly your house heats to ensure you have the desired room temperature at a given time. A web interface also allows for easy scheduling.

It comes with everything you need for a simple installation. The thermostat itself has a colour LCD display surrounded by a stainless steel rotary dial which is used to change settings. Pressing the dial like a mouse button confirms a selection. It is manufactured exceedingly well and oozes quality.

The thermostat is connected to the boiler controller wirelessly. The boiler controller is mains powered and provides a SPDT relay for control of the heating system. In normal operation the now defunct boiler timer is set to always on.
The boiler controller also outputs a 12V d.c. supply to power the thermostat. Normally one would simply disconnect the old thermostat, and use the old cabling to supply the Nest. I was unable to do this in my installation, but the Nest controller comes with a USB style wall wart which is fine.

The thermostat mounts into a cradle, which can be attached to the included wall plate, or an optional stand. Interestingly, the wall plate has an inbuilt spirit level. I've never seen a product with that level of detail before.

Unable to utilise the position of the old thermostat, I wanted to try a few different positions in the house in order to find the best location. Nest supply an optional stand, but it costs around 30GBP. When I find the ideal spot, I want to wall mount the unit, but I'm not willing to splash out so I designed and 3D printed my own.

It's very much based on the official stand which has inbuilt power connections, whereas mine simply allows the supplied USB power cable to fit in the back of the unit. I also added a flange at the back of the stand to prevent it falling over when operating the thermostat dial:

It's sitting in my dining room right now and seems to be doing what it is supposed to. The house certainly seems a bit cooler...which means I am spending less cash. I've published the stand files on Thingiverse.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Proton Pack build continued

Over the weekend I printed out the Proton Pack motherboard onto A1 paper. This allowed me to accurately position the holes. Each part of the PP has several mounting holes underneath, and I am using #4 x 19mm self tappers to fasten the individual parts. It's starting to look pretty good: