Proton Pack v2

I had a good time building my original proton pack and it's held up well over the years.  I've never been fully satisfied with it, however.  For one thing, it's heavy -- probably at least 30 pounds.  For another, it's a bit hacked-together.  Okay, fine; it's a LOT hacked together and some of the dimensions are farther off than I'd like.  It's also heavy.  And it doesn't have electronics.  And did I mention it's heavy?

So now I'm working on a new one.  My intention this time around is to mold the shell in fiberglass.  I've never worked in fiberglass before so this may or may not turn out well.  While I'm not going for 100% screen-accurate (if such is even possible), I want it to be as close as feasible and still be light enough to wear around Dragon Con all day.

5 month(ish) hiatus

posted Apr 19, 2015, 6:52 PM by Lewis Baumstark

I spent most of the winter and early spring working on an earlier-deadline project, so it's only been in the last couple of weeks I've gotten back to this.  The main progress was:
  1. rebuilding the crank generator
  2. putting the "heat sink" details on the power cell and gun mount
  3. lots of wood putty and sanding

Right now it's in three separate pieces:
  1. Cyclotron and synchronous generator
  2. Power cell, EDA/Booster, crank generator, and gun mount
  3. Ion arm
The plan is to cast each of these separately in fiberglass, then glue together with bondo, bolts, etc.  I might separate the cyclotron from the synchronous generator and cast them individually.  It'll be more work, but it'll let me adjust the rotation of the cyclotron to be level with the bumper.  I'm a little worried about that detail.

Skipping ahead...

posted Nov 23, 2014, 2:30 PM by Lewis Baumstark

I've managed to work on things along and along, but haven't managed to keep up with updates in the interim.  So today you see a lot of the pieces dry-fitted together:

I'm definitely going to re-build the gearbox/crank generator.  It's undersized.  This time I'll build it as a box and not a solid chunk made up of layers.

The HGA is cut from a bottle of Target-brand acetaminophen.  :)

The N-filter is cut from two PVC couplings (for 2-1/2 pipe, I think).

Update 2: Circles and Boxes

posted Sep 16, 2014, 6:45 PM by Lewis Baumstark

Had a rare chance to work in the shop this past weekend.

A couple weeks ago I bought an adjustable circle-cutter from Harbor Freight.  It was pretty fiddly to set the proper diameter(s) on it, but it was cheap.  It isn't fit for precision work, but for costuming purposes it was more than sufficient.  So I recut the circles on the upper arm of the Synchronous Generator and also cut the four rings on the Cyclotron:

These circles turned out much better than the ones I originally cut by hand.

I'm waiting to glue it all up until I can properly size the N-filter.

I also took a 3/8" round-over bit and rounded the edge of the Cyclotron with my router.

Next I roughed out the EDA and Booster:

Both pieces are basically boxes built out of 3/4" thick scrap wood/MDF.  It went quick on this end, but there is a lot of filling and sanding in my future....

Update 1: Bucking the trend

posted Aug 23, 2014, 12:55 PM by Lewis Baumstark   [ updated Aug 23, 2014, 7:32 PM ]

The first phase of construction is to build bucks of the various pieces.  Here's what I have so far...

Roughing out a crank generator/gearbox.  I glued up several layers of 3/4" plywood, then cut the central channel with my table saw and a dado blade.  The detail "fins" were cut to width on the table saw, then sliced to the proper(ish) thickness on the bandsaw.  The central cylinder is from, I think, a piece of closet rod.

Still missing the details on the top edge (which is really the bottom front). After that is lots of wood filler and sanding to pretty it up.

I *may* have to rebuild this one from scratch.  It's a full 1/8" off on a possibly-critical dimension.  Once I get the other bucks ready we'll see how it works on a dry fit.

Synchronous Generator made from layers of 3/4" MDF, then rough-cut on the bandsaw, then sanded to final shape on the disk sander.  The hole was me being an idiot (don't ask); fortunately it will be covered up by some future details meaning I won't have to fill and sand it.

Here is my circle-cutting rig, working on the Cyclotron.  Back when I built the Crockinole boards, I came up with a pretty slick (if I do say so myself) way to cut circles using a router.  First I rough-cut (about 1/8" outside the line) using a jigsaw or bandsaw.  Then I use my router with a straight bit and circle-cutting jig to give it a nice smooth finish.  I could use the router to cut the whole thing, but it's harder on the bit and creates a crap-ton more sawdust.

The rough-cut Cyclotron, pre-routing:

Cyclotron dry-fit to the Synchronous Generator.  The top two layers of the Cyclotron are 3/4" MDF and the third, larger-diameter, layer is 1/2" plywood.  I hate using good plywood for this, but it was all I had and I'm avoiding buying material as much as possible.

I also made some smaller disks that go on the stem of the Synchronous Generator, but I don't like how they turned out.  I had to cut them by hand (they were too small for my circle jig).  I'm going to get an adjustable hole saw and see if that makes for better results.

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