This is for other Ghostbusters Props that don't fit into the categories above.
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By Parflagush
#4972316
I started building an Ecto Containment Unit around July-August of 2021. The goal was to have it completed in time for FanX (Salt Lake Comic Convention), which was mid September. It would be an aggressive timeline for sure, but it was a challenge I accepted.

I would be using Mike Nelson's (mikenelson1982) plans, and I took advantage of all the hard work 910dohead and his team at Southland GB did with their build. Without them, this wouldn't be possible. Many, many thanks and praise to them for their efforts as I primarily used their build thread as a guide in building mine.

We aren't targeting accuracy like Southland is. We just want something that looks the part. We'll build accuracy where we can, but we'll find alternatives in places where we can't make accuracy happen, and also do what we can in the time we have to work with, which is a little over a month.

The first thing we did as a team. Most of the rest of the build I took on myself, drawing a little help from a friend nearby on occasion. We built the frame (way back in February 2021) and it sat there until I picked it up to finish in August. Nothing worse than an incomplete prop nagging you every time you walk by it, eh?

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The next thing to build is the curved box on the bottom of the containment unit.

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And covered them with MDF and project board.

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And then, I planned to bolt that bottom half to the main unit.

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To be continued...
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972318
Lots of putty and sanding on that rounded bottom to get it as smooth as possible. I still didn't get it where I wanted it, but golly I was on a timeline. I could obsess with it forever, but I had to get it finished!
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Priming it up! This wood was just soaking up the primer. It was gonna take more coats and more sanding.
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Adding some nubs. I found these at Home Depot. I don't remember what they were called. I just measured and superglued them in place.
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There is a side block on the main unit that was buggin me. Southland used a big chunck of wood for that, but I didn't have any wood that size. So I took to TinkerCad and designed and printed one.
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As it would turn out, I'd need to print a lot more parts that weren't easily crafted or found. But more on that later.

I would need to cut a hole for the handle.
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...continued...
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972319
I started to get tired of running to the store for everything I needed, so instead of just getting a square dowel and a round dowel to make the handle, I TinkerCadded it.
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Printed and attached.
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A bolt from the outside runs through the hole in the handle with a nut to hold it on.
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Primed, sanded the main unit and attached the side block, with wood screws from the inside.
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To be continued...
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972322
Next, I started to build the door and the innards. This part gave me the most uncertainties. I wasn't sure what material to use, and I didn't have the resources to have it machined with a nice hinge like Southland GB's did, so I was going into this blind.

I decided to try MDF to build the door and inner parts, with a 3/4" square dowel for the base part.

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Cut out and started laying out the pieces.
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And while I was cutting things out, I cut the front panel for the colored buttons and the panel for the level meter and knobs. I couldn't find the correct buttons like the Southland guys did, but really I didn't look very hard. I found these and decided they were good enough. I needed things done soon!
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Now I had no idea how I was gonna do the hinges, and I didn't know where to even look, but my local stores had nothing that was even close. So I grabbed some and started fixing them on to hinge to the door and...well I'll just say this was dumb and I was probably tired when I came up with this lame-brained idea.
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But sometimes you gotta go down the wrong road to realize you gotta take a different path. I decided to just jump into TinkerCad again and draw up some hinges for the door.
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And a dowel to link them together.
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Test fitting.
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Obviously there would be a concern about the strength of the hinges, whether it would support the weight once I get all of the other stuff attached. But the hinges won't be bearing all of the weight, as that will be mostly from the support bars, I think. Still, I moved forward this and we'll see how well it pans out. It's all a learning process anyway.

Here's a little video of the hinges in action:
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972370
I found the handle tray on Thingiverse and printed it out. I wasn't sure if mounting it using screws from the front would be accurate, but it seemed to make the most sense. (Note: I did not use the handle stl on Thingiverse because it was the wrong shape. More on that later.)
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Next I decided to take a break from building to experimenting with the electronics. I went with an Arduino UNO and an 8 channel 5v relay to drive the button LEDs and the red/green bulbs as well as a possible smoke addition. Here is a video of the buttons working.


Next, I attached the support rails for the door. I can't remember what these were actually called, but I do remember having difficulty finding them by name.
UPDATE: Buyers Door Check and Hold Back

Here's a video of them in action:


I realize I'm not sharing exactly how I did things or where I found all my parts, but I took a lot of information and inspiration from Southland GB's ECU build. Still, if you have questions about anything on my build, please feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972372
I couldn't find the correct meter for the front panel display. This was the closest I could find on eBay. It looks the part, but I believe it is a little too big.
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I also couldn't find any of the correct knobs. So I 3D printed some that I thought were pretty close. Here they are attached to the panels via screws from the inside. The buttons are attached as well.
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At this point I'm pretty much just sizing everything up. Drilling holes and cutting slots and all that. It all has to come off to paint.

Some parts like the heat sinks and brass brackets for the inside were too difficult to find. Or something simple like the aluminum bar for the two front blocks on the inside door were too pricey. So I just designed those in Tinkercad and 3D printed those.
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Oh, and the thyristors for the inside...I gave up looking. Even the ones I found that resembled them on eBay were way too pricey. So I did the best I could 3D modeling those. I think they turned out okay.
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972373
For the back panel, I had to get a big ol' piece of plywood. Of course I didn't have any, so I visited Home Depot again. This 3/4" thick piece of plywood hurt my wallet pretty good.
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Cut to shape.
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Rounded off the corners for the door and epoxied the hinge parts on.
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Sizing up the door box and adding some socket head screws.
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Then I dry fitted the door and hinges to test fit. Seems to be good for now, but later I would realize a slight measuring mistake that would have me scrapping and redoing a good chunk of this.
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Too close?
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It was too close. In fact, I had mis-measured by 1/2" and had to redo the door. Wasn't bad to just cut it. But then I also realized that the width of the inside of the door chamber was also 1/2" off on each side. It was too narrow so when I put the blocks on the ends (that is the end blocks where the magnets would grab onto), the door wouldn't close. This second measurement wasn't my fault though. The plans were not clear on the width of this, so it was an easy mistake to make. Unfortunately, I was so mad at this that I didn't take any photos of me correcting it, but it all worked out in the end.

More to come...
Last edited by Parflagush on September 28th, 2022, 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972374
The ECU handle that is available on Thingiverse isn't the right shape, and it was bugging me. Southlad GB's identified the part in their build thread, so I used their info to 3D model a new handle matching the right shape and approximate dimensions. I think I had to tweak the dimensions a little to fit the tray on Thingiverse though.

This is wrong:
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This is right. However, with my limited 3D modeling skills, I couldn't figure out how to get the edges to fillet. I know Tinkercad doesn't really have that feature, and Fusion 360 didn't yield any good results. Maybe someone more skilled than I could take a crack at it now. But unfortunately, I had to get this done quick before the convention.
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Paintin' time! Rustoleum primer and Rustoleum Cherry.
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The edge of the plywood back panel was really rough, so it got some extra putty and sanding attention.
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972377
Since I hit a milestone, I thought I'd do some fun stuff and work on the electronics and programming the Arduino UNO.

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Not only would I need to get the button LEDs to stay on when pressed, but I'd need to program the sequence for "cleaning" a trap, along with all the sound effects too.

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For the sound, I would use a DF Player Mini that plays MP3s off a micro SD card. This would be connected to the Arduino UNO.
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Switches would be wired as demonstrated in the video previously.
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The "flush" handle would trigger the final step in the trap cleaning sequence. This is wired with a temp lever SPDT switch in the handle compartment.
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One other feature I had to implement was how to sense when a trap was inserted. I thought about using a lever switch like I did with the handle, but I could see this wearing out after time, and there wasn't a clear spot to mount it. So instead I just got an ultrasonic motion sensor and 3D modeled a mount for it to go in the end of the trap box. This way, when the trap is inserted and the motion sensor detects there is something there, it will play the trap inserted sound like in the movie.
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972379
Now the fun part of attaching all the greeblies and details to the box inside of the door.

Heatsink:
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Thyristors and bracket:
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For the "bellows" as everyone calls it, I used this stuff found at Home Depot:
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It was really easy to attach since it has self-adhesive.
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The "bellows" part of the box was painted black to match the weather seal, so that if there were any cracks between each one, it wouldn't be obvious and show through.
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I don't know if this is what they used on the original prop or not, but I think it definitely looks the part.
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And, finally complete with the wires and tubing attached!
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The tubing doesn't look quite right on there, but it's what I got. I think it's really supposed to be orange wire, but I was on a tight schedule so I had to do this for now.
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972381
More parts would need to be modeled and printed.

Ribbon cable connector plate and connector box. The box mounts on the back panel, and the other plate mounts on the top of the main ECU box, then both are connected with a ribbon cable.
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Side hose connectors - I couldn't find a source for these, and Southland hadn't identified them by name in their thread, so I just did the best I could. The two connectors go on the right side of the ECU and connect to the back panel with a short, black hose between them.
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We were now at the point where most all of the details were completed, save some fine details that we just didn't have time for. I had a couple of friends over so we could test fit the ECU on the faux brick wall.
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At this point, I was in such a hurry I didn't take very many photos. Details were added like the conduit. All the wiring such as the AC plug and wires for the red/green lamps as well as the audio cable for sound were run through the conduit into the top box, and would go through through the wall.

The light holders for the red/green I got from Amazon ("Woods L1707SV Traditional 150W Incandescent Weather Industrial Light, Wall Mount, Silver,Large"). Each of those were wired to the relay that was controlled by the Arduino and would turn on and off for the appropriate phase of operation, based on the programming.
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While I was building the ECU, my buddy was working on building the wall. Since I wasn't involved in that, I can't share any details of how it was constructed, but I do know that it was 2x4's for the frame and eva foam for the "skin". And it looks perfect (you'll see). But first, we had to do a test fit and drill holes for mounting it. At this point the wall hasn't been painted yet.
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........

And there it is! Ecto Containment Unit completed (mostly) in about a month and a half. I didn't have time to get decals made, but we got most of everything completed that we needed to have done in time for the big convention.
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Our pal "Hollywood" depositing a ghost.
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I'll have to get a better video, but this was taken at the convention:


Next is to add decals and we plan to do a little experimenting with smoke during the shutdown sequence. I'll post some more progress pics and videos soon.
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By tobycj
#4972385
Fantastic work! For the parts you 3D modelled are you planning on sharing those? I've got vague plans to do a build myself next year and these would likely be super useful :)
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By Parflagush
#4972402
Thank you. I hadn't planned to share the STL's with the general public, but I'm happy to share them with anyone here who may need them for their build. Just send me a PM when you get your build going.
By tobycj
#4972429
Parflagush wrote: September 6th, 2022, 9:50 am Thank you. I hadn't planned to share the STL's with the general public, but I'm happy to share them with anyone here who may need them for their build. Just send me a PM when you get your build going.
Thank you, that's very kind of you!
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972457
doctorwhoyagonnacall wrote: September 8th, 2022, 12:58 pm Yes thank you. I'd love the files as well for my build much appreciated.
Check your PM.
User avatar
By EnderWeggen
#4972484
I still cant believe how well this turned out. Just sourcing the door guide rails was a nightmare. Still wish I could have helped you build more of the ECU. As for the wall ya I should make a post on it as I never see how ECU builders show ther wall designs and the supports needed.

Great work Gush you've earned it :crunch:
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4972981
In preparation for FanX - Salt Lake Comic Convention, I needed to add some more finishing touches to the ECU.

The first thing I needed to do was fix the paint. I used a high gloss enamel originally, but I couldn't get it to coat evenly, so I decided to just top coat it with a clear coat satin spray. The results were much smoother, I think.
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We were also wanting to make the ECU smoke during the shutdown sequence. This would be a bit of a challenge, but since I still had several available relays, this would be possible.

This is the relay board I needed to wire the smoke machine to.
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Then we got a cheap smoke machine from Spirit Halloween, and hooked it up to a splitter and some tubes and valves.
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I drilled some holes in the bottom to run two tubes inside the unit. the other two tubes would come out of the wall.
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Once I got all the wiring done to the relay, I did a test to see what kind of smoke volume we would get.


While a lot of smoke would be great, we were worried about having too much in the convention center, so I tweaked and dialed it down for the show.


In order to hook up the smoke machine behind the wall, I'd need to cut a hole in the back board. This would go right underneath the "curved" part of the unit that mounts underneath the main box.
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By Parflagush
#4972982
The next thing to do was put it all back together and add labels. The labels I found on Etsy, and they aren't all accurate, so I'll be on the lookout for a new set, or possibly create my own in the future.

I did have to trim some down to fit my ECU panel.
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All ready for the show!

Of course, we'd need a nice wall to mount it to, and Enderweggen handled that task beautifully for us. Built out of EVA foam to reduce the weight, supported by a frame of 2x4's, and textured and painted perfectly!
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The hooks on the wall are for hanging proton packs.
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The ECU looked AMAZING mounted to the wall.
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Gotta watch out for those ConEd guys!
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And here it is demonstrated in it's full glory by Mr. Gush himself.
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User avatar
By 910dohead
#4974133
You have done a fantastic job on your unit! This was a great read and I love what you've done with the electronics setup. I wish we had that stuff already figured out on our end. The smoke effect just makes it that much more dynamic. You ran the gamut and pushed through the many headaches that building one of these throws at you. You also made the weight distribution look easy and that's difficult. Awesome job and fantastic end result.
Parflagush liked this
#4974194
Your Ecto Unit is amazing…I’m a few days away from (fingers crossed) finishing mine for Grand Rapids Comic Con. I sent you a PM if your still willing to share your amazing STL files. I hope to soon post how I built my ECU, very similar to everyone’s on here. Our electronics are a little different, and no sound/or smoke, but hope I can upgrade it when I have more time…also where did you get your sound files for it…curious for later. Awesome work man!!!
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By GhostbusterRN
#4974528
Here’s my ECU I just built for Grand Rapids Comic Con, inspired by Gush and Southlands, mine took a couple weeks, Gush’s a couple months, and Southland a few years!! Although Southlands may be accurate we have yet to see finished pics of the unit yet, and Gush’s has sound and smoke, mine doesn’t yet. I think it’s good for a couple weeks honestly.
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https://youtube.com/shorts/Zd58ELAreBc?feature=share

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