Mar 12, 2016 | By Benedict

What’s that? You ain’t afraid of no 3D printing project? Then check this out: Sean Charlesworth of just spent several months designing an incredible 3D printed ghost trap, as seen in the iconic Ghostbusters movies. The replica prop boasts light, sound, and smoke effects, and consists of 50 3D printed parts.

If you, like us, can’t wait to see the all-new, all-female Ghostbusters squad in action this summer, this brilliant 3D printing project is sure to both whet your appetite for the new flick and invoke some some delicious nostalgia for the original hit movies: Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Over the course of several months, Sean Charlesworth of tech site put together his epic 3D printed Ghostbusters ghost trap, replete with purple lights, sounds effects, and smoke. The fully functional prop can be fully or partially 3D printed, depending on one’s level of commitment to the original electrical and material components.

When Charlesworth first decided to embark upon this ambitious 3D printing project, he could not have predicted the amount of time and dedication that it would eventually demand of him. But before making the first clicks in his CAD software and before jotting down the first items on a lengthy shopping list, the tech expert had an important decision to make: Should he try to recreate the ghost trap from Ghostbusters, whose color palette he preferred, or from Ghostbusters II, for which he had technical blueprints provided by Ghostbusters Fans? Seeing priceless elements in both, the maker eventually chose neither, opting instead to design a hybrid ghost trap. We think we made the right decision.

The awesome 3D printed ghost trap is similar in size to the prop used in the second movie, for convenience as well as aesthetics: “It just felt like a good size, and we wanted everything to fit on the print bed,” Charlesworth explained. “The overall size is Ghostbusters II, but there are things from Ghostbusters such as the cartridge—On the II [traps] they tended to be flush with the front, but I have it sticking out a bit like on Ghostbusters because I like that aesthetically. I also did the red side-rails which are silver in II, but I really like the red ones in Ghostbusters.

So that would be his ghost trap design, but Charlesworth did not deny that other makers had already attempted to create a 3D printed model in the same vain. Importantly though, the maker believes that his model offers some big advantages over those previous efforts: “There are other 3D printed traps available out there, but [on many of them] the whole side panels would be just one big piece,” he said. “Not everything would be placed for optimal print quality, which makes it harder if you want to paint it. I broke everything [down] into its actual pieces so you could print them in silver, black, or red—without painting them—and it would look pretty good.”

Of the several months spent on the incredible project, Charlesworth devoted a whole week to sourcing non-printed components such as knobs, switches, aluminum plates, and electrics. The maker was able to obtain a list of the exact components used in the original movie prop via the dedicated Ghostbusters Fans community. Unfortunately, many of these components were incredibly hard to get a hold of, since the original props were assembled in the 1980s. Charlesworth was up for the challenge, but for those who don’t fancy a mission of that magnitude, the maker also designed a fully 3D printable version of the ghost trap, requiring only metal screws—70 of them, to be precise—and a non-printed electrical relay.

Luckily for us, when designing his epic 3D printed Ghostbusters prop, guru Charlesworth wanted to create more than just a stationary replica: “I knew that I wanted this to work,” he explained. “Lights and sound were a must, and the doors had to open—this turned out to be the biggest problem to solve because in the movies there’s the trap that only smokes, the trap that only rolls, the trap that only makes light… This all had to be combined into one unit. I didn’t want little rods sticking out of the top to open and close the doors; I had to figure out a way to make the doors open and close without showing the mechanism.”

And find a way he did: a chain drive hidden within the body of the trap flips open the doors when the user pushes on the connected pedal or a button on the trap itself. And that’s not all! Purple lights flash, sound effects ring, and—incredibly—smoke appears. “In the movie they used dry ice or liquid smoke effects,” said Charlesworth. “I wanted something that could be self-contained, repeatable, and easy to use, so I started thinking about e-cigarettes. I went down a rabbit hole of vaping!”

Two e-cigarettes within the trap start “smoking” when the trap is activated. The smoke is pumped through a 3D printed rail which goes around the entry, before exiting through outlets on top of the machine. “The technology in [e-cigarettes] is really cool,” Charlesworth enthused. “I found out that other people had tried it before, but not exactly how they did it. I was buying magic DVDs with smoke magic tricks… turns out [the solution] was e-cigarettes.”

For both the “deluxe” and fully 3D printed versions of the ghost trap, used a 3D printer provided by Dremel, a company that recently launched a scheme for bringing 3D printing into schools across the US. The deluxe model took Charlesworth around 40 hours to print on the Dremel 3D printer, with the fully 3D printed model requiring a little extra time. The 3D printing files for the trap are available to download at Thingiverse, with a detailed video walkthrough below.

Who you gonna call for more epic 3D prints? 3Ders!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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