Honey I Shrunk The Kids SHRINK RAY

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SPENGLER87

New Member
I'm currently in the process of collecting parts and drawing up plans for the shrink ray. I have been checking around the forum and to my surprise there is little to no info on this prop, unless I missed a thread. My first step was to try to track down any high res pics I can find.

The best screen caps I can find where the machine is clearly lit are from one scene in the second film. While doing a google image search I came across the three attached 3D renderings made by artist erikjdurwoodii on Deviantart. These renderings have been really useful for drawing up the plans.
The current parts I have picked up are the Viewfinder


And the Heatsinks

Im not entirely happy with the size of them, Im still checking around for larger ones.
I had originally started to prototype it out using 1/2 inch pvc pipe.

But after viewing the movies some more and looking at screen caps I've decided to scrap it. Im going to use 3/4 inch copper tubing in the new build. If anyone has any info on this prop I'd greatly appreciate it. Also if anyone can suggest a size for the capacitors on the nose cone that'd be great.
 

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tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You know, I'm actually kinda surprised that there aren't many people on here who have built them.
 

berger

Sr Member
from what ive heard, its INCREDIBLY complex, and no one has seen what the backside looks like.
 

Mr.Spider

Sr Member
I remember years ago trying to source ref pics and pieces and just like you, coming up nill..... doesnt seem to be any real documentation on this prop.


you got farther than anyone ive ever seen, hopefully this sparks an interest and more info comes to light out of it.
 

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Weaselhammer

Sr Member
This is a heck of an undertaking, but it looks like you are taking a serious approach to it. I wish you luck and look forward to progress ! If I find anything useful I will share it here.
 

TheShinyOne

Well-Known Member
This truly is a monster of a prop. When you are able to finish this, I believe you are the first to do so. :)
 
Here's a shot I found on Flickr. It's not hi-res, but at the very least, you've got a good view of the right side of the gun. Also, it says it was taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios, so maybe it's still there somewhere for someone to take better pics of?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/winterkl/4549549812/sizes/l/in/photostream/

I wish I could offer you more assistance, and I wish you the best of luck. The shrink ray has ALWAYS been one of the coolest looking, most underrated props out there...and it looks like you've got a good start going.

-Jonaas
 
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SPENGLER87

New Member
Thanks for all the kind words of support guys! At the moment Im currently splitting my time between working on this and my Rocketeer helmet, so the shrink ray may take a back seat at times. Im going to prototype the nose cone and forward assembly out of plastic, pvc and cardboard. once Im satisfied with it Im going to take it to a friend who has a machine shop to build it out of aluminum.
 

tk5378

Well-Known Member
There was a thread a long time ago about this prop...I thought it was here and I remember posting some of my reference materials for it, but I can't seem to find it with the search. Maybe it was another board. Anyway, the original prop was on display at DisneyMGM in Florida for a long time as part of the backlot tour. It may still be there in the warehouse area behind the AFI exhibit. I'll look through my old computer and see what I can find, but I do know that there are a lot of commercial television equipment pieces on it and parts from old IBM computers.
 

berger

Sr Member
i seriously hope this goes well and ends up finished, instead of a pile of parts in a box, even if it takes a few years. its a HUGE undertaking, and like many have said, a hugely underrated prop. ive ALWAYS wanted one, and im sure im not alone in that regard. its just SO massive, with SO many little parts that havent been identified, that i think everyone just assumes that it will never get made, or want to be the one to identify/make one of their own.
 

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JakeBluesZombie

New Member
I've always wanted to see this reproduced in toy form or something. It's awesome someone is trying to do an actual 1:1 scale reproduction. Good for you, OP!
 

WayneSzalinski

New Member
I saw this thread and instantly joined. I've always loved Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. I can't wait to see what you make of it.

A few years back I made my own Shrink Ray prop of sorts for an old High School short film.
g3GUq.jpg

750jK.jpg

YBGJw.jpg

ANNH6.jpg



It's best described as merging of the film version and the TV series version.
lncxt.jpg



But anyway this is an awesome thread and I can't wait to see what you come up with OP. :)
 
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RagnarokandRoll

New Member
Hey there OP!

I've been doing extensive research on this topic since at least 2006, because it's my ultimate ambition to build one of these as close to screen accurate as possible. It's my passion project, and yes, kind of an obsession.

I'd like to share my wealth of knowledge in the hopes that some kind of parts identification comes of it from someone more knowledgeable with such things than I, with the end goal of coming up with some concrete measurements and parts #s we can all use and enjoy, and bid war over on ebay. Fun times had by all, etc.

So, let's dive right in then! WARNING: LARGE IMAGES AHEAD!

The two things prohibiting us from an accurate replica build are (1) measurements of key dimensions, (2) rare part acquisition, and (3) complexity.

From what I've read, heard, or understood, either one or several identical shrinking machines were made during production. That very well may be, knowing the nature of film production, but I'm going to assume only one was made, simply because evidence suggests only one. This makes sense for several reasons, the least of which being that changes were made to the prop throughout the 3 feature films that can be traced and seen on the prop as it presently exists today (we'll get to that soon enough). Secondly, the prop contains parts that I believe are either rare or not easy to come by for an average person. I speak specifically of the heat sink. Ahh, the heat sink. That copper devil. It's big; one piece, and not two separate pieces, as you have surmised OP. Probably either custom made or used in some obscure application, possibly in aviation or some similar field. That's because many (if not all) sci fi props of that era - including our favorite little Delorean that could - were cobbled together from miscellaneous parts, probably from APEX surplus here in Southern CA and similar establishments. But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start from the beginning.

Here is the shrinking machine from the original film, Honey I Shrunk the Kids (the first movie I can remember seeing in a theater, at the tender age of 4, and probably one of the reasons I decided to move to LA and begin an exciting career of wondering why I ever thought it would be a good idea to move to LA):

rmbydIH.jpg


There aren't many parts we can observe directly, save for the laser components and the Sony viewfinder. Which, by the way, is used on large television cameras, like the kind used to shoot sitcoms. The model is BVF-50:

AbAIXQ6.jpg
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The back of the machine is never seen, but from what I can tell, it's some kind of random piece with wire attachments coming out of the top:
OeESkLe.jpg


You can also see the mount for the sony handicam in this picture.

Now, in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, several things changed. The location of the camcorder shifted from directly over the top of the "barrel" of the machine to "hanging" over the right of the machine, probably for balance reasons. This is because the second film also saw the addition of two control boxes mounted under the heat sink. Lastly, the piece in the back of the machine was changed to what looks like a gray box. You can see all of these changes here:
6VNxXiy.jpg
fvyayJP.jpg



Which brings us to the abomination of the third film, Honey, We Cashed In The Franchi...OOPS, I mean, Honey We Shrunk Ourselves. I don't have screengrabs handy, but believe me, the changes were drastic. Mostly implemented to support the crapfest of a story (the machine is set off accidentally by a croquet ball that rolls down the added pipes that festoon the machine for no discernable reason). The changes include:
- Repainting two drive gears to be red and green
- The addition of a large red circuit board at the machine's base
- The removal of the sections of braided cable, replaced by one lone strand that wraps the entire machine barrel loosely
- The front section encased in a clear plastic tube
- The back box was replaced by a large TV monitor
- The bracket that held both the SONY viewfinder and handicam was removed
- the stacks of circuit boards were replaced
- the lasers from the machine's left side were removed
- The piece I have come to call the "armature", which is sort of a metal framing structure that serves as a "skeleton" to which all the parts are attached, was covered with gray metal. This can be observed here:
nU5LsXd.jpg
tWZqzxR.jpg


- A large green tank was added to the right side of the machine
- Two large, copper tubes were added so the machine had something for the aforementioned croquet ball to roll around on
- the righthand "box" with the gauge added in the 2nd film was moved under the switchbox added in the 2nd film
- a large, red button was added in the gaugebox's place so the moronic simpletons to whom the 3rd film was meant to appeal to could understand what was going on

Since that film wrapped, the machine has been plundered, repeat, plundered by other prop makers, or potentially damaged in moved unintentionally.

As of at least 2001, the machine has sat collecting dust, in the "props warehouse" section of the Backlot Tour attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios park in Orlando, FL (formly Disney/MGM Studios). It's really a glorified line for the pathetic tram tour you go through once you've seen the equally pathetic water tank show (I call these pathetic because they are ghosts of their former, awesome selves, but again, I digress). This, ladies and germs, is how The Machine looks today:

Hrv9OqG.jpg


Oy.

What's happened? Well...

- The motor that drives the complex lift mechanism has been removed completely.
- The monitor added in the 3rd film is gone, an empty shelf in its place.
- The green tank is missing completely
- The machine is coated in years worth of dust
- Someone spilled a soda on the clear plastic tube that encases the foreward barrel, and you can see its residue clearly
- (perhaps most distressing of all), the end nozzle and all of its adornments have been COMPLETELY removed.

HOWEVER, since I'm fairly certain this is indeed the same piece that was made for the first movie, these changes are GOOD for our intents and purposes...because without all the wires and other greeblies we have a clear way of seeing exactly how this thing is put together. We just don't know the actual measurement numbers, specifically.

I have done my own calculations, of course, and have modeled The Machine using Anim8or, but I have no way of knowing if my measurements are actually, truly correct. This is as close as I've been able to come:
rfJel6n.png
jBC1uyw.jpg


But I can tell that SOME of those measurements are off.

If someone better than I at this kind of thing can glean measurements off of the reference pictures I have taken, great! I can tell you that the first thought that comes into my mind after every single excursion to the backlot tour to take photographs has been, "MAN, that thing is SMALL!"

The other thing stopping me / us is parts acquisition. Specifically, the heat sink. Here's a closeup of this beast (one of many I have on my computer):
PC2XPcV.jpg

You can plainly tell it's one piece, and likely a rare one at that. However, slots have been cut into it. That is to accomodate the two gears...which brings me to point 3.

(3) The arms that raise the machine are FREAKING COMPLEX. Beyond my reckoning and worthy of someone with both engineering skills and access to a lathe to make custom parts. The Machine is an elegant piece capable of raising and lowering (of course), PLUS the "barrel", ie the main prop attached to the arms, has the ability to pan up and down independently of how high the arms are raised (that's what those two gears under the heat sink are for). Lastly, the entire thing at one point had the ability to rotate left and right...it needed to be fully movable for the first film when it seems to have a mind of its own.

You want to make an accurate working replica of this...?
eb3zkk7.jpg

Good luck, let me know how it turns out. And yes, all of those gears and chains moved in that shot.

Want to hear the maddeningly frustrating part?

Check this out:
0F8V1Tq.jpg


Why, what's that above the window? But what to my wondering eyes did appear...but a freakin' DIAGRAM of the arms and gears WITH MEASUREMENTS!? COME ON!!!!!

There's a lot more facts about this thing floating in my brain...how the main barrel tubes don't appear to be all of the same diameter, discrepancies in the nozzle piece housing that makes me think maybe there WERE two separate props because Wayne has to destroy the machine at one point, etc, but I've written quite enough (for now).

So once we (1) get accurate measurements, (2) find out what where the hell that heat sink came from, and (3) work out the precise way the arms are engineered, I'm sticking with plan B, which is to build a replica of the version of the machine that appeared above the entrance to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience:
PIN6Tm8.jpg
 

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