Introduction: 3D Companion Cube. Its Time to Fire Up Inventor and Make My Own Companion Cube.

Picture of 3D Companion Cube.  Its Time to Fire Up Inventor and Make My Own Companion Cube.

Portal (Valve Software - Orange Box) Go out and buy it! Then you will understand why you might want a companion cube. So after several hours of game play gone, Its time to fire up Inventor and make my own companion cube.

Step 1: Inventor

Picture of Inventor

Created in Inventor 2008, now that I have the solid model it's time to create sides to print out.

Step 2: 3x2cube-proto-01

Picture of 3x2cube-proto-01

O.k. enough rendering it's time to print!
I sliced the cube to six sides and layed the sides out on a 3 X 2 grid. Total RP printing time 7.2 hrs

Step 3: Cheap Led Light

Picture of Cheap Led Light

Take one cheap LED $2.50 flash light and dremel cut everything but lights off add 3 ohm resistor to a cut off USB cord add a little hot glue and bobs your uncle you have a USB light! ( I know crappy photo)

Step 4: Let There Be Light

Picture of Let There Be Light

Hot glue the sides together and... Let there be

Light! Now when ever my computer is on I will be comforted by the glow of my little companion cube


Vick Jr (author)2010-02-06

I can give you the original 3d model used in the game (as well as the texture). I have the source sdk and can extract it. This is a .max file from 3D studio Max. You should be able to open it in auto-cad, but, if not, I can upload it in another format.


It's made of polygons, not splines, so you may not want to use it directly. You should first scale to an appropriate size then somehow make the curved parts actually curved, instead of triangulated. Autocad may have a tool for this. I don't know.

Great instructable by the way! I find myself  wishing I had a machine shop near me more and more.

tecnocubeguy (author)Vick Jr2010-05-16

Could you please upload in .3ds format?

Vick Jr (author)tecnocubeguy2010-05-30

Here's a max 9 version. If you need a max 8 version i can get that too. The textures are a bit screwy but the model is fine. You should be able to import it into inventor or open it in max.

Vick Jr (author)Vick Jr2011-12-25

I loaded the file in inventor and completely re-made it based on the old dimensions. It now has nice curves instead of polygons. Download the inventor part, max model, and texture in a variety of formats here:,hpm863k5ftlrw8f,8gm11y8hnj9b4g9,62l9hyua8gta73i,eup35h93jabijaq,612sy26kkggf540,saffmhvnuudhzbk

dscott4 (author)2011-10-10

I would love to see it added to the 3D print group I have just started


postlife (author)2011-08-28's great.

A1v1n1 (author)2011-08-25

Should paint it a bit :D

tr45h (author)2011-06-27

I can't wait till we'll be reminiscing about how it used to take 7 hours to print a measly 3D Companion Cube model and laughing about it...

357awc (author)2011-05-21

Here is the sketchup file for the companion cube

captainjazzhands (author)2011-05-04

congratulations youve created your own wieghted companion cube. unfortunantly it cannot be saved and must be emancipated

typenamehere_____ (author)2010-07-08

Free 3-D modeling software is available from Google called "SketchUp" easy and simple, especially for people new to modeling, but Autodesk Inventor is much better. Not spam, just saying so that people don't have to spend loads of $$$ to model this.

Hey go to my ible. i show how to get it free legally in the first step!

Matthew Enderle

Hephestus (author)2010-04-09

i use a 3d modelling software called PTC Pro-desktop will your 3d model be compatible with my software

Bctcteacher (author)Hephestus2010-04-09

Don't know what file types can you import into your software? If I know what you can import then i will know what to export as.


tecnocubeguy (author)Bctcteacher2010-10-31

I use blender.

jeiku23 (author)2010-06-17

This sin't really an instructable or a tutorial or anything like that... This is more of a you showing off the fact that you wasted time on making a companion cube....

finbar galdeep (author)2010-02-17

i have a star trek game and in it the best ship in the game looks just like this, except without the hearts. i think its called a Borg tactical cube.

Stingray56 (author)2009-05-24

can someone who does not work at a 3D modeling industry use it? can you download it off the internet?

daedalus12 (author)Stingray562009-05-29

Professional CAD programs are usually very expensive, and it is almost impossible to hack around the licensing. However, right now Solidworks (another CAD program, and my current favorite although I haven't tried Inventor since 2005) is doing this special thing because of the recession, where you can download it and use it for 90 days. Heres the link if you're interested:

Nyxius (author)daedalus122010-02-02

 Inventor sucks...if you go "old school" and use plain old AutoCAD I could draft that Cube in 5 min. and convert it to something plot-able in less than 60 sec.  If you register as a "student" you can get an unlimited student license for free (for most of their products).

Bctcteacher (author)Nyxius2010-02-03

Nyxius it time to put up or shut up!

I'll take that  Challenge, I bet you can't make this cube in 5 minutes.

Go ahead and try then email me your dwg file. Ill post your results.

Nyxius (author)Bctcteacher2010-02-05

never played the game & I can't find actual dimensions.   Get me some dimensions and I'll take your challenge.

Bctcteacher (author)Nyxius2010-02-05

What dimensions? I didn't have any dimensions, I simply worked off of pictures that I found on the internet or screens shots other people had posted. I made my Cube 4"X4" to fit nicely on my desk. Thats all the dimensions I had to work with, the rest you have to figure out on your own.

Nyxius (author)Bctcteacher2010-02-05

Well, OK.  I didn't include figuring dimensions in my 5 min estimate.  If I had a complete set of dimensions I could do it in 5 min, but I neither have the time nor the patience to sit there and scale the thing. is cool to see an actual RP machine.   I'm trying to design one that works with metal...still has lots of kinks (pun intended).

Nyxius (author)Bctcteacher2010-02-05

Cool RP Machine by the way...wish I had one.

Stingray56 (author)daedalus122009-05-30

thanks a bunch! Ill definitely give it a try.

Fuingurth_rocker (author)2009-07-31

does that mean that it took 7.2 hours to convert the model to a flat image? If so there is a program called pepakura designer that will do that automatically and much faster (it also adds tabs so you can connect the pieces)

No it took 7.2 hours to print the models six sides.

freakyqwerty (author)Bctcteacher2010-01-24


berky93 (author)freakyqwerty2010-01-28

I don't think he means with paper. He used a 3d printer to print the sides. 3d printing takes a LONG time.

and now I really want to go print a companion cube for myself. so I think I will!

Chromatica (author)2009-12-27

Portal ROCKS

red-king (author)2009-01-07

I want one! wish i had a 3D plotter...

TheTeslaWarrior (author)red-king2009-12-09

 you should... plotters are fun (my hs has 1)

Darkknarf (author)red-king2009-02-13

it's called a 3d printer ;-)

hg341 (author)Darkknarf2009-02-18

or a 3-d {{{plotter}}} ;-)<br/>

n1LWeb (author)2009-02-19

I'd like to remind all of you that this companion cube can not speak!

Panzer_mike (author)n1LWeb2009-02-19

If it does, Should we disregard what it says?

Rokko8652 (author)Panzer_mike2009-06-07

Most of all, It won't stab us (Sorry if it's not quoted right, haven't played the game in a couple of months.)

watermelonhead (author)Rokko86522009-07-22

And we were going to have a party for you with cake with your best friend, but now he can't come because you murdered him.

portal geeks rock! :D

Kaiven (author)watermelonhead2009-10-20

There really was a cake.

OnyxxStone (author)2009-08-22

From 3-D To Real Life Simply Amazing, Cudos My Friend

dark clerick (author)2009-08-19

hey since some of us dont want to drop cash on the programs needed can you post the print out file?

Articas (author)2009-06-20

may i please say this WTF WHERE CAN I GET A 3D PRINTER

redsoxrock97 (author)2009-05-30

Nice job. That thing is exactly like the game.

Bctcteacher (author)redsoxrock972009-05-31

thanks, it was fun to make.

g3thig4chri5 (author)2009-05-23

do you have a picture of it finished and plugged in?

b_animal (author)2009-05-10

if its making the parts its called a cnc machine

Bctcteacher (author)b_animal2009-05-15

A CNC machine is a subtractive process of taking away material, A 3d printer adds material. Yes they are both controled by a comupter, but a RP machine does not need G code or tool changes

Default117 (author)2009-03-13

You know there are pink LED's right?

Bctcteacher (author)Default1172009-03-15

yea but I had a cheap led flast light on hand. which gave me a ready made led mount.

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