A fully 3D printable GlaDOS Robotic ceiling arm lamp

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Picture of A fully 3D printable GlaDOS Robotic ceiling arm lamp
GlaDOS Final 3.JPG
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In this instructable I will show you how to make a fully 3D printable GlaDOS from Portal (1 and 2), that is also a lamp and can be converted into a robotic arm (how much cooler does it get), With a superled in the eye (this much cooler).

Go watch it immediately:

This was first intended to be an instructable on how to make a fully 3d printable GlaDOS robotic arm lamp that can also move. Due to some shortage in time and other project that I need to continue on (my SLS printer) I will share everything I have thus far that works properly. When I finally figure out how to make this thing moving without all the electronics heating up to 100°C, you will be the first to know.

Because this was first intended to be a fully functioning robot arm, some of the instructions include wiring. If you do not plan to use this as a moving arm, I have also designed parts to replace the servo's and moving parts. With this, you can skip most of the wiring and only use it as a lamp.

To make this lamp you will need a printer that is comfortable printing with a lot of support material. The design isn't supportless and is quite hard to print. I used a UP! 3D printer, that is more than capable enough printing with support material. All of the parts are designed around the maximum build sizes of the UP!.

Also you will need some skills electronics and be comfortable using power from the mains. Also you will need a LOT of time. Printing alone will set you back at least 40 hours.

A special thanks to Almteq in the Netherlands for letting me borrow first one UP!, and letting me borrow 2(!) UP!s when one couldn't get the job done fast enough with just one. Without you guys, this project wouldn't have been possible.

Okay, here's the deal. You seem to want to see this thing moving, and I seem to want to win an UP! printer of my own. This is what we are going to do. You help me win an UP! in the contest, and I will do everything in my power to make this thing move as soon as possible. The deadline for the contest is too soon for me to do it before the contest, so make me win, and I will make this thing move.
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gadams21891 month ago
please please please please make a garage kit!

That is the proposed plan not foreseeing any issues though

Are you going to hook it to a micro
controller board and have it follow people around and react to them like
that guy who made the interactive desk lamp ?

stevenlundbeg2 months ago Where we make Science! #PortalFans GlaDoS Luvs you.

Hi! Where can i take an electronic glados controller scheme? I have started this project, but i cant resume without this one. Give me a link please if it posible :)

lanewma2 months ago
Give me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Munson115 months ago
I wired up the led bulbs with the driver and when I tested it they are blinking.Any ideas?

Check the packaging for the LEDs and the documentation for the driver you are using.

Some LEDs are designed to blink when they have power (like Christmas lights), and similarly the driver you may be using could be configured to blink.

If neither of those is your problem, I would check the current and voltage requirements of your LED and the current capacity of your driver; it may be your driver is struggling and the blinking is tied to a capacitor charge/discharge as it tried to keep up.

Backflash2 months ago

Waste of time!!!! Where are the files!!!?!?! Thingiverse says: "This Thing is currently under moderation because the source files have been removed."

dragonator (author)  Backflash2 months ago

While I do not mind comments like this in general, I would at least like it if someone would spent more than 2.5 seconds on a problem before commenting. The Thingiverse tells you the files have been RELOCATED, including the link. The comments below also contain the link:

I will admit that I should probably add the link to the instructables page too, but that is no reason for your comment.

Hope it helps

Sorry about that. I did not notice the link, I should have digged deeper. I don't blame you for moving the files over Stratasys VS Affinia, I would have done the same thing.

dragonator (author)  Backflash2 months ago

No biggy, glad that it is cleared up.

joshuam25 months ago

remember this test is unsolvable without an aperture science portable quantum tunneling device

Sanz of Time7 months ago
How many kgs of material did you go through to print this?
dragonator (author)  Sanz of Time7 months ago

Around 2kg's

pieboy.dave7 months ago

Hi the source files have been removed can you provide a download link please :)

dragonator (author)  pieboy.dave7 months ago

Here you go:

rokas.lepsys8 months ago

best! and it use's my electronic enemy The Adruino

ErikS18 months ago

You Sir...Are qualified for Aperture Science! In fact, you can own Aperture now!

wiidude3452 years ago
this was a triumph!
I'm making a note here, huge success!
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction...
Aperture Science!
We do what we must, because, we can.
For the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead...
But there's no sense crying over every mistake...
You just keep on trying until you run out of cake.
And the Science gets done
And you make a neat gun
For the people who are.... still alive

I'm not even angry.

I'm being so sincere right now.

RobinSood Hirntod11 months ago

Even Though You Broke My Heart And Killed Me,

and thew every piece into a fire

aol1044 RobinSood11 months ago

Aperture Science, we do what we must, because we can

nancyjohns8 months ago

even though you broke my heart and killed me, and tore me to pieces, and threw every piece into a fire

nancyjohns8 months ago

the cake is a lie.

the cake is a lie

.the cake is a lie

.the cake is a lie.

Taragor10 months ago
do i have to print it in abs or is pla strong enough??
it was a triumph

I'm making a note here, huge success.

(removed by author or community request)

Wrong part @JesusGeek. It was "It's hard to overstate my satisfaction."

Emulani1 year ago

gota say u used a ton of support material on bits and pieces that could have been added as smaller objects rather then part of the whole.

for instant add it from top down with a small slide wall, gives roughly the same strenght without wasting material

The head should be modified by someone to mount a raspberry pi camera in it. I would love having GLaDOS guarding my room with face recognition :3

Oh my.. That would be amazing!

I can just imagine having a friend walk in and wonder what's up with the light, just to have it turn around and tell them to identify themselves.

Im making a note here, hughe succes.

No but really, looks awesome man, i'll definatly try have a go at making one when my 3d printer finally arrives, thanks for the idea, info, and files
it was a triumph

Is there any chance I could get a copy of the firmware you used? I'm working on making Wheatley and this would make my project 1000 times easier!
Dr. dB2 years ago
Very cool!

Another "mounted-at-one-end robotic character" that might lend itself to such a project would be "Auto" the autopilot from the movie Wall-E.
SHIFT! Dr. dB1 year ago
Done and done!
Dr. dB SHIFT!1 year ago
Ha! That's gorgeous! ...and from some time ago, too. Guess that'll teach me to ransack the site, just a little, before I run off at the keyboard! ;-)
SHIFT!1 year ago
I love this project! Can I have your permission to make a Life Sized version of this?
WobleBox1 year ago
Am i the only one who doesn't know anything about stuff????? Seriously where do you learn how to do this???
robotteen1 year ago
how much is the overall cost?
robotteen1 year ago
im thinking if i build one of these, i will put a camera on top of the light in the head... do you think this is a good idea or should i just go with the LED without the camera? thanks
robotteen1 year ago
would your Focus 3D printer work to build this?
Kelly021 year ago
Maker90001 year ago
What program do i need to open the Model Files for the project?
dragonator (author)  Maker90001 year ago
The original files were made in solidworks 2012 but I also included Step files that can be opened in almost any program. (I assume that you are talking about the source files on my thingiverse page)
Hirntod1 year ago
Do you have free Instructions HOW to build it?
Thx for putting the Files online.
Ur famous on the whole world :)

Greetings from Germany
fidgety21 year ago
of all the video games i have ever played the portal series has been one of my most loved bravo for imagining and following through with this amazing project
SiRTazman2 years ago
Can you post up a video of your Awesome creation doing its thing?
Blackice5042 years ago
you take money you give ? LOL
I really hope you win the contest.
You are one of the few people who actually put 3D printing to work.
Most 3D model nowaday are just small plastic items such as iphone cover,
models etc2x.

What makes you think to make this models, dragonator?
dragonator (author)  pauluskusuma2 years ago
That really is a hard question to answer.

Like more people, I found that projects are a self sustaining thing. Once you finish one, you have thought of three more. I like things to be more than just stationary models (even though I also do like figurines). When you think of something for 3D printing, also think, is this all that I can do with this, or are there more possibilities with this.

3D printing offers many great opportunities and possibilities. All you need to do is find them and use them to the fullest.
olbol262 years ago
Can I buy it offyou
winterfresh2 years ago
Regarding using a large PC PSU, why don't you use one of these switching voltage regulators? At ~90% power efficiency, they should be able to cope with the servos' power draw without overheating. Also, since they are very small they should easily fit inside of the base. (5v, 7A switching regulator. ~$25) (5v, 3.5A switching regulator. ~$15)
dragonator (author)  winterfresh2 years ago
I've looked at it, and that would be a great solution. I will however not implement any more power supply solutions (or practically any solution or fix for that matter). I am slowly closing this project and let the internet make it better.
MJoubes2 years ago
I'm tempted to take this on and try to find some way to make it motion sensing. Then apply that so that it'll watch me when I move around my room. If one wanted to, you could even work to give it idle motions and a little personality, though I feel that would require a larger scale and higher ceilings.
McDaver MJoubes2 years ago
I was already working on one before I saw this project.
My project uses a EZ-B robot controller to run her servos and give her vision.
She will track faces, motion and look around the room.
Mine will talk using a MP3 player and sound files from Portal 1 and 2. I am using a 3d model of GLaDOS that was ripped from Portal 2.
She will look spot on.
MJoubes McDaver2 years ago
I'd like to see a tutorial on how to rip things from Video games and print them on a 3d printer, seeing as how I'm getting ready to purchase one.
dragonator (author)  MJoubes2 years ago
There sadly isn't a quick and easy way of doing this. My advice is use plenty of reference images. To draw this, I used 10 reference images and one 3ds max model of GlaDOS in a different state (the starting up in portal 2 one). The drawing part took me around 50 hours.

Even if you managed to rip a model from a game, it still would need a lot of work. Game models are modeled for rendering only, they are split into many little pieces and have a lot of intersections. For 3D printing, you need 1 solid model with no intersection in the meshes.
Dr. dB MJoubes2 years ago
Brilliant! Something like a Roboboa brain would do the trick....
McDaver2 years ago
Your GLaDOS looks amazing. Makes a super great lamp and I am sure it will be a cool robot when you get everything sorted.
My old analog servos are over 30 years old and have plenty of power to move things and move smoothly too. If the servo you have is too week for what you are moving then you will have issues. I have been working on my own GLaDOS, but I don't have a printer yet. I am using an EZ-B robot board for mine because it makes prototyping so much easier. It also works with a wireless video camera, so I can see what the robot sees on my computer screen. This makes things easier to program.
McDaver2 years ago
Cool project.
I was working on the same thing and will have a 3d printer in a few weeks.
Maby you get a bigger change winning when you tell in the tittle this is printed with a up!
14skillman2 years ago
truly amazing!
tisidro2 years ago
Good job~! I hope we get to see it move soon~! And voted twice for this awesomeness~!
Taranach2 years ago
Did you ever consider using vacu-forming for some of the parts? I see a few locations where a shell could be used that would be a lot thinner and lighter and would not overtax your servos so much. Sometimes a good framework with light cladding can achieve both function and form.
dragonator (author)  Taranach2 years ago
The shell is the lightest of the part of those pieces. 3D printers naturally print hollow and these parts are printed at a very hollow setting to save material and weight. Vacu-forming would add an extra step to this all, something for which I really hadn't time. I can also see only a few parts that would benefit from being vacu-formed, and everything other than the moving arm (the bottom) would not help for the weight on the servo's.

Lastly, I do not own a proper vacu-former so even when it was a better option, I couldn't use it. Therefore, I didn't consider it, But if I would have had one, I think I still would not have used it for this project. There are too many drawback for only one advantage.
rtkwe2 years ago
Have any thoughts on using the acetone vapor method to smooth the posts instead of all the sanding?
dragonator (author)  rtkwe2 years ago
I printed in PLA cause the parts are very big, to prevent warping. Acetone sadly doesn't work on PLA. If you could have used ABS, I would most certainly have used the acetone.
tholum2 years ago
Looks awsome :) I think you defenetly deserve to win the contest, yours is 10x better then any of the other light's in this contest.
Ciel0s2 years ago
all i have to say : you are incredible i voted twice and the cake is a lie..... dont trust it
Replicator2 years ago
OOOOoooh now add a motion activated tracker so it follows you around the room, then put some glados quotes on a small m.c. and have them play randomly :D !!!! small arduino should handle it :D
I would give my right arm and both legs for this and maybe an eyeball.
dont give an eyeball you wont be able to see its awesomeness in 3d afterwards
RanaLoca2 years ago
Shut up and take my money!!!
thinkdunson2 years ago
i can't imagine going through all that trouble and not even considering how much torque you would need.  you can't just assume a servo is going to work just because it fits.  especially if you're going to buy the cheapest servos you can find.  

what i don't get is how your power supply could overheat at all.  it must be faulty or something.  i have a tiny little basic stamp circuit board, with a single-chip power supply built in, running four standard size servos with absolutely no problem.  and you're using mostly micro servos.  did you connect them directly to the 12V supply or something?

also, you list the servos in the parts list, but you don't list how you were controlling them.  microcontroller?  R/C controller?

other than the no movement thing, the lamp still looks completely awesome without it.  

one last thought... maybe you could have mounted the 3w leds behind the white plastic instead of cutting a hole for them.  that way the plastic would mute the brightness a bit and sort of diffuse the light.
dragonator (author)  thinkdunson2 years ago
I can imagine it, simply because it happened. This project was slightly over one month, from start to finish. Design, printing, prepping, painting, assembling, wiring, designing electronics, mounting. Corners were cut to get this thing done in time. If I did consider everything, this would have taken me months more. Plus, even if you consider 'everything', in the end, you will still find mistakes that need fixing (even though they will not be as big as now).

For the assuming part. I designed this thing for the biggest servo's possible in every location. There simply isn't more space for them, it just doesn't fit. I didn't buy the cheapest servo's possible for this project, I used what I had in stock (which was the cheapest). Wiring servo's to 12V would instantly destroy them. Servo's use something between 4,8V and 7,2V to power them. The problem is the current when the motors are stalling. The micro servo's alone (the cheapest ones) will use over 1A, and that is not even considering the big ones. The power supply on the circuitboard is only capable of supplying for the rest of the electronics, since it only supplies 1A at 5V. (This is problem #1). I would need over 7A of 5V to be able to supply the servo's with power when all motors are stalling.

For the electronics left out of the parts list. My designed electronics are not functional and are a hazard. therefore, I didn't share it. It is arduino based.

Mounting the leds behind the plastic would absorb too much light, there are 5 coats of paint over the plastic.
my point was that i just didn't think it should have been as difficult as you were making it sound.
but i still appreciate you posting the ible. it looks great.
dragonator (author)  thinkdunson2 years ago
I was a bit more attacking in my reply than I should have, but my point was that I am not simply banging rocks together (ha). Everything is there for a reason, and some problems really aren't that easy. Other decisions really were a bit sketchy, but that is simply time and me.
neodymium2 years ago
If you do win that printer from us voting, you had BETTER make this thing AWESOME! lol

I really hope you get that printer because this is a great project. I can't wait to see this thing finished.
madvic2 years ago
Double voted too...!!!
Its the first time that I see a realy cool aplication from a 3d print!!!
Perhaps use stepper motor instead of servos
Also to add a raspy with server capability could be awesome!!!
Anyway congrats.
Brittond142 years ago
What a great idea! robotic lighting! voice command! object tracking! good job!
agis682 years ago
interesting expensive is your 3d printing machine if decided to buy one similar.

Hey Yvo! Congrats on the feature bro!
How is the DLP machine going? ;)
dragonator (author)  pioni-sensei2 years ago
Nice to see you here, Never expected this to go this fast.

It's not DLP though, it's SLS and 3DP. I had to temporarily stop those project in order to make enough time for this. I am going to continue on that in the next few weeks.
Arghus2 years ago
awesome, if it coulds talk when you light it that would be awesome
Jayefuu2 years ago
Well done. Here are the test results: You are an incredible person. I'm serious, that's what it says: "An incredible person." We weren't even testing for that. Don't let that incredible-person thing discourage you. It's just a data point. If it makes you feel any better, science has now validated your birth mother's decision to not abandon you on a doorstep.
xenor Jayefuu2 years ago
There needs to be a flag for "awesome" for comments like this.
xenor2 years ago
That looks spectacular! Now, who's got an 'ible on convincing the wife that this is a good idea?
Brian_V2 years ago
Would the size of the build area of an UP! Mini (4.72" by 4.72" by 4.72") be big enough to make this?
dragonator (author)  Brian_V2 years ago
No, the biggest parts are 131mm (5.18"). You really need a normal up. This is the base and the internals. Also pieces like the ring pieces and the back would probably not fit in that build envelope.
MonkiMan2 years ago
i have to make this NOW!!!
repguy20202 years ago
Nice work. A lot of care and attention must have gone into it... for science, you monster!
c3ralki1l3r2 years ago
You could try to put fans in GlaDOS its could suck in air near the top next to the ceiling and blow air out through the aperture logo.
dragonator (author)  c3ralki1l3r2 years ago
If you have seen what I have seen, you would know that that would be impossible. After I was done fitting everything in the base (including electronics) I couldn't even get a 30mm fan to fit. Plus if a power supply chip gets that hot that quick, something is horribly wrong.
I was thinking, maybe you could use liquid cooling?
megaduty2 years ago
Awesome! Double voted!
bennybg2 years ago
instead of an led, why not find a picoprojector to use as an eye?
Gomex192 years ago
Freaking win! lol
Ryanj20002 years ago
Love it! Its such a cool idea. I love that game and that model is so COOL.
Sam DeRose2 years ago
Wow this is so great! Can you post a video?
zyzar42 years ago
is it for sale ?
dragonator (author)  zyzar42 years ago
If it was, including hours, it would be a four figure price. This specific one isn't though.
tampa22 years ago
I was wondering if I could have your permission to upload the models to

I cannot afford a 3D printer but that website prints 3d models for you and ships them to your door.
dragonator (author)  tampa22 years ago
If I would do something like that I would do it myself. There is one problem though. These models are designed for FDM, not for (probably what you would use) SLS (the cheap and strong). I can modify these models for SLS (hollowing out parts), but that would take me a good part of the weekend. Bear in mind shapeways parts would cost you a small fortune, even if I hollowed them out. (the head right now, unhollowed is 80cm^3. don't expect it to drop below 20cm^3, and thats just the head, one of the smaller parts)

If I receive enough interest, I will modify the parts for shapeways myself and I will upload them.
BeSublime2 years ago
Happy to be the 100th person to favorite this - so friggin' awesome!
fraggernade2 years ago
Wow… that's awesome, if only I had the materials
This is soooo cool! Too bad you couldn't do a video about moving the arm. I hope you finish it some day.
Hi, Realy nice instructable with loads of pictures, looks like a fun project ;)
Dutch, Belgian? :p
dragonator (author)  matthieutje652 years ago
mstyle1832 years ago
did you glue the printed parts with epoxy glue? did it leave a yellow or uneven color in the seams?
dragonator (author)  mstyle1832 years ago
Some parts are glued, but most parts are mechanically joined. The places where I glued where mostly covered. The glue I used stays clear even when it dries.
SHIFT!2 years ago
This is awesome! Any chance we might get to see a video of it?
I agree, a video would be great!
dragonator (author)  demon_ds12 years ago
I can't make a video of a stationary lamp can I? Sadly this thing currently has no electronics. There are servo's, but no working electronics (the electronics might serve as a heater though). If I win in the UP! contest, I might be tempted to finish redesign build and redesign some parts, so this will actually work.

So for now there is no video of this thing moving
d_duck2 years ago
What a great Instructable. I thoroughly enjoy Portal and my son is an even bigger Portal fan. He'd love somthing like this. I think I'll have to locate a 3D printer as so many projects seem to need the use of one.
Soupraok2 years ago
This is the coolest game prop ever made.
This is awesome. I bet it would scare the crap out of anyone unfamiliar with the series.
DIY Micah2 years ago
Looks amazing! When you do rebuild it, you might look into either a tracking system based off an arduino or a wifi tracking based on your phone. Then when you turned her on she'd look at you while you moved. Also, if using an ardunio, you could program her to spew random lines from the games. Totally amazing project though! Voted for you too!
JonnyBGood2 years ago
I actually think you did a good job.... So I'll write it down in your file. Subject did well.....enough.....

Great Job! I love it!
Krayzi992 years ago
Well here we are again.
Hiyadudez2 years ago
pwnag32 years ago
this statement is false
This is absolutely stunning! What a great job. I love GlaDOS !!
That is crazy cool!