Introduction: Aperture Science Business Card

Picture of Aperture Science Business Card

I am a huge fan of Portal. I still remember the first time I looked through the very first portal in the game, and the way it bent my mind. I've been hooked ever since. In the second game, you get to "meet" Cave Johnson, CEO of Aperture Science, and I thought to myself, "what kind of crazy business card would he have?" After seeing Thingiverse user clide's Iris Business Card , I knew I had to make a version based on Portal. I decided to incorporate the iris in the device into the actual logo for Aperture Science. Ok! Let's start thinking with portals!

Step 1: Materials/Tools

Picture of Materials/Tools

 * Heavy paper, such as card stock.
 * Thin cardboard, the kind that's not corrugated.
 * Double-sided tape. You might be able to use glue, but I haven't tried it.

 * Scissors.
 * X-Acto knife or box cutter. The sharper, the better.
 * Tweezers.
 * Printer

Step 2: Print and Cut Out Pieces

Picture of Print and Cut Out Pieces

First, print out the attached template (card2.pdf). Cut out each piece. For the eight aperture pieces, I found that cutting the fine details first, and then the long edges makes it a little easier going. Also, make sure to cut out all the holes before cutting out the pieces themselves. Next, take your scrap cardboard, and trace the shape of the bottom right cutout from the page. Cut this shape out from the cardboard. This is the piece that gives the business card its rigidity, and also keeps the handle piece in place.

Note: If you're a fancy pants and have access to a laser cutter, this step is essentially moot. I'm pretty sure you could easily modify the .pdf to use on a laser cutter.

Step 3: Assemble the Back and Aperture

Picture of Assemble the Back and Aperture

Phew, that was tedious! Let's start putting it together now. First, put a bunch of double sided tape on the back of cardboard piece. The picture describes which side the back is. Make sure to get the tape all the way to the edges, even if it overlaps. Flip the cardboard piece over, but don't press down on it: you don't want it to get stuck to your cutting board. Trim off the excess double sided tape with the box cutter.

Next, stick the back paper piece (the one with the sun-shaped cut-out) onto the cardboard piece. Make sure that they line up nicely.

Now make all the little flaps on the eight skinny pieces stick up. Your fingers will probably be too big to do this themselves, so use either tweezers or the box cutter to fold them up.

Ok, here's the tricky part. Take the one flap with the "A" on it, and put its tabs into the bottom right hole on the back piece of paper. Look at the picture if you're confused. It's very important that this piece is placed correctly, otherwise the logo won't look right. Now, take one of the other skinny pieces, and put its tab into the hole to the left of the previous one. This skinny piece should lay on top of the previous skinny piece. Continue this pattern all the way around the circle, using all eight skinny pieces. The last couple might be a little tricky, since you'll have to get them underneath the "A" piece as well.

Step 4: Close It Up, You're Done!

Picture of Close It Up, You're Done!

Ok, I lied in the last step. THIS is the trickiest part. Take the handle piece and place it on top of the eight skinny pieces. Try to get the flaps mostly lined up with the holes. This is where you're going to want to use tweezers. The goal is to get each of the flaps through the holes and folded down to fasten each skinny piece to the handle. The easiest way I've found to do this is one hole at a time. Once one hole is done, press down the flaps with your finger, and use the tweezers to line up the flaps with the next hole. Repeat this process until you've got  all the flaps through.

We're basically out of the woods now. Congratulations! There will be cake and grief counseling at the conclusion of this Instructable.

Put double sided tape on the cardboard piece. You have to be more careful here, because you don't want to get it on the handle piece. What I did was have it hang waaaay off the edge, and cut off the excess. Be careful not to disturb the handle though: it's very irritable.

Now all you need to do is stick the front piece of paper onto the cardboard, making sure they're lined up nicely. You're done! You've been a very good test subject. Please proceed to the next test chamber.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. If you have any ideas on how to make this better/more efficiently, please let me know. Oh, and if anyone is interested in seeing a version that opens the aperture, instead of closing it, let me know in the comments.


mattbenai made it! (author)2016-09-18

It's kinda messy, but it works great! Nice instructable!

nintendonx made it! (author)2016-07-10

i Made it

tridecagon (author)2015-01-27

With card4.svg, why did you separate the center (the part with the 8 holes) from the lever? Also, in your pictures, the aperture image that's between the front and back parts of the card, what happens with that? I don't even see you cutting it out. Can I just remove it from the SVG file?

drknotter (author)tridecagon2015-01-28

I made this awhile ago now, so I'm not actually sure why I made the lever separate from the center in the .svg file. You can either merge them together in the .svg file, or cut them out separately and glue them together.

I think the aperture image is a holdover from my design process when I was making sure everything was aligned correctly. You can savely remove it from the files.

EDIT: Oh now I remember! I modified the design so that you could make the lever out of the same cardboard as the interior. It seemed to make the whole thing a bit more stable. So, you cut out the lever from the cardboard, and the center (the part with the 8 holes) out of paper, and then glue it onto the lever. Hope that helps!

SayntCigol (author)2013-06-12

These could also be cut using a silhouette cameo... WELL worth the investment if you are looking to do any significant volume of paper craft... my wife got me one as an anniversary gift, and it has been outstanding!

reynosof (author)SayntCigol2014-06-09

I used the .svg file to import into Illustrator and then exported as .dxf, then imported the .dxf into Silhouette Studio 3 where I you can print and cut. For assembly instead of cardboard I cut out 2 copies of the middle section, and to bind everything together I used photo mount spray adhesive. Here is the .studio3 file for Silhouette Cameo. Great Instructable!

R167 (author)2012-07-01

could you please post/email me the instructions for the one that opens? I could maybe figure it out but I was hoping that you could help me with this. Want to make a couple for some kind of thing or such. my email is

Thanks :)

temporarychaos (author)R1672014-06-09

If you haven't got a response by not I found out by messing up a few times. you can open it from the left side. Switch sides and shorten the lever. Fill in the inside right with paper as well as moving the back holes down keeping the same shape but rotating it a bit. The easiest way to do this is the print out the back piece a guide cut out the holes on your guide and rotate them and trace the outcome on your good leaver. Make sure you don't throw the A out of wack. I hope this helped out some I'm sorry for not having pictures but I have no camera at the moment.

temporarychaos made it! (author)2014-06-09

I use a glue stick and I also glued the middle insert to the front of the card so the second to the last step would be a little easier. If you want to use your exacto knife to line to little tabs up with up with the holes. also just to make sure to tabs stayed I glued them down as well also adding a coat of glue over top of them. I then fallowed that up with some clear duct tap. I just printed it on regular paper and glued it to some paper out of one of my art books so it remained thin and easy to work with but it made it alot stouter. I left a line of black one the moving parts to break it up a bit more and I think that's all the changes I made. Thank you very much for the idea it was fun to make and show off. - TemporaryChaos

jenoya made it! (author)2014-02-07

I made one to go with this set that I designed of Aperture Science stuff for my friend for Christmas! I decided to make myself a set too. Here's the picture

jenoya made it! (author)2014-02-07

I made one to go with this set that I designed of Aperture Science stuff for my friend for Christmas! I decided to make myself a set too. Here's the picture

toriosum (author)2014-01-29

I want to see one that opens!

DIY Geeky Goodies (author)2013-10-16


me1423 (author)2013-10-03

how thick should the cardboard be?

camwifi (author)2013-06-30

That is so cool

bonastella (author)2013-02-01

could you use glue instead of double stick tape?

sphere360 (author)2012-12-30

the mechanism is ingenious, thanks for sharing!

Wingwire (author)2012-08-13

To make it open instead of close, simply put the tab on the left side, putting the hinge on the top part. When you turn it, the iris should open from its closed neutral position.

gordonfreemanisalive 23 (author)2012-07-01

this is the most coolest card i have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 :D

kelseymh (author)2011-07-22

In Step 4, you wrote, "Congratulations! There will be cake and grief counseling at the conclusion of this Instructable."

So where's the cake? Oh, wait....

robertrunyon (author)kelseymh2012-05-15

The cake is a lie.

that's right,please read my indestructible.

Kryptonite (author)kelseymh2011-07-24

More importantly, where's that grief counseling?

gordonfreemanisalive 23 (author)2012-06-30

this is awesome. but plese read mine. it's called diy portal test chamber

Atlas Portal 2 (author)2012-04-16

it didn't print certain parts of the card for some reason. :(

bvdraftingman (author)2012-03-19

hey, is there any way you could upload a dxf or dwg file? or even one from a different drawing program like that?

drknotter (author)bvdraftingman2012-03-19

I made it in Inkscape, so the only other option would be .svg, which I just now uploaded. I hope this helps.

dvillegas duque (author)2012-03-06

Hello there! i was wondering if you can use staples instead of double-sided tape.
Hope you answer
BTW This is just awesome!!

You could probably use staples instead of tape, but they'd have to be pretty strong staples to get through the cardboard.

nave50cal (author)2012-01-21

what if you changed "aperature science" into "awesome", and leaving the "A" on the mechinisim there. and changing "cave johnson" into your name.

clide (author)2011-09-22

Very cool, I'm surprised I hadn't seen this before. Good job modifying the design.

I'm impressed that you were able to make one with 8 leafs.

drknotter (author)clide2011-09-22

Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate you stopping by to look, since you were my inspiration. Getting 8 leaves was definitely a challenge, and even if you build it perfectly, it's still a little finicky. However, I think the biggest change I made from your designs was getting rid of the tabs that wrap around the inner circle. I could see that their purpose was to hold the handle piece steady during rotation, but the eight leaves were getting in the way. So then, I decided to put an interior cardboard slice to hold the handle piece, instead. It seems to work out ok.

Phew, long comment! Thanks for commenting again, and let me know what you think about my idea/if you have any questions.

clide (author)drknotter2011-09-22

Yep that is how I initially designed it with a thicker board around the outside of the rotating part, but it had a tendency to bind up and required more precision in the assembly as well as more parts to deal with.

After that I had the tabs on the rotating part and looped them through the front as you can see on the 4 leaf version:
This gets them more out of the way of the leafs, however that method would interfere with the aesthetic effect you were going for.

Since I was trying to sell these I was trying to optimize my design for ease of assembly and few parts. One thing that could make it a little smoother is instead of the fold out tabs for pivot points on the leafs you could use a circular piece glued to the leaf with a larger circle on the other side to hold it into the handle. Use a hole punch of the proper size to get perfect circles. Of course this makes assembly much more difficult, but if you are just doing a few it is probably worth the extra effort. This was something I did on the earliest prototypes when I was just trying to make sure the concept was sound.

barfbag97 (author)2011-08-04

Is there a way i could put my own name on it instead of Cave Johnson? cause that would be cool

p.s. awesome instructible by the way :D

zap8005 (author)barfbag972011-09-16

you can click on the 'graphic select tool' button select the whole thing an copy it onto paint & rub out the writing

roomen (author)2011-09-07

Yeah i did it, made it just with paper and stick glue, only addition was to tape down the little flaps that go through the handle, else the flaps wouldn't stay in, works pretty good though.
Only thing i'm missing is a back piece to hide the other flaps.
Although the reason i made this one was because of the iris mechanism, i finally fully understand it :)

BenMillen (author)2011-09-07

if this was laser cut in metal it could make an awesome finger/cigar cutter for some sort of bond vilan type :D

awesome ible btw :)

kvnfln9000 (author)2011-08-16

i figured out how to make it open but i am stillworking on modifing your design

it is going to work =)

jamiec53 (author)2011-07-23

What font did you use for the Cave Johnson bit?

drknotter (author)jamiec532011-07-24

I don't have it on me right now, as I'm out of town. I got it off of some free font website, I think it was called "Sawsadee".

jamiec53 (author)drknotter2011-08-05

OK, thanks. By the way, this is so cool :)

lilliu97 (author)2011-07-29

ummm somethings gone wrong when i push down it closes and i cant push up

drknotter (author)lilliu972011-07-29

Can you describe the problem in more detail? Are you sure you put the flaps through the holes in the correct order? The handle has to be in approximately the position that it's in in the first picture when putting the flaps through the holes

TechKid67 (author)2011-07-27

I would enjoy the opposite version as well where it opens when operating the lever.

RollerScrapper (author)2011-07-23

I may have messed up since I didn't have all the holes marked, so it was nearly impossible to line up the little tabs, so I used brads, much easier! The only problem is it makes the card really thick. But at least it came together!

drknotter (author)RollerScrapper2011-07-24

Awesome! That looks great! How did you attach the brads to the eight thin pieces?

RollerScrapper (author)drknotter2011-07-27

Brads are just tiny paper fasteners, and the head of the brad was large enough that i just poked the thin end through and folded the pieces out and the head stayed on the other side of the thin piece. You can get brads at any craft store, and it lessened the frustration because the paper method was just too difficult for me (probably due to my messy cutting at that point) :)

Awesome! It's really cool to see when people actually make stuff, that turned out pretty neat.

This was a lot of fun, it really made me wish I had a laser cutter!
Now I want to make one with my friend's name because he is a photographer

splazem (author)2011-07-25


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