Instructables

Building a 1:1 Scale Portal Gun with Lights

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Introduction:

This Instructable will detail the process I went through while building my very own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device [AKA the “Portal Gun”] from the Valve games Portal & Portal 2. Though the Portal Gun is the main focus of this build, the process involves a number of techniques which can be applied to a wide variety of projects, such as blueprint making, laser cutting, construction, mold making, casting, rotocasting, painting and basic electronics. While I would place this build in the high difficulty range, do not let that deter you from utilizing these techniques in your own builds, and since there is more than one method to tackle any build, do not feel as though you have to adhere to these instructions 100%. Utilize whatever methods you are most comfortable with.

Background:

At the start of this project I had been building props professionally for four years and as a hobbyist for ten. I've been a huge fan of Valve’s work ever since downloading Half-Life: Uplink from a game demo website back in 1999, then running out to purchase the full game after saving up enough nickels and dimes. I had been considering a Gravity Gun build from my true gaming obsession, Half-Life 2, but felt there was too much of a disconnect between the high resolution player-view model and low resolution world-view model to do that prop without significant compromises, but fortunately the Orange Box came packaged with a new obsession: Portal.

It is hard to ignore the similarities between the Portal Gun and the Gravity Gun; if you enjoy one it's likely you enjoy the other. With the world-view and player-view models showing quite a bit of consistency I knew it wouldn't be too difficult finding that middle ground without significant compromises.

I spent few months going through screen shots, ripping models, checking measurements, researching materials, creating sketches, blueprints and planning my attack before I started building. Construction, molding, casting, and finally getting to a finished product took nearly 6 months. It was important to me that if I took on the build I didn't just copy how others did it in the past, but came up with my own method that would hopefully stand out on its own. At Aperture we do all of our science from scratch. No hand holding!

Epilog Challenge VI:

I am submitting this Instructable to the 6th Epilog Challenge because this processes opened my eyes to just how valuable a laser cutter can be for both professional prop builders and hobbyists. Currently I have to hire out my laser cutting to a service. They do wonderful work, but the convenience of having a laser cutting machine in the shop will open up a whole world of future projects that can be developed and created on a whim without having to spend weeks or months of planning and waiting for the parts to arrive (and avoid that unfortunate feeling when you realize you have to wait again to get something re-cut because it doesn't quite go together as you had expected).

 
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j-vega1 month ago

It´s fantastic, but... ¿ how Making the Shells? ¿where is the model in pdf for the printer? without this plane, it´s impossible make nothing.

ThrowingChicken (author)  j-vega1 month ago

The Instructable has been updated to include not just the PDF and PDO files required for the shells, but a mini Pepakura tutorial as well.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-a-11-Scale-Portal-Gun-with-Lights/step6/Making-the-Shells-Part-1-Pepakura/

Thank you very much!!

ThrowingChicken (author)  j-vega1 month ago
You can find the Pep for the shells on Google, but I'll see about making my own and adding them to the tutorial.
cesar201 month ago

You should work making props for movies man,very nice work!

This is incredible! The only thing that could make it better is if it made the sounds, but frankly, with a model this pristine, that is but a minor detail! Keep it up!

Though I have yet to add sounds to this, maybe I can add a sound tutorial. It's rather easy, actually.

I'm sure the serious builders would appreciate that! :)

XOIIO1 month ago

Neat, though there are the NECA ones, and other home made ones that have lights and sounds. Not anything new but still impressive.

ThrowingChicken (author)  XOIIO1 month ago

Bear in mind I made this in 2011, long before the NECA one came around.

avayan1 month ago

What you have achieved here is movie prop quality or BETTER!!! Amazing job indeed!

Nobelium1 month ago

Now all you need is the jumpsuit.

sungirl1 month ago

Portal is one of the awesome games I have played and what you have made is MIND-BLOWINGLY INSANE! Extremely professional! You are genius! SUPER AWESOME!

abenavente1 month ago

YOU ARE CRAZY! TRUST ME. IS THE MOST PROFESSIONAL AND CLEAN WORK THAT I HAVE SEEN ON THIS PAGE

ive just finish portal 1 by the first time because of this. thanks good game

rustygray1 month ago

Am I the only normal average person who does NOT have a laser cutter and 3D printer at the house?

Kick ass work though.

ThrowingChicken (author)  rustygray1 month ago
Nope, I don't have either of those! For this project I used the services of Pololu.com. They mostly do robotics, but they have a laser machine on site. It wasn't cheap, but they are good people and worked with me to help bring the costs down to something more affordable. After using their service, I've seen just how valuable these tools are, which is why I've submitted this Instructable into the Epilog Laser Challenge. Wish me luck!

Would you consider giving/sell some cast parts so i can make my own.

ThrowingChicken (author)  caleb_daveport1 month ago

Hey Caleb,

Unfortunately the molds are very old now and it would be very expensive to remold them at this time, but if you want to message my inbox I might be able to see if I have any second castings left over from back in the day.

NoseyNick1 month ago

I was half-expecting your materials list to include "One cross borehole electro-magnetic imaging rhubarb" ;-)

Gorgeous gun, nicely done!

pixelriffic1 month ago

Something awesome about a person crazy enough to spend the time to do this. As a big fan of Portal, and an avid model builder as a young person, so I love stuff like this. My first thought was that this person should be a prop builder. Sure enough.

If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

Marc Anthony

wynelle1 month ago
No doubt. This will be at the top-of-the-list for our next summer project! Amazing amount of work. Thanks for sharing.
nekollx1 month ago

This was a triumph, I'm making a note here. HUGE SUCESS. It's hard to overstate my satisifaction.

Great job!!!
How much did it cost all in all?/what would it cost me ;)?

ThrowingChicken (author)  Kion Designs1 month ago

It's been a few years since so it's hard to say, but I don't think I would have been able to afford to build this at the time had I not been able to barter services. The lathe work was completed through trade, though I probably spent about $100 purchasing the aluminum for him to work with. The laser cut pieces were initially quoted at a couple of hundred, but I worked with the company to bring the prices down a bit. Of course, if the builder chose different methods like hand cutting the parts and owned their own lathe then the costs would come down quite a bit.

If they just wanted a one-up they could skip the molding and casting process, which probably had around $300+ in materials in it.

Back when I offered cast kits I sold them for $300. People would take those and resale them on eBay for over $1000. But the NECA version came along and killed off the interest in these. The NECA toy isn't bad, especially for the price, but it's a bit inaccurate.

electro181 month ago

That's too realistic ! Awesome work !

cyro121 month ago

Wow! This is awesome! Good job!

SPECTREcat1 month ago

Yours makes my recycled bottle portal gun look a junk. But one of my kids was an actual portal ;)

portal gun 100_9040.JPG

Awesome dad spotted!

ThrowingChicken (author)  SPECTREcat1 month ago

Cute!

Such an AWESOME masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gabrieltaft1 month ago

Wow fantastic work!

bergerab1 month ago

Incredible instructable and I love the final product!

Quadrat1 month ago

i did the math , it shuld work awsome your the men!

wow, just wow
this is an amazing build. voted!

matson231 month ago
I own a portal gun ( just the replica ) and I can say with hand on heart that yours is a fantastic solid build that looks great, really top draw job! Voted! Great work ;)
watchmeflyy1 month ago

Looks amazing!

Daaaaaaaang. Superlative build.
From beginning to end, a deeply impressive display of skill and mastery. Very nicely done.