Picture of Building a 1:1 Scale Portal Gun with Lights


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.


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!

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bveliz7 months ago

Could you upload the laser cut pieces files so i can laser cut them

Raitis9 months ago

Congrats on the win! Well worth it :)

Congratulations on the win! Fantastic build!

NathanSellers9 months ago

Wow. This looks like a pretty technical build. The final product is beautiful. Great job.

Porda9 months ago

Incredibly realistic, nice work!

I actually just beat Portal 2 this morning. It was even better than I thought it could be.

RbotJ9 months ago

Amazing project! So lifelike!

Bvbbuh10 months ago
Dats cool

Make sure you enter this in the Halloween props contest! http://www.instructables.com/contest/halloween2014...

There's a judge's prize for best weapon!

Thanks for the suggestion. Done!

TheFrankTurk11 months ago

I have to ask: show did you find someone to make the laser cuts for this project? Am I really the only guy on Instructables who doesn't own an industrial-sized laser cutter?


ThrowingChicken (author)  TheFrankTurk11 months ago
I used Pololu.com
JM199911 months ago


Nice clear photos make all the difference!

erik06n1 year ago

can you upload all the files you created in the process, including the models and blueprints?

j-vega1 year 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 year 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.


Thank you very much!!

ThrowingChicken (author)  j-vega1 year 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 year 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 year 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 year ago

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

avayan1 year ago

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

Nobelium1 year ago

Now all you need is the jumpsuit.

sungirl1 year 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 year ago


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

rustygray1 year 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 year 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.

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 year ago

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

Gorgeous gun, nicely done!

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 year 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 year 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 year 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 year ago

That's too realistic ! Awesome work !

cyro121 year ago

Wow! This is awesome! Good job!

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