Building a Portal Turret with motion controlled audio and lighting

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In this Instructable I'm going to show you how I went about building my very own life size talking Portal Turret from start to finish. This is a fairly in depth project that will cover every stage of construction and all the techniques I used along the way. Hopefully there will be a lot of information that you can pull out of this and use for all kinds of different projects.

For those that are unfamiliar with Portal, It is a fantastic puzzle game made by a studio called Valve that requires you to use two portals to solve all kinds of different puzzles.  It is really a fantastic game.  The turret for which this instructable is about is one of only two characters you interact with in the entire game, the other being GLaDOS.  The central AI of the complex.  The Turrets are so adorably deadly that I had to have one of my own.  Since nobody makes them I had to build one myself.  A little bit more work but definitely worth the effort.  Lets get started.

Materials and Tools used are broken down for each section.
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Step 1: To Scale Blueprints

Picture of To Scale Blueprints
The very first step in the project was deciding how big I wanted to make the turret. I got in touch with someone at Valve and they told me that the turrets in the game stand 58 inches tall. Due to the nature of the design, I decided that making one this size would be prohibitively problematic and very expensive. I decided a more reasonable height to undertake was about 36 inches. This also seemed like a great size to display it once it was finished. This way it wouldn't take up an enormous amount of space in my place.

I had a friend of mine, Tyler Garrison, who is a wiz with Illustrator whip me up a set of blueprints with a height of 38 inches to the top of the antennas.  I then printed them out to scale and pulled all the measurements I would need from them as I worked through the project.  My friend did an outstanding job adding in little extra details like the Aperture logo and other details on the blueprints.  These blueprints will also make a great poster to hang on the wall with the finished project.
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Space Otter2 months ago

Here I resized a version of the blueprint to print actualy size of the turret and increased the quality it isn't prefect but it pretty close to the original

jozz634 months ago
Hello, is it possible to have access to the blueprints your friend did for you? I don't have tyler garrison as a friend... ? and i want to build a turret.
is it going to shoot me

( no hard feelings)


CitizenSnips (author)  Black Mesa east3 years ago
It just might so watch out.
SimionP8 months ago

Wow,super...Great job!

PrinceZen10 months ago

Does anybody have a estimated Cost/Hours for this? I really don't wanna start this and run out of money halfway through or not have the time to finish the build.

Jan_Henrik11 months ago


I would like that but just to make it sound more deadly... For Example went it said target acquired just in a deeper voice and no singing. Make it sound like it's a treat. Other than that it is pretty interesting.

so cool honestly.

Willing to pay $60 for a pre made one without electronics
Andy9oo1 year ago
How much wold this cost to build????
Would it work to skip the molding process? (I am on a low budget and the molding stuffs is pretty expensive)
How much for a pre made one, BTW you NEED t check this out:
molds please please please please I really want da molds
popeye12311 year ago
give me those molds peas
firos71 year ago
This is Awe-Some! 'Love it!
ndinunno1 year ago
Do you, by chance, still have measurements for the pieces of MDF you cut out? It'd be very helpful
Brainss1 year ago
This is awesome!
oh dear lord portal blueprints you can read!
you already won life by making this, you don't need to try again :P
what was the total cost? i'd love to try and make it but it looks so expensive with all those customized laser cut pieces.
Wolfgirl2322 years ago
So...I'm actually going to be building this using your tutorial for my engineering class, thanks to your brilliant documentation! Just a few questions though... Is it important that the paint be Valspar? On one of your parts lists it merely says "primer"...does this refer to the Valspar? If not...what is it exactly? Did you use any other dimensions of guides aside from the blueprints? If so, what?

Thank you for your patience!
aldovisini2 years ago
This is such a cool project! Im making some for my school project now, also making a defective one :P
Any possibility you could upload the full size resolution of the blueprints? to me at aldovisini@
I absolutely love this project. only problem is, i have no clue whatsoever how to mold. i've never done it before. do you think you could explain the process in a much more simpler way? for instance: your materials for one of the molding processes were:

Smooth-on Rebound 25 silicone rubber
Thi-Vex II silicone thickener
Smooth-on Plati-Paste
Mold release agent

do you think you can tell me what order they go down in on the molding surface? and do they have to each dry completely before the next material is poured on?
CitizenSnips (author)  coocooachoo5682 years ago
I would recommend going here as they have far more information then I could ever give you. If it is something you are interested in, take the time and see what you can learn.
KontaKt2 years ago
why didn't you put this one in the challenge too?
(still alive (Portal)

Aperture Science
Wrong starting line.

This was a triumph
WAT WHY U NO PUT IN GUN SHOOTING SOUNDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Krayzi993 years ago
im going to make this, and then make a sentry turret( and modify it for this! 
i was wondering if the eye design was up on ponoko or if you could upload it some how. it would a great help to me
Darmani3 years ago
Hi, this is so cool, I would really like to give it a shot at making a turret, I like the size you used, would you care to share the measurements?
Wolf9793 years ago
My heart is melting. I love Portal, and the turrets are my favorite characters in any game ever. Fantastic Job. Just wondering, does it say "I'm different"?
laxbro8903 years ago
How much would one of these cost to buy?
TrevorBane3 years ago
Can you provide a schema of the electronics?

Or is that on another site?
CitizenSnips (author)  TrevorBane3 years ago
Sorry I never drew up the schematics for this since it was really just connecting together pre made components. Don't think I would be able to go back from memory and create one as its been awhile since I wired it all up.
I too would love a portal turret. I would be glad to buy (one of) the one(s) you have already or a portal 2 turret if you decide to make one. I'm only 12 so my parents wont let me pay toooooo much for it but if you can, I can work something out
podote3 years ago
Awesome!Do you think you could make one for me? I'd pay for eveything, including shipping, and labor. if your interested
CitizenSnips (author)  podote3 years ago
Unfortunately I'm not building anymore turrets right now. Working on new projects!
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