This Instructable is for a light up and talking PotatOS from Portal 2. She was made as a college project which had a size restriction of 1ft cubed. She was also used as a means for me to get to grips with electronics which I'd never incorporated into a project before plus I really wanted my own talking Potato! 

[EDIT: Oh wow! A lovely featured sash across my Instructable, that's so awesome!] 


Materials Required: 

NOTE: none of these materials are set in stone, if you can find a better material to incorporate into the project let me know! I'm always keen to know an easier way to do things!

Insulation Foam,
Foam Glue,
Car Body Filler (I used Ispon, the American version is Bondo by 3M),
Red Filler Putty (this is optional but gives a smooth finish, also by 3M),
Two Part Epoxy Putty (I used Milliput but there are many brands out there), 
Grey Primer (Optional),
Smooth-On Rebound 25, Oomoo 30 and Smooth Cast 305
Hard Plaster (Or alternatively Smooth On Plasti Paste or Fibre Glass)
One Step release agent (or any silicone release agent)
Thin Modeling Wire,
Thick Modeling Wire,
Black Wire Covering (I took the black covering off an old monitor cable which fit over the modeling wire perfectly),
2 Nails,
2 Crocodile Clips,
Acyrlic Inks,
Warhammer Tin Bitz and Boltgun Metal Modeling Paints (Optional),
Tamiya Weathering Kit (Optional), 
White Spray Paint,
Red Enamel or Acrylic,
Styrene and styrene tubing of various sizes (Cheaper option for styrene tubing: Ask an art shop to keep all the tubes from the top of brushes next time they get a delivery in!),
Yellow Electrical Wire / Rubber Bands (The straps around PotatOS are meant to be rubber bands, I used yellow wire by mistake, seems so obvious now!)
Super Glue,
3 Yellow LEDs
Some Electric Wire and Tape
A few Female Jumper Cables (Probably only needed if you use the same sound module I did, each module is different)
1 6v Battery and Holder
1 9v Battery and Holder or Connector
1 Sound Recording Module / Chip
1 Speaker
1 on/off rocker switch
2 Mini Push Buttons
2 Large Push Buttons (If you're making a stand like I did)
Hook and Loop Pads
A fair bit of sandpaper (I used grades ranging from 60 to 1200)


NOTE: Again, you don't have just the one option for each method! 

Rotary Tool,
Sanding Blocks,
Steel Ruler,
Spatula (Lollipop sticks make good disposable spatulas),
Breathing Mask and Eye Protection (I was very bold and didn't always use my mask but trust me car filler damages your health something fierce so take lots of precautions!),
Nitrile Gloves,
Sculpting Tools,
Disposable Cups for Mixing, 
Router Tool / Lathe 
Soldering Iron
Needle Files (Optional)
Airbrush (Optional)
Paint Brushes
Calipers (Digital is best but not essential!)

Computer Programs Used

NOTE: These probably aren't all essential, but helped a lot.

Portal 2
3D Ripper DX
3ds Max Student Version (Autodesk are amazing, if you're a student, they give you their software for free!!)
Any Graphic Software (eg: GIMP, Inkscape, Photoshop, Illustrator etc)
Any Good Music Player (eg: Windows Media Player, VLC, etc)
Nem's Tools: Crafty and GCFScape

Step 1: Getting References!

What I did...

For my PotatOS I decided I wanted her to be as accurate as possible. To do this, rather than getting a potato and molding it or making a generic potato shape, I used a program called 3D Ripper DX  which you can download for free to do so. 

Running Portal 2 through the 3D Ripper means that when you take a screen shot, rather than just capturing an image, it captures the entire level, including the textures and saves them in a file format that is openable by 3DS Max, which you can get for free if you're a student, or you can use other free graphic software.

- To do this, open 3d Ripper DX, set where you want the files to save, what button you want to use as your capture button and launch the Portal2.exe file through it. This will launch your Portal 2 game with 3D Ripper DX running in the background. My PotatOS was taken from Chapter 6: The Fall. This scene is better because you only have the pipes and portal gun to clear out of your way and in game when she's attached to your gun she has no backing as I found out the first time I pulled out a scene. .To start Chapter 6 which thankfully the fall through the pipes is at the very begining of go to Main Menu > New Game > The Fall. The level will load with you falling alongside PotatOS so while she's talking away.  Press your chosen capture button to capture the scene. Dont panic if the game freezes for a second, its just making sure it captures all the data from that one point. After it captures the scene you can exit the game.

- Open up 3ds Max (or whatever graphics software you are using) go to File > Import and find where you saved your files, open the Frames folder and import the .3dr file you captured. The textures wont load into the file but you can find them in the textures folder and rearrange them if you like, I just never found the need to plus I find it easier to see detail it it's one solid colour. You then need to clear out everyone else in the level so you have a clear shot of PotatOS

- From there you can render out various angles or like I said before take screen shots. At this point, before I went to tidy up my images, I deleted all the excess parts around the potato so all i was left with was the potato, and exported it as an .obj file (File > Export > chose what to export as and where). I then opened the .obj file in Pepakura Designer and printed out a test run of the potatOS part of the potato. This was only so i could guage size and then see if there were any bits I hadn't noticed. 

- The next step with your screenshots or renders is to take them into Gimp, Photoshop, Illustration, or whatever graphics and illustration software you're using, create a new layer and trace over them with the pen tool so you're left with an outline of PotatOS. You'll need this for templates in the next section so it's good to take your time and do it right.

Now you have an reference images to work from it's time to get making! Keep the 3D model and the original shots of renders handy so you can check them from time to time, it's always nice to have then near by because sometimes a flat image doesn't convey a lump or bump so keep checking back to make sure you're going in the right direction! 

Or you could..

If you wanted you could stop at the pepakura point and make your potato like mini Halo armour. I will warn you that because of the eyes in the potato some points can be a little tricky. Also if you wanted to do you ENTIRE PotatOS it'd be a little trickier as the way the model for the game was made, all the extra bits in the model and stuck into the main Potato Body, so you'd need to cut into your pepakura potato when you're done to attach them, or trim them down. 

Of course if you don't want to be messing around with those programs or your not that way inclined do not fret! Using images found online, or screenshots taken from the game there's no reason you can't make PotatOS by eye, it may be a little trickier, but it's a nice alternative. If you chose this method then you'll just need to use your own references for different parts when I'm using mine.

[EDIT: It was brought to my attention that 3D Ripper DX has some problems talking with Windows 7. This seems to effect only certain games, and Portal 2 seems to work ok, but if you want to use the 3D Ripper DX program for a different game using the same methods check out this chart that @Blackjosh on the tested.com forums passed onto me: http://www.lagspike.com/tools/3d_ripper_dx_compatibility/chart.html ]

Onward to Step 2! 
great job buddy...keep up the good works...n thanx for share...
Alright, yes, this is awesome, but if your lazy you can buy pretty much this exact thing in a kit from thinkgeek.com . I might upload a pic of it if you want to see it...
Cheers for the comment =) I already know about the Think Geek kit, I think it was like two or three days after I submitted this project in college that it was released! lol, I was lucky because if my lecturer's had seen it they'd have said &quot;but it already exists....&quot; <br>Personally I think the Think Geek one looks a bit too clean... or newish, also you have to find your own potato, lol, whereas mine is dirtied up to look like the one from in the game. But you're totally right, to save time you could get the one from Think Geek and just make the potato, as a real potato will eventually grow and take over your lab and no one likes cleaning up acres of broken glass... <br>.
Now make a portal gun and mount GLaDOS on
or PotatOS
Aye, tis on on to build list! =D
how about whealty?
Oh yes! Or Space core, I've seen someone who made a hand operated Wheatley puppet a while back, I'd love to make an automated one to hang from the redunent TV bracket in my room! =D
This is the best Portal 2 instructables I have reversed seen! !! You are awesome I worship you, could you please check out my instructables? Again, I worship you
So sorry I never got a message about this comment! Thank you so much for your compliments! I'm off to check your stuff out now =D
OMG! You my friend are a golden god of making. I bow down to your skills!
Wow what a compliment! Thank you ^_^
You seriously deserve it. Great electronics skills and craftsmanship. It looks like a real prop that could be used on screen. (And I am seriously envious and want one of my own! If you sold them I would buy one from you.)
Making me blush! I've been toying with the idea of selling raw casts of the potato and eye if people want them. If I decide to do so I shall let you know =D and thanks again for the compliments!
Very well done! Thanks for sharing it! Love your work and Portal :) <br> <br>&quot;Oh. It's you. It's been a long time. How have you been? I've been really busy being dead. You know... after you murdered me. Look. We've both said a lot of things we're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.&quot; <br> <br>
Thank you =)
Cool <br>
Thank you =)
This gets a huge WOW. I love Portal, this is way sweet. Plus I'll be checking out 3D Ripper DX now :). <br>Great work.
Cheers =D
This is fantastic! I've been trying to figure out a way to make a fake potato for a portal cosplay for a bit, and this nailed it! Thanks for the share!
Awesome! Don't forget to pop back to post a picture, I'd love to see how it turns out =D

About This Instructable


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Bio: Just finished up a 4 year course in Modelmaking, Design and Digital. I'm currently working on expanding my portfolio and collecting skills while scouting ... More »
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