Introduction: Budget Portal Gun From Recycled Materials

About: I just like to make things. I dabble in a lot of mediums and usually don't like to spend money on parts, so most of my work is made with leftover materials. I love different forms of storytelling, and have a gā€¦
Are you trying your best to advance the cause of science, but your CEO spent all your funding on $70 million worth of moon rocks? Now you can continue testing with little to no budget with a portal gun made completely out of recycled materials.

**Game.Life2 challenge entry - Vote if you like cost-effective science!**

Step 1: Completely Scientific Requred Materials

  • Large Cardboard Tube (about 3" diameter)
  • Large peanut can (or coffee can)
  • Plastic jug (usually used for some kind of cleaning product. Mine is carpet shampoo)
  • Small plastic jug (If you have trouble finding some, try the dollar tree cleaning aisle)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Thin cardboard (or card stock)
  • 6 plastic bottle caps
  • Long, cylindrical bottle (Try fancy expensive water bottles, they usually come in different shapes)
  • Wire Coat hanger
  • 1" strip of foam padding (I used a camping pad)
  • A small lens
  • Strong string
  • Black and White paint
  • X-acto knife or box cutter (make sure you have a sharp one)
  • Wire cutters (for the coat hanger)
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Newspaper (good for stencils or a drop cloth)
  • Glue gun
  • Cutting pad (or something to protect your table when using your x-acto knife)

Step 2: The Body of the Gun

     The larger of the two plastic jugs will make up the white shell on the main portion of the portal gun. Sketch out the bottom edge of the shell on one side of the jug. It should be a long curve starting part way down the bottom edge extending up to just below where the cap screws on.
     There should be a seam running down the side of the jug opposite the handle. Use this as your line of symmetry. make up a quick stencil out of newspaper to map out the curve you made. Tape the stencil down on the line of symmetry so you can flip it over and copy your line on the other side.
     Cut along the lines you made. Cut out the bottom of the jug along the crease that is already there.
you should now have a portal gun shell that will fit down perfectly around your peanuts or coffee can.
     Take off the lid of your peanut can. Use your cardboard tube as a stencil to draw out a circle centered on the lid. Cut it out.

Step 3: The Barrel

     Now you will need to take your cardboard tube and cut the following sections out of it:
  • Barrel - 13.5"
  • Inner Barrel - 5"
  • Outer Barrel (2 sections) - 2.25" each
     You will need to be able to draw a straight line around your tube to use as a cutting guide. To do so, hold your pencil on top of a stack of objects of the correct height. Press the tip of your pencil to the cardboard tube and spin the tube around with its bottom flat on the desk.

     Take your longest length of tube. About 3.5" down from the end draw a rectangle around 4 1/4" long by 3 3/4" wide. Round off the two corners closest to the tube's end. Cut this shape out of the tube using your x-acto knife.
     On your five inch section of tubing cut out a similar shape roughly 31/2" long by 3 3/4" wide. Cut a slit down the side of the tube opposite this shape. If you tuck one of these new edges in you should be able to slide the 5" section of tube inside the longer tube.
     Make a cut down the sides of both 2 1/4" sections. These two slits will allow them to fit on the outside of the long tube, one on top of the other.

Step 4: The Bottom Shell

     Using the same method as you used for the large jug, sketch out a line on the small jug. The end of the jug with the bottle cap will be the part of the handle that faces in toward the user when the gun is held.

Step 5: The Inner Workings

     You should be left with both of the handles from your jugs. These will be used to create the handle of the portal gun. Cut off the ends of each handle on its long side. Imagine a line running down the center of the bottom of your peanut can. Punch two holes along this line just large enough for each handle to slide through. The end of the small handle should be able to fit into the end of the larger one. Run a length of string through these two handles and tie it tightly inside the can to keep the handles from pulling apart.
  Take the large shell that rests on the peanut can and cut a hole along the center line. This hole should be just big enough for your lens to set into.
     Cut two circles out of corrugated cardboard around the size of your peanut can. Cut a hole through their centers about the size of your cardboard tube. Wedge these two rings inside the peanut can and tape in place. You should be able to slide the barrel snugly into the peanut can and let it be held in place by these cardboard rings.

Step 6: Connection Points

     Take three of your plastic bottle caps and cut them in half down the center. Set up each half with the rims of the cap together. Chop off one of the ends and glue the edges together. These will make up the wire connectors that come out of the body of the portal gun. You should have three.
     Take your remaining three bottle caps and cut them in half, just off of center. This should leave enough difference in size that one should slip inside the other, and the cut edges will be able to rest flat on the desk. Glue them together. These are the hinges where the arms are attached to the gun.
     Glue down the three hinges in place, two on the sides of the small jug that attaches to the handle, and one on the top of the outer sleeve that slides on top of the barrel.
   Glue down the open-ended bottle cap shapes on the large plastic jug, one on each side, and one on the top, on the right side.

Step 7: Outside Accessories

Cut out a strip of foam padding about 1 1/4" wide. Shave down one of the edges, cutting at an angle. Glue this strip of foam down around the business end of the barrel.
     The arms are made out of the thin cardboard. Each is made from one piece, cut in this pattern and folded. Glue down all the joints and tabs so it keeps its arm shape.
     The wires are made from sections of wire coat hanger bent into shape.

You may take this opportunity to assemble the gun to make sure everything fits together correctly, but do not glue anything in place that you have not already been instructed to.

Step 8: Painting and Assembly

     Disassemble everything so it can be painted. Use white paint on the two plastic jug sections that rest on the outside of your portal gun. On everything else, use black. You may want to paint several layers to make sure there is an even color across the whole thing. I ran out of spray paint as I was working, so my photos reveal a few gaps in the color.
     Place the large jug back over the peanut can. Trace around the inside of the hole on top to make a circle on the peanut can. Cut out a matching hole in the peanut can along this circle. Your lens should fit in place to cover up the hole in the peanut can, and fill up the hole in the plastic jug. There will be enough space inside the peanut can below this hole to fit a glowstick or small light if you wish.
     Using a marker, draw a black line down the center of the large white jug. If you can manage, throw down the Aperture symbol on the small white handle as well.
     Reassemble everything and glue in place. Glue the plastic jug over the peanut can, with the lens in place over the hole. Glue the small plastic jug on the underside of the barrel, on top of the two cardboard sections that lie outside the barrel. Glue the arms over the bottle caps. Glue the wires inside the open bottle caps and to the back end of the each arm.
    Now all that's left is to slide your cylindrical bottle into the barrel. If you have bendable sheet plastic that should work too, just close off the large gap in the barrel with something clear. If you can manage, find a bottle of VOSS. It fits perfectly, and the cap can be carved up into this pattern, so even staring down the barrel the image isn't broken.

Step 9: Begin Testing

     You are now in possession of the aperture science handheld portal device. With it, you can create your own portals. These inter-dimensional gates have proven to be completely safe. The device however has not.
Do not touch the operational end of the device - It's very fragile, and parts could rip off if you're not careful.
Do not look directly at the operational end of the device - The barrel could slide out and hit someone.
Do not submerge the device in liquid, even partially - Seriously, it's half cardboard. It WILL melt if it gets moist.

That sounds a lot less impressive when you put it that way...
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