Introduction: Half-Life 2: Health Station/Medicine Cabinet
"Rise and shine, Doctor Freeman. Rise and, shine." - G-man
Valve's Half-Life game series was an instant classic, and with the release of the new all-VR game Half-Life: Alyx, it's seen a huge jump in popularity. To commemorate the return of the series after 13 long years, you can build your very own Combine medicine cabinet. Thanks go to MARK2580 on the Steam Workshop for extracting the model from the VR game, and to u/Hexxur on Reddit for working out how tall Alyx is.
All the necessary plans and files can be found here.
- Untreated 12mm plywood, cut to the following sizes:
- 2mm aluminium sheet metal, cut to the following sizes:
195mm×40mm (two of these)
- Two-by-four timber
- Glossy grey spray paint+primer
- White spray paint+primer
- Red spray paint+primer
- Silver spray paint
- PVC or aluminium pipe:
95mm diameter pipe, cut to 62mm long, and
158mm diameter pipe, cut to 87mm long
- 5mm EVA foam
- Small hinges ×8
- Baking paper
- First aid kit/your choice of medical supplies
- Wood glue/PVA
- Mitre saw
- File (metal)
- 3d printer
- Metal brake
- Brad nailer (and brads)
- Combination square
- Common sense
Step 1: 3d Printing
"Welcome to City Seventeen. You have chosen, or been chosen to relocate to one of our finest remaining urban centres." - Dr. Breen
Before getting started on the body of the health charger, the 3d printing should be started. The files are in the dropbox link above, but I've also attached them here for convenience. The files should all be printed at 0.2mm layer height, and will be painted later. Print the light fin pieces in translucent filament, as that captures the aesthetic of the combine more than simply printing it in light blue.
Remember to level your printer before beginning some of the larger prints, and make sure that you have enough filament, as there's nothing more frustrating than wandering over to your printer and seeing the head wiggling in midair above the half-finished print.
Step 2: Cutting the Wood
"Attention, ground units - anti-citizen reported in this community. Code: lock, cauterize, stabilize." - Combine Overwatch
The backplate of the cabinet is essential, as it provides the overall shape of the body, as well as providing a strong mounting point to hang from. The plan for the backplate can be found in the dropbox linked above, as well as attached below. Take your time when you're cutting this out, it's very easy to curve a line or cut too far.
To transfer the plans onto the wood, simply print the plan out onto an A1 sheet of paper (and measure to make sure it's 1:1.) Lay this over your wood, and stick a pin into every corner. When you've created a hole for each vertex, remove the paper and the pins, and connect the dots. This is a very quick and accurate way to transfer plans, and we'll be using it more later. If you don't have access to such a large printer, don't panic, the plan has enough measurements on it to allow you to draw it by hand.
My plywood was slightly warped, so the backplate wouldn't quite sit flat against the wall. This doesn't matter too much, as you'll see.
Step 3: The Walls
"Here, patch yourself up" - Rebel medic
With the backplate cut out, it's time to sort out the walls. It's pretty clear which one goes where, so lay them out around the backplate. I've marked on the image above which pieces need modification, and I'll elaborate on them here.
The left-hand wall and the top right wall need an angle cut into them. To mark it out, simply measure 62mm from the bottom, and mark a 40° line from there. The bottom two walls also need a 45° angle cut, measure 30mm up and draw a 45° line from there.
In the top right corner, there is a small post that bridges the gap between the top right and the right-hand wall. To accommodate this, the right-hand wall needs to be cut at an angle. To find the angle, simply hold the post against the top of the wall, with the outer face running between the outer corners of the two walls. Mark this angle, and cut it.
If you're very observant, you'll notice that the right-hand wall and the wall below it don't quite match up. All you need to do is file down the right-hand wall to an angle, to let the two sit side by side.
Step 4: Glueing the Walls
"So wake up, Doctor Freeman. Wake up and, smell the ashes..." - G-man
With the walls prepared, you can get started on glueing them on. The process for this is simple, put a line of wood glue along the edge of the backplate, align the matching wall with it, and use the brad gun to fix it in place at either end. Once it's held in place, simply add extra brads along the length, every two or three inches. Rinse and repeat for all the other walls. Once they're stuck to the backplate, fasten the corners of the walls to each other.
Step 5: The Panels
"I've heard stories about you and airducts." - Alyx
The metal panels give the health charger its signature Combine look, but boy oh boy are they hard to make. I was lucky enough to find a powdercoating workshop that not only helped me cut my aluminium, but let me use their tools to bend it. Unless you have a metal brake easily accessible, I recommend finding a place to help you out.
The plans can be transferred to the metal in the same way the wood plans were, with one slight difference. Most sheet aluminium has blue plastic protecting one face, and we want to preserve that face as much as we can. Therefore, we can poke a hole through each corner in the paper, flip it face down, and transfer those points onto the unprotected side of the metal. This means that when we cut it out and flip it over, the blue protected face will be on the outside. We do this to ensure that the paint has the best possible surface to stick to.
Bending the panels is somewhat complicated. All the large flanges (at the top of the two larger panels) are to be bent at 30°, while the small flanges on the sides of all the panels are at 50°. The second flange, on the top right panel, is to be bent an additional 40° so that it's square to the top face. The bottom left panel's flanges are special, the first being bent at 15°, the second at 30° to create a 45° angle between the top face and the second flange. Finally, on the top right panel, the two indented tabs on the right are to be folded with a pair of pliers to beyond 90°.
Step 6: Shelving
"You've done a great deal in a small time-span." - G-man
So far we have a pretty neat looking cabinet... Except that it doesn't have any shelves. Since your medical supplies will undoubtedly be wildly different to mine, I haven't included any plans for my shelving. It's really just a matter of experimentation, some time with a pencil, and some scrap plywood. Once you've decided on a design, however, assembling it is very similar to assembling the box.
Lay out the pieces outside of the box, glue, brad gun to fasten them together, and repeat. Once you've finished the skeleton of the shelves, place it in the box and trace around it. Remove it, lay down some wood glue, put it back and press down hard. secure it with brads from the side, and you're ready to move on to the next step!
Step 7: Top Right Panel, Glueing
"How could one man have slipped through your force's fingers time and time again? How is it possible? This is not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his PhD at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that—an ordinary man. How can you have failed to apprehend him?" - Dr. Breen
Once all your parts are 3d-printed, it's time to stick them on. The two outer ring parts get glued together, and secured around the large hole. The wire channel pieces are then glued on, going straight up the middle of the panel. The small 3d printed clasp is glued on 130mm from the top of the front face. The 95mm pipe, light surround, light fins, and wooden indicator bar stand can be glued to the backplate, eyeballing the placement. The two smaller rectangular metal panels are to be glued behind the cutout slots, and the "right top" panel can be glued on at the top of the right panel. Finally, the small metal triangle that was cut in the last step can be glued onto the top right panel, half covering the indicator light. Important note: The indicator light and indicator bar prints are not to be glued on. The reason for this is evident later.
Step 8: Tub Storage
"Think it's dead? Maybe you should whack it with the crowbar just in case." - Alyx
The central round part of the cabinet isn't just there for looks, it can hide all kinds of useful stuff. Trace out the 158mm pipe on the EVA foam, and cut out a disk that size. Put the pipe over the disk, and hot glue three square tabs of foam around the edge. This will make a 'lid' that can be removed to access the inside of the pipe. Finally, print out the decal in the dropbox folder (it's also attached below,) and glue it to the foam.
Step 9: Painting
"Look around, Gordon. Maybe we can find some kind of tool…" - Alyx
Painting is second to final, and most fun, step. Peel the blue stickers off of the panels to reveal that nice shiny surface beneath. Admire it for a second. You're about to ruin that shine. Grab some P120 sandpaper and lightly sand the faces of the panels. Read the instructions of your dark grey spray paint, and apply it. Remember, it's better to do many light coats than one heavy coat. While the panels are drying, mask off the shelves, and the light panel prints. These shouldn't be painted. Then give the body the same treatment as the panels. After the paint is dry, mask off an area of the top left and top right panels and paint it white (according to the reference photo. I've supplied a template to print for the "AIDE" text.) Finally, when that's dry, mask off the red + symbol, and paint it. I just eyeballed the painted parts, use your best judgement.
Step 10: Finishing Up
"...Time, Doctor Freeman? Is it really that time, again? It seems as though you only just arrived..." - G-man
There are only a few things left to do. Lightly sand the small hinges, and superglue them to the panels (I've marked on the photo where to put them.) After the glue is dry, glue the other ends of the hinges to the walls of the wooden part. Close the top right panel, and align the large pipe to the center of the large hole. Superglue it to the backplate, and put the lid on it.
The indicator light and indicator bar prints need to have baking paper glued to the back of the holes, once they've been painted. Simply cut it to size, and glue it in place. Those prints can then be glued into their respective positions
To mount it on the wall, it's largely up to you, I have yet to find a good place to put it, so I laid it out on the table for now. Drilling two holes in the back, and putting some screws in the wall would work just fine. Finally, stock it up and admire it.
Step 11: How I Did It: Determining Measurements & Creating Plans
"Oh hey, look! A health station!" - Russel
"Russel, the Combine use these..." - Alyx
The dimensions of the health charger required a little bit of work to get, I've detailed the process here for those who are interested.
The major obstacle was acquiring the high res model used in Half-Life: Alyx. The one used in the previous games such as half-life 2 aren't nearly as detailed as the Alyx one, so I chose to use that. I found an add-on for Garry's mod (huge thanks to MARK2580) that ported the model into there. I was able to get a screenshot of each side, as well as a size reference beside Alyx.
Assuming that Alyx is 5'9", or 175cm (thanks to u/xHexxur on Reddit for working out heights,) one can work out the scale of the image on the screen simply by holding a ruler to it. The scale in my case was 1:17.5. That makes the health charger about 700mm tall, with some generous measurements. It's a lot bigger than it looks in-game.
Following that scale, the rough dimensions (I deviated from them a little in the final design, as perspective made some inaccurate) are as follows:
Depth: 95mm (red areas and glowing line indicator,) 77mm (green areas,) 61mm (yellow areas,) 102mm (ring)
This was probably the most challenging part of the build, but definitely the most fun. I used Autodesk Fusion 360 for this, referencing photos, using the rough measurements above, and eyeballing the rest. This let me experiment around with angles, sizes, and designs. Once the 3d design was completed, I generated the plans I've provided from the design, added measurements, and printed them out.
Participated in the