Portal Themed Crazygolf Course

Introduction: Portal Themed Crazygolf Course

So a while back a friend of mine decided he was going to celebrate his 10000th day alive with a crazy golf party, he approached a couple of us at the London Hackspace and simply said:

"Who wants to build a course?"

Being a generally creative lunatic I said yes, then sat down and had exactly zero ideas for what to do. A few days later I was in the pub with some friends who jokingly suggested that Portal would make for a pretty awesome course... my mind started running like crazy, could this be done? How could I get all of the important portal themes in and still make it fun? Have I had too much to drink?

So I got back from the pub and sat down with Google Sketchup to start banging out ideas, eventually I set upon 3 holes:

1. An actual working portal
2. A set of turrets to shoot balls
3. The Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator

So then I set about lasercutting a low temperature superconducting ring set inside a 3d printed supercooled space-bending device to make the portal work....

..and promptly woke up at my laptop a few hours later dribbling in the keyboard.

"This is going to be tough" I thought.

I'll start with each hole as I tackled them

Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator

For me the key part of this was making it look, sound and behave like the one in the game. The critical part was getting an iris diaphragm door to work, theres something very cool about these doors!
There are a few designs on thingiverse for them but tbh theyre all a bit rubbish and where's the challenge in using someone else's designs?

I started out watching a lot of videos of these doors on youtube, they all seemed pretty easy to figure out so I started doodling in sketchup. It turns out they really are quite easy to design, its all about selecting a pivot-point for the petals, literally everything else revolves (HURRHURR) around them.

So I cut the first version of that out using the LHS laser cutter:

a bit tight and scratchy but works, the next step was to actually motorize it and build a proper mount. I found a couple of old geared motors from a kids sit-n-ride toy and set about designing a laser-cuttable enclosure, this could then be bolted to the back of the door to spin it open and closed.
I also had to design and lasercut a gear interface between the door ring and the actual motor, this broke repeatedly and had to be redesigned about 4 times

Heres a shot of the final door working

Its a bit slow as I'm manually bridging the wires to a PSU, the motor controller and limit switches came later

Its all good having the door working but I then had to build a giant fake rock to set it in! This was just a bunch of chicken wire, modroc, plaster and paint. There was little virtual planning with this as I pretty much threw it together in a few days of caffeine fuelled madness.
The door surround was thrown together from an old dustbin lid, spraypaint and a lasercut aperture science logo that I designed in Inkscape, theres a photo attached

Now no piece of Aperture science equipment is complete without a giant red button.. so I set about designing the top of one in Inkscape then cutting it on a lasercutter out of MDF. The buttons themselves are laser-cut circles of MDF layerd on top of each other with some modelling clay to round the edges off. Once it was all dry I spraypainted them and mounted them on button podiums

I got all of this hooked up to an arduino with a waveshield, smoke machine and bright orange light, heres a vid:

And that was 1 hole finished, just two more to go....

Portal Turrets

For the second hole I really wanted to have a chicane and two portal turrets facing each other to shoot the ball out of the way and ruin a clear shot. I'm pretty bad at modelling and 3d printing a full size turret wasnt ever going to work so I set about giving the illusion of portal turrets without having them...

To do this I created two "aperture science turret containment cages" or as we normally call them:  "boxes"

I wanted to rip off the general look of a companion cube for these, then stuff in a couple of scanning lasers and a strobe light. When the lasers are "looking" for a ball and the ball comes past the strobe light starts up and turret gun sounds would play.

So I had the plan all I had to do was ..... manual woodworking. Ugh.

I designed the boxes in sketchup and generated a cutting list from it, essentially a list of lengths of wood and if they had bevelled edges or not. I then sat down with a saw and cut them all by hand because we have no automated machines large enough for the task :/
Loads of glueing and painting later and I had two lovely turret cages :)

I built a laser beam break sensor system to pick up when the ball was running through and hooked that to the Arduino, which was already controlling a couple of servos to scan lasers across the grass.

If the ball is detected the white flaps in the middle pop up and knock the ball off course, its very hard to get a hole in one :)

2 down! Now for the hard one...

Working golfball portal

So portals are easy right? Object goes in, object comes out. Right. How to do this without breaking the laws of physics....

Well, the ball will come out at the same portal position and angle that it hits the entrance with. I wrote some software that uses a kinect to track a ball and predict where its going to hit the entrance portal. Then I designed a simple gantry system to move a ball dispenser to that position and rotate a head to match it

this was designed in Sketchup with the Involute Gear Plugin for the gear design and cut on a laser cutter. It eventually decided to be reliable and work correctly at about 3:30 in the morning of the party...

I threw together a projection screen for the entrance portal with a webcam at the other end, it didnt really work and needs a lot more planning to get right

The party

was awesome! The golf worked perfectly until quite late in the night, the only exception being that the iris door stripped all the teeth off its gears when some doofus stuck their arm in. Luckily its not irreplaceable parts and I can cut new ones :)

Heres a vid of the night, my stuff starts at 1:30

We'll be taking this to the Derby Makerfaire in June, come visit!

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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    "you must be the pride of your hometown, you monster."


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What a funny golf you have there. It's proved that the best way to have a great party is to take a bunch of makers and... have fun!

    Doug Costlow
    Doug Costlow

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Job! looks like the mini golf party was a blast.

    Also for anyone thinking about the 10000 days, that's 27.4 years old, so I guess I'll have to start planning for my 10000th day alive party pretty soon.