Weekend Workshop: This DIY Portal gun is a Valve fan’s fantasy come true

weekend workshop portal gun portalgun3
backwards lamb / Instructables
Need something to keep you busy this weekend? Look no further. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials on the Web, and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage — it’s time to start building!

When Valve released The Orange Box compilation in 2007, an innovative puzzle game called Portal sat neatly tucked away among its other contents, overshadowed by the company’s wildly successful Half-Life 2. Comprised of just a few hours of gameplay, this revolutionary title tasked players with escaping a fictional research facility with nothing more than a Handheld Portal Device and instructions from an AI computer system named GLaDOS. 

Aside from the game’s inventive storytelling and head-scratching mazes, it was the cleverly designed Portal gun gamers fell in love with almost immediately.

Thanks to some savvy engineering from a DIYer in the United Kingdom, anyone with a little bit of insulation foam, some PVC piping, and a few cans of spray paint can easily make their own Handheld Portal Device. Unfortunately, the gun won’t boast the ability to shoot actual portals, but after looking at photos of the creator’s finished product, it certainly wouldn’t be hard to fool anyone into thinking it’s Valve-certified merchandise.

In a walkthrough published to Instructables, a user by the name of backwards lamb clearly lays out directions for creating a replica Portal gun. What’s most impressive is the fact that, through trial and error, he devised the perfect construction method all on his own — materials and tools list included.

Though the process was likely tedious, his troubles left the rest of us with an easy-to-follow set of directions, allowing anyone to build a Portal gun in a matter of hours. To help you begin, we’ve laid out a complete list of supplies required for completing the project. Here’s everything you’ll need before starting:


  • Belt sander
  • Table saw or jigsaw
  • Hacksaw
  • Exacto knives with spare blades
  • Sandpaper — variety of coarse and fine grits
  • Soldering iron
  • Clamps


With all the required tools and materials at the ready, it’s time to start getting your hands dirty and building your own Handheld Portal Device replica. Simply follow backwards lamb’s step-by-step tutorial on Instructables and in a few hours, you’ll have a near-identical model of Chell’s dear Portal gun. Happy building!

The full instructions on how to build a replica Portal gun can be found here.

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