Have a few of these laying around the house? If you’re a fan of Portal or Portal 2, the teleporting escape game from Steam, you’ll probably wish you did. Logan Siahaan and Stephen Hess are a couple of portal jumping fiends and wanted to do just that, so they see out to make their own handheld Portal device using a combination tools and processes to make it all happen.

Reverse Engineering a Handheld Portal Device

A friend and I had to put together a reverse engineering project for our NWTC 2nd year Prototype and Design class. So, we decided to pull the Aperture Science handheld Portal Device. We started from Scott Bruins’ Portal Gun model from GrabCAD that he created in SolidWorks.

Logan and Stephan used a mix of CNC, SLA, laser cutting, vacuum forming and casting to re-create the Portal device. The CNC parts included the trough, collar, front and back of back tube and part of the barrel, smoothed out with the lathe. The removable side shells were also CNC’d in four parts, then vaccum formed with three layers of 1/8 inch styrene, finished off with a laminate over the top of each. This was all cut from from tooling board. The “apple cutter” on the inside was also CNC’d with the fins being laser cut from clear acrylic and the back tube has two parts that were CNC’d wrapped with styrene around the skeleton.

The two sent out the three part claw to be SLA’d, initially casting the top half and the hook part of the claw, then lasercut the arms. To connect the claws, they lasercut the piece the claw hooks onto filling it in with body putty, and using tubes that fit the diameter of the hooks.

The sections that attach to the tube were lathed from aluminum, then cast. The wire bracket mount was then lasercut to fit 16 gage wire and piano wire bent accordingly. The caps on the shells were also lasercut then formed with expanding foam and body putty. The light tube is acrylic tubing with a glowstick that was sandblasted and cut to fit the small spot with all the fins lasercut from 16th clear acrylic. Here are just a few shot of how the project came together, with more on Logan’s Flickr page.

Portal Gun from the Valve game Portal 2. © Copyright Valve
Images via Logan Siahaan


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.