Interdimensional Portal Gun

A 3D printed portal gun, which projects animated portals.

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I want one, just in case I Cronenberg the world someday.

The Plan

The short version of the plan is to use the same tech as those Christmas projectors, but having three overlapping images slowly rotating at different rates.  The overlapping images will combine on the wall to make an animated portal image.

The Hardware

  • High brightness LEDs repurposed from Walmart light bulbs.  Projection requires some pretty serious brightness to look good so I'm shooting for ~3300 lumens.
  • Color laser or inkjet printer with transparency film.  May melt.. 
  • 6 small lenses (or some fresnel sheet lenses)
  • 3-6 logic level power mosfets
  • 1 continuous rotation servo
  • 3 18650's Li-Ion cells, so I can have 12v for the LEDs directly 
  • Small speaker for sounds
  • PC fan for cooling, and spinning the portal fluid filaments
  • 3D printed case, gears, and knobs.
  • an Arduino to control it all

Projecting The Portal

Project through three rotating static images, mounted in the center of three ring gears with slightly different gear ratios, and rotate them with a continuous rotation servo.  The two outer images will rotate clockwise, and the center image counterclockwise.

Print three different portal images, splitting the portal image into 'interesting' parts with some opposing spirals built in to generate false motion towards the center.  This will probably be a green/blue, yellow, and clear mask pattern on transparency film.  Light them from behind with three seriously bright groups of LEDs, and (optionally) collimate the light hitting them with a lens.  Focus the resulting projection with three more lenses into an overlapping combined image on the wall. 

I don't really need a perfect image for this to look good, which is a plus because my current lenses kinda suck.  I need something relatively focused, but some spherical aberration and distortion may actually look great (or so I hope).

That takes care of projecting the portal.

The Portal Fluid

3D print a clear PLA ball with filament sized holes, glue in bits of clear PLA filament, and then deform them with heat to look like discharge lines.  The ball and filament strands will then be made to spin at about 1000 rpm, and will be lit by strobing some LEDs mounted at the base.  Randomizing the strobe timing will cause the spinning strands to appear to jump around, which I think will effectively simulate the electrical discharges in the portal fluid.

But Why?

Because I can.  Well, originally I just wanted to get this idea down before I switched topics again, or I got distracted by squirrels plotting to take over the earth.  But I think I will have to do this now..

Wanna help?

I would be happy to have other contributors for this project. If you feel like you can tackle a task here, you'll be added.

  1. Pulling screenshots/short video clips of the animated portals, and then simulating the best looking portal you can generate with Photoshop by overlapping and rotating three images.  Overlaying them needs to take into account that you will be adding together the resulting projected light, not blocking it.  The generated images will need to be negatives for brightness but not color, and should be original content. David is working on this now.
  2. Pulling screenshots of the portal gun from every angle and with comparable scaling elements visible, and then generating "accurate" dimensions from those. *done*
  3. Simple code for driving the servo, sequencing the LED power up, and generating the "sci-fi" noises  I would really prefer a novel mathematical model or simple inline array for driving GPIO...
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Download this first.

x-openscad - 18.05 kB - 08/06/2018 at 12:08



Open this, with involute_gears.scad in the same directory.

x-openscad - 50.20 kB - 08/06/2018 at 12:08


This is the 2500 x 2500 pixel vortex GIF image in HDTV quality.

x-zip-compressed - 20.18 MB - 04/02/2018 at 18:56



Portal opening and closing sound. Needs bitcrushing...

Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) - 872.09 kB - 03/31/2018 at 01:12


  • 1 × 12v 5015 3 wire Ball Bearing radial blower Ball bearing is important.
  • 4 × 75w Walmart Daylight LED bulbs
  • 1 × 2x45mm shaft. Piano wire works if it's straight.
  • 1 × 100mmx~23x1.6mm perf board
  • 1 × Arduino Nano

View all 15 components

  • Procrastination as an artform

    Daren Schwenke11/05/2019 at 00:47 1 comment

    I seem to bounce around from project to project and never complete any of them until something in the real world triggers me.

    Rick and Morty starts up again in 6 days.  

    I had everything I needed to complete this project in a box, but said box got a bit too warm and my boatload of PLA parts took on new and interesting, but entirely not useful, shapes.

    I just finished generating some perfect parameters for printing with ABS again for the #REMB - Raz0r Electric Mountain Board project.  I'll reprint this project again, when I'm done with those parts.  

    Here is to another deadline making that wonderful 'whooshing sound'.  :)

    <EDIT> Yep, not gonna happen. Maybe I'll have a big, white Santa Claus beard when I get back to this.  </EDIT>

  • Rotating glitter!

    Daren Schwenke04/23/2019 at 05:48 0 comments

    Moved the servo drive to the edge, and re-introduced the opposing rotation for the image discs.  

    Also changed the fan/portal fluid rotator to use a much beefier 60mm fan.  Airflow will come from the bottom of the gun, pass over the 3 10W COB LED's, and exit at the edges of the bottom now.  Moved and resized the holes in the bottom cover to match. 

    Now with the faster fan the question becomes.. will the portal fluid filaments spin fast enough to make glitter become airborne inside the fluid container?  That would be a fantastic effect combined with the strobing of the portal fluid LED's.  I'm going to have to try that.

    <EDIT> The longer 3mm shaft I needed to extend the fan motor shaft up into the portal fluid reservoir showed up today.  No more excuses now..</EDIT>

    <EDIT2> Ok... one excuse.  The 3mm shaft I ordered is precisely 3mm, and won't fit in my precisely 3mm bearing without going over it with some 1500 grit sandpaper, and I'm all out.


  • Oops.

    Daren Schwenke04/22/2019 at 17:48 0 comments

    A while back I changed the ring gears from directly interfacing to interfacing with an idler gear.

    This fit the form factor better, but I just realized this also makes it so I now no longer have counter-rotating discs.  They all rotate the same direction now.  Oops.

    At least one of the images needs to rotate in the other direction to allow the optical illusion of radial motion to work, I think...

    I still have different rotation rates between the images, so in a sense they are rotating in opposite directions.  Will it be enough to generate the radial motion illusion?  I don't know.  I may need to go back to the previous gearing.  We'll see.

  • Everything is on a COB.

    Daren Schwenke03/31/2019 at 16:43 0 comments

    Broke down last week and got 3 10W COB LED chips.  

    They were about $3 each and each one should provide 1100 lumens.  

    I didn't get the driver, but they run on 9-11V @1A so it's conceivable I could PWM them with a ballast resistor.

    They should arrive in a couple days, and then we will see.


    They have arrived.  Tested them briefly with a simple ballast resistor for current control. 

    They are plenty bright, but they do heat up a bit.  I'm going to need to mount them to a heatsink to keep them from eating themselves in short order even with my fan cooling them.

    Some small redesigning happening.


  • I'm not dead yet.

    Daren Schwenke02/24/2019 at 05:43 0 comments

    Too many projects, not enough time.

    So... now I get an excuse to post this:

    I will certainly be dead before everything I have planned is finished, but I am trying..

    This currently needs an LED PCB designed/fabricated, and some simple code to tie it all together.

    I suppose a couple COB LED chips could serve the same purpose, but I was trying to avoid needing a boost converter.  At this point, done is better than perfect.

    If you feel like stepping up to make this happen, drop me a line and you are in.

  • Dimension hopping.

    Daren Schwenke08/23/2018 at 02:03 0 comments

    Since one of my other submissions made the Semi Finals, I've been decidedly busy working over there.

    So, this has been relegated to sitting on a shelf, waiting for time, about 80% completed.

    I suppose I can give you a picture of that at least.

    If you get bored, feel free to follow along with the other stuff.

  • Possible To Simulate Portal In Blender 2.79...

    David H Haffner Sr04/26/2018 at 14:07 0 comments

    The "orange" image is actually the camera, I presented this 2nd panel to show U how I set this up.

    Yes, it is possible to simulate the merging of the 3 image plates that Daren wants to use in projecting the "Rick & Morty" interdimentional portal in Blender 2.79...How? Glad U asked, I've become more proficient at my modeling and overall graphic techniques and getting a better handle on animation so, I think I can simulate how the projection will actually look in the real world.

    So I used Blender to design the 1st two animation plates the main static graphic and the 2nd plate which gives the illusion of motion, this render below is static for now because it illustrates the concept, the image behind actually is made of glass with the graphic textured on it and has it's own emission to simulate the LED lamp, the main static image in front is also made of glass.

    There is no other lighting except the simulated LED light image, so U can see that the stenciling on the 1st image allows the 2nd image's texture to rotate and illuminate through the white stenciling and through the various densities of the color, the image is what we call "Baked" so there is an actual "normal map" for both images which gives illusions of density and "bumps."

    This particular image is also an HDR image at 32-bit depth which if etched or "fractured" on a glass plate will preserve the original image's information.

  • Latest prints

    Daren Schwenke04/16/2018 at 23:38 0 comments

  • Energy.

    Daren Schwenke04/14/2018 at 02:36 0 comments

    I made some minor changes which refined the look of the front to match the source, without increasing the required wall thickness.  So the main body print is now down to under 15 hours.  :) 

    I also increased the strength of the gear carriers and added a raised section to the gear itself which should reduce friction.  While I was at it I moved the support for the tabs for the carriers to opposite the gears which made cleanup a whole lot easier.

    The last 2 days has been spent printing all the new parts.  The Dollar Tree lenses vary a bit in size so a press fit may not work, but other than that, everything is fitting very nicely.  

    I think this version might be the one. (assuming it works)

    I lack the energy to continue atm.  I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

  • Printing hexagons techno

    Daren Schwenke04/13/2018 at 03:11 0 comments

    I was having trouble getting the hexagon speaker and cooling holes to print fast and look good, so I slowed it down to a crawl for the first layer.  

    Sounds like techno.

View all 40 project logs

Enjoy this project?



aaaaaa wrote 02/08/2023 at 08:47 point

link to christmas projector not working (error)

  Are you sure? yes | no

johnmbasic2 wrote 09/02/2018 at 23:15 point

Maybe laptop speakers could work and there cheap .

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Reginald Sourn wrote 04/01/2018 at 05:23 point

That project is cool bro ,

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David H Haffner Sr wrote 03/31/2018 at 06:20 point

You've done it man, 2018 "Pickle Rick Achievement" !

  Are you sure? yes | no

heatgap wrote 03/30/2018 at 10:43 point

Can't wait to see this finished myself. Great idea. I couldn't think of a good hack for those xmas projectors but  this is perfect.

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Dr. Cockroach wrote 03/28/2018 at 15:12 point

I like the first Test over number 3. 3 just does not have the extra sparkle that the first had :-)

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David H Haffner Sr wrote 03/28/2018 at 15:20 point

Maybe UR right Doc, I'm trying to think about how Daren is going to transfer the image to a transparent disk and which type of pixelated image would work best...never did this before :) 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dr. Cockroach wrote 03/28/2018 at 15:27 point

I have no ideas but whatever you all cook up, it will be awesome:-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

David H Haffner Sr wrote 03/28/2018 at 16:10 point

Thanks Doc :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Morning.Star wrote 03/25/2018 at 11:42 point

Ahahah, I knew I'd seen that beforuuurpe somewhere. XD

  Are you sure? yes | no

David H Haffner Sr wrote 03/24/2018 at 14:36 point

Come on Daren, make it "real" please!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dylan Brophy wrote 03/24/2018 at 06:24 point

I am quite curious to see how this works out!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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