1-day Portal Gun

A quick and dirty build of Rick Sanchez's portal gun from Rick and Morty

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The goal of this project was to throw together a passable replica of Rick's portal gun with materials I had on-hand. Target objectives were:
-White/gray portal gun and handle with button
-4 digit display with randomized "universes"
-green glowing light on top of gun
-3 green lights on front of gun

I am very happy with the final product. There are a few extra details I would have liked to add, such as a printed, more ergonomic enclosure & handle, green EL light on top instead of the LEDs I used, red 7 segment display instead of the blue one I had on-hand, and some larger lights on the front.

May I present, the portal gun:

  • 1 × Arduino Uno
  • 1 × 4 digit 7 segment display with I2C backpack from Adafruit
  • 1 × Momentary pushbutton scrounged
  • 2 × Travel size liquid container
  • 1 × 6 LED array scrounged

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  • Build Overview

    AndyMac11/12/2015 at 05:23 0 comments

    I wanted to get this entire build done in a few hours. After wasting time trying to lay it out on paper first, I decided to just start throwing things on the table. Luckily a SparkFun box happens to fit an Arduino Uno and battery pack quite nicely. Did I need that much firepower for a few LEDs and a 7 segment display? Probably not, but again, the theme of the build is down-and-dirty. Plus I wanted to try and randomize the display with a random 'universe' of 1 letter and 3 numbers (i.e. C-137).

    Once I had the rough locations laid out the rest of the project followed suit. For cleanliness the wiring looked something like this:

    As with all of my builds I still like to see it working on the breadboard first in case I need to rewire something before installing it. When the button is held down it should cycle through a random series of universes, and the lights will pulse.

    Once it was all assembled, minus the green 'crystal' on top and white color, it looked like this:

    The 'crystal' on top was built of two travel-size liquid containers filled with water and green food coloring. In hindsight I would have liked to do this differently, as it was difficult to seal and looked a bit ugly after I threw every glue in my desk at it. This was installed over an array of 6 LEDs. I would have preferred to fill it with green EL wire, but did not have any handy. The final coating was white duct tape, but should have been spray paint.

    The code is probably not as smooth as it could be.

    /* This is a one afternoon, quick-and-dirty, build of a Rick & Morty portal gun.  Features include:
    -PWM flashing lights on top
    -PWM flashing lights on front
    -Randomly generated universe code of 1 letter, 3 numbers
    I kept the front and top lights as separate variables in case I want to do different things with each.
    For 7 segment display:
    1 = top
    2 = upper R
    4 = lower R
    8 = bottom
    16 = lower L
    32 = upper L
    64 = middle
    128 = decimal
    pick the segments you want and add up the numbers in hex. for instance
    A = 1 + 2 + 4 +16 + 32 + 64 = 119 = 0x77
    P = 1 + 2 + 16 + 32 + 64 =114 = 0x73
    // Libraries
    #include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
    #include "Adafruit_GFX.h"
    #include <Wire.h>
    // Pin declarations
    int buttonPin = 2;     //pin for the switch
    // 7 segment Clock = A5
    // 7 segment Data = A4
    int frontLight = 9;    //pin for lights on the front
    int topLight = 10;      //pin for lights on the top
    int letterCount = 20;  //in case you want to add characters
    // Variables
    Adafruit_7segment matrix = Adafruit_7segment();
    //Character array
    int segmentChar[] = {
      //letters A-J, L, N-U, Y
      0x77, 0x7C, 0x39, 0x5E, 0x79, 0x71, 0x6F, 0x76, 0x30, 0x1E, 0x38, 0x54, 0x3F, 0x73, 0x67, 0x50, 0x6D, 0x78, 0x3E, 0x6E
    //Number array
    int numberArray[] = {
      0x3F, 0x06, 0x5B, 0x4F, 0x66, 0x6D, 0x7D, 0x07, 0x7F, 0x67
    void setup() {
      //Set all pins  
      pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);
      pinMode(frontLight, OUTPUT);
      pinMode(topLight, OUTPUT);
      //initialize everything to off
      digitalWrite(frontLight, LOW);
      digitalWrite(topLight, LOW);
    void loop() {
      int reading = digitalRead(buttonPin);
      float in;    // used to pulse LEDs
      float out;   //used to pulse LEDs
      if (reading == HIGH){
          matrix.writeDigitRaw(0, segmentChar[random(letterCount-1)]);
          matrix.writeDigitRaw(1, numberArray[random(9)]);
          matrix.writeDigitRaw(3, numberArray[random(9)]);
          matrix.writeDigitRaw(4, numberArray[random(9)]);
        for (in = 0; in < 6.283; in = in + 0.001) {
          out = sin(in) * 127.5 + 127.5;
          analogWrite(frontLight, out);
          analogWrite(topLight, out);
        //wait 1/2 a second, then turn everything off
        digitalWrite(frontLight, LOW);
        digitalWrite(topLight, LOW);
        matrix.writeDigitRaw(0, 0x0);  // I know this looks stupid, but it is the only way I can figure out
        matrix.writeDigitRaw(1, 0x0);  // how to turn all digits off
        matrix.writeDigitRaw(3, 0x0);
        matrix.writeDigitRaw(4, 0x0);

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