Monday, October 1, 2012

How to build a Portal Personality Sphere

Space Core & Adventure Core

Are you looking to add an extra layer of cool to your Portal themed Halloween costume how about building a "Personality Core"?

I apologize for not taking more pics during the build up but hopefully with some links and basic drawings I can help you put together one of these cool props for around $50, sound good?

Step 1 get the basic parts:


What you need:

1x Oversized clear chinchilla ball  (about $17)

1x package of Sylvania LED coasters (you can find them for around $10 at Lowes)

1x 12x18 foam sheet

1x push button switch: (does not need to be this specific one)

1x small bungie cord

2x steel water hoses (common for household toilets)

1 foot of 3/4" PVC Tubing (used to wrap exterior handle) 

1x Electrical tape

5x  3.5 inches long 1/4" bolts

6x 1/4" nuts

1x ball of heavy string

Drill with 1/4" bit

1x 5" Handel or 5" long PVC pipe (probably around 1" thick depending on your hand size)

1x can of white spray paint

1x can of black spray paint

1x Package of industrial Velcro

1x Silver pinstriping tape
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Step 1

Take apart the chinchilla ball - remove the 8 Phillips head screws around the ball.

Spray paint the INSIDE of the ball white 

Spray paint the OUTSIDE of one of the detachable tops black (this will be the eye)

Put the ball back together

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Step 2

Drill four holes about 5 inches apart on each side around the opening


Screw on the 1/4" nuts to each bolt halfway (this will serve a purpose in the next steps)

To attach the braided hose simply thread the 3.5 inch long bolts through the back of the ball and screw them into the hosing from the inside of the ball (they will go in about halfway). These hoses aren't pre-threaded so the bolts will forcefully thread in the hosing (I have had it together for over a month and it hasn't broken)

Now to take up the slack simply turn the nuts to mount flush to the back of the ball. You will still have an inch or two of bolt below the nut and that is required for the next step.





Now to make the frame for the eyeball part. You should now have 4 posts inside, the remainder of your 3.5" bolts. Loop the string around each bolt and make a box by stringing each bolt together; depending how thick the string is that you are using it make take a few passes.


Now when you all done with the string, simply wrap the string with black electric tape. This will now function as the frame for the eyeball.

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Step 3

Almost there but now we need to make the core eye. 


To make this you will need the ball top that was painted black, another bolt, nut, Velcro, switch and your LED coaster.


To wire the coaster so you can switch it on or off simply pop off the battery cover tab with a screwdriver and solder the wires: Red to the top part of the internal switch, black to the bottom as shown. 

If you don't know how to solder here is a 101 on that:


 Now you should be able to switch the LED on and off with your external switch. 

Drill two 1/4 holes in your black lid; one hole will be the switch mount and the other for the handle.



You can use 1" pvc pipe cut as a handle if you don't have something laying around.  Drill a hole through the handle and run the bolt all the way through the lid to mount it. 

To mount the LED use Velcro 




I used a small bungee cord to secure the handle to the ball by running the bungee through the handle center. This allows you to also move around the eyeball and still keep it bound to the frame.

Above the handle you can see my red switch to turn on or off the eye. 

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Step 4

The front of the Core should look like this now:


I added two strips of Velcro over the top and bottom of the coaster to attach the eyelid shutter.
The shutter is made from the black foam sheet. Simply cut out two squares about the size of the coaster and attach to the top and bottom of the coaster using Velcro.






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Step 5

Add the 1 foot of 3/4" PVC Tubing (cut in half) to the braided hose. I sliced the tube down the center, wrapped the pipe and zip tied the ends. 

To add extra polish you can use automotive pin-striping to create more of the core details. You can use a hairdryer to help heat the tape and bend it in circles.




Also a nice touch is a voice. You can download a Portal soundboard on your smartphone and place it inside the Core to make it talk:




That is it, now go have fun with it!  

Space Core & Adventure Core


Here is a little video of them:


Coming soon:

I have a Half Life inspired Gravity Gun in the works now :) Bwaahaha