Half Life Portal Companion Cube

posted 18 Jan 2015, 09:09 by Colin Bell   [ updated 18 Jan 2015, 12:18 ]

So anybody who has played Portal from the Half Life series of games will know that Companion Cubes are one of the key props in the storyline, and players learn to love them!

My son has played through all of the versions of the game, starting at about 11 years old on the original game playing it with me, and he's a confirmed fan. This Christmas we'd decided on money as a gift (university students have their own requirements I guess...) and I didn't want to just give him a boring envelope with cash in it, so I decided this would be a nice little ornament for his desk.

The design I chose was a modular one from Thingiverse by Ellindsey, which allows the pieces to be printed in groups of colour to match the game prop.

I grouped the pieces as the creator suggested, in white, grey and pink, and printed them at a 0.15mm layer height in PLA at 215c, on a cold bed with Kapton tape and a light glue stick coating. For infill, I used 25% solid, which provided very robust parts.

After the three separate jobs had completed, taking around 12 hours in total (I was running the printer a bit slow at the time as I was troubleshooting a stepper issue, normally I think these could be produced in about 8-9 hours), I ended up with a pile of 40 pieces ready for assembly.

The build instructions indicate that you should start by assembling one face and build up from there, which is what I proceeded to do, however you get to a stage where instructions don't really matter, and you need to just assemble by feel. The parts fitted together very snugly, and the cube is very solid - I have no doubt it would survive being thrown at a wall...I didn't need to file any pieces down to assemble the cube, but some persuasion was required with a mallet towards the end of the assembly.

As you can see, there is some space inside the cube where a lamp and/or some circuitry could live - I think I'd like to maker this cube again, on a much larger scale, at a higher resolution, and make a novelty lamp from it. The idea I had was that the hearts could glow, and perhaps if I printed the grey parts in for example a coloured nylon, they could have accent glows too. This version printed at 100% produces a model around the size of a Rubik's cube.

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