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A Weighted Companion Cube worth saving from the incinerator

companion_cube

It’s honestly sad that Valve has not released any official Portal-related items to the masses, as a market for them clearly exists. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”, and [Jamie] needed a Weighted Companion Cube in the worst way.

Actually he constructed his Companion Cube in order to test out some modifications and upgrades he performed on his homebrew CNC Mill. Judging by how the cube turned out, and the fact that he was able to keep tolerances within .005”, we would say that his mill is working just fine.

The cube was designed in Solidworks, and passed through the BobCAD plugin to generate the GCode for the mill. The base of the cube was machined out of a 3” solid block of aluminum, hollowed out on one side to give him access to the cube’s innards. He milled out heart shaped openings on each side, covering them with frosted Lexan.

He added a BlinkM to the mix, mounting it on the cover plate he milled for the open side of the cube. Once lit it cycles through several colors, including the pinkish tone anyone who has played Portal is quite familiar with.

We would say that it’s a great job, but it doesn’t do his work justice – it’s absolutely stunning. We’re not just saying that because we want one, though we do want one…badly.

Comments

  1. wardy says:

    I really hope Valve are enlightened enough to be cool about it and not (eg). whack him with a C&D). This is so well built, very impressive.

    Actually, I thought this thing looked huge from first glance. I guessed it was about 12″ on each side. That’s a good indication of the milling and finish quality.

    Absolutely huge kudos and nerd points for this.

    Great job.

  2. chris says:
  3. LordRaven says:

    Is there anyway to get the swd for this?

  4. INquiRY says:

    Where’s the “hack” in that?

  5. marcus says:

    how is there “no official Portal-related” merch?
    did you even look at Valve’s official store?
    There’s merch for Portal AND Portal 2.

    Also, this isn’t a particularly good copy – the corners and edges are all wrong.

  6. IJ Dee-Vo says:

    drools

  7. Portal is boring, but I like this. Great use of hacked tools to make a neat real-world-imported thing.

    @marcus; I make items in real life copied from movies and Second Life, but the opposite isnt always possible, hence the popular skilled Second Life scripter/builder group NPIRL (Not Possible in Real Life). Maybe he might be limited with his setup, or it would be too fragile if certain details applied?

  8. bitreaper says:

    Would he be willing to put the design up on shapeways.com for us to buy? He’d make money from it too, so that’d be a win-win for most of us :)

    I’d love to make one, but I don’t have a mill (yet!) and shapeways offers me a way to get one.

  9. bitreaper says:

    Doh! Stupid me. I forgot. It’s valve’s idea, so they’d come down on any sales.

    Sorry, brain not working today. Come back later…
    :D

  10. dirtyD says:

    The cake is a lie!

  11. flip says:

    I would like to see units in SI

  12. XiuiX says:

    I would like to see a weighted edgeless safety cube next.

  13. Drew says:

    @wardy I don’t think Valve has or ever would send a C&D for something like this.

  14. really?REALLY? says:

    “It’s honestly sad that Valve has not released any official Portal-related items to the masses, as a market for them clearly exists.”

    It’s honestly sad that people spout their mouth off without thinking “Hm, I wonder if Valve actually DOES sell things that I might want to purchase” and doing 5 seconds of googling.

    http://store.valvesoftware.com/

  15. Mike Nathan says:

    I’m sorry, the statement might have been a bit misleading, but perhaps I was speaking from my own wants. If you read the first sentence again, just mentally insert “desirable” before the word official.

    I do not desire to own a piece of Portal clothing, a poster, or a glass – which seem to be the only items available from Valve’s official store. Even ThinkGeek’s offerings are “meh” compared to this cube.

    Some of us would be interested in items from the game, such as turrets, a GLaDOS figure, perhaps a model of Atlas and Peabody – or like Jamie built, a companion cube.

    This demographic is left out of the Portal marketing blitz as can clearly be seen by the amount of fan-crafted Portal items floating around online.

  16. Haku says:

    @marcus & really?REALLY?, have you actually looked at the TOTALLY UNDERWHELMING range of Portal 1/2 stuff available?

    It’s just what the geek/gaming/fan world wants and needs, more logo’d tshirts, mugs, stickers and bloody iPhone covers.

    Where are the interesting and unique to Portal items? like near perfect replica companion cubes, Wheatley, talking turrets etc.

    When I heard Portal 2 was coming out and looking at the preview clips I was very much looking forward to it and some decent merchandise, the game is great, the merchandise leaves a LOT to be desired.

  17. Jamie says:

    Hi All –

    Thanks for the kind comments. I’m not really set up to make lots of them, so I’m only making three – one for me, one for a friend as a gift, and one for display at the SF Open Studios this fall.

    There are a couple of details that aren’t exact –
    I didn’t have some of the needed tooling (small chamfer mill…) and figured there’s some artistic license that could be had there.

    I hadn’t thought about Shapeways – they’ve always seemed pricey (this would be about 14 cubic inches – or 229.418896 cc in si – of material so it’d be $500+ as is)

    Thanks again

    Jamie

  18. Graven Edge says:

    Back to the discussion of coolness; now just mask off the edges and such and send it out for some hard anodizing to both get the finished look and make sure that look never fades or wears.

    Still freaking awesome.

    Unfortunately I would be tempted to re-enact some of the failures from portal where this cube is involved…

  19. Jim says:

    Face it. You all just want the long fall boots.

    So do I.

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