It’s taken a little over 12 years, but one of the amazing technologies featured in the game Portal has finally been recreated in real life. No, sadly not the actual portal-making gun, but the autonomous robotic turret sentries that can identify and dispose of targets. Instead of live ammo, however, this 3D-printed replica blasts Nerf darts at unsuspecting lab intruders or escapees.
Save for most of the electronic parts that give this sentry its autonomous capabilities, which include an Arduino Mega and a Raspberry Pi, almost every last component in this build was created using a 3D printer. Using the “making of” breakdown that Yvo de Haas has posted on Ytec3D.com, which includes download links to all of the source files, you can theoretically build one for your own laboratory or office, but it’s not as simple as assembling a Lego set.
It’s taken about six months to create the turret featured in this video, and it requires skills in everything from mechanics, to electronics, to even programming to get it all working perfectly. You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of 3D printers, and be extremely patient as creating the various parts alone took over 300 hours of 3D printing. That’s a little under two solid weeks of non-stop extruding.
When a target is detected, the turret can automatically open, deploying a set of four Nerf-like blasters as its side extend, which have about 20 degrees of movement in all directions. Instead of using compressed air to fire foam darts, each blaster uses a flywheel made from a quadcopter electric motor spinning at 25,000 revolutions per minute. That’s enough kick to send a dart flying at over 97km per hour when launched, and enough to make a human target regret ending up this sentry’s laser targeting beam.