My ASHPD Testing shall commence in 3, 2, 1

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Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
I discovered The RPF after watching Adam Savage's DL-44 build on Tested. Prior to that I was unaware of prop building. Even though I dabbled in custom action figures, it never occurred to me to build props. After some browsing here and Volpin's site, I decided this was something I could and wanted to do.

With that, for my first prop I wanted to do my own take on the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. I read through Volpin's build as well as Throwing Chicken's. I don't think I could ever match their builds, I still wanted to tackle this.

Let me say this, I appreciate anyone who is willing to subscribe to this thread and follow the build for the long haul. My progress is slow for a multitude of reasons. Doing it the way I want is high on the list. I will not compromise on the way I want something to look or act. I have built special tools to do one job and this in and of itself, is another project. So I may not get it done in record time, but I know it's done the way I want.

So like all good builds I promptly started putting a plan together...in my head. I started buying supplies that seemed common to a lot of the builds and were good for scaling as well. Soon I realized I needed to really started writing stuff down and putting an actual plan down on paper.

I knew I wanted to use as many commonly available items as I could. This way it keeps availability to a maximum over one off parts. I also knew I wanted to give it all the bells and whistles, lights, movable parts and sound.

I started out using two 4" PVC couplers for the chassis. I figured on working my way forward. Thankfully I determined early on this was silly. So I figured I needed to focus on the barrel and work my way back. Since this is where most of the magic will happen anyways it made the most sense.

I could have just lit the barrel from behind like the prior builds and been ok with that. While there is plenty of prior art to dictate what it would look like, I always felt the business end of an ASHPD should be more "live" than the static version we have seen in the past. More on that later.

The equipment installed decided on what power supply I would use. For my needs I will be running two packs. One 12 volt and one 4.5 volt. They are both filled with AAs. I also wanted to keep the switches/buttons to a bare minimum. So there will be a master on/off switch and what I termed a "Portal Acitvation" button. That's all. I wanted one button to do the work so I used a latching relay to accomplish this. I'm feeling out the idea to add a small lug to the underside so when I dock it in the base it will light from 120 volt power. Haven't made a call on that yet.

Ok. Enough talk onto some pictures.

I first tried to make a barrel from pieces of PVC.

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My thought was pre-made perforated PCBs for everything. I was going to sandwich the main board between two of the pieces.


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While logistically it was simple enough, I struggled for a while trying to get the nose right. In the end, I scrapped the PCV idea and my friend turned some Delrin down on his lathe for me.
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This is attempt #s 2 and 3. On the left is the second attempt. It's a great outing, but some bit chatter forced him to cut a bit further down and it threw of some of the measurements. It's my test and back up piece. Attempt 1 was very rough and has some of the first cuts but is still viable for certain testing uses. #3 will go untouched until all the fit and finishes are tested and complete.


You can see in the pic above my first main board build. It worked fine, but being a perforated board required a lot of jumpers to be used and I wasn't a fan of that. Since I scrapped the PVC portion, this forced me to change the design of this as well. I ended up laying out and etching my own board for this.
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It's considerably smaller. I free handed the resist, so it's not the best, but it works beautifully. As I mentioned earlier I always felt if you're creating portals, the barrel should seem live. Like it's constantly priming to do its job. So I decided install a fan instead of a static "diffuser" in the bore of the barrel and add a chaser around it. Stick with me here.

First things first. The fan I got from an old little DVD player. I wanted it to be two speeds. One very slow while "idling" and then another when the button is pressed. Problem is, while I wired it as such, it's not the type of fan for the job. It's an asymmetrical fan and I can't remove any of the blades to exaggerate the effect. The minimum voltage to run the fan isn't slow enough to help either. I will still wire it this way, but it's one of the only aspects I've compromised on.


The tricky part is how to achieve the chaser effect. This was no easy task. It was a lot of trial and error and a good amount of hope. Once I settled on the dimensions of my barrel I ordered a polycarbonate tube.
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I needed to separate it from everything else as well. So I went to the auto parts store and grabbed an exhaust pipe adapter and ever slow slightly sanded it to fit. I hand sanded this, almost a polish to help slide it in, other than cutting it length it was a perfect fit.

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Now to work out the electronics. I have a ton of surface mount LEDs sitting around the proper color. So I had that sorted. I went to work on the control portion. You can find an array of these circuit designs online. They include a parts list. So that was easy. There was a lot of bread boarding done to test this circuit, I came to find out what I already knew to be true. Radio Shack had poor QC on their silicon. After pulling what was left of my hair out I figured out I needed a better quality chip. Luckily I have an actual electronics shop driving distance from me. So I went there and bought the place out. Or so it seemed. So nice to actually talk to some one behind a counter who not only knows what I'm talking about, but can teach me a thing or three. Here's the final testing of the circuit.

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<---CLICK ME!

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The LEDs used here were used for testing only, as putting an SMD on a bread board is prohibitively difficult. The circuit called for a potentiometer which I didn't need. So I set my desired speed and put the appropriate value resistor in there instead.

I had the hard part out of the way. I went on to design and etch another board. I had never done a round board before this and now I've done two.

Here's a pre-etch shot of both sides.
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Here's a post etch of the top
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At this point I'm sure you've started to figure out the plan. As I move through this, anytime anything is changed I make sure to take the time to do a full electronics test along the way. Be it a mechanical or electrical change, I like to make sure everything is still copacetic before I make too many changes and have to start figuring out my issues.

Here's a fully assembled pic.


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As for the sound. I ordered a sound board from Bob at Replica Props. What a neat answer to a problem. Great customer service and simple instructions. The only hiccup here was I wasn't clear on how the chip worked and didn't order exactly what I needed. So I ended Having to build a small relay board to make all the proper sounds go with the proper colors. Other than that, it works flawlessly. I ordered a small amp from eBay for around $5. I believe it was a Class D and it was the perfect compliment to the little speaker.


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So in the interest of moving this along...

Here is a main board test

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<---CLICK ME!

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A chaser test
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<---CLICK ME!

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And a full electronics test bare.

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<---CLICK ME! (Includes audio)

The rundown is as such:

Barrel with chaser board in the bottom. The polycarbonate/metal sleeve combo goes in next. (No pic of that)

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Then the layer cake.

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From top down:

Fan
Mesh
Foam Diffuser
Main Board
Foam Insulator

All that results in this:


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It looks worse than it is. I have already ordered a wiring solution.

And for me the piece de resistance. This worked so much better than I ever anticipated.
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<---REALLY CLICK ME!

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I have not gotten to a full electronics test in the barrel yet. I am tackling mounting it first then I can move on to that. I hope I can bring you updates in a timely manner and appreciate any interest you have in my first prop build. More to come. Much, much more to come.

TL;DR

I'm building a portal gun, thanks for checking out the pics.

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ThePropBox

Active Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Great build so far, definitely watching this one :)
As for the adio: It really does sound quite good, maybe I'm going to try a few different speakers and shields to see where the differences are.

:)
 

d_jedi1

Sr Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Impressive work! I can't wait to see it finished.
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Great build so far, definitely watching this one :)
As for the adio: It really does sound quite good, maybe I'm going to try a few different speakers and shields to see where the differences are.

:)
Impressive work! I can't wait to see it finished.

Thanks guys. I have been working on learning a PCB fab software. It has sidetracked me and I am now in the process of deciding on putting one large board together. In the meantime, I may just repair the boards I have now to do my full test and move from there.
 

ThePropBox

Active Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

If you want to have it manufactured by a company for a cheap price definitely check out iteadstudio.com.
I made my Arduino-shields for the electronic of the Gravity Gun.

Here's a crappy picture of it.
 

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Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

If you want to have it manufactured by a company for a cheap price definitely check out iteadstudio.com.
I made my Arduino-shields for the electronic of the Gravity Gun.

Here's a crappy picture of it.
Oh wow. That's really nice. Thanks! I will note them.
 

Fishbowl

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Nice work so far. I love the idea of the fan, such a cool little addition, but I struggled to follow what you were saying about it in combination with the chaser. Will the fan spin at the same speed as the chaser circuit while in "idle" mode?
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Nice work so far. I love the idea of the fan, such a cool little addition, but I struggled to follow what you were saying about it in combination with the chaser. Will the fan spin at the same speed as the chaser circuit while in "idle" mode?
Thanks!

Let me see if I can explain this better. My vision is as such: the chaser moves at the same speed no matter what. The fan slowly rotates and then speeds up with the button press. My reality is different. While the chaser works as designed, the fan doesn't. The brushless fans do not act like their brushed counterparts. You can limit voltage and bring the speed to a crawl. Think of a ceiling fan with multiple speeds. The brushed fans are purposed built and just shut off at certain voltage threshold. After some testing I shunted as much voltage as I could but the effect is still lost visually. You can hear the speed change on the bench. So, unless I find something else in the meantime I designed the chaser to spin the opposite direction of the fan in hopes to exaggerate the fan rotation to a slower speed. I don't know if it will work yet, but I am willing to try.
 

ThePropBox

Active Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Oh wow. That's really nice. Thanks! I will note them.
You definitely should!
The only "flaw" they have is that you have to at least order a pack of 10 PCB's. They even give you two additional spare ones if you agree to make your EAGLE-file downloadable to the public giving away your "copyright" on it.
Including shipping it costed me around 35$ :) Was a nobrainer for me.
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

You definitely should!
The only "flaw" they have is that you have to at least order a pack of 10 PCB's. They even give you two additional spare ones if you agree to make your EAGLE-file downloadable to the public giving away your "copyright" on it.
Including shipping it costed me around 35$ :) Was a nobrainer for me.
That's really cheap. Although I have no little use for that many boards. Something to consider though.
 

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Strode

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Gixxer, this is a fantastic build. Following both yours and Mario's with interest!
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

You definitely should!
The only "flaw" they have is that you have to at least order a pack of 10 PCB's. They even give you two additional spare ones if you agree to make your EAGLE-file downloadable to the public giving away your "copyright" on it.
Including shipping it costed me around 35$ :) Was a nobrainer for me.

Hey Mario,

How did you get the rounded board in EAGLE?

Gixxer, this is a fantastic build. Following both yours and Mario's with interest!
Thanks so much! I appreciate that.
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

I sadly don't have much of an update. I'm floating between board design and bench testing. I started wiring everything up on the bench but either get sidetracked by the dog or other items or just cant seem to get more than 20 minutes at a time to really get momentum. When I had about an hour the other day I realized I needed to draw up a wiring diagram. When I was in the bread boarding phase, it was easy as I soldered resistors to wire and such for a quick test. Now that I have boards it makes it more complicated as i have to convert everything to pin outs. So I got that done to keep from turning myself around and am in the process of getting it wired up. Hopefully I will have a real update soon.
 

ThePropBox

Active Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Hey Mario,

How did you get the rounded board in EAGLE?
Sorry, totally overlooked it.
I just drawed it in an circular shape on Layer 20 (Dimension) and asked ITEADstudio if that would be problem to machine.
They responded with "absolutely not" and so, yeah... :)

Just take your time on the update. It's not always easy to gather a lot of time for stuff like that.
Looking forward to it though! :)
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Sorry, totally overlooked it.
I just drawed it in an circular shape on Layer 20 (Dimension) and asked ITEADstudio if that would be problem to machine.
They responded with "absolutely not" and so, yeah... :)

Just take your time on the update. It's not always easy to gather a lot of time for stuff like that.
Looking forward to it though! :)
Thanks. I realized that after I posted it. I've been using EAGLE more in the past few days and have been learning the nuances. It's a great little program. My problem is running one large board with two discrete voltages. I don't feel like going back and redesigning everything.

I am hoping for a minor update this week. Not enough hours in the day. I was stacking the boards for my test and just had too many issues, this will be alleviated later with some proper pins and connectors. I will be making harnesses. As of right now I'm using jumper wires. I took everything apart and started fresh this time laying them out. Hopefully I'll have some progress soon.
 

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Dtrasler

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Just going to sit in the corner and gaze with wide-open eyes at this. So much know-how! One day I shall get beyond pre-wired LEDs and learn about circuit boards.


Who am I kidding?
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

Just going to sit in the corner and gaze with wide-open eyes at this. So much know-how! One day I shall get beyond pre-wired LEDs and learn about circuit boards.


Who am I kidding?

thank you for the kind words. Everyone has their strengths for sure. I do not have your gift for writing, lord knows I try. I do have a rabid thirst for trying new things, I then keep doing it until it's where I want it. Humor aside I think your builds are great. There's never shame in trying. Only shame in not trying. Having extensive amount of patience is big too. I've always loved electronics and did stuff On a hobby level. This is a natural progression of that. I could have had boards made, but I revel in design and execution and seeing it all come to life. Using pre wired LEDs is a great option especially for saving time and money. I won't lie there was a ton of bread boarding. More than i care to think about. There was a lot of Hail Marys and a good amount of help from a friend. I'm always learning which is part of what makes this fun.
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device[TXT N IMG]

After a bad LED in my chaser board, a board made wrong, 4 days of sickness, a minor heatwave and tons of wire I finally present an update.

I wasn't going to custom etch a board for the sound chip but after a wire fell off I decided to just do it. That's the 28 pin job on the right. This right after etching. I drew the resist by hand on this one. The other board holds the the resisitors for my chaser lights, since i had no room on the board for it and the control circuit for my fan, more on that in a bit. The resist for that was a rub on transfer. They're pre printed sheets you lay down by rubbing it through the top sheet. That sounds dirty. Anyways, I like the resist pen as it cleans with alcohol. The transfer worked ok. It did a great job of keeping the acid at bay, but ultimately was a lot of work and a lot of clean up.
w

image.jpg

So so here they are after a bath. I don't have a picture of them populated.
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After some soldering I was finally ready to test everything out.


After testing I noticed the fan spins so fast you lost it in the mix. I have an idea to slow it down but that will be a little time.

Thanks for looking.
 
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ThePropBox

Active Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device UPDATED!

Hell yes! :D You nailed it with the lighting!
What's the next point on your list? Do you have any plans on how to create the white body parts for the back and the front? Resin casting?

Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see where this is going :)
 

Gixxerfool

Well-Known Member
Re: My ASHPD Please look directly into the operational end of the device UPDATED!

Hell yes! :D You nailed it with the lighting!
What's the next point on your list? Do you have any plans on how to create the white body parts for the back and the front? Resin casting?

Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see where this is going :)
Thanks so much. The lighting came out just as I pictured which is very exciting. I'm still working on the fan speed, I didn't quite achieve the effect I wanted. It seems pulse width modulation is the solution. I 555 timer circuit is what I am trying next. If I can achieve the effect I want, I will leave it and move on.

Up next is mounting the barrel. Since I wanted to make it repairable if necessary, I have a solution worked out, but as of now it's untested. The main body will be PCV, the part that houses the lit chamber and such. As for the white parts, I was going to use floral foam originally, I may still use that as a form. For me, by time I got done casting two parts, it would more money than the rest of the unit. I have never casted before and would need fairly large molds. I may use the foam or even papier mâché as a form then fiberglass them as a final product. Still haven't made a decision.
 

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