Rick and Morty Portal Gun

Rick and Morty Portal Gun

Solarbotics Ltd
January 25, 2018

Every year a group of my friends have an engineering Secret Santa. The rules are simple: make something cool for under $20 that requires engineering to complete. In years past we’ve seen Google cardboard VR headsets that are 6DOF, match stick rockets, 3D printed fans that explode when used, 3D printed rockets with cardboard launch controls, and a host of other semi dangerous, partially completed projects that are more than a little interesting.

This year I decided to create a portal device from the Popular Adult Swim show Rick and Morty. The device opens portals from one dimension to another by spinning a knob to select the target dimension number on a 7-segment display. With a background in electrical engineering, I thought that this was an excellent project to start tinkering on! Plus, the 3D printer needed a workout.

Parts List
• 1x Rotary Encoder
• 1x 7-Segment Serial Display
• 4x 10mm Green Diffused LED
• 1x 4.5m Green LED String
• 1x 2xAAA Battery Holder
• 5.0V Micro Boost Regulator

The Build
I based this build on Sparkfun's 7-Segment Serial Display, which has the desirable feature of being designed around the ATmega328P, a.k.a. the Arduino chip. I replaced the stock library that controlled the 7-segment display with my own, allowing me to use the excess power to control my project's logic flow.

Sparkfun’s 7-Segment Serial Display with switch

To mimic the functionality of the portal device in the show, I combined the 7-segment display with a rotary encoder. I used a library online to read the grey code of the encoder and turn it into a basic clockwise/counter clockwise selection knob. The encoder's wheel also acts as a button for simple spin/set operation (seen above, showing the default dimension, C137).

Simple AAA battery pack with built-in on/off switch

Power comes from a simple AAA battery pack with built-in on/off switch  & pre-tinned leads soldered to a small 5V boost converter used to power the 7-segment, processor, and LEDs.

Portal gun casing designed in Solidworks printed on the Kossel Delta 3D printer

Although there are 3D STEP files online, I designed up my own implementation of the portal device in Solidworks before printing them on our Kossel Delta 3D printer. The CAD files need polish before we release them to a 3D repository, and we'll update the blog entry when they're available.
The large 10mm green LEDs round out the effects nicely. LED voltage drop calculations showed wiring them up 2 in series, 2 in parallel for a nice green glow without requiring current limiting resistors.

The glow to the top tube of the Rick and Morty Portal Gun

To enhance the glow to the top tube, SuperFlex LED strings were wired directly to the 3V battery source and stuffed unceremoniously into the tube. And as with all quick DIY projects, everything was assembled into the portal device with superglue.




portal gun handle with battery pack access door

The last step of the build was to add a little door at the bottom of the portal device so that the battery pack can be accessed.

Completed Rock and Morty Portal gun sitting on a wooden surface

Although not quite perfect, it turned out rather well considering I only had two sleepless nights to get it ready. Revision 2 requires adjusted CAD files, a wiring schematic, and better matched tube/front LED colors.

C'mon Morty - there's something I need you to do....


August 17, 2001
Spyder Detail Pictures

One of the most popular BEAM Walkers ever built was Mark Tilden's VBug 1.1 - Spyder. We've recently had the opportunity to shoot a series of high-resolution detail pictures of this robot, which we're now making available to you!

January 18, 2005
More of the RS2 and Friends at CES

I just tripped over this article showing off some AMAZING footage of Mark's new creations. Enjoy! Read More...

May 7, 2007
The return of the MCM...

Remember many, many moons back when Solarbotics was a young company, with just a few hacker-type objects to offer the robotics community? One of these items was the "Metal Cassette Mechanism", and was the heart of a great many Solarengine Kit. Hail the return of the almighty MCM! (Ok, it isn't as earth-shaking as all […]

January 11, 2016
Monday New Product: Solder and Grove

Lead-free Solder Spool (100g) $9.55 Solder, without lead! Adapter, 9VDC @ 1A $6.79 This Adapter, 9V @ 1A is a economical power transformer. Grove - Universal 4 Pin 20cm Unbuckled Cable (5 PCs Pack) $3.78 Extra cables for Grove modules. Seeed Grove - 3-Axis Digital Accelerometer $35.75 The H3LIS331DL is a low power high performance […]

1 2 3 252
Solarbotics Ltd Logo
Solarbotics has been operating for more than 25 years, bringing electronics know-how and supplies to both the electronics professional and hobbyist. We'll be happy to help you too!

Solarbotics, Ltd. is not responsible for misprints or errors on product prices or information. For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

Warning: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Please visit www.P65Warnings.ca.gov for more information. This item was manufactured prior to August 31, 2018.

Copyright © 2024 Solarbotics Ltd. All Rights Reserved
This is a block of text. Double-click this text to edit it.