The SGC understood the functions of a dial-home device and was able to create their own when the gate they had didn't have a DHD.

I remember in one or two episodes there were issues that led to characters (like Samantha Carter) having to fix a Stargate. It looks like they had a clear understanding, at least after several years, of how the gate worked and what it took to repair it (in some situations).

Was there something, in particular, that was missing that kept the SGC from building their own Stargates? Perhaps a need for a rare material the gate needed? Or did they never reach the level of understanding of how a stargate worked to actually be able to build one?

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    Keep in mind the DHD they built was rudimentary, and did not fully and/or properly account for or utilize all the functions/properties of the gate. There were one or two episodes where this fact actually figured prominently into the plot.
    – eidylon
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 17:32
  • Yes. Carter said this. The gates actually have a rich set of API functions which the SGC DHD couldn't use. It's a macro of these that McKay used for the forwarding part of the gate bridge.
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 4:02
  • I think there may have also been an occasion or two where someone not of earth mocked their "primitive" attempt at creating a dialing program. At least one such occasion being Baal, iirc.
    – eidylon
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 7:11
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    @eidylon - There was also an extraterrestrial who complemented them on building it themselves. I think the Goa'uld act unimpressed as part of their image
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


They could never repair or build the wormhole device itself (i.e. the ring).

They always fixed either the software, the power supply, the DHD or various other connectivity/circuit issues. They had enough Naquadah (the main Stargate 'ingredient') and knew how to make a rudimentary reactor out of it. A fallen Ancient once built a mini-Stargate right inside Cater's house with items ordered off the Internet. So it's not material.

So it comes down to not knowing the design and (and perhaps the working principles) of the wormhole generating device.

P.S. This brings up a far more intriguing question (perhaps it should be a separate question?): They knew how to reprogram Stargates for different locations. They did that with the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge. So why build Stargates? Just pick one up from an uninhabited planet, reprogram it and keep it at SGC as a backup.

  • They didn't even need to do that much. The Gate system is coordinate-based, and as seen in SG-1 6x01 - 6x02 Redemption, moving a Stargate was enough to make it incompatible with the given coordinates. They're adaptive enough that I expect moving one to a location would also simply just work.
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 13:16
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    @Iskata So long as you knew the coordinates for that location anyway.
    – Xantec
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 14:00
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    @AidanO interesting. Perhaps the human-readable symbol is different, but in the gate's machine code, it boils down to a single code on each gate. Otherwise the McCay-Carter gate bridge could not have worked.
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 14:39
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    @AidanO - the show was only loosely based upon the film. And I've heard it stated that as of last plans, if they ever complete the film trilogy, they will essentially dismiss all the TV work and not consider any of it canon. Though that could easily change. This is why the movie and show don't always match up. Just think, if the symbols were different on every planet, there's no way the characters could quickly re-dial earth. They'd first need to do detailed studies of the stars from that planet's view, and figure out its coordinate system. Would be an episodic drag.
    – eidylon
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 17:45
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    @eidylon: I don't know about that. If you know all the common symbols then identifying the point of origin is just a matter of looking for the symbol you haven't seen before. This was a plot point in season one's "Solitudes". Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 17:47

Sam Carter had an encounter with one of the Ancients in season 5 episode 3 of SG-1, and he had built a rudimentary Stargate in her basement from items he ordered online. They literally had an ingredients list, as well as the physical gate itself in Sam's basement. I see no reason why they couldn't have started developing wormhole technology.

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    It burned itself out and contained things that weren't easy for humans to make (such as a fist-sized ruby). At the end it was likely investigated but not easy to replicate
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 7:50
  • Plus the "ingredients list" is incomplete. He's cannibalised various items from her house as well.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 9:27
  • @Valorum artificial rubies were first made in 1837. A fist-sized crystal should be pretty easy these days.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 14:52
  • @OrangeDog Yes, but try getting just that arrangement of the chromium atoms. Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 18:49

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