Mar 01, 2021, 04:04 pm


New, New TardisBuilders!

Looking for advice on making a VERY CHEAP tardis console

Started by MacktheTardisGuy, Aug 21, 2020, 02:37 pm

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I am looking to make a TARDIS Console, yet lack the necessary funds.. Any tips on making on for as cheap as possible?


Well that is a very good question.  It really comes down to what your budget is, what tools you already own, what style you are going for.   I built the Kenneth Sharp console and honestly I stopped keeping track of how much I spent because I would have stopped if I really knew the number.   That being said it comes down to materials, how big you want to build it.  how elaborate you make the controls,   static time rotor or one that moves.  There are a lot of variables in play with a build so "cheap" is relative to the builder.    I have seen several people build small "inspired by" consoles from plywood with junk found items that were really nice,  I have seen cardboard builds that were equally well done and I have seen one built out of foam that was incredible.  So its really down to your budget and how much you want to put into it.   

I want notes, lists and answers by the time I finish this here Juicy-a-Box! WARNING: I am Thirst-ay! And it is Fruit Punch! And it is Delicious!"


I am looking for a just random console, and I have around £150 to spend on this. I am looking for about a 3/4 sized console, with static rotor. And I have no experience in Wood work, etc. And I have a jigsaw and a hammerdrill as the only powertools.


Well given that information I would suggest foam core, or cardboard as the material of choice,  If you can find free scrap wood/plywood that would fit the bill as well.  Any controls you can make from found items to save money.   If you look through the console build threads you will see several examples of Cardboard console, small consoles done at low cost.  That would be a good starting point for research.


I want notes, lists and answers by the time I finish this here Juicy-a-Box! WARNING: I am Thirst-ay! And it is Fruit Punch! And it is Delicious!"


Welcome to TARDISbuilders.

I agree with Karst-  cardboard is a great way to go. It is so versatile.
You can find large sheets of cardboard quite easily from large boxes etc.
It is easy to cut & fit together & can be made to look really good.

A bit of imagination & you can come up with great ideas for controls. Junk & charity shops can often yield broken electrical or electronic equipment which can be cannibalized to make great buttons/switches, etc.

The only problem you might have is with the transparent tube for the time rotor.

As Karst says, have a look through the build diaries & you should find some clever solutions that people have come up with.

Good luck & don't forget to share the results with us!




Case in point...

"Half'n'Half" single serve creamer containers can make for great rotary dials.  Shoot, they even have a "lip" that resembles a position pointer.  they also have the advantage of bearing almost no weight upon a cardboard based panel.  The "packing shells" that secure small electronics within boxes can make for great "greeblies".  There are also "fairy light" sets that can be found for 10 bucks or less (American) with various illumination patterns (some AC, others battery powered to provide some "life" to a console.  Mylar from old party balloons can be cut and trimmed to give a "do-dad" a highly reflective surface.  Sometimes you just gotta' look at an item 'cockeyed" and you'll realize, "Hey, this plastic "pyramid" can make a great 'Gallifreyan recall circuit'!"

As a tangent example, during the 90s when I regularly attended an Atlanta based genre convention called "Dragon*Con" I created a pair of cyberpunk inspired wrist controls using..."Sunny Delight" beverage containers.  I removed the "neck" of the containers and made a large hole in the bottom through which I could fit my forearm.  I attached sections of thin craft foam cut in staggered geometric patterns.  I inserted some self contained blinking LEDs and used the rubber contact surface from a busted TV remote to look like an input pad.  When assembled, I "rattle can" spray painted it in an overall flat black to blend all the components.  While at the convention, somebody raised my arm and started pressing the rubber contact buttons, assuming they actually controlled the flashing pattern of the LEDs which was, in reality, predetermined by the tiny chip sealed within the plastic lens.  I can't remember which was more expensive, the craft foam sheets I bought or the citrus based punch for the containers.  the other elements I already had on hand.

So, yeah, you just gotta' think "outside the (police) box". ;-)




Cardboard is your friend.  Build a wooden frame and glue or ducttape panels onto the frame/  You can build the controls out of cardboard or free materials.  I built 5 consoles out of cardboard when I was a teenager, so I speak with experience. :)
Bill Rudloff

scotland yard

If you're looking for a sturdy wood console, I suggest you go and find somebody with a skip NOW and ask nicely if you can take their wood. I capitalised "now" because you'll find a lot of skips in the summer, but they'll vanish pretty soon because winter is coming. If you can do this successfully, you'll get the wood for free. For populating the console with things, I suggest either scratch-building them with any spare wood you may have and then scour charity shops, flea markets and carboot sales looking for things to put in your console.
Oh my giddy aunt!!


Started construction on a basic console draft till I get the wood and materials to do the final thing. This is just a very basic mock up, it's helping plan for how my actual one will come into form.

Will post pictures when I figure out how..


Well what I did was "up-cycle"[Lovingly Scavenge], carried a pocket knife every where and when someone was throwing out an organ, a stereo, or if you check the dumpsters at a University; something with a lot of buttons, I took home what I could.
why doesn't the Guide mention them? - Oh, it's not very accurate.
Oh? - I'm researching the new edition.