Jun 21, 2024, 12:25 am


New, New TardisBuilders!

A Dimensionally Challenged Console

Started by tinkering_timelord, Feb 08, 2021, 10:28 pm

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So, I've been working on designing a new console to go with my new Police Box, but I don't think I've posted any pics of the custom TARDIS console that I made about 10 years ago, so I thought I'd throw a little builders diary together for fun.

I began construction of the console in late 2010/early 2011. This console, like my Police Box build, was made with the intention of being used as a prop in the Doctor Who shorts I was making at the time. Due to the fact that I was a poor teenager I decided to build a much smaller console, one that would be easy to store and transport. I used the Newberry Console as a starting point for the size and shape, but used the Altered Sharp Console from season 16 (the Key to Time season) as a reference for the control panels.


My first consoles were built on a square table with foldable legs that functioned as the kids table at Thanksgiving dinner. I covered the table in Christmas lights, trash bags and cling wrap and fashioned 9th/10th Doctor style struts out of wood covered in aluminum foil.


The 'Time Rotor' was made of an old fire hydrant, a rotating solar system night light and a vacuum cleaner.


I assembled a variety of junk, electronics, toys and knick-knacks to serve as controls, but eventually I wanted something a little more accurate, and so I embarked on building a six-sided TARDIS console.


As you can see the panels were quite small and were cut from quarter inch ply.


I ran Christmas lights around the console structure, backed by aluminum foil to enhance the brightness. Colored party light bulbs were used to light the Time Rotor, which was made out of quarter inch ply and two sizes of plastic florescent light tube covers.


It took several months to construct a proper plinth for the console, so it often sat on my original console table.


I eventually engineered a pulley system so that the Time Rotor would rise and fall like the 9th/10th Doctor Time Rotor, using fishing line and carefully placed brass hooks. You can see the raised and lowered positions in these pics. (please ignore the hair, I'd crop myself out of the photos but I can't be bothered lol) I was never able to motorize the rotor, but it was still quite cool.


In addition to the usual bits of junk that made up the controls I was given an old police scanner to incorporate into the communications panel.


I eventually rebuilt the Time Rotor, making it somewhat taller, it no longer moved, but the wooden disks were replaced by a much more accurate acrylic.


There have been a few alterations to the controls over the years, but I'll save those for a future post. And since the new console will be roughly the same size and shape as this one, I'll post progress pics for that in here as well.


Here's a short video of the TARDIS console as it appeared in 2015, including the partial set that I built for one of my short films.


That is really nice.
A true labour of love!

Great video.




Cardinal Hordriss

That's awesome. My console is dimensionally challenged but there are no measurements in infinity as the Doctor told Sarah Jane. I'm sometimes tempted to wire up all the light up switches and bits of my console but I'm scared it'd catch fire because I haven't a clue what I'm doing. As for a rising and falling column... no chance, very envious of you there.
I speak to you from the final days of Gallifrey. I am the past you have forgotten. You are the future I will not live to see...


Here's some pics from last year when I added lights to the various panels. My favorites are the ping pong ball lights from the Hartnell console. I also strung an LED rope-light through the plastic tubes, which helped the time rotor feel a bit more substantial.


Helm: IMG_2282.jpg

Navigation: IMG_2283.jpg

Communications: IMG_2284.jpg

Mechanical: IMG_2285.jpg

Diagnostic: IMG_2286.jpg

and Fabrication: IMG_2287.jpg

And a final shot with lights and smoke, as the 12th Doctor said: "It's atmospheric!"


I see pretty things here.  ;)
why doesn't the Guide mention them? - Oh, it's not very accurate.
Oh? - I'm researching the new edition.


    I've been toying around with the idea of building a new Time Rotor for the past couple of years. The updated 2015 version has cracked acrylic discs, the holes for the support tubes are too large and most disappointing is that the thing doesn't even move. When I finally got around to designing a new Time Rotor, I wanted it to be a combo of my favorites, which include the original Brachacki 'Time Column', the Altered Sharp Time Rotor of the Tom Baker era (especially season 16) and the 1st Ed Thomas Time Rotor. After some fiddling around on paper I worked out a column that could have the rotating central mast of the Brachacki, the lighting of the Sharp, and counter-balanced rise and fall of the Thomas rotor all in one.

1down (2).jpg
1up (2).jpg

    The main support structure is comprised of six 4ft dowel rods, the bottoms of which screw into a 14in diameter circle of MDF. The tops of the dowel rods have hanger bolts screwed into them allowing the top hexagonal housing to be easily removed and replaced. The dowel rods will be wrapped in color-changing LED slight strips with snap connectors, these rods will then covered in a 1.25in diameter plastic tube and strung through with flashing lights of various settings, over top of which will be placed a 1.75in diameter plastic tube. The tubes were sprayed with a frosted glass spray paint to defuse the light of the LED strips.


    I then cut and assembled the two moving ring structures out of 1/4in acrylic plates and 4in lengths of 2in diameter acrylic tubes. The rings have a hole in the center with enough space to allow for the rotating central mast. Around the whole thing I bent a single sheet of 0.02in thick acrylic into the outer casing of the Time Rotor.


    Here are some pics of the progress so far, and a video testing the pulley system and motorized slider crank mechanisms.


    There have been a few issues with the motor and pulley systems, but I'm hoping I can get them sorted soon and the whole thing looking more polished. Overall, very happy with the results thus far!


Here's a quick video showing how the color-changing and flashing/chasing LED strip lights look inside the acrylic time rotor shell.

My two favorite color combinations are the Pertwee green and the Baker red.



I'm impressed beyond belief and very envious of your achievements thus far!!


Quote from: cosmichobo02 on Mar 30, 2021, 05:56 amI'm impressed beyond belief and very envious of your achievements thus far!!

Thanks, that's very kind of you! :D


Quote from: tinkering_timelord on Mar 30, 2021, 09:11 pm
Quote from: cosmichobo02 on Mar 30, 2021, 05:56 amI'm impressed beyond belief and very envious of your achievements thus far!!

Thanks, that's very kind of you! :D

My absolute pleasure, just wish my rotor was as smooth.


Small rotor update.


I got the LEDs attached to all of the plastic guide rods. I was hoping the frosted glass spray paint would do a better job of diffusing the lights, but it's not too bad. The top section of the rotor is not currently connected to the motor because the glue attaching the acrylic rings to the wooden drive plate (? I'm making these names up) isn't holding. I'm not sure if there is any type of glue that would create a strong enough bond between wood and acrylic, so I am getting some threaded bolts to hold the whole assembly together.

Also bought a new motor which will hopefully be quieter, as well a mount for the motor that will rotate the central mast (which I still need to build). And I'm swapping out the fishing line that I was using for the pulley system for a more rigid cord. The fishing line was stretching as it moved up and down causing the bottom rings to lose 2 inches of their full range of motion.


Stopped by Home Depot today to pick up the bolts for the top ring assembly and got that secured so it won't be falling apart anytime soon. I also took the time to wash both of the acrylic rings as much as possible. While I was out in the shop I also put together the support structure for the rotating inner array and got everything back in working order.



Cardinal Hordriss

I refuse to believe that this is as easy as you're making it look lol.
I speak to you from the final days of Gallifrey. I am the past you have forgotten. You are the future I will not live to see...