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TARDIS for my Timeless Child

Started by Beltalowda, Jan 22, 2022, 01:37 pm

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Beltalowda

Jan 22, 2022, 01:37 pm Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:13 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
Hello TardisBuilders, I have lurked here for around a year or so, particularly to get inspiration and ideas for my own project.

However I felt it was about time to document my own build, and open myself up to any questions or suggestions on it.

I decided on a half size TARDIS, first as it is for my young daughter, second as I have no room for a full size one, and third as I have neither the experience(confidence?) nor a workshop/garage available. I used freely available TARDIS plans which I converted to metric and scaled down as just a guide, along with many photos of official TARDIS for reference as well as many of the wonderful projects found on this site.

I unofficially split the project into 3 phases in my head;

1. TARDIS wooden construction, including exterior and interior painting.
2. Lighting/electrics inside and out.
3. A small console with working buttons etc. Maybe using Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

I am almost finished the first phase as of writing this post, however I think I will need to use several posts to get up to date, plus it will take me some time to format all the photos I took.

For the main body construction I opted for a timber frame with plywood sides, the four sides I used 5mm ply and for the top and bottom I used 10mm ply. This was a practical as well as a cost conscious decision. I wanted to go for simplicity as the biggest woodwork project prior to this was making planters in the garden.

I am from the UK but now live in Japan, and although the summers are bright and mostly sunny, it can get very hot and very wet sometimes, and a happy coincidence of choosing a 1/2 size build was that I could fit the TARDIS into the back of my minivan at night or when the weather turned on me.

Feet and Inches just don't compute over here
Plans.jpg

No workshop only driveway, so I had to get all my tools out and pack away at the end of every session. The plywood I used for the sides and top/bottom I had precut at the hardware store.
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Building the frame with the top and bottom 10mm ply and 4 posts.
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Adding supporting framework
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Beltalowda

Jan 23, 2022, 01:38 am #1 Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:11 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
The pre-cut side and rear panels were glued and screwed into place. I am a woodworking novice, so I just did what I thought would be simple and strong.
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Added additional framing to support the space above the doors.
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Trim along the bottom, cut all 4 sides, but didn't attach the front as I didn't know how I was going to do the doors yet.
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With some very careful cutting with a circular saw I hired from the hardware store I cut the front panel out, this gave me the ply for the wall and doors. I was pretty terrified of circular saws, so I did a lot of safety research (YouTube etc.), I am really glad I did.
IMG_20210524_123118.jpg

Glued and screwed some timber at each corner for the 'posts', cut a square hole in the roof to have space later to add electronics and lighting, as the top ply is 10mm, it remains very sturdy. Another happy coincidence was the 5mm ply I used for the walls, had plenty of long offcuts, I had originally planned for the detail panelling on each side to be wood I had purchased, I returned that to the store and trimmed the offcuts, which in turn looked better and was lighter.
IMG_20210525_154444.jpg

Panel detailing done on 3 sides, I am quite happy with the way it turned out. As I was just using timber I could easily buy and guestimating a lot of dimensions, the panels are almost square, but again I actually like it. I also built the first tier of the roof and placed it on top, later I only screwed it on so it can be easily removed for adding electronics/lighting and if I ever want to replace it.
IMG_20210530_114453.jpg

Beltalowda

Jan 26, 2022, 11:26 am #2 Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:16 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
I used a very sophisticated gravity/toolbox combination to glue the ply to the first tier roof frame. Used 5mm plywood, as it is not load bearing.
IMG_20210530_155142.jpg

Added doors using the 5mm ply I previously cut, and added the 2nd tier roof. Decided to go with a flat roof for simplicity, however I didn't glue it down to the box, so if I decide to change it later I can. Also added some timber as placeholders for the "Police Public Call Box" signs. A bonus of these was it gave me good handles to move the box when I needed to. 
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Inside shot of bottom hinge and basic framework for the door to hinged properly. Had to add a strip of timber to the box framework as well to allow the door to be mounted properly.
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Top hinge.
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Interior shot showing square hole cut in 2nd tier roof, this will give me space to add lighting and electronics later.
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redfern

The only sad part about all this is that your daughter will quickly outgrow this gracious gift, at least physically.  About the only scenario she can eventually roleplay will be "FlatLine" or "Logopolis".

Still, if I had known of Doctor Who when I was ten years old and had a passion for it similar to what I had for Star Trek (this would have been around 1972-73), I would have been over the moon for a kid sized prop/set piece like this!

(The best I had was an "off brand" tulip chair I pretended was a U.S.S. Enterprise bridge station seat for when I roleplayed Mr. Spock with my buddy Kyle pretending to be Kirk.  It didn't even have the "stem" type pedestal but rather 4 brass legs.  But gosh dang it, I still loved it!  My "tricorder" was a binocular case.)

Sincerely,

Bill

ShipLikeNoOther

This looks awesome. I had planned a scaled down version for children too, although I'm not close to starting yet! Can't wait to see progress, it's inspired me, well done!
Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

Volpone

Quote from: redfern on Jan 26, 2022, 02:34 pmThe only sad part about all this is that your daughter will quickly outgrow this gracious gift, at least physically.  About the only scenario she can eventually roleplay will be "FlatLine" or "Logopolis"...
Ah, but with the reality of not having space and being able to keep materials costs down, it's still not a bad option.  When she gets too tall for a playhouse, it can become a wardrobe.  Or a media center or a bookcase or a bar or a laundry hamper or any number of other things.  And who knows?  If the situation changes to where a full-sized build is viable, he'll have gained a ton of experience, most of which will be transferable to a full-sized build.  That's a big regret for probably 95% of people who've built a TARDIS:  You learn all these things where you go "if I were to do it again..."  But most of us never have an excuse to build more than one TARDIS.  Then there are *some* people...not gonna name any names... ;)
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Beltalowda

Jan 27, 2022, 01:14 pm #6 Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:23 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
What do you get when you cross the cap from a banister/handrail, an empty jar of peanut butter, some wooden rods and a square scrap piece of wood?
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No glue, all pressure fitted, so I can add the LEDs inside later.
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I actually got really excited when I put this on the roof!
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So the 5mm ply doors needs some windows, for the time being I will go with real windows for the doors and fake ones for the sides and back, that may change in the future, or the past, I always get those two mixed up.
IMG_20210711_112803.jpg

Drilled some pilot holes, and cut the windows out by hand. The screws at the top and side are for attaching framing to the back of the door to give it strength, all the screws will be hidden after I add the trim and panelling. I went about making the doors in the wrong order/wrong way round, started with the ply then added and changed as I needed, eg. the frame etc.
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First cut
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Used these, thin blade to get started and the thicker one to help keep the cut straight.
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As mentioned above, I didn't have a plan for the doors and made it up as I went along, I realised that if the framing on the inside was a little wider and overlapped with the window hole I cut, I had something to mount the actual window to, another problem solved.
IMG_20210711_132432.jpg

Beltalowda

Quote from: ShipLikeNoOther on Jan 26, 2022, 10:42 pmThis looks awesome. I had planned a scaled down version for children too, although I'm not close to starting yet! Can't wait to see progress, it's inspired me, well done!

Thank you for the kind words, and I am really happy it has inspired you! I really intimidated myself at first, as the quality and skill I have seen others employ in their builds was really high. Although I think I managed OK so far, maybe not woodworking best practices, but it seems to be working. I ended up having breaks at some points of the build, as I was anxious about the next part. For example it took me a couple of weeks to get started on the doors, as I had absolutely no clue how to do them, and was worried about making a mess of it. Thankfully I got through it by just doing it and seeing what happened!

Beltalowda

Jan 31, 2022, 10:49 pm #8 Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:28 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
First and second tier roof closeup with corner detailing, more 5mm plywood offcuts getting used up! :)
Did a little sanding, in hindsight I should have done a lot more sanding as the ribbed texture you can see here is still visible after painting.
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Roof with first coat of paint. Bottom of the box with first coat. Decided to also paint some of the panels for the doors on one side before gluing. Bought 3 different paints to get a blue I liked, matt finish isn't easy to get here in any variety of colours, however I ended up with a good exterior water based gloss. Pretty easy to work with and should be very durable.
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Second coat for the roof, much better finish. The paint said one coat, but I have never trusted that in ANY paint.
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Box gets sanded, primed and masked, used 120 grit then 180 grit with an electric sander. Masked off the windows as I was still unsure if I should make fake windows or paint them in. Masked off the sunroof too as some of this roof will be inside the box.
PXL_20210921_023146652.jpg

Box now gets its first coat of "One coat" paint! Still needs another coat!
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I now have what resembles a blue box. I am pretty happy with the colour at this point, its not matt, but its close to the shade I had in my head.
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Volpone

Print out some signs to tape onto it!  You know you want to! 

LOL.  That's an important step in building a TARDIS:  When it stops being lumber and you go "Crap, this is the TARDIS."  The blue paint is an important point in that.  And 98% of people who build TARDISes, get excited and print out temporary signage to see how it looks. 

I feel like you're at that point.  :)
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Volpone

Oh, and glossy isn't bad at all.  I forget if you were going after a specific TARDIS, but I think I first went with...no, I can't remember.  I went with glossy--or matte.  And then decided I should've went the other way.  The actual 1960s police boxes were very glossy.  And if the blue is as dark as it looks, white trim on the windows and phone panel could look very smart with this build.  Lastly, if you want a pristine TARDIS, glossy works nicely.  And if you want a weathered TARDIS, glossy is a good starting point, because you can add dull/matte weathering that will give it a very nice depth.  I think you're on the right track. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

Beltalowda

Quote from: Volpone on Feb 01, 2022, 07:09 amPrint out some signs to tape onto it!  You know you want to! 

LOL.  That's an important step in building a TARDIS:  When it stops being lumber and you go "Crap, this is the TARDIS."  The blue paint is an important point in that.  And 98% of people who build TARDISes, get excited and print out temporary signage to see how it looks. 

I feel like you're at that point.  :)

I am actually a little ahead of the posts, so still more to come very soon. Funnily enough I didn't even think to print any temporary signs at the time, but I did get excited, so does that mean I was in the 2% or the 98%? ;)

However it wasn't long after the blue went on that I did make one of the Police Box sign frames/surround, and I did stick some lettering on it, mind you that was more to choose a good size for the font. More on that soon!

Beltalowda

Feb 01, 2022, 12:16 pm #12 Last Edit: Mar 15, 2022, 02:38 pm by Beltalowda Reason: Image reupload
Box and lid (roof) all blue now. Not fixed in place, just sitting there to see what it looks like. Got the warm fuzzies at this point!
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Interior sanded with 180 grit, filled a few holes and scars in the plywood. The wood I bought wasn't expensive, and I went through about 10 sheets before I chose the ones I wanted, the staff didn't seem to mind as I put them back afterwards. Actually I do that with all wood purchases. Unfortunately all the sheets they had, only had one nice/good/smooth side. Probably deliberate, so I made sure all the nice sides faced out and the less attractive sides were in. Hence the additional filling and sanding.

The other thing that was noteworthy was that some of the ply was furry/fuzzy, like a small dog kind of furry, and like a small dog, if you sand it, it stays furry. Although thinking about it, a small dog probably wouldn't 'stay' if you approached it with an orbital sander and 180 grit. To solve this, I primed, then sanded again. This got rid of the furriness.
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Sunroof taped and painted. I used the same range of paint as the blue, and went for a light grey, I think I had in mind the grey of the first doctor's TARDIS interior, although thinking about it now, it was grey because to program was in Black and White, it is grey, isn't it?
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Interior now a nice "Hartnell" grey, I have decided that is this paint's colour name now. This is the way.
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I was really pleased how straight a line I got after painting on the sunroof. Shame it won't ever be seen, unless I put hinges on the roof, which might sound silly, but could actually work.
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Volpone

Yes, plywood intentionally has a good side and a bad side.  I just read about how it is rated.  But since it is boring and it is in a book I have if I need to know it, I promptly forgot it again.  But the sides will be graded, like "A/B," with A, of course, being nicer than B.  It is also graded for exterior or interior use and a few other things. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

redfern

Quote from: Beltalowda on Feb 01, 2022, 12:16 pmSunroof taped and painted. I used the same range of paint as the blue, and went for a light grey, I think I had in mind the grey of the first doctor's TARDIS interior, although thinking about it now, it was grey because to program was in Black and White, it is grey, isn't it?

Uh...gang?  Should we tell Beltalowda about the "green"?  :-[

In a nutshell, the Hartnell interior was painted a very pale shade of green ...so that the walls and console would look "white" (or pale grey) on television sets  of the 1960s.  True white, however, would have overpowered the cameras.  Tony Farrell posted what is arguably the most detailed thread about that first set, providing dimensions down to the freakin' millimeter for the various set pieces.  He starts his discussion about the use of seemingly odd colors to achieve a proper balances of shades in the final televised image, not just for Doctor Who, but also more conventional narratives like sitting room dramas and pub bound comedies.

https://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=4825.0

The point being, audiences were meant to perceive the Hartnell interior as "white" (or pale "grey"), so any light shade you personally find affordable and easy on the eye is acceptable.  Shoot, if you daughter prefers "Barbie" pink or "glow in the dark" yellow, go with what makes her happy.  After all, she'll be the one entering and exiting with dramatic flair! ;D

Sincerely,

Bill