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Rick DeNatale's TARDIS Model WIP

Started by rubyredrick, Oct 25, 2010, 07:28 pm

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Oct 25, 2010, 07:28 pm Last Edit: Nov 29, 2010, 05:01 pm by Scarfwearer
Hi,  I just joined. Located in Wake Forest NC, USA (Just north of Raleigh).

I've been working on a 2010 series Tardis for a month or two now.

I'm a member of TechShop, giving me access to lots of cool tools (like a
laser cutter) I decided to tackle a Tardis model in 1 inch to the foot
scale which, at least here in the colonies, is the typical doll house

So far the main materials have been baltic birch plywood in a
combination of 1/8" and 1/4" thicknesses, and acrylic sheet.

The frame comprises four identical sections made up by gluing layers
of laser cut ply.  I made a jig to allow the corners to be bevelled
using a bend sander.  Right now the four pieces are temporarily
assembled using duct tape. I still need to do some fitting work
(primarily on the joints with the roof )before gluing.  I also plan to
use the laser cutter to cut out a square on the top of the roof where
the base for the lantern will go.

The doors are made up of a plywood shape with cutouts for the windows.
I laser cut the horizontal and vertical framing components from 1/16"
basswood, The small framing on the inside of each panel is 1/32"
basswood strip which I glued in and 'mitered' with an XActo #11 knife.

The vertical sides were left long and still need to be cut to length and the doors need to be sanded for fit.

And another view of the doors, sign, and one of the windows. The
windows were cut and etched on the laser cutter out of acrylic sheet.

I drew the graphics for the POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX signs using Adobe
Illustrator, then printed them on 4x6" photo paper on an HP inkjet
printer.  The 'glass' over the signs is laser cut from somewhat
thinner acrylic than I used for the windows.

At the moment I'm pondering what to do about the lamp.  Right now I'm
leaning towards making a mold out of alumin(i)um using a combination
of a mill and a lathe and trying to blow-mold the fresnel lens using
laboratory glass piping.

After that I need to figure out the lock (maybe laser cut and etched
thin plastic then painted) and the door handles.

The one thing I haven't figured out is how to fit the interior  ;)

I'm probably going to put some kind of translucent material inside
with a light of some sort, which would light the windows, the POLICE
PUBLIC CALL BOX lettering and the lamp.



Welcome aboard!
It looks like you're well along with this one. I imagine it's the laser that leaves the slight scorching along the cut edges - which is pretty much what you'd expect, I suppose.



This looks dead nice. I like the way you've etched the clear acrylic to make it resemble the frosted sections of the windows. :)


Interesting way to model. If you want more accurate signage, look for my PDFs in the reference section.  FTI, the top signs are Gill Sans. :)
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


Thank you Doctor!  Now I just have to scale them to the right size.



I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to deal with the lamp.

I considered making a mold to blow laboratory glass pipe into, and various other ideas.

Finally after making careful measurements I decided just to try turning the lamp 'globe' out of acrylic and see how it came out.

The picture is my second attempt.  After I did it once, I came up with the idea of using the lamp as a switch to turn the lights on and off. See below.

I got some 1/2 inch acrylic rod, and drilled out the center with a drill big enough to hold a 5mm white LED.

I then turned the outside down to what I calculated as an approximately correct diameter.  I then cut v grooves, and filed the edges of the center section to look a bit more like the correct semicircular shape, but in this scale I figured that it didn't need to be exact, just suggest the right shape.

The top and bottom are stubs, the shorter top will have the lamp shade applied and the longer one will go through the bottom of the lamp, and into the Tardis roof.  The longer shaft is so that I can have a cam inside the tardis to activate a switch when I turn the lamp.


I think that's quite good, actually.  Should do the trick nicely!


Quote from: deck5 on Nov 02, 2010, 01:46 am
I think that's quite good, actually.  Should do the trick nicely!

It's time for an update.  No pictures this time.

Actually, I haven't been completely happy with that lamp lens.  I've turned a few more, and I can't seem to get a good one without internal cracks, and it's hard to get a nice optical finish on the outside and inside. In fact polishing tends to expose or exacerbate cracks.  A secondary problem is that the curved section in the middle of the lens isn't really right.

So, I've been working on a new plan, I think I've figured out a way to cut the fresnel lens on the laser cutter.

I've been working on making a 'lather' cutter, with lather pronounced to rhyme with lathe ur, not as in shaving cream.

I've bought some 1/2" OD by 1/4" ID acrylic tube.  And I've turned a brass mandrel which I can use along with the indexing attachment for my sherline lathe, to hold a section of the tube.  I plan to rotate the mandrel with a small battery operated motor.  I'll then make an svg file with lots of copies of the shape of the lens so that the laser cutter draws the profile over and over while the tube spins.

I'm hoping this will yield an optically clear lens, with a place to mount a white L.E.D. inside.  All of the acrylic I've cut with the laser cutter comes out very nicely.

I'm pondering whether to make the lamp blink or not.  I've been watching lots of 10th Doctor episodes and I haven't notice a lot of flashing.  I was thinking that the lamp flashes and the windows stay steady when the TARDIS is traveling through a worm-hole (or whatever that is) but I'm not sure that the lamp is actually flashing or that it just looks that way because the whole TARDIS is tumbling.

Finally, as an answer to a private message someone sent me a while ago, let me say that this is definitely just a personal project.  Although I'm lucky to have access to some pretty cool tools via my TechShop membership, there's a LOT of hand work in this project, and I'm not even sure that I've managed to keep things like the SVG files I've used to cut the parts in a form I, or anyone else could easily reuse.  I'm really just scratching my own itch.  I plan to put it in my own model cabinet when I'm done, and maybe enter it in a model contest or two, now that IPMS/USA no longer requires models to be mainly composed of plastic.

I've shared a bit of this project with Mat Irvine, who I know through the yahoo space modeler's forum and his visits to the US IPMS National Convention a few years back.  Mat used to be a model/prop builder for the BBC (he built the original K9 for instance). So I'm not hiding from the BEEB.


I saw some model lamps that size the other day in a hobby shop, I guess the use them for model ships.


I did a quick google for this, because I'm interested in a fresnel lens like this, although its for a model of a police post rather than a box.

Anyway I turned up a hobby website and a little picture of a fresnel lens that looks the part for the matt smith tardis without much alteration.

Located here

It says its 21mm high so its maybe 15mm diameter lamp, and Retails for £1.25