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M.D.s console

Started by museumdave, Oct 20, 2011, 03:26 pm

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Oct 20, 2011, 03:26 pm Last Edit: Aug 18, 2012, 10:58 pm by Scarfwearer

Though not a console yet, I am making small steps.  This actually started in part because of the frustratingly inspiring members of this site.  I just got to the point where I really wanted to play too.  My eldest daughter is a big BIG new who fan and we have had a good bit of fun with that.  Made her a sonic screwdriver for christmas last year.... sorry off topic.

Okay so I thought  I would love to build a console but where would i put the darn thing ????

But then I had a brain wave.  We have a partially finished attic that has hip walls.  So the end of the room is  a bit half domed shape to start with.  Now obviously it is not on the same scale as the 2005 set,  with the rounding off of some corners and the addition of roundels- it would certainly set the right tone.

I have reconciled that with a limited space and budget -some details will be different but I am hope to keep closely to the flavour and idea of the real prop.

I started with the moving works of the central column.  I used tube guards (to cover florescent lights) the two larges sizes I could find.  They are light plastic and less that $5 a piece.  I cut them in half.  I know the proportions are not quite right- but back to that limited space and money comment.

The cardboard will of course be replaced by clear plastic and the cord with be swapped for a sturdy steel cable with a proper pulley at the top.  
Even as it stands the action works well.  Pull one end of the cord the two haves move apart- pull the other they slide back together.  I think I should be able to hook this up to an electric motor much the same way others have motorised their time rotors...small rotor.JPG

small rotor open.JPG
rotor cord.JPG

I have also  been lucky enough
to find some great bits and bob.

At work there was a box of old-really old electrical fixtures that was going in the trash
I pulled out these great ceramic light bulb socket -things that to me look very reminiscent of the outer rime of the console.socket.JPG I have some fun little coloured push light that will flash when pushed once - turn on the second time and off on the third push that fit nicely into these.

Also a light fitting that looks kind of like the liberty tabacco desk dell

I will hopefully be working on the arms of the console soon.


"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Brilliant! I love it. Good work on the clear tubes.
I love bits and bobs. My console will also consist mostly of bits, bobs and stuff I can get cheap  ;D

I'm also building a room for my son, of course not to scale but a fair attempt will be made.
Can't wait to see how yours is going to turn out.
Any chance of a little floorplan of the room?

Good luck!

Bartender says: "We don't serve Timelords in this establishment."
Timelord steps into a Bar.


Oct 21, 2011, 04:39 pm #2 Last Edit: Oct 21, 2011, 05:54 pm by museumdave
Thanks Youmika,

I'll see what I can do about a floor plan.  I appreciate the encouragement.  I found another good bit.

I also ordered some singer sewing machine case handles (wee!)
Thanks again
"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Oct 21, 2011, 05:28 pm #3 Last Edit: Oct 21, 2011, 05:52 pm by museumdave
Hello Again
Having some computer trouble- tried to send this post twice- so I hope this works.

I have had a question about the cable arrangement on the rotor.

It is a very straight forward low-tech solution.  But it works very smoothly; I will see what happens when I hook it to a door arm and washing machine motor.

The workings are kind of like this;

The disks represent the assemblies with the tubes.  They are made so that the top setoff tubes are smaller in diameter and fit inside the larger tubes pointing up from the bottom.

The cable end 'A' on the left goes up through the bottom disk assembly passing through a through holes (no impediment) just offset from the centre of the disks.

The cable goes up to the top assembly.
It passes through openings at the centre of the disk, but this time there are knots or cable clamps above and bellow the hole in the to disk.- so if this cable end moves up or down the top assembly goes with it.

The cable continues up and over a pivot point - a pulley-

Coming down on the right hand side the cable passes through -through holes in the top assembly and down to the centre of the bottom assembly where there are clamps above and bellow this opening. So when this end of the cable moves the bottom assembly goes with it.

The cable continues down ending at point 'B'

So you pull down on end 'A'
the top assembly moves down and the bottom assembly moves up -coming together.

Pull the 'B' end and the  
Top assembly moves up
And the bottom comes down....
Stop before the tubes come apart - otherwise the realignment could be tricky - especially if it is in a centre column.  You can set the distance of the movement in part by setting the distance between the top of the top assemble and the pulley.

It should be possible to hook a teeter-totter type lever to the bottom of this actuated by a similar mechanism to the classic washing machine time rotor motors

I hope that makes sense

M.D.rotor cable.JPG
"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Oct 26, 2011, 03:52 pm #4 Last Edit: Oct 26, 2011, 03:59 pm by museumdave
Not a lot of news, but I did receive my singer sewing machine case handles yesterday _ Yay ebay!  The thought is to use these on the console but, also to take a pattern from them and make some similar, although I already know that my homemade pivots will be simplified.

Any haw here they are

The pivots are rather ceased, but I trust after a bit of a soaking in penetrating oil they should loosen up.


I also Found some likely looking bits from the local habitat for humanity 'Restore'.  hose and punched metal bitsdisk+bit.JPG

The pen is just for scale


M.D. - you know like a doctor....
"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Oct 26, 2011, 04:20 pm #5 Last Edit: Oct 26, 2011, 04:21 pm by museumdave
This could also be called the Eccelston irregular esthetic experiment- but that would be silly.

So after having a very good look at pictures posted of the Doctor Who experience (thank you peterdalek)  I felt very sure, almost certain that the bumpy texture on the 2005 console arms was achieved with spray insulation.   Particularly if you look at the close up of the purple slider.  So I thought I would put this to the test - before applying it to a build.  I found some low expansion spray foam insulation.  I figured this would be best, and it was also about half the price of the other stuff, about 4 or 5 dollars (Canadian).

I tried it on Masonite, the stuff I plan on bending around the arms of the console top.

It is cheap and fairly bendy.
As a side note I got really lucky I saved a bunch of this from when we took down the Viking ship mock up we had on display last year -Yay!
Okay so first attempt
Spray lines back and forth - no gaps - I spread it out a little with a stick.
Result FAIL the thing looked ridiculous.  Yes it was covered in bumps, but huge pillowy bumps.

Attempt 2
After the board was set I flipped it over and used much MUCH less spray foam.  I tried to spread it thoroughly with a chunk of old plastic.  I also smushed the larger bubbles and then walked away to let it expand and set.

Result not a total Fail, but... not good.  I am beginning to feel like I need to borrow the 'bag of shame' from Sillysparrowness.  

I still feel that this is close to what was done on the actual prop, but my technique needs refinement...  In the end I may be better off to use a textured paint.  That way I can always add more rather than being in the spot of having big chucks of foam that look awful.

Hand for scale

Thanks for looking
"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Oh very cool! I was thinking of doing a similar test and now I don't have to. Thanks for sharing! Saves me (and I bet a bunch of other people) a bundle of time.
Bartender says: "We don't serve Timelords in this establishment."
Timelord steps into a Bar.

the mister


Oct 27, 2011, 09:04 am #8 Last Edit: Oct 27, 2011, 09:05 am by celation
I'm sure that's how it was done - in some fashion. It certainly has that appearance.

Check out the result of this guy's work. A thinner coat would probably look pretty good.

Love your prop collection, BTW - can't wait to see this come together.


Thanks all for the kind words.

As I say I am not really that happy with it.  But that is why we do sample before we cover our beloved consoles with experimental glop- isn't it.  Any how my local hardware store has the stuff for less than$4 so I will play with the technique some more and let you know if I can figure out a better way.


"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Nov 01, 2011, 05:46 pm #10 Last Edit: Nov 01, 2011, 05:54 pm by museumdave
I have been working on the Crystal thingy (sorry for the technical terminology) for the console.  I started with a piece of PVC corrugated roofing not needed for the central column.  I cut it to shape and used a heat gun -I  LOVE MY HEAT GUN- to form it.

The result, although not awful, really is not good enough.  I figured what I wanted was basically a faceted cone with 6 sides.  I had trouble making the sharp facets.  Or rather keeping them.  I could make a good clean edge, but when I went to make the next the first got less distinct and by the time I got to the third edge it was worse yet.
I have been keeping my eyes open at many good will and the like shops, and had been thinking of using an upside-down glass cone candle holders- I have seen some good ones, when I came across this.  A large cast acrylic crystal ornament.  It was about $20 so I bought it.  I have not done work with cast acrylic before, but I have seen on the board how people have used this material to make 7th doctor Umbrella handles....

This crystal has 8 sides rather than 6, but okay
. So I cut the crystal into two halves.  I was much more interested in to longer of the two sides.  But it needs a pointier point.  So I did some re-profiling with my belt sander- I REALLY LOVE MY BELT SANDER-
acrylic cryatal-1.JPG
I then did some wet sanding with a 600 grit on my marble slab to keep things level- also great if you want to tool leather for a journal cover. (heh heh)
Any way after that the crystal still looked cloudy, from the scratches and that was the finest sandpaper I had on hand, so I hit it with the heat gun -I LOVE MY HEAT GUN.  It served to melt the small scratches out and smooth it back to a clear finish (mostly).
rough crystal.JPG

I then drilled a series of shallow holes in the base and smoothed them out with the heat gun -I... oh you know-  

The picture here is the crystal with one of my small blinking push lights in the base.  I know I have seen the real crystal blink green in the 'Attack of the Grask' game if at no other time.  Not too bad in the end, although the taper should be a little different and I think it should have a base closer to 3 inches across rather than the 2 ish base it has.
crystal green2.JPG

Thanks for looking

"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Nov 01, 2011, 09:35 pm #11 Last Edit: Nov 01, 2011, 09:37 pm by galacticprobe
Who is going to argue over that one-inch diameter difference? That looks magnificent! As for your terminology, I've been referring to those things as the Crystal Pointy Thingies, so I think you're pretty well on there!

There is another panel on this console that had to more pointy things (two of them), but those pointy things looked to only have four sides, like tall pyramids (not quite obelisks because they don't taper in sharply at the top like the Washington Monument). They may be easier to build from your leftover roofing material. Not sure of their sizes, though, but I'm guessing they'd be pretty close to the one you've built.

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Nov 08, 2011, 04:31 pm #12 Last Edit: Nov 08, 2011, 04:49 pm by museumdave
So I bought a second hand barometer to strip down for gauges.barometer.JPG

This past week I had a couple of days off, and the time finally arrived.  I scrounged some scrap plywood from my father, made a pattern blowing up a good image on a power point projector and traced it on craft paper. Using one of the reference pictures from this site -Thanks guys- I played with the size until it seemed to work.  I think Mr. Tennant is close to my height about 6'1", so taking careful note of what parts of the console were; knee, groin and waist height- I think my template should be close to full scale.  
Standing trembling on the brink.  

To this point I have just been collecting odd bits and pieces and working on small console components, the sort of thing that isn't too big or scary for ones wife, but this week I jumped in with both feet.

I used the template to draft a side of an arm on plywood.  Working in my work shop (back deck) I used my jigsaw to cut it out.  Because of the large size of the arm I have been piecing together some parts of the arms.  I don't think this will make it too weak, and after the textured spray the joins should be invisible (I hope).1starm.JPG

With two sides cut out, I attached them together with the top - or outer surface a skin of Masonite.  Now I know this is not as strong as say bent plywood, but it does make the arm manageable to move and as long as I don't step in the centre of the Masonite climbing on the console???? It should be okay.

arm pair.JPG
The end result is a little rougher than I had hoped, but some sanding will take out the worst of the cutting wobbles, and the textured spray will hide some too.  It is very Organic though.

At this point Mrs. MuseumDave came out and did a bit of a 'Home alone' face slap- I guess she wasn't sure I really meant it when I said I wonted to build one.  He he oops!  I may need to re-think my attic control room plans.

After the initial arm has taken form I decided that they are a bit too tall.  I had intentional left an extra 3 inches on the bottom of the form- but seeing as I am not going to have steel grates and My room is only 8 feet tall I cut this off.

I think the end looks more proportioned.  I am actually hoping to have some very steel grate -like rubber mats, but that is to be dealt with later.

Got the second arm somewhat together today.  I like this one better.  I am planning on having two different widths of arms, most like the new one.  I am making a bit of a leap here, but I am using my singer sewing machine case handles as a guide.  There are a couple of square on reference shoots of the arms with the handles.  IF my handles are the same as the handles used in the original prop than I should be very close to the right width for the arms.arm mockup.JPG

Looking at the first it seems too wide.  I did some more calculations and it maybe over by ½ and inch, but it feels more than that.  The arm may end up looking different though once I get 'stuff' (buttons gauges levers and Stuff, you know STUFF) on it.  I will likely cut it down, but I will continue and make more arms before that.

One last shot of a mock up.  Just playing to give an idea of my vision.
console mock up.JPG

Thanks for looking

"I could retire and be the curator of this place,"  the 11th doctor or maybe the 12th?


Quite impressive!  Simple construction but looks quite effectve.


DT's Console is brilliant. I thought about making that one but all the corners just seemed impossible to me. You're actually doing a good job on it and I think that's very impressive.
Can't wait for the rest!

BTW I stripped the exact same barometer down for parts. Found quite a few of them on car booth sales. They must have been very popular in their day ;-)
Bartender says: "We don't serve Timelords in this establishment."
Timelord steps into a Bar.