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Volpone's TARDIS build...

Started by Volpone, Nov 18, 2011, 10:44 pm

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Volpone

Still no pictures.  Where to start?  The thing with an outdoor TARDIS is that it constantly needs maintenance.  The trouble is, when you finally make time to do maintenance you find about 3 times more new maintenance than what you were working on.  Had a base on one side literally disintegrate on me recently.  The good news is it appears to have been due to regular ants, not termites.  So I cobbled together a new piece, painted it, installed it, and did some minor patching. 

One of the good...among the good things about a classic series TARDIS is that you can use whatever blue you have around, put it on somewhat unevenly, and it actually *improves* the appearance.  Had a couple partial cans of interior paint that I used that also darkened the more "blueberry" color it most recently had.  The other thing is your TARDIS can get more and more beat up and that also makes it look better--to a point.  Mine is fast approaching if not already past that point.  It looks a bit like it was made out of frosting or something.  While I was at the patching and painting, I decided to go back and repair a shoddy door repair (which was of a repair, of course). 

But as I was painting I noticed many spots that could use caulk or other waterproofing and other parts that were suspiciously soft and pliable when the brush and/or roller went over them.  On top of it all...well, I suspect my yard is the set of one of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons, with rabbit tunnels honeycombing the place.  So while each corner rests on a 12x12" concrete paver, they are settling at different rates, warping the TARDIS and pulling it out of plumb.  I've got a batch of shingles that I effect leveling with, but it is a bit of a black art.  You'd think raising one corner would give the same effect as lowering the opposite corner, but it isn't the case.  So there's a fair amount of sweating and cursing involved in the venture. 

Especially this summer.  I guess you're having similar heat to us.  I'm told air conditioning is more common in our country, but it's amazing how quickly you get wiped out, working in...97 degree (F) heat and 37% humidity. 

Well, looking, I see the TARDIS is over a decade old.  That's right up there with some of the older outdoor TARDISes on this site.  And while it has been cobbled together about as much as the original prop--and is about as decrepit--at least from the outside it looks OK. 

Oh, and I need to redo the POLICE BOX signs.  Especially the front one (of course).  If you look way back to the beginning of the build they were pretty substantial pieces of structural timber and the signs weren't lighted.  With the major refit I put in proper signs but I got tired and impatient and didn't fully cut out all the timber so the lighting was kind of sporadic.  When I did the repairs from the last move, I decided to cut out another bit of timber and I wasn't nearly careful enough and went through the outside plexiglass--which was pretty cheap and thin when it was put in.  Years of sunlight and temperature changes have made it so brittle that the front sign is hopelessly cracked. 
"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

Hokay.  Let's try this.  Scaled a couple pictures down to 400x711 pixels.  If that doesn't get in under the wire, I don't know what will.  The interesting thing about this, I don't know if there are any pictures of the previous blue, but this blue is 2 leftover interior colors that, when putting them on, I was like "OH...This is too dark.  It's almost black.  I went too far."  But then you look at the TARDIS (or the pictures) and it's hard to tell it from the lighter blue.  I'd kind of want to paint it black (intentional 'Stones pun there) just to see if the brain turns it blue anyway.  But I stick by my point:  You can NOT go too dark for a blue on an outdoor TARDIS. 
Jul22TARDIS1.jpgJUL22TARDIS2.jpg
"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

A good eye can spot at least 2, maybe 3 different colors of blue there and, looking at it again, I will admit the color from my previous living room accent wall, "Dutch Licorice", is a bit on the grey side.
"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

One more thing worth noting:  The POLICE BOX signs and the phone panel sign were done at the same time with the same technique--Inkjet transparency paper with white spray-paint on the back--yet the phone panel looks relatively pristine while the POLICE BOX signs are badly weathered.  The top signs may get more water intrusion effects and the plexiglass used may have been a different, inferior grade, but I suspect the biggest difference is that they are so much higher on the box that all the interior heat effects them so much more than the relatively low phone door. 
"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

Finally, I've been one of the worst to complain about our image size restrictions and made my life far harder than it needed to be by trying to download image compression apps and such things.  Everyone told me this but I'll repeat it:  Just open the image up in Microsoft Paint (or whatever free simple tool you like) and resize the short aspect to 400 pixels (keeping the scaling) and save it.  Easy peasy. 

Here's a few more from the post-move repairs of about a year ago (if I can find them):
oldcolorsmall.jpgRottedBasesSmall.jpgrottedinteriorsmall.jpginplacesmall.jpg
"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.

fivefingeredstyre

The rot in some of those pictures is so hard to look at, but so familiar to me. I've been spending the last year sorting all of mine, and I'm finally reaching a point where I think I've managed to catch it all (for now, at least...)

I've not updated my thread for a while, as I'm holding off till I've finished (at which point I will do a mega upload); however you are completely right with your "constant maintenance" comment.

It never ends...

Glad to see yours is still upright as well!

russellsuthern

Age has given your box lots of character!
Glad you have managed to get some pictures uploaded.

Keep up the good work, as she's well worth saving.  :)

Regards,


Russell

Volpone

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jul 24, 2022, 07:54 amThe rot in some of those pictures is so hard to look at, but so familiar to me. I've been spending the last year sorting all of mine, and I'm finally reaching a point where I think I've managed to catch it all (for now, at least...)

I've not updated my thread for a while, as I'm holding off till I've finished (at which point I will do a mega upload); however you are completely right with your "constant maintenance" comment.

It never ends...

Glad to see yours is still upright as well!
The almost flat roof of a TARDIS with all its steps and corners causes lots of problems at the top. 

The years I had it sitting directly on a concrete pad caused a lot of rot on the bottom.  (When I built it, it was on bricks at each corner so the base was a few inches off the ground (this was nicely hidden by grass) but in 2017 I happily parked it on "proper" concrete.  Big mistake because it caused water to pool at the base).  Anyway, thanks to gravity all water that contacts a TARDIS eventually makes its way to the base. 

The last thing to note on the rot is my initial build was very simple and I skipped adding any bevels to the trim.  The problem with that is that it allowed water to collect on the top of each of the crossbars, work its way behind the trim, and perfectly rot out trim-shaped sections of plywood behind it.  With the...2015(?) refit I added bevels from built-up thin-set mortar--the way you'd add glazing putty to a window. 

And as for *dealing* with rot...my TARDIS is getting more and more police box-like.  I've done a few tiling projects over the years and each time I do I wind up with some leftover "Hardeybacker" cement board.  So when the structure rots I screw them to the walls on the inside.  If the rot has gone through a panel (as it has in a few places) I've used thinset like spackle to "plaster over the holes.  Premixed thinset really isn't rated for outdoor use but I've had good luck with it. 

One of the great things about this place is the diversity of the posters.  Some are very skilled and very diligent and take the time and expense to do things right and properly and some of us just bodge together whatever we can to keep things rolling along.  I shudder to think what my console would look like if I were an actual Time Lord who'd been on the run for hundreds of years. 

To give an idea, I've got a push lawnmower that is around 10 years old.  The "deadman switch" on the handle that you need to hold to keep the engine from shutting off was starting to fail because of metal fatigue.  The part where the cable connected it to the engine would bend enough to slack the cable and kill the engine.  So I'd just bend it back, meaning to fix it "when I had time."  Well sure enough it eventually broke.  I suppose I could still fix it.  Or drive down to the lawnmower repair place and see if they can order a new part.  Or just buy a new lawnmower.  Instead I pulled the cable tight and clamped it in the "on" position with a vice grip and then tied the vice grip in place on the handle.  Then I tied 4" of clothesline to the spark plug wire so I could shut the thing off by pulling the spark plug wire without getting shocked.  That's probably what the control panel on a centuries old TARDIS would look like if it were me in charge. 
"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

Heh.  It's funny how, over a decade later, things come full circle.  My excuse for building a TARDIS was that I was putting a concrete floor in my garage, along with some other renovations, and I needed a place to store my garage stuff.  Among the things I stored were the stock "rims" (the wheels but not the tires) for my Ford Mustang.  Also, lots of paint.  I got rid of the rims long ago and it turns out latex paint won't withstand Kentucky winters (I moved from Oregon for anyone just joining us), so for some time now, the TARDIS has been empty. 

A few weeks ago I put a concrete floor into one of my garages, so I'd moved all my stuff to the other building.  Since then I learned the market rate for enclosed parking so I've been trying to get stuff out in preparation for renting space.  Most of it is junk but I'm too cheap to have a dumpster delivered, so I have to wait until there's space in the trash can.  And some of it, I don't need, but am not quite ready to call "junk" (at least until there's space in the trash can).  For example, the stock wheels (this time with tires) from my A-Team van.  And the seats (it was a cargo van, so they're little dinky seats).  And the lightbulb went off.  "Now where could I put some wheels?"  "The TARDIS!"  A bit of a tighter fit with tires on them, but it's about the way it was originally--I could go inside and probably close the door.  Not going to fit a Companion in there too, but such is life. 

On an unrelated note, the soil at the new place is mysterious.  Very soft in some spots.  And even with 12" pavers under each corner, the TARDIS had come out of level.  To the point where, even with the increased bracing for the last refit, it was warping a bit.  So I got to work with a lever and a fulcrum and a pair of extra pavers and some asphalt shingle bits (useful as shims to fine-tune level) and leveled her out again. 
"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

Argh.  My hat is off to people who actually put a lot of thought and work into their TARDIS.  Also, while I often advocate that one should often inspect an outdoor TARDIS, I'm having second thoughts.* 

I've got...I had 12x12" pavers in the corners on my TARDIS when I moved her to the present location.  Looking at her, there was some definite warping going on, in spite of my reinforcing of the base to prevent warping.  I also replaced bad timber.  But non-uniform soil compression had definitely altered the levels of my "foundation." 

Maybe a week ago I got out a lever and a fulcrum and leveled everything out.  This was somewhat flummoxed by the fact that the base bracing does not seem to actually be attached to the TARDIS anymore (so any shims would hit the bracing) but I got 'er dun. 

So imagine my delight today, when I realized the TARDIS was warping again.  Got out the level and the shims and the lever and fulcrum and worked on leveling things out AGAIN.  And of course I found a bunch more rot on the base.  'Glassing the base is moving up on my list of Things To Do every day.  And I'm probably gonna have to get out a drill and some big lag bolts and get the bracing definitively secured to the base.  It doesn't do me much good if the bracing isn't attached to the base.  :/

*If you don't pay any attention to things like this, you'd probably be a lot happier.  And definitely not be farting around with a lever and shims and cursing and planning maintenance. 
"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

After moving to the new house, the TARDIS was in need of some repairs and structural reinforcement before moving to its ultimate location.  Unfortunately, the ground under it isn't uniform so even though there's a 14x14x2" paver under each corner, they were sinking into the ground to different depths, causing the shape to warp.  I've been adding leveling materials and I think it is starting to twist back to a square shape (I shouldn't say anything or I'll jinx it).  Other problem is, the parts that I've repaired seem to be wearing more quickly than the parts that haven't been repaired.  I suppose that makes sense.  Whatever was causing them to degrade is probably causing the new material to degrade.  I really need to find some time and money and just fiberglass some more of the exterior.
"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

I keep monkeying with leveling to try to get the vertical twist out of the shape.  Until maybe a year ago this TARDIS had a completely open bottom, which was fine if it was sitting in one place on a level surface, but having to move it twice it got out of square.  So for the short move from where I unloaded it to its present location I added some bracing in the top and actually built comprehensive bracing on the bottom.  (I kind of had to anyway because that's what I attached the wheels to so I could roll it.)  Problem is, enough of the base is rotted enough that the bracing seems to have come lose from the main body in spots.  That's probably what's causing my twisting.  I've probably got to roll up my sleeves and spend a decent amount of time tying together and strengthening the base sometime in the near future.  Especially at the front.  My box is like a Police Box, in that only one side of the front opens, but even so, that's a structural weakness--particularly since the base has come loose in the front.  That corner that the door is hinged on can kind of do whatever it wants.  And as Murphy's Law would have it, that's the corner of the box that has the softest soil under it.  :/ 
"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

I'm an hour behind today because, coming home from walking the dog, the warping on the TARDIS seemed pronounced enough that I wanted to do something about it.  Unfortunately it was a lot less simple than levering up a corner and sticking a brick under it.  The corner post the door is attached to is badly rotted and/or termite infested, so efforts to lift it and get leveling materials under it just busted away material.  And anything I did created more things that needed doing--top corner of the door, by the hinge, was rotted through, latch for the lock busted loose, etc. 

Got it jury-rigged for now and have managed to get rid of most of the warping but it definitely needs some comprehensive repair.  And it can probably not be moved ever again at this point.  A bit like Russel's--it should hold together in the foreseeable future as long as it doesn't need to be moved, but if I were to try to move it, I suspect it would all bust apart. 
"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.