Dear Santa, I would really like a Tardis for Christmas

Started by a_blue_box_in_oz, Dec 17, 2012, 01:34 pm

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Dec 19, 2012, 01:41 pm #15 Last Edit: Dec 20, 2012, 10:20 am by a_blue_box_in_oz
Dec 13 - after dinner.
Painting day! (well, night really)
Rassalonrod mentioned that this was a quick build.  This in part due to the decision to keep every mark the Tardis acquired during its construction.
While I did center punch and fill every nail pop, I opted to keep all the hammer mis-strikes, scratches, dropped tool welts etc - gives it character  ;D

Paint guy said the paint would be quite translucent in its first coat, but by using the tinted undercoat, I might get away with only two top coats.
So Doors first (first coat and yes it is really translucent - more about that later)

At some point yesterday, I drilled and pre-wired the electrics.  Mains in to a double pole switch (for total isolation when off) and a feed up to a lighting transformer hidden in the top of one of the posts.  12vAC feed to the light box and a feed to second switch to turn the crown light on or off as needed.  

Crown piece, first coat:

Sign box first coat (sorry forgot to take picture)

Enamel takes a long time to dry so over to the signage itself.
I did cut the acrylic sheet and test fit it into the sign box prior to painting but got distracted from the job by the wife wanting something done/fixed in the house so I didn't take photos.

I used the "Paint" program on the computer to render the "POLICE BOX" and "PUBLIC CALL" lettering, flipped the image and printed it out in mirror image.
I sticky taped these four sheets of A4 onto the acrylic sheet (still with the protective paper on it) and settled in with a scalpel and a good pair of magnifying glasses.  Hand cutting the stencil is time consuming and tiring but really satisfying when done.
If you do it this way you must take great care to ensure that every corner cut joins up or when you pull the backing paper off, the letters will come off as well.
Two hours later :-X
Very carefully peeled off the backing paper and weeded out the centers of the B's, P's, and O's.
Reverse stencil lettering looked great!.  two coats of Matt black spray paint to start.  Another two coats once the first were dry.
There is a real temptation to 'peek' but wait till the spray paint is fully dry before proceeding further with that bit.

Here's the test piece on some scrap acrylic sheet, with some drafting paper stuck over it - good stuff this drafting paper,

So, surrounded by the sounds of drying paint, it was on to the door signage.
Again the "Paint" program was used to lay out the words in the correct fonts, and printed out.  I also flipped the image of the door sign and printed out a mirror copy.  I then copied the mirror copy onto an old transparency sheet, the kind used with overhead projectors.
Lay the transparency on top of the paper, align very carefully and hold the top edge in place with spring clips.
Lift the transparency, apply some spray on (CLEAR) adhesive, and then bring the two together.  Gently squeegee out any bubbles and leave to set.  Result: a plastic coated sign with excellent black lettering which should not fade over time or due to sunlight.

Repeat the process for the St. Johns logo if you are using one.

About here is where some of the aesthetic deviations started to set in.  
What started as a Tennant era build was now adopting some Smith era aspects, the St Johns Logo being the first.
(well, it did look very cool laminated - so why not?)

Rassilons Rod

Wow, you're REALLY throwing this up, aren't you? :D

I'm referring, of course, only to the amazing speed!!! (The quality is superb!)
In the cities in the streets there's a tension you can feel,
The breaking strain is fast approaching, guns and riots.
Politicians gamble and lie to save their skins,
And the press get fed the scapegoats,
Public Enema Number One.


Dec 14
Had intended to take the night off due to paint still being too wet to handle, must be the enclosed space slowing down the drying.
  (another side story)
  I had intended to just stick a picture of a Tardis phone on the back of the door for two reasons.  One, it would hit the inner door frame if the
  left hand door was opened by anyone over three feet six, and Two, Tardis phones grow on trees (NOT).
So I actually made up the picture of the Tardis phone using the laminating process I described in the last post.

You have just got to love your friends who understand what's going on here  ;D

A work colleague stops by my desk today and produces an old bakelite Dictaphone that they had in their shed.
Major Score!!
The phone is 3/4 the size of a similar era phone, and can be wall mounted, absolutely perfect for a skinny door.  A quick round of measuring
confirms that it will miss the inside door frame by over 1/2 and inch - tons of room.

The phone:

With the wife and kids safely ensconced in the house having a "pizza and movie" night it's into the shed for some 'Phone restoration'
Stripped down and gently run against a stitched calico buffing wheel brought the shine and colour back to the old girl.

Shortened the cord for the hand piece (so it wouldn't hit the floor if dropped) and secured it at both ends using electrical crimp lugs straight on to the cable.  Strong enough that a child can swing on it without tearing it out.

Some new grill work to give it a little sci-fi bling

and presto - the Tardis has a phone!

hmm... those buttons on top..... If I hooked them up to a "doctor in your pocket", reprogrammed it to say "Are you my mummy" every time the phone was picked up....
Um, no.., just a bit too creepy.

But if I wired the buttons on the phone to the buttons on the "doctor in your pocket", and rigged the buttons to deliver sound effects...
(OK, getting just TOO involved here, gotta leave something for the boys imagination, after all it is for him isn't it?)


Thanks Rassalonrod,
I must admit it is great fun and I am throwing every spare moment into it.
Sorry for the slow reply to you and others who have left such supportive comments, i did not know which button to push to just reply.
I think i have got it now.
(unless this comes up as a post and not a comment  ???)


looking great, can't wait to see it done! makes the "door Tardis" concept very appealing.
It's always a matter of time...


You are a huge nerd and I commend you for it! 

(And very talented too.)
"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.


I need more time to follow this!! ;)
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


Dec 15 2012
Paint is finally dry enough to gently handle - crikey, enamel takes a long time to dry.
Quick side note: In between colour coats I quickly rubbed back the first coat just to break the sheen.
The effect was amazing, the paintwork seemed to age before my eyes into a REALLY close approximation of the aged look on Tennant's box.
I was very tempted to keep that look but decided to push on with the second coat of colour. ;)

So now that the paint is dry enough to allow the pieces to be handled it was time to fit the windows.
Originally I was going to just do either fully translucent or fully patterned "glass"
(No real glass, too easy to get damaged by young kids rushing in and out of the door)

The dumpster diving last week had provided a range of options:
The translucent white:

No 'hammered' or 'pebble' but plenty of diamond cut:

As luck would have it the translucent white was nearly 1/2 inch too narrow to do either the upper or lower rows and was about 4" short if it was sliced up into singles.

Plan B:
I decided to just do the whole windows in one go with the diamond cut.  No shame in that, it is a early Tardis......
(But there is the issue of the ST. Johns logo on the door......)

Plan C:
(that's "C" for compromise)
Diamond cut windows with the Smith version windows (sort of)
Having already painted the front framework for the windows I decided to keep them blue.
Added the diamond cut and it was quite appealing.  I could have left it there, but the ST John's logo glowered back at me from the workbench...
I carefully cut and fitted, using sticky tape, drafting paper overlays on the inside of the diamond cut.  If I grew to dislike it after assembly, i can carefully remove them by slitting the sticky tape with a scalpel without damaging anything.
(good thinking 99)
You can see the effect here.

The inner window frames were constructed out of the trusty 10 x 10 pine used everywhere else on the doors.
a small amount of glue in the rebates and some nails through the joints for strength (pre drill the holes though)
In goes the diamond cut with its frosting patches and then the frame pushes in from the back.
A couple of really small nails to pin it in place and there's the look:

Not too shabby at all!, I don't think I'll need the scalpel after all.  It works for me.


Still Dec 15 2012 (pausing long enough to take a breath)

Couple of bits i missed mentioning : the door lock.
Yes I had decided early not to include a lock (because the telephone door would not be an opening one) and the kids may lock themselves out.
(there's always a but)
It wouldn't be a Tardis without one.  A good rummage through the box of 1,000 old bits of stuff in the shed produced a nice Lane lock barrel and mounting plate plus TWO keys - Score!
A good run on the buff for both the lock face and one of the keys and - done.
Easy as that, screwed in place:

The key was polished to a really high shine and the boy will find that at the very bottom of his Christmas stocking.
Well I cannot wrap the Tardis, so I may as well hide the key  ;D
(the other key is safely tucked away in the shed just in case he loses his)

To hide the mounting of the real working key barrel, i decided to fit a 'lock' inside.
Block of wood, router, bit of gold paint, four screws and the door has a lock:

If all goes well and I get away with this, THIS is what he should see when he leaps out of bed on Christmas morning:

If that thing had a little temporal vortex energy it would fly - I like the inside of the doors a lot  ;D


This is looking splendid! He's going to be one excited kid.
There's nothing like a deadline and someone to do for... :)


Rassilons Rod

In the cities in the streets there's a tension you can feel,
The breaking strain is fast approaching, guns and riots.
Politicians gamble and lie to save their skins,
And the press get fed the scapegoats,
Public Enema Number One.


Dec 20, 2012, 12:45 pm #26 Last Edit: Dec 20, 2012, 01:04 pm by a_blue_box_in_oz
Still Dec 15 2012, but much later on..

Cracking along now have fitted up the electrics and ready to test run:
The Crown light:
IMG_0372 - Copy.JPG

Well Pleased. a little adjustment and the radiant beams are enhanced:
IMG_0373 - Copy.JPG

I have used a 12vAC 5 watt Quartz Halogen globe and lamp holder from the box of 1,000 bits.  Mainly because it had an appropriate length of wire already soldered on (a previous project or something)
It's going to look great!!

OK, same rig for the sign box.  3 x 10 watt QH lamps, the type used in 12 volt garden lighting.
To diffuse the light better, I have painted the inside of the sign box with the white undercoat and planned to use the drafting paper behind the sign.
The drafting paper looks real good but to stop it wrinkling I'll need to glue it to the back of the sign.  Not liking that idea after a real close look at the trial piece (the T from an earlier post)
IMG_0370 - Copy.jpg

Change of plan
(heard that before)  :o
I tried the translucent acrylic, which was abandoned after the change in window design, really great light diffusion but it did dim the sign a bit.
IMG_0371 - Copy.JPG

Old car indicator trick from the 70's here - use a second piece of clear acrylic behind the lettered sign, but sandblast it to a frosted finish..
IMG_0386 - Copy.JPG

WELL pleased with it and myself ;D ;D ;D

Pride go'eth before a fall...

Whats that burning smell ?

!!! :o !!!

Rassilons Rod

In the cities in the streets there's a tension you can feel,
The breaking strain is fast approaching, guns and riots.
Politicians gamble and lie to save their skins,
And the press get fed the scapegoats,
Public Enema Number One.



Dec 15 2012 (much later again)

A 12 volt 5 watt quartz halogen garden lamp puts out the same amount of heat as a 250 volt 35 watt interior globe.
Hence a considerable distance should be maintained between it and any acrylic product.
Like the well sculptured light diffuser that was used for the crown light to create the wonderful 'radiant beams' effect.
Failure to maintain an appropriate distance results in said light diffuser being reduced to a twisted melted blob of goop.

Luckily.... The same fate was not shared by the sign box even though it had 3 x 10 watt globes in it.  The second sheet of sandblasted acrylic sheet diffused the radiant heat as well as the light.  While it did get quite warm, the lettering panel was undamaged.

A troll through the local version of Radio Shack's website turned up 12vAC LED bi pin replacements for the halogens (Yay!)
$14.95 AUD each (boo!) - I need four. 
Oh well, almost done. And I wont have to rewire or change out the transformer to DC, so that's life.

At least it did not go up in flames.