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Kiwidoc's Console

Started by kiwidoc, Jan 24, 2013, 08:42 am

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And so it begins..   I might actually manage to do a build diary for this if I post a bit now and then as I go.

I've been encouraged(!) to build something cool and that makes me happy so it is the 9/10 Console.  It's going to go in a spare room and if possible I'll try and make it do a couple of useful things like integrating a working computer and my wireless gear.   And some light bulbs?   Maybe a radio?   I don't know - the main thing is to build a giant toy really and I feel okay admitting that to you guys.    When finished it should be a faithful copy of the console with most of the key controls replicated and the lower part of the column set up to move (a typical low ceiling so the top of the column will just appear to go into the roof...).

I've had a horrible time trying to work out dimensions but feel happy that it's right now.   In the process I was amazed at how different it was to how I imagined it.  I expected the ceramic rim to be at desk height and to be leaning over the controls but in reviewing all the pics and footage I found that the rim is just above knee height and the controls are mainly things you reach down to - I had to re-check several times because it seemed like I was building a copy for kids to start with!

I started with the rim.   I attached three strips of 3mm MDF together and quickly realised that they needed a skeleton to support them in a circular shape.   That took a while but is made of 5 seperate arcs of spare ply.    I found it tricky to draw an arc actually and ended up using a brick, a length of string and a felt tip pen.  Ahhh, technology!


Next I started on the coral buttresses/arms/ribs.   After screwing up two (!) sets of templates I finally got the measurements right and started cutting out the pieces from the spare wood and boards in my workshop.   What a mess.   6 ribs = 12 sides = 24 half sides - I've been cutting pieces for about a week.   Blew up my jigsaw halfway through so I bought a small scrollsaw as a replacement but it's slow going...

Feels great to put a rib together though!   I attached it with blocks of framing timber and then skinned the outer surface with 3mm MDF.   It went onto the upper curve very nicely but it was a beast to attach to the acute/parabolic angle at the base!   It's attached with screws at the moment but I plan to line it with no-more-nails on the inside seams and then remove the nails and sand the outer edges down.  Fortunately the organnic nature of these is quite forgiving so the odd lump, bump and inequal filing will add to that natural feel...   tha'ts my theory anyway!

I have 3 ribs made up now and the pieces for the next three almost ready.  This weekend I hope to complete the ribs, look for a way to join them in the middle and try to skin the angle part of the ceramic ring.  

I'm not 100% sure of what I'm doing, it's a step by step process but it feels good - getting the first two ribs and the rim together made it seem real and brought a smile to my face...



I see you are doing your PurpleBlancmange impression there. ;)
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


Jan 24, 2013, 05:39 pm #2 Last Edit: Jan 24, 2013, 05:40 pm by galacticprobe
Quote from: kiwidoc on Jan 24, 2013, 08:42 am
And so it begins..

A hint of Ambassador Kosh there?

Things are looking great so far, Glen. (Is this another console build that I'll have some ENVY! for? ;) ;D)

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


Thanks Guys, yeah I couldn't resist getting a pic of myself in there, practising for take-off...      Don't know about any ENVY -  it'll depend on whether it all comes off right or ends up failing and being scrapped or re-purposed but I certainly hope that it works out and is worth at least a  little envy when complete...    I know that the me since about 5 years old (until... well, now) is extremely envious of anyone having their own console - and the funny this is that I was really denying the possibility of doing this for ages (years) so now that I've started and admitted to myself that it's happening I simply can't wait and am jealous of future me enjoying it!!  I predict quite a few play-time photos at every stage...


Jan 27, 2013, 05:23 am #4 Last Edit: Jan 27, 2013, 06:02 am by kiwidoc
Well, a few days later and the progress is good but you might not see much!   As a side note - when you get into building something, do you find it on your mind a lot, late at night etc?  I do.  It's always there in the back somewhere, just ticking over and sometimes little thoughts pop out and say "what if..." and more worryingly "is it right?".

I was worrying all last night about the angle/space between each arm on my build and whether it is enough for the glow-y glass panels and all their instruments.   I even measured the toy console room model

I have cut the rest of the ribs and cleaned up the garage a bit - what a long job!    Felt good when all six ribs were made up, the next challenge (after a very rough test fit - see below)was to figure out how to join them together.   Um...?


What I decided to do was join the two wide ribs together and use them as a solid structure to hang the rest off of.    For now, that is - long term I hope to have lots of brackets and things that lock together but I have to figure out how and where to put such brackets so this seemed like step 1.

This is the shape of two ribs put together - seems a bit odd doesn't it!


I found the middle of the bridge of ribs and then started trying to figure out the size of the central swivel-y dais so that I know where the arms needed to lock together.  This took ages!   Ended up with this, traced from a hula-hoop!   Turned out the hoop was a little squashed though so had to re-trim the circle anyway...


I used a protractor to trace out the six sets of 60 degrees and used this to position the centre of each arm in the right spot.
Next I trimmed off the end of each arm (I didn't know how long to make them so left extra) so that it stood in the right place and could be locked in place with a quick screw through the top layer of MDF.


Once all joined up it looked a lot more solid and my heart rose a little - the panel spaces look a bit better (still on the small side - or is it just that the reality doesn't match how my minds' eye see them?).

I decided that the next thing was to start building my ceramic ring  up a bit.  I cut 36 frame/spacers to attach inside the ring and support it.  I was going to go with a slanted edge as you see in this picture with my 'plans' but that would be awkward when I want to cut and recess the sprocket holes things so I just left a gap and will hope that no-one leans on or bashed the slanted edge too hard when finished!


I no-more-nailed these in place around the ring, using masking tape to hold them in place temporarily.   I let that dry for a while then decided to attach and inner ring of MDF to form the inside of the ceramic ring that leads down to each panel.   Getting this attached was a pain!   I glued the inner edge of the supports and used tape again plus a few clamps to hold it up temporarily while attaching each spacer frame.

All in all, pretty successful but that was enough for today, time to spend time with my lovely bride again!

More news as it comes to hand...



Jan 27, 2013, 09:17 am #5 Last Edit: Jan 27, 2013, 09:20 am by FloppyDiskNinja
A new one, Excellent  ;D

looks great man, nice work :)



wow your moving right along with this and it looks like your off to a great start. thats a good idea to have the center ring with the inside set higher to hold up the panels.... impressive, can't wait to see more


Jan 27, 2013, 05:36 pm #7 Last Edit: Jan 27, 2013, 05:37 pm by galacticprobe
Quote from: kiwidoc on Jan 27, 2013, 05:23 am
- the panel spaces look a bit better (still on the small side - or is it just that the reality doesn't match how my minds' eye see them?)

Might just be your eyes, Glen. If you look at some of the console reference photos in http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=58.0 , especially at nearly-overhead angles like this http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=2734.msg28376#msgx28376 you'll notice that the panels really don't look all that big. It's only when you see them at or just above "rim level" that they look bigger than they really are.

You're build is going just fine. (The envy factor is slowly rising. ;))

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



This is coming along Brilliantly!  You are making serious progress on this.   For what it is worth- your angle on the ceramic rim looks bang on to me! 

Your proportion look really good- we should compare measurements - I know the top of your arms are lower than mine, but I think i was thinking about some sort of rubber mat or grating added to the floor which would have the effect of slightly lowering the hole thing.

Anyhow looking really good.

I am with Dino


Keep it up

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


Thanks guys, much appreciated!   MD - would love to swap some dims and see where we agree and differ - it's hard work plotting out a shape like this isn't it!?  Plus you've already thought about so many of these fiddly things, maybe I can pick your brain even further because your build has definitely blazed the way for the rest of us to follow.   Dino and FDN and gang, thanks again - knowing that you guys are reading makes it worthwhile me posting these updates.       Next I hope to finish the ceramic ring (could be time-consuming - arcs for the top, weird shape curves for the slant-y bit, holes for the sprockets things and TONS of filler...) and then come back to locking the arms together with something better than screws.   Oh, and then there is the central dais bit to thing about - howthe heck am I going to build that...?


Okay, have been staring at reference pics of the demat lever for too long and got itchy to build something so I've started this important control.

You'll see below the first simply parts of construction -  only 8 pieces of wood so far.  I'll give my sizes for your interest and possible use but with the obvious caveat that I have not measured the real prop or have any advice from anyone who has, Ihave only my own guesses to go by and I'm trying to make it look right for my console.

Okay, I used 19cm x 30 cm for the base plate and a size of 27.5x 12.4cm for the 'body' of it.  The side walls are 12mm wood and the internal planks are 10cm x 16cm and the slanty one is 10cm x 9cm.  
The thicker part of the wall has some 7mm ply added to the 12mm, then I've used 10mm wood for the 'ring' part and my block supporting the lever is 2cmx2.5cm and it's 12cm long.  I made the ring part of the lever assembly 10cm diameter (4") and the visible part of the lever (though I haven't made one yet) will be about 22cm long.

Very simple construction as you can see below - it's all just drying at the moment with wood glue and when it's dry I'll reinforce it underneath with no more nails.  

It's hollow so that I can run wires to lights and hopefully a switch that does something one day.   I have my eye out for a travel alarm clock for the central dial/gauge as per MD's build and I'll build up the surround for that when I find one.   I guess I'd better find some buttons and lights too.   Feels good to actually build something though and this part at least has been quick - this is the work of less than an hour so I'm pretty pleased.

- Glen


Hmm, looking at the pics vs my build I think mine is perhaps a little short in the body (maybe closer to 10cm would be good?) and possibly a little narrow lengthwise - but I'm happy enough with it.  Just looking out for some steel for the lever now..


Jan 31, 2013, 06:37 pm #12 Last Edit: Jan 31, 2013, 06:37 pm by galacticprobe
Quote from: kiwidoc on Jan 31, 2013, 05:32 am
I have my eye out for a travel alarm clock for the central dial/gauge as per MD's build and I'll build up the surround for that when I find one.

This is looking fantastic so far, Glen! I just had a thought hit me... Since in the show, as far as I could see in various episodes, that little dial in the Demat lever never moved. So it might be less expensive to scratch build the black bezel out of plastic (sheet styrene or the like). The little pointer could be thin styrene, as could be the disc it's attached to and that "button" (for lack of better word) on the outside of the dial's clear cover. The dial face would be easy to make with a graphics program (maybe even in Word? I've done some graphics that way) and printed out at home. The thin clear dial cover could be made from anything, even that heavy plastic packaging that many products come in - you know the kind, where you need heavy scissors or a box cutter to get the packaging open.

Just a thought.

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


Feb 01, 2013, 11:42 pm #13 Last Edit: Feb 01, 2013, 11:44 pm by kiwidoc
Working on a couple of things today - I've created hex bars to form the Rheostat Variable Resistor Assembly (that sounds fancy) from 12 pieces of wood.


These were glued together in sets of two then cut at a 30 degree angel then thinned slightly to be the right size.  Now glueing together to make the hex, I'm thinking about how to create the end frames that hold them and the winding/sliding bars.

I also marked and cut strips to form the top surface the ceramic ring.  Gosh there's a lot of work in that ring!   Still using scraps and offcuts I've made the top surface in 8 sections and glued it on   It's a bit rough now but it's going to be filled and sanded a lot later on so I'm not worried.


I also got itchy to see if my plan for creating the angled section of the rim would work so did my first section.  Looks like this will be completed in 6-8 sections too.  It looked quite well other than being tricky to clamp/hold/tape in place.

As a wee extra I also made a template for the sprocket holes and drew them on in what I've decided is the right spacing.   Going to compare with some reference pictures before I cut anything though!


Feb 02, 2013, 06:25 am #14 Last Edit: Feb 02, 2013, 06:32 am by galacticprobe
Hopefully this photo will help with the dimple placement and spacing:
It's the largest, rim-nearly-edge-on photo I've got of this console: about 21 dimples on that head-on section of the rim, and they don't seem to be uniformly spaced (or placed, or the same size with some being longer, and even some not as deeply set). The rim sections you can see on the sides of that one also look like the dimples aren't uniform either (some higher, and longer/larger, and not as deep as others).

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