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Control Identification

Started by The14thDr, Jan 23, 2014, 04:28 pm

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Jul 01, 2014, 06:49 am #15 Last Edit: Jul 01, 2014, 07:29 am by galacticprobe
Good luck on this one! The props department (and no doubt the designer) usually get parts from wherever they can. Some come from Bob's Bits, some from in-house stock, others from <pun, again> Who knows where? Many of the knobs (the twisty kind) are from old electronic equipment. You could try Googling things like "control knobs", or "switch knobs" and such to see what you can find; the same holds for an eBay search.

Some of the toggle switches are readily available at electronics stores (such as Radio Shack). Depending on which version of console you're talking about, other controls could be literally anything. Many of the buttons on the "Five Doctors" console were nothing more than square, rubber feet, the kind you peel the backing off and stick onto the bottoms of table boxes and the like... turn those feet upside-down and stick them to a console panel and "Voila!", you've got control buttons. (The immediate predecessor to that console also made use of those. That console also used empty cat food tins - square ones with angled sides - upside-down.) Peruse the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=26.0 board and its sub-boards for tons of info, and you can even select the Season for specific consoles, where you can learn more about "The Five Doctors" console in the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=56.0 sub-board.

Earlier consoles in the Classic Series used anything they could get their hands on, some controls being built from scratch. The New Series consoles also have a few items on them built from scratch. The 2005 console had many automobile parts on it because the guy that designed it used to be an automotive designer. It also had some sight glasses from steam engine boilers, and even upside-down "crystal cones" - a few 4-sided, one 6-sided - that were actually glass tea light candle holders. The console also had a ship's gyrocompass repeater on it (and a whole lot more!). Check out this thread http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=2634.0 to see what we've found out about the 2005 console, and even more in the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=58.0 sub-boards.

The 2010 console had more of a nautical feel to it, with more boat throttles and levers on it than you could shake a "Wibbly Lever" at. It also had three small (decorative) sextants on it, as well as a surveyor's Transit. It had an old reel to reel tape recorder, and an Olympia typewriter on one panel. A Bunsen Burner, barometer, several volt and amp and milliamp meters, loads of LED string lights under the panels, a master cylinder for brake fluid from a make of car I can't remember (but it's probably in the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=2293.0 thread), and again a hole lot more. Browse through the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=102.0 sub-boards to see discussions of all sorts on the parts on this console).

This latest 2013 console has a decidedly "railroad-ish" theme to it with many of its controls strongly resembling railroad levers and train throttles. Even so, still much isn't figured out about this console, and it's apparently undergoing some upgrades for its 2014 Season (Series 8). And don't forget, there are a lot of controls on just about every console that are scratch-built.

So, if you're trying to make a list of "real world" parts to purchase for building a console, first decide which console you want to build. Then you can start making the list. By just asking what the controls are, well, with 50 years behind us, and at least 7 consoles - each with several variations to it (and I haven't even mentioned the Season 14 little wooden console, or the console from the 1996 TV Movie yet... ah, now I have) - you've got a literal ton of controls, both from in-house, scratch-built, and found in the open market (usually in the strangest of places) as well as specialty props rental places (like Bob's Bits, which does sell some of their items). And that brings me to the next concern...

Price. Purchasing items isn't going to be cheap. Just one set of the red-tipped levers from the 2010 console recently sold on eBay for over $173 US (and there were two sets of those on that console). Other items, such as the "wheel spacers" seen dangling from the cables, and on the 2005 console panels, can be found - again on eBay - for only a few dollars. If you polled people here that have built consoles of any size - and model - they'll probably tell you they've got hundreds of dollars, pounds, euros, etc., invested in controls alone, not even counting the cost of building the actual console to put the controls on.

We've got many members, and between them I think they've built just about every console from the First Hartnell, to someone currently working on the 2010 console. (I don't think anyone has started on the 2013 console yet.) So... now that I've just given you the proverbial drink from the fire hose when it comes to TARDIS console controls ;), maybe we can be of more help if you tell us a little more about your project. Such as, which console do you want to build? That alone can lead to some very good and helpful answers.

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