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3/4 scale TARDIS build

Started by harlock, May 12, 2016, 06:07 am

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harlock

May 12, 2016, 06:07 am Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 06:25 am by harlock
Hello all.   I am building a 3/4 scale TARDIS designed to fit under an 8ft ceiling in a bedroom.  It is a surprise birthday present for my step-daughter; one of our pasttimes is watching the new Dr. Who together on Netflix.   We are currently on Season 5.    Growing up in the 80s, I used to watch Tom Baker etc. and went to TimeCon '86 in the San Francisco Bay Area, so Dr. Who goes pretty far back for me, although I didn't pay much attention to the new series until we started watching it on Netflix a year ago and my step-daughter took a liking to it.  

The difficult part will be keeping it hidden during the final phases of assembly.  It is designed to come apart and it will be in pieces most of the time except for test fitting.   Roof, floor, posts and sides will all separate.  To expedite the process, I am only detailing two sides.   The other two sides will face walls in the corner of her room and those can be made up later if desired.

This is a 2006 Tardis based on a drawing by Stephen Nicholas that was photographed by a forum member at some kind of Dr. Who prop exhibition and then subsequently posted here.  Dimensions are in mm but using onlineconversion.com I have a quick and easy way of converting.   The funny thing is, the dimensions mostly come out as even inch dimensions because the original prop it is referencing was likely built with inch units.  Handy for me.  

here's one of the images, cannot find the original post right now but I saved the images locally:
2006-Box-Plans.jpg

It appears the drawing in question was made as a general erection view to augment the making of a cast resin prop using the existing wood item as a mold.   It has just enough information on it to import the overall dimensions although it is not a traditional engineering drawing in any sense of the word.    However it is enough for our purposes.  I am creating a complete new set of drawings at 3/4 scale in Solidworks to build to.   I am not modeling the entire thing beforehand, rather I am creating as I go and using the 'as built' dimensions to locate and size the next piece.  Since it is wood and less precise than metal machining, I am designing to the abilities of my woodworking as I go.  

I am starting from the ground up, building the base then on to the posts, sides and roof.

Unfortunately I do not have pictures of the cutting and milling process for the base sides, except for the last stages of cutting, when I decided to start taking pictures.  In a nut shell, I started out with standard 4X4 soft wood construction material from Home Depot (or Home Despot, or Home Desperate, or pick your favorite nickname) and cut it down to roughly 3X2.8 with the table saw, leaving some allowance for planing.   The planer took it down the rest of the way, and then I cut the bevel with the table saw.  

To plane the bevel, I purchased a power hand planer which worked out pretty good.  One thing to remember is to leave plenty of allowance at the ends because the hand planer will run out of guide surface much sooner than a regular bench top planer machine.   The nice thing about this particular hand planer is that the exhaust bag or vacuum pipe can be placed on either side with a switch that toggles back and forth.   There is a Bosch one that also has that same feature.  

20160510_184340.jpg

After that I cut the 45 degree angles on the ends, another pucker factor moment as you hope you get it right.  if you under cut one, you have to trim all the other ones down to match unless you take a thin slice from your offcutting.  Fortunately, none of that was necessary.  

Here is a piece getting ready to cut.

20160511_132436.jpg

Finished 45 cut into the profile:

20160511_133151.jpg

Corners pushed together, all corner sanding will be done after they are attached, then filled where necessary:

20160511_133139.jpg

The first mockup assembly!

20160511_133121.jpg

the next thing was mulling over how to attach everything together.  I decided that before assembly I will machine a rabbet (inset) in the inside bottom to accommodate a 1/2" plywood sub-floor.  This will stiffen the entire thing and allow for more assembly options with the post, etc.     The 1/2" ply is not nearly as heavy as 3/4" so it does not add too much weight.  I am trying to be careful not to make it too heavy.    

For the initial alignment, I will glue the corners together using a corner clamp, and then add a wood corner brace, also glued, and some fasteners through that.   In this way I seek to keep from making any holes on the outside.  Since it is a painted item, it is possible to drill a hole through the two joining pieces on the outside and put a dowel in it and then patch it, but I think I can avoid that altogether.   If the posts can attach to that same corner block then it will serve a dual purpose.    One the sub-floor is in it will really stiffen everything up, and some vertical bents will go in to support the top floor.   Any comments or ideas appreciated, show me what you did on yours.

In the mean time, I had to get a new corner clamp because my current ones were too shallow to make it below the bevel.  I found one at Home Depot that would do the trick, barely.

20160511_171108.jpg

Tomorrow I will mill the rabbets on the bottoms.

Cheers,

-Mike

galacticprobe

May 12, 2016, 08:16 am #1 Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 08:22 am by galacticprobe
Welcome to the TARDIS Builders Family, Mike! You'll find loads of support, encouragement, and advice from our members. You can also find help with getting hold of some bits and pieces (for a TARDIS or a console, or other prop replica) that one can only find in the UK (or wherever the pieces come from) and having them shipped across the pond if those bits aren't available in your neck of the woods, and you can't find a seller or company that will ship to us in the U.S.. And of course you'll also find some friends as well.

When you get a chance (if you haven't already), please do check out the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=6011.0 post; it has good advice on many things, and a few links to free PDF downloads of some plans (file formats that aren't supported by the Forum software so we can't post them in our http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=77.0 section, like the TARDIS Builders Workshop Manual - more on that Manual in the link). One set of plans linked in that post were drawn up by DoctorWho8, and they're of the "corrected" New Series (Series 1-4) TARDIS prop. The plans you've got there are for the early Series 1 prop which has panels that are squarer than the rest of the series' props. His plans are full of measurements, so with you building a 3/4th scale, all you have to do is multiply a measurement by .75 to get the measurement that you need for your build. And the prop was never cast from resin; those plans were for a wooden TARDIS, and they've always been built from wood (with the exception of I believe the fiberglass Newbery TARDIS that Tom Baker used from "The Masque of Mandragora" until "The Leisure Hive" when it was replaced with the once-again wooden Yardley-Jones mark I). And all of the New Series props have been made from wood.

Some other issues in the Hints post covers why some photos look upright when you view them on your computer, but end up sideways (or upside-down) when you post them on the Forum. (A shortcut to that one is http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=5617.msg66621#msg66621 and the blue letter paragraph is the important one for photos; that's also linked in the Helpful Hints post.)

Also, never be afraid to ask a question no matter how trivial you might think it is. Someone will have an answer for you, or know where to find it. (As my Uncle used to say: "The only stupid question is the one that doesn't get asked because it never gets answered.") And as you've probably seen by now, we... love... photos! So never feel like you're overloading us with photos of your progress.

Welcome once again; we're very happy to have you with us and look forward to following your progress! (And don't forget those photos. Did I mention that we love photos? ;) ;D)

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

jorwick

Ugh. Another real wood worker with real tools and skills to make my attempts look pathetic.  Welcome!
I always enjoy watching a furniture grade TARDIS go together.


Ironically a 3/4 TARDIS will probably look right to an American eye..  everyone expects them to be the size of a phone booth, and not the monsters they are.



harlock

Quote from: jorwick on May 12, 2016, 04:12 pm
Ugh. Another real wood worker with real tools and skills to make my attempts look pathetic.  Welcome!
I always enjoy watching a furniture grade TARDIS go together.


10 years ago I could barely use a cordless drill!   I'm better with metal than with wood but I'm learning.  This project actually uses a whole bunch of different wood operations; it's the perfect practice project self contained.   Although I will not be doing anything truly fancy with it.   Just trying to use basic tools more accurately.   My father is a masterful woodworker and I try to learn from him.

QuoteIronically a 3/4 TARDIS will probably look right to an American eye..  everyone expects them to be the size of a phone booth, and not the monsters they are.


At full size the top of the lamp (in the plans I am using) is 10ft tall.   So on mine it is 7.5ft up.  A lot of that vertical height is taken up by the roof, sign and base.   The result is that while my stepdaughter, her wife and friends will be able to step in the doorway no problem, I will not be able to stand upright in the doorway with my 6'1" height.  but once inside I can.  Since it's made for kids this is not a bad thing, it's more 'kid sized'.   


harlock

May 12, 2016, 11:52 pm #4 Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 11:54 pm by harlock
Quote from: galacticprobe on May 12, 2016, 08:16 am
Welcome to the TARDIS Builders Family, Mike! You'll find loads of support, encouragement, and advice from our members. You can also find help with getting hold of some bits and pieces (for a TARDIS or a console, or other prop replica) that one can only find in the UK (or wherever the pieces come from) and having them shipped across the pond if those bits aren't available in your neck of the woods, and you can't find a seller or company that will ship to us in the U.S.. And of course you'll also find some friends as well.


Thank you and if it weren't for this forum and finding all the plans and resources here I probably would not have started on it.  I am having some difficulty with the lamp pieces.  I bought a fresnel lens on Ebay but it turned out to be a half-round and the wrong size.   I will have to look around some more.  I am not going for total accuracy however, budget and convenience must win out most of the time.

QuoteWhen you get a chance (if you haven't already), please do check out the http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=6011.0 post; it has good advice on many things, and a few links to free PDF downloads of some plans (file formats that aren't supported by the Forum software so we can't post them in our http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=77.0 section, like the TARDIS Builders Workshop Manual - more on that Manual in the link). One set of plans linked in that post were drawn up by DoctorWho8, and they're of the "corrected" New Series (Series 1-4) TARDIS prop. The plans you've got there are for the early Series 1 prop which has panels that are squarer than the rest of the series' props. His plans are full of measurements, so with you building a 3/4th scale, all you have to do is multiply a measurement by .75 to get the measurement that you need for your build. And the prop was never cast from resin; those plans were for a wooden TARDIS, and they've always been built from wood (with the exception of I believe the fiberglass Newbery TARDIS that Tom Baker used from "The Masque of Mandragora" until "The Leisure Hive" when it was replaced with the once-again wooden Yardley-Jones mark I). And all of the New Series props have been made from wood.


Thanks for the corrections, I mixed up my post readings for sure.    I did see that other plan set and saved a copy, I may get the detailing off of that.  I am not super concerned with the aspect ratio of the panels, etc.  It's amazing how much the TARDIS has changed through the years and no one really notices (except us I suppose).  As long as the basic idea is kept it is unmistakable.   The workshop manual was very useful thanks for the link, I had not spotted that yet.   

Cheers,

-Mike

harlock

May 13, 2016, 12:33 am #5 Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 03:24 pm by harlock
Today I milled the rabbets where the sub-floor will go in underneath the sides.   I did this with two passes through the table saw which was the fastest method.    I have a milling machine which can be used with wood but it is unnecessary for this.

When trying to do something accurately with my moderately cheap table saw, I make plenty of test cuts to make sure the depth and spacing is set correctly.   Always good to keep a little bit of scrap wood for this purpose.   I use a dial caliper to try to indicate the depth and spacing (with the saw unplugged!) and then test cut, and then adjust if necessary.  

20160512_162126.jpg

First I made the vertical cut to the height of the wood.   Dimensional lumber is actually under-dimensioned in this day and age, 1/2" ply is .460.   A hundred years ago, a 2X4 was actually 2" X 4" and not 1 1/2" X 3.5".

20160512_155951.jpg

Next I made the horizontal cut. Here is a picture of a partial cut so you can see the piece being removed.

20160512_161321.jpg

and the finished part:

20160512_161700.jpg

Here I'm holding it up to the floor material.  I won't actually cut the floor material until the frame is glued together, so I know exactly what size it needs to be.  

20160512_161817.jpg

I won't be able to start the gluing until Monday.   In the mean time I can start thinking about how the four corner posts are going to go together.   In the TARDIS builder's manual, a method is shown for assembling the old style corner molding using built up structure of multiple pieces and quarter round.   As seen in the new series, the corner molding appears to be optional, but I will likely add a round or a notch to add interest with the router.  

In DoctorWho8's drawing, it appears as a simple small square notch or rabbet.

-Mike

harlock

May 13, 2016, 04:43 am #6 Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 04:53 am by harlock
If anyone wants to follow along, here is the part drawing for the 3/4 scale base side.  You get a TARDIS with a 45" base instead of a 60" base at this scale.  Note this has 'nominal' dimensions, for example the half inch rabbet is listed as half inch and not .460 which I adjusted to accommodate the thickness of the wood at hand.  

also note that Bill Rudloff's drawing specifies a 60.5" base on his, not 60", which would get you 45 3/8 or 45.375 OD.

base-side-4.JPG

galacticprobe

May 13, 2016, 06:58 am #7 Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 07:07 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: harlock on May 12, 2016, 11:52 pm
I am having some difficulty with the lamp pieces.  I bought a fresnel lens on Ebay but it turned out to be a half-round and the wrong size.   I will have to look around some more.  I am not going for total accuracy however, budget and convenience must win out most of the time.


Mike, if you're building that TARDIS using the Series 1-4 plans, then you might want to consider this as a possible lamp until you can sort out the Fresnel lens issue:
http://www.amazon.com/Everlasting-10-24-Black-Lantern-Candle/dp/B004EBT7A0/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1389483435&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=Everlasting+Glow+7.87%22+x+10.24%22+Metal+and+Resin+Round+Lantern%2C+LED+Candle+with+Timer%2C+Assorted+Colors

The cap will need to be modified, but it's the same type that was used on the Series 1-4 TARDIS. On a 3/4 scale it might look a little on the big side, but it would be an accurate lamp. The battery-operated candle inside removes with three screws at the bottom and leaves a perfect hole for a light to shine through.

And just curiosity, but what kind of lamp are you trying to have on the top? If you're going for a Series 5-7a anchor lamp type, you might want to check out Vermont Lanterns: http://www.vermontlanterns.com/catalog/nautical-lanterns. They've got some of that type, though the Fresnel lens in them isn't a true Fresnel. If you're going for a more Classic Series lamp, then you can always just get the lens from Vermont: http://www.vermontlanterns.com/catalog/lamp-chimney. Near the bottom of the page they've got some different style Fresnel lenses (again not "true" Fresnels), but they're not expensive at all. You can also scratch build the New Series 7b-on New Haven-style of lamp around the lens if you're crafty enough.

I hope some of these options help you out with the lamp issue.

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

harlock

Thanks so much for those lamp links.    I do like the "everlasting glow" lamp on Amazon and I've watched a few threads here about how people turned it into the prop item. I think I'll go with that.    It will be kind of large but I think it will be OK looking at the dimensions on the page.   Will give it a try anyway, at that price it's not a big deal if it doesn't work out.

Cheers,

-Mike