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Tennant Era Console

Started by superrichi1a, Sep 14, 2014, 09:50 pm

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Sep 14, 2014, 09:50 pm Last Edit: Sep 15, 2014, 07:22 pm by superrichi1a
Well I'm here on the console side of the forum at last, I knew I'd make it through all the major build topics eventually ;D This will be a full scale Tennant era console build (going for Tennant Specials decor to be specific). It's been no secret that with the relatively recent advent of the Tennant console on the forum, first with BioDoc, then on a larger scale with MuseumDave, and again with added toilet paper from KiwiDoc both Dino (Galacticprobe) and I have been green with ENVY. As such, despite lacking in the 3 necessary qualities for building, time, money and space, when Hobbitdude joined the fray I couldn't take it any more! (That and I need a build project on to keep me occupied and happy ::) ) This console is dedicated to both Dino and myself as a cure to our severe envy, hopefully we'll both have creative input here, and figuratively speaking we've agreed to in a sense be joint pilots (albeit separated by a large pond!)
First of all, and I'm case you hadn't noticed this inaugural post will be thin on actual stuff and is more an introduction and rambley monologue ;), I would like to say the biggest THANK YOU to BioDoc, MuseumDave and KiwiDoc, they're all inspirational, and without the help of the latter two especially in their build threads and helping me in other threads and on PM this would not be happening. I'll try to point out when I borrow one of their ideas but I reckon it'd be impossible to get them all so I'll give first credit here :) In return I'll try and bring my own share of new ideas (I have a few) and make this as instructional as possible for other builders as I think we're still breaking the back of this particular console.
And on a more personal note, I always imagined when I built a console it would be the McGann, the Hartnell or the Blackpool one, something with straight edges and classic. My head still thinks I should have done the Hartnell, its a classic and probably still "THE TARDIS", but my heart pulled me towards Tennant's and although I tried to talk myself into the Hartnell I just couldn't... (Probably wise considering the way Celation just knocked it out of the park!)
Aaaaand, back to business. Now I feel I've got the wordy stuff off my chest, here is what I've done so far. Measuring and planning began properly yesterday, and building began today. So far I've done half of the ribs, and hope to get the other half done tomorrow. Just a quick picture, and I'll get the full build diary from the start on the way tomorrow!


Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


HURRAY!!!   Welcome to the fold!     From what we can see, your frame is off to a good start and looks very nice and smoothly done.  You know, I had the exact same wrangle about which to build and was pulled toward the very hardest (9/10) simply because it's what I most wanted, and the complexity of the build makes me feel that there will always be secret parts to that console instead of the crisp clean lines of the more classic styles where once you've seen the 20 separate controls, that's pretty much it.   That said, I have some parts suitable for a Hartnell and if I only had the space I'd dearly love to have a go at that version...

Feel free to ask any questions along the way if you think anyone else can help, but otherwise I'll be fascinated to see how someone else tackles this beast!    And I give all credit for actually starting mine to MD because before that I could never see how it would be possible to create - so if I in turn am helping push others into the madness, terrific :)


Your frames look more screen accurate than mine already lolol. Good job man, look forward to seeing more!


Wow, man!
There's just no stopping you!
I shall be watching this build diary intently, going progressively greener with envy!
I'm going to end up looking like a Dr Who monster!

Seriously, though, Good luck with this build. It's going to be... fantastic.



Sep 15, 2014, 04:15 pm #4 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2014, 10:57 pm by superrichi1a
Thank you all for the comments ;D
Thanks for the compliments KiwiDoc, I'm glad to join you! I totally get what you mean about the classic controls getting "samey", I could never build a Five Doctors one for that reason, as pretty much all of the controls are buttons and I'd get bored without levers and other controls to fool around with, though I still love the design. It's weird researching consoles, ones you didn't think you liked you learn to love, I now live the current one (though think the room missed the point) and would love to build that but I feel I'd need a lathe really, and I now love the Hartnell and like the Baker less, I guess it comes down to appreciating not just the look, but the finer details. That said, if I had done a Hartnell it would have had the Tennant demat lever, I've wanted to give that a good wrench since 2005!
Hobbitdude, thank you! Although (and I'll discuss ribs in this post) I don't think yours are any less accurate, I think we're looking at yours with a flat top, and once that's covered with rotor mechanisms the overall shape will change appearance, and even besides that I'm envious of the curve you got at the rib point!
Russell, no stopping that's the plan! ;) Although I do wish sometimes I could be a bit more sensible, this is going to clutter up me garage a lot!

OK, so real update time! Well I chose to start with the ribs like Hobbitdude. I used the overall dimensions MD suggests (not backed up roughly by DWM) and worked out I wanted the visible part of the rib to be 3'8" tall and 2'8" high. I then enlisted the help of my father who is far more artistic than me to help me trace a corresponding rib profile into this scale, using a screen grab. We kept working at this, and eventually came up with a profile that we thought matched the best side-on reference pic we could find nearly exactly. We cut this scale drawing out, I roughly covered the edges in black so it would scan properly, and then scanned it. This drawing could now be used to make a full size rib template by uploading it to a website such as "Block Posters" (or any other program or website capable of printing out large images by tiling A4 sheets). I've posted the drawing below for anyone to use, be warned though, I can't vouch for it's accuracy! You'll want to print it out at about 3'11" wide (keeping width ratio) to ensure it's large enough what with page margins and the like.

Scale Rib.jpg

As it happens, once I'd printed this out we didn't use it as instead we followed my father's suggestion of using a scale drawing and a grid to scale it up onto plywood the old fashioned way. I think the computer way might be more accurate, but this way worked for us.

photo 1.JPG

Once we'd drawn out the first profile onto plywood (9mm) I used a jigsaw to cut it out, then used that as a template to draw and cut out more.

photo 2.JPG

3 yesterday, 3 today. For each rib I took two ply rib profiles and spaced them with 3 strips of wood about 1" by 2" pressed to the outer edges of the ribs so I can bend the rib cladding around it later. I will add more and strengthen the inside of the ribs at a later date. The 4 thinner ribs are roughly 8" thick and the 2 wider ones roughly 11" wide.

photo 3.JPG

First mock-up of 3 ribs last night with me for scale. I don't have anything against showing my face on camera but my hair was everywhere in the wind and it seemed appropriate given the console and coat!

Console 1.JPG

And here's the full rib mock-up from earlier today:

photo 4.JPG

Next it's onto creating an anchor point at the top to bolt all ribs onto and once that's done I'll more straight onto the console rim. I want to make sure it all fits before I start cladding the ribs or adding finishing touches!

Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Awesome! I never really took to the design of this console (it's the general clutter-y, dusty feel that puts me off) but so far you're really doing it justice! Looking forward to seeing your build progress!

Kind regards, The14thDr :D
"Would you like a jelly baby?"


Thanks! Yeah that's sort of what I meant about Tennant v Hartnell, somehow the cluttry nature (and round shape) seems to go against what I consider to be "TARDISy", and it remains one of my biggest wishes that I could have visited this set in it's full glory, and wrenched around controls while clattering over that grating. I guess in my mind I like TARDIS consoles, but in my heart I just think it's more fun to fly this one! That and it does look cool, whatever it's relation to other consoles!
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Sep 15, 2014, 05:07 pm #7 Last Edit: Sep 15, 2014, 05:07 pm by galacticprobe
The Envy(tiny).jpg is starting!

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


Run for the hills! The co-pilot is going green! ;)
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Nice ribs! I'm looking forward to seeing how you put this together. Will this be mounted in one place or do you intend to take it on the road for exhibitions? Have you considered how you might repair or replace some of the components like the bowl or a rib?


This is coming along beautifully.  I really like it. Keep up the great work


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


Sep 17, 2014, 10:35 am #11 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2014, 10:56 pm by superrichi1a
Thanks for the comments everyone :) Means a lot coming from the inspiration, MD!
Expendable; it will have to be portable, which I'm a bit nervous about! I'll have to alter the design a little, as the ribs and panels will all have to separate into different pieces so there can't be much overlap of controls apart from ones which are easy to connect up when already assembled. Hopefully my plans for achieving this will become apparent with posts in the near future, partly in this one in fact, but it's difficult to explain without pictures :P As a result of that, though, any major sections that get damaged can simply be rebuilt as a single unit and replace the old unit in the console structure. If I had space to keep a console assembled permanently this would probably be a classic series build diary because then I could get away with knocking up some roundel walls from ply, ah well, we can all dream! I may still do that at some point and create a pseudo-War Doctor backdrop. ;)

So, I have indeed moved onto the rim, and it is every bit as nightmarish as I was expecting! I'll probably take certain liberties with this, the notches for example wont be concave (but may be backlit), and there are screws on the outside (which will be thoroughly filled and sanded over to the best of my ability), purely because I don't have unlimited time to get this up to KiwiDoc and MD standard! Additionally I was originally planning to use this as my excuse to finally learn how to Fibreglass without the watchful eye of my all-knowing friend Wayne (not Venemous!) ordering me about like with the Dalek builds, but it turned out to be FAR more cost effective to buy hardboard in bulk for sections of the whole console, so that'll have to wait for another time. Here's my first rim section:

photo 4.JPG

All made of 3mm hardboard with timber formers, as shown here:

photo 5.JPG

I'd love to be able to share my dimensions and schematics for the rim, they do exist with lots of cool-looking equations at the side working out various circumferences, circle chords and tangents, angles off the ground of cones and trigonometry trying to get the right shape for the former (making all my old maths teachers proud I think), but, actually, when I came to carefully measure out all the sections onto hardboard none of the bloody stuff fit! On paper, all good, in reality, none of it was remotely close! eventually what I ended up doing was cutting a length of plywood 40 inches long and 4.5 inches high (for the lower part of the rim) and, after attaching my formers (which thankfully were as I had planned!) to a bottom sheet of outer radius 38.5 inches and inner radius 36 inches I literally just held up an old sheet of hardboard from my aborted K9 2 years ago and traced the lines of the formers onto it, joining them up later to make an extremely wobbly-looking template. I then (mostly) free-handed the notches into it because I was too tired to work out new midpoints etc and, like the others', drilled in two 22mm holes that would later be joined by a jigsaw on the finished piece.

photo 1.JPG

When I came to trace this onto the "real" sheet of hardboard I further altered the position of these holes to make them look more uniform, and using the succeeding piece as the next template each time they should continue to get more so, but I don't think they're overly bad at the moment ;D Next job is to add the top lip to the rim, another area where I'm trying to freehand the correct curve.

Secondly, I've started strengthening the ribs with more crossbars:

photo 2.JPG  photo 3.JPG

Probably a bit over-engineered, I've tried to make it strong and with a mind to portability. There are 5 outer crossbars, the top is to bolt onto the anchor ring I've constructed, and the lower 4 are for the hardboard cladding to screw onto and for strength. There are 4 inner crossbars. The top two will have bolts inserted downwards trough them and glued permanently in place. The console panels will later have corresponding holes drilled into their edges and they will bolt up to these (I may add a third crossbar at some point). This should be easily attachable/removable, relatively strong and also help the panel match the contour of the rib. The next crossbar down will have the rim sections bolted onto it along the same principle, and the bottom one is there simply for strength and rigidity.
So I've done one rim section so far and strengthened up one rib section like this... Between the two they make for extremely mentally tiring, physically exhausting, tedious, and resource and time consuming work :'( I should be able to I improve my technique and speed up at both, so my hope for the next few days is that if I can get two rim sections and two ribs completed to this standard a day that should (hopefully) allow me to make good progress and give me a bit of variety so it becomes not too painful! We'll see...

Thanks :)
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Sep 17, 2014, 11:39 am #12 Last Edit: Sep 17, 2014, 03:37 pm by davidnagel
Looking good!

Now that your console arm ribs are strengthened, how will you fill the space to then mount the necessary components?

In my grand scheme of things when I do get to build this console, I intended to staple down a strip of chicken wire mesh, from top to bottom. Not only would it take what I intend to use to create the coral effect, but it'd allow the rib to be lighter without using more wood.

The original, I am told, used bendy MDF to cover the curve.
Kind Regards,




Thank you!
Your plan would have the valuable quality of lightness which mine would lack! I'm simply planning to clad the outside edge of each rib in hardboard which will have been soaked for a few hours to make it easier to work with - the same thing as I got used to with Dalek Builds. I'll screw it into the outer crossbars and reinforce with wood glue, then shamelessly "borrow" KiwiDoc's method of creating the texture, maybe... Fingers crossed! ;)
Isn't it how ironic that we have to think of solutions out of the box, in order to build our boxes a lot of the time?


Sep 18, 2014, 05:26 am #14 Last Edit: Sep 18, 2014, 05:28 am by galacticprobe
Looking really good, Richard! Keep the water warm when you're soaking the hardboard; it will help soften it so it will bend much easier. Steaming is the best way, and building a wood steamer is easy, but then you have to keep watch so the water kettle doesn't boil dry, and the wood is so hot when you pull it out that you'd need oven mitts to protect your hands. But I've soaked wood in warm water and it bent just fine. You will have to work a little on the quick side, though, for as the wood cools it will lose its flexibility.

So when you go to apply the hardboard after the soaking, start with the tightest curves first, when you need the wood to be at its most flexible (like at that knee in the "leg", and it should still be flexible enough to handle that "elbow" curve around the rim area since it's not that far from the knee).

And as the saying goes:

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