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Tennant Era Console

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

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That corrugated column looks fantastic. I'd considered something similar for mine (er, my son's, ahem!) but a 23cm outside diameter is probably too tight a bend.


Thanks guys! Means a lot to know it does indeed look alright! :)
I can't take credit though, MD used corrugated plastic far before I arrived, though admittedly I think he chose it for conscience whereas mine was more style over substance :)
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?


Apr 17, 2015, 05:43 am #62 Last Edit: Apr 17, 2015, 05:44 am by galacticprobe
Richard, your overall shape looks just fine. As for the neck, I'm sure it won't look at large once the rib controls and panels start going in (and controls start going on the panels). She'll look perfect.

As for the tubes inside the column, they do sell clear "sleeves" for fluorescent tube lights that are thin, light-weight, and inexpensive. They do come in different diameters to accommodate different diameter tubes, so you can get six of each size, and they will slip inside each other and slide smoothly (not that I have tried this at my local home improvement store, much to my wife's chagrin ;) ;D). You can get the 4-foot lengths and that will give you a 1.5- to 2-foot overlap when the mechanism is at the widest limit of travel (assuming it goes all the way of the 6-foot length of the casing, and into the collars at the bottom and top like the real one did before the DWE mangled it). The discs the tubes fit into can be cut from 1/8th or 1/4th inch thick perspex/plexi, depending on what you have at hand (leftovers from cutting the panels?).

Oh, and before I forget...
(Yeah... as if I would ever forget that! ;D)

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


Yep, still building...
Since last update I've been rather busy on the console actually, I still haven't got as much done as I'd hoped, the weather has seen to that, but I've done enough to keep things moving. A lot of it is behind the scenes work, as it were: glueing, strengthening, cleaning, moving, sanding, measuring. Essentially the things that need to be done before the big jobs can be tackled but don't make for good photos.
I wanted to dedicate this update to the coral texturing I've been doing on the ribs, I have some more progress on console controls and the demat lever, but seeing as I'm trying to make this as informative as possible I think the extra detail is good.

My ribs are constructed out of 9mm ply and 3mm hardboard cladding the outside of the frame - not very coral-like. On the original console I think the consensus is that they applied spray-on insulation thickly to create a bubbled effect which works well, but that's difficult and expensive to replicate! Other members of the forum have tried different methods of recreating this. ActionMat on his 2010 child's console used stone textured spray paint which worked nicely but it's very paint intensive (and expensive) and I wanted a more gentle coral effect for mine. Atomicgraph has mixed in sawdust to glue, creating a similar effect but more heavily textured - great! But I'd still prefer a gentler, more concrete looking coral.
Kiwidoc, finally, has used a method whereby he mixes torn up toilet paper with water and flour to create a paste and then lathers it onto his ribs.
... His console ribs, that is, I can't speak for his actual ribs...
I'm using a very similar method combining this with a method exleo suggested years ago.

My method is the following:
1) Take toilet paper, roll it around hand and tear off bits. Put them in bucket.
2) Repeat. I use two toilet roles for one batch, one rib takes 5-6 toilet roles (hungrier than a Clarkson after a day's filming, yes!)
3) Dispense PVA glue into bucket, approximately 1/3L or a bit more.
4) Add an equal amount of water.
5) Mix with hands until toilet paper clumps together and looks a bit like sticky fake snow.
6) Start placing onto rib, give enough force so that it sticks.
7) Knead the mixture on the rob so it spreads out and starts to get reasonable coverage.
8) Put some music on, this is a tedious job.

Here are the results:

IMG_0303.JPG IMG_0317.JPG


Hopefully you guys think that looks OK, I'm happy enough with it! I've done two ribs now and both seem to be drying alright, the one I did yesterday has now started to harden nicely, I expect at these temperatures it may take at least 3 days to dry enough for handling.
When I started the first rib my technique was pretty bad and that one is a lot more patchy and I wasted a lot of material. As I kept doing it my technique improved, and here are some things to watch out for.
- Don't make the mixture too wet, if it slips down the rib that's not good! It'll take longer to dry and is harder to use.
- Don't make it too dry either, if it's not sticky enough to stay put easily add more glue and water!
- Knead the mixture with the back of your hand until you get reasonable coverage. As a guideline you perhaps want the texture to be 3mm thick.
- If you want a more rocky texture, like the War Doctor's TARDIS, consider tearing up the paper to smaller pieces and adding more glue and water until it nearly can't stick, applying a thick, less consistent covering.
- Try and texture the whole rib, but be aware some areas wont be seen as much and you can go easier on them! I left some parts of the bottom of the rib untextured:


This saved time and material and I can easily cover it up with paint and if I feel the need a little stone texture paint.

So yes, I hope that's been helpful and here are my two completed ribs so far. Each took perhaps 2 hours - I'm not looking forward to the rest!

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?


Looking good to me!   It's a tedious job all right, but I laid out covers on the floor and did most of in front of the TV so it went reasonably fast in the end.    Of course, overnight my dog ate half the mixture off one rib (no glue in mine, don't panic!) so I ended up doing 6.5 ribs...

It's hard to get a bubbly/random enough texture because the paper wants to form a flat layer but a few additional patches here and there works wonders and it looks like you've had a good technique from the get go..

Exciting!    And then painting them is a whole different experience, I still haven't hit on a colour combo I'm completely happy with but it does make them come alive, you'll love it!


Apr 20, 2015, 05:28 am #65 Last Edit: Apr 20, 2015, 05:29 am by galacticprobe
Oh yeah! She's looking really nice with that texture. The glue/water mixture should seep into the wood pores and make a nice bond as it all dries. That ought to keep things in place without flaking/peeling off (which is probably why the original's spray foam insulation is peeling off the wood framework; not much of it bonded with the wood's pores).


And... Envy(tiny).jpg

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


Rich, that looks amazing!
Well worth all the tedious hard work.
When it's finished it's going to look awesome.

(Slight sideline here, but I loved Kiwidoc's story about his dog eating the covering off his console- reminds me of when I was painting the skirt section of my Dalek.
I had split it open & was painting the inside of it when my dog jumped into it & started rolling about like a maniac! He came out plastered with paint & promptly pissed all over it! :o)



Thanks guys! The texture has hardened nicely today however sadly whilst I had hoped to get another 2 ribs textured and the demat lever finished my illness has rebounded and I've actually spent all day in bed missrable :-\ Ah well, hopefully I can do some work tomorrow, though I have a morning appointment so I'll struggle to catch up.

Kiwidoc - thank you! I admit I had a good laugh at your expense when I heard about your dog before and just now had another one as I heard about it again! :D I agree about it being hard to get it lumpy. My first one was too lumpy really, almost spiky, but my second one was a bit too flat, too. So I think I'll have to keep refining my technique.

Dino - Thank you and yes, I am surprised how strong it is. I was expecting a bit of softness and it to break off a bit but actually the parts dry so far are tough as nails abd anchored on there nicely! Hopefully it will last a long time :)

Russell - Thank you! And thank you for my second dog-related laugh of the day too :D I can just imagine your reaction to that, one of disbelief, laughter, annoyance, futility and confusion rolled into one I expect ;)
Have you obtained Target A or B thus far? Or do we need to call in "the boys"?
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?


Hi, Rich,
I think we might need to call in the boys....
We should call in David Walliams & Mark Gatiss, if you've not seen it, there's a great extra on "The beginning" DVD where Walliams kidnaps Peter Davison as a present for Gatiss- it's hilarious!!



I was going to post an update tonight, however I got some disappointing news a few hours ago so I've taken myself for pizza instead :P
In the interest of trying to keep this diary up to date, I've now textured 4 ribs, 1 thick, 3 thinner, so I'm more than half way through this tedious job. The first two are now pretty much dry now (I'd say depending on water usage they're touch dry in 2 days, completely dry in 3-4) and I'm happily surprised just how strong this texture is - it really is very solid and as Dino said the glue has soaked into the wood so it's on there very tightly. The major issue is actually getting the right consistency for you - KiwiDoc looks to have gone with a more lumpy organic look than I have, mine currently is more like rough coral and stone. I guess there's a lot of personal choice in it, it's hard to label exactly how the original looks because the weathering, light and consistency across the prop changes.
My demat lever is also essentially finished, though I still need to add the graphics. My hope is to have the ribs textured by early next week so I can finish off the rim section, then it's time to start painting up and adding in panels to start mounting controls!
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?


Apr 24, 2015, 04:06 am #70 Last Edit: Apr 24, 2015, 04:06 am by galacticprobe
Richard, I'm working on your graphics for the Demat Lever. I'll make them physically large enough for them to have good details, so you'll just have to shrink the print size to fit them to the housing. I hope to get them to you before the weekend is out. (A little bit of life has gotten in the way or you would have had them by now. :P)

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


Apr 27, 2015, 08:32 pm #71 Last Edit: Apr 27, 2015, 10:57 pm by superrichi1a
Hello Astromech Builders! [One day I will build my R2D2... one day...]

I've had a bit of a whirlwind few days actually, been rather ill, a bit busier than expected and the weather has also been somewhat changeable. As such once again my schedule for this build over the last week has most certainly been messed up :P I have, none the less, made great leaps on this build, if I do say so myself, and should have some very wordy updates coming to feed our habits of procrastination and keep you away from that tax return you really should have done by now ;D For this update though, I wanted to write the first instalment of the new cinematic epic "Construction of the Demat Lever", starring 12mm ply and Wickes satin white paint.

The demat lever, as MD said, may seem a small part of the console, but is undeniably iconic. Hartnell and Troughton had one, Pertwee had 3, McGann had a brake lever (which I think might as well be considered "the" lever of the console, and who knows, perhaps that one time he used it he was initiating the materialisation sequence?), Hurt had one, Eccleston and Tennant had one, Smith had 2, and now Capaldi has got a big horned arrangement which screams "look at me!". So I wanted to make sure I built this to a level of satisfaction I was happy with. I drew ideas from BioDoc's, MD's and Kiwidoc's builds but they're all slightly different.

Following on from having built that mock-up last time, I revised my dimensions and drew up a new set of plans from which I cut a set of flat pack pieces:


The base plate (now 8 inches wide) is 9mm MDF, the main  body sections are 12mm ply and 3mm hardboard, the lever mount to the side is a 3 piece affair made from 9mm MDF, 3mm hardboard and more 9mm MDF, whilst the lever is 12mm ply with a 1.5 inch diameter wooden ball glued on top. I took templates before gluing so if anyone ever wants to build one of these I'll happily share, though I can't promise it's completely accurate! :) The circular lever mount I did my own thing with, really, the original seems to  have channels built in to lock the lever into place, Dino I know has some theories as to how this works, but in lieu of this I went my own way, maybe for the worse. I sanded all of these thoroughly to round off any edges and create as smooth a finish as possible before gluing together with trusty wood glue and filling and sanding. Giving the following result:

IMG_0300.JPG  IMG_0314.JPG

Here is my lever mechanism, inspired by MD's, the lever itself rotates on a bolt at about the right distance to push the rocker switch on or off as it goes past. I'll hopefully wire up said switch to the time rotor in some ingenious way.


After sanding many times I started to paint. I first painted the body in matt "brilliant white" but that didn't look right so I sanded it back and coated it in a thicker satin white which looks more on the money - it seems to me it needs a certain factory sealed look. The lever I painted in Valspar aluminium paint with a bit of left over K9 paint dusted over for a weathered look; I'd go for the chrome over the aluminium in hindsight.

IMG_0335.JPG  IMG_0337.JPG

It looks a bit odd bare and in stark white I think, however I'm yet to add the decals, bulbs, gauge and weathering, so we'll see how it looks after that.

Thanks for reading, and keep astromeching!
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?


Apr 28, 2015, 05:33 am #72 Last Edit: Apr 28, 2015, 06:03 am by galacticprobe
That Demat Lever looks great so far, Richard! (You should have gotten the graphics I sent you by now. If not, let me know. Oh, and I just realized that I still owe you one that I overlooked... I know... "Blasphemy!"... but it happens. I'll get it to you later today.)

And your Lever workings aren't all that far off. (Sorry I missed out on yesterday; it was a total system reset night my this old carcass of mine. I conked out at about 8:30 and didn't wake up until morning!)

Here's a look at the lever from the "lever side":
You can see the lever sitting in that notch in the center of that half-round wheel-like part. (And if you look behind that, at the very back of the housing, you'll see that graphic that I overlooked. :P) You'll also notice on the tapered part of that "wheel" those little "dimples" like the ones you've put on yours, though not as many (but every TARDIS is different, and should have your own distinguishing mark). And at the front and back of the wheel are "end stops" protruding from the wheel, and possibly part of the main housing. (You can see it more on the rear one; it angles upwards slightly; the one in front angles like that as well.)

Now here's something I stumbled on:
This is the Demat Lever serving another purpose, on Lumic's zeppelin from "Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel". But it does shed more light on how this lever works, and it looks like those "dimples" on that half-wheel are recesses for screws that hold the half-wheel onto the main housing.

You've got that notch to lock the lever in place when it's in the "vertical" (materialised) position. Then you've got those two end stops to keep some angle to the lever when it's either pulled into the Demat position (like Tennant did many times). In the above image it's either Mickey or that other guy pulling it "back" (which would be pushing it on the console, and in some scenes that lever is pushed back), and it's resting on the end stop. You can also see the forward end stop a little better. And then there is that "flattened T" on the side that looks like it helps hold the actual lever in place.

So, I'm guessing some sort of spring mechanism at the bottom end of the lever holds it into that "stop notch" in the center, and to shift the lever you push it to the side gently (like shifting your car's gearbox into reverse) to pop the lever out of the stop notch. Then you just pull (or push) the lever until it hits the end stops. At least, that's the theory.

I hope these help a little, and looking at your Demat Lever, Richard, if you really wanted to cut out that stop notch, it looks like it shouldn't be that difficult. Honestly, though, I don't think anyone would notice that detail unless you pointed it out to them (or they were "Rivet Counters"). I think it looks FAB! I just thought I would post those images and my theory on how it works because you mentioned it above. (Now no one will be left wondering what was rattling around in my twisted mind.)

Again, sorry about missing out that graphic in the back on the lever side. I'll resend the graphics files once I've got that one drawn up and scaled to match the others, again to have all of them on one sheet for ease of printing. (And while I'm at it, since there is that one symbol hiding on the back of the lever side, has anyone gotten a look at the "back" side of the lever housing to see if there is a symbol hiding there as well?)

P. S. I should have asked this earlier, but do you need a graphic for the front dial as well? E-mail me if you do.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


Apr 29, 2015, 09:39 pm #73 Last Edit: Apr 29, 2015, 09:44 pm by superrichi1a
Time for another update, I think :D I apologise for the pictures in this post, as it happens I'm posting this from a long-distance train using my iPad; as we now know the forum does not always read pictures posted from these devices correctly and thus they sometimes appear at the wrong rotation to some devices whilst appearing correctly to others, so it's rather unpredictable. I'll only post a couple, anyway, and I'll focus this update on a topic where pictures aren't so important, anyway.

I'm happy to report I have now textured all the ribs! They all look much the same as the pictures I posted above, though I made some areas rougher and some far smoother as on the originals. I textured all the main visible areas of each rib but tended to leave rearward areas towards the bottom untextured to save time, materials and my own sanity seeing as it took about 2.5 hours of tedious work to get each rib right. These areas will be over sprayed in Plastikote stone texture spray to build up the illusion.
I've turned my attention now to painting them, which is a bugger and harder than I thought to get a correct read on colour for them. I'll do a bigger update later dissecting the colour of said ribs before I finally commit.

Over the weekend I also finally got a job I've been dreading out of the way: completing the rim section. This was a right f***er because, seeing as when I'd first built each section I'd just powered through it for speed, none of my sections are totally circular, uniform, neat, strong or correct in shape. So when it came to trying to attach the top lip to each one I essentially just had to trial and error it ever time, with a lot of wastage, jigsawing and forced fitting before I finally got them all done. Needless to say, it was long frustrating work with much use of profanity and if I had my way I'd restart this damn rim from scratch. Ah well. ::)
Next I reinforced the back of each again with fibreglass matting and trusty wood glue so they became much stronger and I hot-glued backing plates behind the notches in the upper rim. Here's how each rim looks structurally from the back:


And you can really see how shoe-string budget they are, and how I did indeed freehand them and rush them through. No matter though! Whilst they're messy on the inside thats nothing trimming, cleaning, sanding, filler, more sanding and paint can't cover on the outside. I did a lot of those first 5 the next day and am getting ready to sand the second pass, and whilst they're still not perfect at all each rim section is now looking decidedly better than it used to, and should be ready for paint soon!


Thanks for reading! :)

EDIT: Thanks for your comment Dino! I would have written a full reply but it seems by chance I hit on some of what I would have said in my PM. I've now got the graphics and am incredibly grateful, I do hope it wasn't too much trouble and you have well and truly contributed another huge part to the build, by which I mean through various ways you really are the co-builder as well as co-pilot now, I may be doing the heavy lifting but none of it would be possible without your research and effort :)
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?


Apr 29, 2015, 09:59 pm #74 Last Edit: Apr 29, 2015, 09:59 pm by galacticprobe
You're most welcome, Richard! This old girl is really coming along nicely, and if I can help out in any, I'll do my best to try.

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