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3D Printed Tardises

Started by nesshane, Dec 07, 2017, 09:35 am

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Hi All,

Haven't been on here for a few years, however I am now driven to create CO style Toy Tardises.
I want to scan a 7th Dr Tardis Toy and make structural adjustments in program to print and repaint in the correct TYJ style.

Then thinking of creating a Newbery model.

I have never touched 3D modelling before, I have only built a full scale 2005 Tardis. So fingers crossed.
A local Office Supply company do scanning and printing, so may start with them.
Anyone been down this path? I looked at the 2018 Tardis scan that has been designed, however I am aiming to improve on the previous versions.

Angelus Lupus

I know little about 3D modelling but, I think if you want an accurate TYJ print you might be better off building a virtual model from scratch using the excellent plans around here (or ask if someone has already done that and then see if they'll let you use their files), rather than scanning a toy that you will inevitably have to make many adjustments to, before it's accurate.
A mixed-up non-conformist, trying to fit in.


I've never tried 3D design, creating the virtual model would be a completely new thing. I want the scale to match the exisiting toys too.
Unless someone has a 3D design done already that can be printed.


Dec 09, 2017, 05:58 am #3 Last Edit: Dec 09, 2017, 05:59 am by galacticprobe
I know the feeling, nesshane. I've tried, played around with things, but I still can't render anything to save the planet. My son is good at it, but then he got that way thanks to his job and the programs he's set up to help teach library patrons how to render and then 3-D print things.

It's curious; older people like me are the ones that have trouble with it, while the teens - who my son works with mostly - pick right up on it.

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

No More

I think the biggest troubles will be in deciding how robust and solid you want it.  Knocking together something that matches current best TYJ plans from this site, and is in the same scale as the CO figures, shouldn't be too bad, but making something that can actually be used (open the doors, stand a figure in the entrance, etc) without it falling part of looking too flimsy, is probably going to take a lot more plastic and suddenly you're looking at a high cost to print.

There will be lots of different ways of going about it, in the same way different builders' life-size TARDISes have different construction methods.  The use you want to make of it will dictate some of those choices (same way that an outdoor TARDIS needs different construction choices than a portable indoor-only box).

Something that looks right (for a given episode or series...) but which is thin and wouldn't stand up to significant handling should be straightforward (he says, breezily) but the engineering choices suddenly start getting harder when you're trying to balance cost, solitude and function (one door opens?  Both doors able to open without the structural integrity suffering?)

I did some (non-Who) 3D printing early this year, using Shapeways, and wondered about whether to try printing a CO-scale Kelt console (before new job and longer commute started taking more of my time).  An empty shell TYJ that's not guaranteed to be robust should be possible but I'd guess more like $50 (take that with a pinch of salt, very happy to be corrected by someone who's done more printing) and then there's print lines to smooth off, etc. before painting.

Two general questions:
If anyone was to go and do something, what version would be wanted?  Are there any specific version of plans on here (and matching any particular series variant, where it's been tweaked over time) of TYJ box that we'd like to have a printable version of?
Does anyone have a definitive scale for CO 5" figures?  I'd measured up the McCoy figure and derived a scale from that but I don't know if they're even consistent enough between characters.

tony farrell

Quote from: No More on Dec 09, 2017, 12:11 pm
Are there any specific version of plans on here (and matching any particular series variant, where it's been tweaked over time) of TYJ box?

Yes, they are here:  http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=6965.0 (page six).


No More

Sorry, I should have been more specific. While we've got plans (thanks to sterling work by Tony et al.), we also have a host of documented differences as the prop was tweaked over time.  (E.g. the signs changing from recessed to flush over the course of Season 18.)  If someone was to work on a set of printable plans for a TYJ model, is there a preference for which stage of TYJ, or a variant of plans which could be pointed to as, say, the most representative of the prop?

I realise now it was a foolish question to ask because there's unlikely to be a consensus on "point at which the TYJ prop seems most like how everyone thinks of it"...

And I'm still falling short of volunteering yet for the task of producing those 3D printing files myself.   :)


Thanks for the responses and feedback guys. I guess I am less about having the operation aspects of the other Co Tardises, opening doors, lights and sounds etc.. more after a accurate looking model to sit with the figures on the shelf.

So with that in mind there is a strong chance I will print it solid or maybe 1cm thick walls. I am happy to experiment with how this would look.

No More

1cm thick is going to be thicker than you need.  That's expensive and it's significantly thicker than the CO 11th Doctor TARDIS we've got at home.

What scale is right (or right enough)?  Measuring a couple of CO figures and then looking at actors' heights (and trying to factor in shoes and hair in the figures, which would be inaccurate enough even if CO were guaranteed to be a consistent scale) then for the nominally 5" figures I'm thinking something like a shade of 1:13; compromising between my measurements of 2nd and 5th Doctor figures I'm thinking 1:13.25 would be an appropriate scale.

I'm still avoiding making any promises I can't keep, but I'm slightly interested as an academic exercise in seeing what would happen if we took Tony's plans for original 1980 TYJ box, and drew up a printable thing (7 pieces in sturdy opaque plastic for base, walls/doors, roof and lamp cap, and 9 in clear/frosted for windows and fresnel) in AutoCAD.  Dividing all Tony's numbers by 13.25...

No More

And of course it's the height of bad manners to barge into someone else's project.  Apologies, nesshane.

I'd suggest Tony's plans as a point of departure (though you've got that thorny decision of which version is "your" TYJ), and maybe cut out a piece of card or paper to get a sense of whether your chosen scale factor looks right for what you want (and for which figure(s) you're going to place it next to.

First time I uploaded a file to Shapeways I was staggered at the cost, before I went back and removed an unnecessary 60% of the material volume.  If you can see a sample of what your printers would make it out of you can get an idea of how thick you'd need to make it.  It's a little soul-destroying having to go back and change your drawings when you find it's too flimsy or twenty times what you're willing to pay, so it's worth thinking about it early on.  1cm does sound huge though and would need unnecessarily deep pockets.


Dec 12, 2017, 06:22 am #10 Last Edit: Dec 12, 2017, 06:22 am by nesshane
Not bad manners at all, I just aren't capable in 3D designing, so the idea of getting a model scanned and adjusted makes more sense to me.


This seems an old thread but just to let you know that I have converted Tony's excellent drawings into a working 3D model and have since printed it. I can't remember the scale but it will stand about 37cm tall including the lamp.

I do plan to post a build diary but here is a preview image.



dr hue

Looking forward to your build diary as I'm planning on a 1/13 ( or 1/13.25 ? ) Met Box Build.

Curious as to how you deal with overhangs. Were your walls printed upright ?

Do the upper bevels and upper windows need supports during printing ?

What software do you use and what material did you use ? I have an FDM type printer and will probably
use PLA ( though could use ABS ). Clear parts could be a problem though.

The Valeyard

Hey dr hue,

I know I'm a month late, but I've printed this myself (at least nearly all of it) and I'll tell you my process.

I printed it on an FDM printer (Ender 3 v2) in PLA filament. I personally prefer clear filament as it gives you the option for printing panes that will diffuse light very well. For this I recommend the SUNLU translucent PLA which costs about 20 quid per 1kg roll.

pmc kindly provided me with his files and I laid them out in Ultimaker Cura. The parts list consists of the walls, the posts, the base, the wall toppers, the sign boxes, the corner toppers, the first level of the roof, the second level of the roof, the third level of the roof, the lamp base and the lamp cap.

I printed the walls lying on their backs so the windows were facing upward which needs no support at all. Essentially you just have to find the face of the object you are printing that can withstand the printer moving back and forth constantly, that which requires minimal support and has a relatively large surface area compared to the other faces.

But it's best to play it safe,rather than sorry, e.g. for the third level of the roof, you'll want to print it bottom up since printing it upside down needs no support BUT it might collapse during printing.

Feel free to PM me or reply to this if you have any further questions.