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Locking the walls together

Started by tardis-tara, Jul 25, 2006, 09:08 pm

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Jul 25, 2006, 09:08 pm Last Edit: Feb 04, 2010, 09:01 pm by Scarfwearer
Hi all!

If those of y'all who have built a TARDIS prop had to do it all again, how would you lock the solid walls and door frames together so you could take them apart again for transport?

We're working on a combination of sliding lock bolts and removable carriage bolts.

Any suggestions?


Jul 25, 2006, 09:57 pm #1 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:04 am by scarfwearer
i'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT (darn caps lock - sorry) that a better design for me would be one that snaps together with no bolts and nuts required.  Assuming that your transport is big enough for a whole wall then I'd build two side walls complete with signs and posts, then 2 police box signs which slots down into or over some mountings and simply hold the structure together that way.  Back wall would be a 1-piece sheet with panel and window details then front doors fix to the 2 sides walls you already put up.  Roof on top and you're done.  That's pretty much how mine already is ( and it's breaks down and transports well, if heavily...) excpet I used nuts and bolts to secure the signs boxes front nad rear and that's really getting a bit fiddly to do regularly - I plan to retrofit with some sort of metal mounting plates someday.

- glen


Jul 25, 2006, 09:59 pm #2 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:04 am by scarfwearer
Maybe even using loose pin hinges as a quick way to line them up and secure parts?


Jul 26, 2006, 03:01 pm #3 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:05 am by scarfwearer
4" brass door hinges with removable hinge-pins worked great for us (TARDIS shown at Gallifrey One every year).  Reason to use brass - no risk of things seizing up due to rust!

About 13 hinges hold the main structure together and onto the base with no slotting at all (two side wall-sign-post assemblies as above), along with another 3 hinges on each door.  It makes for a very quick breakdown and reassembly, but those walls are hernias in the making. 

The hinges also serve as positioning keys if their locations are not perfectly symmetric from wall to wall.  Not sure how it would be with 4 doors (wall assemblies only held together at the top by the sign box assemblies), but I can attest that with only 3 doors (with a half-wall that includes the sign box in the back) it is a VERY stable structure once everything is locked together, despite the roof being just set on top.  It would be even stronger if the roof were locked down with another 8-12 hinges (or with a full wall in the back, but only one way in or out might spoil some of the fun).

Only caveat is that you pretty well have to store the box fully assembled (roof off is probably OK) to make sure everything weathers and warps together as a unit, otherwise alignment of the hinges can be quite problematic.  I would imagine this would be the same with a slot built structure, with or without hinges.  I've found that keeping things assembled like this actually helps minimize any warping from occurring in the first place, but then we used mostly plywood, which is generally more dimensionally stable than lumber to start with (unless you use something like teak).

Oh, also best to not drive the hinge-pins all the way home either, otherwise they are an incredible pain to get out again.  Medium sized mallet or hammer and a large screwdriver are essential tools for assembly and disassembly, as is a bag to keep from losing any of the pins in transport.


Jul 26, 2006, 03:50 pm #4 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:05 am by scarfwearer
Now that's brillant.

Simple, elegant, low profile.

Even a moron like me can handle hinges.  :)

Thanks!  Off to buy brass hinges!


Jul 26, 2006, 03:52 pm #5 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:05 am by scarfwearer
I have an anti-recommendation:

In an effort to make my fixings as discrete as possible I used long bolts and furniture fasteners - the cylindrical kind which take a bolt screwed into the side.

I found it was very difficult to drill the holes accurately enough to allow the bolts to reach the fasteners at exactly 90°, and I ended up widening the bolt holes a lot to make enough 'give' to get them to fit. They still don't all fit.  ::)

Oh well. I'd recommend going with one of the other methods listed above.

EDIT: Yup - hinges sound like a good idea.



Jul 02, 2009, 07:34 am #6 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:05 am by scarfwearer
Mine's designed so the top signs and their housings (the steps underneath, etc), slot over the four walls at the top and the whole thing locks together like a giant wooden puzzle, no real bolts or anything required. However, for the removeable phone box and a few bits here and there, we used those metal screw housings that hammer into the wood, so the bolt screws into them instead of the timber. Can't remember what they'recalled ... probably the exact same thing Crispin mentioned above ...


Jul 03, 2009, 06:29 am #7 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2010, 05:06 am by scarfwearer
I didn't use them in mine, but man, those things are cool.  I saw them in action when I was helping take down an exhibit in a science museum and coveted them, but they were pretty expensive.
x Hannah


Feb 10, 2010, 09:15 pm #8 Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 03:02 pm by Scarfwearer
Ok... I've been considering this for a while, and thought I would put it to those of you who have already experienced all the trials and tribulations of a build and see what you think....

I am wondering if this would be a good way to attach corner posts to the base and also allow for the walls to lock into place.
it's not an original idea, but it is one i didn't think about until I was taking the legs off a table to get it through a door.


A dowel or bolt would feed through the base to help to stabilize the posts until they are bolted into the brace section.
The table legs would be the posts (obviously) and the white strips to the sides would screw into the base on 3 sides (not the side with doors)
The white strips would sit on the INSIDE of the wall section holding the bottom section in place.
The corner posts (which may or may not be solid like the legs) would overlap the walls on the OUTSIDE securing the sides in place.
A ring beam at the top or the design of the sign boxes could be made to slot over the walls at the to holding the structure in place.
Bolts could be passed through if necessary to lock the wall in place.

I know that the only way to really see is probably to build it that way, but i'd like to hear thoughts and opinions so I don't end up wasting my time if it stands no chance of working :P



looks like a solid idea to me. is it gonna be a permanent structure, if it is then i would make it as sturdy as possible especially if its gonna live outdoors,  if its gonna be moved around you could probably put dowels in the bottom of the posts and have the corresponding holes in the base. it'd be an easy way to quickly locate the post positions. my posts don't attach to the base but i'll add the dowel system sometime in the future (posted in current time frame reference  ;) ).


It is going to be permanent... (while at the same time i'd like to be able to take it apart to move it should we move, or should I get the urge to take it somewhere) and yes it is going to live outside.
I do intend on running a dowel or a bolt through the base to help to stabilize it, though the inner brace would be responsible for bracing it.
I was going to start my build on Wednesday but it rained heavily, followed by snow on thursday grr..
Waiting to see what the weather is like this next week... fingers crossed.


And I run into a problem....
In order to attach the posts the "table" way... they'd need to be solid....
I don't think they sell 6x6 posts.... if they do I'm not sure I want to see the price and I KNOW I don't want to have to handle that kind of weight....


Why not just build boxes on the inside of your corner posts that your walls can slip into?
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


Feb 16, 2010, 01:41 pm #13 Last Edit: Feb 16, 2010, 07:09 pm by mordrogyn
Ohh... hmm didn't think about that... that would work just as well.
Thanks Bill

I'm assuming you meant like this with a hollow post config...
Drop the posts over those blocks which in itself should be enough to hold them without bolts...




What sort of bolts would I need to permanently mount the corner posts to the base. My tardis will be a permanent structure and will live outside in my garden once its built.