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New, New TardisBuilders!

Camping Tardis

Started by Shwalamazula, Mar 23, 2019, 10:11 pm

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Depending on which box your basing yours on, you could go a few ways. On my Tennant box, and on my TARDIS bedroom doors, I used perspex and sanded it on both sides. It diffuses the light very well, but you can't see though it. I used hens tooth perspex for the textured corner panels and glued them in place

Realistically, none of the TARDIS windows have ever been clear, apart from the 2010 windows which you could see through slightly and in "The Girl Who Waited" you can see Other Amy's hand on the window of the actual TARDIS set

But to be honest, it's better diffused as it reduces the look of movement inside the box



I really need to explore one of these angle drilling jigs you all have been using of late.  I eventually pulled the trigger on a biscuit joiner and a friend was getting rid of a router that he gave me, but these tools are likely a bit too esoteric for my precision and cabinetry skills.  This solution seems very strong and relatively simple. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.


Look up Kreg Jig on the interwebs. They make great pocket joints and they are really strong. Combine that with wood glue, and the joints are fantastic. And the main benefit is that you don't see the screws.


Apr 12, 2019, 05:07 pm #18 Last Edit: Apr 15, 2019, 12:31 am by shwalamazula
Over the past week, I have made more progress on the build. I got the center strips created for the walls of the build. When I went to the hardware store, I only found 3 1x2 strips that were not crazy warped or heavily damaged. I started getting a bit cheap because the really nice 1x2s were $8 each where the bulk 1x2s were only $4. I got the one nice strip for the front door but didn't care so much about the walls. The wood was a bit ugly so we cleaned it up by hitting it with the planar and then sanding with the power sander. I used a router on the big center strip for the front of the build and then cleaned it up with the sander (the nice wood was squared off and the bulk wood was pre-routed).


Attaching strips was straightforward, glue and brad nails. It is a bit annoying to have the tongue at the end of the wall to fit into the base because I keep hitting it on stuff when I move it. I may want to get some metal L brackets at some point to reinforce the corners and those tongues at the base of the walls.


Next up was the corners. We cut the corner pieces to width, and then cut them to length. Because of the geometry, I needed to route both sides of the wider piece and only one side of the thinner piece. Again, I put in pocket holes down the length of the thin piece.


Joining was a little annoying. We were going for precision, so we were making sure there was as little misalignment as possible. I still had to go thru and sand later, but this cut down on that. The simplest way we found to attach the corners was to have the wide bit flat on the table and have the thin bit with the pockets 90° from that (so you are screwing down into the wood). We put glue down the length and then clamped the pieces together and screwed them together. The ends were the most frustrating because they liked to move the most. Also, attaching these with already routed edges, made the clamps a bit wobbly as they didn't have a uniform piece of meat to grab onto.


Once all the corners were together, I cleaned up the extra glue coming from the seams and we cut wood to size out the little door on the front door. The build instructions didn't have a provision for this. Since this is going to be my camping totem, I would like a place where I could deploy a drink stand or something. It will be really easy to attach a little fold-out table to the other side of the door. I am still internally debating if I want to immobilize the left door like the build calls for, or If I want to make it a fully functional pair of doors. I am leaning toward the immobile door for ease of assembly.



Apr 13, 2019, 02:52 pm #19 Last Edit: Apr 13, 2019, 02:52 pm by cdkshipbuilder
Hello all,
This is my first post. I recently started on my 10th doctor box. I promise to upload some photos. I saw the window discussion and wanted to add my two cents. I have purchase Acrylic sheets and am planing on applying the window film to it. I have the finish pictured as well as a pebbled glass effect for the bottom left and bottom right corner windows. I showed it in front of a bright LED desk lamp and put my hand in the second photo.


Quote from: cdkshipbuilder on Apr 13, 2019, 02:52 pm
Hello all,
This is my first post. I recently started on my 10th doctor box. I promise to upload some photos. I saw the window discussion and wanted to add my two cents. I have purchase Acrylic sheets and am planing on applying the window film to it. I have the finish pictured as well as a pebbled glass effect for the bottom left and bottom right corner windows. I showed it in front of a bright LED desk lamp and put my hand in the second photo.


That looks a lot like the "crackle" pattern light diffuser.  Oh.  One thing I'll say about the light diffusers:  They're fairly easy to cut to size.  I did mine with a straight edge and a utility knife.  But they do get brittle over time.  I really should replace one of the panes on the phone panel door.  Don't know if the repeated opening and closing of the door caused it to fail or it just happened to be the first one to go, but it has a pretty big crack in it. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.


Quote from: cdkshipbuilder on Apr 13, 2019, 02:52 pm
... I have purchase Acrylic sheets and am planing on applying the window film to it. I have the finish pictured as well as a pebbled glass effect for the bottom left and bottom right corner windows. I showed it in front of a bright LED desk lamp and put my hand in the second photo.

Do you have a link to the film you used?


Apr 14, 2019, 11:42 pm #23 Last Edit: Apr 14, 2019, 11:52 pm by shwalamazula
Once the corners were together, they had to sit 24 hours for the wood glue to fully cure.


I put the corners on the table and started cleaning them up with the sander. You have to keep the sander moving on the corners or the sander will leave a flat bit along the edge.


Once the corners were cleaned up, we made the cleats for holding onto the doors and the roof. I wanted to use pocket screws for the cleats but I couldn't think of a good place to put them so that they would attach properly to the corners. I ended up gluing and nailing the cleats and then leaving them to cure.


While the cleats were left to cure, I turned my attention to the base. This turned out to be almost as annoying as hand-sanding those window corners. I purchased pressure-treated wood for the base, because the base would be in contact with the ground. There are a few things I learned about pressure-treated wood:

  • the raw dimensions do not match untreated wood dimensions (larger)

  • it always feels wet

  • regular wood glue will not hold on it as well

  • it is a lot heavier than regular pine

Going thru the plans, I identified the sizes I needed to cut and measured them out on my 2x4s. 8 pieces of wood was perfect for this. They were cut to length and then I did a dry-fit. I decided that the first part to be completed would be the inner-frame. This portion had hard measurements on it, so it made sense to make sure this one was the most accurate. The outer frame just holds everything together.


Because the dimensions were off on the thickness and width of the wood, I needed to send everything thru the planar before putting anything together because the width of the boards was taken into account when the plans were made. So, having all the widths off by .25 inches, made my base too large.


Pocket holes were made in the inner-frame on both ends and in the sides. One of the ends would be used to go into the inner-frame boards to make the frame. The other end and side bits would go into the outer-frame.

I had found out that the normal wood glue would not work well on the pressure-treated wood. I read that a water-activated polyurethane glue would be best for this. A quick google search pointed out that Gorilla Glue was just the glue I needed. We wet the proper surfaces and used the speed T to lock together the inner frame.



Apr 15, 2019, 12:13 am #24 Last Edit: Apr 16, 2019, 04:37 am by shwalamazula
Cleats were fully cured so they go to be attached to the corners. I used a 6" chunk of wood as a spacer for the cleats. I may have been a bit cocky here but I glued and screwed the cleats in place. If any adjustments need to be made in the future, they will have to be done with a sander. Fingers crossed that this works nicely.

All 4 corners got the small cleat set 6" from the top. Only 3 of them got the second larger cleat (one of the corners only got half a cleat to leave room for hinges for the main door). The large cleat needs to be aligned with the bottom of the small cleat (bottom side is pointing toward the long part of the board). This creates a lip on the top for the roof to slide in.


After the cleats were attached, we finished up the outer frame for the base. The planks had to go thru the planar, just like the inner frame, to make them even. This worked great and the inner and outer frame fit nice and snug. We put the frame on a nice level piece of floor and stood on it as we put in all of the pocket screws. We had one board on the inner-frame that was a bit warped by about a half-inch. We used some spare wood and clamps to force the warped part flush with the bottom of the outer-frame. With all of the pocket screws that were put in, the wood will easily self-correct.


Things were starting to get exciting, I just needed to put in the upper-frame and lock it down. We planed the pieces again and did a dry fit with spacers in all of the corners to make sure everything was snug and that the corners could easily slide in and out. Once we were happy with the dimensions, we used 2" wood screws to attach the upper-frame to the inner-frame. We used 1 screw on each corner and then about every 8 inches. This base is solid. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of this (I'll post one on the next update when I am getting the tongue grooves set up).

I didn't get a picture of the complete base because we were too geeked to start putting the Tardis together. We put the corners up and then got all of the walls together and did a quick dry fit.


It was here that we discovered that some of the outer cleats were a bit angled when they were attached. This made the door/corner interface really tight or not even possible. I grabbed sandpaper and went to work correcting the tight spots.


Once everything was fitting nicely, we wrapped up for the night. We put a tie-strap round the 3 corners and left it up. We had everything laying on the floor initially to avoid warping. Now that there is a tight base for the pieces, we can store vertically and use less space. Next I will be finishing up the base tongue-grooves and routing the outer base.



Apr 15, 2019, 01:48 am #25 Last Edit: Apr 15, 2019, 01:54 am by shwalamazula
I am not going for a specific Tardis build, so I am very open to my lamp style. I looked around for lamps and found a few contenders:


  • The first lamp just looks neat

  • Lamp number 2 looks like a little Tardis

  • Lamp 3 just has a really cool design

  • Lamp 4 I really only like for the glass

  • Lamp 5 is much like Lamp 1 but has a bit more flair

  • I am really digging Lamp 6, it has a really neat and simple design

  • Lamp 7 looks more like the actual Tardis lamp (though the glass isn't frosted)

Aside from Lamp 6, I am really leaning toward this one:

It's made by Westinghouse and is only $35 USD. I just need to cross-reference the dimensions on this lamp with the dimensions for the top of my Tardis. I will be making a pitched roof, so I guess it can be any dimension I want since I am throwing out the top part of the roof pattern.


This is quite an interesting build!  At this point I've been here long enough to be jaded about some things and you're doing enough different and innovative things that it's a story I haven't heard before.  I can't wait to see how it turns out.  And since you're casting about for a signal lamp, I'll throw in a pitch for my favorite source, Vermont Lantern:  https://www.vermontlanterns.com/catalog/lamp-chimney  They aren't actual lenses, but they're shaped right--and at a price even a skinflint like myself can endorse.  Of course you're either going to have to buy one of their lanterns or assemble the housing for the glass.  That's what I did.  Found some tin ductwork at Lowe's or Home Depot (I forget) for the base, glued some dowels to it, and then fashioned a rain cap out of, among other things, a solar lamp, so the lamp would light up after dark.  (It doesn't right now because the wiring went wonky in the move.  It does this more often than I'd like to admit.) 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.


I'm going to make the lantern interface so that it can be quickly be disassembled. If I'm gonna toss this in my truck and tool around with it, I don't want it getting broke. I think I'm going to build the lighting, power supply, and controller into the pitched roof bit so that its fairly self contained. Although thinking about it now, I may integrate the lights and controller into the roof and leave a pigtail for the power supply so it can be easily swapped out. Those Vermont lanterns are beautiful but I'm trying to keep the build under $500. I'm still kicking around the idea of having the lock actuated by key and remote so I can get fancy with the lock.

I'll look into the glass, that seems like a good idea.


Apr 16, 2019, 04:36 am #28 Last Edit: Apr 16, 2019, 04:44 am by shwalamazula
Today was troubleshooting day. I realized that some of my design choices ended up with some annoying consequences once we put the frame together. These all revolved around routing. I made the choice early in the build to route nearly all of the exterior pieces because I thought it looked better. The rounding of all of the hard edges had the added benefit of being better for water resistance and impact resistance. What I did not anticipate was the actual interface between the walls, corners, and the base. As you can see here, my rounded edges on my corners has left me with little gaps between the corner and the base. This is not good if I am looking to keep the build as dry as possible (or at least avoid pooling).


I cannot fill these gaps either because the corners need to be able to slide in and out of the guides. I have 4 options here:

  • Rebuild the corners and only route down to the last 2" of the corners (not happening)

  • Leave it as is

  • Fill the gap somehow

  • Integrate some kind of draining into the base

I was spitballing draining options earlier. There are 4 corners where water can pool and there are 4 tongue grooves where water can pool. I can drill holes in those areas to allow them to drain. It wouldn't be as effective as a proper drain, but it will let any pooling water go into the earth rather than just sit in the grooves. Another idea I had is to get some wood and clamp it to the base of the corners. I could then block off the 2" that I need to fill and pump some form of filler material into the gaps. Then when the filler is cured, I could just remove the clamps and the retaining blocks and sand down the corner to a nice flat finish. I am also wondering what pooling water will do for a few days. I figure the longest this will be outside and set up in a single location is a week. The fact that this is not a permanent outdoor fixture may mean that my worries about waterproofing are just me overthinking. I will have to figure this out before painting.

Moving on, we identified a second routing issue with the tongues on the walls that interface with the base. The material I used on the 3 walls was a bit smaller and lower quality than the piece I got for the front. We had to plane and sand these parts and because of that, we were left with a fairly sizable gap. I cannot go back and re-do the strips because they have already been glued and nailed to the wall. Removing them would most likely do a lot of damage to the wall.


Putting wood into the groove to set up the floor spacers just looked bad. We tried a few things to make it look better like making a taller spacer and routing the spacer after raising the height. These options were not very good looking.


It was suggested that the router may be the solution to this routing problem. My brother-in-law (I'm just gonna call him Brian from now on cause brother-in-law just seems unnecessary) found a router bit that kind of matched the profile we cut onto the tongues and started to experiment. The results were pretty cool.


It wasn't a perfect match for the shape but it was much much better than the flat interface. I decided that I wanted to do that, so I modified the cuts for the 1x4 spacers to accommodate the geometry. The pieces were supposed to be 17 1/8". I measured the routed bit and it was about 3/8". That would give me 17.5". I also added an additional 1/8" to accommodate for the material the saw blade would take out.


After making the cuts, I routed out the ends on all of the spacers. The result was pretty groovy. The spacers fit well and wrap around the tongue. A little hand-sanding to clean up the pieces had them fitting nicely.


I now have to decide if I want to take the spacers down to 2" or if I want to leave them raised like this. The raised design looks neat but a drawback I can see is the raised bit on the front door catching feet. I really do not want the base to be uneven. We also decided not to route the spacers because they just didn't look right next to the tongue. One good thing that came out of this was the fact that I had not yet put the center strip on the immobile left door. This means I can get a new 1x2 and do the partial routing and leave the front of the Tardis looking snazzy with a nice routing and a solid base.

In-between all of this fun, I found out that I had forgot to purchase 1x8 boards to make the base of the roof. Sliding a 1x6 into the upper stop showed that this would not work.


Brian suggested that we could just clamp and glue pieces together and then cut and sand them to fit. It was a little more work but we could make it happen. I had forgot to purchase wood (I didn't get the wrong kind) so taking 1x4s to cut to make the wider pieces would leave me short on wood and I would have to go purchase some more later. I decided I would go to the hardware store before the next build night and get the 1x8s I need to make the proper roof base.

While tinkering with the routing, I put together the little frame needed for the phone door. It was a simple clamp, glue, and screw. I did end up making pocket holes on one of the wrong pieces, but that can be covered up in the future.


Once put together, I popped the door into one of the cutouts in the frame. The door fit snug and was easy to pop in and out. Sanding and routing will leave it with just enough gap to open and close properly.



Apr 21, 2019, 08:27 pm #29 Last Edit: Apr 22, 2019, 05:45 pm by shwalamazula
I finally got back to the store to get my 1x8s so that we could start the base of the roof. I got the wood and on my way to Brian's house, it started to rain. The wood got pretty soaked for around 15 minutes so I had to set out the wood to dry.


While the wood was drying, I cut the extra material off of the spacers on the base. I glued and nailed the spacers into the base. They will be sanded later to make them flat with the base frame.


After that I cut the 4 pieces for the base of the roof. The pieces got cut to length and then we cut them down to 6". When I did the dry fit, they wouldn't fit. Again, the cleats were not straight and had to be sanded to accept the roof pieces. This took up most of the night. I had to figure out how to sand the inside of the cleat grooves in order to make the pieces fit. A couple hours later (and much cursing and smashed knuckles) the cleats were sanded enough to let the pieces drop into place.


I had glued and screwed the cleats into place (not the best idea in retrospect) so they couldn't be easily moved. If I did another build, I would suggest not gluing these parts till everything was in place and no adjustments were needed.

The next day I started securing the roof base. I put 3 pockets in each of the pieces and went to work attaching the pieces. In the process, we noticed the knots in one of the planks looked like Sid the Sloth.


With the base of the frame together, it was time to attach the base pieces for the upper roof pieces. The build instructions call for a flat base for the tiers to sit on. I am not a fan of this idea. I would rather have a recessed channel for them to sit in. I know it will be worse for water but I think it will be more stable. To add this channel, I am going to add 1/4" to the next 2 tiers and attach the platform 1/4" down.


To recess the boards, I cut 2 pieces of the extra hardboard material that I had. They were 1/8" thick, so 2 pieces would be my 1/4".


The main table I was building on was plywood. The board wasn't uniformly straight all the way around, so my channel was not 1/4" all the way around.


No big deal right? I'll just pop the screws out and make the adjustments and pop em back in ..... nope. We are using Titebond II wood glue. The bottle says that it takes 1 hour to set and 24 hours to cure. This stuff was set in 30 minutes. This board wasn't going anywhere. We tried clamping it to try and force it into place. We tried prying the board (that just ended up damaging the main frame). We eventually got a saw and cut the board out.


I sanded down the main frame and we filled in the split part with wood glue and clamped it together. I made another 40" board and put pockets into it. This time I made sure the table was flat when I set the board in.


When the frame was flipped back over, I found that it still was not 1/4" all the way around. I am going to have to do some heavy sanding or something to make the channel uniform so that the rest of the roof doesn't sit crooked. This may or may not be an issue though. This Tardis will be something like 10 feet tall and the worst this will be off is by 1/8". That is probably not even noticeable especially cause nobody will be tall enough to look at it head on.

I will be putting a channel into the next roof piece but I think I will make a bunch of little stand offs that I can just tack to the inside of the frame to line up the platform pieces.

After all the cursing, I put the roof base onto the main body and it fit perfectly. It may be a bit too perfect. I know the paint will add some thickness to the parts and some are already pretty tight. I might have to take my dremel and open the interfaces a bit.