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Camping Tardis

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

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Another big update.

I did the electrical on the main roof base. I waterproofed my LEDs with hot glue and then secured the LEDs to the lower-lip of my sign backs and used foil tape to increase the reflectivity of the sign.


Next, holes were drilled into the sign backs to allow the pigtails to pass into the main body. I used single-strand wire to wire all four of the sign lights into a single parallel circuit. This will allow all four lights to light at the same time.




Once the circuits were complete, I attached a long pigtail to the circuit so that I would have flexibility on where I put my controller.


Frames for the police signs were next. I had already cut and painted the frame pieces.


To cut the groove for the acrylic signs, we set up a fence next to the saw and dropped the blade to cut the channel. The blade is 1/8" thick, so making the initial cut slightly off-center allowed to make a cut just slightly larger than 1/8" without having to remove the fence.


The next step was putting the signs together. I did a dry fit first and then glued the frames in place and used the brad nailer to tack them all as well.



Once the frames were together, I did a circuit test to make sure all the lights worked properly and that I didn't need to put any more parchment on the back of the signs to diffuse more light.



Once I was happy that everything looked good, I attached industrial velcro to the signs and sign backs and secured them in place.

Looking back on this, I should have compressed the velcro or used a hair dryer on the strips to get the adhesive to stick better to the wood.



Jul 16, 2019, 05:01 pm #61 Last Edit: Jul 16, 2019, 05:16 pm by shwalamazula
I picked up a can of Krylon glass glaze spraypaint for the lantern. The paint goes on semi-transparent and then it clouds as it dries. It worked very well on this. I think I may use it to frost the acrylic window panels.


I wanted to get the frosting out of the way so that it had time to dry while doing frames.

To start the frames, I put the pieces I had cut thru the planer to bring them to 1/2" square.

Look! Full signal!

With the framing bits cut, I took the outer pieces and cut the ends to 45°. Then I started my dry-fit. This is when I noticed that, in my haste, I had made a miscalculation on the framing.


I made the center strip too short. I was going to cut grooves in it and mate it up with he vertical pieces, this was not going to work now  cause they were too short. I found out what went wrong; I had subtracted the vertical widths from the internal freespace instead of just using the whole interior dimension.


I had enough leftover wood to plane some more and cut the pieces into 3 1/3" pieces.

Getting back to the dry-fit, things were tight, really tight. I will not need to hold things in place with clamps, the tightness of the frames will give sufficient pressure for the glue.


I did this for all of the walls. I figure if the fit was going to be this tight, it would be particular to each frame.


While the glue was drying, I did a dry run on the little door letters. Everything fits!


I asked my sister and she said she would line the letters up properly and glue them in place for me. This would free up trim for the final hardware.

I put the TARDIS together just to see how it is coming. It is looking really cool.


After the TARDIS was together, I pulled out the frames and taped them off. I then painted them with the white exterior primer. Once they dried, I took the tape off, covered the outside in wood glue, and then put them back into their frames. The fit was really tight. I cleaned off any running glue and let the box sit so the frames could set.


Since I couldn't do much more with the day ending, I put the electronics in just to test them.


I have a video too, I will have to post it later.


Jul 16, 2019, 05:22 pm #62 Last Edit: Jul 16, 2019, 05:26 pm by shwalamazula
I left my TARDIS out overnight because the forecast called for a 1% chance of rain for Monday. That 1% turned to 50% and my box got soaked.

It leaked exactly where I expected it to leak, the interface between the roof levels. Neat part is nothing on the upper roof leaked. No leaks on the pitched parts, no leaks on the light box, no leaks on the lantern.

The rain knocked out 3 of my police signs. I am assuming that the 4th one stayed on because the entire frame was resting on that face overnight after I put the velcro on. I should have compressed all sides or at least heat the velcro up with a heat gun. I am going to have to dry and repair the frames and then figure out how to hang them without velcro.

I expect this unit to get a few days of rain here and there, but it is not a permanent outdoor fixture. A little rain doesn't bug me, but this kinda damage is not acceptable.



To the drawing board!


Screw the signs on from behind?



Screw the velcro to its respective surfaces.  Or staple.  Or brad nail. 

"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.


That's what I did, reheated the velcro and then reattached it and put screws in it


Aug 05, 2019, 05:06 pm #66 Last Edit: Aug 06, 2019, 02:35 am by shwalamazula
The time leading up to the trip was a bit hectic. I had to repair the damage on the signs caused by the Velcro falling off in the thunderstorm. I remedied that by taking all of the Velcro and separating the strips. I then hung the strips in the basement until they dried. While they were drying, I started repairing the broken police box signs. There was not a ton of damage to the signs, primarily frames coming apart. The signs were pretty soaked too, so they needed to be dried out before they could be repaired.



Once the signs were repaired, I get some screws and wide washers. I re-applied the Velcro to the frames and used a hair dryer to heat up the adhesive (hopefully to make it stick better). Once the Velcro was reapplied, I put screws in along the length of the Velcro with the wide washers to spread out the retaining force. There is still some Velcro that tries to come off the frame when I take the signs off, but the screws keep everything in place.

With the signs back on, I moved to making the windows. I took the acrylic sheets and used the table saw to cut the sheets into window-sized pieces. Again, cutting acrylic on a table saw is crazy stinky; use ventilation.


I got some window tinting film that had UV-blocking properties to apply to the windows. Once the tinting was applied, I let it sit to dry. While everything was setting, I got to figuring out how I was going to hold the windows in place. The windows needed some form of lower lip to sit on but I was not sure about how to secure the sides. All of the wood used for the window guides was just scrap that I used the outer on to cut the grooves in.




One small patch of the backyard had a swarm of these little beauties just flying all over the place. I am fairly certain these are Ebony Jewelwing Damselflys (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebony_jewelwing)

Anyhoo, my initial idea was to make the side guides the length of the window. This would hold it in place an keep internal light from escaping around the edges. While setting the windows in the TARDIS, I noticed that if I went with full length side guides, I would not be able to easily pop the windows in or out without taking the roof out. The solution was to cut the side guides by about a third of their length and installing them at the top of the window. This way, the window can be lifted up off the lower lip and tilted to bring out of the door. As you can see, the design is really simple and from what I can tell, really sturdy.



Once I had all of the window guides in place, I marked off the frame lines on the windows and used a hobby-knife to cut out the little squares for the pebbled glass. I don't have any material for it right now, but eventually I will.


I added a strip of electrical tape to both upper edges of the windows to protect the tinting from getting scraped off when I put the windows in. This was a bit time consuming because I had to cut the electrical tape to length, then use the hobby knife to cut the width of the tape to 2/3. It was tedious but I think it will be a good protective addition to keep the film in good shape.



40% of the joy of new threads is scoping out other people's workshops.  I can't complain about mine but I'm envious of about 75% of the ones other people have. 
"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 want a workshop. I am using my brother-in-law's workshop for this build. I have some friends with workshops and tinkerspaces. I really want to move to a place larger than a condo so that I can have a workshop of my own.


I'd give my left arm for a workshop.
(Mind you, I probably get much work done.... ;)  )

I love your TARDIS.
The big lamp on top looks great!




This update actually a month late. I completed the TARDIS on July 18, a few hours before heading out on my trip. The night prior, I had finished up the tinting on the plexi and installed the tiny door. There were some spots that were in need of touch-up , like the top of the pillars that I routed to round off.


Returning to the build the next day, I just had to do a bit of paint touch-up and frost the plexi. I used the same Krylon frosted-glass spraypaint that I used on the lantern.

No Frost

Now Frost

Once that was done, I was able to break it down and fit it into my little truck.




I was silly and didn't take any daytime pictures of the TARDIS at our campsite except from the river. I got some neat nighttime videos of the lights pulsing, I'll try to add those later.



I have a bunch of upgrades I have been working on the last few weeks, so there will be better pictures coming shortly.


Love the first pic of the Tardis next to the water.

Its good you managed to finish it just in time for your trip.  Did it gain lots of attention?

This pic has to be one of the best disassembled Police Box pictures I've seen!



There were many fans of the box, enen non-who fans.

The theme of the trip was Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There were some who were not into Dr. Who but thought it was pretty meta to have the TARDIS there since the HGG author also wrote for Dr. Who.


The mighty Ranger needs some Jurassic Park stickers on the doors.  It's totally not screen accurate, but it would work. 

Because U.N.I.T. stickers would be silly on a pine green 90s Ford Ranger.  An olive FJ Cruiser or (naturally) a Land Rover, of course, but the Ranger needs Jurassic Park.
"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.


Aug 16, 2019, 09:44 pm #74 Last Edit: Aug 16, 2019, 09:47 pm by shwalamazula
After my super fun camping trip I had an opportunity to take the TARDIS to a buddy's house to show off a bit. We put it up in his backyard and had a bonfire. Twas a lot of fun.



Bonus: We got a video of the lights doing their thing with some sound added from a nearby phone. I will eventually incorporate some form of sound-making device into the build, but this was pretty darn neat.



The next day I took it back over to my sister's place to do some upgrades.


I got some drop hinges off Amazon and installed those. I was very happy I did not have to put the whole thing back together just to work on a door. When fitting the hinges and marking the drill points, I realized that I would need some more wood to attach the hinges. So I grabbed some scrap and attached it to the inside of the corner post. These hinges were also larger than the original hinges, so the wood had to be moved to the side a bit more. The upper mount was already the right size, so no modifications needed there.




Next, I installed my lock. This isn't a proper Yale lock, but it looks right.

I started by drilling out a hole in the door where the lock needed to go. Looking at TARDIS images, the lock is in line with the right door handle and aligned with the middle of the middle door slat. The instructions on the lock called for a different placement, but then it wouldn't line up right. I figured this is only for aesthetics, so I would just make it work.


A fun surprise was this bit I used to cut the hole:

This bit is gnarly. Once the screw portion bites into the wood, the drill will take your hand off. There is a ton of torque there. The best thing to do when using this kind of bit on a horizontal surface is to keep your left hand at the base of the drill to counter the torque.

With the hole drilled, I installed the hardware for the lock. The door was a bit thin for this lock. The door was only 3/4" thick. As you can see, the hardware stuck out a bit.


I cut some extra 3/4" pieces and mounted them to the back of the 2 doors to give enough material to install the lock. A little wood glue, some brad nails, and screws got it all fixed up. Now I have a pretty lock to go on my box. I am going to need to make a necklace now for my keys.