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Scratch Build – Complete Dr. Who TARDIS build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by artoodeeto, 21 Jan 2019.

  1. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    Original and beautiful, great job
     
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  2. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Thanks!! It's been a fun challenge figuring out how to put this thing together...a few things I'd do differently if I had to do it over again, but that's pretty normal I think.

    Small update this time - the TARDIS itself is now completely done except for the telephone I still need to make, and I need to wire the audio chip activation button into the system power button (and hope that it works). I had a local sign shop make vinyl decals for the phone and ambulance signs on the front, as well as a lightbox sign that will go on the front of the table. I also added a fence around the inside of the top to help prevent light leakage through the seam between the top and the removable roof. A little light still leaks through, but it's MUCH less noticeable now.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The adhesive-backed vinyl signs. I asked for one of each; for whatever reason they printed a couple of each. Means if one of them gets dinged or falls off, I have spares :)
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    And the lightbox sign that'll go on the front of the table. I plan on using the last few bits of LED strip left over from the rest of the lighting - once I do, it means I'll have used the entire 16.5' strip on this build.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Labeling iconic objects with branding is unnecessary. ;)
    Final box looks prop perfect. just in time for the new dwarf Doctor.
     
  4. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    But I *wanted* to label it with the branding :)
    And hey, my mini TARDIS does have some precedent - there’s an episode when Peter Capaldi plays the Doctor where the TARDIS is shrunk down to somewhere around 1/2 or 1/3 scale. Although I admit that a series with Gimli as the Doctor (or Grumpy, Sneezy, or...umm...Doc) would be great.
     
  5. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Going to start the table today. We'll be making the cobblestones out of styrofoam that will top the table. I started by making a composite image of cobblestones, making them run diagonal (the black square is the portion that will be covered by the TARDIS, so no point in doing any work there), and adding flagstones which I want to make slightly taller than the other stones (kind of a sidewalk or curb), and a double yellow line for visual interest. This is all based on various source images I ran across. I also want to add some (fake) dirt and grass in between the stones after they're painted. Next step - gotta make the table top, it'll be 22" square, with a large cutout in the middle so the air can flow into the case from the underside. Then I've got to run over to the store and get a 12" x 22+" piece of foam and cut it into 3" x 22" strips and glue it down around the perimeter of the table top.

    After that, I’ll use a projector we borrowed for another project, to project this image onto the foam and use my dremel to carve out the grout between the stones. Once that’s carved, it’ll be painted, weathered, and detailed. The colors may or may not match this image below; the main reason I made the image was to project onto the foam for carving it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 10 Mar 2019
  6. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    I'm back at it again - after work getting super busy (I know they're paying me and all, but really, how dare they), and then being sick for a week and a half, I had a bit of an unplanned break. First, a few photos from a couple weeks ago. I decided to add a London streetlight to the petit tableaux I'm putting together. It consists of a newell post and an outdoor garden light, with a crossbar made out of a dowel whose ends I sharpened in a pencil sharpener. Currently it's assembled and primed, and just needs to be painted black.

    I also started on the table a couple weeks ago, and made more progress today. The plan here is to use styrofoam as a surface, carve it with a dremel so it resembles cobblestones, and paint it and add realistic details like dirt and grass blades. The TARDIS will sit on this so it looks like it's sitting on a London street. I made some tweaks to the image I posted previously, altering the brick direction to create more contrast between the sidewalk area and the street itself, and reversing and rotating it so the sidewalk area will be at the back right part of the table, which is where I decided to put the lamp post. The table is mostly assembled now. All I'm waiting on is for my wife to do the honors with the dremel to carve the cobblestones, and then I can finish assembling it and painting it. The little pull-out UV light on the right side needs a "drawer front" made for it; I plan on making it the Dr. Who logo.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And back to the tabletop. These little dowel bits will give me something to screw the skirting into, since the piece of plywood itself is rather thin:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And back to the lamp post:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now adding the styrofoam. This first, fairly thick, piece I cut with a utility knife, and this turned out to be not one of my better ideas. Luckily I'd bought another, thinner, sheet of styrofoam and I used my jigsaw to rip that down. That worked much better, and in the end I only wasted $5 on the first sheet.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now that Dr. Who logo sign I made to go on the front...I don't know what I was thinking, but I made it taller than the wood I'd gotten for the skirting. So...I got more pieces and glued a couple together:
    [​IMG]

    I then started cutting the pieces for the skirting. Since I designed it to sit up higher in relation to the rest of the table, I didn't need to angle it because of the legs. Did that on purpose, since I really, really did not feel like trying to work out those angles.
    [​IMG]

    Haven't actually carved it yet, but this is the projector setup we'll use to carve the styrofoam:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And back to the rest of the table. Since the front will be angled out at 10 degrees, I slanted the table saw over and ran the edges of the front through so its top will be flush with the rest.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And now it was time to add the UV light which will illuminate the Bad Wolf writing on the side. I bought a cheap center mount drawer slide, and mounted it on a strip of scrap wood that runs between the two sides of the table. I have to leave this removable so I won't be able to cover up the screws, but I do plan on using wood filler to hide as many other screws as I can.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The table top is not actually bolted in yet - need to do the carving first. But it sits in there snugly enough that it gives you a rough idea of what it'll soon look like. The big square opening in the middle of the styrofoam is the area the TARDIS will cover, so there was no point in surfacing that area. I'll also add wood blocks in the corners to actually support the TARDIS' weight, so no weight will be on the styrofoam.
    [​IMG]

    Last but not least, I made the frame for the front sign. I'll glue the sign to the inside of the frame, then glue and screw the whole thing onto the front. To save weight, I'll use a piece of corrugated cardboard on the backside to block the light, and I won't permanently attach it so I'll be able to access the LEDs if they ever go out.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Almost done with the UV light drawer face/pull. I made a corresponding part for the other side of the table, partly for symmetry and partly because I want to be able to remove the drawer slide (to take the table apart) which means I can't permanently cover the screw holes, so this logo piece will cover them while being removable. I also made the framing for the sign that'll light up on the front of the table.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    After a bit of trial and error, I made four spacers to go under the feet of the TARDIS to support its weight. The bottom of it is thus flush with the styrofoam, but no weight is actually resting on the styrofoam. Once the tabletop is attached with screws, I'll drill holes through these spaces and run screws up from under the table into the TARDIS' feet, bolting it to the table and ensuring it can't fall over.
    [​IMG]

    And here's my progress on the drawer pull:
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    I bought a low tack spray glue to spray onto the paper stencils.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Needs some touch up work...another thing on the to-do list...
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. SharkGTX

    SharkGTX Member

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    WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Now that I'm (mostly) done being sick, I can finally get this thing finished. It's close....so close. Yesterday and today I made some good progress. My wife finally did the carving of the cobblestones, and then I went back over and cleaned it up a bit, took some random gouges out, and beveled the edges slightly. When I started spraying primer on it, I discovered something I should have realized - the primer is enamel, which eats away a bit at styrofoam. After I was done with the primer I hit it with the power sander. Since some of the stones got eaten away a little more than others by the paint, it resulted in some vertical variation. The sander only smoothed out the higher stones, leaving the lower ones more rough. I kind of like how it looks. Next step? Get the table put together (going to head down and do that as soon as I'm done typing here), then get the sign facing glued on to the front opening. Then, after a quick trip to the hardware store for some latex-based paint that *won't* eat the styrofoam, it'll be time to paint the cobblestones. I still need to airbrush the lamp post black, which will go in the circular hole in the styrofoam in one corner.

    [​IMG]

    This piece fit a LOT better in the skirting when I did a test fit. When it came time for the final placement, I'd intended to put it in, mark its position, remove it, drill holes through the skirting inside the lines I'd marked, then put the tabletop back in and drill holes into the support dowels through the holes I'd drilled in the skirting. THAT didn't go as planned. The damn thing was so difficult that once it was in place, I took my best guess as to where to put the screws. Luckily I guessed right.
    [​IMG]

    Here it's sitting on the rest of the table, supported by the drawer slide. It's sitting much higher up than it will be when it's done because it's sitting on the drawer slide, which I will have to remove to put everything together.
    [​IMG]

    The cobblestone texturing after spraying primer. Some are smooth, some are rougher.
    [​IMG]

    Finally starting the TARDIS blue coat...
    [​IMG]

    VERY rough placement of the front sign, to get an idea what it'll look like. I was deciding (ok, texting the photo to my wife to make sure she liked it) whether to leave the frame white or paint it blue. It stayed white.
    [​IMG]

    All masking removed, and I added the Dr. Who logo drawer slide pull. Then I realized I'd have to remove it again to get the drawer slide off so I can put the table parts together. Oy.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    **edit** - did a little more tonight. Still don't have the two pieces put together because I decided it'd be easier to glue the sign onto the front first. Only way I could think to clamp it down is the method I used in the photo below. I don't have clamps large enough to reach the far corners, just the near ones, which wouldn't have done much good. I also got the other logo badge attached, but will have to remove it tomorrow temporarily so I can get the table parts together.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I really, really hope that sign facing is straight. It should be. I'm reasonably confident it didn't move when I flipped the thing over onto its face and put that brick paver on it to weight it down. I'll find out tomorrow...

    Also, that drawer track is a bit crooked. Doesn't affect sliding it out though, and I decided since it won't be visible it wasn't worth the time to drill new holes and fill the old ones.
     
    Last edited: 3 Apr 2019
  10. DesignDoge

    DesignDoge Staff Staff

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    This is amazing. Like wow.
    The Bad Wolf on the side is just perf. :clap:
     
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  11. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Thanks!! I can't wait to see the whole thing all put together. It's ALMOST there. Still need to paint/detail the cobblestones, paint the lamp post black, wire the table lights into the rest of the lights, and make the telephone that'll go in the TARDIS' front compartment. Also I need to make a backing to go behind the Dr. Who sign on the front of the table - right now the sign (in normal room light) is a bit dim. This morning I finally got the table completely assembled, and stuck the top portion of the TARDIS on there to get a sense of it. I think it'll be pretty cool...

    The sign on the front came out slightly crooked, but only very slightly, and I can live with it (which is good, cuz I kind of HAVE to live with it if I don't want to make the table all over again). It needs a tiny bit of touch-up paint on two edges where some bare wood is showing, but it's only a very thin sliver so not a big deal. This sliver isn't even visible in the photos below, and in person you'd really have to look closely. There's also a little bit of blue overspray on the underside of the table, apparently I missed a bit when masking. Under normal circumstances this underside won't be visible, I'd already run out of white spray paint, and I didn't deem it worthwhile to go buy another can of paint just to spritz a little bit on a spot you can't see when it's all put together.

    [​IMG]
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  12. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Today's progress started...um...actually last night :) I got the lamp post painted black. Today I ran over to the store and got a can of clear satin-finish spray paint for it, so now it looks more like painted metal. Today I also got the table lights wired up and stuck the top of the TARDIS on the table (sans computer and base) so I could plug all the lights in and test them. Thankfully, they all work. The lamp post is actually an outdoor garden light on a newel post, and the garden light is solar activated with a AA battery. During the day, it's off, and it comes on when there's no light. I wish I could have wired it into the rest of the computer, but I don't have a 3-foot+ auger bit to drill a hole through the middle of the newel post, so here we are. At the moment the lamp is bolted to a piece of scrap wood so it can stand up.

    First, here's where I'm at right now:
    [​IMG]

    Rewinding to last night:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    And now back to today. I kinda like the watery sort of effect from the light. Looks neat.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I had just enough leftover bits from the TARDIS lighting to wire up and secure the wires for the lights in the table's sign.
    [​IMG]

    And all lit up! I suspect I'll end up putting a backing behind the Dr. Who sign, but I'd mentioned to my wife it might look cool without the backing as then there's underlighting under the table. My personal preference though is with the backing - yeah it eliminates the underlighting, but it makes the sign substantially brighter. To be clear, the light leakage coming from under the TARDIS itself will be eliminated once the thing is sitting on its base properly. That won't happen until I'm completely done with it and haul everything inside and set it up.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  13. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    I think this'll be done tomorrow sometime. Literally all I have left to do (as I type this) is finish the telephone, and haul all the pieces upstairs and get everything plugged in and put together. And then turn the system on and after 3 months and a full disassembly/reassembly, hope the thing still works. I can't imagine it not working...but ever since I was in high school 20+ years ago and had many an experience building a system, turning it on, nothing happening (or sparks flying), my mentality has always been one of nervousness prior to powering it up for the first time. At least it's not a brand new build...I know this was working when I shut it off and took it apart back in January.

    Anyways. On to the progress! Between yesterday and today, I got the table finished and got started on the telephone. Remember that little audio chip I pointed out a few posts back? I'd planned on wiring it into the power button so it would play the TARDIS sounds/Dr. Who music upon powerup. I wasn't positive it would work. Thankfully my wife decided that she'd rather have control over when the chip plays, rather than have it play on powerup, so I'm going to leave it as-is. No iffy wiring into the power button. I wasn't looking forward to doing that anyway, it's why I'd put it off until it was one of the last things.

    ok. Photos. I'll start with the table. Remember, I'd photoshopped some stock cobblestone photos together and then used a projector to project the image onto the styrofoam. My wife, using our dremel, carved the styrofoam according to the image. Here's the finished image, then backtracking to how I made it:

    [​IMG]

    Here's my photoshopped image:
    [​IMG]

    And projected:
    [​IMG]

    After my wife went to town on it with the Dremel (and I did my mostly-successful darndest to hold the tabletop in place):
    [​IMG]

    I then put the table skirting together and added the tabletop (this was shown in a previous post). Yesterday, after we went to the hardware store and selected 4 shades of bluish-gray latex paint, I started by painting the styrofoam the lighter shade of the two middle grays.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I went to the local model store and got a few more supplies. Weird. It looks a LOT greener in this photo than it really is.
    [​IMG]

    Then today, I masked off half of it so I could airbrush the yellow strip (Model Master Insignia Yellow).
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Then I used the darkest of the four shades of gray to paint the crevices between the cobblestones. It later turned out this was largely unnecessary...but I didn't know that at the time.
    [​IMG]

    After that I hit it with the airbrush again, this time with my TARDIS blue blend. I darkened some stones here and there, and did an overall mist of blue.
    [​IMG]

    Then I drybrushed darker and lighter grays to simulate wear and tear. At my wife's suggestion, I went back with both shades a second time to make them "pop" a bit more.
    [​IMG]

    Then it was time to use the Woodland Scenics Earth Blended Turf I bought, along with some Scenic Cement.
    [​IMG]

    Once that was done, I sprayed more glue on to help the ground up foam set. I also added more of the foam "dirt" on top of the new layer of glue. After that mostly dried, I hit the table with the vacuum to suck up any loose foam. Then I used a brush to add more glue into cracks and crevices, and added the "grass." This is made of a fake moss I think from a local craft store - I bought far, far more than I actually needed. I pulled the mossy bits off their backing and added them here and there to simulate clumps of grass. The big clump in the top right corner of the photo is where the lamp post will be - I wanted it to look like there's grass growing out from under it (this is the same photo as the first one in this post).
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next post - I'll show pics of the start of the telephone...
     
  14. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    On to the telephone! This is the final piece I'm making, and it's purely cosmetic. First, the reference image I found. Mine won't look exactly like this - I ended up making the body of it a bit too big width-wise, so proportionally speaking I have less room to work with depth-wise. Basically, the overall placement and size of things on my phone depends more on the space available than this image.
    [​IMG]

    And here's how it started - with bits of scrap wood leftover from other parts of the project:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here's where it gets more fun. In this next photo, the little knobby things at the base of the phone body are little, well, knobby things I got from the local craft store. I still have 34 of them...drives me nuts when I have to buy 3 dozen and I need, like, two. The extras will go into my supplies bucket, likely never to be seen again...Same with the bells I ordered to go on top of the phone. I had to buy 72 two of the things (seventy-TWO - geez!). And I need two. Ugh.

    The silver cone shaped thing that will be the earpiece is a cake decorating tip for an icing bag. The white plastic ring that will be the speaker is cut off a plastic cake decorating tip converter to go from a smaller tip to a larger one. I cut a length of wire from the spool of red wire and wound it around a paint brush handle; that'll be the wire connecting the earpiece to the phone body. The bent pins at the bottom of the image will be the thingy that holds the earpiece in place. Because I have zero room on the sides of the phone (because I made it too big), the earpiece will have to go up on top, where that little square piece of wood is.
    [​IMG]

    I got started tonight staining the phone body (pictured next to an unstained piece of scrap wood):
    [​IMG]

    And this is where it's at right now. The sealant is setting up, I got the wire twirled 'round the paint brush handle, and I need to drill a hole in the earpiece so I can insert the wire. I need to also drill a corresponding hole in the phone body so I can insert the other end of the wire there. I also need to mount the brass pins that will hold the earpiece, and get the earpiece, speaker, and knobs painted and glued on.
    [​IMG]

    I also need little pieces that will be the speaker and earpiece grilles inside each. I traced out circles on a thin piece of scrap wood and will use my scroll saw to cut them out and insert them into each piece.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2019
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  15. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Ok...second-to-last post. This *would* have been the final one, but I discovered when I got the TARDIS upstairs that one of my wife's monitor cables, along with the USB hub cable and speaker cables, aren't long enough to go from the desk and get routed through the TARDIS to where they need to go. Extensions/longer cables are on the way, should arrive tomorrow, and then I can post pictures of it all lit up. Until then, here's the last few shots of the phone assembly, and some pics of it in place in our computer room.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. DesignDoge

    DesignDoge Staff Staff

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    Can't wait to see the final pictures with it all hooked up!
     
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  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Came out great.
    ...Is that the new Doctor? :worried:
     
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  18. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    wow, didn't came here for days, now with the telephone and all new details :jawdrop:, fantastic work really.:thumb: :clap:
     
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  19. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Ok...almost my last post on this one. I've got a video that I took and am trying to convert but the software I'm using keeps crashing my system, no idea why. I'll post that later once I've figured it out.

    After 3 fast-yet-long months, it's finally Done. Today's work was mainly getting everything plugged in, turned on, running updates (it's been dismantled since January), and taking lots of photos. Many of which are below.

    First, I had to fix the power cable for one of the fans. Apparently adding the other cords into the case caused this one to get tugged on, and pulled it out of its plug. I stuffed it back in and put a dab of superglue on it (a yab-a-dab-a-glue is how I think of it), and voila! It is fixed. Fan's fine.

    Next here's some photos of it next to my wife's desk. Note the "mini-me" TARDIS USB hub atop the desk, we've had that for years. At this point in the day, I still had the wireless dongles for her mouse/keyboard and FitBit plugged into the TARDIS hub. I've since moved them to the "front panel" USBs inside the telephone box since those two plugs weren't likely to ever be used for anything else (I added the ports because I had them and the other option was leaving them in the box where they'd been for 10+ years), and somehow the little phone door still closes with the dongles in there.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now backtracking. This is when I pulled the top off, got all the cords plugged in, and fired it up to make sure it still worked. It did. :D
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And underneath the table:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And lit up:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And a few shots I took with my Nikon (rather than my iphone). Due to room size and not-great lighting, I'm not sure these are any better than the iphone photos.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately the BAD WOLF on the side isn't easy to read because of where I put the UV light. The light is only clipped onto its drawer slide, so it *is* possible to unhook it and move it to a better position where it can be aimed more directly at the side of the TARDIS.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So there you have it. How to make a TARDIS in 3 months or more! Hope everyone enjoyed this, catch y'all next time!
     
  20. artoodeeto

    artoodeeto Member

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    Here's the video - it's 1080p so make sure your audio is on and your browser video resolution is set to that.

     
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