First attempt to post an image of my progress so far. If I can figure out how to host an image. Can anyone see it?
Hey there Squishype! The image comes up without a hitch. A lot of us use www.photobucket.com to host our images. It's a really nice site to upload and organize your pics. You can adjust the size of your images very easily too. Your build looks very nice. As everyone else has posted, what plans, scale and how long did it take to build?
Nice work indeed. Tell us all about it!
Cheers, Jon ;D
Last Edit: Jun 13, 2006 3:53:07 GMT 1 by DOCTOR IZ
Good, now that I kind of know how to post I'll put up some more images. Unfortunately the firewall at work thinks Photobucket is too dangerous so I'm stuck with Imageshack for now.
The first box I built was back in 2002~2003:
This is my half size box that I tried just to see if I could do it. It took me less than a year on weekends to assemble and I had the benefit of the local community arts center and their full woodworking shop. Since then the old WWII vets who ran the shop got pushed out by a younger crowd and the woodshop is now closed But the half size box does make a good place to put all my VHS and DVD. Back in 2002 I found the "Blue Box Project" website and another fellow who built a cabinet for his computer, but not much else (Doctor Who Technical Manual, etc.)
It was getting full as of Christmas 2004 so I doubled the dimensions of my old plans and began January 2005 to build a full size TARDIS. While many things are the same to the standard build (plywood walls with strips of wood to make the chamfered panels, etc.) I did try the posts differently. I had made the corner posts from 3/4" thick boards on the half size box, so when I doubled things I figured out how to use a 2x6.
It looks like everyone else is using a built up corner with several pieces of MDF to build the post and then add quarter round. I've actually mitered the edges and then used the router to do the corners. Very, very heavy and awkward to handle these pieces.
The end result is shown above. So far I've got 90 manhours of work into the project (over 18 months) and spent about $700 (USA) and have yet to purchase any graphics.
The box is for indoor use only, both the front and rear have two inward opening doors (in case you need to escape out the back), and will break down to move through doorways. I'll try to upload some more pictures showing how the box dissassmbles.
I've actually mitered the edges and then used the router to do the corners. Very, very heavy and awkward to handle these pieces.
I've also been thinking of using a router to do the corners, and am curious to know what your experience was like. What's the radius of the curve on your router bit? Did you have the router mounted in a table? I've gotten the impression that large bits should only be used in a router table - does this fit with your experience? Do you have any advice regarding routing such heavy and awkward pieces? Taking a peek at your picture, It doesn't look as if you're using a 3/4" radius router bit - would that make a difference? The bit I'm thinking about is 2" in diameter.
Timegirl, yes the halfsize box does make a nice video cabinet. Everyone thought the little box was cute and rather good looking after all. My hobby made sense to people. The full size box has most people perplexed and asking "why?". But the small box had videos two and three rows deep and now crammed in any way possible. Once I've got the shelves in the full box I'll be able to see all the spines at once so I no longer forget about all the Troughton or Pertwee that got hidden in the rear.
Sorvan, the router was a problem. It worked fine on the half size box on my router table. I had a 1/4" radius and the posts were less than 48" long. This made them easy to handle and two passes gave me a nice clean rounded corner. I was also using the "good" furniture boards from Lowes or Home Depot which was straight and blemish free.
Once I switched to 2x6 lumber I got into some really cheap stuff. The boards were cupped, bent, and warped (I spent an hour sorting and picking the best out of 3 stores). I assembled them full length (about 8'-4"+/-) and waited until the very end to cut all four to the same length in case mistakes were made. With one person they were heavy and awkward. And never quite square no matter how many clamps I used when gluing them together. The 6.25" sides ended up a little less than 6" after my biscuits were off a hair (that doesn't sound appetizing). My router table is only about 16"x20" so it was tough to keep things on (Sears craftsman freebie).
If I had it to do over again this way I'd buy a decent router bit. My set of 12 bits was less than $20 (USA) at a nice little store called Odd Lots that specializes in cheap. The radius bits could not be fit with a guide so that I could use the router free. And because of the amount of material being removed I finally figured out that I had to use the table saw to remove the 3/8" edges on either side of the 1/2" radius or else the router would overheat. It would be expensive to find a 1/2" radius bit that also allows for at least 3/8" of offset, but it would make the work much easier. I don't think there is any trouble with using a large bit without a table, but you'll probably need multiple passes as the guide invaraibly comes out of contact everyone once in a while. The longer the piece is the tougher it is to hold it tight to the fence on the table. A second pair of hands or an outer spring loaded fence to hold the piece tight will be handy. Its just tough to steer the leading tip when you are 8'-0" away.
But the cheap bit got the job done and created lots of "character" as it quickly got dull and removed a couple chunks. A TARDIS probably shouldn't look pristine.
If I had it to do over again this way I'd buy a decent router bit.
All the 3/4" router bits I've seen are around $50, so I hope they're good.
an outer spring loaded fence to hold the piece tight will be handy.
That's something I hadn't thought of, it's a good idea. I'm a long way from making my posts (have to replace my basement floor before I can get back to building my box), but I'll have to keep that in mind.
I've been having a strange thought. When you're done, you'll have a full size TARDIS and a half size TARDIS. If you make a few more, you can do "nesting TARDISs" - like those nesting Russian dolls. Of course, this would absolutely convince your friends that you're nuts, but it'd be funny! ;D
Colin, you don't know about the Tardis bank and phone flasher I got myself for Christmas. All I need now is a 3/4 scale police box and for someone to donate a Cod Steak replica and I'll be set. Almost like having Logopolis in my own living room.
Showstopper, for the half size box I bought a cabinet lock. It's only about 1/2" diameter and really isn't set to work on my box. I'd need to pin one door shut so the lock would really work (right now both doors open at once), but then I'd be afraid of forgetting and ripping the lock mechanism. The signs on the half box were all made at the office on the laser printer. The Pull to Open and St. John badge were images off someone's archive. The Police Box was something I drew up without the correct fonts and printed out. It's taped in place with a piece of clear plastic to make it look like glass.
The lamp is unfortunately either a pickle or curry paste jar. I now have a 3.5" diameter lens from the home center, but I need to correct the top so it will fit.
The steps involved in assembling my TARDIS. Hopefully it shows one possible way to split the box into manageable pieces: Step 1, just the base. You can see the four mounting bolts for the sides.
Step 2, connect the electric cord. I've got 3 small "under cabinet" lights inside the box that need power. I've cut my extension cord in half to make it easier to run inside the post.
Part 3, install the right wall. You should be able to just see the 3-plugs of the extension cord sticking out the back corner. Fortunately the base is heavy enough to keep things fairly stable. Since I only used 3/8" plywood for the sides it got fairly wobbly, so there is a strut just below the windows to stiffen things up.
Step 4, the left side. Bolts down just like the right side, but both tops will bow in and out.
Step 5, install the steps over front and back doors. This will now lock in the top of the box to a "perfect" square. Well, fairly close to square.
Step 6, install the top. The ceiling has been screwed in so it goes at the same time. If my lamp was close to being finished I suppose it would slip on top next.
Step 7, install the front and rear sign boxes. From step 6 it looks like I just routed out the fronts of the posts so these would slip in.
Step 8, hang the doors. I've got 4 fully functioning doors. It would be tough to dust behind the box if the rear didn't open up.
Step 9, install windows, signs, and everything else. This step isn't quite ready yet, and probably won't until summer classes are finished.
Hopefully this would help anyone who is thinking of how to break the police box down into different parts. If the rear wall had been solid instead of doors then I'd probably have done everything differently. The 4 corner posts would have been separate from the side walls. But with the rear doors things looked unstable so the posts got permanently fastened to the two sides.
Has anyone else had any luck with rear doors? Everything is a lot less rigid this way.
This also makes a nice screen saver for me at the office. I can watch the box get assembled all day.
Last Edit: Jun 20, 2006 0:53:42 GMT 1 by squishype
It's been a long time coming but I've finally gotten some progress done on the windows. Turns out this is likely the most labor intensive way of doing them. From the other threads it looks like many of us have used a single pane of glass or plastic fastened to the rear of the frame. Unfortunately I was already down the road of cutting six individual panes of glass to install in each frame.
This does allow for the inclusion of a hammered glass piece. After nearly purchasing a shower door just to demolish my family found this at a craft store (Hobby Lobby-USA).
Its very important to carefully score each cut and provide full support. When I got lazy and skipped the boards I tended to get diagonal breaks.
I also had the bad idea of glazing the window in a traditional fashion using glazing putty and points. Hot glue may have been easier and definitely would have been cleaner.
Then all it requires is a couple points to hold each pane in place and its nearly finished. This is where I found out that as hard as you can push (and slip) you can really only run a screwdriver about 1/4" into the palm of your hand. And here I thought it would go all the way through. I did manage to break a couple panes of glass at the same time. But this will add character to the box. Windows on the real prop seemed to be broken lots of times.
I still need to go back and clean up the edges where putty has spilled out and gotten on the frame. And then cloud the windows up using the tips out of the Workshop Manual.
As slow as all this has been between work and school I did manage to get the lock and a handle installed. Its tough to find quite the right look of Hartnell's lock on the left door with that extra "ring" around it. I recall seeing the Sensorites 15 years ago and thought there should be some good close-ups, but the DW Restoration Team is taking forever to get that one out on DVD. That and I needed to pull the lock open to reverse the mechanism and create my own strike plate so the lock can mount to the static door. Putting the lock on the right hand/opening door would definitely be easier.
Your new Tardis is spectacular squishy. I especially like the way you've made the corner posts. This would be a good method for an outdoors Tardis (like mine) since with the post being all one piece you don't have to worry about water getting behind the quarter round detaching it from the rest of the post . You of course won;'t have that issue to worry about. Nice to see another set of white windows, and good on you for making them 'properly' with putty etc., adds to the authenticity.
Yes, both the solid posts and a traditional glaze on the windows would help keep the water out. Too bad I did the bevels for the doors out of MDF. I'm figuring I should never let my box get wet unless I want some serious damage (even with two coats of sealer/primer and three coats of paint). That and there are some gaps in the roof since the box is theoretically collapsible. My first assembly shown above still took about an hour and a half most of which was trying to force the roof down into place. I'm afraid I'll hurt myself the day I try to get the roof back off again. Has anyone else had trouble with the paint sticking and parts being tough to pull apart?
Alright now, Christmas actually got me away from school and work long enough to get something going:
I'm not entirely happy with the lamp up top. The glass is actually a pair of glass shades for those light fixtures like I've got in my laundry room. They had ridges so I just stacked them on top of one another. Unfortunately the 6" diameter relates to the size fixture they are meant to cover, the outside diameter is closer to 7". It was a very tight squeeze getting the four posts down around. It also makes the rounded top look too small. But someday I'll find something better and actually get a bulb up there too.
This leaves the Police Box signs as the next to last major part. Following kingbees' excellent progress I've now got four glass signs painted up:
As can be seen the paint always seems to find some way under the template. More spray tack ended up getting the glass tacky which I'll now have to clean off before putting on the blue. I'm now spending about an hour per sign with a razor blade cleaning up the edges. What I'd love to hear are some suggestions for filling in the "gaps" left by the template. The first plan was to spray the rest of my white spray can into a plastic bowl and then paint the gaps in with a brush. Anyone ever try this with any success? I'm thinking the brush strokes may stand out and be very obvious. Tiny templates and another coat of spray paint may be impossibly tough to re-align.
Its been a while since I've done any additional work. Until a better lamp shows up this may be called complete:
I'm sure I'll get ambitious enough to someday to get the flashing light to work and replace the Pull to Open sign with something better than a paper template. The overall paint color is quite a bit lighter than my 1/2 size box and keeps on changing shades in each picture I take. Somedays its too light, but late at night it looks right.
And to see what's going on inside:
I can move all my VHS to the big box to allow my DVD collection to grow in the old 1/2 size box. The only other thing to wrap up is to total all the receipts and add up my time that I've been jotting down. Then I can start to measure if a Dalek or Console will still fit in the rest of the room.
After Halloween I walked around the old girl for the first time in ages and took a peek on the side away from the hallway. And what did I see?
Where did the sign go from this side? I'll look inside to check if it's merely tipped back onto that 6" wide ledge of the sign box.
So as a serious reminder to everyone, no matter how difficult it seems to get the sign in all the way and no matter how much it seems to be stuck in place, don't ever trust it! There were so many bumps it didn't seems like the sign would ever come out of the box. And it's an indoor box that doesn't take a lot of abuse. It doesn't matter. You still need to install some pins or glazing points to hold things in place. Maybe its the change in seasons but wood moves and changes and what seemed like a tight fit before simply falls out months later.
Fortunately I've still got that template stuck to the washing machine. Another good rule is never clean up and you'll never forget where you packed such important things away.