Tardis Console  

Posted by Christopher W. Geis

My sister and I just watched the first episode of Doctor Who with Matt Smith as the new Doctor, and in honor of the Doctor's shiny new Tardis, I'm going to show you my own Tardis console.

I made this a couple of summers back for the Doctor Who fan film we were (and still are) making. Lacking time, materials, and most of all, storage space, I couldn't actually make a full Tardis interior, or even a full center console. We already had a great space to use as the Tardis control room, but we needed a control panel, just something simple with buttons and hopefully a lever. I went a little overboard.

Most of the knobs, switches, circuit boards, etc
are from Axe Man Surplus, probably
the most awesome store on the planet. The thing with gears and buttons on the left hand side of the panel is the guts of an old personal tape deck. You might recognize the flat white thing with all the bumps as the inside bits of an old computer
keyboard. The wiring I rescued from a smashed projection TV that someone had put on the curb to have hauled away. The pocket watch, is in fact, my dress pocket watch. (I carry another, simpler pocket watch as my timepiece, but thought the fancier one was more suited for the Doctor.

Oh, and the console casing? Cardboard. What else would it be? You can probably see the corrugation on the edges of the holes, but overall, I think I did a decent job of hiding the fact that the thing was made of cardboard. The wood grain is colored pencil and wood stain applied directly to the cardboard.

Sadly, the switched and knobs are all non-operative. I didn't have the time or skill at the time to wire them up to anything. One of these days, I'd like to go in and wire it up to lights and sounds. Of course, to do that I'm going to need a soldering iron, and I still haven't bought one, despite that fact that I often wish I had one.

The stand for the console is PVC pipe, and can be disassembled for easier transport. The design has several flaws. One, it is wobbly. Two, the paint doesn't adhere very well to the PVC pipe, and I didn't put a clear coat over it, so some of the paint has scratched off, showing the white beneath. And third, I failed to label any of the pieces, so I can never get it put together properly.
A lot of the pieces are nearly, but not quiet the same length, so that you are likely to put one in where you need another.
And of course, as soon as you do that, nothing fits anymore. I've given up on every properly putting it back together, and figure if it stands up, and most of the piece are generally where they should be, who cares if it doesn't all fit together? (Me, that's who, but not enough to bother with, especially since a lot of the joints are really tight because of the paint.)

Of course, if I had been thinking clearly when I designed this, I would have at least added a handle to the console so that would be easier to transport. As it is, the contraption is large, unwieldy, heavy, and no fun at all to carry around.

Oh yes, and here are the design sketches.
You can see that the final design is somewhat different than the plan, but not much. Some of the controls have been moved around, and I left of some of the detail panels, deciding that I didn't really need them.

Last is a picture of the console as I was working on it. Yes, I mostly work on the floor. Its the only flat surface big enough. And yes, my work space for projects like this do tend to get messy.