View Full Version : Tardis

06-06-2006, 03:52 PM
I thought it might be a fun idea to create a PC case in the shape of the TARDIS. I hope you like it, feedback/comments welcome.

Anyone who isn't sure what a TARDIS is should visit here first. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/tardiscam/intro.shtml)

Edited "hightlights" of the build will be posted in this thread, but the full worklog is at the website above. Go on, visit the website, I spent ages on that.

Click to enlarge the basic case plan (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page6/component-plan-lrg.gif)

So why a TARDIS PC case?
My work PC has the name of "TARDIS" on our network, as it's a good enough name for a box as any other. But to be honest it doesn't go through space, and travels through time at only 60 seconds a minute.

Then, I started getting interested in Mini ITX motherboards and case mods after seeing a toaster PC case. Sites like mini-itx.com show other things these motherboards fit into, everything from a (plastic) cow to a gum ball machine through to a Millennium Falcon. Suddenly, it clicked "why not a TARDIS?" and lo, it was started.

How's that going to work?
As there aren't any suitably sized off the shelf TARDISs that I could use (unlike the Falcon mentioned above) I would have to build it from scratch. Laid before you on the next few pages is my little journey from blank canvas to completed project. I started writing this at the end of my first day's work on the case as I thought some people would be interested in how it progresses, so at the moment I've no idea of the finished result.

Please note: This is not a 'How To' step by step guide, just how I did it. You might pick up some useful tips if you are stupid enough to embark on a similar trek as mine (but I'd rather you did something else, something original). It could also help you avoid some costly mistakes. Who knows?

First off, I made the base for the TARDIS PC case out of MDF and some square dowel stuff that I'll use for the posts. The sides of the case will rest up against this dowel, giving it a bit more support. I don't want to fix the base to the sides or the roof to the sides, otherwise future upgrades might be tough.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page3/base-lrg.jpg)

I cut out the front panel from a sheet of MDF. I made it slightly wider as I wanted to embed it into the 2 front vertical posts. It was at this point I noticed a slight problem. The wood I'd bought for the vertical posts were 21mm square. I should have bought 30mm.

One trip to B&Q later and some suitable square posts have been purchased. I cut the groove down the centre of these posts for the sides to slot into The creates quite a strong joint as long as the slot is tight (yes, everyone needs a nice tight slot). I marked out on the front panel where the “gridwork” would go, and cut out the 2 windows . I also cut out the door as I hope to have that open out with the power switches and screen behind it.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page3/top-slot-lrg.jpg)

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page3/gridwork-lrg.jpg)

Then I routed a 45 degree angle into some strip wood which would be used to create the gridwork. Some cutting and sanding later, I end up with a neat little picture frame. I then noticed my window cutting hasn't been the best and one of the windows has a little overhang. This will need to be removed somehow.

More Front Door Work
I cut some angled pieces of wood to create the horizontal sections of the lattice.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page4/horizontal-lattice-lrg.jpg)

After I'd glued them in place, I marked up the other 2 sides of the TARDIS doors (the back would be a removable panel for access, and hidden from view). I repeated the same lattice work on the side doors and started to fill the small gaps between some of my poorer joints. Well, actually, I put filler in all the joints.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page4/3-sides-lrg.jpg)

A quick bit of cutting and routing to make the 2 back posts. I haven't routed the slot for the rear panel but I just wanted to test it looked OK all together. Just below where the Police Box (Public Call) illuminated signage are some steps, presumably to provide support for the sign. Again, created from stripwood. I think the pine square stripwood is too thick, but that can be sorted by some sanding. And slowly it starts to all look a bit more solid.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page4/3-sides-up-lrg.jpg)

I hadn't worked on the TARDIS for a few days as I was back at work, but the weekend came round and I was straight back in the garage. For about 10 minutes. Work called with an emergency which didn't end till gone 6, so that only left Sunday to make some decent progress.

A quick test fit with the motherboard to make sure it would fit in (and it did. Phew), and then I routed the channel for the back board, and cut the backboard out of some thin stuff.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page5/back-slots-lrg.jpg)

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page5/back-door-out-lrg.jpg)

The Roof
Next up was the roof. This took some serious thought as I wanted the roof to be completely removable, allowing easy access. It was also going to be the main exhaust point through the lantern at the top. Now, this means that the fan can't be in the roof otherwise when I remove it it will have a fan wire still attached. The TARDIS also has a rather tricky pyramid at the top. More on that later.


I made a square box which is slightly narrower than the width of the door (not inc. posts), which would be the first "step" of the roof. The square posts you can see in each corner would then support the roof, which you can see glued in place in the second photo.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page5/roof-step-1-lrg.jpg)

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page5/roof-step-2-lrg.jpg)

Observant people will notice there is no hole in the roof for the air to escape from. Until I've built the pyramid I'm not cutting the hole for the roof, just so I'm sure of dimensions etc.

The Pyramid
The TARDIS plans I had did not show the size of the sections for the pyramid. So, some GCSE maths later and a page of notes (below) I finally end up with the size the pyramid needs to be. Or, at least what I think they need to be. However, suddenly Sunday is over (probably something to do with me stopping and watching the Moto GP and the 1/2 hour of maths) so I'll have to wait till next weekend to continue. I can never be bothered to clear enough space in the garage to work on the case in the evenings.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page5/maths-lrg.jpg)

06-07-2006, 05:10 PM
Just because there is no work on the wooden parts of the case, it doesn't stop my mind from thinking.

The questions:

* How to get all the components in there?
* What to make the Police Box Public Call sign out of?

The second question is particularly pressing. On full size TARDIS builds people have got professional sign writing companies to create the signs out of a suitable plastic and properly printed. The sign should only have light come through the letters, not through the dark blue surround which makes it a bit more tricky. I've done a few tests with some OHP film and that continues. I am very concerned how I can get the lettering to look neat. The mark on the left is marker pen, the stuff on the right is paint. It works, but I don't think it's going to be very neat. You may just be able to see some marks at the top of the sheet which are my tests with some glue.

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page6/film-test-lrg.jpg)

And so I continue to think. However, I bougth an illuminated fan to provide exhaust to the hot air, and to provide the internal glow for the signs and the windows. A quick test of the fan and it was surprisingly bright. It lit up my room like it was the 5th November/4th July (delete as appropriate).

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page6/fan1-lrg.jpg)

Also on my purchasing spree was a cheap padlock. I'm hoping to take it apart and use the circular key part for the front door lock, as seen on the door of the real TARDIS. It's the bit circled red on the image below. It won't work as a proper lock as the doors don't open, but it's all showbiz anyway so what's the problem?

Click to enlarge (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page6/padlock-lrg.jpg)

06-11-2006, 02:36 PM
Lock Picking
Goodness me it's hot. Rather than sweat and slave cutting wood and sanding I thought it'd be easier to take apart the padlock to get the key bit with the doo-dah out. There are various studs on the top and bottom of the lock, which I think go through the whole thing and hold it together, so I started to Dremel (actually, it's a Black and Decker RT650KA (http://www.blackanddecker.co.uk/products.asp?catno=RT650KA&hierarchyID1=365&hierarchyID2=449&hierarchyID3=450&lid=1&mktid=2&bucketID=5&range=1)) the studs off. Once the studs were off, I used a punch to knock them in, and lo, the front fascia fell off. After that the lock just fell out. Easy.

Click to enlarge

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-studs-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-studs-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-instud-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-instud-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-fascia-off-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/padlock-fascia-off-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/lock-close-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/lock-close-lrg.jpg)

I tucked that safely into my tool box and got on with the important business of watching England beat Paraquay.

The Riddle of the Pyramid
As explained on the previous page I used some sexy maths to calculate the size of the pyramid. I made a quick test pyramid out of cardboard to check it would work. As the base is 18.3cm2 and the height only 1.25cm it was very difficult to get a satisfactory looking pyramid (see first pic below), so I raised the height a little and that worked (in cardboard at least).
Click to enlarge
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/bad-maths-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/bad-maths-lrg.jpg)

I made a quick base in a similar fashion to the frame of the first bit of the roof and set to work cutting 4 identical triangles. I then cut across the top of the triangles to make them into trapezoids.This effectively cuts the top off the pyramid, allowing for ventilation. On the actual TARDIS this is where the light sits. I chamfered the edges of the trapezoids so they would sit together neatly. I then knocked up a little jig, and after I had finished dancing I made a bracket thing to hold the bottom end of the triangles against the edge of the base. I inserted 3 of the 4 sides and glued them into place. One dry I had to slightly reduce the size of the 4th side to fit. I had hoped to get a perfect square in the centre of the pyramid but that didn't quite work, so it'll need some filling. (That's glue in the photo, I'm going to wait for it to properly set before I fill).

Click to enlarge
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/pyramid-base-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/pyramid-base-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/triangles-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/triangles-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/chamfered-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/chamfered-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/jig-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/jig-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/roof-glue-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/roof-glue-lrg.jpg)

And, as from here I hope to provide some "How far I've got with my TARDIS PC case build" photos. Here they are:

Click to enlarge.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/close-roof-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/close-roof-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/full-shot-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page7/full-shot-lrg.jpg)

06-27-2006, 03:07 PM
Window Frames
I had to go out and get some more wood for the windows, but as B&Q didn't have any small enough I had to take a slightly longer trip to a hobby shop to get some. I cut the wood to size and assembled the windows out of them. It's not rocket science, I'm sure you can work out how to cut some wood and make some windows.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-exploded-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-exploded-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-assembled-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-assembled-lrg.jpg)

Well actually, it was a bit tougher. I'd made 4 of them (out of 6) in one weekend (football and the nice weather got in the way), but I then return a week later and just offer them up to the space in the doors left for them. They didn't look right, some were too small, some were just plain wonkey. So I started again, and this time instead of making the frames seperately, I glued them directly to the door so I'd know they would fit. As there would bit light shining out of the case it was important to fill any small gaps with some filler otherwise it would ruin the illusion.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-glued-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-glued-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-gap-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-gap-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-filled-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/window-filled-lrg.jpg)

Once the frame was glued and filled and set I added 2 more vertical posts and then a horizontal frame part. I'm pretty pleased with the final result, which is good as it's take 2 weekends to get right. Although my window frame is slightly more chunky than the real equivilant, I felt using wood any smaller would only result in breakages. I also continued my test work on the opaque windows. Looking at photos of the TARDIS windows they are mainly white, but it isn't a solid colour all the way across (check out the BBC Doctor Who wallpapers (http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/gallery/tardis01/index.shtml) if you don't believe me.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/windows-finished-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/windows-finished-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/white-paint-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page8/white-paint-lrg.jpg)

I know this entry isn't very interesting but it's taken 2 weekends to get these windows right.

06-27-2006, 03:13 PM
I also just realised I haven't shown you the shiny stuff that's going to be inside the case. I know you all love shiny stuff

1ghz motherboard. Surely that's enough to take over the world with?
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/motherboard-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/motherboard-lrg.jpg)

A sexy little slot loading DVD R/W (the green item is the adaptor so it can accept a normal IDE cable).
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/dvd-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/dvd-lrg.jpg)

Little screen thing. I plan to put this behind the TARDIS door, where the phone would normally be kept. It plugs into a parallel port, and draws power from a USB port. You can put things like what Winamp is playing and other things. Apparently. I've never used one, but it looks cool. There are also no instructions with it.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/screen-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/screen-lrg.jpg)

External power supply. This is great as I don't need a massive power block inside the case. The little green board (second left) has the 20 pin ATX cable plug into it, then the other end of the cable plugs into the motherboard. The black wire (third from left) plugs into the small blue thing and the green board. The power cable then plugs into the blue thing, and lo, science kicks in and it all works. That's the dream.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/power-supply-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/power-supply-lrg.jpg)

And some RAM and a hard drive. You've all seen them before, so have a group shot instead.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/all-components-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/all-components-lrg.jpg)

07-09-2006, 04:14 PM
After a tear jerking finale to the current Doctor Who series, it's only right I give you a little update to progress. I knew the window frames were going to be fiddly but I hadn't really expected the top sign boxes to take over a week to finish.

These are the little boxes that are just above the door, which hold the illuminated signs. I made 6 small L shaped end pieces (there are 6, but only 5 in the photo) and then created long strips with a small notch cut in each end. This would allow the end pieces to sit flush into them.

Click the images to enlarge
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-box-squares-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-box-squares.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-top-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-top-lrg.jpg)http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-together-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-together-lrg.jpg)

Once the glue had dried I insterted a square piece into each end as it was incredibly weak. These pieces prevent the box from twisting itself out of shape. I also inserted some small pieces of square dowel into the gaps to complete the box. These sit flush with the vertical posts. As the signs are illuminated, I had to make some holes just above the doors of the TARDIS for the light to shine through.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/box-end-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/box-end-lrg.jpg)http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/door-sign-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/door-sign-lrg.jpg)

There will need to be a bit more filler when the sign boxes are glued into place. I can't glue them yet as the signs themselves have to be "framed" in place, so need to be inserted from behind. I've still had no major luck with making the signs so experiments with paint, glue, tippex, stencils, and stickers continue.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-above-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/sign-above-lrg.jpg)http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/fullshot-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page9/fullshot-lrg.jpg)

Work for next time includes:

The front "phone" door
Get the motherboard mount in place
Fix a gap between the roof and the main box.
And hopefully I'll have some luck with my illuminated signs.

07-16-2006, 03:15 PM
Fun with hardware
Now most of the main case bits were assembled I started to look at getting in the mounts for the TARDIS hardware. I started with the motherboard as that really couldn't go in many places other than up the side. I cut 2 pieces that would sit snugly between 2 column posts with an L shaped overlap onto the posts. Marked up the mobo holes and drilled them out for the motherboard risers to go in.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/motherb-mounts-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/motherb-mounts-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/mobo-set-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/mobo-set-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/mobo-set-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/mobo-set-2-lrg.jpg)

Once the motherboard was positioned I set out the other components to check it would work. I had hoped to make access easy to things like the hard drive, without having to take the entire case apart. That means I need access to both side of the drive to get access to the screws or I hook the hard drive bracket onto the side to make it removable. At the time of writing I haven't decided fully, but I'm likely to mount the hard drive horizontally above the motherboard rather than have a removeable bracket, as I think a bracket may cause some serious vibrational noise. I also had to make sure that the leads I had would connect up neatly. The power supply lead can be tucked under the mother board, but I will need to cut into the motherboard brackets in order to do this.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/all-in-place-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/all-in-place-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/all-in-place-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/all-in-place-2-lrg.jpg)

Ohhh, shut that door
The last bit of external building for the case that needs to be done was for the door for the TARDIS telephone box bit. I got some small hinges from B&Q, and attached the hinge to the door. Then I realised that I wouldn't be able to nail the other bit of the hinge to the case as hole for the door is quite small and doesn't fit a hammer. So, I very carefully cut away behind the door to create a recess, and made a small "beam" to nail the other hinge to. Once done I glued the beam into place. I got a bit over excited with my cutting away the wood and had to stick in a massive amount of filler to hide the gap. I taped a straight edge down one side to make it, err, straight. If I'd have thought about this a bit more I'm sure I could have came up with a better way of having the door opening, and my rushing has caused me some problems. Firstly, working with filler on such a small scale isn't easy, and it won't be straight forward to get sand paper in where I have filled. Secondly, the 2 sides of the hinge hit together meaning it doesn't shut as well as I'd hoped. As the door is on the front of the case it really could ruin the look of the whole thing. As I write this I'm waiting for the filler to dry. I may well have to rip out the door tomorrow and start again.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/too-much-cut-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/too-much-cut-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/too-much-cut-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/too-much-cut-2-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/door-filler-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page10/door-filler-lrg.jpg)

07-16-2006, 04:36 PM

Ok, so the door looked crap. I ripped out the lot and started again. I cut a new door, straighten the hinges, cried a little bit, and then glued the hinges to the door. Who needs nails? Not the Doctor. Photos of the brand new telephone door during the next update. Photos of the messed up, useless, door below.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/door-in-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/door-in-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/bad-door-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/bad-door-lrg.jpg)
So, moving on from the door, I went back to the hard drive mount. I decided to mount it above the motherboard. I cut a drive tray out of an old case and then just used the vertical bits of it. One was attached to the motherboard mount, the other one is just going to be a support. The red tape on the photos below is because the ends are sharp and I don't want to cut myself.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-2-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-3-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/hard-drive-3-lrg.jpg)

Well, at least somethings working, perhaps it's all going to be easy from here on in?

I saw the sign Part II
While in my local model shop getting some tiny bits of wood for the sign. More on that later. While looking at the remote control helicopters, the plastic kits, the trains and paints I noticed something that might come in useful. It's a make your own decal kit, called SuperCal. Similar to those waterslide decals you get in Airfix kits, this will allow me to print out the police box signs and the door sign. Hurrah!

Firstly, I had to get a decent version of the sign, and tweak it to the dimensions I need. I then printed it out on this special paper, similar to glossy photo paper. Somehow, the resolution was only 72dpi, although I'm sure I set it to 300. This means my first attempt is going to be wrong, but I want to test whether this stuff will work. I left it for an hour and then sprayed it with some super magic aerosol stuff. Supposedly this will stop the ink from coming of the paper. I leave it for a couple of more hours to dry.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/the-sign-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/the-sign-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/decal-spray-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/decal-spray-lrg.jpg)

I then cut it out. While cutting I accidently stick my finger onto one of the blue bits. Worryingly it leaves my finger print on it. But, I press on and stick it into some water. I'm supposed to take it out when it starts to curl. Never mind about it curling, I might as well take it out when all the ink washes off into the water. And so the saga of the signs continues. I'll try again with this stuff (it's expensive, so I don't want to just chuck it away) but not today.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/sign-fingerprint-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/sign-fingerprint-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/sign-washed-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page11/sign-washed-lrg.jpg)

08-06-2006, 03:36 PM
It's been hotter than a barrel load of monkeys for the last few weeks. As a result I really couldn't get motivated enough to do anything to the TARDIS, it's supposed to be a fun project - not one to lose sweat over. However, it's been fairly cool the last 2 days so I've started again. I've finished the door, and made the back board for behind the door. In this board I've drilled some holes for the status LEDs, the power/reset switches and the super duper LCD. I need to find a way of securing the LCD to the board, but that shouldn't be too difficult.

As for the door. Well, check the picture below for how that turned out. Hurrah!
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/finished-door-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/finished-door-lrg.jpg)

The next question was mounting the DVD drive. Being a slimline drive I couldn't mount it using a 5 1/2 inch bay as it's a lot narrower. I eventually created a little drawer type bracket thing that it will sit in. One side of the drive is thicker than the other, hence the difference in size. The bar across the top will be screwed 'n glued to the inside of the case, just above where the signs are. The front sign will be removable to allow me to put discs in.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-sans-drive-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-sans-drive-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-with-drive-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-with-drive-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-rear-close-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-rear-close-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-in-place-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/bracket-in-place-lrg.jpg)

On top of the drive bracket is a thin strip of wood which create a snug fit for the pyramid to sit on, and prevent light from escaping through that area of the roof. The light from the fan should only shine through the signs, although as the DVD drive now sits just behind the Public Call sign I'll need to do some electrickery to route one of the LEDs into a more suitable place.
As having electronic equipment in a very dusty garage isn't a great idea, when I'm not measuring it etc I put the stuff into a zip lock bag. I do the same with the digital camera. For the plans and reference photos, I Sellotape the top of a Polly Pocket (plastic holder thing, suitable for ring binders). This makes them wipe clean and completely waterproof.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/zip-lock-bag-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/zip-lock-bag-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/plans-plastic-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page12/plans-plastic-lrg.jpg)

It's good to start back on the TARDIS case again after a break, as it's let me think about the final few details that will make it. With some luck and a following wind, I hope to be finished by the end of September.
So what's left to do?

Mount the LCD screen and switches
Glue the third side into place (currently only the front and right hand sides are attached to each other)
Make the signs
Make the lantern for the very top
Mount the fan and LEDs
Make the window panes
Remake the base (the current base doesn't look very good)
Attach door furniture
Install hardware
Install Ubuntu (also known as Um Bongo, due to my continual mispronounciation)
Skip freely through time and space. Easy. Right?

08-07-2006, 04:23 PM
Click all the pics to enlarge

Below is the back panel for just behind the door. I needed something interesting for the power and reset switch, and while having a clear out last weekend I found an old Airfix kit. In the box were two round, chromed, wheel trims. I'm going to run with this for a bit and see if I like it. The back panel is a front of wood, but behind that is plastic as I'm planning on hot glueing the switches and LEDs into place. I don't really want to hot glue the LCD into place, so I'm making a little bracket/frame for that to sit in.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/panel-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/panel-lrg.jpg)

In other news, the signage has finally gone right as I got the SuperCal system working. Turns out I needed to spray a bit more on than I had. I've created a little frame round the inside of the top sign brackets. This is what I'll glue the signs themselves to. I then plan of putting another thin strip of wood behind top and bottom to hold it flat. No pics of the sign itself, sorry.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/sign-bracket-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/sign-bracket-lrg.jpg)

I thought it was about time I did a full installation of the components to check the wiring was long enough, everything would be neat etc etc. First problem: The weight of the harddrive is causing the mobo to fall away from the side of the case. As all my other tests have been with the side horizontal, rather than vertical, I hadn't noticed this before. I'll have to create some way of locking the hard drive into place. See the second pic below for likely locations for the locking bracket. The reason I'm doing it this way rather than glueing the mobo mounts to the case is I want it to be easily removable, and as the case isn't very wide, it's difficult to get a screwdriver in.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/mobo-hd-place-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/mobo-hd-place-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/mobo-hd-place-circled-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/mobo-hd-place-circled-lrg.jpg)

I still wanted to continue to put all the rest of the hardware in, so I taped the mounts into place and carried on. The only lead that won't be long enough straight outta Compton the box is the fan, but I've got a spare 3 pin extension somewhere so that's not a problem. The other thing that may cause an issue is the parrell/usb lead that powers the LCD screen. I'll have to loop both back inside the case, but I'm not sure how to keep it tidy. I'm regretting not putting a fixed back onto the case with a hinged door as then I could have made life a little easier. That might still happen though.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/hardware-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/hardware-lrg.jpg)

I took the rest of the hardware out apart from the DVD drive and the LED fan, which is mounted just above (first pic). I need to check whether the fan could provide enough illumination to show the signs up nicely and highlight the windows. Well, it does, but not with the DVD drive in. The second pic is with the drive in place. The third pic is without the DVD drive in place. It makes quite a difference. The third pic is where I'm planning on mounting the fan.What this means is I'm going to have to take the LEDs out of the fan casing and mount them beneath or to one side of the DVD drive, otherwise I'll get a nasty shadow cast by the drive.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-3-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-3-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-1-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-1-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page13/case-dark-2-lrg.jpg)

08-27-2006, 03:17 PM
Ok, so it's a little early, and quite short but here's an update.

Click to enlarge the images.

Well, it all seems to be coming together nicely, but very slowly. There is a lot of fiddly little details to make it look just right which take up a lot of time. For example, at the top of the vertical posts are little "caps". Should be fairly straight forward to make, just a square with a corner cut out. However, I had to take 3 goes at it before I got it right. These caps force the roof piece into the correct place, and prevent it slipping off.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/corner-top-1-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/corner-top-1-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/corner-top-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/corner-top-2-lrg.jpg)

Talking of the roof, I needed to build a little "chimney" into it. Well, it's not a chimney it's a lamp housing, but in my Tardis it serves as an air hole for the fan. Quite simple, just 4 mitred pieces of wood the same length glued into place.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/chimney-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/chimney-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/tardis-roof-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/tardis-roof-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/roof-straight-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/roof-straight-lrg.jpg)

The base also needed to be remade. The first one wasn't square and due to some changes to the lower half of the case wouldn't work. A simple square piece of MDF, with slightly rounded corners, and some internal brackets which would stop the TARDIS sliding about.
http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/base-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/base-lrg.jpg)

One of the final things for the inside of the case was a little bracket that stops the hard drive falling out of place and putting too much pressure on the motherboard. I routed a very shallow trench out of some stripwood. This was then glued into the inside of the case just below the TARDS' window, and the L shaped harddrive mouth would hook into this and hold it securely, as the third graphic shows.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-mount-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-mount-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-mount-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-mount-2-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-graphic-sm.gif (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page14/hd-graphic-lrg.gif)

There may be another short worklog tomorrow. Maybe.

08-28-2006, 12:20 PM
I don't really want a glossy finish, so it'll be matt paint.

It's not 100% ready for painting if I'm honest, but I got started anyway. At least slapping on the undercoat would show up any major problems e.g. if the wood filler I've used is allergic to paint, It takes a heck of a long time to paint, as the wood didn't really soak up the paint like I thought it would, but an hour later I'm left with a white TARDIS. Thankfully, it didn't show up any major problems. On the photo of the roof you may just note a few brush marks. The case will be lightly sanded with some 240 grit wet 'n dry (it'll be dry). You'll also note on the full photo the hole ready for the lock, that we made waaayyy back on Page 7 (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/page7.html). I'll glue that into place after painting.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/white-tardis-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/white-tardis-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/white-roof-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/white-roof-lrg.jpg)

Then I had to go and buy some coloured paint. The colour of the TARDIS seems to vary from every generation. In the end I went for a tester of Celestial Blue 3. I had wanted a nice satinwood, which is basically matt paint for wood, but no-where does tester pots of the colour I wanted (or would mix some up) so I went with emulsion. I'm not 100% sure how the paint will react to the primer etc, as emulsion is usually only used on walls/ceilings. However, it paints very very easily compared with the primer. The colour is OK, but maybe a little too light. I might go for Celestial Blue 2 or maybe even 1, but they could be too dark. I'll put the test piece of wood next to my desk for a week just to see if I like it.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/celestial-blue-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/celestial-blue-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/celestial-blue-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/celestial-blue-2-lrg.jpg)

In other news, I've been buying the last few bits for the case. I decided the power switch I'd mashed up wouldn't look very good, so I got some little red ones (thanks to GT40_GearHead for pointing me in the right direction). Then I realised as I'm extending the length of the LED wires from the fan that I'd need some heatshrink. And finally, I also bought some tiny handles for the doors from a dolls house shop. With some luck they should all be here by next weekend.

(woo! 2000 views)

08-29-2006, 03:39 PM
Well I hope the new paint is ok....

Celestial Blue 3 didn't look right, so I went and got some Celestial Blue 1 as it's darker. At first I thought it was a bit greeny (the flash from the camera has adjusted the tones somewhat) but the more I look at it the more blue it becomes. I've painted one side and round the top. I had to stop as it got quite dark outside.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page16/celest-blue-1-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page16/celest-blue-1-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page16/one-side-done-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page16/one-side-done-lrg.jpg)

Sorry for all these little short updates. If I don't write them up the day I do it, I forget what I've done. Something that has come up since putting on the primer and you can notice it in the white tardis pic (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page15/white-tardis-lrg.jpg)is that the roof doesn't fit and the front door doesn't close, as I'd made it with some very close margins. I've sanded a bit off the door, and will trim a bit off the roof where it is tight.

09-03-2006, 03:47 PM
Thank you all, here's a slightly longer update than the last 2. Click the images to enlarge.

Well, it's all getting down to the real nitty gritty now. The door handles, heat shrink and power/reset switches all arrived this week so I now have all the final parts of this TARDIS build under my control. I think. First things first I had to finish painting it, and 3 coats later it was done. The pic below is only 2 coats, and you can still clearly see some brush marks.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/painted-tardis-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/painted-tardis-lrg.jpg)

Next up were the door handles. I bought these from a doll's house shop (http://www.dollshouse.com/dhe/theshop.asp). I never realised there was such a market for so many tiny little things, but then I'd imagine that dolls house builders are not aware of the case modding scene so it's swings and roundabouts. Anyhoo, As they were so small (pic 1) I used a pair of tweezers to hold the nails in place as I hit them with my hammer. Sadly, the hammer was too big as when I was bashing the nails nearest to the handle, the handle bent. Luckily I'd bought 2 spare handles for just such an occasion and they were not so swiftly replace and now one nail top and bottom holds them in place. It took about half an hour to get them in, but they damn good if I say so myself. I also glued the lock into place.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/handle-ruler-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/handle-ruler-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/door-handle-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/door-handle-lrg.jpg)

I've never really understood electronics, so wiring the insides of the TARDIS was out of the question (I had enough to do without learning a new subject) so I kept with my plan of dismantling an illuminated fan (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/page6.html). Two of the LEDs popped out reasonably easily, so I extended the wiring attached to these hoping to route the illumination into a suitable position within the case. I spent ages trying to position the LEDs so the front sign would get even illumination with no shadows. Unfortunately, with the position of the DVD drive this is all but impossible. If I put the LEDs directly behind the sign you get a big white spot and no light in the middle, if put the light in the middle you get the reverse.While I was testing this I managed to stop one of the LEDs from working, so now I'm left with 1 LED on a long piece of wire, and 2 stuck firmly into their holders. I might give up on illuminating the signs.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/fan-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/fan-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/led-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/led-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/fan-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/fan-2-lrg.jpg)
I also wired up the new power and reset switch. I nicked the connectors off an old case and cut it to length. However, as I took too many attempts to strip the end (I was using a pair of pliers) it was too short, so I patched it up and locked it into place. The white tubes you can see in the first pic is heat shrink. As the name suggests, you put this over a heat source and it shrinks, sealing the joint I've made. The LCD screen was hot glued next to it, so that's the door panel done. I was going to have the hard drive and activity LED on there but didn't bother.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/extend-wire-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/extend-wire-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/switch-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/switch-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/rear-door-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/rear-door-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/front-door-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/front-door-lrg.jpg)
During my recent bout of painting, I covered a sheet of OHP film in white primer. There were cut into to shape and hot glued into place as the windows. Below is a rear shot of the windows.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/window-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page17/window-lrg.jpg)

09-10-2006, 04:11 PM
Thanks all, for the offers of help and the kind comments.

It's one of those annoying short updates I'm afraid. But, it does containing some super fun good news.

I've worked out a way to illuminate the signs nicely. If I drop the DVD drive back as far as it would go while still being able to insert a cd, which means I cutt the back stop out (Pic 1). I can then get 2 or 3 LEDs underneath the drive (See pic 2). My LED fan is now completely wrecked (with only 2 of the 4 LEDs still working). But, those 2 LEDs allowed me to test that it would work, so hurrah. I've bought 2 fans to replace that one, as I'll need all 4 LEDs. I bought 2 because I'm likely to get something wrong and need some spares. I also bought a pair of wire strippers, but they won't strip the thin wire, so they aren't much use.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/cd-rear-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/cd-rear-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/led-placement-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/led-placement-lrg.jpg)

I've printed out the signs and sprayed them with the magic aerosol. Well, I printed out 9 signs, on 3 sheets, as the first time I sprayed it I got the aerosol to close and it made the ink run. Second time the printer decided to leave small white gaps in the solid blue colour. Third times a charm though, so that'll do.
And finally, I stuck in the Ubuntu disk just to check everything was still working. Sadly, as soon as I hit the graphical install of it, it all went nasty. See pic 1. I checked all the leads, unplugged all the unessential stuff, still didn't work. RTFM'ed and tried to boot with "vga=771 noapic nolapic" whatever the heck that is. It worked though. Hurrah. There might be a slight change of plan on the distro, as there's a new distro of Gentoo with a graphical installer which makes life easier. (I once spent 4 hours installing Gentoo, and on a reboot it lost all the settings.)

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/ubuntu-problem-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page18/ubuntu-problem-lrg.jpg)

09-24-2006, 03:38 PM
The signs I had printed, over the course of a week, had turned nasty and blotchy. I get the feeling this SuperCal stuff doesn't work. So, I basically gave up and printed it onto some thin photo paper I had. The end effect is a totally solid blue where I want solid blue and nice sharp letters. AND the light even shines through the back. The hours I spent trying to get it the signs right, and all that time the photo paper is sticking 2 feet away from me. I also printed out the sign that sits on the front door onto the same stuff.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/signs-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/signs-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/door-sign-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/door-sign-lrg.jpg)

I mounted the LEDs by threading the wire through some heatshrink which I'd hot glued to the side of the DVD drive holder. It works really well and because the actual LED isn't glued in place I can move them around should the mood take me.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/led-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/led-lrg.jpg)

And, the very final thing to do was install Gentoo. But it didn't seem to want to install, so I stuck Ubuntu server on it instead. Works like a (slow) charm. Between attempting Gentoo and installing Ubuntu my slim line DVD drive broke. It's probably some wood dust inside. Damn. Again, I had spent hours getting the drive into place, getting the lights round it properly, and now it doesn't work. I was only going to use the drive to install the operating system and then use it on another mod. A waste of 60.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/boot-scr-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/boot-scr-lrg.jpg)

What did really begin to bug me was the power supply. The tiny fan in the power block creates a huge amount of noise. So I took all the neat and tidy wiring out and put in a normal sized ATX power supply. It makes in the inside look very ugly, but I'm not going to be looking at the inside. It also means I can run extra items off it should I wish.

http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/power-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/page19/power-lrg.jpg)

That's it. The TARDIS is finished.

09-24-2006, 03:39 PM
I'd like to say this has been enjoyable, but I'd be lying. The final month or so of work was a pain in the neck as I've now realised that having a computer in the shape of a TARDIS is pretty unpractical. And the computer itself is totally underpowered. You live and learn. But, here's those final photos.


http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-1-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-1-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-2-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-2-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-3-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-3-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-4-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-4-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-5-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-5-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-6-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-6-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-7-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-7-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-8-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-8-lrg.jpg) http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-9-sm.jpg (http://www.m4gnum.com/tardis/images/the-tardis/tardis-9-lrg.jpg)

On the up side, I have got a cracking idea for my next mod...

Link to original worklog (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2996)