Monday, January 31, 2011

Heat, wall and more warpage

So the past two days have been 42 degrees plus which is taking it's toll, both in time and the integrity of the timber. I've barely been outside to do much at all, perhaps 45 minutes each day at most. Timber is warping every which way, which is a tad upsetting. I have several planks in the pool hoping they can be salvaged somewhat, but I'm not confident. Two of the remaining corner posts are now bending, so I'll have to take them apart and see what I can do. 

Beginner's tip: Don't buy the cheapest timber available and don't do anything in uber-heat. If I had managed to seal them first with paint the moisture loss would have been less. 

Warpage is less evident in the wall until I fitted it to the box frame. The cross pieces started to lift after one more day in 42 degree heat. One warped so badly it tore a strip off the plywood backing. The photos make it look better than it is.

So this is as far as I have got, one wall, the doors, the base and four uprights. I have to redo at least two of the uprights and you may be able to see the wall is warping too. I may try to salvage it by bolting the wall to steel cross braces. This looks okay in the photo but you can see the bend in the far left and far right uprights.

LOTS of sanding and filling to do. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Build day whatever - doors and warpage

I'm giving up on naming each post as Build Day XX, as the past two days I've done maybe 2.5 hours work of work, which hardly qualifies as a 'day' of building. Work always gets in the way of doing important stuff.

So warp factor (okay that was going to be a stupid Trek pun) is pretty high on some of my long planks, I find it difficult to believe that only a few days I thought they were okay so I used them for the corner posts. All of the corner posts have a slight warp or bend to them, hardly noticeable except for the front right one which is ridiculously bent. You might remember in the first or second post that I thought it was an optical illusion? Well it wasn't.

So I took down one of the posts and pulled it apart to find that the warpage is so bad that two of the planks are now firewood. The other two I soaked in the pool and now have bricks on them so hopefully in the heat of the next couple days they'll straighten a bit and end up being salvageable. Alas I must go back to Bunnings and collect another plank or two.

But good news is the main doors are done! Almost perfectly square it means that the box is now resembling what it is supposed to! Lots of filling and sanding still required as my mitre cutting is a little amateur. Paint will probably cover up much of that too, or make it more noticeable.

So doors kind of in place. They are sort of just leaning there whilst I quickly took a picture before they fell down. Could really use a right side corner post here! Maybe tomorrow I'll get it fixed, although I think progress over the next week or so will be slow given the few days of heat we are about to endure.

Sawdust is getting everywhere, all over the back porch my car and now I'm finding it in the house. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Build day three - walls

Well what do you do when family are over for Australia Day barbie? You get them to help you with your TARDIS of course. We actually got a fair amount done even though we didn't start until well after lunch.

Had to take another trip to Bunnings for more wood, but hopefully thats it for the time being, I should have enough now until it's time for the roof. Now Stratco is actually my preferred hardware store, somewhat better quality and range, but when I compare $42 for a sheet of ply at Stratco compared with $16 at Bunnings, there's no contest in the timber department.

Anyway the pictures don't show a lot of progress as it was mainly cutting lengths and making a mitre in the edges of several planks to make the framework of the doors and walls. We also cut the plywood for the doors and wall backing.

To cut and fit the walls it was necessary to put the uprights in, so finally it's beginning to resemble something box like. The struts right at the top are just garbage offcuts to hold the shape. I had a revelation about fitting the side walls and permanently mounting them to the uprights so they dismantle in one piece which sound like it should work.

Most of the day was spent cutting these to length and putting the mitred edge in, These are the door and wall uprights. There's 16 in total.

The first door panel, I'm yet to glue and screw the uprights in but you get the picture. The background colour on this photo kinda looks like the colour I want to paint the TARDIS, alas it's an illusion and is actually dark grey. My camera just does funny things in poor light. 

SO hopefully over the next few nights I can attach the uprights to my backings and have some walls and doors completed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Build day two - the corner posts

I thought I'd better mention that I found on the net some while ago a PDF booklet of the 'Tardis Builder's Guide.' This is a basic how to build a TARDIS although it lacks any measurements and doesn't go into much detail with a lot of the components. So I'm not actually making this up as I go, I am using some references.

Today I sanded and refilled the floor, which I think is pretty much done. It needs to be sealed, so I have some really nasty white exterior paint here I'll use as a sealer. 'Nasty' meaning this stuff is almost like liquid plastic and I always feel sick after using it. Maybe tomorrow night depending how late I have to work. Most likely at some stage on Wednesday.

Today I went to Bunnings and bought some timber for the corner posts. This timber is plain untreated pine, which is pretty reasonably priced. Alas there's nothing 1 inch in depth. 19mm is the standard plank depth (which is 3/4 of an inch) and all my calculations were based on a one inch depth. Everything is in inches for this thing which gets a bit confusing calculating everything into mm. And naturally when I was at Bunnings I forgot my tape measure and even my pen (me without a pen is unheard of) so I had to borrow these items from the amused gatekeeper at the trade entrance. Anyway, calculations were done and I bought varying widths to create my corner posts.

Long story short, the corners are built up in layers. It's a fair bit lighter than buying actual pillars and cutting out a notch and really it only has to support a maybe 30 kilograms in total. This is corner post number one completed.

All corner posts are done. They are actually straight that right one looks bent, but that's just an illusion with the photo. They are all 2197mm tall, which again sounds weird, but that's actually 86.5 inches. Yes 86.5 inches sounds weird too but with the decorative block that goes on top it becomes an even 90 inches.
Here's what I was saying about layers. The blue bits are where I want to insert 15mm rounded corner bits like they use for cornices, but unfortunately they only make 15mm ones in Tasmanian oak, which is gorramn expensive for something like this. Regular pine crap only comes in 12mm or 19mm. I might buy 19mm and cut them down, but my finances are stretched at the moment anyway.

So that's where it's up to. Currently on track, I have some filling and sanding to do on the corner posts, lots of screw holes to cover. Painting all these parts before assembly will ensure that no corner or edge gets exposed to the weather. And my finances are depleted so no more parts for a few days. And I ran out of screws too.

I may need to hire a truck to transport this thing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Build day one - the floor

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Given I'm pretty wordy I'll probably put a thousand words here anyway!

Basic floor frame. Each side is 1270 mm long. Odd size? Nah it's 50 inches exactly.

The edges were then mitred at 45 degrees, probably took a little too much off, but near enough. Looks okay anyway. I then cut some floor supports. I'm already loving the new table saw. It's paid for itself already.

So frame work made, and floor piece installed. The framework is permapine as it will probably live outside most of the time an I don't want the floor rotting from damp. That being said I used MDF for the actual floor which incidentally has a habit of soaking up moisture from the air, so I feel a bit hypocritical there. Oh well I'll lather the floor with sealer before painting.

The sheet of MDF is bloody heavy so I was lucky I managed to cut it as straight as I did. but even so it needs  some filling along the edges. Tomorrow I'll sand this down and then start on the corner posts. God I hope I can find some pine tomorrow at Stratco or Bunnings the right thickness. I'd hate to have to use MDF again for the uprights.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The beginning continued

Okay so I didn't finish the last post, which one am I doing?

I'm a child of the 80's and Peter Davison (5th) was my doctor. I really liked Pertwee too, Tom Baker was cool, but I don't really understand why everyone loves him so much. (Ask Sophia Aldred to tell you the story of Tom Baker and his grocery shopping - weird-o-rama) I really like Smith these days too. Never saw Troughton or McCoy but I'm slowly rectifying that.

Anyway I grew up with the 1980's box, the Tom Yardley Jones prop (TYJ) so that's my ideal box. It also helps that some dimensions were leaked on the net as to the measurements for this one, and also incidentally for the original gigantic 1963 prop, so I have a starting point for sizing. The BBC, in a Luscasfilm kind of way won't let out dimensions for the props, they turn a blind eye to fans making them, but wont actually help you in anyway. So that's the plan, a box based primarily on the TYJ style or the 80's.

But I hate the blue 'Police Box' sign! So I'll try to do the 1996 film version of the sign which is white on black. The 'Hudolin' box as it's called. This box is ridiculously close to the TYJ box so it'll probably pass as that prop too.

Blue sign

Black sign (follow this guy's build on the RPF)

Anyway as I'm a close-enough is good enough kind of person when it comes to screen-accuracy, die hard fans will nitpick a variety of things wrong anyway. Whatever, so be it.

The beginning

So I want to build a TARDIS. Why the hell not? The original plan was to have it for the ACG ball in 2011 as myself an a few others are doing a bit of a Doctor Who theme for our costumes and thought it would be an appropriate prop/backdrop. Plus there's nothing particularly interesting to have photos with at NACC hall. Just those old double doors to the Library which appear in probably 50%* of costumed photos on my hard drive.

So which to do? To the non-fan, there is one TARDIS, but alas there are no less than 8 different types throughout the 40 years of Dr Who!
As you can see here, these are the main types through the show's run. (there are a few others that have minor differences.)

You can see a write up on them all here. The most recognisable would be that of the new show. In 2005 a new blockier, larger TARDIS was built, which is pretty, but to me it resembles a wardrobe. The Matt Smith series had yet another one built with the same dimensions but a few differences, mainly colour, window frames and other cosmetic things. The St John symbol returned to the door, which hasn't been seen since Hartnell was the man.

*I tend to exaggerate. 80% of my statistics I just make up when I need.