Time for a Halloween ible!

This year I decided that I wanted to put together an 11th Doctor costume for Halloween.  Of course, this meant that I needed to get myself a sonic screwdriver!  Without the time or funds to make a decent working version from scratch I decided to buy one of the spring-loaded plastic toys from Chapters Indigo.  I was pretty happy with it, until I quickly discovered some design flaws present in the toy right after installing the batteries.  Here they are:
  1. The screwdriver toy has very obvious buttons, which are not present in the actual prop.
  2. The main activation button for the lights and sounds only works when the screwdriver is in the closed position.  If it is open you are stuck using the silly red button on the bottom, which is also not present on the actual prop.
  3. The screwdriver has a spring action.  The real prop is flicked open.
  4. The claws are hollow!  The prop definitely doesn't have hollowed out claws.
After playing with the toy for a day I decided that these bothered me too much to ignore.  I did some poking around on the internets and found votesaxon07's series of youtube videos on the toy and the modifications he has made to it.  He has made 6 versions of the sonic screwdriver, each succession coming closer and closer to the actual prop.  The videos were very handy because I got a good look at the inside of the toy without ever having to take mine apart, so when the time came I already knew what I was getting into.

I have essentially done the same modifications that he made in his 6th version, except I traded out duck tape and hot glue for heat shrink and epoxy, just to give the final product more longevity.  I also wrapped the handle in leather as he did in his early versions, repurposed the switch from inside the screwdriver, and weathered the screwdriver a bit.

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

So during this project I used:
  • an assortment of screwdrivers and small allen keys
  • a small knife
  • a soldering gun
  • sandpaper
  • pliers
  • a heat gun
  • needle and thread
  • metallic spray paints
  • metallic acrylic paints
  • epoxy
  • heat shrink
  • electrical tape
  • rare-earth magnets
  • earbud cables
  • steel rod (for weight)
<p>The red button IS on the prop, damnit! Nick Robatto (the prop maker) showed it in an interview and referenced it. The button is there and, therefore, removing it makes it LESS true to the prop.</p>
<p>Red button is not on the new prop, though. </p>
<p>i've given it a go at my own, i used a sharpie and industrial grade wipes. 11's is mine and ten's is for another cosplay.</p>
<p>Hi. Let me first say that you did an amazing job. </p><p>I am just curious about few things. Magnets keep sonic closed, but what keeps it flicked open? Could you please advise me how to get to the wires in the green part to solder them to the external button? You probably do not have pictures of actual magnets position, right? Could you maybe describe it more closely if it's not a problem?</p>
<p>Hi Blackcrame,</p><p>The magnets keep the sonic closed, friction keeps it open. Even though the magnets are high strength neodymium they are not strong enough to close the screwdriver from such a distance. If you take a look at Step 4 (Now For the Actual Modifications) you can see where I accessed the wires from the original circuit and added extensions.</p><p>As for the magnets, I describe how I changed the setup in Step 6. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the final setup. The magnets are in very similar positions to the pictures in step six, just the magnets inside the body have an adjusted position so that when the screwdriver is closed the magnets inside the body and mounted on the claw are nearly touching.</p><p>Hope that helps!</p>
<p>Hi, </p><p>thank you very much for answer. It all seems clearer now. I successfully ripped the button, pulled the wires and made a hole into the handle. Now I will have to buy magnets. I think I got your idea, I am thinking about using one big magnet on the base of that green tube and one in the handle. Opposite to the first one, touching it while closed. You think that won't be strong enough (with magnet force over 2kg each)? </p><p>I have still problems with understanding how it stays open. Friction of what? Because now when I ripped the guts, sonic always slides backwards after opening, staying not closed but down with its claws opened. And I donť see what in the actual modifications is going to change that. </p><p>I am really sorry to bother you, I just want to have working replica like you do. :-)</p>
<p>Okay,</p><p>It took me a little while to remember why, but there is a reason that my screwdriver has friction and yours does not. In Step 4, you can see where I cut apart the green inside piece and added weight so that I would be able to better flick the screwdriver open. When I glued it back together, I wasn't able to center it perfectly and so it is on a slight angle. What this means is that when the screwdriver is all the way open the green inside is pressed against one of the insides of the claw mechanism. You may not need to place your mechanism off-center, because just having the inside components installed adds a lot of friction to the action. However, adding the extra weight to the green section is important because without the added mass it will be next to impossible to open the screwdriver with just one hand.</p><p>As for the magnets, I think that 2kg will definitely be enough pull strength to keep it closed, especially if you can get them to nearly be touching when the claws are in. I personally used Lee Valley's &quot;Rare-Earth Circular Magnets&quot; in the 1/4&quot; size which has a magnetic strength of 2.5lb per magnet. The only reason that I would worry about the 2kg strength of your magnets is that they may either be too strong, causing problems opening the sonic, or they will be too bulky and get in the way of the wires.</p><p>Glad that you are getting good use out of the instructable!</p>
<p>Thank you very much, sir. Appreciate the help. </p>
<p>Any time.</p>
<p>Here is the link to the page I got the magnets from: <a href="http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32065&cat=1,42363,42348" rel="nofollow">http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32065&amp;cat=1,42363,42348</a></p>
What you used to tighten the claws?
<p>Which part of the claws are you referring to?</p>
<p>Where the Gap between the Claws when I originally had mine (I returned it which the little tab of mine somehow weakened) I tried the duct tape method and it didn't work as well. on the actual prop it was close to the emitter with a small gap in between.</p>
<p>Because the magnets are holding the claws closed, rather than the original latch, the claws are pulled slightly closer than they are on the regular prop. I am not familiar with the &quot;duct tape method&quot; so I can't really help you out with that.</p>
I used the smallest Allen key in a imperial and a metric set but it still didnt work
Did the allen key fit in the screw? If it fits and isn't so small that it strips the screws it should work.
Also the handle rings are very hard to get off.
Yeah, they are one of the parts that I had a lot of trouble with too. I just took my time and tried to pry them off very carefully.
I can't find a triangular screwdriver
I used a very small Allen Key. It was Imperial, not metric, and was the smallest in a large set.
While the CO toy does have most of the inaccuracies you mentioned, the buttons aren't among them. The activation button on the CO is actually LESS noticeable than the one in the prop, which is a standard micro switch the likes of which you can get at any Radio Shack. And the red button, while never seen on-screen, is present on the prop. (Newer re-builds have omitted it, but the original four that were used for the first few seasons all have it). It was how the sonic was designed to be activated (he does once, I think it was in Crash of the Byzantium) but they added the Micro-switch to accommodate how Smith preferred to use it.
I've never noticed the red button on screen. Good to know!
It's definitely never seen. And after they added in the new button, the red button was no longer functional, so they just glued the cap shut. But here's a shot of Smith using the button, even though you can't see it: http://cdn3.whatculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/matt-smith-doctor-who.jpg
Really cool!
Cool. Now I can have a duel between Gary Seven's servo (Star Trek TOS: Assignment Earth) and the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver! Personally, I'm persuaded that Gary Seven was a Timelord...
Looks like you ruined a perfectly good sonic...
Actually, Character options did the ruining all on their own.
So, sooo cool! Can't wait to try it!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a first year architecture student. I'm particularly interested in the areas of design and fabrication, especially 3D printing and CNC cutting and ... More »
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