Introduction: Dr Who TARDIS Headband With Flashing Light and Sound Effect
So, my friend is a huge Who fan (as am I). She has the TARDIS dress and the socks and everything. She said they also sell a TARDIS headband with a little light on top. However, the light is just plastic and does not light up. It was a little too expensive for just a plastic headband so she did not get it. I explained to her that this was unacceptable. I am posting it here so no Who fangirl will ever have to go without a light up TARDIS headband again. Hopefully, the people who make these will realize that all of their existing parts pretty much fit together and it would not cost much for them to produce these.
With that being said, the following is just a suggestion and probably overly elaborate. I wanted it to work well enough as a novelty and look good enough for it not to be embarrassing to wear. The main thing to take away from this Instructable is that the electronic guts of a small TARDIS plush will fit in the lamp of the headband to make it light up and play the TARDIS sound.
I apologize for the lack of detailed pictures. I made it and posting it here was an afterthought. The person I gave it to was kind enough to take some pictures and a video. I made this a while ago and so I think the batteries might be going. It should play and light up for longer than it does in the video or however long your plush plays and lights up.
BE WARNED: This can be difficult even for someone who is proficient with electronics. The electronics are tiny and delicate and must be handled and soldered with care and the correct tools or this will not work. It is very, very easy to mess it up.
Step 1: Materials
So here is what you need.
1. A TARDIS head band. You can purchase one online or I have been told they sell them at Hot Topic.
2. You also need a Dr Who talking plush clip on. It is a little stuffed TARDIS that is roughly 5 inches tall, lights up and makes a noise when you push on it. There is a large version as well. I am not sure if the electronics are the same so buy the small one to be on the safe side.
3. Some soldering skills, a soldering iron, solder, and some wire.
4. A drill with a small drill bit.
5. Some glue and maybe sandpaper. Blue Sugru is also recommend.
Step 2: The Head Band
To take the light case off of the head band, simply grab both and gently but firmly twist. The headband has a square that the light case sits on and the glue isn't that strong keeping the two halves of the light together. The square should pop the glue fairly easily. I have done this twice and have had no problems with breaking.
Step 3: The Plush TARDIS
Next step is to remove the electronic guts from the plush TARDIS. There are a few seams on the side where it is possible to cut the thread so that you can resew it and give it to a tiny Whovian to keep them safe at night without waking them up accidentally. The electronics in the ones I have cut open reside in a little bag and the LED it put through some foam that you may need to mess with a bit to get out.
Step 4: The Guts
The electronics inside come in a little, cream colored case. Pop the back off of it to reveal the insides and take them out. DO NOT THROW THE CASE AWAY! There should be three sets of wires coming off of it: 1. Going to the button 2. Going to the LED 3.Going to the speaker. Be very cautious and handle the wires gently.
Also, I would replace the batteries in the electronics so that it lasts a long time. Who knows how many times that button was pushed before you got it. Once this thing is closed up it will be hard to get to them again. Do it now for max enjoyment.
Step 5: Prepping the Lamp for the Electronics
This is where the pictures are lacking and I apologize now... The main thing to take away is that the electronic parts fit in the lamp almost perfectly with only a little work. The following is the way I did it, but you can come up with a better way using this as a starting point.
There are a couple things that you need to prep the lamp so that the electronics package will fit in and all the wires will run to where you need them.
The first thing I did was cut a notch out of the bottom of the lamp. This is for the button wires. In the picture you can see the wires coming out.
Second, I drilled holes in the bottom to allow the sound from the speaker to get out better. If you don't the sound will be pretty muffled. This you can see in the picture if you look closely.
Third, the white electronics housing almost but not quite fits in the top of the lamp. It needs to be shaved down or cut just a little bit and notches for wires need to be cut in it. The speaker faces down toward the bottom of the lamp.
Optional: If you want, take some fine sand paper or other method to make the clear part opaque so that the light will shine through but you won't be able to see the electronics inside. The light will definitely shine better without sanding the plastic and the wires are thin enough to be glued out of the way but it will not be as cosmetically pleasing. This is the way I did it using blue wires and I liked the way that it came out. Your preference.
Option 2: The way listed above is the way I did it but I did not make the lamp opaque so that the light shined through better without the other parts being visible. If the guts inside were not visible, it may make it so that the speaker could be on the bottom and the light at the top instead. I do not know this for a fact; it is just a possibility. It would however make less work of this whole process and possibly not even require soldering if the button wires are long enough. If someone does it this way please post it up. I was trying to figure this out as I went along and under some time restraints.
Step 6: Soldering Time
Warning: The circuit board and wires are delicate. Avoid handling them too much. It is very easy to destroy the board with the soldering iron. BE CAREFUL! Or you will have to buy another plush.
The wires going to the button need to be lengthened so that they will reach outside the lamp when you are done. You will need to unsolder the existing short wires and add new longer ones. One of them is pretty easy but, the other is stuck back away from the edge of the board next to the battery. If you are not proficient at soldering yet, get a friend who is to avoid damaging the board and/or soldering to the side of the battery holder.
If you would like to shorten the wires to the LED it is up to you. Use one half of the lamp to size them up. The base of the LED should go on the base of the lamp. I would recommend not doing this just because it is one less thing to go wrong. Also, the provided wires on the LED and speaker are fragile. Avoid moving them too much or they will beak off and you will have to resolder them as well. Have I made this point enough yet?
Step 7: Stuffing the Components in the Head Band
This can be tricky. The white part with the electronics goes into the top with the speaker facing down. The button wires come down through the notch in the bottom. Lastly the LED base sits in the bottom of the lamp base. I recommend doing this all in one half of the lamp and sparingly using some glue to keep this all in place. Once the glue has dried and everything is reasonably solid then it is time to see how well the other half fits. Grab the headband and fit one half of the lamp to it and then the second half making sure the button wires are in the notch still. I will warn you once again to be careful with the wires lest they break on you.
At this point, you should see how things are coming together. Look over it and see if there is anything cosmetic you would like to do to it. Do your touch ups BEFORE you glue the two halves together and make sure the headband is seated properly, wires out of the way, and so on. Once ready, glue the two pieces of the lamp and the headband back together.
Step 8: Affixing the Button
At this point you should have a headband with two wires and a button coming out.
All that is left is to attach the button to the headband. I used blue Sugru which worked great and looked great. I also colored the little board it is on with a blue sharpie. You could also do something much more elaborate if you so desire.
Step 9: Wear Your New Headband or Give to the Person
Now it is time to wear your new headband or give it to the person you made it for. I will give the following warnings for both situations.
WARNING 1: If You made the headband for yourself, you must be prepared to be the envy of your Whovian friends. Also, you must be prepared to tell them that they will have to make their own unless you really, really like them.
WARNING 2: If you made this for someone else, place the appropriate hearing protection on before you give it to them especially if the person has a high pitched voice. If giving to a teenage girl, it may be best to wrap it up give it to them and go into the next room for your own safety.
I hope this makes someone you care about happy!
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Please be positive and constructive.