Introduction: How to Make a Death Star Mailbox

Picture of How to Make a Death Star Mailbox

Just as the recent Star Wars hype was ramping up I came across an old pressure tank from a water pump. Its spherical shape demanded to be made into something. I thought a Death Star would be easy, and I like my creations to be functional, so I determined to make it into a mail box.

As usual I haven't gone into too much detail in this I'ble - hopefully just enough to demonstrate how easy it is and to inspire someone to have a go.

What would you use one of these tanks for? Please let me know in the comments. I have another one in my shed waiting to be reborn.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need


  • One old spherical pressure tank. Free from a pump repairer.
  • Scrap steel. Free from wherever you can find it.
  • One hinge. Found.
  • Some Rubber sheet to seal the door. Left over from a job.
  • A magnet to hold the door shut.
  • Glue to stick the rubber on with.

Tools - Here's what I used. There's always other ways of doing things so you could do the same job with a completely different set of tools.

  • Personal Safety gear
  • Spanners
  • Welder
  • Angle Grinder
  • Flap discs to remove paint and preparing surfaces for welding
  • Grinding and cutting discs
  • Plasma Cutter
  • Pens for Marking
  • Compasses, Square, Rule, etc.
  • String line

Step 2: Prepare the Tank

Picture of Prepare the Tank

First remove the flange that attaches the plumbing and holds the bladder.

When you get the flange off drag the rubber bladder out.

Using a flap disc on your angle grinder remove the paint and any obvious rust.

Step 3: Mark Out Death Star Features

Picture of Mark Out Death Star Features

Search the internet for the proper dimensions of a Death Star. Then try to remember the mathematics they taught you in high school so you can calculate the proper proportions and positions of the Superlaser Fucus Port and the Equatorial Trench.

I chose to position the superlaser focus port over a rusted hole where the old air valve was. I then worked out where the equator was in relation to it and marked it using a square measuring from my bench. To get a straightish line I wrapped some webbing around the sphere and used it as a ruler.

I marked the other horizontal lines using compasses from the poles.

To mark the vertical lines I put a screw in each pole and stretched string between them. These were pretty much random on my Death Star, but if you have time and patience you could do it more accurately.

Step 4: Create the Trenches

Picture of Create the Trenches

Once I'd completed marking out the trenches to my satisfaction I simply cut them into the steel using a cutting disc on my angle grinder. Being careful of course not to cut right through the tank.

Step 5: Create the Superlaser Focus Lens

Picture of Create the Superlaser Focus Lens

All this is is a cone made from steel. The proportions were swiped from a plan found on-line.

I made the cone just as you would with paper. Make a circle with a wedge cut out of it. Bend the circle to make the straight edge of the wedge contact each other. Weld the edges together.

Cut out a hole in the tank to fit the lens. Weld the lens into position.

You now have a Death Star. A Death Star with a massive hole and a flange in the back of it. But that's okay, I use the flange to attach it to a post.

Step 6: Make a Door

Picture of Make a Door

The door is pretty simple the way I did it.

Firstly I found a convenient door-sized rectangle shape formed by the existing trenches on the surface of the Death Star.

To accurately position the hinge I used my angle grinder with a thin cutting disc to cut along the top of the rectangle only, and then welded the hinge into position at the centre of the top of the door. I only used one hinge because the spherical shape makes it very awkward to get two hinges to cooperate.

Once the hinge was attached I cut around the remaining sides of the door. It swung beautifully.

To provide a weather seal and to prevent the door from closing too far I glued some rubber strips to the inside of the Death Star around the door opening. The rubber overlaps the edge of the door by about 20mm.

To hold the door closed I glued a strong magnet to the inside to the lower rubber strip.

I made a door handle out of some rubber and attached it with a screw. I had to grind the tip off the screw so it didn't clash with the rubber weather strip.

Step 7: Make a Letter Slot

Picture of Make a Letter Slot

My letter slot is a simple horizontal slot cut in with the angle grinder. It is protected by a little roof to prevent the rain from entering.

Step 8: Make a Stand

Picture of Make a Stand

Seeing as we can't position this Death Star in stationary orbit at an altitude that can be reached by a postman we need to support it on a post or a wall or something.

I made a bracket out of some 50mm x 50mm square hollow section and attached it to the flange at the back of the Death Star. The Death Star is held away from the bracket by some steel pipe - this is my attempt to make it appear to be floating. It is all welded together solidly.

I drilled holes in the SHS in case it is to be bolted to a wall or post. The SHS can also be dropped over a star picket or any slender post.

Step 9: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

There are a few changes I would make if I was to make another of these, but overall I'm quite happy with outcome.

I might suggest a more discrete letter slot and a more sturdy hinge.

I hope you enjoyed my Instructable. I you did, please vote for it in the contests.

If you would like to see more of my work please feel free to check out my website, or even my Etsy shop. In fact, please share my Esty Shop with your friends if you think they might be interested, especially if they have exquisite taste and too much money. I need to increase my shop activity to reduce the need for me to go out and get a proper job.

Please feel free to post comments and questions.


morrisona2022 (author)2017-11-04

This is soooooo cool! Our neighborhood has a huge locking mailbox with a little section for each address, but I could make this and put it in my room, or maybe just outside of it, so my family can put notes in it, or whatever I get from the big mailbox.

warriorethos2 (author)2016-04-11

Your Death Star Mailbox is a first. Not a bad looking mail box for in coming mail since there is no flag or slot for out going mail. Your photos and instructions were easy to follow. Good luck in the contest.

vader5000 (author)2016-04-01

vry impresive

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-03-27

My postal carrier is, well, a nice person, but they would freak out. Last year they actually knocked my oversized rural standard mailbox off the post, and then refused to take responsibility for it... If they hit this, it would damage their car!

I'm sure it meets postal regulations, but in my neighborhood, it would be stolen rather quickly. I'd have to weld my address on it.

Great work, fabulous idea for re-using the pressure vessel!

tcolin (author)John T MacF Mood2016-03-27

they knocked it over and refused to take responsibility for it? they don't sound like a nice person at all...

John T MacF Mood (author)tcolin2016-03-31

I literally saw them do it, I'm a retired cop, and they acted like, well you didn't get a police report so we can't accept this.... (I had photographs!)

Yeah, they're jerks!

They recently backed into the tail lights on my wife's car, but it's minor and they WON'T take responsibility, so I I'll fix it and polish out the scratches,,,

Real jerks. Contractors, not USPS employees.

Wouldn't the death star be able to defend itself with the superlaser?

cammers (author)mattcintosh2016-03-31

Good point.

pat_pending (author)2016-03-09

Nice one. Very cool.

cammers (author)pat_pending2016-03-31


Royalhillbilly (author)2016-03-11

I'd lik to b watchn wen sum smartelic kid tries to hit a home run from a moving car! Lmbo

cammers (author)Royalhillbilly2016-03-31

Maybe I should make an ordinary looking mailbox out of 5mm plate.

sto843 (author)2016-03-15


cammers (author)sto8432016-03-31


chefranger (author)2016-03-27

How Amazing! Great job

cammers (author)chefranger2016-03-31


cowcrusher (author)2016-03-27

Cool build! Very fitting for NY Yankee fans. Just paint it Midnight Blue with a White NY on it. LGM!!!

cammers (author)cowcrusher2016-03-31

Good idea.

cowcrusher (author)2016-03-27

Of course, you could make one of Mr. Met pictured here with Gary "Baba booey " Dell 'Abate . That would impress NY Mets fans everywhere. :)

cammers (author)cowcrusher2016-03-31


Allen Guzik (author)2016-03-04

I am tempted but I think the neighbors would knock it down!

I agree. In my neighborhood, this wouldn't last a week. Maybe if the tank could be strengthened with an inch or so of concrete internally. Anything less would soon be dented, if not destroyed by the local "Luke Skywalkers."

There's a solution to every problem. A reinforced concrete lining would be good - the thicker the better - and a railway track post with a concrete footing. The door would need a heavy duty hinge too.

I think we are re-inventing the safe.

cammers (author)Allen Guzik2016-03-06

You just have to make it extra strong.

W0nky (author)2016-03-27

Nice one, if you still have your spare boiler, your halfway towards a BB-8 Droid mailbox.

cammers (author)W0nky2016-03-31

I have definitely considered it. Keep watching this space and I'll see what I can do. I need to find another tank first.

RickO8 (author)2016-03-27

Good job!! Creative!!

cammers (author)RickO82016-03-31


DarnellMoonda (author)2016-03-27

One of the best items I have seen on here. But like some others posted, If I made this it would be stolen within a day or two. Voted for your mailbox.

cammers (author)DarnellMoonda2016-03-31

Thanks. To prevent theft you just have to make the thing strong and concrete it to the ground.

watchmeflyy (author)2016-03-04

Love that you used an old pressure tank. :)

cammers (author)watchmeflyy2016-03-06

In my work I see worn out pressure tanks all the time. I'm always trying to think of new uses for them. The spherical ones are pretty rare these days so I grab them if I can.

DoggyMANIA6105 (author)2016-03-04

Death star Mailbox? AWESOME!!!!!

I bet if the postman's a REAL Star Wars fan he would just stand there admiring this wonderful creation and forget to drop other people's mail off. JUST SPACETACULAR!

cammers (author)DoggyMANIA61052016-03-06


daughterjudy (author)2016-03-06

Death Star bird house?

cammers (author)daughterjudy2016-03-06

Yes. Cool idea.

Raverx160 (author)2016-03-04

Nice build. It needs a mail pick up flag as a red light saber and its perfect! I think also maybe find a sphere everyone can find or make and you got a really great instructable. ...fiberglass maybe?

cammers (author)Raverx1602016-03-06

Thanks. Good points.

bruce sonnenberg (author)2016-03-05

another great use of the tank is a portable air pressure tank for tires and inflatables when away from home or shop

cammers (author)bruce sonnenberg2016-03-06

Good idea.

ThomasK19 (author)2016-03-03

Hope your postman will drop in letters and not call the bomb squad xD

cammers (author)ThomasK192016-03-03

ha ha. Good point.

TomV4 (author)2016-03-03

Too much junk mail lately?

cammers (author)TomV42016-03-03


CHARLESCRANFORD (author)2016-03-02

Awsome! You got my vote. I was a postie, and had a car, pig, and house letter box on my route, but no death star.

Love it.

cammers (author)CHARLESCRANFORD2016-03-03

That's great. Thanks. There was one near here that was a cow, and the letters were inserted through a slot just under the tail. I felt a bit sorry for the postie.

jonesgp (author)2016-03-02


cammers (author)jonesgp2016-03-03


MarkF30 (author)2016-03-02

I voted for this instructable as soon as I saw it. Brilliant re-use of a scrap item. I would suggest making a second Death Star mailbox using the other sphere and then auction it off on your favorite selling site. Let the market determine the value of it above a minimum for your time and effort. Remember there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there now days.


ps I had better not let my son see this instructable or he will want one.

cammers (author)MarkF302016-03-03

Thanks Mark. I appreciate your comments. I've got this one listed on Etsy already. We'll see what happens.

About This Instructable




Bio: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh
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