Introduction: Laser Cut TARDIS
The Makerarm team is a fan of Doctor Who and we've always wanted to have a TARDIS in our office. So we decided to use our 5.5W high power laser cutting tool head to make a TARDIS for the office. This TARDIS is made from 3mm thick birch plywood with 0.2 mm depth per pass and 100mm/min linear speed.
The TARDIS was laser cut by Makerarm, which will be shipped out to our backers and buyers in Fall 2016. For more information, please visit makerarm.com
Step 1: Setting Up Makerarm
To make the TARDIS, you will need the following materials:
- 3 mm thick birch plywood
- Paintable wood glue
- Acrylic paint (matte finish) - Blue and White
- Makerarm (with laser cutting tool head)
You'll have to operate Makerarm using Makerarm.io control software which will ship free with the arm.
Step 2: Cut the Parts
Laser cutting with Makerarm is simple. We used Inkscape to process the DXF files and added the engraving around the doors and the "Police Box" lettering. Paste the G-Code in the G-Code console of Makerarm.io and start laser cutting. Set up the plywood sheet in the Makerarm’s workspace and start laser cutting. Once done, discard the inner parts from window and panels in the top layer of the TARDIS and the top blue square in the back layer so you are left with the parts in the first photo.
(Design files were taken from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19824)
Step 3: Glue the Parts
Now it's time to glue the parts together. A couple of words of advice and caution: First, don't use a lot of wood glue: a thin bead will work just fine to bond the parts together. Second, the wood glue is not very viscous - it can be runny - so be careful when you apply the glue - you don't want it to ooze out of between the parts.
Lay out pieces with scorched side up. Note the two thick and two thin door frames which fit the base. Sequence is thick-thin-thick-thin. Inner doors nest inside each other. The base is asymmetric to fit the doors. A quick dry-fit will ensure parts to in the correct place. The door centres should be exactly centered with each other.
It's easiest to build upside-down, placing the door panels in the roof. Make sure the outer door panel is pulled towards the top of the door frame. Using a fine nozzle on the wood glue tube, glue the bottom in place, then after about 15 minutes flip over and glue the top in place. Don't over apply the glue - a thin bead will be fine. The outer door frame may need some glue in the centres. The door panels come in two sizes. Glue the outer edges, and place inside tight to the edges. Place the thick one first, then the thinner one tightly next to it. There should be a gap for the next side door panel. Wait a couple minutes for glue to set, then rotate and do the next side. Glue caps together, make sure all are aligned.
Step 4: Paint Your TARDIS
Now that you have successfully glued your TARDIS, its time to paint it. Apply blue acrylic paint to the TARDIS and wait a couple minutes for paint to set. Then either paint the windows using white acrylic paint or cut paper to fit windows and glue to inside. Signage can be laser-printed and glued.
Voila! You now have TARDIS ornament!