Introduction: P.A.D.D From Star Trek Voyager

Fan of star trek? always wanted to own a prop from the show? well, nows your chance, I recently purchased seasons 3 and 4 of voyager, and have slowly been working my way through them. When i noticed what would make for a great remake, one of the P.A.D.D devices that they use.

I did some googling, and found the easiest way was to use three layers of material (plastic or card) simple cut out, sprayed, and stuck together.

I set out planning to trace some screen shots/web images, to make a template, however, along the way i stumbled accross, Matt Munson who had a wide range of templates free for personal use.

Update - Matt Munson commented on this Instructable with the news that he had been prompted to add the files to his site again.

You can access all the templates here -

Thank you Matt, for allowing access again, so everyone can make what is one of the best props out there.

I am not providing the templates here, as he explains that he had previous problems with people using the templates for professional gain.

So, here is how i did it.

You need,
  • Some world famous, gmjboard (super dense thick strawboard/cardboard)
  • Some thin plastic transparencies
  • a household inkjet printer
  • a good scalpel and stanley knife
  • Some double sided tape
  • a sharpie
  • some silver spray paint

Step 1: Get Cutting.

Firstly we need to gather are materials,

Print out some of the templates, or design your own if your feeling creative, Its very easy to draw a simple design.

Stick the paper templates down to your selected board, My suggestions are to use either card, or plastiboard/styrene, both these can be cut using the stanley knife. Though the card is a much easier material to work with, it does give a slightly more rough finish.

Take your time with the cutting, many strokes, and less pressure is the way to go.

The corners are most difficult, but i found if i used the scalpel, and slowly nipped away around the corner it gave a cleaner better cut.

Step 2: Paint

Now we need to paint our sections,

The top and bottom sections are sprayed silver.
I used some simple silver spray paint from the diy store, the colour actually turned out to be pretty much spot on.

When spraying something like this, don't use newspaper, get an old corrugated card box, pop a stone in the middle, newspaper is too easily blown over, and is a pain when it lands on the project.

Most importantly, use many many thin layers, i gave these about 15 or so layers, with about a minutes drying time imbetween.

Leave them to dry.

With the middle section run a black sharpie or permanent marker around the edge, depending on the template you may also have to colour in a few extra sections due to the cut away on the top layer.

Step 3: The Screen

Next is to print off the screens and buttons, luckily for you, i designed these my self, which means im more than happy to provide pdf files, which you will see just below.

I printed these on a professional high end large format inkjet printer, i suggest printing them on photopaper, on your best quality setting.

Next we need to cut the transparency down to size, the stuff i used had a red layer on it, which i peeled off, cut it to a rough size, with room around the outside for double sided tape.

Using double sided tape, along the edge of the printed screen and transparency carefully stick all the pieces together. With the transparency ontop of the printed sheet.

Check to alignment with the top section.

Step 4: Stick on the Front and Back

I placed more double sided tape around the edge of the front, and stuck this in place.

I then placed another two large strips on the back plate, aligned it with the front plate properly, and stuck this on.

You could easily use glue for this, but the double sided tape works just fine.

Finally, i a sticker for use on the back. I printed onto a normal sticker paper, and then carefully placed it centred on the back, about 15mm from the bottom. You will find a .pdf file of the sticker in this step, which also had a black outline to help with positioning!

Step 5: Thats It!

Now you have a screen quality prop, you can tap away, and pretend your on voyager.

I intend to produce a second version of this, using some styrene, and also with a super cool extra feature, that actually is one up on the original prop!

Thanks for reading, and hit me with advice in the comments!

- gmjhowe


MattMunson made it!(author)2010-10-09

Hey gang. Great to see some folks looking to build up PADDs! These have always been one of my favorite props.

Someone pointed me to this discussion, and I have re-posted all of my templates for ALL of the padds I ever drew, and also put up a bunch of graphics that I made over the years.

As always, my only request is that these are used for personal use, not financial gain.

you can find everything you need here:

I forget what the various thicknesses are for the different padds. If I figure that out, or can find my notes somewhere, I will post that too.

Thanks again for all of the interest in my templates. I hope you make great use of them!!!

gmjhowe made it!(author)2010-10-09

Hello, Thank you very for choosing to come over here and comment on my Instructable.

I had read and seen the trouble you originally had with people stealing your designs and selling them, which is why I specifically chose not to report the files here. Instead telling people to go to your site.

Its great that you have decided to re-host the templates.

Thanks again,


kfischer2 made it!(author)2013-10-09

the link doesn't work

jack.hayes.35574 made it!(author)2015-09-29

Does anyone have the original artwork\templates that Matt had on his website. Its no longer available. Please, someone help me in finding these materials. Thank you

SuperScourge made it!(author)2015-02-22

It seems that link is no longer on the site and I'll need this for my DS9 cosplay soon

CrystalB01 made it!(author)2014-07-11

the link that you posted is not working and i really want to make this for my dads birthday! he loves star trek!!!!

EmeraldOre made it!(author)2014-03-29


LyricsGirl made it!(author)2013-07-05

Thanks for this1 I may be able to try this myself. I look forward to seeing more from you!

Isaac+Eglash made it!(author)2012-07-25


DJ+Radio made it!(author)2008-11-06

a lot of famous star trek gadgets have been made in reality- and better (for example, the communicator is a cell phone in real life.) the only exception is the teleportation beam

Mr.+Brownie made it!(author)2009-01-20

The cell phone shall never triumph over the communicator! *pulls on klingon suit* Today is a good day to die!!

Isaac+Eglash made it!(author)2012-07-25

funny joke

Derin made it!(author)2009-07-22


DJ+Radio made it!(author)2008-11-06

anyway, 5*

gmjhowe made it!(author)2008-11-07

Thanks Radio,

thats the kind of nice comment i was on about! keep it up.

DJ+Radio made it!(author)2008-11-07

ur welcome

the+dashing+hero made it!(author)2012-01-15

You could... get a tablet (touch screen) an make a cardboard frame...

szulli-randall made it!(author)2011-08-21

I am going to try making one with a form of Tablete computer inside! Will try to get picture.

Nykus79 made it!(author)2009-10-04

Awesome!! I'll try build that one when i get material all I needs. By the way. those link in step 1 Matt (whatever last name) site is down or non-exist

Chirpoff made it!(author)2011-07-18

Try here:

:D Have fun!!!!!!!

Chirpoff made it!(author)2011-07-18

I can't find the main picture you used with the UFOP on it. Could you point me in its direction? I've been to Matt's site (thank you, Matt!), and found everything but that. Thanks!

Chirpoff made it!(author)2011-07-18

Oh, I just found it! Sweetness! Thanks again! :D

ultralegomaster5096 made it!(author)2011-06-06

You know what? This gives me an idea. iPad 2 case. Working (if different software) padd.

happybirthday made it!(author)2010-11-12

Where can I buy gmjboard? or will normal cardboard work?

floryzzz made it!(author)2010-09-04

Of make a case for the iPad out of it. I doesn't have a iPad myself so i cant make one. If you make one please PB me a picture :)

gmjhowe made it!(author)2010-09-05

Hey, its a plan in the works for sure!

That+Inventor+Dude made it!(author)2010-09-01

you sir are a genius. i did this ages ago when i was 8 in white and orange so as to resemble the next generation ones using instructions from my dads old star trek annuals and the next generation tech manual.

That+Inventor+Dude made it!(author)2010-09-02

the only flaw is the vital templates are not given and they dont seem to exist anymore

legopi3 made it!(author)2009-03-01

is there a way you could post the template for the padd shape?

gmjhowe made it!(author)2009-03-01

if you follow the links in the instructable you can find them on the authors website.

That+Inventor+Dude made it!(author)2010-09-02

i think mr munson has removed them

legopi3 made it!(author)2009-03-01

never mind, i must have missed the warning and link.

Lyokoking99 made it!(author)2010-08-22

It would also be great for use as a "functional" prop. Make the screen Green, then Chroma Key and rotascope your animated/interactive interface.

flamespinner1 made it!(author)2010-02-20

 HE'S right it dosen't

florio08 made it!(author)2010-01-22

Hello all, i wanted to know if anyone knew where to get the template for the PADD.


gmprops made it!(author)2009-12-01

Great job on that large Voyager PADD. I have done several PADDs myself using a combination of acrylic and styrene plastic sheets. I have also successfully integrated about 20 working LEDs, 10 different sounds, and a softswitch to turn the PADD on. I got the original templates from Matt Munson. I have also done several tricorders with lights and sound.

Nykus79 made it!(author)2009-12-07

u made that too? put up on site i wanna see how u do that

gmjhowe made it!(author)2009-12-02

 I encourage you to make a full instructable and post it! Be sure to link me if you do.

lucek made it!(author)2009-11-27

I'll admit I'm a little disappointing with this. I thought this was a case mod for a pda. well still cool.

gmjhowe made it!(author)2009-11-28

 I'll admit, this was kinda a prototype for another version I was going to make. The idea behind the second version was to make it fit atop my iPod touch.

caitlinsdad made it!(author)2008-10-16

Cool, you need to embed an LED to make it glow and make the surface a touchswitch so it will chirp when pressed. I'm more of a tri-corder man myself...

Lithium+Rain made it!(author)2008-10-20

Oooooooooo...that would be the pinnacle of sweetness...

No, on second thought, the pinnacle would be to make a working padd.

gmjhowe made it!(author)2008-10-20

I'm already working on it! This time I'm using styrene instead of card

Nykus79 made it!(author)2009-10-04

Styrene? "The White sheets are used to construct buildings for your railroad diorama's and layouts. They may also be used for various scratch craft projects and miscellaneous projects." from very same one?

gmjhowe made it!(author)2008-10-17

oh, i have far far greater plans for my next one! I do like the tricorder also, ive been eyeing up resin kits for weeks!

Articas made it!(author)2009-09-18

Where can i accuire this Gmjboard you speak of

Nykus79 made it!(author)2009-10-04

i think he mean cardboard strong enough... than box cardboard. I has been look though in this I don't know which one... I hope GMJ will reply.

joe57005 made it!(author)2008-10-18

you can make a "real" one using a nokia internet tablet and this theme.

gmjhowe made it!(author)2008-10-18

Yes i have seen those! it would be easy to splay the nokia and fit it into the padd shape.

joe57005 made it!(author)2008-10-19

just be careful which version of the os you use. there's a glitch in every pre '08 version that makes uninstalling the theme nigh impossible.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a British Graphic Designer and Photographer, when I am not working, I spend my time making an array of projects. I used to ... More »
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