Picture of Sonic Screwdriver
First and foremost let me start by saying that a Sonic Screwdriver is a trademark item of Doctor Who and the BBC. OK hopefully that covers my butt legally lol.

So YES!!! My first instructable!!!! So please be gentle . . . but feel free to add advise!

I decided to make a sonic screwdriver because I am a huge Doctor Who fan. But sadly I could not find any instructables on how to make a sonic screwdriver, very sad!!!! So after much failed searching I took it upon myself to make one. And I figured you the fellow Doctor Who fans and hobby prop makers would like a base for making your own Sonic Screwdriver.

And here is the other amazing thing!! There is no soldering, electrical wiring, or technical babble to deal with. Its simple because I can't do any of that lol!

Now this isn't an exact replica of the sonic screwdriver in the show. Its just a similar looking one with my own little twist. Its my belief that sonic screwdrivers are like a time lord's personality so all sonic screwdrivers aren't the same. So when making yours feel free to add your own twist and style.

Step 1: Time Lord's Radio Shack

Picture of Time Lord's Radio Shack
First step is the items you'll need.

1. A pen type light of any style (the one I chose is in the picture)

2. Now this is the harder part. Finding parts that will help in making your sonic screwdriver. Right now I am currently studying abroad in Japan. So I hit up Akihabara for random electrical parts. I bought the . .

1. Blue LED light cover
2. A sort of tip electrical part (the one with the blue LED cover in it)
3. And a small chip with number on it

The other pieces I got from an old used tape player laying around in my house. I figured why not?
sonic = sound = old tape player, it all works trust me lol.

It will take a while to find appropriate pieces but just keep looking!!!

(the huge piece of green circuit board was not used.)
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Dang I did a search for sonic screw driver rotary switch. Im trying to figure the wiring for a 3 or 4 LED custom. You instead used the rotary switch for a unintended but interesting use.
_xXJuanXx_1 year ago
Sooooo COoooooool!!!! whos gunna dress up for halloween?
Wow man this is really cool!
God, I am so old! The sonic screwdriver I made a few years ago was the kind the 3rd & 4th Doctors had, was made out of aluminum, mostly, and could turn some types of screws (not wood) and even spin dinner plates. The circuitry was cheap, but nowadays it would cost a small fortune to make a new one. All those days in shop class paid off...
So you made trick tgat worked with a soic propor something?
Enough sound to turn certain types of screws from 1" away or to spin a dinner plate. It pissed off the neighbors though...
Damn my reply like 2 wekks ago didnt work. Could you pm me the plans and info on how you made it I'd love to see it.
The circuitry has to be slim and simple enough to fit into an aluminum casing like the 4th Doctor had (not this version) so it's not really complicated.

Basically just two common ICs, used in three sub-circuits stuck together:

1) a CD4046 wired as a simple VCO (voltage controlled oscillator)--

2) the two outputs from the 4046 feeding a pair of NPN transistors and a step-up transformer to get your basic push-pull power amplifier. This by itself would make a very strong ultrasonic source with the right piezo element ,

3) but to get the screwdriver to make that "sweeping" up/down sound, ya use an XR2206 function generator chip configured as a low frequency (1 to 100 Hz) sine wave source that feeds/modulates the 4046 VCO. at pin 9.

All of this fits on a single .25 x 5 inch piece of perf board with a little creative wiring. Google "real sonic screwdriver;" there's much more details at the physics forum where I've been posting to. I've put links to the different sub-circuits there; just basic electronics-- nothing complicated. The only thing truly difficult is making the sound head from custom piezo parts. I haven't
detailed that yet.
Check out the full discussion of my screwdriver at the physics forum:


Three or four years ago when I had copies of my notes and diagrams ready to mail them to anyone interested, nobody gave a sh-- crap. Now when my life has gotten far too complicated and rapidly spiraling out of control, then the Screwdriver becomes popular. Oy!
No chance you still have the notes? Or are they on that discussion.

if you do popscilover@gmail.com
matt smith is funny but david tennant pwns all other docs
does it make the sound?
lol, not even the real Sonic makes a sound. It is added in post in the Radiophonics workshop
Yeah, right...

People see something on TV and figure it can't be done so they don't even try; but ya can make a Romana-type sonic screwdriver for less than ten bucks in simple electronics.

Ironically, the Doctor may have thought it was cool enough to try and steal it, but I don't like Romana's screwdriver all that much.
gladreal4 years ago
nice, inspiring for my boys!
lockpick4 years ago
Dr. Who rules! I wish I had the Tardis so I wouldn't have to wait forthechristmas special.
andyraslan5 years ago
Crazy Kanji? Tell me about it =))
Mirime5 years ago
Awsome!!!!!!!!!!! now this is fun!!!!!!!!
iProton5 years ago
I ALWAYS whistle the sound :P
jman 316 years ago
I have no clue what this project is, but the holder for the light cover you were talking about is a 1/4" jack for headphones or other stereo item.
Craig1 jman 316 years ago
Its a sonic screwdriver from the British TV show "Doctor Who", its the 2nd most valuable tool the Doctor (the main character of the show) has.
iProton Craig16 years ago
The TARDIS is more of a character, rather than tool :P
magnaryu6 years ago
Where do you get the LED cover?
sling (author)  magnaryu6 years ago
In akihabara in a sort of audio/electrical store. Try any electrical store that has random electrical parts.
mathews6 years ago
The random chip part is a DIL switch. The other unknown (blue and orange) component looks like a rotary switch or potentiometer.
This is great :) I'm going to have to make one to go along with my TARDIS usb hub.
I believe that the "electrical holder thing" is actually a 1/4 inch stereo socket.
Articas6 years ago
there is a seires on in australia called the the planet of the damned
sir-zeke6 years ago
mcaliber.506 years ago
thinking of doctor who, when is it coming back on????
they have four specials in 2009 then the series comes back in 2010
They are only doing a handful of specials this year and no regular episodes.
Ward_Nox tocsik6 years ago
...which you can find online if your american and not willing to wait till 2010 to see em also anyone else weirded out at the new doctor being younger than them for the first time (i'm 28 the new guy is 26) my aunt and uncle are HUGE dr. who fans as am i and both have doctorates iv'e been wanting to get them sonic screwdrivers but i felt the toy ones were 2 cheap looking (fun fan note after they made the toy one the production team on the show liked the bigger version that why his original one gets fraked)
i cant wait for waters of mars!!!!!!!
sir-zeke6 years ago
how much did this cost?
sling (author)  sir-zeke6 years ago
Like $13-14
sir-zeke sling6 years ago
the point was to make his own like the Doctor Does
Actually they're grown not made
You're thinking of the TARDIS, lol. (But then again, they are sort of the same tech...)
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