Introduction: Sonic Screwdriver

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.)

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools

Now for the tools!!

1. Scissors (The ones I have are made to do some heavy cutting)

2. Electrical Tape (I chose white and Black as they provide similar color to the original, also they are good for making a grip)

3. A screwdriver (not sonic!!!) (I used a smaller screwdriver to take apart the old tape player I had)

4. And lastly some strong glue.

Step 3: Get a Grip

Picture of Get a Grip

I started out with making the grip first for my Sonic Screwdriver.

As you can see it looks quite similar to the original with just the tape. but I decided later on to take off the black electrical tape from the top of the pen light because I felt it looked a little odd.

What color and design you chose is up to you!

I was originally considering yellow electrical tape because I thought of making it look like one of those screw drivers you always see with the yellow handles. Glad I didn't.

Step 4: Screw Head

Picture of Screw Head

Next step is putting on the head of the Sonic Screwdriver!!!

1. I cut the led blue light cover to fit into the electrical holder I bought

(if you know what the piece is please let me and the rest of the people know cause I have no clue)

2. I then glued the light cover into the whole and let it dry for a bit.

3. I the put the electrical holder with the led cover on the pen light tip.

(I had to bend some pieces of the holder to make it fit on the tip)

4. I added glue to the light tip to help hold it there together along with strip of black electrical tape.

Step 5: Accessories

Picture of Accessories

Now for the final touches!!

The pieces I added on after here are from the old tape player I found. Except the little chip piece with the numbers on it.

1. Take apart tape player (or whatever other old electrical item you found/have)
2. Save the pieces you wish to use (also save other cool looking pieces for future projects)
3. Apply saved pieces to the sonic screwdriver!

The small box type piece of metal with the brown electrical plastic coming out of it is the part of the tape player the actual tape touches to produce sound. I used the brown electrical plastic as a sort of connection to my chip with numbers on it. I think it turned out quite well. And the small metal box works well in that it seems like a a component of the sonic screw driver.

I then added another component to the other side of the sonic screwdriver that I found in the tape player. I like to think of it as an amplifier for my sonic screw driver!!!

This part is really up to you, like I said a sonic screw driver is a Time Lord's personality!!! So add your own style and twist.

Step 6: Is That a Sonic Screwdriver in Your Pocket?

Picture of Is That a Sonic Screwdriver in Your Pocket?


You officially have your own SONIC SCREWDRIVER!!!

I think for not having to do any soldering or electrical work it turned out pretty nice.

Now a few things to remember here.

1. it lights up but because the led cover and the hole in the electrical holder allow the light from the LED pen light to shine through.

2. There is no "sonic screwdriver sound" I wouldn't even know where to start to try to put something together that get that sound. If you like you can whistle the sound to yourself lol.

Anyways I hope you enjoyed this instructable and hope it provides you a base for making your own sonic screwdriver.


crazycraftpro88 (author)2016-11-15

First 2016 comment, and, how do you know that we do not have a TARDIS?

shizumadrive (author)2013-10-17

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_ (author)2013-09-24

Sooooo COoooooool!!!! whos gunna dress up for halloween?

Kitana Kellaway (author)2012-10-06

Wow man this is really cool!

Doctor_Duquesne (author)2010-09-04

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...

XOIIO (author)Doctor_Duquesne2011-08-02

So you made trick tgat worked with a soic propor something?

Doctor_Duquesne (author)XOIIO2011-08-11

Enough sound to turn certain types of screws from 1" away or to spin a dinner plate. It pissed off the neighbors though...

XOIIO (author)Doctor_Duquesne2011-08-14

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.

Doctor_Duquesne (author)XOIIO2011-08-19

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!

XOIIO (author)Doctor_Duquesne2011-08-24

No chance you still have the notes? Or are they on that discussion.

if you do

matt smith is funny but david tennant pwns all other docs

NerdTVChannel5 (author)2011-04-30

does it make the sound?

SuperWar5 (author)NerdTVChannel52011-06-14

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.

gladreal (author)2010-12-06

nice, inspiring for my boys!

lockpick (author)2010-12-02

Dr. Who rules! I wish I had the Tardis so I wouldn't have to wait forthechristmas special.

andyraslan (author)2010-08-31

Crazy Kanji? Tell me about it =))

Mirime (author)2010-01-13

Awsome!!!!!!!!!!! now this is fun!!!!!!!!

iProton (author)2009-09-28

I ALWAYS whistle the sound :P

jman 31 (author)2009-05-10

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 (author)jman 312009-06-20

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 (author)Craig12009-08-03

The TARDIS is more of a character, rather than tool :P

magnaryu (author)2009-06-16

Where do you get the LED cover?

sling (author)magnaryu2009-07-23

In akihabara in a sort of audio/electrical store. Try any electrical store that has random electrical parts.

mathews (author)2009-06-30

The random chip part is a DIL switch. The other unknown (blue and orange) component looks like a rotary switch or potentiometer.

Evilslinkycat (author)2009-06-25

This is great :) I'm going to have to make one to go along with my TARDIS usb hub.

dementeddingo (author)2009-06-16

I believe that the "electrical holder thing" is actually a 1/4 inch stereo socket.

Articas (author)2009-05-29

there is a seires on in australia called the the planet of the damned

mcaliber.50 (author)2009-05-07

thinking of doctor who, when is it coming back on????

sir-zeke (author)mcaliber.502009-05-21

they have four specials in 2009 then the series comes back in 2010

tocsik (author)mcaliber.502009-05-07

They are only doing a handful of specials this year and no regular episodes.

Ward_Nox (author)tocsik2009-05-09

...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)

Jake Morton (author)tocsik2009-05-08

i cant wait for waters of mars!!!!!!!

sir-zeke (author)2009-05-09

how much did this cost?

sling (author)sir-zeke2009-05-09

Like $13-14

Ward_Nox (author)sir-zeke2009-05-14

the point was to make his own like the Doctor Does

sir-zeke (author)Ward_Nox2009-05-14

Actually they're grown not made

You're thinking of the TARDIS, lol. (But then again, they are sort of the same tech...)

no, i was thinking of sonic screwdrivers

"Tenth Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to destroy a sword and later sacrifices it in order to defeat a Sycorax hunter. Later, he indicates that he needs time to "grow" a new sonic screwdriver."

From Wikipedia
And The Doctor Who Wiki

Ward_Nox (author)sir-zeke2009-05-19

yea but after the 10th doctor 's first one gets trashes he shows his new one off and says made my self a new one PLUS how would Master have grown a laser screwdriver

sir-zeke (author)Ward_Nox2009-05-19

Your Referring to the Episode "Smith and Jones" Correct?
actually he just says "I've got a brand new sonic screwdriver which needs rode testing"

as for the master it might just be a secret that timelords know... or because a laser screwdriver is different from a sonic screwdriver

Beenay25 (author)sir-zeke2009-05-19

I'd probably put that down to Russle Davis being a prat.

sir-zeke (author)Beenay252009-05-19

oy! don't insult the man who is responsible for starting the new doctor who series

Beenay25 (author)sir-zeke2009-05-19

Pretty much every episode he was responsible for was lousy. Just look at all the best episodes (The Empty Child, Blink etc) and you'll see that they were done by Steve Moffat... so much better. I'm hoping the series will pick up now Davis has gone.

sir-zeke (author)Beenay252009-05-19

"Best" and "Lousy" is just a matter of opinion. But i am excited to see what moffett has for season 5

Oh, my bad then. I just assumed that the "grown not made" thing only applied to the TARDIS.

mrjack (author)2009-05-06

Sorry to burst your bubble. I really think your homebrew ss is pretty sweet, but here it is anyways

About This Instructable




Bio: How about you just ask?
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