Introduction: The Brain of Morbius
The Brain of Morbius is one of the most iconic episode arcs of the Tom Baker series of Doctor Who. The story centers around a Time Lord who was being executed for his crimes. However, before his execution his brain was removed from his body and placed into a brain jar so that he could later steal another body and be reborn.
In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how to make your own Brain of Morbius prop and what a better time do make it then for this coming Halloween!
Step 1: Watch the Video!
Before you go on to step 2, take a minute to watch the video! There's a lot of detail in the video that will help you as you follow the next few steps.
Step 2: Acquire the Parts
You'll need several items to build your Brain of Morbius Prop. The two most important are of course the fish aquarium and the rubber brain. Both can bought from Amazon or other online sources. The aquarium at any pet store.
3 gallon aquarium
Small sheet of MDF
Small sheet of acrylic
Small sheet of aluminum
Bolts and nuts
Rubber or plastic brain
Step 3: Cut Out the Base and Lid
Use compass to cut out the base and lid of the brain canister. Cut a 12" diameter circle from both. You can make these circles using a compass from the office supply store, or just find something 12" in diameter and trace it out.
If you have any kind of power tool like a band or jig saw, use that to cut out the circles. If not, use a handheld hacksaw to cut it out. It will just take a little longer.
Cut them both about 1/32" away from the line to allow room for sanding.
Most acrylic sheeting comes with a plastic film covering it. Do not remove this until you've finished. It will protect the sheeting from scratches whole cutting and sanding it.
Step 4: Sand the Base and Top
Using a sander of your choice, or simply some sandpaper glued to a block of wood, sand the edges of the circles down the line.
Once you've finished sanding, its a good time to paint the base and set it aside to dry overnight. I satin gold color is perfect and you can get the spray paint from the local big box store.
Step 5: Cut Out the Aluminum Circle
Cut out another circle from the aluminum sheet. This will be glued to the top of the MDF base you made in the previous step. You can use some really sharp scissors and just use your jigsaw to cut this out. Make sure to remove any burs or sharp edges so that no one cuts themselves on this later.
Step 6: Make the Side Adapter
In the TV story arc the brain jar was connected to some kind of pumping machine through an adapter on the side of the jar. To make this part is super simple. It's made from PVC pipe, a coupler fitting, and a cap with a hole in it.
Using a saw, cut two small slices off of the coupler and slide all of them over the section of pipe so that it looks like my pictures. Then sand off the edge to make it fit the rounded fish aquarium's side.
You'll want to also paint this with the same gold paint and set it aside to dry.
Step 7: Cut the Cord
Take an old electrical cord and cut both ends off of it. This will be the "hose" that pumps the brain juice. Insert one end of the cord into the PVC cap from the previous step and hide the other end behind something in your home when you show the prop.
Step 8: Install the Aluminum Disc
Using some spray adhesive or other glue attach the aluminum disc to the base MDF disc. Since its slightly samller it should leave a small gap around the outside edges.
Follow this up by evenly spacing some brads around the base to resemble rivets in metal.
Step 9: Create the Electrode Bars
The side of the brain jar has electrodes attached to it. To make these simply cut out some small sections of the left over acrylic sheeting and drill four holes in them. It makes it easier if you tape them all together and drill the holes all at the same time.
Using some screws just slightly larger than the holes space two of the bars about 1/2" apart. This will complete the electrode bars.
Step 10: Finish the Pieces and Glue It Up
Cut out any additional decorative pieces you desire from the leftover acrylic. There are many options depending on which version of the brain jar you want to make. Just look at the TV clips or the video in Step 1 to decide which pieces you want to make.
Install of the these pieces to the aquarium (now the brain jar) and lid using CA glue (super glue).
Step 11: Glue the Jar to the Base
Using some silicon adhesive caulk (clear), glue the base and jar together. The clear caulk goes on white, but dries clear. Then using some CA glue attache the hose adapter to the side of the jar. You might need to use something to support it while it dries.
Step 12: Add the Brain and Fill It Up!
In a mixing bowl or other container, mix water with some yellow and green food coloring to make some brain juice.
Insert the rubber brain into the aquarium and fill it with water to just cover the top of the brain.
Turn on the aquarium pump to let the bubbles start flowing and you're done! You've got your very own Brain of Morbius prop!
Step 13: You're Finished!
You've now got your very own Brain of Morbius that you can bust out every Halloween and scare away the kids (and maybe the wife too)!
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