Introduction: Make a Mini TARDIS With Light and Sound Effects!

I recently started watching Dr. Who series and I am really liking it. But the one thing that fascinated me the most... is the TARDIS. After all, wouldn't it be awesome to possess a time travelling machine like that... that too in the shape of a POLICE BOX. So I decided to make a miniature model of the 12th Doctor's TARDIS played by our favorite Peter Capaldi. Though it is small (barely 7"), it looks beautiful on my work-desk. It took me about three days to finish it. Let's see how I made it-

Step 1: Requirements

1. Corrugated Cardboard/Plastic sheet OR

2. Cardboard box with square base (as shown in the second pic)- You can also use packaging boxes which are also made of corrugated cardboard. The advantage of using this one is it saves your effort of cutting and joining every wall. The only effort made is in doors. I was lucky to find one :)

3. Cutting tool: Xacto knife is best for cardboard cutting. Also keep scissors for quick cutting and pasting purposes

4. PVA Glue: Fevicol for wood is best as it is dense and more durable

5. Plans: I used the attached plan which I found by some googling. I scaled it to 1/16th of given dimensions.

6. Ruler (preferably a metallic one as it is easier to cut with its support)

7. Paper tape and Double sided foam tape

8. Blue & white acrylic paint

9. Miscellaneous items: As seen in the image. These are optional and just for easy handling and progressing through

10. Electronics: I will describe it in the last step

Step 2: Start Cutting

1. There are four sides in the TARDIS. The three sides other than the doors are identical and will be cut alike. The walls are simply rectangular in shape. Cut them off from the cardboard using the reference image in the step and plan (see first image).

2. Next, you need to start cutting rectangular panels from each of the walls. We are making two layers for each wall. The cardboard layer is the inner one. The top 2 panels will be cut for the windows. Cut only the lines drawn in black. Mark the grey lines on the cardboard using a pencil. Repeat this step 3 times.

3. For the door, in addition to the basic cutting, there are three more cuts (See second image). The dotted lines indicate half thickness cuts, which mean the cardboard has to be cut up to half its thickness. Start off by multiple strokes of xacto knife at a light pressure.

4. When you are satisfied with the cut, push it inside by the support of the ruler with it's edge placed along the dotted lines (see third image). This is just like folding the cardboard but not completely. You can push it till it makes 90 degrees with the ruler edge. In this way the doors are not completely detached and we won't need any hinge mechanism for attaching doors (saves cost ;)

5. Now, you have to do a little bit of peeling for the panels marked in grey. It is important, as it will accommodate the rectangular cutouts obtained in next step (see fourth image). A corrugated surface has three layers. The wavy layer is sandwiched between the two flat layers. You have to first peel off the first layer by gently cutting grey marked panels (such that only the first surface is cut). Then you'll have to press it on hard surface to make it flat. Be careful! You only have to press the peeled area. Repeat this step for all the panels.

Step 3: Well, More Cutting!!

Now, we will cut the second layer of cardboard which will act as outer protruding bars which separate the panels from each other. This layer will also act as a reinforcement to the first layer. I originally planned for making second layer from cardboard, but got frustrated after cutting layer 1 and hence went for a thick blue card-sheet which was easier to cut and less time consuming. Here's how to make second layer:

1. This step is very similar to Step 2, except that in this layer you have to cut all the panels (including the ones marked in grey in last step). Same is applicable for doors also. If my math is correct, you'll have collected a lot of rectangular cutouts (32 to be exact :P ). DON'T THROW THEM! Remember the peeled panels in Step 2? This is where these rectangles will fit. Fix them using the PVA glue. Let it dry for half an hour. You'll still have 8 rectangles left. What to do with them? Well, DON'T THROW THEM AS WELL! They will be used for making window frames.

2. Continuing with the second layer, when you are finished cutting this layer, it is time for gluing the layers together. Carefully apply PVA glue over the card-sheet and paste it on the cardboard layer. Be thorough as you don't want air bubbles to come up. I will suggest start pasting and pressing them from one edge to other. I let it dry for one hour and watched Dr. Who during this time. Nice usage of time isn't? :P

Step 4: Erecting the Walls and Joining Them

Since I had used box originally for the model, I was saved from the trouble of raising every wall and fixing them. However if you are using separate card boards for each wall, you can raise them one after the other .I would recommend not raising all the walls together because in case if your measurements were not right earlier your structure would look taper (READ UGLY). If you do it one by one then you can carefully fix them with great ease and with corrections if needed.

At the end, it should look something like:

Step 5: Making the Edges and Center Bars

1. In TARDIS, the edges appear slightly raised (see Plan and sample image). For that you have to cut rectangular pieces of cardboard (second image) and fold them using the same method we used in making doors. You can fix multiples pieces depending on how thick you want your edges to be.

2. For center bars, cut thin rectangular strips and paste them at the center. On the doors, fix them on any one of the doors in such a way that half the width remains unfixed that will cover the other door. You are done with the body now.

Step 6: Making Windows & Signage

1. Windows: Remember the 8 rectangles left in Step 3? Cut them using xacto knife to form the window frames. In Peter Capaldi's TARDIS, the windows are white colored. Hence I painted them using white acrylic paint. You can also choose blue. Cut any sheet of paper and paste on any one side to make window panes. Your windows are ready.

2. Glow sign-board: The concept of Glow sign-board is based on the difference in passage of light by contrasting colors. When a light source is placed behind it, black won't allow any light to pass through it thus making white area glow. For this, you have to take print out of the "POLICE BOX" sign (just scale it on Photoshop; press Ctrl+Alt+I and adjust image size based on your dimensions). You must choose a good quality translucent paper and laser printer to print them out otherwise light leaks won't be significant and it won't be legible in the dark.

For the casing, cut a rectangular strip equal to outer dimensions of the board. Then take out a smaller rectangle strip which will have the printed area (see second image). There will be some area overlapping between casing and printed sign. Glue them together. To protect the printed area, you can put transparent tape over it.

3. The "PULL TO OPEN" and "ST. JOHN AMBULANCE" signs are also attached. Scale them as per your dimensions as well.


Step 7: The Roof

This was a tricky step! I made a detachable roof (the base was permanently fixed) because I chose to insert the electronics from the top rather than from the bottom. The roof has two steps followed by taper steps which meet at the center. I used the same card-sheet which was used for second layer of the wall. If you are using cardboard then you can use half thickness cut to fold. I have tried to illustrate it using some images I drew on Paint. I also have attached a template (not scaled, see first image) that you can use as a reference to make your own roof. Here's how:

1. Making the mount on which the roof rests (see second image). Cut a square piece (outer dimensions equal to width of the walls) like shown in first picture. Take out another square from it whose dimensions are about 1/2" smaller than the outer square (KEEP IT!). Fix the mount on the top edges of the wall using glue.

2. I have colored different sections of the roof for understanding purpose. These are arranged in alternate horizontal and vertical fashion (like here, green and pink are vertical while blue and yellow are horizontal). The first section (the one in blue) is folded inwards which will be placed on the mount made in previous step. You have to leave some extra cardboard bits which will be used to hold adjacent sections and hence will make the bond stronger. You have to work your way up to the top (Also a success tip in life ;) as shown in II, III and IV parts of second image. When you are joining adjacent sections you have to hold the bits together till they dry completely. I used small binder clips for that.

3. Make a hole at the top in which you'll insert the led for the lamp.

This step required a lot of patience. But the end result was worth it!!

Step 8: Paint Job and Finishing Touch

1. Though I wanted to paint it like the actual color which is Pantone 2955c, I could only find Prussian blue. Also I didn't want to spend much for the paint so I kinda tried with that only. It turned out good after drying. Use a soft flat brush for painting. For the window frames you can use the same color or White color (the latter looks better as it gives contrast to the walls). I did two coatings of paint to hide the cardboard texture. Paint the Glow sign-board casings also. Let it dry for 4-5 hours.

2. When it is dry completely, fix the Glow sign-board (see image 4 & 5). Fix them in such a way that that the printout part lies exactly over the opening given in the cardboard walls.

3. Push the windows from within so that it will adjust into the thickness of the cardboard (see image 5 & 6). Paste the "PULL TO OPEN" and "ST. JOHN AMBULANCE" sign on the doors.

4. For door handles, you can use stapler pins. First, punch it in the door & then pull it slightly outwards.

Step 9: The Base & Lamp

1. Base: I cut thick square cardboard base (used for party cakes) and gave about 1/4" extra space on each side. I was having a great difficulty gluing the walls on the base since the thickness of cardboard was very less. So I added 3 wooden ribs of thickness 1/4" and fixed them on each of the walls except the doors (otherwise the doors wouldn't open; image 2). My fevicol was almost over so I put double-sided foam tape at the bottom and pressed it against cardboard base. You can see unused white tape coming out. On the outside I used Popsicle sticks to cover the extra 1/4" provided to give strength & a little thickness to the edges. Paint the base as well.

2. Lamp: I used the cap of fevicol bottle for that. On the closed end of the lamp, I glued a button from one of my old jackets on the top. For lamp casing, I glues 4 thin pieces of card-sheet over the curved surface of the cap and one around the circumference of the base. At last, I glued the open end of the cap on the top of the tapered roof.

AND VOILA!! YOUR TARDIS MODEL IS COMPLETE!! All that's left is the electronics.

Step 10: Adding Light and Sound

1: Lights- I like the pulsing/fading effect when the TARDIS disappears. For that, I used a 555 timer circuit, thanks to Mr. Beta for the excellent tutorial. Instead of one, I used two LED's- one like he used but white in color and a 1W LED connected in parallel with it to the output of 555 timer. Those who want to learn how this circuit works can find it here. The speed of pulsing and fading can be controlled by adjusting the variable resistor in the circuit.

2. For the sound, I used ISD1820 Sound recording module I found on ebay, and added a bigger speaker on its output terminals for louder sound. This circuit works like this. I added that in parallel with 9V source with micro ON/OFF switch.

2. After fabricating the circuit, insert the pin LED in the hole given on tapered roof. There was a square cutout which we got in Step 7 (1st bullet). Using double sided tape, fix LED at the center of the cutout. Fix that square on the roof mount using sellotape (see second image for understanding). Poke a hole in the base and insert the ON/OFF switch in that.

YOUR TARDIS WITH LIGHT AN SOUND EFFECTS IS NOW COMPLETE! CHEERS!! The overall build cost me around Rs. 300 (approx $5) including the electronics that contributed to 80% of the total cost.

This was my first Instructable. I hope you liked it :) All doubts are welcomed :)

Step 11: Update (17/03/2017)

Here's my Newbery TARDIS model. This is bigger (9" exact) and it's individual walls are erected and joined. Hence I was able to make few more details like frosted glass texture on bottom left and right window panes. Instead of using 1W LED to light up the inside, I used 4 white Strawhat LEDs and fixed them on the roof, one behind each POLICE BOX signage, and the results were beautiful! :D For powering it up, I used mobile charger as a steady 5V source.