I hadn't intended to design a Tardis, but I wanted to give one as a gift. I started by downloading a bunch I found on the internet, but they varied from overcomplicated to sloppy (like traced lines instead of drawn ones). I wanted something simple and precise. So, I made my own.
It's perfect for storing pens, pencils, and perhaps your sonic screwdriver. Not to mention traveling through space and time.
Step 1: Materials
This is about as easy as you get for a laser project. You'll need the following materials (links are to what I used):
- A 13" x 6" or larger piece of opaque BLUE 1/8" acrylic, cast acrylic preferred (see note)
- WHITE acrylic spray paint
- Gaffer tape
- Fast set acrylic glue (second choice: super glue)
Note: 13" x 6" is almost exactly the size of what you're cutting. If you can't do precise alignment, you'll want a larger piece.
Step 2: Cutomizing
There are two ways to customize.
- Use the "with-name" template and edit the SVG file to replace NAME HERE with the name you want to use. Make sure you convert the text to an outline. The font is Arial Bold, chosen because everybody has it.
- Use the "without-name" template and write the name on the Tardis after you're finished, using a white fine point sharpie (do this before assembly).
Step 3: Testing the Slots
Lasers vary, so start with the Tardis test file to check if the slots are correct for your laser. The material should fit in the slot without forcing and without being too loose. Make sure to test with the same material, as different runs and different colors may vary. If the slot isn't right, you'll have to enlarge or reduce them in the SVG file.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Tardis
Pick the appropriate SVG template, either with or without the name. Laser cut it. The template uses a variety of colors so you can control the cutting order and settings as appropriate. The order should be
- Green and Yellow - ETCH - text, lock and handle
- Black - SCORE - panels
- Magenta - CUT - windows and slots
- Cyan - CUT - sides, top, and bottom
The two small red boxes at the top can be used to test your alignment to minimize material waste. Ignore them if this is not useful to you.
If your acrylic does not have masking, you must mask the top surface with light to medium transfer tape so it can be painted.
Step 5: Masking and Painting
Tear half-wide strips of gaffer tape and use it to wrap around and mask the edges of the four Tardis sides. You don't need to mask the windows, but you can put Gaffer's tape on the back to prevent overspray to the inside. (I didn't mask the windows and got no overspray, but your setup may vary).
Spray the sides with the white acrylic spray paint. You want Acrylic paint so it will bond to the surface. Make sure to hit the windows from all four sides to get the inside edges, which will make it look a bit like the Tardis is lit up. I recommend two coats. Allow paint to dry overnight (to make sure you don't lift up paint inside the score lines. Carefully peel off the gaffer tape and the mask. A little extra gaffer tape
If you are handwriting the name, now's the time to do it.
Step 6: Assembling the Tardis
The pieces of the Tardis should fit together easily. Assemble it and use some gaffer tape to secure the top ring. Flip it over and dribble some of the acrylic glue around each one of the slots. You don't need a lot of glue — the thin glue will seep in between the pieces.
If you're using fast set acrylic glue, it will set fully in less than 5 minutes. Flip the Tardis over, remove the gaffer tape and glue the top.
Acrylic glue is best because it bonds the pieces together, plus it's easy to use. If you don't have acrylic glue, superglue will work, but you'll have to take the bottom off, apply super glue to the bottoms of the sides, then carefully place the bottom back on.
NOTE: Once opened, acrylic glue evaporates very quickly. It gets expensive if you use a full bottle of glue for every project! To prevent evaporation, put the cap inside a ziploc storage bag, then put the cap back on the bottle with the bag forming a plastic seal. Seal it tightly.
Step 7: Final Notes
The license is an attribution non-commercial no-derivatives license.
- You DO NOT have to provide attribution on the actual Tardis. You DO have to provide attribution should you post a picture of the completed Tardis made from my template. I'd appreciate a link to this Instructable.
- No commercial license(s) will be provided because I do not own Doctor Who.
- No derivatives. You may not modify this design and post your own version of it. You may modify it for your own personal use (in fact, you must do so if you want to add a name).
I considered adding some weight to the bottom of the Tardis, but decided it wasn't necessary in the end. An alternative way to add a bit of weight to the bottom is to cut the base out of 1/4" acrylic instead of 1/8" acrylic, but that makes the base stand out a little more.
Finally, Tardises vary. This layout is intended to match the one used by the Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker.
Enjoy your travels through space and time!