Bigger on the Inside, part I

Ever since we first saw the house, the closet big enough to hold a queen-sized bed has been a running joke for us, and was very quickly named the TARDIS. Eventually, we started to have plans to paint the door blue and what not. Well, one thing led to another….

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While this is clearly a work in progress, it has also come a long way from the initial joke name for the closet. At first the idea was to make a 3D version of ThinkGeek’s TARDIS Door Poster, where it would look like a TARDIS on the outside but just be a normal door. While trying to figure out how to modify the existing door, I encountered TARDISbuilders.com, and quickly discovered it would be just as easy to build TARDIS doors as it would be to make the current door look like a TARDIS. Given that choice, what would any reasonable person do?

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Thanks to the attic project I actually had lots of spare wood, and only needed to buy the plywood for the core of the doors. I ripped 2x4s to make the rest of the frame and started putting the pieces together. At first I tried just gluing without screws or nails so that I could do less touch up work later but it ultimately proved not to be strong enough on just glue.

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With the doors mostly figured out, I was unsure what to do for all the signage. Do I special order it or follow one of the dozens of ideas I’ve seen online. Eventually I just grabbed PDFs for them and printed the Police Box sign at the reduced scale for my narrow frame. I was surprised it turned out so well, so the next step was to grab a sheet of acrylic and sandwich it and see what happens…

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To say this worked better than I hoped is a massive understatement. This is the kind of rare success from idea to implementation that makes you run with a project and complete inside five hours what you originally weren’t even going to work on that day. the above photo is actually me trying to figure out how deep I need to make the sign in order for the light to diffuse enough to be uniform, and as it turned out the magic number was the same as a roll of dog shit bags (2 in). It was time to break out the table saw.

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Earlier that morning I had used the table saw to groove Bunny’s lightsaber so grooving the wood for the sign was simple in comparison. I had square pillars in the back on both ends to give it more structural support, as well as to create an easy mounting point for all the parts.

 

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Looking at the above sign just sitting in my kitchen, I dropped everything and ran out to buy the paint for the TARDIS. I had house guests at the time who were the only people I know that have a sonic screwdriver collection as big as mine, and they were both staying in that room AND out having fun roaming Boston for the day. My goal was to get the sign painted, installed and powered before they got home. Painting it before putting it together ensured I wouldn’t get any paint on the sign itself, as well as letting me paint the interior white with a high gloss paint to increase brightness.

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The big pleasant surprise with the plywood frame was that you could still see the wood grain after it had been painted, mainly thanks to not really sanding anything. However that was perfect for the TARDIS in general. Once it was dry enough I took it right up and mounted it. Drilling the hole for the light’s power cord was interesting. I didn’t want it coming out of the frame on the other side so it comes out above the frame, and getting that to align was not remotely as easy as I hoped. Eventually I’ll install an outlet in the closet to power the sign (hopefully this week). In the meantime I use an extension cord when I want to show it off. The results when my house guests returned were…. satisfactory.

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Once PAX was over I decided to panel the front of the door frame with plywood to get more of the wood grain texture on the  whole of the TARDIS. That would’ve been a whole lot easier if I had planned to do so when I made the sign, because then I could have left the scrap wood lined up by the grain instead of having to figure it back out later. Once that was done and installed I turned my attention back to the doors. I had fucked up the beveling thanks to bad reference angles, and correcting it at this stage was not remotely pleasant. I had designed the horizontal parts to account for the vertical bevel, so I had to fix the vertical AFTER attaching the horizontal parts.

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Once that was taken care of however, and checking to see how things were fitting together, I just had to get some color on there…

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Now I’m in the process of mounting the doors. Since the closet door had swung into the room, and the TARDIS needs its doors to swing into the closet, I’ve been modifying the door frame to allow it. Sure, it would’ve been simpler to add wood to the frame and make the doors just a tiny bit narrower, but when your door opening is only 67% as wide as it should be, you don’t want to lose even a half inch. The left door is mounted in the top photo, and I’m about 1/3 of the way trimming the frame for the right door. Once we get there, very little will remain. I need to build & attach the window frames, install the latch/lock, and build the phone panel (which will not open because these doors are thin and I don’t need something else easy to break). Oh and painting. I’ll still need to paint the back of the doors and finish painting the outer door frame.

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