NEW ZEALAND TARANAKI

The TARDIS...a time travelling phone box!

New Zealand built TARDIS and Dalek - used in the 48 Hour Film competition

Time and relative dimensions in space ship

A great way to learn science, a 3D interactive TARDIS is shown lower down the page... 

Imagine a space ship that can change shape so that passers-by will not see it as out of place or anything strange.

Also imagine that the outside appearance and size does not need to match the actual size of the interior...it could be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!

Welcome to the TARDIS!


NEW: Our TARDIS also features in the V48 Hour Film competition...watch the short 'Collision Course' here

Introduction:

Physics teachers will not have to explain this to students when they learn it is all make believe...part of the 'magic' and mystery surrounding the scientist known only as 'the Doctor', a tourist of space and time.

The BBC television programme 'Dr Who' has been around for almost 50 years. When the show first started, the idea of an everyday object of the 60's, a phone box, as a disguise for an advanced time/space machine would have saved thousands of pounds in special effects. The idea too that, once it landed on Earth and took on this form, it became forever stuck (the Chameleon circuit was damaged) was also very clever and a cost saver.

With the launch of the new Dr Who series in April of 2005, we decided we would have a go at building or own life-size model of a Time and Relative Dimensions in Space vehicle. Seen at the 2005 Careers Expo, it was an instant hit, along with the Dalek, and for some, was the main reason they came. Of great help was Bill Dunnington, who got us passed the initial stages in getting the four main panels assembled so we could finish of the detailing and painting.

Why build a TARDIS?

New Zealand needs to produce well-rounded scientists and technicians with good problem solving skills. However, the recent Science Fair had few High School age exhibitors, believed to be due to the impact of NCEA assessments leaving little time for the development of practical skills. Christine and Michael are encouraging students and teachers see that practical skills and knowledge, including turning an idea into a reality, are as important as the push to pass exams.

For many years they have encouraged teachers, students and members of the general public to become involved with hands-on stimulating Science activities, such as the hugely successful CSI Forensics workshops. They believe anyone of any age can become an amateur scientist and discover something new (past Nexus students have!) and have equipment you can build at home (along with other research) on their award winning website.

Using popular movies or TV shows as a theme can get students and teachers excited about learning, not just for exams, but also to create something in the real world. It would be great to see more entries in the Science Fair in the coming years…even big toys like our Dalek!


The TARDIS materialises just in time for the v48 hour film competition!



 
 Daleks roam Taranaki causing destruction and mayhem in this short film. Who will protect the innocent? Where is the TARDIS now? The latest comedy film by Jampot Productions in Taranaki won two local awards including Audience Favourite with their V48 Hour Film Competition entry.

The Photo Gallery

OK, here's the good news...from show to show, season to season, there was no one plan or model of Police Box the BBC stuck with. Depending on what broke in transit or storage, you will find that the TARDIS, far from being stuck in one particular form, actually varies quite a bit during the 40 or so years since the series started. We used the Peter Brachacki plans as a guide but came up with our own look-alike, depending on the materials we could find and the short time frame to complete the project.

We think it looks close enough to the "real" thing...

 
12th July 2005 work begins. Decking timber provides the corner posts to which 4 sheets of plywood are screwed. The left and right panels are permanently screwed to the posts, the front (with the door) and back panels come off so the 4 sides can be easily transported. The roof slots down into the panels and keeps the ply straight (it tends to warp). Two square box frames were made up, one smaller than the other, to give the appropriate roof profile. On top is a 12 volt xenon flasher unit.

 

 

27th July: After a short delay, work continues...perspex diffuser panels from a building recyclers yard were great for the windows. We were going to cut out the ply in these places so light from inside could shine out, but, as time was running out, we skipped this for now. We left some dirt on the perspex to give the TARDIS a weathered look.

What colour is the TARDIS? Oxford Blue...it dries about two shades darker than the colour in the tin. You may want to lighten it up a bit, but we think it looks like the early 60's prop. Get a matt or low sheen paint..we got low sheen and it looks fine.

 

 

We made a fake cupboard door (where the 'Pull to Open' sign indicates) by making a frame and placing two hinges in appropriate places.

The original orange flasher lens on the xenon flasher unit is removed a replaced with a plastic container lined with tracing paper. A base and top, supported by four corner dowel pillars is assembled and painted.

 

18th-19th August. Cut out and painted the window frames and pushed into place. A very late night doing this! Attached the 'POLICE BOX' signs with velcro dots so they can be removed prior to disassembling and transporting the TARDIS. We intended making proper boxes and cutting out the ply to let light from inside shine out. Maybe later! By this stage we have yet to see the finished product fully assembled and working. Fingers crossed it will work on the day!

 

The TARDIS materialises at the Careers Expo

August 19 2005. Setting up at the Careers Expo...the four panels and roof box frames arrive pretty well unscathed. The few scrapes and scratches, and dirt from the truck, add to weathered look. It only took a few minutes to assemble and a DC power adapter kept the light flashing. We had the TARDIS sound effect on CD and looped that, along with the Dr Who theme, to good effect.

We were pleased with how it looked...what would the public think?

 

August 21 and 22nd 2005. It was an instant hit, along with the Dalek, and for some, was the main reason they came. For others who didn't know what it was, it served its other purpose very well...it made people stop at the Science stand when they might have otherwise just walked on by...some were willing to pay to go inside!

The TARDIS and Science Fair experiments

Jamie never has to worry about running out of time for her Science Fair projects

New Zealand built TARDIS and Dalek - star in Jampot Productions short film "Collision Course", made for the 48 Hour Film competition

New Zealand built TARDIS and Dalek - star in Jampot Productions short film "Collision Course", made for  the 48 Hour Film competition

Conclusion:

New Zealand needs to produce well-rounded scientists and technicians with good problem solving skills. However, the recent Science Fair had few High School age exhibitors, believed to be due to the impact of NCEA assessments leaving little time for the development of practical skills.

Using popular movies or TV shows as a theme can get students and teachers excited about learning, not just for exams, but also to create something in the real world. It would be great to see more entries in the Science Fair in the coming years…even big toys like our Dalek!

The interactive TARDIS console proved very popular!

interactive TARDIS console 


Michael has been using Game Maker to create educational games and simulators for many years. Science simulators don't have to be boring either. A game based on the 'Dr Who' TV show involves being inside a 3D TARDIS. Players can visit the Doctor's laboratory to learn about astronomy, go to the library, or, for a break, evade Daleks and Cybermen. It's all good fun and something that inspires students to look at the science in a new way.

Interactive TARDIS - science simulator and teaching tool by Michael Fenton

3D virtual TARDIS  - an interactive science virtual laboratory for teaching and assessing science

Visit our Science Fair and Robotics pages...or learn about Game Maker

 

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