Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!


by Bioluminescence, published

LED Micro-TARDIS by Bioluminescence Jul 23, 2011

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Who hasn't wanted their own TARDIS at some point? The Old Girl (or Sexy, as she prefers to be known) can be yours in miniaturized form, complete with light on top.

This micro-TARDIS just looks small from the outside (5cm tall) - there's a lot more going on inside.

---TARDIS Blue---
To get the best colo(u)r, I recommend printing with blue ABS, and covering it fairly evenly BEFORE printing, with a blue Sharpie. This changes the print colo(u)r from blue to dark blue. (Approx 0073CF to 0000B8)

---Bits and Pieces---
You will need 1x 5mm LED (in white, blue or UV), some wire, 2x small cell batteries, and an empty drinks can (or similar).

I've got some smaller LEDs coming in the mail, and I intend to get this small enough to attach to one of my infamous hair clips. The photograph shows my iterations, but it looks a bit like the TARDIS is moving through time in a way that only Baker-era special effects could claim ;)


There are three parts to this construction - the main body, the slide-in back, and the little top for the LED.

  1. Print one of each part - I recommend raftless for the main body, and the back, but a raft for the top piece.

  2. Take your knife and trim the bottom of the main part - particularly the channels that the back will slide into. Printing raftless, while giving you a nice smooth back, will tend to spread and clog the bottom of those channels.

  3. Also trim the back piece, where the raftless oozing will interfere with the sliding action. Do not progress until you have the sliding action for the back, reasonably smooth.

  4. Acquire wire. Strip some insulated if you need to. Don't use paperclips - their resistance is surprisingly high.

  5. Take two pieces of wire, each approx as long as your hand, and coil it into a flat spring to fit into the battery indentations. Leave a tail that can fit up the sides of the TARDIS body, and closer to the LED position at the top. This will take a bit of fiddling.

  6. Insert your LED. I used a 5mm UV LED which seemed to work well. A blue or white 5mm LED would be good too. Diffused would be best, but you can sand down or otherwise diffuse your own. Insert the LED with one leg to the left and one to the right. Using small pliers, bend the legs out to the side so as to touch the ends of the battery coil tails.

  7. Solder! Carefully (because soldering close to meltable plastic is FUN!) solder the legs of the LED to the tails of the battery coil tails. This is fiddly.

  8. Pop some batteries in, and ensure that the back still slides on nicely. Otherwise, flatten the coils.

  9. On the channel on the inside of the TARDIS back panel, trim some conductive material to fit. I used a strip of a drinks can, sanded to ensure good conductive contact. (Drinks cans are coated on the inside and will NOT conduct without sanding!) Glue this strip in to the channel.

  10. Slide the back on to the TARDIS body, and check to see if the LED lights with the two battery cells in. If not, swap the batteries around and test again.

  11. Dremel down the top of the LED (or leave it as is, if you prefer) and then glue the TARDIS top cap on to the LED.

  12. Make the sound - the one where he's left the hand-break on, and grin like a maniac.

A Warning - my TARDIS is, like the real one, incredibly temperamental - I'm going to try to improve the battery connections and work out an improved assembly procedure.

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I found it worked significantly better when I scaled the back by 105% to anyone having issues with loose backs.

Very nice. Made this for my wife (big fan). Thats my terrible, blurry picture up there. Printed great though. I went ahead and added a resistor to protect the led; there was pleanty of room in the tardis for a standard 1/4 watt. 1/2 watt would probably fit too.

Looks great and glad you got the resistor in there - my original (without resistor) very quickly faded and it's now at the very edge of visible light brightness.

Yep, without a resister the battery is basically shorting through the LED, trying to burn it out. This will either burn out the LED or, if the LED is tough, just make things hot and wipe out the battery.


Thanks! :D I've always admired your Dalek :)