TARDIS final corner post details added

I had to glue & clamp in pairs & unfortunately there were only enough clamps to do one pair at a time, so four weeks late, I have completed gluing the corner details. Chris the builder teacher wandered in with his pedal powered broken collar bone (ouch!) and commented that the corner details added an improved dimension to the build.

Watching an old episode of Jon Pertwee’s I noticed an added middle divider on all sides of the box using the same motif as the door stopper, so off to hardware again to get some more timer!

After this week’s gluing is dried, I’ll get some help to tip the whole structure on its side so that I can build the floor structure.


Atomic MPC has been suggesting for a while that the best heatsink/fan for a HTPC build was the Scythe Big Shuriken. I’d seen one in April back in Osaka, but was not quite in the right brainspace to purchase it. So, I placed an order with PCCasegear http://pccasegear.com/ (whose excellent next day delivery to rural Vic arrived promptly at our PO box) as the smaller profile should fit.

Yes, it should.

Sadly, it doesn’t and the final configuration doesn’t allow for my 12GB of RAM. All the mucking around also meant that I had to clean off the thermal goop from the CPU.

Defeated, I’ve installed the stock Intel heatsink/fan.

TARDIS corners

A flaw in my design was leaving out a detail on the timber corner posts which had been bugging me. In order to achieve the ‘correct’ exterior dimensions and not build something that would collapse the ground under it, I decided on the whole to use relatively thin timber (12-18mm hardwood)  for the various aspects of construction.

Various details such as above the windows, around the light boxes, and the corner posts have a very much stepped design giving the prop a 3 dimensional depth. By the time I’d completed the corner posts, I’d noticed that I’d omitted an extra ‘step’ and thought that I’d add these back in by creating some shaped timber slats to straddle the height of the corner posts.

This is also a slight design variation as the timber detail highlights the light box (as used by the Ecclestone & Tennant doctors) but is not seen on other props where the lightbox simply sits on top of the corner posts.

even more HTPC

What’s a HTPC build without a hurdle or twenty? One of my concerns with a HTPC is reducing the heat as much as possibly whilst maintaining a low noise level. For the CPU, this means a whopping big heat-pipe finned heat-sink arrangement with PWM (or resistor throttled) fan.

Having done the research, I decided on the Noctua NH-C14. Large fins, low profile, throttled fans & 2 at low speed for extra heat removal. It also fitted in the dimensions read off the specs. The Level 10 as part of its beautiful design allows easy access to the back of the motherboard for mucking around such as this.

Unfortunately, even though the fan fitted, it caused 2 issues: firstly the size of the 12cm heatsink made contact with the RAM heatsinks (I had decided to go for 12GB of RAM in 3x 2x 2GB). Ok, simply workaround: live with 8GB for now and contemplate later. Second issue was that the case lid for the motherboard section was hinged and therefore did not close for the size of the heatsink/fan.

ARGH! Even though I’d like to finish the project, as the sun has now set I’ll put this in the further contemplation required basket.

more new HTPC build

I decided on the Gigabyte P55A UD6 because I wanted the maximum internal componentry for SATA connection. This board has 8 of them, 2 of which are SATA3. One for the boot drive (Vertex Turbo SSD, which I flashed up 2 firmware levels – much easier to do before installing OS!), one optical BD drive, one 2TB main drive for recorded TV, and 5 drives for saved videos.

I’d had some prior experience with RAID and have been fairly unhappy – the implementation of RAID-0 just did not justify the risk of complete data loss for marginal speed increase. RAID-1 gave internal mirroring, but at the cost of space and speed. RAID-5 might have been a go-er except that I have been reading that in the event of a single drive failure, the likelihood of the other drives rapidly following suit is quite high. RAID 10 didn’t suit, again complexity but definite lact of space.

I wanted bang for buck, so formatted 5x 2TB drives under GUID and connected them as JBODs. I’ve then used my Drobo-s for a Sync-toy backup.

New HTPC build

One of my going away present future projects when I finished up last year was to build new state of the art computer as technology would have it back in January of 2010. The last time I attempted this was at the Pentium-4 level on a Gigabyte INXP mobo. I know that tech moves quickly, but I had hoped then to have the fastest, latest, greatest for more than 1 week! Yes, a newer faster processor came out 7 days later.

I had thought this time to get the best of what I could build rather than the fastest of componentry. A HTPC of course needs to be quiet & preferably unobtrusive. Fail one out of two as the BMW designed Thermaltake Level 10 case weignhing in at over 20kg of pressed steel is hardly inconspicuous.

I debated with myself as whether to make this the new home server but needs must as the old, several times evolved HTPC was truly on its last legs.

TARDIS windows

A lot of activity over the past few weeks to do with the window frames for the TARDIS. The design I envisaged used slats to make up the actual frames, then to have the window panes inserted into these. The better way of doing this from a consistency point of view was to make each slat exactly the same dimensions so that assembly and replication was the easy part (as opposed to easily making them up and then spending ages making them fit).

Three days of jig making, panel saw cutting, and drum sanding later, I had 56x millimetre identical sticks of timber with half laps ready to fit into each other. Glazing now pressed on the mind and we decided to go with rebating trenches into the backside of the timber and to bead the glass in as the very last step so that any timber movement did not damage the 3mm thin glass.

I obtained the glass at Essendon Glass which was a very simple process. Googling various TARDIS constructors would have you believe that the exact glass type is difficult & expensive to procure. The bobbly glass (to my eye anyways) looked very similar to translucent bathroom glass, so that’s what I bought. The bottom left and right panes of each window (in various incarnations) is a slightly different design giving a “T” shaed appearance which I don’t mind.

For final installation, I’ll trim the holes in the TARDIS frame made all those years ago from sandwiched ply so that each window fits. I also need a method of attachment. The window frames are slightly recessed into the frame and since I don’t have many millimetres to play with, I’ll sit the entire frame in a bit by means of some slats attached to the back of the window.