doors are not quite as simple as
they may appear.
Firstly, the roundels are a different
size than those in the rest of the Tardis. Actually I think for the entire
history of the series the doors remained the same. So when the roundels got
smaller for Tom Baker they didn’t change the doors. And for good reason: My doors are exactly 7 feet tall and the roundels in them are 24 inch (compared
with 20.5 inches for the walls) and on 28 inch spacing. The door thus consists
neatly of 3 roundels. If they had the smaller roundels they’d be only six foot
tall and Tom Baker would bump his head on them. I've since discovered that the
doors on the show were 6'6", so you could make the appropriate scaling
adjustments if you want.
The doors are also 8 ˝ inches thick.
This poses a problem: see the diagram below.
If the doors were their apparent
shape, they wouldn’t actually open! (unless there was a large gap between
them. There’s no lip on the interior of the doors and they don’t appear to
be made of foam rubber, so how does this work?
Well I don’t actually know what they
did for the series, but here’s my solution:
I built my doors with a very slight
slope between the inner and outer dimensions, with the result that the doors
have just enough clearance to open, but look rectangular. The difference is only
an inch. And of course we never see the doors from outside the console room…
They’re actually made of
the wall panels, with a solid sheet of MDO across the middle and 2x4s making up
the thickness on either side. The slightly sloping ends are clad with MDO,
mitred at the corner on a table saw so that the joint doesn’t show. The
resulting door looks like it was carved from a solid block of stone (MDO has no
wood grain – which is good on a time machine). The inner edges of the
deeper-than-usual-roundels are made from lighting diffuser panelling again.
I used three hinges per door,
though I think there are actually two on the show.
The Doors Move!
And yes the big red knob on the
console really does work! If you look closely at the TV show in the Tom Baker
era, you see that leading up from the hinges to about level with the top of the
doors is a rod, topped with a semi-circular thing. My Tardis has a similar
arrangement. This is a metal rod (1/4-inch) that is anchored to the door and
bends into the wall panel. Behind there is an arrangement of sash cords leading
to an electric curtain/drape draw motor. This is controlled by a relay attached to
the other computer hidden behind the scanner wall panel. The signal from the Big
Red Knob goes into the console computer, which sends a command out through the
network and actuates the digital IO system in the other computer. There’s also a motion sensor in the lobby that does the same thing,
so I can get in when there’s no-one in the console room.