Category Archives: 3D Printing


Time Lords Use More Starch

I like tech, especially when it can be used for fun. That’s largely why I have a 3D printer, to make toys. Truth be told, it’s really why most anybody has a 3D printer at home, to make toys. Sometimes I’ll just hop onto the big library of 3D files on the Thingiverse website and waste an hour looking for something cool to print.

And sometimes I design something reasonably cool myself. Tonight I was inspired, and the thing I designed turned out pretty great. At least I think so.

Earlier this week I’d run across a design on Thingiverse for a Lego version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Neat! But it was lacking a bit of detail, so I grabbed the model, threw it into my design software, and before you knew it I had a nicely detailed Han ready to be hauled away by Lego Fett. Still, I had just cleaned up someone else’s design. I wanted to do my own.


Suddenly I was interested in legos. I tried to think of other designs I could attempt. I remembered that there was a Doctor Who lego set due out, I’d heard about it on a the Radio Free Skaro podcast. A quick search and there it was on Amazon – it has Daleks, a weeping angel, and the entire Tardis control console. This is definitely on my list for Santa (hint, hint). And then it dawned on me. The Doctor was headed back to Gallifrey in the season finale, he was headed home. But the lego kit didn’t have any Gallifrinians or Gallifrayans or whatever they’re called (I’m a bad fan). But you know what every member of the Gallifrey high council has?  You betcha, a super-high three-winged Gallifrey collar! That’s what I’d build!

time lord photo

I broke out my handy digital caliper, went down and dug out our daughter’s old legos, and began measuring. I mocked up a little helmet, something simple just to test that I had connector design right.  Why put all the effort into sussing out the entire design only to find the thing didn’t fit? So I took a baby step, and about half an hour later I had a little lego minifig wearing a silver helmet from the printer.  It clicked on and off quite nicely. I like small bits of success.

I then became absorbed. I think I lost a couple of hours, designing and fiddling and designing and tweaking. When I was ready to print I discovered two things. The helmet was too thin, and the supports the software automatically built into the design were too thick. But it fit. My lego minifig looked like a Time Lord.  🙂

Another hour of work and I had it. The helmet was thick enough that it didn’t fall apart, and I replaced the automatic supports by designing my own breakaway struts. I finished the model off by dropping the Seal of Rassilon onto the shoulders. The Time Lords are ready to greet Doctor Who! If you’d like to print one yourself, the file is up on Thingiverse. Enjoy!

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Do you think the show will have a warm, happy reunion between the Doctor and his home world? With an episode title like ‘Hell Bent’ I’d think not. It would be quite the twist for Timothy Dalton to give the Doctor a big hug and invite him in for tea…