How to build a Dalek

I am in the process of building a life-size Dalek. This page is here so that others can see how it can be done.

Unfortunately, there are no decent plans available. There is a set of instructions with incorrect measurements and a set of measurements with no instructions, both of which can be found on the Internet. However, it is possible to combine these (and a bit of imagination) to come up with a reasonable plan.

The method is contained in these scans:-

A pretty picture for the front page (don't bother!)

Information (not essential)

First page of method

Second page of method

Third page of method

Fourth page of method

Do NOT use the measurements given! They were used in "The Ultimate Adventure" but are completely inaccurate. The skirt produced by these plans was actually used for Davros's wheelchair, so you could try producing that.

My instructions are slowly starting to materialise!

Here is a pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-release of the instructions:

Instructions in Word format

Note that these are about as much use as an axe without a blade for building a whole Dalek but contain most of the details for the base and a small amount about the shoulders.

Photograph of the Dalek

Photograph of me in the Dalek

Photograph of the Bits

Photograph of the Bits

Photograph of the gun firing

If you want to build a Dalek, you will need:-

All the files mentioned above. The instructions may be inaccurate, but reading through them gives good background knowledge.

My additional notes and diagrams. Please be patient while I write them!

Tools- I used a jigsaw, dril, minidrill, plane (although you're not supposed to on MDF!), various knives, an electric sander, scissors, a pop riveter, several screwdrivers, a sanding block, various types of sandpaper, assorted hacksaws (including a handy knife attachment) two bradawls, a hammer, a wood file and other tools I can't identify!

A LOT of MDF or plywood. I used MDF and it's very sturdy so far. MDF has no grain, so it looks better and is less likely to split.

Wooden rods for the neck and gun firing mechanism (You only need the latter for a TV version, as the film versions fired smoke).

A HUGE amount of clay. I was fortunate in taking pottery as an enhancement course at College, so my tutor helped with that! This is used for the dome former.

Plaster of Paris, hessian scrim and plaster bandage for the dome mould.

Fibreglass for the dome itself. Gel coat is very hard to buy, BTW!

Two Mini indicator lights (clear) for the ones on top of the dome. These were not present on all Daleks so make sure you know which sort you want. The originals just had two bulbs sticking out of the top!

6 Ball bearings to make the dome swivel.

At least 3 castors. You have to choose carefully so that it suits the purpose best. I actually used 6 swivel- chair castors and it's fine on tiled floors but awful on tarmac! If you want an all-terrain Dalek, try supermarket trolley wheels. (I accept no responsibility for the methods used to obtain them!)

Two balls to hold the arms. If you can get 4 inch wooden balls, fine. However, I had to use ball floats for toilet cisterns which work just as well (and are probably much easier to drill!)

Various bits of tubing. I used 16mm aluminium and 20mm and 40mm plastic tubing for the plunger arm and 25mm steel for the gun and eye stalk. The rings on the gun to hold the spokes were actually made from the centre of a roll of fax paper!

8 12 inch lengths of 3mm brass rod for the spokes on the gun. Another 4 inch length is required for the firing mechanism.

Brass shim for the firing mechanism.

A sink plunger. I hammered a bit of wood into the 16mm tube and screwed it into that.

Wire mesh for the shoulders (unless building a Dalek from one of the first 2 stories or the first film) and for the neck (although I used loudspeaker cloth!)

Pond liner. This is what I used to make the rubber skirt round the base.

Polystyrene/wooden/whatever balls/hemispheres for the skirt and end of the eye stalk. I actually vacuum formed them!

Perspex (or substitute) for the eye lens.

For a voice synthesiser, I recommend Maplin's Voice Vandal. However, it requires a very smooth power supply so batteries are required (although I don't think anyone would try to run one off the mains!) and I've decided to use a 12V sealed lead-acid battery. Unfortunately, these are expensive! It's about £20 for a good battery plus another £25 for the charger! You need a 12V supply for the indicator lights anyway and alkaline batteries wouldn't last. Batteries are so expensive these days that it's probably worth it!