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Dalek Blog - Week 3

The Making of " DALEK #D157 " Week 3 - Eyes, Shoulders, and Skirts

End-of-week progress image of card prototype (head) and final timber (lower body) construction.


How do you make a Dalek Eye?

To start your Dalek Eye, the first thing you need is a technical drawing of your design with all the key measurements you need. From your measurements, a profile gauge can be created.


A profile gauge is the silhouetted outline of your design. In the case of the Dalek, that meant half of the eye from the side view. Here the gauge has been drawn out, but still needs to be cut.

Working on a lathe, the profile gauge can be used to cut your material down to the correct shape. Once carved, the shape can be moulded. From the mould, a lightweight cast can be formed which can then be affixed to the rest of the eye and head.

If you weren't making a mould but sculpting instead, the profile gauge would still be useful to get the correct shape.


A lathe is a big piece of machinery which spins material really fast. When it's spinning, you can use chisels and gouges to cut and shape it down. As you can imagine, they are best for rounded or circular items such as bowls, ornate table legs, or daley eyes!


What more was there to do with the Skirt?

In terms of construction, there was still quite a bit of work left to do:

Whilst the front half was constructed, the back half still needed its internal supports and panels fitted.

You'd be surprised at how many angles and twists there are in a Dalek. It makes a simple step on paper difficult to do by hand; lining up all the panels and getting a level end result.


Holes and bolts had to be fitted to the base and the bottom of the skirt, such that the two component parts could be readily slotted together.

Bolts were fixed to the Base section, and holes made in the bottom of the skirt frame. Nuts could then be twisted on and off, and the two parts separated or put together.


Doors, and a sliding cabinet, had to be created for the back of the skirt too. This hidden compartment stops someone from getting in, but allows leaflets and prospecti to be stored and carried for open days.

The doors would be the back panel split in half, and the cabinet precisely made to fit all the angles for it to easily slide in/out. It's important to consider the inside as well as the outside of a make; whatever someone might see, or put a hand on, must be safe for handling and aesthetically tidy.


What is it like working with wood?

So far you've seen us work with wood in a variety of forms and use a range of different methods as well:

Sheet wood, like the plywood used as the skirt panels, is kind of like working with card, just on a much harder scale. You can't fold it because it will splinter, but you can use other fixings like screws and nails as well as glue.

We've used timber as our main support material; beams of wood simply cut to the lengths and shapes we need. You can use power tools to work efficiently, but you can also work by hand for small-scale or precise jobs using saws and planers.

For the eye, a block of hardwood was carved down with the aid of a machine, but wood can also be carved by hand using chisels and mallets.

There is a seemingly endless range of species of wood, and the forms they can come in, with one such form saving us a lot of time and effort; Flexi-ply. Plywood which is made in such a way it can be bent into curves without the wood splitting or cracking.

For the frame of the shoulders, a rounded shield-shape needs to taper upwards into a perfect circle.


We were able to cover the frame by using the flexi-ply and a handful of strategically placed clamps. The shapes could then be marked out, and pinned in place on the frame.

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