NEW ZEALAND TARANAKI

Dalek Invasion!

New Zealand built TARDIS and Dalek - used in the 48 Hour Film competition
From what we can determine from searching the net, this is New Zealand's first Dalek construction page.

NEW: Our Dalek  features in the V48 Hour Film competition...watch the short 'Collision Course' here

Our Dalek and TARDIS were built as a means to promote an interest in science and technology  at the local Careers Expo.

Further down the page you'll see how we created a 3D interactive TARDIS that lets you battle Daleks on the way to learning a bit about science and the universe...

You can read more about the TARDIS here


Introduction

We have been very fortunate and privileged to have a retired engineer offer his skills, experience and time to build the Dalek for us. Michael helped a bit but the real ingenuity and work was done by Len. He has created a unique interpretation that is still instantly recognisable by the hundreds that have seen it so far. It certainly has the "chill" factor - scaring a good many students at the Expo when it saw them and rolled toward them screaming "EXTERMINATE"...all good clean fun though, we made sure the gun wouldn't actually shoot them...!

It made it into the papers twice in the first week it went public:

  • Daily News, 18 August 2005, page 3, "Timeless Robot"
  • Carrers Expo supplement, Daily News, 19 August 2005, page 7, "Watch out for that laser beam!". (Contains some factual errors, the Dalek is NOT a creation of the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki but was borrowed for the WITT stand at the 2005 Careers Expo).
and again recently with the 50th anniversary of the Dr Who television series

Below are some images taken as the Dalek took shape, using ideas from the plans from the usual sources on the net. Actual measurements changed to suit the project we were working on rather than stick to another persons design.

Dalek repainted for 2016 Fashion Show

New Zealand built TARDIS and Dalek - star in Jampot Productions short film "Collision Course", made for  the 48 Hour Film competition  



 
 Daleks roam Taranaki causing destruction and mayhem in this short film. Who will protect the innocent? Where is the TARDIS now? The latest comedy film by Jampot Productions in Taranaki won two local awards including Audience Favourite with their V48 Hour Film Competition entry.

Some facts about our DIY Dalek:

  • Built by a friend in Waitara, for Christine and Michael Fenton, to promote Science and Technology in Taranaki
  • Piloted by the Fenton girls (age 9 and 12). Both have passed their Dalek driving licence and are eager to get on the highway
  • Made in wood, in only 4 weeks, out of "left-overs" and other bits and pieces found in the shed.
  • Weighs approximately 40kg
  • Runs on C-size batteries
  • Still in the process of being completed ("Dalek bumps" to be added)
  • First Appeared at Bell Block Primary school, then at the Careers Expo along with a life-size TARDIS from the Dr Who TV series.
  • A Dalek is not a robot, but a life-support vehicle for an otherwise vulnerable life form. The vehicle is heavily protected and armed, the life form hostile to all other "inferior" life in the Universe (OK, I know this is from a fictional story, but many people are confused about this point).

A Dalek visits Bell Block Primary School

Bell Block students in the Daily News. Photo by Mark Dwyer

Why build a Dalek?

New Zealand needs to produce well-rounded scientists and technicians with good problem solving skills. However, the recent Science Fair had few High School age exhibitors, believed to be due to the impact of NCEA assessments leaving little time for the development of practical skills. Christine and Michael are encouraging students and teachers see that practical skills and knowledge, including turning an idea into a reality, are as important as the push to pass exams.

For many years they have encouraged teachers, students and members of the general public to become involved with hands-on stimulating Science activities, such as the hugely successful CSI Forensics workshops. They believe anyone of any age can become an amateur scientist and discover something new (past Nexus students have!) and have equipment you can build at home (along with other research) on their award winning website.

Using popular movies or TV shows as a theme can get students and teachers excited about learning, not just for exams, but also to create something in the real world. It would be great to see more entries in the Science Fair in the coming years…even big toys like our Dalek!


The Photo Gallery

 
15th July 2005 work begins. From off-cuts in the shed, the skirt takes shape.

 

 

"Gorrila Grip" and gib screws hold everything together. The gun section fits on top of the skirt via 3 wooden locator rods; one at the front, one either side of the back. This makes it easy for a child to get in and out by lifting the top half off (once the neck and head is attached).

A removable seat is inside the skirt section and can be adjusted to an appropriate height; an adult or older child can sit, a smaller children can walk the Dalek along. Castor wheels on the bottom help provide steering. A skid can be placed under the skirt to lift the castors of the ground, with lead-acid battery driven motors providing remote control ability when a human operator is not inside.

 

25th July. The gun section is complete with a unique look. The gun and arm will not droop if the Dalek operator lets the handles go, so the Dalek always has an alert look.

 

 
1st August. A bit of undercoat once the vertical slats are attached. The space in between the arm and gun sockets are where two speakers are mounted internally facing outward.

 

 
The neck rings are complete, made from MDF. The head dome will freely slip and rotate on the top ring thanks to a special secret method devised by Len. The head does not wobble and can be rotated by a handle visible in the right image. Also visible are the three locator rods where the neck fits on top of the gun section, similar to the way the gun section fits on top of the skirt.

 

 
As mentioned before, here we see the strange looking life form that is kept alive by the Dalek life-support vehicle. Well protected by armour, we also see the deadly-looking gun that flashes red when fired.

 

4th August. Nearly there and beginning to look recognisable. A claw was used here but a traditional sucker can be attached if desired. The gun uses red LED's and a peizo buzzer sounds when the operator fires the gun. Lasers are not recommended!

Inside, running on 9 volts DC supplied by 6 'C' size batteries, are an audio amp for the CD player, Ultrabright white LED's (~4 volts each) for the eye stalk, and rainbow LEDS (~4 volts each) for the dome lights. We use a Dick Smith Electronics Vader Voice kit with the modification by Richard Millership.

For physics teachers or primary teachers, the circuitry was very straight forward and a great example of where parallel and series circuits are appropriate.

The CD player supplied the authentic Dalek voice; we spliced a file together from various sound sources on the internet. We also have the ability to modulate in real time an operators voice, and for static displays, transmit by radio to the amplifier.

Power consumption has been no problem. We have run the Dalek for 2 full days during the Expo and have not needed to change the batteries.

 

The TARDIS and Dalek at the Careers Expo
August 21 and 22nd 2005. With temporary Dalek bumps added, the Dalek was easily recognisable. A reliable source told us that some people went to the Expo just to see the Dalek and TARDIS! The Dalek is not intended to be 100% authentic and hence 'precious'...it's a hands on vehicle to encourage students and teachers to develop practical skills and make their ideas a reality...with help from experts if needed!

 

Conclusion:

New Zealand needs to produce well-rounded scientists and technicians with good problem solving skills. However, the recent Science Fair had few High School age exhibitors, believed to be due to the impact of NCEA assessments leaving little time for the development of practical skills.

Using popular movies or TV shows as a theme can get students and teachers excited about learning, not just for exams, but also to create something in the real world. It would be great to see more entries in the Science Fair in the coming years…even big toys like our Dalek!


Michael has been using Game Maker to create educational games and simulators for many years. Science simulators don't have to be boring either. A game based on the 'Dr Who' TV show involves being inside a 3D TARDIS. Players can visit the Doctor's laboratory to learn about astronomy, go to the library, or, for a break, evade Daleks and Cybermen. It's all good fun and something that inspires students to look at the science in a new way.

Interactive TARDIS - science simulator and teaching tool by Michael Fenton

3D virtual TARDIS  - an interactive science virtual laboratory for teaching and assessing science



Promoting Science and Technology using props from TV and film

 

Visit our Science Fair and Robotics pages...

 

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