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The Lego TARDIS SNOT Technique

The prototype TARDIS panel

This past weekend, I was talking to Patrick about the Lego TARDIS I built because he had seen it featured on Syfy’s Blastr.com.  He read my write up, but didn’t understand what I had meant by the SNOT technique or why I did it.  In my original post, I tried to keep an even balance for both neophytes and AFOLs, but I wanted to go more in depth on how the technique works.

The picture the TARDIS design is based on

SNOT stands for Studs Not On Top and is used to refer to any building technique where you don’t directly stack one brick on top of the other.  In the instance of the TARDIS, the windows are SNOT because it’s the only way to get the proper framing on the windows and get the thin blue frame between the white windows. If the bricks were stacked directly, I would be able to get the horizontal frames but not the vertical frames.

The two window stacks

The windows themselves were an alternating stack of blue plates and white bricks with a blue tile on top.  The bottom stack replaced the middle white brick with a 1 x 1 brick and a 1 x 1 brick that holds a pin to hold a 1 x 6 tile for the middle frame.  They are both held by similar pins sticking into the inside of the door  from 1 x 2 bricks with a hole in the middle to accomodate the pins.

The pins used to hold the windows

The bricks on top hold the sides in tight to keep the SNOT windows in tight.  There are two 2 x 4 bricks placed on top then locked in with the pieces that made up the roof.  Once locked in, these windows give the proper appearance of the TARDIS as seen in the picture of David Tennant with his TARDIS.

The windows in place (without the top bricks to lock them in)

I hope this has given a better understanding of the SNOT technique used to make the windows of the TARDIS.  The pictures above are from the original prototype for the designs.  Although the colors don’t match entirely (most of the final pieces are blue), it helps in the demonstration of my building.  If you have any other questions about this building technique (or any others that I use), feel free to let me know below.

If you’re interested in having anything built by me, please contact me via the link above or check out my Etsy store.  Thanks.

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  • liz s

    that is SO FREAKING COOL. I totally want to buy these pieces for my husband for Christmas! Is it possible to buy those bricks individually at lego.com? If so….can you help me come up with a supply-purchase list? I need to know exactly what to ask for!

    This totally rocks, and he will LOVE IT if I can pull it off!

  • Chris Edwards

    Planning to build a Tardis myself. Wondering how you did the panels please? Best I’ve seen btw. 🙂

    • I wrote a book that included in depth instructions on how to build the TARDIS, as well as 6 other projects. You can find it on Amazon at http://bit.ly/ArduinoLEGO

      • ANGELMOM

        The Amazon link is broken. What is the name of the book? I want to make this as a vase cover on my daughters headstone. Can you please let me know the deminsions of your build?

        ***RIP LEXI***

  • Chris Edwards

    Okay. Thank you. Won’t be until the new year, but let you know how I get on! 🙂

    • Please do. Would love to hear how it goes. And let me know if you have any questions while you build.

  • Chris Edwards

    Actually, I do have a question. Being a novice at this, as an adult. I was a demon builder as a kid. Is there anywhere I can find a comprehensive Lego catalogue online? You see, I was thinking of making the doors with flats, knobs facing side on. If you see what I mean. But I don’t think there is a hinge that will facilitate that with the brick body face upwards. Or is that how the other builder did it, I’ve seen pictures of, with tiles covering the knobs. Our can you get special bricks with connectors on the side as well? See, I need a parts catalogue! Lego has developed so much since I was young.

  • Charles Letizia

    I build the tardis you have posted, Changed the windows around. Instead of the white 1×1 with signal stud for the 1×6 blue tile (which didnt sit flush), I swapped out the 1×1 white bricks with a single 1×2 white brick and used super glue to attach the 1×6 blue tile (and now it sits flush). I am also swapping out some of the 1×2 blue bricks on the 8 panels to stabilize the overall sturdiness of the Tardis.

    Now I see pictures of the Tardis with moving doors. Would love to talk about this with you.
    Thank you again,

    • I never glue my LEGO pieces, nor do I cut them, for my projects. Everything I build can be built with LEGO without any extraneous changing of the pieces. You’re welcome to ask me anything you’d like. You can comment here or email me via the contact form at the top of the page.