More on the Dalek Car

Cars Energy & Sustainability
More on the Dalek Car

We got an enthusiastic response to our Dalek Car at Burning Man post, both here on MAKE and the original post on CRAFT. Rachel was contacted by the builder who shared some details of the vehicle. Here’s Rachel’s post. Thanks, Rach! -Gareth

When I posted the awesome giant Dalek art car yesterday, I mentioned that I hadn’t been able to find much information on the project or its creator. Thankfully I heard from Cory who, along with his wife, brought this Dr. Who dream to life. I loved hearing about their process for the project, and seeing their great build pictures and am glad we can now share them with you. Enjoy!

This all started because my wife Hannah and I wanted to do an art car for Burning Man. We couldn’t decide on what to do and were quickly approaching the deadline for Mutant Vehicle application. She’s English and her parents recommended that we watch Dr. Who, especially since I’m a huge fan of Sci-fi and Brits. I thought a Dalek would be perfect for Burning Man, but like most of our previous thoughts, I suspected that someone had already done one. Much to our surprise, no one had brought a Dalek to Burning Man, let alone building a large scale-ish version. The idea was planted, and there was no going back.

The first job was to get the golf cart running, and since I had almost zero experience working on an engine, it was a trial. Then the wood frame was built. Luckily we had a partial 1:12 scale model in the form of a clock, and with the aid of some calipers, the project was relatively smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the golf cart wouldn’t let us build it to the right proportions, so I had to make up a couple of weird angles. The mid section and dome were fiber-glassed expanding foam. The bubbles were made via a MAKE article on vacuum forming. Unfortunately, I had to waste some material learning to vac form .06 polycarbonate, but it proved to be a great material for driving down the freeway at 65.

One disaster was when our clay mold broke apart, but luckily we had a couple of good pulls already and made a new one out of plaster that really held up to some abuse. The other disaster was having the cart die on Saturday (I think it’s just a blocked carb). I ran into the auto parts store on the way out of town and grabbed a lawn mower air filter that was not even close to fitting, but hey, nothing a little craftyness a X-Acto knife can’t fix.

The best part of the build was seeing all the awesome Dr. Who fans and fellow art car builders, a lot of whom I have an even greater respect for now. And, of course, the faces on the little kids was pretty cool.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Cory!

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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