9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW(to me) INFO!

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Yes, you read right. I have stumbled upon new, and interesting info regarding the most hotly debated Doctor Who prop ever.

Let's start with what we already know. Below is a collage image of the four widely known versions of these props.



Bottom to Top: Aztec #1, Aztec #2, the 'Wide Slider', The Robatto 'Final Revision'.

Until now, every Sonic fan knew this list, and have worked to reproduce it. But now, as Yoda famously said, 'There is...another...'

Recently, I received as a gift, a copy of 'The Secrets of the TARDIS'. An all together silly book which came with a tiny 11th Doctor Sonic for revealing hidden UV text. But on the Sonic Screwdriver page, I found the most ponderous image of the 9/10 Sonic.



What stood out most to me was the slider/activation button. While the body clearly looks like the season 3-4 Robatto Sonic, I had never seen that model with a centered button or what appears to be a square slider.

After much re-watching of of episodes and perusing of my collection of screen-caps I was at a loss. Was this just some mock up for the book? A clever photoshop job? Or was this the real deal?

So I contacted my super secret espionage team to infiltrate the BBC for answers. I guess they probably tortured a few key personnel, and broke a couple laws, but in the end, at the cost of only one life and 3 doughnuts, I got my answers.

What? You don't believe me? *Sigh* Would you believe that I just asked Nick then? :lol

Not only did Mr. Robatto confirm that it was, indeed, a production piece, but he said he actually HAD the body and slider with him, and would I like some more images of it. Would I ever?!?!?!

Below are the pictures sent to me. I post these with his blessing.






According to the info that accompanied the images, this Sonic was made prior to Series 3 by Mark Cordory. And what do you know, here is a lovely 'cap of a square slider Sonic being used on screen in 'The Runaway Bride'.



Now, it has been postulated that this Sonic was likely a modified Aztec, but a couple of details have me thinking otherwise.

  1. On the Atecs, the area on the body where it meets the aluminum end piece is the same diameter as where the alu end piece attaches to the Delrin bulb. This is not the case with this Sonic.
  2. On this Sonic, the ridges seem to share the ramped and squared profile seen on the Robatto Sonic, and not the balanced and rounded profile of the Aztec. Though the above screen cap certainly throws some doubt on that.

So, in my opinion anyway, what we have here is a 'Stage 3' sonic design with the the dimensions of the 3-4 Robatto, but with a wide (though not as wide as the 1st Wide Slider) slider slot, and a unique activation button. It is also very likely that at least one of the Aztecs received the same treatment.
 

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Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Geeze, thanks a lot OM! ANOTHER thing for sonic fans to fight over until the end of time! :lol

Nice catch. :)
 

LeAngeSolitaire

Well-Known Member
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Yes, this has been mentioned before. The 'intermediate' sonic. CT mentioned this in his blog a while back. OM makes good points though. Have the ridges been changed? No way is that a modified Aztec.
 

phase pistol

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

I love new finds. That's why I keep coming back to the RPF - er, I mean thereplicapropforum. :D
 

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Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Yes, this has been mentioned before. The 'intermediate' sonic. CT mentioned this in his blog a while back. OM makes good points though. Have the ridges been changed? No way is that a modified Aztec.
LOL, and here I thought I had 'discovered' something. Maybe I should start reading that blog?
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Hey good detective work any way!
I agree... Not actually new info, but very well spotted, either way.
What'll really blow your mind is when you realize that the ridges aren't symmetrical, but more sort of tear-drop shaped. Think of a child's drawing of a Christmas tree. You can really see it in the 2nd Nick-pic.
 
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

I agree... Not actually new info, but very well spotted, either way.
What'll really blow your mind is when you realize that the ridges aren't symmetrical, but more sort of tear-drop shaped. Think of a child's drawing of a Christmas tree. You can really see it in the 2nd Nick-pic.
Well spotted, AND it netted some lovely new images, which is the real win in my book.

Ref. The Ridges comment: Indeed, that's what I meant with 'Ramped and squared'. Though the description I've always used is 'Less like a spark plug, and more like an air hose coupler.

Spark Plug (similar to the Aztec ridge profile)

Air Hose Coupler (an extreme representation of the Cordroy/Robatto Ridges)


The air hose coupler is, of course, extreme, but if you keep it in mind when looking at the above images you should be able to see what we're talking about.

Now, this blog you've mentioned...

Can some one PM me a link to the post in question? I'm rather interested in reading it, but finding the post is proving to be a daunting task.
 

phez

Sr Member
Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Great find OM!!!!! And thanks for posting the pics :).
That is a great look at that finish!!!!!.
I see paint, primer, and then yellow?????

What'll really blow your mind is when you realize that the ridges aren't symmetrical, but more sort of tear-drop shaped. Think of a child's drawing of a Christmas tree. You can really see it in the 2nd Nick-pic.
I initially thought that too (and was trying to match the weird shape) but I am pretty sure they are just milled groves. I could not figure out how something turned could have different shapes and sizes in the groove area.

The crack media is kind of thick and if you put it on and let it dry with the skinny part of the handle down the stuff wells up in the bottom of the groves. If you look at pic 3 (dead on side view of the grooves) you can see they are just round grooves. Picture 2 has the handle sitting at an angle to the grooves and you are seeing where they start to curve around the back. You end up with the teardrop shape going in the other direction if you let it dry with the top of the handle facing down (found through trial and error :lol).

I could be wrong, they could have ground a custom tool for the groves but I am not sure what the point would have been of doing that (extra work to grind a tool just to make the grooves none semetrical when you could just mill them out).
 
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Re: 9/10 Sonic Screwdrivers NEW INFO!

Great find OM!!!!! And thanks for posting the pics :).
That is a great look at that finish!!!!!.
I see paint, primer, and then yellow?????



I initially thought that too (and was trying to match the weird shape) but I am pretty sure they are just milled groves. I could not figure out how something turned could have different shapes and sizes in the groove area.

The crack media is kind of thick and if you put it on and let it dry with the skinny part of the handle down the stuff wells up in the bottom of the groves. If you look at pic 3 you can see how it sortof fills in the bottom coners. You end up with the teardrop shape going in the other direction if you let it dry with the top of the handle facing down (found through trial and error :lol).

I could be wrong, they could have ground a custom tool for the groves but I am not sure what the point would have been of doing that (extra work to grind a tool just to make the grooves none semetrical when you could just mill them out).
Thank you, Phez.

About the paint affecting the ridge profile though...yeah, it can happen, but to this degree? The profile seems rather consistent with the other sonics we've seen. Suggesting intent by the designer. I really think it's machined in.

Perhapse Rubbertoe could be persuaded to weigh in here?
Thank you! That was a very informative read! Now I WILL make a point of following this blog. On the upshot, my post was not a waste, as I think the images I've posted may be useful to the author as the construction is somewhat different than he initially suggested. :thumbsup
 

jedibugs

Well-Known Member
Great find OM!!!!! And thanks for posting the pics :).
That is a great look at that finish!!!!!.
I see paint, primer, and then yellow?????



I initially thought that too (and was trying to match the weird shape) but I am pretty sure they are just milled groves. I could not figure out how something turned could have different shapes and sizes in the groove area.

The crack media is kind of thick and if you put it on and let it dry with the skinny part of the handle down the stuff wells up in the bottom of the groves. If you look at pic 3 (dead on side view of the grooves) you can see they are just round grooves. Picture 2 has the handle sitting at an angle to the grooves and you are seeing where they start to curve around the back. You end up with the teardrop shape going in the other direction if you let it dry with the top of the handle facing down (found through trial and error :lol).

I could be wrong, they could have ground a custom tool for the groves but I am not sure what the point would have been of doing that (extra work to grind a tool just to make the grooves none semetrical when you could just mill them out).
That's a sensible theory, but the shape has been verified by shadow graphing (i think that's what it's called?) the original prop.

Further, I have a couple pictures of the prop with part of the metal showing through at the ridge and you can clearly see that it slopes on one end and terminates rather abruptly, forming that tear-drop shape.

I will share the pics if the person who took them gives me permission to do so.
 

Rassilon

Well-Known Member
Nice spotting OM, some credible BBC person could write a book on the evolution of the Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver, like they sort off did with the Tardis, I thing there would be enough info on the sonic, to do an evolution of the sonic in a book.
 

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That's a sensible theory, but the shape has been verified by shadow graphing (i think that's what it's called?) the original prop.

Further, I have a couple pictures of the prop with part of the metal showing through at the ridge and you can clearly see that it slopes on one end and terminates rather abruptly, forming that tear-drop shape.

I will share the pics if the person who took them gives me permission to do so.
Good info! I would be absolutely delighted to see them if the photographer could be so persuaded. :thumbsup
 
Nice spotting OM, some credible BBC person could write a book on the evolution of the Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver, like they sort off did with the Tardis, I thing there would be enough info on the sonic, to do an evolution of the sonic in a book.
Thanks! Y'know, I'd love to see such a book, but I doubt it would ever happen. :unsure
 

phez

Sr Member
That's a sensible theory, but the shape has been verified by shadow graphing (i think that's what it's called?) the original prop.

Further, I have a couple pictures of the prop with part of the metal showing through at the ridge and you can clearly see that it slopes on one end and terminates rather abruptly, forming that tear-drop shape.

I will share the pics if the person who took them gives me permission to do so.
verified by shadow graphing, really? The more tech you can throw at it the better. How is that being applied to this? (not being a smart ass, I actually am interested in knowing)

Thanks that would be great!!!!
Like I said, I do not know for sure, just what I have seen from experimenting doing the ridges the easiest way I could on a mill :lol.

If you have a good dead on side shot with metal showing the groove detail under the paint I could belive they made a custom forming tool for some reason (maybe so they could do all the handle detail on the lathe instead of waiting until they mill the slots?).
 
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Rassilon

Well-Known Member
You can achieve that same effect on the groves, by placing the carbide tool tip on an angle relative to the material been machined, I’m not in the work shop right now, to take some photo’s of how to do this, but if you like I can do so, at a latter date if you like.
 

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