DST Tricorder build with metal parts

Dean O

Well-Known Member
Getting back into the hobby after an extended break. After finishing my metal Deckard blaster, I decided that I really want a metal Tricorder to complete my TOS landing party set. I already have a Wand company Phaser and Communicator and those suit my needs quite well. Not really wanting to spend 100s to 1000s on an MR or a Rodenberry kit I decided to use a DST Tricorder as my base. I found one on ebay that had a broken button so I got it for much cheaper than the current ridiculous prices they are going for and started taking it apart. I also found a nice set of blueprints to make a tricorder frame from scratch so I can use that to help make the DST a little more accurate while I'm at it.

Here it is disassembled, chopped up and ready to begin.
This is the basic frame cut into components that will be replicated from aluminum.
I cut two blanks to use as the sides from .125" aluminum, the blank for the screen is .040" and the two central dividers are .500" bars. These have already been machined to the correct length, but will need a little work so that the original electronics and moire can fit back inside. I started a new bottom plate, but I think that .125" alum will be too thin to easily drill and tap so I will likely make that from .1875" instead.
I'm going to use the old side plates as a template for the outline and holes, using transfer punches for the holes and then belt sand the outside shape.
I'll make a new moire ring from aluminum and record discs. Those will also need to be milled out in the back to fit the motor for the moire, so I haven't figured out exactly how I plan to make that yet.
I also picked up a new speaker grill from a vintage coronet 2 transistor radio, 3 vintage blue watch crowns, 3 t-jet hubs

Dean O

Well-Known Member
Simplicity, I want spinning moire, flashy lights, and a few sounds. Plus I'll likely coat the screen from the back so it look like the TV prop anyway.

Dean O

Well-Known Member
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Test fit with sides plates shaped and sanded. I think I need to sand the side plates down just a little more especially at the top so it's a bit closer to the size of the side covers.

Dean O

Well-Known Member

I got a lot of parts made this weekend, door pulls, record discs, lower frame support. Milled out the middle support to accommodate the moire motor. Here's a test fit with the new record discs sitting in place. They still need to be drilled, tapped, and screwed in place.

Dean O

Well-Known Member
The frame is finished and screwed together, everything fits great. I just need to clean and polish the parts. The record discs are machined to the correct dimension now, so that gives me a little larger area on the other side, I think it'll look much more balanced than the DST did originally. You can see the milling I had to do for clearance of the moire motor, pretty nasty, but that can't be seen anyway. Next I'll be completing the doors and lower compartment.
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Dean O

Well-Known Member
More progress. New kydex moire plate with alum ring installed. Hinges and magnets installed for both doors. Screws drilled and tapped to hold the side plates on, plus one in the back just for looks. The aluminum frame for the lower compartment was too big and broke along the bend when I tried to correct it so I have to remake that.
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Dean O

Well-Known Member
Thanks, it's very pleasing to hold in my hands now. Has a much better weight and feel to it.

I'm still trying to figure out how to light the watch crowns. I bought real, blue, vintage crowns but they are of course solid and I'm afraid that if I try to drill them out I will ruin them. I may be forced to make my own hollow copies of them. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas I'd love to hear.

Dean O

Well-Known Member
Face plate finished. Drilled out the watch crowns, glued clear acrylic rod in the rear, to hold them in place and transfer light from the LEDs
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New Member
This is a fascinating topic and project. Thanks for showing us your progress-- I look forward to seeing the result.

I've been thinking of doing something similar to my DST Tricorder and have a couple of questions, if you don't mind...

--Did you basically have to "destroy" the tricorder to get it disassembled? It looks like you may have sawn the sides off, cutting the crossbars. I have not noticed any screws to remove for disassembly, so it seems like the only way to get it apart is basically to cannibalize it, and that's that. Or is it?

--Have you considered using a Wand Co comm moire motor/assembly, rather than re-using the Asylum/DST one? I have always hated how noisy the motor is on the DST version. I have a rejected WC comm, so my primary plan was to use the moire from that, but keep the other electronics from the DST.

--The control panel on my DST only opens to vertical, and I've always had a problem with that. It seems like it should tilt about 10-15 degrees past vertical. It looks like you managed to correct that problem and rotate it back further than it does on the unmodified DST. Was that any problem? Could you explain how you did it and is there any problem with the small gap between the panel and crossbar when opened?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Dean O

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the kind words.

Progress has slowed the last few weeks due to me frying the board, I was trying out a smaller battery pack made from a disassembled 9volt and reversed the polarity. D'oh! But I found another tricorder at a local toy store last weekend so now I'm back to work. This time I'll just stick with the 3-AAAs.

I'm currently working on the screen. I'd like it to look like an old CRT when turned off but still display the static image when turned on. I'm hoping to do this with simple LEDs and not having to do any complicated electronics as obviously, that's not my cup of tea. I did a test last weekend by back spraying the screen with a mixture of silver and clear smoked acrylic paint and shining a light through from the back, it looked great but I have to sort out a permanent way to do that.

I did not have to completely destroy the tricorder to get it apart. You can pop the sides off with a flat head screw driver, under that is the strap attachment, and all the screws that hold it together. You do have to cut the wiring to get the head and middle sections apart though. The main reason I cut mine up was to use the sides as templates for the new pieces.

I think the wand company moire is a different pattern than what is used on the tric so I opted to stick with that.
Wand Company moire
Tricorder moire

I didn't like the way the head only went to 90 degrees either. I modified that reed switch actuator inside the head, to activate longer and to act as a stop for the head with a better range of motion. (I'll post pictures later to show that part) The additional range of the head does not interfere with the frame at all. If you didn't want to go to that trouble you can always dremel away a little extra material on the original stop, to allow for more range.

Dean O

Well-Known Member
The Tricorder is almost complete. I made a new strap from a strip of leather I purchased on ebay and added stitching along the edge. I also figured out how I wanted to do the screen. Turns out there just wasn't enough room to rear project the image on the sprayed gray/silver screen, so I used two layers of auto window tint to darken the screen so you cant see the image when it's powered down, but is bright enough to see in a well lit room when on. The new board is wired up and working fine. I just need to tidy a few wires, secure the battery pack in the lower compartment, and glue the face plate into the head.
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