Modding a Sonic Screwdriver, take 2

When I started working on a set of sonic screwdrivers, I wasn't sure if I'd get more than one complete piece out of them, but did end up with a full trio of modded props. This is the second round and while the first was very traditional Steampunk, this one has more of a “mad scientist” or diselpunk vibe. It was also quite a bit simpler in terms of the level of modding as well. Once the four parts had been chosen, they were all lightly sanded with an extremely fine sandpaper so they could be refinished. The black area of the grip section got a heavier sanding to give some wear since it wasn't getting covered. The rest of the raised surfaces all were gilded with silver metal leaf. They had been painted a silver tone but it was very dull and screamed “THIS IS MADE OF PLASTIC!!”. Gilding uses actual metal leaf so while it is a very thin layer, the piece now has a genuine metal surface and it shows. A light bit of dark antiquing was put over the leaf to give it some age and depth and then it was all sealed.


There were blue coloured transparent panels in the middle section and a teal tube out the top end. They would all glow when the interior sound and lights were triggered, so where kept intact and still showed beautifully against the shiner silver finish.


The top end originally had a piece that looked like a swivel nozzle but it didn't move and the light couldn't go through it. It was cut off and a faceted clear plexi point replaced it. A ring made from a salvaged metal watch band both covered the join and gave it some accent detail. The bottom was altered in almost exactly the same way but it's point was matte and not quite as fine, since it wouldn't be lit.

The last detail was a bit finicky but worked out perfectly. A vintage watch winding button was put over the on/off switch. Just above it an intact watch spring and it's support bar were also put on. The spring case was attached to the screwdriver so the support bar could swing freely. While it looked cool, and could just be decoration, it was also at exactly the right height to be swung over switch and hold it in the “on” position. Not great for long term battery life if left that way, but it meant that it could still be used by someone with lower dexterity or hand strength. It also would be easier to keep it lit if you were posing for a group of photos.


While this was a bit less work than the Steampunk version, it showed off the interior lighting the best of the whole group and was the one that was sold with the single working guts.

Vivian Hutcheson