Re-Used Props - Engineering Tools

by Jrg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Starfleet Tools - Alien Tools


Many props of Star Trek were later modified or even recycled without changes to represent equipment for a different purpose or of another civilization. Here are quite a few examples of engineering tools. Please note that every statement made here should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no need to seek for explanations. Certainly we are not supposed to watch closely enough to notice that Geordi's tools are occasionally used in sickbay or even in Mr. Mot's salon.


Starfleet Tools

Laser beacon & tool

The laser beacon from TOS: "The Squire of Gothos" reappears among Kirk's tools in "The Doomsday Machine".

Multipurpose scanner

This cylindrical scanner originally appears in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", where it is used by Sulu more like a weapon, to short-circuit the turbolift controls of the Starbase brig. Beginning with "Datalore", the scanner appears in countless TNG episodes. The prop is later identified as a "sequencer" in "In Theory".

Scanner & medical instrument

A scanner that Geordi was working with more than once on TNG suddenly appears as a medical device in the hands of Nurse Ogawa in TNG: "Identity Crisis". But even Dr. Crusher was occasionally mistaken about the instruments she was using... 

Shelby's scanner

The scanner Shelby uses in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" to examine the soil is also used by her to scan the warp core in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". The prop appears in many later episodes in various functions - a truly multifunctional tool!

Geological & medical instrument

The first time this gadget appears it is a geological tool. Davies employs it in TNG: "Pen Pals" to crack a rock sample behind a glass cover. We can also see it as a scanner in TNG: "Dj Q" and even as a Borg device in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". A few years later the same prop appears as a medical device of the Trill in DS9: "Equilibrium". Still later it forms a part of the Klingon space station at Ty'Gokor in DS9: "Apocalypse Rising". We can't make it out on the screen capture but the prop was definitely incorporated into the studio model. Furthermore we can see it inside a self-replicating mine in DS9: "A Call to Arms". The prop also belongs to Dr. Bashir's inventory in DS9: "Far Beyond the Stars". He scans Sisko's head after his hallucinations of Ben Russell. Well, if the captain had kidney stones the original rock cracker might be just the right instrument, but then we would have to doubt Bashir's knowledge of anatomy. :-)

The prop is displayed on a screen in ENT: "Anomaly", here as a Xindi device. It seems that the right half of the depicted device is identical to the side view from The Art of Star Trek, whereas the left half has been created by mirroring the image and changing a couple of details to break up the symmetry. Finally we can see the prop on Paxton's desk in ENT: "Demons".

The prop was originally seen as the oscillation overthruster in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension", the movie which has been the subject of various in-jokes by the Star Trek Art Department.

SCM & trajector matrix

Wesley shows Salia a superconducting magnet SCM model 3 in TNG: "The Dauphin". The same component can be seen in Riker's quarters in TNG: "Conundrum" and in the hands of the aliens in "Schisms". Years later the prop is prominently featured as the Sikarian trajector matrix in VOY: "Prime Factors".

Engineering tool & DNA scanner

The prop Geordi uses to detach the Ansata bomb from the warp core in TNG: "The High Ground" is later seen as a DNA scanner in TNG: "Legacy".

Phase discriminator & scanner

The phase discriminator from TNG: "Time's Arrow" that allows to enter the phase in which the Devidians exist reappears as some sort of scanner in B'Elanna's hands in VOY: "Tattoo".

Spherical device

A small sphere resembling a Death Star appears in the overhead neural interface that Barclay constructs in TNG: "The Nth Degree". Later, as something found in the debris of a Borg vessel, it is identified by Harry as an "autoregeneration unit" in VOY: "Dark Frontier". The device resurfaces as a Monean scanner in Rega's inventory in VOY: "Thirty Days" and also appears in an unknown role in ENT: "Silent Enemy" when Reed and Tucker try to convince Archer to let them install the phase cannons.

Exocomp tools

All tools used by the exocomp in TNG: "The Quality of Life" (4 different props) are re-used as various alien tools in later Star Trek episodes. The first, unnamed tool can be seen as a Sikarian scanner in the Voyager episode "Prime Factors".

The second tool, a mode stabilizer, can be seen as an Entharan scanner in VOY: "Retrospect", a Borg scanner in "Dark Frontier", a Tellarite scanner in ENT: "Bounty" and as an Earth Starfleet tool in "Horizon".

The next exocomp tool later appears as a Hirogen and alien medical tool in "The Killing Game" and "Repression", respectively.

The final tool used by the exocomps reappears many years later as a veridium injector in the Voyager episode "Drive".

Scanner & hair dyer

This scanner undergoes a curious metamorphosis. After being used consistently as an engineering tool, the prop suddenly shows up as a hair dyer in Mr. Mot's hairdressing salon!

Weapon & hyperspanner

The weapon of the Anticans in TNG: "Lonely Among Us" appeared as a coil spanner in the Voyager episode "Meld". In later Voyager episodes ("Living Witness", "Drive", "Lineage"), this device was called a hyperspanner.

Engineering & medical scanner

This prop is another multipurpose tool for use by physicians as well as engineers. Most often we can see the prop in engineering as some sort of scanner. But at least on one occasion Dr. Crusher uses the same instrument, to scan tissue samples in TNG: "Aquiel" (just before the biomimetic fluid imitates the shape of her hand).

Multifunctional engineering & medical device

On the Enterprise-D the device used by Geordi to scan Data's head later becomes a medical device to heal wounds, probably a variant of a dermal regenerator. Quark, on the other hand, calls the same device a "laser scalpel" and keeps one behind his counter. He opens a stasis container with this tool. Voyager's Doctor owns such an instrument too. On one occasion it is a scanner, another time it acts as a scalpel again. The prop also appears in Voyager as a "type-4 microinducer". This one is obviously not intended to be a medical tool.


Alien Tools

Alien scanner I

Vash's scanner from TNG: "Captain's Holiday" was later repainted black and appeared as a Romulan scanner in "The Next Phase" and as a Prytt scanner in "Attached".

Alien scanner II

The Zibalian scanner from TNG: "The Most Toys" later appeared as a Kes scanner in "Attached".

Pralor scanner & Romulan torturing device

An engineering tool utilized by the Pralor later appears as part of the Romulan torturing inventory in DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". The device was designed by Ed Kline, is available from Modern Props and also appeared in "Men in Black".

Pralor & Srivani devices

Two devices of the Pralor in VOY: "Prototype", of which one is identified as submicron scanner (left portion of the image), are identical to two Srivani instruments in VOY: "Scientific Method". At least one of these devices was designed by Ed Kline, is available from Modern Props and also appeared in "Men in Black".

More Pralor devices

Two more Pralor tools from VOY: "Prototype" were designed by Ed Kline. One of them appeared in "Babylon 5", one in MIB.


See Also

Galleries - Other Starfleet Equipment

Re-Used Props - Medical Instruments - Starfleet instruments, alien instruments



Some screen caps from TrekCore. Ivan Bozic and Jernej L. noticed the spherical device. Cardinal Biggles pointed us to the origin of the geological instrument in "Buckaroo Banzai". Michael Minnick found the re-use of the laser beacon and another one of the oscillation overthruster. Felix Ernie found out about the phase discriminator.


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