I was recently watching Batman Begins and my obsession with cool weapons and gadgets got me thinking. I was especially fascinated by the bladed vambraces that Batman uses to catch himself from sliding off the cliff. The design I eventually came up with is quite a simple one and is not very heavy on the pocketbook (as long as you have access to some necessary tools).
*WARNING! If made according to these directions, you will end up with a potentially deadly weapon...So I hold no responsibility as to how, where, or when you use it. Be smart and watch out where you are swinging your bladed vambraces!
Skip to the last step to see the bladed vambrace in action!
Step 1: Materials
Depending on how strong you want your vambraces to be, your materials list might differ from what I ended up using. The thickness of metal I used can stand up to heavy use, whereas thinner metal will bend and dull more easily.
This is my materials list:
- 14 gauge heat rolled steel
- 18 gauge steel
- several dozen carpet tacks
- small screw
- black spray paint
List of needed tools:
- ball peen hammer
- throatless metal shear*
- drill bit (same width as the carpet tacks)
- metal file/bench grinder
- bolt cutters
*I used a throatless metal shear because precision cuts on 14 gauge steel are otherwise very hard to make. Thinner and weaker metal (such as aluminum) can be cut by metal shears or a metal-cutting bandsaw.
If you are only making these vambraces for a costume, I suggest using aluminum, which provides the thickness without making it as hard to work with.
Step 2: The Design
I can tell you now I didn't look up pictures on Google or anything in order to find out the EXACT shape of Batman's bladed vambraces. My goal was based much more on it being functional than on it looking movie-accurate.
You do not have to use the same blade shape as I did, but If you want to use my design thats totally alright. I like it because it is rather simple and was pretty easy to cut.
There are three main parts to my design: the blade, the "bracket", and the base. Each vambrace requires three blades, three pairs of brackets, and one base. The shapes of the blade and the bracket follow in the pictures below, each on 1/8 inch graph paper for sizing.
Step 3: Cutting, Sharpening, and Bending
Trace the designs onto your 14 gauge steel, and then cut out your three blades and 6 brackets. If you would like to, now is the time to sharpen your blades on as many sides as you would like.
Your brackets will need to be bent in order to attach the blades to the base. I bent mine at an angle of about 100 degrees. Creating a 90 degree angle will work, but it will make it a little bit more difficult to attach the base later in the process.
*Do not make the same mistake I did and bend all of the brackets in the same direction! Set apart your three pairs and bend the brackets of each pair in opposite directions*
Step 4: Attaching the Blades to the Brackets
Take two brackets and situate them on both sides of the blade. Clamp the two brackets in place on the blade, making sure to leave room for one of the holes to be drilled through the three pieces.
Now use the 1/8 inch drill bit to drill through the three pieces, making sure that the hole is completely straight.
Once the hole is drilled, take a roofing nail and cut it so that it is long enough to poke about 1/8 of an inch past the last bracket. Using the ball peen hammer, peen the end of the nail until you have securely riveted the nail through the bracket, the blade, and the other bracket.
Repeat this process so that you have two rivets holding the brackets to the blade. Repeat until all three of your blades are finished.
*If you need help on how to rivet, armourkris' instructable does a great job of laying out some more in-depth directions (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-peen-a-rivet/)
*See pictures for clarity*
Step 5: The Base and the "Rib"
The Base is a strip of metal that is the length of your forearm and has a width a little greater than the width of one blade with both brackets connected. You will also need some "rib" pieces, which I made to be 3/4 of an inch wide and long enough to curve around my forearm....with somewhat of a snug fit. You can cut out as many as these "rib" pieces as you would like, but keep in mind that you will have to rivet them to your base at some point. I cut out 4 ribs but......I ended up using only one.
Now take your base piece and bend a slight crease along the center. This crease should match the angle that is created by the 100 degree angled brackets. See pictures for clarity.
Now take your "rib" and bend them into somewhat of a circular shape. Bend it so that when it is riveted to the base, you can slide your hand and arm through without too much trouble. You do want somewhat of a snug fit, however, so bending it to the perfect size and shape may take time. See pictures for clarity.
Keep in mind that your arm will move along the base and "rib" pieces, so you may want to file down any rough edges.
Step 6: Attaching the Blades to the Base
Once you have placed your blades on the base (position and separation of the blades is up to you), clamp, drill, and rivet each of the blades to the base; once on each bracket. This should give you an angled strip of metal with three blades on it! Exciting!
Step 7: Attaching the "Rib" to the Base
Depending on how many ribs you made in the previous step, your ribs may be placed differently. I made only one rib, and I riveted mine to the base plate a little higher than the last blade. Use at least two rivets per rib.
Step 8: The Wristband
At this point, you might be wondering, "How is it going to stay on with only one rib?". Well it won't. In order for the vambrace to stay on, you'll need the wristband. The wristband, in my case, was a wide strip of leather from an old belt. It should be long enough to barely wrap around your wrist. Rivet one side of the band onto the very top of the base.
Drill one hole on the other side of the base, and thread a screw part-ways into the hole. Punch a hole into the non-riveted end of the belt. This hole should be a little bit smaller than the head of the screw you used. This leather wristband should now wrap across your wrist and hook onto the partly-threaded screw. Voila! The wristband is finished!
Step 9: Painting
Well it wouldn't look very batman-ish if we left it in its dull steel state......hence the black spray paint in the materials list. I used some special "no-rust" spray paint that's made to go onto metal, and that worked very well. You might want to put on an extra coat or two so that it doesn't come off too easily.
Step 10: You're Finished!
You now have a Batman bladed vambrace! You're ready to go kick some criminal butt in the dark alleys of Gotham City! All joking aside, be safe....and don't go wearing this around...since technically it's an illegal weapon. Well anyways enjoy this addition to your Batman arsenal of weapons and gadgets!
This is a video of the vambraces being tested against:
A weak chainmaille weave
Plate Maille armor
old aluminum mess kit pan
very dense chainmaille weave