Introduction: Batmobile Tumbler

About: I like building things with wood - both new and reclaimed wood. Profesionally I work as an exhibition builder/designer. In my spare time I build stuff with reclaimed wood.

we build a replica of the batman tumbler for the international cartoonfestival in belgium. our tumbler is build in wood (douglas for the chassis, multiplex and betonplex for the bodywork). It doesn't have an engine or doesn't drive but kids can actually open the doors and sit in it. It has an acceleration pedal which is hooked up to a amp so they can make an actual V12 sound, the passenger side has a joystick build in to operate the guns.


- douglas beams (45mm*150mm)

- multiplex (22mm)

- standard woodworking machines: mitter saw, heavy duty impactdrivers, tracksaw, tablesaw, routers,...

this build took us about 2 months with 2 people building it.

the cost was kept very low (free tires, lots of leftover wood from previous builds)

full specs: height: 170cm/ lenght: 515cm/ width: 303cm

Step 1: Backwheels and Chassis Begining.

first order of business was getting hold of the massive backwheels. we were lucky to get some bulldozer wheels from a local demolition company. we didn't have plans to build the tumbler only some measurments (height, length, width) so that was our starting point. We bolted the tyres together with some heavy duty M18 bolts. If you try attaching bulldozer tyres together, make sure you have a good impactdriver and a few good forstner drills at hand. drilling holes in a reinforced tyre isn't an easy job. We also filled the tyres up with expanding foam. This to keep the stability more intact. Our floor is about 200cm*150cm. it is raised up 20cm from groundlevel.

Step 2: Building the Chassis

we found lots of pictures from the tumbler on the internet. we based our tumbler on the one they build for the gumball rally. those pictures of the tumbler they build helped us to figure out how to build the chassis. we used douglas beams to build our chassis. Can't really give much more details about the build. It was basically looking at the pictures and then building it.

after building the floor the main objective was to get the size right. every addition to the floor had to be made by looking at the pictures. the back tyres are very important to the whole build as everthing was build around the backtyres, they were our main guide in getting the proportions of the car to fit those on the pictures. If you look at the pictures you can see all of the pictures we used as guidelines in the background. I'd love to give a more step by step detailed discription about this part of the build but as I said before. It's really just looking at the pictures and rebuilding the welded frame in wood.

Step 3: Building the Bodywork

building the bodywork was a proces of trail and error...we used 12mm mdf (leftover from a previous build) to start building up the shape of the bodywork. this was by far the most difficult part of the build. we eventually got it right. we weren't allowed to build a perfect replica and had to make some difference to the car because of copyright laws

after shaping the body with the 12mm mdf - this was particulary important to get all bevel cuts up to standard - we took everything down again and rebuild the bodypanels in 18mm multiplex. Most of the angle cuts were at 20° up to 35°. we only used our Festool TS55 plungesaws to make all the cuts for our bodywork.

The doors are bolted on our roof with heavy duty hinges. we used 2 car door pumps on each door to make sure the doors can be easily opened without heavy lifting and so they stay open. We used 10mm thick plexiglass as windows.

Step 4: Finishing the Body and Making the Wheels

we sanded the bodywork down to a smooth finish and then applied some car paint to it. the wheels we got from different local shops didn't have rims on it so we still had to make those. we did this using multiplex and aluminium sheet. measure the inside of the tyrewall and route out a piece of plywood to that size. Depending on the width of the tyrewall you'll have to route out several pieces of plywood. we used 16 plywood circles for the backwheels and 12 plywood circles for the front tyres. that way we could easily make our rims with some aluminum sheet which we nailed around the last plywood piece we mounted on the plywood we had already knocked in the inner tyrewall. finishing with some pieces af plywood to make the look of the rim which we could screw onto the inner plywood.

we also mounted some led lights on the underside of the floor. the Led light you can see on the car are hooked up to a motion switch. we did this mainly to discourage vandalism at night. when you get to close to the car the lights light up.

Step 5: Interior and "jetengine"

the interior is aslo made out of multiplex, the seat is modelled after a recaro reacing seat and is pieces of multiplex screwed together is different angles. the bevel cuts are all in 20°. The jetengine is where we hid our subwoofer. When you look at the pictures you can see the woofer. this is also multiplex circles glued together. The circles are continiuosly smaller in size to create that jetburner effect.

the woofer is hooked up to our acceleration pedal (which is actually an old sewing machine pedal) and makes the engine sound. the joystick creates the gun sounds and is hooked up to 2 small woofers we hid under the seats. all of our electric cabels are build in the central area where the engine is supposed to be.

Step 6: Transport and Installing It in Place

we had to make sure that the rear axle could be dismounted from the body in order to transport it. last thing we had to do was reinstalling the tumbler in place.

It has now been on display for 2 days and proves to be a big succes. lots of people want to take their picture with our tumbler and kids love the fact that they can sit in it and make the "engine" roar.

it will be on display until 2nd september in knokke-heist Belgium

hope you enjoy the instructable and a big thanks to all the people who helped out in building this project

Step 7: Update

update september 2015.

as the cartoonfestival was finished we were asked by the Belgium Comic-con (FACTS) to move the batmobile to the exhibition in Gent. We added an extra minigun on the roof to make it look more badass.

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