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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57 Discussions


4 years ago

Could you please post a few pictures of the interior?

3 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I've added some interior pictures I took during out build and put them in the instructable.


Reply 3 years ago

How much would you charge to build one. I am very interested!


3 years ago

All I can say is WOW!!! This is truly an example of true genius!

you have a point. I'll update the instructable during this week and add some more technical info. I'll take a look at your instructables to use as a guide...


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

there you go. update and added more technical info. Hope you like it better now. could not find any of your instructables to use as a guide...

I'll take it that the last bit was not meant to be sarcasm? I haven't written instructables simply because my expert knowledge is a) (mostly) of academic nature b) already published somewhere and doesn't need further explanations or c) difficult to explain as I'm not a native speaker.

Many instrucables (including yours) are at least partially written for a "perfect" reader — someone with expert knowledge whose job includes pondering, analyzing and scrutinizing everything (very much like the sentences below) that the author wrote (I've had a frustating time studying lengthy instructables for great-looking projects only to find out that the project is not feasible at all due to *minor* aspects that the authors didn't bother to include). However, if you already are an expert, you'd probably not want to read it as you already have the needed knowledge.

Long story made short: I find the most important parts- to put it mildly - useless. Sentences like:

- "It was basically looking at the pictures and then building it"
- "It's really just looking at the pictures and rebuilding..."
- "the main objective was to get the size right" (What is the size then?)
- "this was by far the most difficult part of the build. we eventually got it right" (How did you get it right? And why was it difficult? What can I do to make it easier?)
-"...was a process of trial and error" (What errors? How do I prevent these?)

exlplain nothing at all - that is soooo frustrating. I'd find building plans with measurements etc. most helpful.

Don't get me wrong, I admire your skills and the amount of work that you've put into this thing but I find the instructable in this state sad as It shows that you've acquired a lot of expertise in this exciting project that can not be used productively by more than just a few experts because of missing explanations. If you want that other readers will be able to replicate your project - then it need *a lot* more input (explanation-wise).

I find these two instructables partially helpful.
They include some exceptional instructables that I find to be good examples, too.
They do lack a bit in didactical terms. For this, a google search for "How to write good manuals/instructions/assignments" etc. gives some good pointers.

Generally, studying other instructables -especially in topics where you have zero knowledge- give you a good idea about differentiating the good from the the not-so-good ones.

If you're not interested in making (further) instructions - fine. In any case I'd clearly state your target audience/knowledge requirements/missing parts in the opening paragraph to make sure that the readers know from the beginning what (and what not) to expect.

If you need any further help, I'll gladly assist.


now why didn't you post this as your first reply? It would have helped me a lot to discover your frustrations, instead of "an instruction without instructions, what's the point". that was pretty patronising.

I get what your saying. It would help if you could check a box when you make an instructable to label the level at which the build is at, like in cooking books where they put - beginner/intermediate/difficult/expert. This is indeed an expert build and like you said, when you have a decent knowledge of woodworking you don't need to know all the details involved.

People with zero knowledge of woodworking won't be rebuilding this tumbler very soon - I think. this is a one-off build. You have to be very interested in woodwork and have an interest in batmobiles or batman in general before even thinking about building a tumbler so the "target" audience is narrowed down a whole lot just by the subject of this build. This isn't an easy build or instructable to say the least.

people who already have knowledge of woordworking will get a lot out of the pictures in this instructable and the info I added.

As for building plans, there aren't any building plans. But i truly understand that this would be a big help. I would've liked to have had building plans as well ;-)

I appreciate the fact that you made the effort to reply and I will keep all of your tips in mind for my next instructables. They are very helpfull.

Don't let language get in your way to make your own instructable, you seem to be very accomplished in writing in English. English isn't my native language as well (I'm born and raised in Belgium and my native tongue is Flemish). I hope to see your feedback in my next instructables and I'de love to see you make an instructable because you clearly have a lot of knowledge.

It's been nice replying with you.

Have a good weekend.


Reply 3 years ago

OMG, OMG, OMG! Two superbly written replies by Havlicek stole the ball and Dvda2108! When I do that level of detail at work or at home, I usually get the "too much information" or "summary only, please" responses.

With absolutely no sarcasm, I really enjoyed both your replies to each other. I'm definitely not sure why either of you think you have a problem with not being a native English speaker.

I love you guys.*

* (in a manly, blokes-around-a campfire kind of way of course [does a Tool Time grunt])


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for sharing what you have.

I'm glad you don't have the motto of a famous shoe company;

"JUST DO IT!" ;)


Reply 3 years ago

if I ever get a slogan I'd make it: look-listen-think-build.


3 years ago on Introduction

I am a huge Batman fan but having this in a Halloween contest is not right. Perhaps you should remove it from the contest.

3 replies
Fin the humangrimdaddy

Reply 3 years ago

it won't be accepted it was made after the contest started.

talecrivFin the human

Reply 3 years ago

it was accepted as it just needs to be published in the last year, so his fits and he's a finalist


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

all of the wood we used was reclaimed from previous projects so that didn't cost us anything. the tyres we got for free from local demolition contractors. the biggest cost we had were the led-lights that was around 500 Euro, and the woofer in the back around 200 Euro. the paint was around 500 Euro as well. so +/- 1500 Euro for everything (screws, lights, woofer, paint, sawblades, drills,...)


4 years ago

You are awesome. This looks so cool. I'm sure all the kids and adults were geeking out.