Bat Signal Build

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thatguyfromri

New Member
Greetings from Seattle!

Every year, I make something a little bonkers for Halloween. This year I went with a Batman theme. I needed more than a costume -- I needed something big for the yard, and the Bat Signal seemed like the perfect choice.

I started by first creating an Inkscape [1] diagram to nail down the exact shape and size of the signal. Hadn't done this previous but it turned out to be super helpful. If you haven't used Inkscape, it's free software, and I highly recommend getting this [2] super-helpful video tutorial by Punished Props.

Obviously the light is round, but the base presented a fun design opportunity. I ended up modeling my base after a toy bat signal that I liked the shape of. Here's the shape I went with:

unnamed.png



With the size and shape decided on, I went about making a wood frame for each of the two main pieces. The base was pretty simple -- cut two sides of the frame in plywood, and attach them.


For the light, I again built the frame from plywood. I made a simple compass tool and cut the plywood to a circular shape using a jigsaw. I really didn't want it to be heavy, so I attached the two sides using some thin 1x3 pieces of wood:


Frame.JPG


I then wrapped the light with a single piece of eva foam for its outer layer:


Foam_Cover.JPG


Unfortunately, the foam sagged and really wasn't supported well enough between the 1x3s. So, I then wrapped very thin pieces of hobby balsa between the 1x3s. This worked perfectly and gave me a much more rigid feed to the foam skin:

Balsa.JPG


Before I put on a decorative front face (also made of foam), I stapled down the "glass" surface, which is really a single sheet of vinyl cut to size. Finally, I added some large bolts made of foam for a final bit of detail.


Facade.JPG



I sealed it with Creature Cast [3] -- which is awesome -- and gave it a base coat of dark gray and then hand detailed it with a chip brush and some shades of silver. I spray painted the inside of the vinyl sheet flat white.

I cut the batman symbol out of a single large piece of eva foam, 1/2" I think. I also sealed the symbol with Creature Cast and then spray painted it a dark metallic bronze color. As for the shape/size of the symbol itself -- I found a batman symbol I liked and stretched it out in Gimp [4] until I liked the shape and how well it filled up the circular area of the light. I then printed it out as a large template and traced it onto the foam.

Finally, for the base, I made a simple decorative front plate out of some remaining plywood scraps. Gave it a little more depth I thought it needed. Here's the end result, along with the costume I made to go with it:


batsuit-brighter.jpeg




[1] https://inkscape.org/
[2] https://punishedprops.com/shop/inkscape-video-tutorial/
[3] http://creaturecastrubber.com
[4] https://www.gimp.org/



unnamed.png


Frame.JPG


Foam_Cover.JPG


Balsa.JPG


Facade.JPG


batsuit-brighter.jpeg
 
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