Creating the Side Step

Today’s my last day of vacation and I wanted to get a bit more accomplished on the BatBerry.  Yesterday wasn’t going to see any type of body work because of the CRAZY heat.  Instead I spent yesterday afternoon with my family in a friend’s pool 🙂

The chassis is now scheduled to have its stretch finished next week so hopefully I’ll have some updates later in the week showing what was modified.  So this morning I started out on fabricating the side step.

I wanted a project that was fairly small that I could finish in a morning and have a sense of accomplishment for the day.  I’ll likely round out the afternoon by chopping down the 20 foot lengths of 2 x 2 box tubing into 10 foot lengths so that they fit better in the garage.

As some background… there’s two rubber steps on each side of the Batmobile.  One on the side intake scoop and one beside the canopy.  These steps are strategically placed so that your foot doesn’t slip when you’re climbing in and out of the car.

The kit came with an indent for the step beside the canopy but didn’t have the one on the side intake scoop.  Today’s job was to create this second step which can be seen in the picture below of the Batmobile when it visited Japan.

Of course I’m never going to get the “exact” shape as the one on the movie car so I just eyeballed up something that looked similar which will give the same effect.  To start off the side scoop looked all nice and smooth as seen in the below picture.

This is where I started to draw my pattern.  I grabbed some cereal boxes laying in the recycling bin and started to trim them into the desired shape.  I wanted to make sure the edge along the front and side were parallel to their respective edges.  There’s no exact science to this so I just lined it up as best I could.

I then traced the cardboard on the scoop with a Sharpie so that I knew where I wanted to place the final piece. Then I found some thick cardboard to transfer my shape.

Why thick cardboard you ask?  Well it’s because it’s easier to create an indent than to cut an indent.  Also, I didn’t want to cut the side scoop and compromise its structural rigidity.  Instead I can use the thick cardboard taped in place, with rolled up tape on the bottom, and then use short strand filler to build up the area around it.  This then creates the indent that I need.  Short strand gives a much more structural base than pure body filler.

Once the short strand starts to cure (but not cure too much) you can run a sharp utility knife around the edges of the cardboard to free it up.

I also put a little hole in the middle of the cardboard before I taped it in place so that I had the ability to pry it up from the middle with a flat head screwdriver without damaging the edges.

After you pop it out it looks like the following:

Now it’s blending time!  I laid down a couple of coats of body filler to smooth everything out and blend it in with the natural curve and body lines of the side scoop.

Then it’s the same old body work story… fill… sand… fill… sand… fill… sand 🙂

After it was all blended in nicely I sprayed a few coats of primer to seal in the body filler.  It will need some final sanding and spot filling before painting, but overall it turned out pretty good.

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3 thoughts on “Creating the Side Step

  1. Hello,

    Excellent idea on the side steps! I’ve been watching your build and its inspiring me to get going on my ’89 build.

    Dave Boboc

    1. Thanks Dave! I look forward to seeing your build. It’s great seeing how different people tackle challenges so that everyone can benefit from sharing both their successes and failures 🙂

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