How to Make Door Handles and Window Cranks

Materials and Tools Needed


To create realistic-looking door handles and cranks for older cars, you will need some basic materials and tools: 1/16 " plastic rod, very thin wire, and some coated wire (I got a life-time supply for $3 in Radio Shack), CA glue, sanding stick, chisel shaped cutter (or knife), pliers, side cutters, a pin vise with #75-80 drill bit (not pictured), and some black and silver paint.



Begin with sanding your plastic rod with sanding stick to create a rounded end. Just press the rod at 45 degrees against the stick and rotate a few times, then smooth the top. Pretty soon you should have something similar to the picture below - this is out handle (or crank) base.



Now using a pin vise and #75-80 drill bit, drill a small hole on one of the sides of the rod. Make sure you not drilling trough!



Then using chisel-shaped cutter (or modeling knife) cut the top portion right after the hole. Try to cut as perpendicular as possible to avoid sanding.



Take some of the coated wire (you can use any wire, even uncoated, its just looks better coated) and using superglue glue about 1 cm of the wire (easier to hold) into the hole.



Then make a pointed end with a sanding stick from your styrene rod, and cut the very top of it with the knife.



Again, with the smallest drill bit you have (#75-80) drill a tiny hole close to the very end of the rod. Be very careful, as drill bit might slip and ruin the part. Do not drill through.



When drilling is over, cut the coated wire to appropriate length and glue the other end to the pointed styrene rod.



Cut the rod, and sand top and bottom of the crank so they are leveled. To make a simple door handle, repeat steps above (except the pointed end part) and slightly bend the wire to represent the handle. You can also lightly squeeze the end of the wire with pliers to make it a bit flatter. Paint both pieces as desired.



To make door handle to open/close the door, we will use thin metal wire mentioned in the beginning. With your pliers (I used needle-nosed pliers) bend a general shape of the door handle.



Cut the handle off, and squeeze both ends with the pliers to make them flat. Then carefully sand the ends to remove pliers marks and restore the shine. Use same wire to make a base for the handle.



Now, painted and glued to the door panel, little handles and cranks look much better than kit parts, or some photoetched sets, and easy (and cheap) to make from simple materials. Hope this little tutorial will be useful in detailing interior on your next model!




Copyright 2004 Alex Kustov. No copying or reproduction in any shape or form without written permission of the author.