Sunday, February 16, 2014

Easy Deathstroke PVC Prop Sword

        While playing the video game Batman: Arkham Origins, I noticed the unique design of Deathstroke's sword. In the game, he uses a sword that can be best described as a katana with a straight blade. The many different designs of the blade can be seen here.  Appearing in many comics and video games, Deathstroke is known as the greatest assassin in the DC Universe. You can read more about Deathstroke here. Being a major fan of Deathstroke, I set out to try to make my own version of his sword.

Materials Used
  • 1 piece of 3/4 inch PVC piping (3' long)
  • 1 PVC 3/4 inch coupling
  • 1 PVC 3/4 inch end cap
  • Black electrical tape
  • Aluminum Tape
Tools Needed
  • Pencil
  • Hack Saw
  • Sand Paper
  • Heat Gun
  • Foil (optional)
  • Clamps
  • Wood Planks (2 of them about 3' long, 2 of them around 1' long)
  • Gloves
  • Palm Sander
  • Table Vice

To start things off, make a mark 8 inches in from the end of the PVC. This will be the grip of your sword. Sand all stamps and scuffs off of your PVC (except your pencil mark!). Using a small-grain sandpaper works best for this.

Heat the long end of the PVC using your heat gun, making sure not to come more than an inch from your mark. The foil can be used here to speed up the process by reflecting heat onto the back of the pipe. Constantly move your heat gun up and down the length of the PVC and continuously rotate the pipe to prevent any burning. Keep the heat gun about an inch away from your pipe.

WARNING: Burnt PVC may release harmful fumes!

Once the PVC starts to become flexible, use your glove to feel the pipe. You should be able to press the PVC inward down the entire length. If this can be done, quickly move your PVC between the two boards and place clamps along the ends and center of the pipe. Make sure to leave the grip section outside of the boards. Tighten your clamps so that the PVC is flattest on the end opposite of the grip and tapering up to the normal 3/4 inch diameter. Let this sit for 20-25 minutes to cool.

Remove the boards and clamps from your PVC. Check for any imperfections and correct them in the same fashion used to flatten the blade.

The PVC just past the grip was uneven on mine. I simply heated up the small area and re-flattened it using smaller boards.

Place your PVC in a table vice with the blade tip facing outwards. Mark your desired angle for the tip using painters tape. Cut along the line with your hack saw. Sand down any flakes and imperfections left on the tip.

Reheat the blade tip with your heat gun and clamp it like shown. This is to give the desired point to the edge of your blade. Let this cool for 15-20 minutes.

Use a palm sander to make any finishing changes to the tip.

I cut the grip off of the blade. I DO NOT advise doing this. The sword is much sturdier if it is left as one solid piece.

If you cut your grip off of the solid piece, add your PVC coupling. Either way, add the end cap to the grip.

Wrap the entire grip area in black electrical tape. For the best results, follow the following video on how to tape drumsticks. It's all done in the same fashion. You can see this here. I used varying styles between the coupling, end cap, and the grip itself to add varied texture to the design.

All that's left is adding your grip to the blade. Painting your blade a metallic silver would definitely add to the look of your build. I have not done this yet because of how tricky painting PVC can be.


Just recently I bought some aluminum tape and applied to the blade. The result is a metallic shine that makes the sword much better looking.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nightwing's Staff

        This very simple project is a can-do for all fans of DC Comics. In some stories, Batman's sidekick is not the well-known superhero Robin, but is instead Dick Grayson. Known by night as the superhero Nightwing, his weapons of choice are a pair of shock-sticks used as both kali sticks and tasers. The inspiration for this particular project came from the weapon model used in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. My reference can be seen here.

Materials Used
  • 2 pieces of PVC piping (2' long, 3/4 inch diameter)
  • 3 PVC couplings (3/4 inch)
  • 2 PVC end caps (3/4 inch)
  • Black electrical tape
  • Blue electrical tape
Tools Needed
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Sandpaper
  • Painters Tape (optional)
  • Palm Sander (optional)
  • Hack Saw (or some other saw to cut the PVC)

First, add the end caps to your two pieces of  PVC. Then measure down 5.5 inches from the base of the cap and mark your PVC with tape (painters tape works great).

Place your marked pipe in a vice clamp with a glove wrapped around it. Doing this prevents the clamp from making marks on your PVC. Make a straight cut with your hack saw at the 5.5 inch mark.

Measure 5.5 inches off of the end capon the second stick. Compare this mark with the length of your already-cut piece of PVC. This is to ensure that both pieces are identical.

Sand down all imperfections and stamps on your couplings and end caps. The pieces should be consistently white. You could paint these if you wanted, but painting PVC is tricky and doesn't work most of the time.

Piece all of your parts together like you see below. Wrap the longer section of the PVC pipe with the black electrical tape. Follow this by wrapping the smaller sections with blue electrical tape. I suggest making these wrappings the same as the taping on drumsticks. For proper instructions on how to do this, you can watch an instructional video here

Make sure to take your time, or your wrappings will look more like the front staff compared to the tight wrappings of the back stick in the picture below. Your patience will pay off, as the tighter wrap will give your staff a better grip and feel to it. For the blue tape it doesn't matter as much how you wrap it. I personally just straight layered it with 3 strips of tape.

Now if you are wondering what the point of the third coupling is, it is to join the two sticks together into a staff. This is a characteristic of the video game weapon model, but most versions of Nightwing's shock-sticks are just the two individual sticks.

To create the staff, simply combine your two halves together with the PVC coupling.



I added a second coupling with a small section of PVC to the end of the second stick so that the both of them looked more identical. This was my personal preference, it is not required by any means.