Netflix is about to release the third season of Daredevil and we can’t wait! I used to read Daredevil comics and I love the new show, so I jumped at the opportunity to make a working prop of Matt Murdock’s billy club.
For this project, we used skills from 3d modeling, woodworking, metalworking, engineering, crafting, and playing music. I wanted the billy club to separate into a set a nunchucks tethered by a steel cable, just like Daredevils’ do. To do this, we had to solve some complex problems;
- Design a Custom Connector
- Add Metal Sleeves for Strength
- Make Handles with Room for a Cable
- Dye the Handles
- Attach the Metal Cable
Daredevil’s billy club is a long rod that can separate into two smaller handles. He has the ability to use them independently or they can be tethered by a long, thin cable. For our version, we will make the staff that can separate into two handles but it will always be tether by the cable. I searched for practical fittings that could quickly connect the two pieces while being strong enough for super hero action. I couldn’t find anything that would be slim enough to fit into a nunchuck-style cylinder, so Josh designed some of his own in Fusion 360.
Josh’s design was a barrel connector with thick threads that would screw together. The connector would be a two-piece model with a male and a female side that would lock together with a quarter-turn of your wrist. To ensure the cable can move inside the handles when opening & closing, we modeled a hole through the centers.
We estimated that the 3d printed connectors would be the weakest point of this whole build. And while the plastic prints did look similar to the metal sections of the show’s club, I wanted those details to be real metal. I happened to have a section of steel pipe that was about an inch wide. I cut two pieces of this pipe, one longer than the other, so that the 3d printed joint and the metal joint would overlap, adding some rigidity.
To match the look from the show a little more, I added some ridges to each metal sleeve using my metal lathe. I imitated the pattern from the show which helped hide the joint when the two handles were connected together.
I wanted to make the billy club handles out of wood. I had a long piece of elm that my granddad had laying around, so Josh got to work squaring it up. Using the jointer, the planer, and the table saw, we ended up with a perfectly squared piece of wood about 2 feet long. The material was cut it in half lengthwise so that I could add a small groove down the center. When both of these halves were glued back together, there would be a nice channel right down the middle for the cable to slide.
Now that I had the cable channel running down the center of the squared stock, I cut the whole thing in half on the miter saw to make my two turning blanks. I chucked up each piece in the lathe and turned them down to match the outside diameter of the metal sleeves.
There are many ways to get these wooden handles red. We could simply paint them red or use an off-the-shelf stain, but I chose to dye the wood red. I diluted the entire bottle of Fit dye in a small basin of water and added the two handles. To keep them submerged in the dye, I added some dense pieces of hardwood flooring on top of the handles.
After about five hours, I removed the handles and they looked amazing! Of course, the wood did swell a bit, and the connectors no longer fit. Once fully dried, I turned down the pieces of swollen wood so that the connectors and the end cap rings would fit again. I used some 5-minute epoxy to attached the 3d printed connectors to the handles. I also epoxied the metal sleeves over the connectors and the rings onto the bottoms.
We could have stopped here; the staff separates into two clubs and can certainly do some damage. But I wanted these two clubs to be connected together to make nunchucks. The cable connecting the two handles varies in length between the comic book, the movie, and the TV show. In some cases the cable is ridiculously long and defies the laws of physics. But for ours, I chose to use a bass guitar string. The wound string is thin enough to give the look we were hoping, but thick enough so that it doesn’t bind up when we slide the two clubs back together.
We used some ferrules crimped on the ends of the cable to secure it inside the handles. These fittings could slide inside the channel we cut earlier but be captured behind the smaller holes we designed in the printed connector when pulled apart. To keep the cable from sliding out of the handles when turned upright, I cut the heads off of some nails and glued them into the end cap holes. This worked amazingly well and the whole project was finished.
So Happy with This Working Prop!
Josh and I are both big Daredevil fans. And when we heard that Season 3 was coming out soon, we both jumped on the opportunity to make this billy club. It was a prefect mix of our skills and we learned a lot along the way. Even though we had reference pictures and a general idea of how it should come together, every step of the process required problem solving. I suppose that’s pretty normal when recreating a fictional character’s weapon, but I am proud to say that the end result totally works in every way!
If you liked this projects, check out more of my work in 3d modeling & printing, woodworking, metal working, and prop building!
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- SawStop cabinet saw
- Dewalt Miter Saw
- Jet Wood Lathe 12×21
- Carbide lathe tool set
- Dewalt DW735 benchtop planer
- Push Blocks
- Shop Fox 6″ Jointer
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
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