How the Batmobile Works

Sculpting the Batmobile

The next step was to build a full-size foam model of the car. So the Batmobile crew (including engineers Chris Culvert and Annie Smith, along with about 30 other people) took a gigantic block of Styrofoam and started carving it by hand.

They carved everything, including things like the rubber ties, in the foam. The goal of this process is two-fold:

  • The first goal is to get all of the proportions right at full-scale. For example, this car is big -- it's 9 feet 4 inches (284 cm) wide. That's 8 inches (20 cm) wider than the typical 18-wheeler you see on the road. Getting the proportions right is important in something that big.
  • The second goal is to have a full-size model that can be used to make things like the body-panel molds and the frame. The car has 65 separate body panels, and each one had to be manufactured on a custom-made wooden mold. The wooden molds were hand-made from the foam model.

To make the steel frame, the Styrofoam model was cut up to get accurate sizing and panel mounting points for the frame.

This sculpting process lasted about two months.

Now it was time to actually build and test the hardware. The crew built a "test frame" first...