Armorer makes Batman 'Batarangs' sharp as an ax

With the help of a plasma cutter and 1,500-degree furnace, prop maker Tony Swatton creates a very pointy, very sharp version of Batman's classic Batarang weapon.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Swatton's Batarang
Don't try this at home. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

For most of us, Batman's cool toys are pretty much out of reach. We'll never drive a Batmobile. We won't slip on a Batsuit or fire a Bat grappling gun. The iconic "Batarang," Batman's bat-shaped cross between a throwing star and a boomerang, however, may be a little bit more in reach.

Prop maker and swordsmith Tony Swatton has created weapons for more than 200 films. He tackles a new item each week in his online show, "Man at Arms." Most recently, he went to town on building and demonstrating a Batarang. Swatton certainly has the cred for this project. He's worked on three Batman movies, including creating Bane's belt buckles for "The Dark Knight Rises."

Swatton started innocently enough with a paper template. That became a metal template, which then became the actual Batarangs, cut from hardened steel. Each one is a healthy 12 inches across.

For one of the Batman movies, Swatton made Batarangs from anondized aluminum. That's good for the camera, but not so effective in the real world. His steel creations, however, are definitely dangerous weapons. They may not be razor-sharp, but he has made them ax-sharp. "These are not stunt Batarangs; these ones will tear stuff up," Swatton said.

So, is this the sort of DIY project you're likely to do at home? Nope, not unless you're a skilled armorer with a plasma cutter, belt grinder, pneumatic belt sander, and furnace that can reach 1,500 degrees. But you can still get a thrill out of Swatton's Batarangs. Just be sure to hang in for the end of the video, where you can watch them in action -- destroying a car window, taking out a TV set, and laying waste to some water balloons.

(Via Comic Book Resources)