How to Build a Model Lever


Mad scientists have become enormously popularity in recent years, feeding off of an increasing number of superhero movies and a burgeoning steampunk movement. Whether you create the costume for Halloween, a con, or a play, a well-made accessory makes all the difference in terms of quality. The mechanical lever is one of the mechanisms most associated with the mad scientist image. Creating one as a prop is quite easy and requires very little in terms of expenses.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 feet of 1 ¼-inch PVC pipe
  • 3-inch diameter red plastic ball
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • 2 plastic pop bottle caps
  • Drill
  • Spray paint
  • 1-foot-square piece of plywood
  • Newspaper
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • 4-inch x 17-inch piece of plywood
  • 5 ½-inch long ½-inch diameter dowel
  • Saw
  • Drill a hole half an inch from the bottom of your PVC pipe that is a little more than 1/2 inch in diameter.

  • Saw the square piece of plywood in half along the diagonal.

  • Find the halfway point along the 17-inch hypotenuse of the resulting triangles and place a mark 2 1/2 inches up from this point. Drill a hole a little more than 1/2 inch in diameter at that point on both triangles.

  • Stand the triangles upright on their hypotenuses and place a line of glue along one side of it. Do this for both triangles. Wedge the 4-inch x 17-inch piece of wood between the two glued surfaces, matching the 17-inch sides together, and let the glue dry.

  • Set up a ventilated area and lay down newspaper. Place the wooden piece you have just made on the newspaper and spray paint it a dark steel color. Then spray paint the PVC pipe, the wood dowel, and the outside of the two bottle caps a lighter silver color.

  • Place the PVC pipe between the triangles with the site but the hole pointed down and thread your wooden dowel through the hole in one triangle, the hole in the PVC, and out the hole in the other triangle.

  • Place a dollop of glue on the inside of your two pop bottle caps and affix them to the ends of the dowel. Do not glue the pop caps to the wooden triangles.

  • Cut a 1 1/2-inch diameter hole out of your plastic ball and stick it on the remaining end of the PVC pipe. Put a line of glue around where the two join.

Tips & Warnings

  • For more of a steampunk theme, spray the lever in gold and bronze paint instead of steel and silver.
  • Wear safety goggles when drilling and a face mask when spray painting. Always be sure to follow proper safety procedures when using a drill or saw.

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  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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