Making A Metal Hand Doorknob

Regular doorknobs are widely reviled for their bare simplicity, but by and large society has so many other problems that it never really comes up in day to day conversation. Fear not, however, for [Matthew] has created something altogether more special: a doorknob in the shape of his own outstretched hand.

The build was inspired by a similar doorknob at the WNDR museum in Chicago, and its one you can recreate yourself, too. It’s achieved through a multi-stage mold making process. [Matthew]’s first step was to make a flexible mold of his hand using Perfect Mold alginate material to do so.

Once solidified, [Matthew’s] hand was removed and the mold filled with wax. The wax duplicate of [Matthew]’s hand was then used to create an investment plaster mold for casting metal. Vents were added in the end of each fingertip in the mold to allow molten metal to effectively fill the entire cavity.

Once the investment mold was solid and dry, the wax was melted out and it was ready for casting. A propane furnace was used to melt the casting metal and fill the mold using a simple gravity casting method. [Matthew] ended up making two hands, one in aluminium and one in copper. Some cleanup with grinders and a wire wheel, and a replica of [Matthew]’s hand was in his hands!

The finished piece looks great attached to a door knob, and we’re sure it’s quite satisfying shaking hands with your hefty metal self every time you open the door. It bears noting that the same techniques can be used with 3D printing, too! If you pull off your own great home casting project, be sure to drop us a line. Video after the break.

23 thoughts on “Making A Metal Hand Doorknob

    1. Or to grab hat off some old guy who forgets to take his hat off indoor. This looks a lot like Willy Wonka’s coat room just before the kids started signing the agreement in the movie

  1. Door knobs are not allowed in some places as they are less accessible than a handle bar that doesn’t need strong grasp.

    I’d make the hand bent like a handshake grasp. It sticking out is a hazard perhaps.

      1. I hate handles, love door knobs.

        I’m from the US – all door knobs as I was growing up.

        I live in Germany – door handles all over the place.

        I have caught belt loops and shirt sleeves on the door handles more times than I can count over the last thirty years.

        The only thing that’s kept the number of incidents from being higher is that I put door knobs in my house so that I don’t have to deal with the damned handles at home.

  2. Door knobs in a residential house are almost mandatory if you have children – they give you a couple more months grace before the little darlings can manage to open them. Door handles present no barrier once the kids are walking but the knob take a bit more strength and dexterity before they present no barrier…

    1. Pets too, i have a collie that frequently opens two doors in a row to come in and see me. I never considered retrofitting doorknobs before now but it’s a good alternative to locking doors which is what I do now, but i find it tedious.

      1. Since I’m not from the US, I only saw these door knobs in movies. Until now I never noticed how impractical this round and smooth ball shape is. Why aren’t they made with a knurled surface or an soft toothed edge similar to a gear for a better grip?

        1. My grandparents’ farm house had a lot of door knobs, the smaller ones had enough texture to be easily gripped and the larger ones (which tended to be the more ornate and shiny ones) had enough surface area to grip. I don’t recall ever having an issue with the doors there. My mother grew up in that house and the only door related incident she ever recounted to me was about when she was too short to reach the handle for the latch in the bathroom so she climbed out the window.

  3. It’s quite common to rotate the bar pointing upwards in that case. A little awkward bit works fine to protect against those young ones for a while.

    What I don’t understand is why some countries favor twist knows so much. I guess because everybody else does it? But from an accessibility point they are horrible. Hands full? Hands dirty? They also become far more dirty etc etc. What makes them potentially better?

    1. Door knobs don’t hook your belt loops or shirt sleeves like door handles do.

      Germany has door handles every where. I’ve hooked my shirt sleeves and belt loops many a time while visiting my in-laws.

      In my house (also in Germany,) I installed (imported) door knobs so that I don’t get caught on the doors at home.

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