Back Page

A DIY Signalwinker (or Signalstab)

The Signalwinker (or Signalstab) (Traffic control disk) was standard equipment in the German Army for directing road traffic, and at the start of the war all vehicles were supposed to carry one. The early Kübelwagen have, by the front passenger's feet on the side of the body member a pressed-steel pocket as shown on the right, meant to hold one readily available. (Picture from the US Army TME9-803 field manual)

It is very easy to make a reproduction, which is good for collectors since originals are a bit thin on the ground.

To make it you will need a 150mm disk of 1mm thick steel sheet-metal, normally steel, a 350mm to 400mm length of 20mm diameter hardwood dowel, two 22mm lengths of soft metal rod (aluminium or copper wire, brass nail of the right diameter and length, bronze brazing rod, etc) 3mm to 4mm diameter to make the assembly rivets, and four washers that fit the rod, ideally of 10mm OD.

Paint the disk in white gloss enamel (RAL9003), then paint a 95mm circle in the middle in red gloss enamel (RAL 3000); repeat on the other side.

Cut with a thin saw a 55mm to 60mm long slot down the middle of the hardwood rod, and center the disk in place.

Drill through dowel and disk two holes of the diameter of the rivets, countersink lightly on both sides, place the rods in the holes and the washers on the rods ends, and hammer in place, alternating sides to form the heads equally. See here for guidance.

For a better aspect, before the final assembly both ends of the wood dowel should be slightly rounded (or pointed for the disk end), the whole handle sanded down to a fine polish, and finished with a coat or two of linseed oil.

And if you really want to show off, break out your set of 5mm or 6mm steel punch dies, and stamp the licence plate number of the car along both sides of the handle...

Note that the data in the illustration on the left, which comes from a pre-war 1939 German catalogue of car accessories, gives us an overall length of 600mm and a disk diameter of 115mm; the disks used during the war had a larger head, and the handle lengths vary,  so do not get anal about the them, the only constants are the disk diameter of 150mm and the handle diameter of 20 mm. The dimensions given here have been averaged from surviving examples and war-time photos, which show some variability mainly in the length of the handle. For the metrically challenged, help is available here.

Back PageLast update 01/05/2017

© Renaud Olgiati 2017