Panel Handles

Im gauging if anyone is/or would be interested in panel handles I’m designing. The idea is this: Cold temps and ice buildup on the bottoms of the panels make the panels a bit difficult to open, especially when the only lifting points are at both corners and are the lock handles. I hate lifting from the lock handles and not right from the center, plus the lock handles don’t offer much to grip when stuff is really frozen.

The handles of I’ve designed will be 3D printed in PETG or PA12-CF (Carbon Fiber Nylon) at two different price points due to material cost.

I debated on whether or not to use hardware mounting or 3M VHB, and decided on VHB to avoid drilling holes and voiding warranties on the panels.

If anyone else has any ideas/suggestions, feel free to drop them below.


How about using the nuts that you can get from GoFast for in the channels?

I like the idea of handles to give a nice even pull, and just for a better user experience overall, but it is worth considering that if they are moving hard enough to need a handle you maybe shouldn’t force it. I have repeatedly had my hinges so frozen the panel would have bent before they opened. Our storms often start as rain then switch to snow so it could be a non issue for most climates.

True, but fortunately for me I haven’t dealt with the hinges really freezing up, only the bottom flange of the panel to the bedside rail really. I also wanted a better way to open the panels one handed instead of lifting from the corners.

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I think I confused you haha. There’s no T channel on the doors themselves (that I know of, at least not on mine). They’re just a flat sheet, so that’s why I didn’t want to drill and “hard” mount anything if its not necessary.

I think it is a great idea and would be a nice upgrade. Excited to see your design!

got 2 of these on my back hatch- 1 inside 1 out. they work great for when things ice up

I guess I should clarify more. My goal is to have a handle that is secure, but not mounted via hardware as to not drill any holes. If I could use T Track nuts that would be cool, but its not an option. So I’m going to be using VHB, which will be plenty strong for this application, VHB is no joke…

Ohhhhhhh inside, that’s the ticket!

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Intrigued what the price points would be. I would think similar to the 8020 handle at $6 would suffice especially with VHB on the flat mount portion.

Still something I’m working out, but unfortunately I likely won’t be able to compete with $6, especially not with PA12-CF. PETG is pretty cheap and primarily what I print with, but I also print with PA12-CF for more industrial type applications. With the time designing, then printing, material (including VHB, not cheap) costs/electrical/shipping, $6 would be pretty rough lol. I like to print things that are practical and functional, not cheap and novelty (which is what most people seem to sell with their 3D printers).

Although I may design a handle for hard mounting to the pannels if people want, and offer it only in the PA12-CF at a higher price point. People love options. I’d likely be selling them in single or tipple packs. But, we’ll see!

vhb is no joke until the panel freezes shut and you are standing there with a handle in your hand :rage:


Draft prints. Still dialing in the retraction settings for the PA12, just about got it now (not in that picture though). This handle is proving to be a very difficult print to get super clean and without supports.


On hand I have one of those McMaster-Carr handles and a length of aluminum bar… perfect for a quick and dirty prototype to test the strength of VHB against iced over seals. VHB applied along the length of the aluminum bar. My expectation is that I will rip apart the rubber seal between my tailgate and back camper door. Perhaps I keep this as a thought experiment.

Okay. I bit the bait. Unsolicited option, it doesn’t have to be a handle, rather a grab bar and it could be pretty small. I dig what you’ve got going on.

Maybe this,


VHB is pretty wild stuff, I use it often. My only input (and forgive me for stating the obvious and/or saying you what you already know) is that you need enough area for the VHB to do its job - in the right place. 3M gives the guidance that per square inch, you get (with perfect application) up to 18 pounds at 90 degrees (90deg peel test), after the usual 24 hour contact time for full bonding strength. Normal tensile is 90lb/sq in by the datasheet but I see dramatically less in practice.

I would go with an option like this if I was mounting it via hardware, but using an adhesive with something like that doesn’t allow for much surface area unfortunately. I’ve kinda gone back and forth over this and had to make compromises when it comes to using an adhesive based handle solution. I do like this grab handle though!

This should see adequate adhesion given its 1”x6” in terms of straight pull force at 90° (assuming it’s installed correctly to a clean surface). I initially was going to use a 2.5”x8” design, but that would be wide enough to cover up the GFC decal below the rear hatch window. Also…it was be VERY stuck on there lol.


Due to the angles on the original handle I designed being a but to difficult to print with (at least in PA-CF), I redesigned the handles and can now print them flawlessly in both filament types. Once it “warms” up a little in MT or get garage access, I’ll apply them to the panels and get some pictures of them. I’ll try and take some design shots of them tonight also.

the PA-CF models can easily hold my weight (195lbs) standing on top of them, not what they’re designed for…and the fail point would be the VHB anyways, but still neat to see how strong this stuff is.