DIY Telescoping Luggage Handle

Updated July 20, 2017

Telescoping cylinders are series of two or more cylinders of decreasing width that can be stored within each other. They can usually be extended to more than twice the length of their contracted state. Telescoping cylinders are useful for applications where a long pole is needed, but not much storage space is available for the pole when it is not being used. For example, luggage handles are often made from a pair of telescoping cylinders.

Use your drill to bore two parallel .4-inch radius holes in the plastic cylinder. Space them exactly 6 inches apart.

Put a thin layer of epoxy glue inside each hole and insert one of the thinner cylinders into each hole. Hold the cylinders in place a minute or so until the glue begins to set and allow it to dry completely for an hour before you continue working.

Glue the two larger cylinders vertically to the back of the suitcase. Line them up exactly 6 inches apart and parallel. Position them so they protrude one foot above the top of the suitcase.

Insert the plastic cylinder and steel cylinder assembly into the cylinders attached to the suitcase. They should slide in precisely.

Slide out the plastic cylinder and steel cylinder assembly so that just one inch of the smaller steel cylinders remain inside the larger.

Drill a straight hole with 1/8 inch radius through the section where the two steel cylinders overlap. Drill all the way through both cylinders. Do this with both sets of overlapping cylinders.


To use your suitcase, pull out the plastic cylinder until the holes in the steel cylinders below it overlap. Insert the pins all the way through both holes, and use your handle to push and pull your suitcase.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 hollow steel cylinders (1.5 feet long, .1 inch thickness, .5 inch outer radius)
  • 2 Hollow steel cylinders (1.5 feet long, .1 inch thickness, .4 inch outer radius)
  • 1 solid plastic cylinder (8 inches long, .75 inch radius)
  • Drill
  • Epoxy glue
  • Ruler
  • Suitcase
  • 2 metal pins (1/8 inch thick)
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