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Nigh on two years ago, I began working on my first floppy disk bag (second picture) and then on my first instructable. Within those two years, the bag has been blogged around the world, won an instructables.com contest and various art awards, been presented in various galleries and the Oregon Museum of Craft, and has even been featured on German public television.
More important than that, however, is that immediately after publishing the instructable, people began making their own bags, improving on my design, and posting suggestions for people interested in making their own. Thus is the nature of instructables.com.
I never revisit projects, I feel that instead I could be working on one of the many half finished projects encroaching on my living space; However, I needed a laptop bag, and have always wanted to incorporate into the original design the two best ideas posed by other bag makers:
- A canvas lining
- Using a binding material other than hard-to-find jump-rings

This rather long instructable features two sub-instructables:
- How to Tie A Square Knot
- How to Prevent Fraying in Cotton Webbing Without Glues

Please read through the instructable in its entirety before taking on this project because it has two different "things you will need" pages and an interlude about adhesives.
Add EL wire here: [http://www.instructables.com/id/Floppy_Disk_Bag_Retrofit_EL_Wire]
 
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Step 1: What's wrong with the old bag?

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As you can tell from the pictures, the old bag began to fall apart where the flap meets the back. When wearing the bag, bending over causes the bag to compress, over time this led to the jump rings tearing through the weak areas of the floppy disk.
For this new bag, since we aren't limited by the size of the jump rings, we can drill the holes further away from the edge of the disk, reducing the possibility of tearing.

Step 2: What you'll need: Body

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What you'll need to construct the body of the bag
Floppy Disks: 42 disks are used in the bag, so in a box of 50 you get some to practice on.
Canvas: Scrap canvas at least 16"x42"
Binding material: I used hemp twine, some people used zip ties, find what works best for you.
Leather or Sailmaker's needle: If using twine, you will need an appropriate needle (see step 12).
Drill and drill bits: Use a drill bit anywhere between 1/8" and 3/16"
Wood and nails: To construct a jig for drilling disks.
Scissors: To cut with.
Glue: We'll get to glue later.

Not shown:

Sewing machine or needle.
Thread of your choice.
A couple of good movies.

Step 3: Enter the matrix, again.

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Lay out the matrix of your soon to be bag. I used a 4-disk by 9-disk rectangle and two 1-disk by 3-disk rectangles which will form the sides. Other people, who wanted smaller bags used a 3-disk by 9-disk matrix.
Assess how the disks will go together when the matrix is folded. This will usually mean that some disks will need to be drilled differently, set those disks aside.

Step 4: Create a template disk and jig.

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Layout how you will drill your holes on each disk and create a template, or guide disk.
Using nails and a plank of wood, create a jig you can slide a stack of disks into. Make sure when the disks are held in place, that they are square with the surface you are drilling on, this will make sure your holes are drilled in the same place on each disk.

Step 5: Drill the speciality disks

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The two disks we set aside earlier? those are going to need an additional hole to match up with the adjacent disks when the matrix is folded. The details are in the pictures.

Step 6: Trace and cut the matrix

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Lay out your matrix, setting the sides aside. Trace the three rectangles onto the canvas. You're going to want to leave a half inch border around the 4x9 rectangle and a one inch border around three edges of the two smaller rectangles and a half inch border on the remaining edge.
These borders will form the hems on the fabric to keep it from unraveling and give the bag a neater appearance. The over-sized borders on the smaller rectangles are to form flaps which provide an overlap when the matrix is folded up.

Step 7: Sew the Canvas

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Fold over the places where you are going to stitch the hems. remember to leave flaps on the two side pieces to allow for the bag to fold together. The second picture shows what these two pieces should look like. When all stitched up, sew the bottom tab of the sides to where they were on the matrix. It helps to lay out the floppies on top of the canvas to find this place. See the third picture for more details.

Step 8: Interlude: Adhesives

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Since we will be using a glue to adhere the floppies to the canvas while we secure them with twine, we will need to choose an appropriate glue for the job. I tried using Elmer's bull glue, but gorilla glue will work just as poorly. TEST YOUR GLUE ON SCRAP MATERIALS! I had to resew the entire matrix because the glue soaked through the fabric and hardened, barely adhering to the floppies. See the second picture. In my tests I found that both water based and polymer based work perfectly without soaking through the fabric. They dry clear as a bonus.

Step 9: Glue down the Floppies

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Apply a small dab of your glue of choice to the floppy. For the two specially drilled floppies I recommend a small line of glue along the edge to adhere to the extra thick seam (see second picture.)

Step 10: The Resulting Matrix

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This is how the resulting canvas and floppy matrix should look. Notice the overlap on the side arms.

Step 11: Mini Instructable 1: How to Tie a Square Knot.

A square knot is essentially tying a double knot. With the first knot going one way and the second going the other. As long as you can chant the mantra "right over left, left over right" you can tie a square knot.
take the right strand and gross it over the left, pull it through, then pull it taught. Then take the left strand, pass it over the right and through. Pull it taught and you have a square knot.

Step 12: Tie Some Knots

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starting from the back, the canvas side, poke the twine through the drilled holes and stitch the floppy disks to each other and to the canvas. Secure with a square knot and secure the knot further with glue. when stitching an edge, simply thread the twine around that edge and secure as before. the third picture details the needles used.

Step 13: Tie Some More Knots.

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Put on a good movie and tie knots until your hands blister. Only tie knots on the top and bottom edges and two floppy disks down on the flap side. Also secure the far edges on the two arms. Details are shown in the next step.

Step 14: The Final Matrix.

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This is how the final matrix should look. Notice where the edges have been left unsecured, these will be the corners of the bag. Get ready to fold!

Step 15: Fold and Sew

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Fold up the bag and fold the flaps inside so they overlap the canvas on the inside. Sew these corners, tying the knots on the outside.

Step 16: What you will need: Strap

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4 ft of 1.5" webbing: I chose cotton for reasons I will explain later
2 footman's loops: found at the same store I bought the webbing, check military surplus stores.
A 1.5" ladder for the webbing
4 Countersunk bolts to fit your footman's loops: These only need to be around .75" long
4 finishing washers
4 acorn nuts.

Step 17: Strap Hardware

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Place your footman's loops about an inch down from the top of the sides and drill your holes. Put the bolts and washers on the inside, as shown in the third picture. Secure ONE of the footman's loops with the acorn nuts. It is important not to do both at this time.

Step 18: Mini Instructable 2: How to Secure Cotton Webbing Without Chemicals.

Picture of Mini Instructable 2: How to Secure Cotton Webbing Without Chemicals.
When you are using a synthetic webbing, you can cauterize the edges to prevent fraying; However, when you are using an organic fiber, you do not have this option. There are many adhesives on the market designed to prevent fraying, but I wanted to do this project as organically as possible, so I stitched the edges.
Set your sewing machine to stitch a back tack, or cross stitch and sew the end s of the webbing making many passes and getting as close to the edge as possible. (this can also be done by hand.)
Then all that is left to do is trim the fluff at the very end to neaten up the appearance of the webbing.

Step 19: Sew a Loop in the webbing.

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Sew a loop of webbing large enough for the remaining footman's loop to fit in. Using a back tack or cross stitch, sew about an inch of the webbing to itself in the most secure way possible.
Then, with the footman's loop inside the webbing loop, bolt the footman's loop to the body of the bag.

Step 20: Last Step

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Place the ladder on the other end of the webbing, then thread the webbing through the other footman's loop. Pass the webbing around the loop and back through the ladder. Adjust for comfort and congratulate yourself.

Step 21: Usage and Recap.

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Because I bought these diskettes new, rather than finding them in a dumpster like my last bag, I decided to make the rest of the bag as organic as possible, to avoid using more new plastics than necessary. I used water based adhesives and organic fibers. To test out the bag I took a class with a heavy textbook. Yes, that's right: I voluntarily payed to take calculus during my summer. I use the bag whenever I can and, other than a few knots coming undone (easily remedied), the bag holds together perfectly. If I could do this project again, I would poke holes in the bottom, because it is essentially watertight.
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EtherPants6 years ago
Bah the image didn't attach
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yours looks cool by the way

I am working on mine I have more black floppies than colored I will end up sharing pictures of it when I am done...

nerd74734 months ago

what glue did you use?

Ummm... Those aren't FLOPPY disks, but nice work anyway. How long did it take you to make your first one?

Actually, they are floppy disks. They get their name from the thin, magnetic "floppy" disk inside the casing. :)

Really? :) I'm sorry if I was incorrect, but I always thought since they were nicknamed "Floppy" and "Stiffy" disks that the two were always referred to in different ways. ^^

jjoyce ii1 year ago

I want one of these, but I'm not sure where to get that many floppy disks.

moonchylde1 year ago
I just saved about 500 floppies from a neighbor's trash tonight, though I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. Now I know what all my geeky friends and family are getting for Christmas this year! Cheers!
yaaahhh!!!...I wish I can have a bag like that...
I think my favourite part of the new one is how clean and professional the final bag looks. If you used black zip ties, new black floppies (like yours), and similar hardware, it would be (in my opinion) a professional enough no-frills briefcase... Albeit way cooler and more original than your co-workers'!
Rabi-Chan4 years ago
Has anyone done a stress test with this bag? such as the total amount of weight that the bag can withstand? I'm wondering this because I'm a full time student and i carry a lot of books and a laptop so i wanted to see if the bag can handle my hectic semester.
crjeea4 years ago
Hmm... I think im going to make a floppy disk PC case... that is if i can find enough dead floppy disks (:
storygarvie5 years ago
I put the floppies in position on an old white towel,  then used an awl to punch through the towel, which held the hole-shape really well until I could get the ziptie through the hole and towel.  Plus I don't have a sewing machine so I didn't have to hem the towel.
storygarvie5 years ago
 I just rescued a whole mess of floppies destined for the trash bin at my work and I'm totally making this bag.  What do you think of using colored zip ties instead of twine?  I like the yellow on black contrast, but I don't think I have the patience to tie so many knots.
I built 2 versions of this bag. One the size mentioned above and another smaller one. I made both using small ZipTies and no fabric.

I had the same idea of using ZipTies with the fabric but was unsure how to proceed. Use a knife and cut small holes? Any suggestions?
imanalchemist (author)  ogmosic5 years ago
I would suggest using some sort of punch, a large needle, or a small hobby knife would work fine.
todddiskin5 years ago
Rather than the footman's loop, one might be able to weave the strap in such a manner that it would loop through the bag, supporting the bottom. I have a cardboard bag that is very similar in dimension to this bag and the strap is exposed, supporting the bottom of the bag, "weaves" into the bag on the side and then back out at the top. One could easily do this by having the strap support the bottom of the bag on the outside, weave it through the space between the disks on the bottom and the bottom disk on the side (make a slot through the canvas, of course), then allowing the strap to come out through the space between the bottom of the top disk on the side.

Since I had to buy new floppies I just used the box as a template although duct tape was my second choice since I had nothing at home to make a template. Another nice side effect is that my wooden breakfast plate now has cool holes in it ^.^
imanalchemist (author)  MoDYezariael5 years ago
that's the smartest thing I've ever heard. I never would have thought of that. thank you
azaana6 years ago
I used a old computer cable and removed the screws which secure it then used the holes in the floppys to secure it to my bag.
azaana6 years ago
i was making a jig but then realized it was to much effort when you can just use duct tape to hold them together, for an all the more simpler method
red-king6 years ago
I have a ton of floppy disks somewhere... once i find them this might be what happens to them.
EtherPants6 years ago
Just finished my own floppy bag after working on and off since winter break. I had fun gathering up the more colorful ones and am proud to say it has exactly 42 disks. The strap is a couple of belts from goodwill
Iridium76 years ago
That is a good instructable! my bag was actually based off the old bag but the holes farther apart but secured by zip ties.
Looks much better then the first and more flexy (or how every you spell that) nice job.
you would say flexible. ;D
imanalchemist (author)  mg0930mg6 years ago
would I?
Yes, at least I hope you would...
imanalchemist (author) 6 years ago
yes, yes you could.
BlankJebus6 years ago
couldn't you use a guitar strap for this? because most are still comfortable after wearing them for ling periods of time and they have the loops on the ends already.
This is the bag my Girlfriend and I made, we used cable ties because it's a lot quicker and less hassle. We got the discs, the canvas and bag strap from the local tip shop.
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I love it, who says floppies are out of date? Next shall we try to do a CD purse?
i've done that. Not as good, because it was effing hard for me to get a good (and actually practical) pattern.
imanalchemist (author)  phant0m_sp00f3ra6 years ago
pics?
i'll upload em when i get to my Computer. Its strrongly based on duct tape and CD, more a proof of concept.
[quote]Floppy Disks: 42 disks are used in the bag, so in a box of 50 you get some to practice on.[/Quote]

your bag is certainly conspiring against us, but Don't panic!
hc926 years ago
are you ok with people making thses these and selling them?
imanalchemist (author)  hc926 years ago
Nope, it's licensed under a non-commercial share share-alike creative commons license. I would rather that it was available free to everyone.
kburesh6 years ago
is the sobo glue in the picture any good?
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