Picture of Retractable Badge Holder / Measuring Tape
I made it at TechShop

Second place winner of the Father's Day Challenge.

Is your Dad a member of TechShop? Maybe he works for the big blue oval (if he does, you know what I mean), or maybe some other company the uses security badges?

Here is a great gift for Dad... Make him a retractable badge holder that he can actually use! Who doesn't need a tape measure from time to time?

10 ft Carabiner Tape Measure  (Harbor Freight  $0.99)
Key ring
Electrical Tape

Tools: (all available at TechShop)
Metal shears or scissors
Bench grinder with wire wheel
Spot welder

As with all Instructables, read ALL of the instructions first, before starting your project.
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Step 1: Modify the tape measure

Picture of Modify the tape measure
Start off by extending a length of the tape measure, and locking it in place.

Clip off the end with a pair of shears or scissors.

We will be making a loop to hold the keychain, so in order for the spot welder to work, use a wire wheel on a bench grinder to remove all of the paint in the areas of contact (spot welders work by making electrical contact). 

Step 2: Making the loop

Picture of Making the loop
Using the spot welder, close the loop on the end of the tape measure. Because the metal is extremely thin, it is easy to burn through. It only takes a fraction of a second to make the weld.

If you mess it up, no big deal.... just cut it off and try again. (You have 10 of tape measure to work with!)

Wrap the joint in electrical tape (ours just happened to be green).
3366carlos1 year ago
you inspired me.
lime3D (author)  3366carlos1 year ago
Thank you for saying that. I recently made another one of these, and completely skipped the spot welding, and just held it together with the electrical tape. It seems to be doing fine.
r_harris21 year ago
Update folks! I found a very similar carabiner tape at Lowes. It wasn't as cheap as the Harbor Freight tape, but I think it was only about 5-6 bucks, which is pretty good for the convenience. My badge retractor snagged and broke a few days ago, and I went looking for a replacement. I think I am going to buy one tonight :-)
Another update. The one I bought at Lowes was $2.98, so a little better price than I first thought. The retraction spring is a little weaker than I like, but I made it, and it is working. Thanks again to lime3D for the idea!
UncleBuild2 years ago
If the hook at the end of the tape is sturdy enough you could drill through the rivet. Then you could put the split ring of the badge through the hole and still have a functioning tape measure. Depending on the size of the rivet, it might even be possible to drill a small enough hole to allow the rivet to function as it should; holding the hook on to the tape.
lime3D (author)  UncleBuild2 years ago
Yes, maybe with a larger/stronger tape measure. The metal on these little ones is pretty narrow and thin, but I suppose you could try it. If it doesn't work, you could always cut the end off and do it like I did.
r_harris22 years ago
This is so brilliant! All these years I have been running around with a retractable badge holder, and fixing them when they broke, when I should have replaced them with something useful. This is really one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. Thanks!
lime3D (author)  r_harris22 years ago
To be honest, I don't even know how I thought of it. I just sort of popped into my head while driving to work. (My best designs usually occur while driving or in the shower!)
Good idea. I plan on doing this for myself for work, but instead of welding I'm going to use pop rivits. Thanks for the idea!
lime3D (author)  RedneckEngineer2 years ago
You could probably use a good epoxy too.
scoochmaroo2 years ago
Love it!