iPads are thin and light, but they appear a little awkward to carry, as if they could be dropped too easily. I wanted a carry case that is light, gives more protection to the iPad, and cannot slip out of the hand.
- Solid wood
- Something for a handle, like an old leather belt
- Screws and fittings
- Spray lacquer
- Table saw
- Router and table
- 2 1/2 inch hole saw
- Drill and bit
Step 1: Cut Lumber
Cut two rectangles of fiberboard 8 1/8 x 10 1/2 inches. This allows for 1/4 inch rabbets in the solid stock to give a good gluing area. Cut a piece of solid wood long enough to fit around three sides of the fiberboard rectangles including some wood for making 45 degree miters at the corners. Make the solid wood 3/4 x 7/8 inch. I had some good clear red oak to use.
Step 2: Rabbet
Use a router and router table with a straight bit to make rabbets in the solid wood that go back 1/4 inch from the edge. The 3/4 inch dimension on the solid wood is in the horizontal position in the photo. The 7/8 inch dimension runs vertically so there will be enough space for the iPad to slip into the carry case easily. The fiberboard I used is about 5/32 inch thick, or just a little more than 1/8 inch. The dimensions on your solid wood will vary if the fiberboard you use is a different thickness.
Step 3: Miter the Ends and Cut the Solid Wood to the Correct Lengths
I need to make a miter sled for my homemade table saw, but for now I set the miter gauge to cut miters by fitting the miter gauge to the legs of a square clamped to the table as seen. The long piece across the bottom of the carry case had to be exactly the correct length. The two pieces on the sides could be a little longer for trimming with a simple 90 degree crosscut after a good dry fit of the pieces.
Step 4: Dry Fit
In my dry fit shown here the miters are nice and tight. The side pieces of solid wood are just a little long to be certain I did not cut them too short. I marked them with a sharp knife and trimmed them for a good fit. Part of the dry fit was to test the corners on the fiberboard to be certain they are square.
Step 5: Hole Saw
I used a 2 1/2 inch hole saw to cut semi-circle openings in the top edges of the fiberboard pieces. I cut them simultaneously as you see in the photo so that they would be exactly opposite one another when the carry case is assembled.
Step 6: Glue the Top Half
Many things can go wrong during gluing. I checked the miter joints to be certain they were tight when clamped. The lower piece of fiberboard is in position so the clamps can pull against it to pull the top glue joints in tight. I weighted the fiberboard with some heavy books.
See the second photo. After one half of the carry case had dried for an hour, it was safe to glue the remaining piece of fiberboard into its rabbet. The pieces already fitted and glued made gluing the remaining piece of fiberboard into place without clamps easy. But, I still used heavy books to hold the glue joint firmly while it was drying. I placed the iPad inside the case to keep the weight of the books from distorting the fiberboard.
Step 7: Sand the Solid Wood Edges
A little of the solid wood rose above the surface of the fiberboard. I used a belt sander to remove any difference and make the edges flush. I used some finer sandpaper by hand to remove any marks left by the belt sander.
Step 8: Round the Edges
Round the edges of the solid wood with a rounding bit in the router. I made a series of very light cuts to avoid burning and chipping of the wood. Sand away any dents, burns, or chips from the router. Note: I left the upper part of the side pieces flat rather than rounded so they are flat under under the leather strap I plan to use as a handle. See the second photo.
I used some spray lacquer to give my case a pleasing finish.
Step 9: Fit a Strap Handle
I am using a long clamp to hold part of an old leather belt. The belt will make a handle for the carry case. It must also be flexible enough that it pushes out of the way to allow removal of the iPad. I know I could attach the strap with one screw so the strap can pivot out of the way when I want to remove the iPad, but I do not want to risk the screw turning loose after a while. Two screws on each side will keep the strap secure.
Step 10: Cut the Strap and Attach It to the Case
Once I determined the length I wanted for the strap I cut it to length, allowing the amount the strap needs to overlap the sides of the case so it can be attached. I chose to cut the strap an appropriate length for a handle. I could have used a longer strap to carry over my shoulder, but I am not a shoulder strap sort of person.
I chose to use plastic screw caps and 5/8 inch x #8 sheet metal screws to attach the strap to the case. I used two screws and screw caps per side. I bought the plastic screw caps individually at a large hardware store.
These screw caps are for flat head screws. They are also available for bevel head screws. They provide a broader area of support like a washer would. They are available in a variety of colors. I chose black to match my old belt. The lid of the screw caps snaps into place to cover the head of the screw and give a very nice finishing touch.
This carry case for my iPad can fit into a bag or attache' case, or be carried alone as in the photo from the Introduction . If this case were placed into a bag or attache' case with other things, I can be certain those other things will not press too hard on the screen of the iPad.