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I've been needing a new wallet for a while, so I decided to laser cut myself one, based on this instructable with a couple updates. Jbagnol's wallet is pretty cool, but they didn't include their work file. I also wanted to give instructions for those without a laser cutter.

I’m lucky enough to have free access to a laser cutter and colleagues who leave large enough scraps in the trash, so I used 1/16th inch plywood. However, if you don’t have access to a laser cutter, you could make a version out of cardboard, card stock, or mat board and an exacto knife. If you’re doing an exacto knife version, be on the lookout for thick card stock, kind of like what a cereal or tissue box is made out of, rather than corrugated shipping cardboard. You could even laminate or cover with clear shipping tape (the poor person’s version of laminating) for additional support.

If you're doing this without a laser cutter:

  • print the attached .png and cut along the dotted lines. This will be your pattern.
  • Use the pattern and trace it onto your heavy cardstock
  • Cut the cardstock with an exacto knife. (You might wish to forego the keychain holder, since it is the most fragile component)
  • place cards between cardstock covers and attach with rubber bands, elastic, or bicycle tubing
  • decorate, if you wish!

Materials:

  • laser cutter or scissors/exacto knife
  • 1/16 in plywood or heavy cardstock
  • small piece of spare bike tube, rubber bands, or other elastic.

Step 1: Designing Wallet in Illustrator

See annotated images!

  1. Begin by measuring your wallet.
  2. Add thumb tabs to facilitate removing cards.
  3. Indent so elastic band won't slip
  4. Optionally, add keychain tab/hole
  5. Add engravable elements
  6. Color code and set appropriate thickness for your laser cutter.

Step 2: Laser Cut It! (or Exacto Knife/scissors)

I used 1/16th inch plywood with vector set at 100% power, 15% speed and raster set at 100% power, 80% speed. Those settings are highly dependent on your laser cutter and material. Illustrator-editable PDF is available in intro for laser cutting, or use the .png and cut on the dotted lines.

See annotated images!

Step 3: Put It Together!

I used a piece of an old bike tube to hold my wallet together. The cards are placed between the two plywood sheets. It's pretty sturdy so far! Let me know if you have any questions!

You go to UW-Madison, don't you? (Bus pass)
I do! I'm an MFA candidate in the art department. You?
<p>brilliant! thanks so much for sharing!</p>
<p>Very cool design! I'm gonna say, I think using a band made from an inner tube has to be a requisite feature on this! ;)</p>
You might be right for this version. I think it would be cool to make a wallet with vegetables engraved on it and use the super thick blue rubber bands I often see on broccoli at the grocery.
<p>That's a brilliant idea! </p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am the Tinker Tank Program Lead at the Pacific Science Center! I love to teach people about science and technology and to make whimsical ... More »
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