Introduction: EReader TOUGH Travel Case / Plus

About: I work offshore in the Oil and Gas Industry. I deal primarily with subsea robotic vehicles and their required tooling.

Working in an environment where traveling with bulky books can be somewhat trying not to mention inconvenient. When you try to stuff your book alongside laptop, cables, memory drives and an ever-growing cornucopia of technological paraphernalia, finding a better medium was needed.

The last physically huge book series which I was reading drove me over the edge. It finally convinced me that I had to give the eReader a good tentative test. The first few trials were not total disappointments but certainly, I did not get hooked to the technology. The sense of accomplishment I would get whenever I managed to complete one of the voluminous tomes would not be shaken easily. However, after a short trial period, I found that it was much easier to read at night while sharing a room with others. As I am also older being able to enlarge the text print size equally gave me some advantages I had not thought of before; not to mention that a tablet could be stuffed in a much smaller space when traveling or carry hundreds of books with me.

As I tested the eReader, in my travels I cause undue stress on the tablet corners as I closed my carry-on with the zipper. Needless to say within a short time I cracked the glass. After replacing the tablet and much searching, I located a heavy leather-bound tablet cover, which I had suspected adequate to protect my investment. Obviously, it was not enough for I cracked the second tablet as well.

Now I was on a mission. A much more robust tablet carrier had to be located. I searched the internet and walked the malls but the suit of armor that I was hunting for eluded capture. After a couple of weeks, I concluded that this was now a job for Captain Manufacture. While shopping with my wife and trying to explain what was needed a flash of insight hit me. The fact that I was standing within an arm’s length of shelves and shelves of used books probably might have been instrumental. My brain ran away with itself flipping and turning 3D images in my head it was like my neurons were running on overdrive. The next day I came back armed with my third tablet and matched it for size against several hardcover books. I purchased a couple of hardcover books and being as cheap as I am even swapped one of them out for a cheaper unit of the same size. After all, I didn’t really care about the story, I was not going to read it.

That evening at home I set myself to work. Knowing that I would write instructions on how to build one I took numerous pictures. In the coming days I put the steps to paper and now you too can embark on building a strong box to hold that precious little electronic marvel. You can download a "How To" Pamphlet to follow in your own build.

An additional feature that you won't find in specialty tablet carrying case is anonymity. I can state from experience that I had several people ask me what the book I was reading was about? With a huge smile, I said it’s not a book but an encyclopedia….of course that created a queer look from my questioner. Matter of fact I continued with that book I can even trigger moving images just like in Harry Potter ….ha ha

Follow below as I lay out the instructional on building your own. It should only take you perhaps two days. One day to find a suitable hardcover book and gather your tools and supplies, then the second day for the actual build.

Step 1: Supplies

  • Used hardcover book of appropriate size to accommodate tablet and perhaps earplugs or ? (size to fit reader plus)
  • Square balsa wood (enough to span 3 sides of book)
  • Elmer’s carpenter wood glue (small tube)
  • Cloth material (color to suit enough for front and back book inside cover plus)
  • Razor knife
  • Scissors
  • Hand pressure clamps
  • Postal rubber bands (Great as clamps for some things 2 or 3 should be sufficient)

Step 2: Getting What You Need

Take your eReader to a used book store and find a “Hard Cover” book which is slightly thicker in pages than your reader. If you want to fancy it up you can choose a larger size to accommodate any accessories as well. For this description, we will use two configurations, one plain and one to accommodate earplugs. Next, find some cloth material to use as backing and spine reinforcement. Then go to your local hobby shop and purchase balsa wood of sufficient thickness to span all of the pages in the book you picked up. Make sure your book is big enough to accommodate the reader plus the square balsa wood and still leave a lip edge. This will keep the standard book look. You may have to shave some of the width to accommodate book size. If you have some carpentry tools and skills you can always rip the size of wood you need.

Step 3: Start to Build EReader Case

Next open the book and using the razor knife cut out all the pages. Be careful not to cut too deep, you don't want to damage the cover spine.

Step 4:

Next, cut your balsa wood to fit the outer edge of the book. If you cut the ends at a 45˚ the case will have a cleaner edge and maintain a closer real style book look. Once you have marked all of the wood pieces and cut them, apply carpenter’s glue to the edge and place on book edge. Do not place the wood flush with the book edge. Leaving a small lip on the outer edge will keep the book look and feel. Make sure that your reader still fits between the wood pieces. If you have a rubber skin for your reader and you wish to keep it make sure that you size it correctly. I forgot in my first attempt. Let the glue set good and strong. I left mine overnight just to make sure.

Step 5:

Next, place your cloth between the wood pieces and cut the corners to allow the edge to fold up on the inside of the wood without puckering. Cut the material to span the complete book on the cover side. I left mine with an extra edge and cut flush once the material glue is well set. Remove all of the wrinkles in the material and make sure that the glue covers all of the surfaces. Again I let sit overnight just to make sure that the material is well secured before tugging at it.

Step 6:

If you’re going to add a compartment to store your earphones it will be best to add a back section to the frame. Make sure that you have sufficient space between the spine and the wood pieces. The back section can be thinner and I think best if it is glued above the material so that as the book is closed the material will make the back hinge section stronger.

Step 7:

Next, apply some carpenter glue to the back piece of wood which will go against the spine. Fold the book against the back wood section and secure until the glue is set. I used postal rubber bands all around the book.

Step 8:

Once the back book section is secured to the wood and the glue has set Cut the excess material around the edges

Step 9:

You can drill small holes on the top of the wood and glue in small magnets and an opposing steel washer on the cover to act as book latch. I did not have this done yet at the time of writing as I needed to purchase a small magnet at a local shop. Your ebook carrying case is now complete. Resist the temptation to paint or varnish the wood. Over time the wood will collect hand oils and dirt and take on a more convincing real book look. To any casual light-fingered observer, the case will look like a book and keep your eReader safe from walking and damage. I mean who wants to steal an ordinary book.

As I write this my case is about six years old and all tho the corners show some signs of wear and tear, it has traveled all over the world and I have never lost another tablet through breakage. I hope you have enjoyed the project.

Step 10: Six Year Later

The same tablet six years later. I have removed the earplug storage as I bought a different tablet and it was a little longer than the original.

Step 11: Build Pamphlet

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