Introduction: Folding, Portable Whiteboard

I love math, and I like to use the whiteboards at my school a lot for my problems. The goal of this project was to create a whiteboard that was big but portable. I wanted to be able to store its pieces in my backpack with all my other school supplies.


Post it Dry Erase Whiteboard (3x2 ft works for my setup; however, I bought 4x3 ft incase I needed to restart)

1/4 in thick Ply Wood (The type of ply wood doesn't really matter. I chose 1/4 in thickness to fit the constraints of my backpack and in hindsight I think it is quite a nice thickness)

Music Stand (A lot of music stands like this should work, you don't need this exact one)

Access to

  • A 3D printer, 0.5 kg roll TPU Filament
  • A way to cut the plywood (I used a chop saw)
  • X ACTO knife
  • Glue (needs to bind 3D printed materials to the plywood, I used E6000)
  • Measuring tool
  • Pencil
  • Whiteboard Marker / Eraser
  • 8.5x11 sheet of paper
  • Scissors
  • Random cardboard

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting the Wood

Fully extended, my board measures 20x20 in. The wood is meant to be a backbone for the whiteboard; however, if it covers the whole area, it cannot fold. Since the board is square, I decided to make it fold like a monopoly board—it has a cut down the centerline. Here, there need not be space between the planks.

  1. On the plywood, make a mark 9.25 inches in on the edge.
  2. Drawing parallel to the other edge, extend the mark to be 28.5 in long.
  3. Divide this column into 4 sections: two 10x9.25 in and two 9.25x9.25 in.
    • Originally, I had 9 in instead of 9.25 (your whiteboard will look different from mine). However, the whiteboard caved in more than desired where the empty space was. This increase should help reduce that.
  4. Cut away on the marked lines, double checking your measurements.

Step 2: Measuring and Cutting the Whiteboard

  1. Take any corner of the whiteboard material, and mark 20 inches in on both edges, and 10 inches in on only one.
  2. Connect the corners to complete the square.
  3. Drawing parallel to the edge, extend the 10 in mark to a bit more than halfway across the square (wil be referred to as the center mark line).
  4. Placing cardboard under the whiteboard where you cut, use the X ACTO knife to cut along the edges of the square, and then the center mark line.

Step 3: Assembling the Wood

  1. Flip the whiteboard over and peel of the protective layer.
  2. Carefully match up the two 10x9.25 with the center line, making sure the long edge is going toward the center line.
  3. Place the other two wood planks at the other corners, it should look like the above picture.

(The whiteboard material on this side is sticky, so no adhesive is needed).

Step 4: Filling the Remaining Sticky Space

During my first test fold, I ran into an issue of the whiteboard material sticking to itself. To combat this, we only need a spare sheet of paper.

  1. Set the paper next to the board, lining up the corner of the paper with the corner of the wood (see picture).
  2. Mark the paper by the next wood a bit after its corner (see picture). This will leave additional leeway room, making sure that the paper covers all the sticky material.
  3. Extend the mark across the whole paper, making sure to keep it parallel with the edge.
  4. Fold the paper so that the crease line is the same as the mark. Then fold the paper in on itself twice (see video).
  5. Cut along the creases with the scissors, you'll end up with 4 columns, you only need the three bigger ones.
  6. Place the cut outs on the sticky surface, don't be afraid to let them hang off the edge. It is important that they don't go over the centerline cut.

Step 5: Building the Lock Mechanism

The lock mechanism is needed to give backbone to the board so it is less flimsy when folded. There are a lot of different ways you can build a lock mechanism, but I went with something similar to a backpack buckle. I got my initial design from Using Fusion360, a free cad software program, I extruded the ends.

If you look closely, there are indents near the heads of the pieces. Originally, the indents were not there and the buckle broke when folding because it did not have enough flexibility nor room to unbuckle. This is a downside to the buckle plan. Even with the improvement, this might cause it to have less long-term durability. So far I have had no problems. The reason for implementing the buckle was that they would be permanently attached to the board, whereas something like a pin mechanism might require more setup time / space.

If you use the buckle design, print the attached files using the TPU filament.

Step 6: Attaching the Buckle

  1. Place the Buckles down first and then trace them.
    • It does not matter where the two buckles on the centerline are placed, aim for equal distance between the two buckles and the edges of the wood.
    • Placing the last two buckles centered with the planks will cause them to overlap during folding. This doesn't affect much, but it will take up less space and fold more nicely otherwise. I recommend putting one about 2.5in away from the center and the other about 4 in away from the center
  2. Using the glue (I used E6000), carefully glue the underside (flat part; the top is curved and indented) and place it in the traced area.
  3. Put a small amount of force on it and let it sit for a while (depends on type of glue). I let it sit for a bit over 30 minutes.

Step 7: Final Product and Further Steps

Right now it's unfolded.

As of right now the final product is a bit fragile

I will continue to update this and make these next steps more specific and thorough

  • 1/16 in acrylic or layer of TPU can replace the paper used to cover the sticky side. This will help strengthen the board and make it easier to write on.
  • Packing Tape should be added at the bottom of the centerline to prevent it from growing. Could also be put on buckles to increase durability.
  • Rubber Band or wire of some time could be a quick fix to better hold the stand in place. As of right now a major annoyance is the stand rotating as you write due to the weight of the board. You can adjust this by holding it with your hand but it would be helpful to have it stay in place.