Introduction: How to Make an Off-Site Backup Storage Container

Did you ever consider of what you would lose if your house burns down? Most material goods can be replaced, but what about your photos? Or your home videos of you and your friendly neighbor? And what about your CD and DVD collection?

Now, in the good old analog days, it would just be a matter of bad luck. You would lose some things permanently, the insurance would pay out to replace a few others and you would have to start over from scratch. However, that is no longer necessary in the digital age. Now that most of your memories and entertainment consists of 1s and 0s, you can secure yourself against theft, earthquakes or fire.

The goal of this instructable is not so much in showing you how to make a wooden box, but rather to make you aware of the fact that you too can protect yourself from a disaster.

It took me about 6 hours from the initial planning to the final completion of the storage container.

Step 1: Perform an Inventory on Your Data

The first step is to do an inventory of all your digital data. That is (in most cases):

*Digital Photos
*Digital Videos
*Your Documents

You might have some more, for example, video games or perhaps you have a large collection of cat pictures. Now you should look at the size of the data you have. take 700MB for a CD, 4.5 to 8GB per DVD and pull up the properties of either your my documents or the drive you use to store your data.

Now it's time to decide how to back up your data. If your total storage is below 10GB you could decide to store it online on a site like xdrive The upside, is they often offer free agents to sync your data automatically (even between multiple computers) and you don't have to carry anything around. Downsides is that it often takes a lot of time to do the initial upload of the data.

If your collection is less then 1500GB, you could chose to store it on an encrypted USB drive (you can use truecrypt and store this USB disk somewhere that your regularly visit, like your parents or in a locked drawer at work. Use two disks if you are particularly paranoid and swap them every now and then. The good thing is that it will hold a lot more data than you can store online, the downside is that you will have to move the drive around every now and then.

If your collection is larger than 1500GB it quickly becomes less economical to store the data on a USB drive. Initially, you could just get a second USB drive, but what do you do if you have more than 10,000GB(10TB)? Your most cost effective solution is burning everything on DVD and storing them, again at a secure location you frequently visit, this time in a locked container. The upside is that this storage solution is limitless the downside is that it takes some time to build the container and requires that you burn DVDs with your backups. If you have highly sensitive data, you are better of by storing that on an additional encrypted USB disk inside the box.

I won't go into details on how to backup your DVDs or CDs. There are severalinstructableson how to do that.

If you have decided that this is your only option you can continue to the next step.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

What materials will you need:

All items were bought in Home Depot.

Wood panels. Use whatever you like to work with. I prefer MDF, so I went with1/2" MDF panels; $18.75
A few small wooden beams. You could also cut up some MDF and use that instead.
Two hinges; $5.18
Four square angle metal hooks; $2.24
A box of screws, 3/4"; $4.46
Two locks and clasps; $14.58
Instead of the locks I used, you could also use pad locks and hardware.
Four wheels; $4.49
Glue; $1.79

Total Project Cost: $51.49

Tools you will need:

I just used some basic tools. You can use these tools or whatever you have at your disposal.

Cordless drill
Tape measure
Some paper to wipe off excess glue
Glue gun

Step 3: Saw the Bottom and Sides and Attach Metal Angles

Now you have to come up with the size of the box. Measure the outside dimensions of your DVD carry cases or storage box.

Use common sense here. I suggest something that will fit under a desk, but can hold all your data and still has some room to grow. Now as you can see, my box is a little big. Most people can probably do with something that is a little smaller. Don't make it to small though. Make it too small and it would be too easy to steal and it won't offer enough capacity for a few years.

As you can see, I did not have a measuring stick so I simply used the straight edges of the board to draw the lines.

Once cut I used the small strips to measure where to attach the metal angles on the bottom. Place the metal angles and then carefully drill holes in the board, with a smaller drill than the diameter of the screws.

As I did throughout this project, I then used a combination of both glue and screws to attach the metal angles to the bottom.

Step 4: Attach the Side Panels, Lid, Hinges, Locks and Wheels.

Same thing here.

First I drilled small holes for the screws, then I attached the panels with both screws and glue.

Then it's time to add support structure around to top to provide additional support for the lid. Then attach the hinges here again I used a combination of screws and glue.

Now try to open and close the lid a few times to see how much play the frame that holds the locks needs.

Since I used a jigsaw (which does not cut exactly straight lines - not in my hands anyway) I used one panel for both the door and the door frame so I didn't need a lot of play on the door.

Then I attached the lock and the clasps.

As the last step I added the wheels to the box.

Step 5: Move the Storage Container to Its Final Location

Load the box in your car and bring it to the off-site location, then load your media in your box.

Now return home and know that you don't have to worry about losing your data any more. Don't forget to frequently update the contents of your storage container. About once every two weeks to once a month depending on how fast you add new data to your collection.