Introduction: Indestructible Binder

About: AKA Roborovski, and Cowscankill for several years. I'm a mechanical engineering undergrad.

All of my binders end up getting trashed sooner or later. Carrying around 2+ text books and 2+ binders every hour of the day is a great way to wear out book bags and school supplies.  Usually, my binders start tearing along the seams and I have to duct tape them back together.
I got a really nice 1.5" binder with locking rings that are very durable.  The problem was that the front and back were tearing off and the duct tape was peeling as well.

I decided to step up DIY and use metal to fix my beloved supply binder. Here is the design I came up with, I hope you enjoy!
Please rate, comment, subscribe, and vote for me in the Back to School Contest!

EDIT: Thanks, Instructables, for featuring my creation and giving me a 3 month pro membership. You guys rock!

Step 1: Materials/Supplies

One reason why I wanted to make a metal binder is because I have too much sheet aluminum.
My teacher found out that I like to make stuff and she obtained a bunch of sheet aluminum for free.

Anyways, here is what I used. It helps to have a workplace:

~Sheet Aluminum
~Fake Leather
~Bolts and Nuts
~an old binder with good, sturdy rings

~Rivet Gun
~Tin Snips
~Drill and bits
~Permanent Marker
~Rubber mallet and center punch
~Dremel with metal cutting disk

Step 2: Making the Front and Back

I measured my old binder and rounded up to the nearest half inch for the dimensions of my new binder.  My front and back panels are 10.5" x 11.5"
I cut the thick aluminum with tin snips. It was not easy, but it was way faster than using a dremel.*  When cutting, do NOT cut all the way to the tin snips tips. It will leave crimps in the aluminum that is hard to get out. As you cut, peel the metal diagonally away from you.
Once all of the sides are cut, use a RUBBER mallet to flatten out any waves in along the edge.  Use a file or sandpaper to smooth the edge. Don't want to get cut at school! Make sure to round the corners too.
Once you have done all of that... do it again for the back. This was a tedious process for me.

*If you have a band saw or scroll saw that can cut soft metal, USE IT!!

Step 3: Making the Spine

The spine is easy. It's pretty much exactly the same as the previous step, except smaller.
(I separated the steps so they would be easier to follow)
Make sure you transfer all of your school supplies and homework to a temporary binder so that you don't mess up any important documents.
Now we're ready for de-constructing the donor binder.

Step 4: Binder Rings

Here I just attacked the rivets holding my binder rings in place by use of my dremel.

Make sure to measure the distance from the edge of the back piece to the middle of the rivet in order to correctly place the rings onto the new binder.

My rivet hole was 3/4" away from the edge.

I measured the holes on the new aluminum panels and marked the location with a center punch. Then I drilled the holes and bolted on the rings.

Step 5: Connecting the Spine

This part is kind of tricky... you can use any method you want to.
I originally was going to use chainmaille links, but I would have to drill a hole every 6mm for that to work... and do it four times.
Then I was going to use hinges, but I didn't have enough to cover the whole spine.
So my last idea was to use some fake leather material I made before and rivet the binder together.

I screwed up multiple times. Try to not screw up like I did.

Step 6: Finished...?

Pretty much, this binder is done. All that is left to do is grind down the bolts sticking out the back of the binder.
A simple binder clip can be used to hold pages in place. I did this for one day at school because I didn't have time to design a pocket. It works quite well.

Step 7: We Want Pockets!

Okay, so the clip worked... but it wasn't enjoyable. So I made a pocket design shown in the pictures.
It's just a simple trapezoid, but I would suggest putting the cloth in the bottom LEFT corner instead of putting it on the right.  Because I did that, my pages are now sticking up on the rivets.
Oh well, it doesn't affect the closing/opening/use of the binder... but if I ever make another one, I will redo that part.

Step 8: Now Your Finished!

Booyah! Now people will be asking you to make them a metal binder too. It turns out that a lot of my friends have problems with their binders breaking.
I hope this binder holds together. So far, so good.

Thanks for viewing my Instructable! Please vote for me, I would love to have at least one graphic t-shirt in my poor wardrobe :D

P.S. I forgot to mention that one of the rivets needs to be ground down a little. Make sure it is out of the way of the middle ring.

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