Introduction: Modular Binder


We are a FLL (First Lego League) team and are all middle school students. My fellow teammates and I were tasked with identifying a certain type of trash that causes problems to the environment and find a way to dissipate the impact.

We chose binders as our trash of interest because every year, we have to buy new binders and throw out the old ones. Binders have a lot of failure modes. For example once the cover, or pocket, or cover film rips, the binder is unusable. Within the American public middle+high schools, that totals approximately 130 million binders. The team came up with the idea of a modular binder so you can replace the old parts with new ones without throwing the whole binder out.

In order to make one you will need the following items:

- Two Damaged Binders (doesn't matter how big, as long as they are the same size)

- Sharp instrument strong enough to cut the hinges of a binder

- Drill Press ( w/ 7/32 bit size)

- Bolts (#8 and 1 inch long)

- Nuts (that fit the screws)

Step 1: Taking the Rings Off of the Binder.

In order to reverse the rivets that are holding the rings on the spine, you need to drill the part of the rivet that is on top of the rings. You will need to do this for both binders (four times, each has two rivets) until you have four rivets and four standoffs (keep the whole thing together). You will have two ring-less binders. You will only need one set of rings for this project.

Step 2: Cutting the Two Sides Covers Off

In the end, you want to have the two spines be held together by a screw.

To do that, you will have to cut the left hinge of one binder, and the right hinge of the other (each binder consists of two hinges that connect the covers to the spine). The outcome should be two pieces, a front cover connected to the spine, and a back cover connected a different spine.

Step 3: Putting It All Together: Part 1

Put one spine over the other, forming a double layered spine. Make sure the 2 holes on each binder match up.

Put a bolt, (from the back of the outer spine) through the bottom hole, and make sure the bolt goes through BOTH spines. After putting the bolt in the bottom hole, put another bolt in the other hole.

(We recommend that you put the spine connected to the back cover behind the other, making it easier to bend)

Step 4: Putting It All Together: Part 2

Once you have put the bolts into the two holes, slide the standoffs on top of the bolt, then slide the binder rings over them, creating a sandwich.

Now insert the nut on top of the two bolts and tighten them as much as possible. This enables the rings and the eyes of bolts to clamp the two spines together.

(If any of the parts were to break, simply pull out the rivets and attach a new cover)

Congrats! You have a modular binder!

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