Rolling Backpack to Stackable Storage Dolly

Introduction: Rolling Backpack to Stackable Storage Dolly

About: There once was a time when humankind possessed the skills necessary to make and repair things, but alas, the spirit of using your hands has been somewhat lost. Tools are made of foil, we serially consume junk,…

Remember those rolling backpacks from grade school? They were all the rage when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I got one just as the trend was fading, but I still used the crap out of it.
I was cleaning out my closet today and I found it, filled with stray screws, dust bunnies, and even chips and crumbs from way back when.
Gross! I almost just tossed it, but then I got an idea for making a rolling toolbox holder for making my tools and radio control gear a bit more portable.

Step 1: The Starting Point

Here she is in all her past glory. We're going to have to salvage the extending handle, the wheels, and the main chassis of the backpack to act as the frame of our toolbox toter.

Step 2: Cut It Up!

In order to get to the plastic goodies inside, we need to cut off all the cloth bits. I started by cutting off the large pocket and inside lining.

Step 3: Remove the Handle

Start by removing the screws on the side of the plastic handle, then removing the handle altogether. This will leave just the two telescoping poles. To remove those, you have to reach inside the backpack and unscrew the large plastic nut type thing that is at the top of the inside of the backpack, where the poles pass through. Once unscrewed, the only thing holding the pole in is a screw at the bottom of the inside of the backpack. After removing that, the pole will pull straight out.

Step 4: Remove the Frame

With the poles out of the way, it is much easier to cut the remaining cloth off to retrieve the frame. There are screws holding the wheel assemblies through the cloth, to the frame. Once those are removed, the wheels come off, and the frame is free of the cloth. Once the components are removed, you can reassemble them without the cloth bits to form a usable frame for this project.

Step 5: Prepare the Poles

Next you need to remove the bulky plastic bits from the poles. They aren't necessary for this project. There is a hole in one side of the plastic piece, with a metal tab. Use a screwdriver and a hammer to tap the tab into the pole, and out of the way of the plastic part. It will slide up, off of the pole.
Since the upper support for the pole is now gone, I drilled a hole in the poles and on the back of the frame to put in a couple rivets to strengthen the joint.

Step 6: Put It Back Together

I placed the poles back in and fastened the back with rivets, and the stock screws on the front. When you pop the plastic handle back on, you should have something that looks a bit like a mini collapsible dolly.

Step 7: Add a Strap

Lastly, it needs a strap to hold the toolboxes on. I found a hold down strap in my garage and I fastened it to the frame using zip ties through holes that I drilled. It is attached at the bottom in front, and at the top in the back.
Now you're done! My stackable toolboxes fit well on the frame, and stay put, even when lifting and shaking the thing. My strap is long enough that I may be able to fit three toolboxes. Now my gear can be easily transported to anywhere I need it!

Thank you very much for reading my instruct able! If you found it useful, I would greatly appreciate it if you would vote for it in the organization contest!

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    7 years ago

    Thank you for a wonderful idea!

    I'm thinking about all my disused suitcases.