Dry erase markers tend to come with a cheap plastic holder that breaks apart over time. I got tired of the eraser and/or markers falling out whenever I bumped the holder or actually tried to retrieve one of the items from the holder. So I put together this simple design, found a scrap cardboard box, played on the laser cutter for a bit, then glued it all together. The end result is a somewhat unusual holder for dry erase markers and the accompanying eraser that will likely hold up better than the original flimsy plastic.
I made this at TechShop www.techshop.ws
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
Vector drawing software (I used CorelDraw)
Laser cutter (my TechShop has a Trotec Speedy 300)
White or wood glue
Cotton swabs or small paintbrush (to spread glue)
This instructable assumes some basic familiarity with CorelDraw and a laser cutter.
Step 2: Basic Design Elements
I first measured the diameter of my dry erase markers to figure out how large of a hole to make for the marker holding portion of the design. I added a little bit of margin so that the markers could be easily inserted and removed. For my markers I chose a 0.75" diameter hole. I found out later that the "standard" dry erase markers are slightly larger than my set, in that case I would have probably opened up the hole size to 0.8" to leave a little more wiggle room. I then measured the eraser and decided to leave even more margin so that the fuzzy part of the eraser wouldn't get caught on the edges of the cardboard. This turned out to be a 1.5" x 2.5" rectangle.
I decided that I wanted the cardboard walls to be 1/4" thick, so I surrounded each round hole with a 1.25" circle and the eraser opening with a 2" x 3" rectangle. I moved the marker holes around until I liked the arrangement of the markers relative to each other and the eraser.
Make sure your shapes are drawn with the line thickness set to hairline so that the laser cutter will know that these are cut lines and not engraving lines.
Step 3: Joining the Elements Together
I added a series of trapezoids to join the individual elements together. I also added a pair of trapezoids to the eraser holder portion to act as legs if I wanted to lay the holder on its side. Using the Virtual Segment Delete tool I removed the interior cut lines to get the final shape. The holder will also need a back to keep the markers and eraser from falling through. So I made a copy of the design and deleted the interior rectangle and all of the inner circles.
Step 4: Laser Cut the Cardboard
Time to play with the laser and cut out all of the pieces. The walls of my scavenged box consisted of a double thick layer of cardboard which cut well with the laser set to 100% speed and 3% power. I first cut out a big pile of the main holder piece (the one with the marker and eraser holes). I didn't count how many I needed, I just kept cutting until the stack was tall enough to hold the markers. I then cut out two back pieces.
Step 5: Start Gluing the Pieces Together
Gluing the pieces together was surprisingly time consuming. I started by gluing the two back pieces together. Spread a thin layer of glue across the entire mating surface, and press the pieces together. Then keep gluing and adding pieces until your stack is tall enough to hold the entire marker body. You can make the stack shorter if you would prefer to see more of the marker protruding from the holder. Be careful to not let glue ooze into the interior cutouts as that will block the markers from fitting. Wipe away any drips right away as you add each layer.
Step 6: All Done!
It's time to put your new holder to use and get rid of that old broken plastic holder. Add your eraser and markers and enjoy the improved access and appearance of your custom cut creation.