Intro: DIY Compass Strap
Here is a wonderful Instructable for those who need to make a wearable Compass Strap. This is what exactly I wanted during driving in a car. The reason is apart from GPS, for long distance judgements in a city I use and need a compass (especially in Bangalore,India where I stay). Also while driving it is not so comfortable to check compass if it is mounted on a vehicle or some kind of hand-held compass which you often get in market. I also tried driving with mobile phone compass app, which is even more uncomfortable especially while driving.
I thought buying a compass strap for my watch, but still it is not something you get high quality straps(especially in India), also it is not advisable to replace OEM straps with after-market straps of a watch. So this option is ruled out. Also I cannot buy some digital watch something like Casio G-Shock which has compass feature. What I discovered is that often it has a compass electronic sensor(like those smart phones), which works on only when you activate it. This is to save the power. They are good for trekking, etc. But while driving you need to quickly check the route you need to choose especially in a busy road also focus driving. So the plain old magnetic compass is what needed. Strap based compass are quite rare and often bit expensive, since there are not much people buy these. The options you can choose is almost nil, you may get basically 1 or 2 models which you can buy.
So I decided to make a durable high-quality compass strap for driving, also for any trekking and survival !
Step 1: Parts & Tools Needed
- A small magnetic Compass - you get this in any novelty store or online. I got it for around $1/2. It is quite dirt cheap. Or even you can remove a compass if you got mounted on any device/appliance which you no longer need on it.
- Soldering iron
- Nylon strap with the plastic buckle - you can get this from any old bag as shown. I got this bag which got adjustable straps. But the straps are too excessively long, so I can cut the excess strap with buckle for making compass strap. I can later stitch the ends so that I can continue to use the bag. This is one of my favourite bag which I got in Bass Pro Shops (www.basspro.com) Phoenix Mesa which as jungle camouflage print in the front and the rest of the bag is in brownish grey mud colour as you can see. I am just so excited that I am able to get a compass strap in this colour than the regular black strap.
- Hot Glue or Super-glue
Scissors - preferably the type you cut garments as shown
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Strap
Measure approximately how much length you need the strap. You can wrap around your wrist and decide. Once it is checked you can cut the strap as shown. Once it is cut you can wear around the wrist and cross check as shown.
After this fold the end around the buckle once as shown and secure it temporarily with a paper clip.
Step 3: Melt the End to Protect the Nylon Fibre
With a hot soldering iron gently melt the end nylon fibre strands. Do not use the soldering iron tip, instead use the side of the soldering iron as shown. This will melt the loose end nylon fibres and makes it durable. Make sure you do gently so that the edge is evenly bonded as shown.
Step 4: Stitch the Strap to the Buckle
Now you can stitch the strap to the buckle. The other end is already secured as seen in the picture. You can stitch with a sewing machine or you can even hand-stitch.
Just grab a tread matching the colour of the strap so that it looks good and blends. You can use a contrast colour to add more style and you are good in stitching professional quality stitch. I got a domestic sewing machine as shown so I need to be lot more gentle so that the needle does not break for such heavy duty stitching.
First do a small zigzag stitch along the length as shown. After that you can once wear and check if the fit is correct. If you need any alterations, you can remove the stitch and make correction. Once it is confirm you can now do multiple stitches and make it more secure as shown. Make sure the final stitch quality is both strong as well as esthetic. Once it is stitched you can try it your wrist.
Step 5: Mount the Compass on the Strap
Now you are ready to mount (paste) the compass directly on the wrist strap buckle. But before that optionally you can scrap some plastic underneath the compass. This makes the bond more stronger when you paste. Now paste the compass on the buckle as shown with a hot glue or super glue.
Actually there is a notch in the compass so that it can be used in compass watch straps, etc. But since the strap I took have no provision and moreover I cannot cut through buckle and paste compass, the only option is to do this way.
Step 6: Results !
Ta-da ! Your wrist compass strap is ready for some serious field use. An deal water-proof durable gear for driving, camping and survival.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and might have inspired you. Please feel free to post your comments and suggestions. English is not my first language so kindly excuse me for errors in grammar.
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