Nigh on two years ago, I began working on my first floppy disk bag (second picture) and then on my first instructable. Within those two years, the bag has been blogged around the world, won an instructables.com contest and various art awards, been presented in various galleries and the Oregon Museum of Craft, and has even been featured on German public television.
More important than that, however, is that immediately after publishing the instructable, people began making their own bags, improving on my design, and posting suggestions for people interested in making their own. Thus is the nature of instructables.com.
I never revisit projects, I feel that instead I could be working on one of the many half finished projects encroaching on my living space; However, I needed a laptop bag, and have always wanted to incorporate into the original design the two best ideas posed by other bag makers:
- A canvas lining
- Using a binding material other than hard-to-find jump-rings
This rather long instructable features two sub-instructables:
- How to Tie A Square Knot
- How to Prevent Fraying in Cotton Webbing Without Glues
Please read through the instructable in its entirety before taking on this project because it has two different "things you will need" pages and an interlude about adhesives.
Add EL wire here: [https://www.instructables.com/id/Floppy_Disk_Bag_Retrofit_EL_Wire]
Step 1: What's Wrong With the Old Bag?
As you can tell from the pictures, the old bag began to fall apart where the flap meets the back. When wearing the bag, bending over causes the bag to compress, over time this led to the jump rings tearing through the weak areas of the floppy disk.
For this new bag, since we aren't limited by the size of the jump rings, we can drill the holes further away from the edge of the disk, reducing the possibility of tearing.
Step 2: What You'll Need: Body
What you'll need to construct the body of the bag
Floppy Disks: 42 disks are used in the bag, so in a box of 50 you get some to practice on.
Canvas: Scrap canvas at least 16"x42"
Binding material: I used hemp twine, some people used zip ties, find what works best for you.
Leather or Sailmaker's needle: If using twine, you will need an appropriate needle (see step 12).
Drill and drill bits: Use a drill bit anywhere between 1/8" and 3/16"
Wood and nails: To construct a jig for drilling disks.
Scissors: To cut with.
Glue: We'll get to glue later.
Sewing machine or needle.
Thread of your choice.
A couple of good movies.
Step 3: Enter the Matrix, Again.
Lay out the matrix of your soon to be bag. I used a 4-disk by 9-disk rectangle and two 1-disk by 3-disk rectangles which will form the sides. Other people, who wanted smaller bags used a 3-disk by 9-disk matrix.
Assess how the disks will go together when the matrix is folded. This will usually mean that some disks will need to be drilled differently, set those disks aside.
Step 4: Create a Template Disk and Jig.
Layout how you will drill your holes on each disk and create a template, or guide disk.
Using nails and a plank of wood, create a jig you can slide a stack of disks into. Make sure when the disks are held in place, that they are square with the surface you are drilling on, this will make sure your holes are drilled in the same place on each disk.
Step 5: Drill the Speciality Disks
The two disks we set aside earlier? those are going to need an additional hole to match up with the adjacent disks when the matrix is folded. The details are in the pictures.
Step 6: Trace and Cut the Matrix
Lay out your matrix, setting the sides aside. Trace the three rectangles onto the canvas. You're going to want to leave a half inch border around the 4x9 rectangle and a one inch border around three edges of the two smaller rectangles and a half inch border on the remaining edge.
These borders will form the hems on the fabric to keep it from unraveling and give the bag a neater appearance. The over-sized borders on the smaller rectangles are to form flaps which provide an overlap when the matrix is folded up.
Step 7: Sew the Canvas
Fold over the places where you are going to stitch the hems. remember to leave flaps on the two side pieces to allow for the bag to fold together. The second picture shows what these two pieces should look like. When all stitched up, sew the bottom tab of the sides to where they were on the matrix. It helps to lay out the floppies on top of the canvas to find this place. See the third picture for more details.
Step 8: Interlude: Adhesives
Since we will be using a glue to adhere the floppies to the canvas while we secure them with twine, we will need to choose an appropriate glue for the job. I tried using Elmer's bull glue, but gorilla glue will work just as poorly. TEST YOUR GLUE ON SCRAP MATERIALS! I had to resew the entire matrix because the glue soaked through the fabric and hardened, barely adhering to the floppies. See the second picture. In my tests I found that both water based and polymer based work perfectly without soaking through the fabric. They dry clear as a bonus.
Step 9: Glue Down the Floppies
Apply a small dab of your glue of choice to the floppy. For the two specially drilled floppies I recommend a small line of glue along the edge to adhere to the extra thick seam (see second picture.)
Step 10: The Resulting Matrix
This is how the resulting canvas and floppy matrix should look. Notice the overlap on the side arms.
Step 11: Mini Instructable 1: How to Tie a Square Knot.
A square knot is essentially tying a double knot. With the first knot going one way and the second going the other. As long as you can chant the mantra "right over left, left over right" you can tie a square knot.
take the right strand and gross it over the left, pull it through, then pull it taught. Then take the left strand, pass it over the right and through. Pull it taught and you have a square knot.
Step 12: Tie Some Knots
starting from the back, the canvas side, poke the twine through the drilled holes and stitch the floppy disks to each other and to the canvas. Secure with a square knot and secure the knot further with glue. when stitching an edge, simply thread the twine around that edge and secure as before. the third picture details the needles used.
Step 13: Tie Some More Knots.
Put on a good movie and tie knots until your hands blister. Only tie knots on the top and bottom edges and two floppy disks down on the flap side. Also secure the far edges on the two arms. Details are shown in the next step.
Step 14: The Final Matrix.
This is how the final matrix should look. Notice where the edges have been left unsecured, these will be the corners of the bag. Get ready to fold!
Step 15: Fold and Sew
Fold up the bag and fold the flaps inside so they overlap the canvas on the inside. Sew these corners, tying the knots on the outside.
Step 16: What You Will Need: Strap
4 ft of 1.5" webbing: I chose cotton for reasons I will explain later
2 footman's loops: found at the same store I bought the webbing, check military surplus stores.
A 1.5" ladder for the webbing
4 Countersunk bolts to fit your footman's loops: These only need to be around .75" long
4 finishing washers
4 acorn nuts.
Step 17: Strap Hardware
Place your footman's loops about an inch down from the top of the sides and drill your holes. Put the bolts and washers on the inside, as shown in the third picture. Secure ONE of the footman's loops with the acorn nuts. It is important not to do both at this time.
Step 18: Mini Instructable 2: How to Secure Cotton Webbing Without Chemicals.
When you are using a synthetic webbing, you can cauterize the edges to prevent fraying; However, when you are using an organic fiber, you do not have this option. There are many adhesives on the market designed to prevent fraying, but I wanted to do this project as organically as possible, so I stitched the edges.
Set your sewing machine to stitch a back tack, or cross stitch and sew the end s of the webbing making many passes and getting as close to the edge as possible. (this can also be done by hand.)
Then all that is left to do is trim the fluff at the very end to neaten up the appearance of the webbing.
Step 19: Sew a Loop in the Webbing.
Sew a loop of webbing large enough for the remaining footman's loop to fit in. Using a back tack or cross stitch, sew about an inch of the webbing to itself in the most secure way possible.
Then, with the footman's loop inside the webbing loop, bolt the footman's loop to the body of the bag.
Step 20: Last Step
Place the ladder on the other end of the webbing, then thread the webbing through the other footman's loop. Pass the webbing around the loop and back through the ladder. Adjust for comfort and congratulate yourself.
Step 21: Usage and Recap.
Because I bought these diskettes new, rather than finding them in a dumpster like my last bag, I decided to make the rest of the bag as organic as possible, to avoid using more new plastics than necessary. I used water based adhesives and organic fibers. To test out the bag I took a class with a heavy textbook. Yes, that's right: I voluntarily payed to take calculus during my summer. I use the bag whenever I can and, other than a few knots coming undone (easily remedied), the bag holds together perfectly. If I could do this project again, I would poke holes in the bottom, because it is essentially watertight.