Metal Binder 2.0




About: I'm a freshman in college studying towards Computer Information Management. I no longer really "make" things in my free time since I have no materials.

Well Hello hello there everyone ;D

Remember to go and vote for me in the Office Supply Contest everyone :D

This is 1337_Penguin [formerly 1337 2.0] here and I've made myself a binder based off of this instructable by cowscankill. After I saw his binder, that re-sparked my brain into making things again. Several years ago, I made myself a binder out of floppy disks to complement a floppy disk bag that I made that same year. Later in the year, even though I was happy with that binder, I was still in the mode in making things, so I tried to make myself a metal binder. In the end, it turned into a total FAIL.

During last school year, my binder started to fall apart only halfway though the year. I was unhappy with myself that I wasn't taking care of the binder, but it just seemed that it was just the covers that were messed up, the clip was still good. So, instead of making something to fix that, I just used a semi-new binder ;D

Always, to return to the main topic, after I saw cowscankill binder, I wanted to make myself my own, soo here is how I made my metal binder. . 2.0! 

*Note: I was going to enter this into the Back-To-School Contest, but alas, I was just too slow on the draw, so I'm guessing that I can enter this into the Office Supply Contest because I know that binders are in offices.* :D

UPDATE: It's been several weeks since I've been using the binder in school and if some of you were thinking that I might have gotten in trouble in school, but I haven't. . . yet :3
Well, because I didn't use any locking nuts or epoxy, several of the bolts were coming off. To fix this, instead of going and buy some locking nuts, I decided to get some JB weld and go and use that to lock the bolts in place. This worked and all, but after I finished, it kinda seemed that the binder got heavier. Well, I was guessing that would happen.

UPDATE2: Well, I've been using the binder everyday and like last time, I haven't gotten in trouble for it yet. Because I was thinking that the binder was getting a little. . "Plain", so I decided to apply some stickers that I got from J!NX and I'm hoping that they don't come off anytime soon :D *Go and see how I applied the stickers*


Step 1: Materials

Well, the material list is similar to the other binder, but I used some things that changed the overall binder and how it looks.

- Sheet metal [duh]

- Metal Cutting Shears 

- 1 1/2" metal hinges x 12 total [I got 2 per pack so I got 6 packs]

- #8-32 x 1" screws [I got these at Home Depot, but the drill bit that I used was 5/32" drill bit. I was so confused .__.]

-#8-32 nuts [Again, from Home Depot]

- 5/32" drill bit

- Sandpaper

-Center punch 

- Dremel
  - Cutting tool
  - Sandpaper roll thingy

- Power Drill

- Wire brushes

- and a Working Binder Clip

* Hack saw

Step 2: Measurements

When I measured my binder, I was using a centimeter ruler and all so I got 27.5 centimeters by 29 centimeters. Later on when I remeasured after I finished cutting it, it was 10.8 inches and 11.4 inches. Silly me, I made them bigger than normal binders :3

For the spine of the binder, I was using a 1.5" binder clip, but instead of cutting a 1.5" piece of metal, I made it a little bit bigger, I just forgot how much bigger I made it by ;D

When I look back, it doesn't really make how big it is as long as they are ~10.5 inches by ~11 inches.

Step 3: Cutting

OK then, time for the real action. . . or re-explain what I learned from cowscankill xD

When you use your cutting shears, you SHOULDN'T cut it fully, rather, mostly half way. Because I just had enough metal to make ONE binder, I was carefully not the screw up, so I went very slowly .__.

I did the same thing to the spine, and it turned out OK. Something that I would like to point out, something that I didn't do was that I didn't use a rubber mallet because mainly, I couldn't find mine, so I just used an empty stapler. 

To fix the edges and something I did, I used sandpaper to make the edges and the. .  areas where I cut less. .  uhh. .  harmful to your body. Also, I wanted to have a "brushed metal" type of look to the binder so I sanded down the metal to get that effect. It turned out that even though it looked good, it still get scratches .__.

Step 4: Drilling

To drill the MANY holes that I was going to use, I decided that I was going to need a center punch. [again, I didn't know that I needed one when I tried to make one years ago]

I wanted to try and fit as many hinges as I can in the spine because I wanted to make this binder as beefy as possible. Because each hinge is 1 1/2" long, I was thinking that I would need 13 or 14 hinges total [math on the fly ftw] but I needed to take into consideration spacing and so I decided to fit 6 hinges on both sides. Now, center punch when you determined the drill holes to be and go ahead and drill the holes. 

More math of the FLY :D

1 hinge has 4 holes and there are 6 hinges on one side so that would be 24 nuts and bolts. Now times by 2 because there are 2 sides so that would be 48 nuts and bolts. . that's a lot of drilling, nuts and bolts .__.

Step 5: Now for the REAL Action [Part 1]

. . and where most of the pain and suffering begins. Well, for me .__.

When I started making this, I made it so that the hinges where on the OUTSIDE of the binder. . until I tried to close it. When I tried to close the binder, it would only close halfway. Then, to try and fix that, I placed the hinges the OTHER way, until I figured that the binder was now backwards .__.

So, now it's the THIRD time trying to place the hinges in the right place, and lucky for me, it worked. . at the cost of cosmetic appearance. 

To work, the hinges would need to be in the INSIDE of the binder, with the screw heads on the OUTSIDE. If you follow the last way I did it, then you wouldn't have to experience all the time lost and you wouldn't have to confuse your brain out like what I did for ~4 HOURS.

Step 6: REAL Action [Part 2]

Time to bring out the Dremel :D

After you have all the hinges and bolt heads in the right places, you would see that you have many. . extensions? of the bolt legs sticking out. With your cutting tool, go ahead and drill all the legs that are sticking out. You should stop after one side to let your Dremel cool down and return after ~10 minutes. Also, REMEMBER TO WEAR SAFETY GLASSES ON! You can never be too careful. :3

After you have cut all the legs off, let your Dremel rest and put on the sandpaper bit. Now go ahead and sand down all the rough cuts that you made so that you wouldn't cut or mess up your paper/body/other people.

Step 7: Finishing Up

Now that you got all the hinges done and your see that your binder can open and close normally, it's time to add the binder clip. Personally, I like to have a clip that belongs to one side, not in the middle because my paper always gets messed up when the clip is in the middle. If you want, you can drill the two holes on all THREE sides of the binder so that you can always have the choose to having the binder clip wherever you want. :D 

Do the same thing to the legs that you did to the hinges on the binder clip and now, enjoy your new METAL BINDER!! >:D

*Notice: I know that I don't have any pockets in yet, I'll update it when I get more nuts to fit the pocket material to the binder. Stay Updated! :D

Step 8: UPDATE: Apply Stickers :D

To apply the stickers, it was rather simple:
  1. Because the binder was metal, I needed to sand it down to get a smooth surface for the area where the sticker would be. I was thinking that I didn't need to do this but I soon found out that the surface has mini "bumps" that can cause the stickers to look "bad". If you have a normal binder then you can skip this step.
  2. Now, clean away the sanded area with a wet paper towel. This will clean away the area from any dirt or metal bits left from the sanding.
  3. Get a spray bottle with 1 part soap and 10 parts water. I don't really know the right mixture but that's what I used and it worked out.
  4. Spray the area down and if there is any excess, then wipe it away. Try and keep the spray on the sanded down area.
  5. Now, you can apply your sticker :D
  6. Apply the sticker like you would always apply stickers and try and keep to your original plan and keep the sticker over the sanded down area.
  7. You now have your sticker in the place that you want it to be, you can get a smooth, flat object [ like a bus pass or any other card ] and remove all the water from underneath the sticker.
  8. Your sticker is now attached to your binder :D



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    18 Discussions

    Thanks, I'll try and remember that next time, but I'm thinking that four hinges per side would be better than just three hinges.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm actually thinking of making a new binder using a section piano hinge like you said, but the sheet metal is gonna be thicker and things like that :3

    Ok then. . and I got one. I'm thinking that I'll get some better pictures up because I'm trying to find a good place to take the picture.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    looks cool but prob wont make cuz of all th fights at my school haha so they may not le it in


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I was going to do another version of my original... but it seems you beat me to it before the contest even ended....


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Instead of buying and cutting all those nuts and bolts you might like to consider "pop rivets". You can buy a rivet gun for only a few units of currency and then rivets cost even less currency per pack. You put the rivet shaft in the gun, the rivet head through what you're trying to join and squeeze the handles on the gun till the rivet pops off the shaft.
    Of course if you change things in your build you need to drill them out and re-rivet.
    I reckon it could save a lot of time and money on this project. Especially if you break as many dremel blades as I do!
    Depending on the rivet type and sheet metal thickness you could make them less obvious by bevelling the edges of the hole, then grinding/filing the rivet head flat. I think that would only work on thicker sheet though.

    1 reply
    Thanks for the comment but. .

    I do know that I could have used a rivet gun and a come of rivets to make the binder. The reason why I wanted to use nuts and bolts because cowscankill already made a binder doing that and secondly, I personally prefer the way I did mine and how it looks that how it would look with the rivets. Even though I do agree with you on the part about breaking all the dremel blades, I used a hacksaw for at least half of the project because I couldn't find my Dremel, but it was a learning experience overall. :D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Absolutely! Simple, Straight Forward and Very Useful. I love Metal Writing Stuff. Ive always used the Aluminum Clipboards and stuff, but binders absolute perfection.

    It would be nice to make one that when closed would be like a box but when you unlatched it to open it the thing laid out nice. Maybe if the edges were bent up making like a 1" lip completely around each side and they were slightly offset like your upper and lower teeth they would make a pretty secure and protective spot for valuable paper based knowledge that one may have laying around in their spirals full of "Cool Ideas!"