Intro: Pocket Fidget Clicker | DIY Project for Recycling VHS Tapes
I have a major problem, and that problem is in the form of hundreds of VHS tapes.
I have been racking my brains for a while, trying to think about how to repurpose all of this plastic. On opening up a tape, I realised there are a few - and I'm going to use the technical term here - 'springy things' inside.
This gave me the idea of making some kind of fidget toy or similar to keep in your hand and mess with to keep the brain cells focussed.
I have a fidget toy, and my favourite parts are the clicking parts, so I thought I'd try and create something useful from something that has (sadly) become obsolete for me.
This project is actually pretty quick and simple, and will (hopefully) be the first in a few VHS tape recycling projects I create, so watch this space!
Step 1: What You Will Need
You will need the following:
- A VHS tape
- A small amount of air/oven drying clay or putty. I used polymer clay. This is optional.
- Hacksaw to cut the plastic
- Chisel or similar
- Vice to hold the tape whilst cutting
- Sandpaper to sand the plastic. I used 320 grit wet-and-dry.
- Safety specs/mask/extractor/ventilation etc - safety stuff for use when cutting the plastic
- Felt/leather or other material to cover the clicker when finished (optional). Could also paint it instead if desired.
- Pliers for bending wire/metal (optional)
Step 2: Open the Tape
Use your screwdriver to open the case. It should have 5 screws holding it together.
Keep all the little bits and pieces safe (for other craft projects of course :))
Step 3: Remove the Metal Spring
There will be a flat metal spring on one side of the tape, held on by melted plastic.
I used a chisel to carefully prise the spring away from the tape.
Step 4: Cut Out the Parts You Want
Put one side of the video tape in your vice and use the hacksaw to cut out the triangular piece you require for the project. Do the same for the other side of the video tape.
I outlined the areas you need in silver pen (and also in red in the 2nd photo above).
This will give you 2 triangular pieces that fit together.
Note: It's highly recommended you remove the 'springy things' from the side that contains them before you start sawing, as otherwise they could easily fall out and you may not be able to find them again (not that I'm speaking from experience...) Keep these pieces safe.
Step 5: Sand the Plastic Pieces
Use some sandpaper to smooth the rough edges around the plastic pieces.
Then place the 'springy things' back in the correct place.
If you want to, you can alter the springs to give you more or less resistance at this point, however the springs are fairly weak so you won't be able to get a huge amount of resistance from them. You could experiment with replacing the thin wire with a thicker variety if you so wished.
Step 6: Glue the Halves Together
Use superglue to carefully attach the halves together.
Make sure you are neat with the glue so that you don't glue any of the parts inside the clicker together.
Test the springy parts on both sides before leaving to dry.
Step 7: An Extra Clicker
(This is an optional step.)
There was a flat spring inside the video tape so I decided to make use of it by adding half of it onto the base of the clicker - so there was something else to play with :)
First, I used the hacksaw to cut the spring across the middle; I only actually sawed part-way through the metal, then was able to bend the metal along that line multiple times to weaken and break it.
I adjusted the bend of the spring slightly with jewellery pliers so it was exactly how I wanted it.
I then took a little polymer clay, warmed it with my hands and shaped it around the end of the spring. This is for comfort and to stop the spring end catching on things.
I put the spring in the oven as per the instructions on the packet (FIMO).
Once cool, I then superglued the spring to the clicker as shown.
I balanced it on some scissors whilst I waited for it to dry.
Step 8: Adding a Covering
Again, you don't have to do this step but I thought it would look nicer and feel nicer if I added a covering.
The cover can be as elaborate or as simple as you like; from felt to leather, or you could paint the outside rather than add a material.
I used fairly thick felt baize which was very easy to stick using superglue around the outside of the clicker. Obviously, avoid getting anything on the actual 'clicky bits'.
And that's it, you've finished!
I hope you enjoyed my project, and thanks for reading :D