Intro: Ultimate Dart Case
Ok, so my dart case started to get some wear. So I decided to Pimp my Case!
It all started on night after a few at the pub when my wife pointed out the deteriorating state of my dart case and said "well that's too bad, but you can get another one". 'Nope," I said, "Gentlemen we can rebuild him!". She didn't get the bionic man reference, but no matter!
Yes we can rebuild it. It'll be better than it was before. Stronger, Brighter, Louder, Shinier.
Step 1: Deconstruction
The first step is to take it apart.
I started with removing the rubber rim molding, which was constantly falling off anyway.
Then take out the cheap flimsy inner lining. I was just going to silicone (one of my favorite adhesives btw) them back in but then I thought again and decided to trash them all together and replace them with nice foam inserts.
Then take off the fabric lining which covers the hinges.
In the picture I've got the rims and hinge cover back on.
Step 2: Hinge Repair...or Not.
The hinges had long since failed to completely close the case properly. When it was new it would give a satisfying click and stay closed. But now it wouldn't completely close so I had come to rubber banding it with an big old rubber band from a bunch of Asparagus.
I tried to bend the springs back but then I couldn't get them back on. So I gave up on it and decided to eventually go with a Neodymium magnetic closure. It sounds cooler anyway!
So next I used some Silicone adhesive and glued the fabric hinge hider back into place. It had come loose anyway so it needed to be done.
I would just like to take a minute to talk about adhesives. I love adhesives. I have a nice little box of the best adhesives I can find. Silicone is usually my first choice because it (usually) works well, it's removable if you have to redo something, and the excess is easily rubbed off.
Step 3: Lip Repair, HOORAY for GoRilla Glue!
The little vinyl lip protector kept coming off. The first time I repaired it I used Silicone adhesive. That didn't work too well with adhering vinyl to metal.
So I pulled it all off again, cleaned it all up and used a very SPARSE amount of GoRilla glue. Which is fast becoming my go to guy of adhesives! Be careful to only use a very small amount and evenly distribute it along the metal rim. Then just run the vinyl lip back on, wipe any excess off and let it dry for a couple of hours before doing anything else. GoRilla glue turns white(ish) and expands while it's drying. So usually you would need to clamp the pieces together. But I just put a piece of paper in between the two clam shell halves, and rubber banded it together. This forces the two lips into their correct position and gives you a good fit. The paper was just to make sure the two halves don't accidentally glue together. That would be bad, and hard as heck to get your darts in an out.
Step 4: Neodymium Magnetic Closure Aparatus (NMCA)
A long time ago I purchased some Neodymium Iron Boron magnets. Mostly because I just like the way that sounds, but partly because I wanted to impress my nephew with them. I picked mine up on eBay, but a better choice would be American Scientific Supply or ThinkGeek.
They are small, they are STRONG, and they just sound cool! So they were perfect for this project.
I had an old hardwood dowel (but any dowel will do) in the garage so I sliced of small pieces of it to fit inside the case with the magnet on top. The length that was cut was critical so that with a Neodymium magnet glued on top of it then it would sit flush with the lip.
Next I flattened one side of the dowel piece, so that I would have a good solid flat surface to glue to the inside of the case. I pretty much dry fit everything before gluing. Especially when using superglue or GoRilla glue. Because you pretty much only get one chance at it so measure twice and glue once.
Now for this part I chose GoRilla glue again. For a couple of reasons. The first is that it gives you a little bit of working time to adjust things. Where with superglue, there isn't all that much time for fine tuning. The second reason is that GoRilla glue expands as it dries, and I really like that aspect of this glue, especially in this particular use. You can always trim or cut the excess off later.
First I glued the magnets to the pieces of dowel. You pretty much want to clamp pieces together with GoRilla glue. But in this case I just used the other Neodymium magnets on the other side of the piece of dowel to act as a Magnetic Clamping Aparatus (MCA). Allow it to dry for 2 hours before continuing to the next step. Repeat this process for the second half of the NMCA. If you have plenty of magnets you could do both at the same time.
Next glue one side of the NMCA to the inside of the case. This can get tricky because my case was stainless steel and the magnets kept popping onto it, and they are hard as heck to get off!. So when you are trying to glue one piece of the NMCA to the inside of the case the magnet is going to want to redirect itself to stick to the case. But with a little muscle I was able to get it into position and used an old wooden clothespin to clamp it. Spring clamps would have worked better but I didn't have any on hand at the time. But that did give me an excuse to go down to my favorite tool store!
Repeat this process for the other half of the NMCA. I would only do one side at a time. Because you need to know where one is in order to align the other one on the second half of the clam shell.
Once they have both dried (a couple hours), you now have a fully functional Neodymium Magnetic Closer Aparatus!
Step 5: Dart and Assesories Management System (DAMS) (Foam Inserts)
As luck would have it my Dad had a couple of nice big and thick gray pieces of foam laying around the last time I visited him. So I asked him if I could have one because I had this very project in mind. Luckily he agreed (honestly the man hoards stuff), so THANKS DAD!
Place the foam pad on a flat work surface. Open the clam shell up all the way and place the shell on top to act as your guide. I placed the hinge of the shell right on the edge of the foam. That way you don't have to cut that part with the knife. Using a standard X-Acto knife and gentle up and down motions trace around the outline of the dart case. Remember to be careful to not cut into the vinyl lip. I didn't bother going all the way through. After I had cut the outline I removed the clam shell and just retraced the line in the foam until it was all the way through. Take your time and go slow, there is no rush. The better this piece looks and fits the happier you will be with it.
Step 6: Dart and Accessories Placement Design.
Next I experimented with different ways of arranging the darts and the accessories. Once I had a layout I was comfortable with I got to cutting.
For most of the parts I found the best thing to do was just to cut slits and slide the pieces into them. But for the dart shafts and bodies I wanted something similar to what was in the crappy plastic inserts.
I found for the bigger parts it was easiest to just cut all the way through the foam, pull the piece out, then slice off the bottom. Once you put this insert back in you just press it down. That gives you a perfect recess. I then used a smidgen of silicone adhesive on the sides to keep it in place.
I did cut out a section for flights, but they don't stay in very well so I'm redesigning a Flight Mangement System, which is further along in this instructable.
Step 7: Foam Insert Insertion.
The next step is to just slip your foam inserts into the clam shell. Normally I would silicone them down to keep them in place. But these fit so well I didn't really need to. That and I'm not sure that I'm done with this project.
I'm thinking of using a blunt instrument and hammer my name (thereby embossing the lid) into it. But I might just get it laser etched if I can find some place to do it cheap. I'm pretty good with Photoshop so I was thinking of coming up with a whole design or logo.
Step 8: Flight Management System (FMS).
Ok so my first attempt at storing flights didn't work out so well. I had cut out a section where they should sit, but they didn't want to stay seated. So I needed to attack the problem from another direction. What I thought of was a slim piece of plastic, like a card, which had pockets that the flights could slide into. Then this piece could sit between the two halves of the clam shell when closed. It would give me more storage space for more flights, and be more manageable.
I'm still working on this part. I'm not sure what kind of material I am going to use. Right now I'm leaning towards using a Tyvek envelope. Tyvek is great material. It's flexible, thin, and virtually indestructible. I'm toying around with gluing two pieces together to get a little rigidity out of it. But I think I'll start with just a single piece and see how that works out.
Well in the end I just doubled up a piece of tyvek, then folded it in half again, then sewed up the ends with needle and thread and two lines in the middle to make 3 pockets for flights.
Step 9: Finished...but Not.
And there you have it, the finished product.
Well except for the sound system. I'm still working on that part. You see I got a recordable card from Hallmark that lets you record whatever you want on it, then it plays a song. Mine will have a Lion Roaring then play "You're Unbelievable". I'm going to pull the sound module out of he card and put it underneath the foam lining, which means I'll have to make room for it and carve out a recess in the bottom of the lining. So when I open the case up a lion will roar then the song plays! How cool is that?! Oh I should make a video.
Next comes the LED lighting system. I'm thinking of getting some kind of Acrylic rod to act as a light pipe for a blue led. The idea that I have is to form the acrylic rod so that it perfectly fits the inside of the lip. Then I want to have a blue led which pulses on an off. Kind of like a slow pulse.
I love bright blue LEDS!
Oh and I've already started making a dart case out of a metal Mint Box. It's ultra tiny, but still stores everything you might need. I won't be able to do the sound system, but I think the lighting system will fit.