Secure Digital (SD) memory cards are the most popular memory card used by portable elctronics these days. My PDA, laptop, and video camera all use these cards, so I'm usually carrying two or three around with me. I've been using a plastic box to hold them, but I was wondering if I could make something a little classier. After considering making a locket, or modifying a pocket watch, I settled on making a money clip.
I already use a money clip to hold my cash together, after upgrading from the easy-to-acquire binder clip. Combining the two would eliminate one thing from the stuff I have to remember to fill my pockets with before I leave the house in the morning.
I wasn't confident enough in the design to start with gold, so I decided on brass from the craft store. It comes in strips and sheets, is durable and classy, and is easy to cut with snips or saw.
The final design is shown to the right, without money. In addition to the standard clip shape of a money clip, I've added a smaller clip to hold the card and rails on either side to keep the card from slipping out sideways. This is the "Mark 4" design, which I arrived at after a few of false steps.
The Mark 1 clip had short pieces of brass channel glued to the edges of 1 inch wide strip brass. I tried soldering the channel on, but it wouldn't stick. The glue only mostly stuck, plus the channel was a pain to cut and sometime scratched the cards. The upper clip also scratched the cards because I didn't polish the edges well enough.
The Mark 2 Clip used bent-up rails to hold the card in place, but I was still using the 1-inch wide brass, the the rails were just too miniscule to do much good. The quality of my bending and polishing was way up on this one, though. and it doesn't scratch the cards.
The Mark 3 Clip also used bent-up rails to hold the card in place, but I switched to sheet brass instead of strip brass, so there was enough material to make substantial rails. This was a good try, but something just wawsn't right.
The Mark 4 Clip moved the card holder underneath, so that the top is still flat for further decoration or engraving. It's still a normal looking money clip from most angles, it just has the hidden advantage. My quality is still improving, but not perfect yet.
The first thing I did was lay out the design in a drawing program, and then print it onto an adhesive label. The design is below. Cyan lines are cut lines. Green lines are bends "towards" you. Red lines are bends "away from" you. Gray circles show where to round corners after cutting.
The overall design is 1 1/8 inch wide, so I needed to use sheet brass instead of strip brass. I decided to use 0.2" thick brass because it's sturdy, but still thin enough to bend easily. 0.3" seemed too thick.
So, the materials list for this project is as follows:
Well, first is the cutting, that's for sure. I used my band saw to make things easier, then I filed the edges to smooth them out. When cutting, don't miss that several of the cuts bite into the body of the lip a little. This makes the bends easier later. I also used the file to round the corners.
I'm still not entirely sure what the best order is for doing the bends. I bent the rails first, by grabbing them with pliers and bending them up. This worked OK, but made some unsightly scars in the metal. Next, I made the gentle bends in the ends of the money clip and card clip.
I used a bench vise to hold the strip while I did the heavy bends in the main body of the clip. After I had those band established, I turned the whole thing around and used the vise to gradually tighten the bend. I used the same process with pliers to make the card clip bend.
Then, I just added money (I used singles to speed this process up for the photos) and an SD card, and I was ready to hit the road. I have been using the Mark 4 for months now, and it hasn't resulted in any loss of money or cards. (Insert joke about losing money at cards here.)