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30 May 2015

The best custom tyvek wallet (1 of 3)

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on making a Tyvek wallet. I'm biased, but happen to think that my design is the coolest, most compact, and innovative design out there!
- This post covers the background (as in, "Why would you do this?")
Part 2 covers the bulk of the fabrication
- Part 3 completes the finishing touches!
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Here's a post on a Tyvek wallet design I created a while back. The finished product:




Background
The idea for some type of thin wallet began shortly after starting to work for my present employer. Everyone there over 40 or so has at some point made notice that carrying a wallet in a back pocket is a bad idea. I have carried a leather wallet in my back right pocket since middle school/high school days and was quite intrigued to hear this come out of the mouths of about 5 different individuals. I believed them -- they have the chiropractic bills to prove it!

In any case, apparently it's jut not good on one's back to sit lopsided all day long. Fair enough. Most of them migrated to some type of money clip or thinner leather front pocket thingy. I (not surprisingly to myself, at least) wanted to make a wallet. I'd seen some DIY wallets at Instructables in the past and so I had some ideas about what designs were out there. I've seen all kinds of things like making a wallet from a bike tire, paper, Tyvek, and, of course, duct tape.

Initially I was sold on the duct tape idea, but something intrigued me more about Tyvek. It's extremely durable, won't tear, is water proof (they use it to wrap house frames during building) and is just the lightest/thinnest stuff you can imagine. I chose the Tyvek idea and stuck with it. I happen to have access to Tyvek via a small sample roll in the research lab I work in. I cut off a bunch and played around with many, many designs. I finally figured out my favorite, and that's the one I want to present.

Rival Designs
Searching Instructables, YouTube, or just googling around reveals that there are a lot of designs out there. I'll say that the Dynomighty wallet is definitely the most popular or well known. It is pretty cool and the designer is pretty fantastic for figuring out how to make a wallet from one envelope with nothing left over and quite minimal cutting. I love that the last step is pulling the strip from the adhesive flap and using that to seal everything nice and tight.

This design on Instructables was also quite inspiring. I liked the small footprint quite a lot. It seemed like quite the innovative use of those individual sleeves as well as the cutting of "access points" to allow for sliding the cards.

I wanted to combine some from both (and others) as well as my own flair. I definitely wanted a tri-fold wallet. Check out these two pictures to see why:

Bi-fold


 Tri-fold


Not only does the tri-fold design have the advantage of requiring a smaller footprint, but with a thin material like Tyvek, any area not backed by a card of some sort is going to be floppy/flimsy. In other words, the card area will be solid, but the top of that bi-fold wallet that's required for housing dollar bills is going to be completely flexible/bendy. I don't like that. While I think the Dynomighty is pretty darn cool -- I would not want it. It's bigger than it needs to be (for me, at least) and is going to be floppy at the top.

Want more? Go to Part 2 and let's build this thing!

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