I do a lot of conventions to promote Love and Capes. I love doing the shows, but hauling my gear to shows is always an effort. For shows I can drive to, everything fits (albeit snugly) in my convertible. The worst for transport is, of course, Comic-Con in San Diego, where I have to ship things across the country. The biggest hassle, to my mind, is shipping my wire display rack. It’s too large to fit into a suitcase so I have to ship it in a big box. The box isn’t so much heavy as it is unweildly, but just its size makes it expensive to ship. I’ve been trying to find a better mousetrap, as it were. I haven’t been able to find one, so I decided to make one. Here’s what I wanted my design to do:
- Fit into a suitcase, flat.
- Be light.
- Display a decent number of books.
- Be sturdy.
- Be disposable, so I can leave it behind if I want to.
Here’s what I came up with. I’ll need two of them to display the Love and Capes ouevre, but that’s fine. It folds down to about 17″ x 27″, which does fit in my suitcase. And it’s even got an area for signage at the top, where I’ll put a price list. I think it came out really well, and I’m a little proud of myself. My Dad is awesome at building things, and it’s nice to know that I’ve got a little bit of that in me when I need it. I’m also going to share it, under the Creative Commons act. I’ve had people say that I could sell these, but honestly, I’d rather make comics than stands. Besides, not everything’s got to be about profit, sometimes you should just release some good into the universe, you know? If this design helps someone else, I’m happy to help. Here’s a link to a PDF of my blueprints. I figure each one takes about $10-15 in supplies. You need a 40″ x 60″ piece of foam core board, an X-acto knife, a long ruler, and a piece of tape or Velcro. It probably takes 30-60 minutes to build. I laid out and marked up the foam core. Here’s what the flat piece looks like. (Click any picture to see it larger.) Then I scored it so that the front panel becomes like a set of stairs. I scored the side panels so that it will fold up flat. You have to be careful while making your scores, though. The design has a lot of weak points while you’re trying to fold it, although once it’s complete it’s pretty solid. I stress tested it for a day and there were no problems. It also has a slight lean to it, by design. This puts the shelves at an angle so that gravity can help keep the books in place. The stair shelf doesn’t hold itself down at first. You need the books to force it into place, but after a couple of hours, it starts to hold its shape. And I put some Velcro on the back panel to make the final connection. You could use tape, too. You just need to have a knife to cut it when you’re done if you want to reuse it. Here it is folded flat. And here it is with books on it. Pretty cool, eh? Oh, what the heck, how about a little shilling? Hey! Love and Capes: Going to the Chapel, the second Love and Capes collection is available in comic stores this Wednesday! Foam Core Display Stand by Thomas Zahler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.thomz.com.