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DIY Custom Case Project


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#1 BigBL87

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:19 AM

Thought I'd share this in case it might give someone else an idea.  I've been oogling Case Club gun cases, but with our first child arriving within the month there's no way I'd be able to pay $150 for a custom case and not catch major grief over it.  

 

So, I got a wild idea, and figured I'd try to make one with the Plano All Weather Gun Guard case I already have and some Kaizen foam.  It took me about 3 hours, one band aid, copius fumes from a hot knife cutting foam, and some glue, but here's the end result.  Won't win any beauty contests, but it's functional and holds the 5 guns I used to carry in 2 cases.

 

I'm sure someone with more skill and patience could make it look much better, and the $32 for foam is sure easier on the wallet than $150.

 

Guns are, from left to right: CZ P-07, CZ-75B, Taurus 65, Shield, M&P 22 Compact.

 

20170908_035520_zps528ttlvo.jpg

 

20170908_035648_zps1b2b5llp.jpg

 

20170908_035651_zps82kegfgm.jpg



#2 BigBL87

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 04:47 AM

Well, since Photobucket sucks...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20170908_035651.jpg
  • 20170908_035520.jpg
  • 20170908_035648.jpg


#3 DRugerH

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 04:57 AM

Beauty contest?  Looks dang good to me.  I like it... no... I love it.  Great work!

 

Dan



#4 TRJ

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:23 AM

That's functional. The beauty is in the fact it works for you.

#5 BigBL87

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:36 AM

Thanks. It looks rougher in person, just couldn't get the cuts as straight as I wanted but it's just for me so it works. The Kaizen foam is great stuff, and my route wasn't what post people use it for. Most guys just trace an outline of a gun and cut it to shape, which looks pretty snazzy but isn't as space efficient as what I tried to do.

Edited by BigBL87, 08 September 2017 - 05:38 AM.


#6 Xwing

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:24 AM

Nice work!  It's usually both more fun and cheaper to "do it yourself".  I made a soft rifle case (for a very large rifle) w/ cloth, felt, and sewed on a zipper, etc.  It saved me close to $100.


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#7 ming

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:20 AM

Looks fine to me.  Good job!


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#8 r29795

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:28 AM

nice job it look like one from a high end store



#9 framos242

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 08:15 AM

Great job!!

#10 mikew

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 08:17 AM

Excellent job!

 

Questions:

Do you use a hot knife which adjustable depth?

 

Have you ever tried an electric filet knife or electric turkey carver?

 

How hard is it to glue layers back together?



#11 BigBL87

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 11:17 AM

Excellent job!
 
Questions:
Do you use a hot knife which adjustable depth?
 
Have you ever tried an electric filet knife or electric turkey carver?
 
How hard is it to glue layers back together?

My hot knife did have a set up to do adjustable depth, but I didn't use the bracket when I did use it. I mainly used the hot knife for smoothing edges and did most of the cutting with one of the long break-off style box cutters.

We don't have an electric knife, so wasn't able to try that but I like the idea. I think using a better hot knife with a thinner blade would probably help too, or even better a hot wire cutter.

The only gluing I did was at the end. I cut the forms from one large 2'x4' sheet of foam, cut the main form out of the top layer and the indents for the barrel anf grip in the bottom layer. After cutting them, I just glued the top to the bottom using Styrofoam glue, I'm sure there's better adhesive options out there for the purpose.

Edited by BigBL87, 08 September 2017 - 11:18 AM.


#12 Dcompton

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

Dang that looks great! I would love to pick your brain on design. I did a Seahorse case and ended up with this. 201f2d7f01d75d28b8ddc1e072820584.jpg

#13 BigBL87

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:38 PM

Yours looks nice! That's what so was going to do originally but saw the designs on Case Club and went a little crazy trying to emulate it. If you could use get the same nice straight cuts with what I did, yours would probably look like a much improved version of mine.

#14 Dcompton

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 08:53 AM

Yours looks nice! That's what so was going to do originally but saw the designs on Case Club and went a little crazy trying to emulate it. If you could use get the same nice straight cuts with what I did, yours would probably look like a much improved version of mine.


Yeah my case came with the "pluck n pull" pre-perforated foam. I am thinking of doing another one using a blank block and a hot wire knife from the craft store. Hindsight being what it is, I would have reduced handgun slots and added magazine storage. Sounds like I just gave myself a reason for a new project!

#15 BigBL87

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 03:04 PM

Another thing you could try is using the pick n pluck, and then spraying it with Plasti Dip to firm it up.

If you do go with cutting, I highly recommend the Kaizen foam. I got a 2'x4' section for about $30, enough to experiment with cutting, shaping, etc.

Edited by BigBL87, 09 September 2017 - 03:04 PM.


#16 solareclipse2

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 03:49 PM

Another thing you could try is using the pick n pluck, and then spraying it with Plasti Dip to firm it up.

If you do go with cutting, I highly recommend the Kaizen foam. I got a 2'x4' section for about $30, enough to experiment with cutting, shaping, etc.

 

I did the pluck/plasti-dip thing. Used a whole can, didn't firm up enough for me. Still better than nothing. 

 

Did you use multiple sheets of Kaizen foam in your case to adjust the depth?

 

Did you use a pattern or make a pattern of some sort?

 

I'd really be interested in some more pics of your foam, outside of the case itself. 


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#17 BigBL87

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 10:39 PM

 

Another thing you could try is using the pick n pluck, and then spraying it with Plasti Dip to firm it up.

If you do go with cutting, I highly recommend the Kaizen foam. I got a 2'x4' section for about $30, enough to experiment with cutting, shaping, etc.

 

I did the pluck/plasti-dip thing. Used a whole can, didn't firm up enough for me. Still better than nothing. 

 

Did you use multiple sheets of Kaizen foam in your case to adjust the depth?

 

Did you use a pattern or make a pattern of some sort?

 

I'd really be interested in some more pics of your foam, outside of the case itself. 

 

 

Before I started the project, I created a blueprint for the pattern using the custom foam design tool on Case Club's website.  I measured the original foam and entered the dimensions under the "choose your case" tab.  They have their cases, Pelican, Seahorse, and Plasticase cases programmed in, but mine obviously wasn't any of those which is why I entered my own dimension.  I used that to lay out what the form would be using the shape tool.  Honestly, laying out the blueprint took longer than the rest of the project because I was redoing how they were arranged, tweaking locations, calculating the space between the slots for the handguns, etc..  I attached a screenshot of it below.

 

I did use multiple sheets of Kaizen.  I ordered the 57 mm (2 1/8 inch) foam in a 2'x4' sheet.  I traced around the original foam to get the base pattern for what went into the case, and got the two sheets I used.  They were a little too tall for the interior, so on the bottom sheet I shaved a few layers off to drop it a bit.

 

Once I got that where I wanted it, I measured out and drew the pattern.  Using a long bladed box cutter I cut the basic form (the large grip area and the handgun slots) into the top layer.  I'd recommend using something with a stronger blade, as the blade had a tendency to bend and make the cuts not as straight.  Made me regret selling my Ontario 498 knife because it probably would have been perfect, but it is what it is.  I actually had to completely redo this once, cutting a whole knew top layer and redrawing the pattern, etc.

 

Once I got that where I was happy with it, I put it in the case with the bottom layer and cut the outlines in the bottom layer for where the barrels would go in the barrel slots and eyeballed the grip slots.  After I did that, I took the top layer back out and set the box cutter blade at about one inch depth and cut the slots for the barrel and grip in the bottom layer.  After you cut the shape, you just dig the foam out with your finger, comes out pretty easily.  If you're really careful, you can take the top layer of what you pull out and glue it back down at the bottom of the cutout to make it look nicer, I didn't bother doing that though.

 

After that, I got all the handguns I was planning to use and put them in, tweaking the length of the grip slots and barrel slots as needed.  Once I was satisfied, I glued the top and bottom layers together using foam glue.

Any more specific questions, feel free to ask.  I tried to cover the whole process as well as I could.  As far as pictures, there really wouldn't be much to see since they're glued together now, but if there was something specific I could do try to get a pic for you.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Case Blueprint.png

Edited by BigBL87, 09 September 2017 - 10:50 PM.


#18 BigBL87

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 10:45 PM

FWIW, this is where I ordered my foam from, best price I could find.  You can get 57mm (2 1/4 inch), 30mm (1 1/8 inch), and 20mm (7/8 inch) thickness.  I was wrong about the thickness in inches apparently, I thought it was 2 1/8 but apparently its 2 1/4.

https://www.newegg.c...=9SIA8C233A2743


Edited by BigBL87, 09 September 2017 - 10:46 PM.


#19 BigBL87

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 01:54 AM

Also, if anyone is looking for a good affordable case to start a project like this, MCM Electronics has a line of weatherproof cases at pretty reasonable prices compared to Pelican/Seahorse/etc..  I bought one of the 14 inch cases, and I'm thinking about doing something similar to what I did with the Plano to have a smaller case when I don't want to take as many handguns with me.  Their 18 inch case is just a smidge smaller each dimension than my Plano All Weather Case, for reference on size, and a bit cheaper

 

http://www.mcmelectr...therproof-cases

 

I'm not associated with them in any way, shape, or form, so this isn't trying to pimp their products, just thought it would be helpful.


Edited by BigBL87, 10 September 2017 - 01:55 AM.


#20 solareclipse2

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:17 AM

Looks like THIS might be the case you got? Very inexpensive compared to he offerings from Pelican or Cabela's. Not sure what delivery on the foam cost you from Newegg but HERE it is on Amazon if anyone prefers but it's not eligible for Prime shipping so boo to that. Regarding the pictures I just have a hard time visualizing what's the top layer and what's the bottom layer to see how you made the cuts and where the barrels rest and the butt of the pistols sit, etc. 


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#21 milq

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 06:50 PM

Thanks for the link to those cases. I just bought a Seahorse 920 with wheels, tired of my luggage getting ripped and cut at airports. Considering I've had to purchase new luggage every time I've flown in the past 5 years, seems like a good investment. I was thinking some other cases would be great for firearms but the cost is rough, MCM makes it more tolerable.
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#22 BigBL87

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 01:59 AM

Looks like THIS might be the case you got? Very inexpensive compared to he offerings from Pelican or Cabela's. Not sure what delivery on the foam cost you from Newegg but HERE it is on Amazon if anyone prefers but it's not eligible for Prime shipping so boo to that. Regarding the pictures I just have a hard time visualizing what's the top layer and what's the bottom layer to see how you made the cuts and where the barrels rest and the butt of the pistols sit, etc. 

 

Regarding the pistol case I actually used, this is it:

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/B0029KKWVQ

 

The one you posted is pretty close size-wise and would probably be pretty doable with a design close to what I did.  I got the Plano on clearance at Wal-Mart, didn't find out about MCM until later.  The Plano is a pretty good case for the money even at full price, I might even put the build quality a little higher than the MCM but they're pretty close.  The foam, with shipping, was in about the $32 range from NewEgg, shipping was $7.50 of that IIRC.  The other nice thing for me is that I'm located literally an hour away from Plano's HQ, so if I ever have an issue they aren't hard to get ahold of.

 

As far as the cuts, I made some mock-ups and attached them to this post that should help.  The top layer, with the blue shapes, the pattern is cut all the way through the top layer of foam.  The bottom layer, with the black shapes, that pattern is cut around 1 inch into the bottom layer of foam.  I tweaked the cuts after the initial cutout to fit the individual pistols better, which was also when I made the slots for the trigger guards that you can see in the original pictures.  Once I was happy with their fit, that's when I glued them together.

 

 

 

Thanks for the link to those cases. I just bought a Seahorse 920 with wheels, tired of my luggage getting ripped and cut at airports. Considering I've had to purchase new luggage every time I've flown in the past 5 years, seems like a good investment. I was thinking some other cases would be great for firearms but the cost is rough, MCM makes it more tolerable.

 

I think they are pretty darn good for the money.  With the "name" brands, in paying for the name I think you're paying for more extensive testing and probably the ratings that come with the more expensive cases.  If I were traveling with a firearm and had the money, I'd probably go with a Pelican.  That said, for taking my handguns to and from the range and everything short of air travel, I don't see much point in spending twice or more over the MCM.  MCM is a definite step up from the cheap, thin plastic cases, that's for sure

Attached Thumbnails

  • Case Blueprint Bottom.png
  • Case Blueprint Top.png

Edited by BigBL87, 11 September 2017 - 02:07 AM.


#23 BigBL87

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 02:19 AM

Oh, and if anyone decides to get one of the MCM cases, with a little Google-Fu you can get 10% off of your order, which basically nullifies the shipping cost.



#24 BigBL87

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 02:30 AM

Sorry to add another post, I seem to do them in spurts apparently, haha.

As far as the size of the case, my Taurus 65 BARELY fit in the case, I had to remove a bit of extra foam to fit it in how I have it.  If I got an MCM case, I'd probably bump up to the 22 inch case just for the little bit of extra room, and if you look closer on the listing it has side latches as well, which the 18 inch doesn't.  It might require a little extra foam, based on the advertised depth, but that wouldn't be difficult to do.  You could also use one of the included layers of foam on the bottom to fill space and not have to cut more Kaizen.


Edited by BigBL87, 11 September 2017 - 02:35 AM.


#25 mikew

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:45 PM

copius fumes from a hot knife cutting foam,

I just cut the outline of a piece of black kaizan foam to fit a case and used a sabre saw with a knife blade.

It produced a noticeable amount of stink.



#26 chislinger

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:13 AM

I used mycasebuilder.com to cut new foam for an existing case. The custom-cut foam cost around $60, there's a tool on their web site to design it. For an extra $8 you get one do-over if you screw it up.

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#27 BigBL87

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:22 AM

copius fumes from a hot knife cutting foam,

I just cut the outline of a piece of black kaizan foam to fit a case and used a sabre saw with a knife blade.
It produced a noticeable amount of stink.

How did the sabre saw work for you, other than the stink?

#28 mikew

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 03:59 PM

 

 

copius fumes from a hot knife cutting foam,

I just cut the outline of a piece of black kaizan foam to fit a case and used a sabre saw with a knife blade.
It produced a noticeable amount of stink.

How did the sabre saw work for you, other than the stink?

 

It was great.  I did an AK underfolder and a AR15 into obscure sporting equiipment bags.

 

I learned to control the depth of the cut  by taping layers of cardboard to the underside of the saw.

I also learned to tape a piece of cardboard with my design unto the foam, and then cut through the cardboard.

 

When working with the 57mm foam and cutting out the outline of a block of foam,

the hard part is keeping the saw cut perpendicular to the top of the foam.

 

If I have a lot of short work in the future, I might break one of the knife blades to start off with a shorter depth.



#29 ChicagoRonin70

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 04:38 PM

I did something similar with a PMR-30 case for mods I made, but that was minimal and with an already mostly finished case.

 

I am going to need to start doing this very soon on a much greater scale, though, since I am expanding my collection significantly and definitely need compact and specific storage and transport cases.

 

A lot of good information and real-world experience to borrow from here!


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#30 InterestedBystander

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 05:06 PM

Heres an old, archived, but still popular thread on custom case cutting foam at arfcom.

https://www.ar15.com...-292695/?page=1

Not quite as great as it once was though since changes to 3rd party photo hosting service restrictions

Edited by InterestedBystander, 24 September 2017 - 05:09 PM.

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