Box Treatments, and How to Solve the Case of the Missing Case

Picture of Box Treatments, and How to Solve the Case of the Missing Case
It is not hard to make a good box or case for tools or instruments. And you can often improve the usefulness of an existing box by judicious addition of foam or flaps. By foam, I mean closed-cell polyethelene packing, not to be confused with styrofoam. Styrofoam is weak and crumbly; closed-cell LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is tough and durable. I have a socket set where I replaced the vacuformed insert with LDPE nearly 20 years ago. After years and years of use, with hundreds of removals and re-insertions, the foam is still resilient, still grips the tools, and is ready for decades more.
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Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started
What you need: box or case, foam, felt tip marker, art knife, hot-melt glue.
Sometimes needed: cardboard, paint.

Plug the glue gun in so it can heat up while you think.

Closed cell foam is saved from appliance or equipment boxes. LDPE is what you want. It's easy to glue in place, and very easy to cut. If you don't have a single piece of foam big enough to fill a particular area, you can glue smaller pieces up to fit.

Step 2: The Case of the Upgraded Dremel

Picture of The Case of the Upgraded Dremel
This is a Dremel case. I added bit-holder foam, sockets for a couple more accessories in the lid, and a cardboard cord-retainer flap.

Step 3: Hold-downs

Picture of Hold-downs
When you have layout options, lay the tools or other objects in trial arrangements till you find one you like. For heavy tools, allow for proper cradling; think about how the weight will be supported, especially when the case is closed and sitting upright.

Sometimes after an object is well cradled from sides and below, it needs to be braced from above by a foam block glued to the box lid. In this case, make the best measurement possible for the required thickness of foam, cut it just a bit thicker, set the foam on the object, apply glue to the top of the foam, then close the lid on it. After a minute, open the lid; the foam should be firmly glued, and in the right place. Now when you close the lid, the foam clamps the object in place.
mole12 years ago
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I need this ible!!!
milesfromneihu (author)  mole12 years ago
So glad you find it of interest and of use! it was fun making it too.
curbowman2 years ago

I've been using this exact method to carry my beloved bass amplifier from gig to gig. I converted a raggedy old wheeled suitcase into a heavily padded device, complete with 2-tone felt lining to match the Carvin Redline style. And, unlike most 2-space racks, I can store the footswitch, effects pedals, cables, and even sheet music without having to lift them.

An added benefit is the fact that I can walk around with it with a more peaceful state of mind since no one can know I am carrying a valuable piece of equipment in an ordinary suitcase!
milesfromneihu (author)  curbowman2 years ago
Good camouflage value. It's great when equipment, instruments, tools, vehicles, etc. stay around so that in addition to paying for them, you can actually use them too. Peace of mind in a not-yet-ideal world.
milesfromneihu (author)  curbowman2 years ago
Very nice. I like the relief for the control knobs.
Cavechild2 years ago
Fantastic, I did this recently to convert an old makita drill box so that I had a home for my boxless angle grinders. Just waiting for some more LDPE to come my way so I can give my jigsaw the same treatment.
See also:
milesfromneihu (author) 2 years ago
By the way, has anybody noticed that there has been a shift in saw naming? What used to be sabre saws are now jigsaws. Former jigsaws are now called scroll saws. What do they now call the former scroll saws? Power fret saws? Funny eh? But they still call jigsaw puzzles jigsaw puzzles, not scroll saw puzzles. Of course most jigsaw puzzles have not been made with jig... I mean SCROLL saws for a long time. Jigsaw puzzles are die cut. We could call them die cut puzzles. But I don't want to be the only one.
kelseymh2 years ago
LDPE is a really great material for this! And you can recover/recycle it from the shipping and packing material used for printers, monitors, TVs, stereo systems, etc. It cuts really well with a chef's knife or box cutter, and even after cutting and shaping stays firm and resilient. Great Instructable!
milesfromneihu (author)  kelseymh2 years ago
Hey, glad you like the 'ible!
LDPE is indeed great stuff: works fine, lasts a long time.