Introduction: Tough PVC Cases for Anything

Picture of Tough PVC Cases for Anything

Ever need a case for something that you didn't want broken? Like making things that are simple, yet indestructible?

It is very simple to make a very tough case out of some PVC or ABS pipe.
I made a gift for my  friend, but it was pretty delicate, so I needed a case to put it in. Looking at the junk lying around my work table, I devised this and built in in about an hour.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • Saw, either a hack saw, hand saw, or reciprocating saw.
  • Ruler and marker to make straight lines.
  • Drill
  • Rivet gun
  • Hot glue
  • Knife
  • PVC or ABS pipe, mine was 2-inch diameter, but whatever works
  • Tough foam, or two end caps to fit the pipe
  • Cloth-optional
  • Short screws or rivets
  • two small hinges

Step 2: Cut the Pipe

Picture of Cut the Pipe

Cut a piece of pipe to the desired length.

Draw a straight line down the length of it, as shown.

Cut on that line.

Go to the exact opposite side of the pipe, and do the same.

Now, you should have two equal half-shells of pipe.

Step 3: Hinges

Picture of Hinges

Tape the two shells back together. Get your  hinges and mark where you want them to go, and the holes for them. Remove the hinges and tape, then drill the holes.

Attach the hinges with the pin barrels facing outward, using rivets (like I did) or bolts.

Step 4: Ends

Picture of Ends

Cut four half-circle pieces of EVA foam, or really anything else that works. Shape them, and glue them in the ends to make end caps.

I just hot-glued mine, but epoxy is a lot tougher.

Step 5: "Latch"

Picture of "Latch"

Cut a piece of the same pipe you used for the case, about an inch and a half long.

Cut an ark out of the side of this, about a quarter of the total circumference is about the least you can go with. Remember, the less you cut out, the harder it will be to snap the latch on and off.

Step 6: Acessorize

Picture of Acessorize

I lined mine with black vinyl. You don't need to.  I also sanded the surface with high-grit sandpaper, to give it a slightly better look.

That's it!

Go crazy with this design, it has tons of possibilities!


bobzjr (author)2012-04-18

Another idea to tweak the design - solid endcaps attached to one side of clamshell. Instead of two half moons, a full circle attached to one side.

theDabster (author)bobzjr2015-01-01

You know what that design would be awesome for? Put a dowel between the two end caps and use it for wire or cable storage. Love it.

ilpug (author)bobzjr2012-04-18

That would also work well. I used foam because I had limited time and materials. If I make another I will use wood. You could also use PVC end caps to make the ends, then cut them too. I really like your sketches, they get the ideas across very clearly.

bcutnbords78 (author)2013-04-28


Schmidty16 (author)2012-10-12

how close is it to waterproof

ilpug (author)Schmidty162012-10-12

this one isnt at all

de0509 (author)2012-08-02

Lol. Havent done these things but really love to try it. Just my 2 cents. Ive seen on the net about this but using endcap at one end with female adapter and plug at the other end. So if youre the survivalist types, the setup will create a waterproof container for caching your stuff. wait why not i try find it again. this is the nearest of whats in my mind

ilpug (author)de05092012-08-05

that would work, although it is made and designed for a much different application than my container.

paqrat (author)2012-02-10

Great idea and great instructable. I may have to try this. If one were to use clear plastic as one end one could possibly see what is inside.

ilpug (author)paqrat2012-02-11

Yeah, that would definitely be possible. You can actually get clear PVC pipe, so I suppose you could use that for the full effect.

freeza36 (author)ilpug2012-07-19

I didn't know that they sold clear pvc

ilpug (author)freeza362012-07-19

You can get it online I think. Try TAP plastics.

bobzjr (author)2012-04-18

Nice instructable! Thanks for posting. Have you considered using an integrated velcro strap for the "latch" mechanism? I'm wanting to use what you've shared and use this type mechansim...

ilpug (author)bobzjr2012-04-18

I considered that, and it is totally a viable system to use. I just chose the clip system because it was simple and matched the native material.

Go ahead! If you make some, post the pictures, I would love to see.

wiley coyote (author)2012-02-04

Excellent idea! I'm may try to make one using a living hinge.... see for a more streamlined effect and possible added stability without alignment issues, etc... with hinges and hardware.

bobzjr (author)wiley coyote2012-04-18

How would you make a living hinge? Would you use the interior vinyl lining as the hinge material? I can't think of anyway to use only the PVC material itself for the hinge...

ilpug (author)wiley coyote2012-02-04

Sounds awesome! Do it!

Pfarmkid (author)2012-03-31

two things

1. +

2. 1

Equals +1

ilpug (author)Pfarmkid2012-03-31

Thanks :P

Junophor (author)2012-03-07

You are right!!

A very good idea instead of using an oakley case;-))))) for your instructables

Cheers Aeon Junophor

Santawon (author)2012-03-06

Very cool idea. I have a hundred ideas I could do with these. Going to make some as soon as possible. Thanks for the awesome instructions.....

BigDrig (author)2012-03-03

I have made something similar to this once for a geocaching container. Good instructable.

jpwwalker (author)2012-02-05

Such a great way of putting small items in my tool box such as drill bits! I might even make another one to put a pair of safety glasses in to stop them getting scratched in my box!!

ilpug (author)jpwwalker2012-03-01

This makes a great glasses case, except for the fact that it is really bulky.

abstracted (author)2012-02-12

great idea for my camera lenz`s

quantumz (author)2012-02-01

This is a great idea that yields a handsome case.

One possible addition would be to use expanding foam insulation to make a custom shaped insert inside the tube, so the object isn't rattling around inside the case.
Like in this project for making custom tool drawers:

criggie (author)quantumz2012-02-11

Stunning idea - I've got a socket set which had a thin plastic liner. It broke so I tried making something with polystychrene, which worked but is messy.
That's on the plan for tomorrow.

apburner (author)quantumz2012-02-02

That is a great idea also. Fantastic tool storage idea. And the PVC carrier is brilliant.

ilpug (author)quantumz2012-02-02

I never thought of that! Great idea!

tinker234 (author)2012-02-05

could i possibly add lead to the case for radioactive materials

ilpug (author)tinker2342012-02-06

Umm,If you choose to, I can't guarantee the safety. Just out of curiosity, what are you putting in it that is radioactive?

tinker234 (author)ilpug2012-02-07

forgot to add im not allowed to disclose my ressearch by boss

ilpug (author)tinker2342012-02-07

Okay, just be safe. This case isn't really designed for that, so do it at your own risk.

tinker234 (author)tinker2342012-02-07

i think that this a great projects thanks

Ed-win (author)2012-02-05

If you will drill the hole for the hinges before you cut the pipe into it is eaiser. Neat idea.

ilpug (author)Ed-win2012-02-06

True. It doesn't really matter what order you do it in

lukeD (author)2012-02-05

You are such a genius!!
this is so simple!

I have a little problem, I like to go fishing in my free time.
and I use very fragile fishing floats. They break very fast, so if I make a case for the floats with pvc of 0.6 inch. that would be very great! I'll try it for sure.

what I will add to your design are holes, around 10 I think, So the I can put the floats in the case when they are still wet, and thanks to the holes the floats can dry. the foam to close the sides will stay, so I can put thee hook of the fishing tackle into that foam,
then i can wrap the rest of the fishing line around the pvc pipe.

there will be space for one fishing float in one sase.

A perfect design for most fishers I think.

great ible

rated *5

ilpug (author)lukeD2012-02-06

Wow! I never even thought of fishing stuff. Good application! And thanks!

ehudwill (author)2012-02-05

I made a case like this out of bamboo, but had trouble with the latch. I like your latch idea. Great job.

prestux (author)2012-02-05

Great Idea! Thanks.

tinker234 (author)2012-02-04

could i possibly put the hinges inside and cover them

wiley coyote (author)tinker2342012-02-04

Try it by making one of these down one side, rather than cut through. The exterior, and interior, should be smooth.

Living hinge....

tinker234 (author)wiley coyote2012-02-04


n0ukf (author)tinker2342012-02-04

putting the hinges on the inside, you'd have to bevel the outside of the hinged joint so that it will open.

My thought instead was to put the pins inward instead of outward (notch out the joint for them).

tinker234 (author)n0ukf2012-02-04

wow thank you

MorNiLachnan (author)2012-02-04

You sir, are a god. :-)
Going to make a few of these to hold some of our camping gear.

gtoal (author)2012-02-03

I made a hard case for my one-piece pool cue out of this piping once, all it took was a couple of end-caps and a carrying handle. Fast & cheap!

ilpug (author)gtoal2012-02-03


Jural (author)2012-02-02

I don't know if you mentioned this but I recently read of an easy way to draw a straight line down a tube. Get a piece of angle iron or anything bent at an angle. Lay your tube into the channel and you can draw a straight line down the length of it. Works great.

apburner (author)Jural2012-02-02

That really does work well been using it for years.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a recent graduate of the Sustainable Manufacturing program at California State University Chico. I currently consult with local businesses and provide freelance design ... More »
More by ilpug:CNC milling a boat propeller in only 3 axesThe BeerBQ: a Keg BarbecueCardboard Clutter Keeper
Add instructable to: