Introduction: Building Up a Flight Case

About: I'm an Engineer, who originally inherited the family business (Thanks Dad (RIP JC Taylor, 1938-2011)) after working in it for 25 years, designing and building scientific instruments. In 2013, I was head-hun…
I am travelling from the UK to the USA for the Winter Star Party, down in the Florida Keys, and this time, I'm going armed with a decent scope, in this case a Cape Newise 9". The scope has a uniquely wide field in a small package, and isn't being made right now, so I don't want it to get damaged. This time I will only take the scope, but the case I need to protect the scope will eventually hold a mount as well.

Whilst looking for parts to make a flightcase, I happened across a Dutch supplier "", who offer a rather clever website to design your case exactly as you want, and then supply a FULL kit to build it up. The case is roughly a 1' x 1' x 2.5' (30 x 35 x 75cm)

Delivery took less than 4 days from clicking "send order", and I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of everything,.

Step 1: Design

The online designer at CaseBuilder is very capable. You get to see your design on screen at ever stage, adjusting the hardware, layout and other options, to get the design you want - for the right price. I deliberately didn't choose the "ultra light" option, because I wanted to assemble it my self,  and I didn't get the ultra tough option, because my roadies are 13 and 16.....

Here's a screenshot of the design in progress.

...and the build instructions.

Step 2: Delivery

Here's what was delivered: A comprehensive set of panels, extrusions and 200 rivets....and a complete assembly manual.
Every panel is lettered and numbered for assembly.

Step 3: Assembly and Tools

Everything comes in the pack - even two twist drills. All you need to assemble everything is a good electric drill and a pop-riveting tool- ideally an airpowered one. I used a Sealey SA31 riveter.

The instructions are very clear. All the metal parts are predrilled, so all you have to do is align the rails with the panels, drill, then rivet. You have to be very careful to make sure the panels are snug against each other BEFORE you drill. Its a one-time thing.

The whole assembly took around 2 and a half hours, but I'll be faster on another one. At this size, another pair of hands would have been nice, but not vital.

Step 4: Finished Box

Here's the finished item, and a shot of it with the scope inside. Needed now, extensive cushioning !!

All in all, the case cost around 220 USD, delivered. How it fairs next month in air-freight, we shall have to see. Yes, it might have been cheaper to buy it as components, but I think the finished quality is excellent