Introduction: Custom Padded Tool Box From a Discarded Milwaukee Plastic Tool Box

About: Technical Editor for two magazines. Software tester for the computer controlled electronic brakes of Locomotives.

What do you do with those Milwaukee plastic blow molded tool boxes after you remove the tools and either hang the tools up on a wall or place them in a cabinet? Well, they can end up on Ebay, sold as empty, or like my work, end up in the big green dumpster out back!

Well, I did a bit of dumpster diving and rescued this example and I will show you how to turn it into a custom padded tool case. In this case it was converted into my plumbing tool box.


Milwaukee tool box, any size, or anybody else's blow molded case

Dremel with a cutoff wheel

2" Egg crate padding for the interior. In this case, I chose red sound proofing foam from IZO All Supply thru Amazon, here

Dust mask

Eye protection

Step 1: This Is What You See When the Tool Box Is Opened

This is your typical blow molded case that form fits the tools nicely. You would use this if you carried tools to a job site and needed to protect them.

For any other use, the blow molded interior is useless. And this is why these perfectly good cases are discarded so regularly.

Step 2: Cut Away the Interior Blow Mold From the Cover

I would start with the top cover because it is the easiest. A Dremel fitted with a cut off wheel will cut the interior blow mold away. Note that there will be a bit of the interior blow mold that is actually stuck to the outer plastic lid. In this case, cut with your cutoff wheel parallel to the outer case to remove as much of the interior blow mold as you can w/out touching the outer case. The top blow mold should come out in a single piece.

You should now have a small pile of clingy red dust everywhere! Note: it only gets worse in the next step!

Step 3: Now That You Are All Practiced Up With the Dremel, You Can Tackle the Bottom Blow Mold

The bottom is much more miserable. In quite a few places, the interior blow mold is stuck to the bottom outer case. As you can see from the provided image, a lot of the interior blow mold was left and I just cut enough a way to provide a flat surface.

When you are done, the 2nd image is what you should have removed.

Step 4: Add Your Egg Crate Foam

For this size case, I needed just one double piece 12" x 12" piece of egg crate foam for both the top lid and the bottom. I needed a bit less than the 12", top to bottom, in the cover so that cut off piece was stuck on the right to fill up the gap. Cut the egg crate foam a bit long so there is tension on the foam when inserted into the case to keep it in place.

Repeat the egg crate foam installation for the bottom of the case.

Step 5: Finishing the Tool Box.

As you can see my Water, Propane and Kerosene tools fit nicely in the case. And nothing rattles when the case is closed and carried.

And to finish it off, I added an Avery label to the top cover.

The tool box was free. $10 for the foam (with free shipping) and I had the Dremel and the cut off wheel. So for $10 and an hours time, I have a nice plumbing case!