Introduction: Drone Carry Case Using Old Cardboard

About: I like to make stuff, play with small engines, pulley swap lawn tractors (you know, the need for speed on a budget)

In this instructable, I will be making a carry case for a drone using old cardboard.

Why a carry case?

Well, when I got My first camera drone, I immediately looked up all the accessories and extra things you could get for a drone. Then i came across a watertight custom foam insert carry case for a drone and really wanted for my drone. The problem: it costed 139$ Ouch!

So I set out to build my own.

Recently we were cleaning out our toy cupboard in our basement, when we came across some very old cardboard moving boxes from home depot and an old briefcase with locks. I took the briefcase (for it could be useful) but overlooked the cardboard. Then I searched for foam inserts that i could buy to cut out myself... aaaaaand... 79$ So scrap that. So I came back to the cardboard and got the idea to layer it then cut it to size and cut out slots for the drone.

Step 1: The Materials

So here are the materials needed to build this.

  • 5 or 6 small size Home Depot moving boxes
  • 1 old briefcase (Needs to be about 30 cm by 42 cm, if not though, you can cut the cardboard to your own size, but you might have to get bigger pieces of cardboard. )
  • 1 small black travel rug (mine was Air Transit)
  • 1 Drone (This was my one)
  • 1 glue gun and two packets of glue sticks (make sure they're more than 18 sticks each)
  • A pair of scissors, a craft scalpel and a sharp kitchen knife.
  • 1 small android tablet (For the FPV)
  • 1 belt sander

There are knives involved in this, so please be careful and wear some kind of hand protection when cutting out the cardboard.

Step 2: Cut Out the Cardboard Pieces

The next step is simple. Take a ruler or a tape measure and measure the dimensions of your case. Then take one of your boxes and mark out the measurements making sure to add at least an extra cm on each end to make sure you don't cut the pieces too small.

Then cut your first piece out and use it to trace out the other pieces. You might have to cut smaller pieces out from the box and use them like a jigsaw puzzle to get the layers. With my case dimensions, 1 box gave me four layers and total there was about 20? 22? layers (sorry I didn't count properly.) Also the amount of layers depends on the height of your case (make sure you measure the height of the bottom half of the case, not the lid.) My case height was about 7.5 cm.

Step 3: Get Out the Glue!

After the cutting is done, it's time to break out the hot glue guns.

The glueing is simple, just glue the layers the same way you stacked them. The problem though, if you try to get glue on the whole surface, once you finish, it's often already dry at the other end and the glue guns take a while to get hot again. So my way of doing was to glue the cardboard pieces in sections. Once your done the glueing, it's time for the sawing and sanding.

Step 4: Sanding

Next, take your big block to the shed and start sanding! Before sanding though, make sure you draw out the lines you measured, but this time, don't put any extra length on them, you need them to be the exact same size as your case. Also before sanding, make sure you saw off the big bits, because if you try to sand the whole thing with the sander, this happens... The sander ceases sanding and gets very blunt.

So I went to the saw and chopped off the big bits, but still managed to blunten (not sure that`s a word) all the sander attachments so I did have to go the old fashioned way.

Step 5: Safety First

So even though the sander got blunt does not mean that it`s not dangerous. In my case, I was not careful and my hand slipped, so do wear some working gloves of something to protect your hand.

Step 6: It Fits!

So after many hours of sanding, the big piece fit, but there was a problem. The arms attached to the lid that keep it up when opened, were blocked by the cardboard. So I had to cut slots for them to slide into.

Step 7: Cutting Out Spaces for the Equipment

We`re nearly done! Next we need the spaces that the drone and other things with sit in. I came up with my idea for the layout but it can be different depending on the case and drone you have. Once you`ve come up with a good layout, trace in pencil to make sire you like it, then trace it in permanent marker. To start cutting out, slit the top layer with the craft scaple (again, be very careful) and then cut deep with the kitchen knife. Use a fork to pry the layers off one by one (Note: some might be harder to cut into or remove because of the hot glue.) A thing that i noticed, was that if you cut close to the edge or ave spaces close to each other in the cardboard you might need to reinforce it with some hot glue.

Step 8: Clean Up

At this point it`s time to clean up (it`s always good to work in a tidy environment.) Just give the place a sweep and arrange all your tools so you can get at them easily.

Step 9: Painting

Next give your cardboard block a coat of paint once your done for extra structural strengthen and to make in a little nicer to work with. Again, i used an old can of spray paint from a previous project and didn't buy any but you might need to buy some if you haven't got any old ones lying around.

Step 10: The Interior

The last and finally step is to put some nice soft material on the cardboard to give t that professional look and to protect your equipment during transportation.

Get your old rug and fit it into the spaces and make sure your equipment still fits with it on. Them trim the extra off and starting at one side, slowly glue the rug on bit by bit while using something hard to press it in the spaces. I did find that there would be some wrinkles but not many and it still looks cool. Then fold the rug around the sides and glue it on the bottom. Then put it in your case and run a knife around the edge to make sure no rug is gong to some out and make sure the lid closes.

Step 11: And Your Done!

Hurrah! Your done! Now all you have to do is charge the tablet (if you have one) and the drone battery, put all you equipment in and go have fun! I did add a small Bluetooth keyboard so I could enter my flights in a drone logbook on the tablet.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable. It was a lot of fun to do because it made me do some hands on work instead of being in front of a screen all day and the result was very satisfying.

See you next time and...

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