DIY Caliper & Drafting Equipment Protection Case




Introduction: DIY Caliper & Drafting Equipment Protection Case

So I have a Brown and Sharpe Caliper along with some other drafting equipment (X-ACTO knife, mechanical pencil, etc.) which always come in handy, but I always have the problem of transporting them. I don't want them to get damaged, dropped, bent, or broken especially since the caliper is quite expensive. Amazon sells a Brown and Sharpe Wooden case for a six inch caliper for $30, but it only has slots for the 6" caliper and depth gauge attachment. I decided to make my own because it would end up being cheaper and I could customize it to my own needs.

Step 1: Creating the Box:

I started out by measuring the caliper, depth gauge attachment, X-ACTO knife, blade storage container, and mechanical pencil. I laid them out in a configuration that I thought might work and then used Autodesk Inventor to create the top and bottom pieces to the storage case. I chose to make the box out of cherry, but you can make it out of whatever you want. I measured another case to get some base dimensions, but then retrofitted them to my needs.

Step 2: Cutting the Wood:

The next step was to find the wood and cut it to size. The top and bottom piece of the box are 9/16" thick, and so I planed the cherry (which was originally 3/4") down to 9/16". The next step was to cut my desired length. My box is 10.25" wide and since I used a Shopbot to cut the slots, I cut two pieces 16" long so that I would have some extra material that I could screw/mount to the table. After the Shopbot was done, I cut it to the exact size. Next, I sanded the boards to 220 and they were ready to be cut by the Shopbot.

Step 3: Shopbot: Cutting the Slots

I imported the files from Autodesk Inventor into the Shopbot program to cut the wood. I used a 1/4" up-cut bit to take out the majority of the mass (roughing pass). Then I used a 1/8" ball-nosed end-mill for the finishing pass. This gave all of the corners a nice fillet. And I turned the step-over rate way down so that the bottom remained flat (in fact, it turned out so nice that you couldn't really tell the difference between a flat end-mill and the 1/8" ball-nosed end-mill that I used).

Step 4: Fitting the Hinges and Latch:

Here are the two pieces after the Shopbot. I wanted to pre-fit the hinges and latch before I finished the box with some wipe on poly so that I knew assembly would be a breeze. The latch was centered in the front. As for the hinges, I marked them out and then used a Dremel to make a small indentation in the wood where the hinges sit. This way the hinges will sit flush with the outside of the wood once the box is finished. I then assembled the box and made sure everything worked correctly. The hinges were extremely smooth and the latch was perfect.

Step 5: Finishing the Box:

I disassembled it and brought it to the router, where I rounded over all of the outside edges. I then gave it a final sand so that the entire box was ready for some wipe on polyurethane. But before I cleared it, I decided to give it a final touch because it was just a little too plain looking for me. Using a laser engraver, I engraved a Brown and Sharpe logo, X-ACTO logo, and my name on the top. Now this box is truly customized to me and looks great. The laser engraving gave it a little bit of flare that just makes it really stand out. Lastly, I gave both the inside and outside a few coats of clear high gloss polyurethane. This will protect the box and keep it looking great for years to come.

Step 6: Final Assembly:

Lastly, I assembled the box and it went together like butter. (This is why you should always measure twice and cut once! And pre-assemble it so that you know everything is going to fit like it should.) It looks great and I'm glad I made it myself in comparison to buying the $30 box off Amazon. In the last couple of pictures you can see the box with everything inside. The total size is 10.25" X 4" X 1.125". Now I can bring my tools wherever I need to and keep them safe without worrying about damaging them.



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    13 Discussions

    Can you post the .dxf file?

    Would you be able to post the DXF files?


    3 years ago

    I've used 3mm closed cell foam underlay to make a fitted case like this layered up with pva glue after cutting

    Fantastic ! …

    However lining the slots with a felt linen would have made the whole more than perfect ! !…

    BTW : why didn't you have the indentations for the hinges made with the computer and cutting slots step ?

    1 reply

    Thanks! I had thought about lining the inside with something like you had suggested. I was considering putting a thin layer of rubber mat on the bottom (which i could have cut to fit exactly in the slots with the laser). Also, I did have the indentations for the hinges on my Autodesk Inventor model, but it must have been to small or something because it didn't show up in the Shopbot software when I transferred it over.

    What are the two holes on the inside at the front of the box for? Are you going to put magnets in them to keep the lid closed?


    1 reply

    Yes, you are exactly right, at first my intentions were to put rare earth magnets in those holes to keep the case closed, but then I decided just to go with the latch, just so that I know it is going to stay closed when I bring it anywhere.

    I'm making a carrier for a caliper I inherited from my dad. I'm doing it the old fashioned way. I made a pattern and transferred it to a thin sheet o f wood, which I then traced onto the wood (Wenge). I routed the recesses by hand and used a chisel to clean up. Next I will chamfer all the edges because Wenge splinters horribly, and the splinters cause a reaction in most people. I will put flocking in all the recesses to ease the calipers in. I will use barrel hinges, which will be nearly hidden, and I am using a piece of special maed steel and rare earth magnet to keep it closed.

    Looks great. Where can I get one of those. Machines???

    thanx for idea but it is not DIY it is shopbotted / cnc

    still nice gonna try it with carving :))

    2 replies

    Just because it uses automated equipment doesn't make it not DIY. The author still designed and built the case.

    Use a plunge router. You could print out the outline, glue it to a piece of wood, then cut it out with a plunge router. I've made a similar case myself for some threading dies, and a handle for them and I didn't use a CNC machine to do it.