Intro: 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.