Making of a DIY Flightcase

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About: Hi I'm Tanguy from France. I'm mechanical designer for roughly 15 years, I used to design special machines in the past, now I design and modify electrical low voltage switchboards. I am fascinated by mechani...

I have some sound equipment and I needed some kind of box to store my lights and various accessories.

I realized a few months ago a "DJ suitcase" a kind of flight case, with mixer and light dispatching (picture at the end of this project), I decided to detail you the steps of the realization of this new "case".

Step 1: Parts

I had to first determine the size of the box.
Here the overall dimensions are 520x435x400 mm (Width x Depth x Height).

I used plywood panels, thickness 10 mm :
_ 2x Panel 520x435 mm.
_ 2x Panel 520x380 mm.
_ 2x Panel 380x415 mm.

The necessary fixations:
_ 215x aluminum rivet D4x10 mm (80 for the bonnet, 135 for the base).

I ordered the hardware elements on the internet:
_ 2x Recessed handle : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 8x Ball corner : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 8x Corner reinforcement : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 2x Butterfly clasp : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 2x Stop hinge : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 2x Male aluminum profile (1 m) : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 2x Female aluminum profile (1 m) : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...
_ 5x Angle 20x20 (1 m) : https://www.conex-online.com/accessoires-de-flight...

Step 2: Assembly

_ Once the panels have been cut, lines must be drawn where necessary, 5 mm from the edge (thickness 10 mm divided by 2) which will be used for the ends.
_ Then place small fine nails about every 8 cm where needed.
_ We must now glue the panels, to finally hold them by nailing.

Now we get a fully closed wooden box.

Step 3: The Cuts

_ We draw a line all around the box where we want the junction of the base and lid.
_ Then we open the box in two parts with a handsaw.
_ The locations of the 2 side handles are cut with a jigsaw.
_ Similarly for the location of the latches (note: take into account the thickness of the junction profile for cutting).

Step 4: Junction Profiles

_ Prepare the junction profiles by cutting the ends at 45° (use a miter saw).
Important : They are here temporarily mounted, they are not fixed.

_ Check that the handles are properly in place.

Step 5: Painting

After having sanded the box, I use a simple wood paint in 2 layers.
You can also find panels already laminated but inevitably more expensive, all depends on the end use.

Note that the edges are not properly painted, they will then be covered with aluminum angles.

Step 6: Fixing Aluminum Profiles

Once the box is painted, we assemble by riveting :
_ Junction profiles.
_ Aluminum angles (cut as shown).
_ The 8 ball corners.
_ The 8 reinforcements (at each bonnet corner).

Step 7: Handles and Clasps

_ The 2 handles are presented then riveted.
_ The clasps on the front are adjusted "closed hood" then riveted.

Step 8: Hinges

Once the hood is closed and locked by the clasps, we can present the hinges.

Remember to put the axis between the 2 junctions.

Step 9: Ready to Serve !

The flight case is over.
It will have cost me about 50 euros

You can arrange the interior at your leisure (with a foam coating for example).
On the second picture, my "DJ suitcase" which I spoke at the beginning.

My project inspires you, send me photos of your achievements.

Have fun...

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    24 Discussions

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    smartrem

    Tip 8 days ago on Step 1

    A friend of mine made one and he used plywood for trailer floors. It's rather cheap, it's very sturdy, you don't have to paint it and it's waterproof. I can ask him exactly what he used if you want me to

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    Tinkerer1351smartrem

    Reply 6 days ago

    True and there is actually a large variety of prefinished plywoods with types of vinyl, plastics, and even fabrics that you could use for this purpose to make very unique custom cases!
    Ed

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    chico513

    Question 9 days ago on Introduction

    hey there Tanguy , nice instructional & build but was wondering if you would provided these measurements in standard sizes (inches, feet ,Ect.) and dollars Vs. euros as a currency. thanks.

    2 answers
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    bencantrell13chico513

    Answer 7 days ago

    He provided measurements in internationally standardised units. Anyway, converting units is not a difficult task.

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    Tinkerer1351bencantrell13

    Reply 6 days ago

    Chico513, There are a multitude of converters on the internet for Free! Take your pick.

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    smartrem

    8 days ago

    I found what I'm talking about for 26€ per square meter at a wood seller, that makes about 3,5$ / square foot and you don't have to paint it

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    TangLBsmartrem

    Reply 8 days ago

    I correct my notes:
    I paid 55€ for 3x1.5 m (4.5 m2), or € 12.22 / m2.
    After conversion, it's 1,14$ / square foot.

    Your opinion is right, but the objective of my box is storage, it will not travel and be subjected to difficult transportation.
    That's enough for me.

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    GDIS46

    9 days ago

    I love ATA cases but have never built one. I checking on your parts reference, I see that it is a French web site which would be prohibitive for me because of shipping costs to the USA. It would have been nice if you referenced some other locations for parts however, I can do my own research. The only other comment is that real ATA cases are laminated with a black PVC sheeting over the plywood. It would have been nice also if you had laminated this one for a more durable case. Just some suggestions. Great job!

    Be sure to check out my Instructable, How to Build a Wooden Fly Box With a Router.
    https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Wooden-Fly-Box-With-a-Router/

    5 replies
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    Tinkerer1351milegrin

    Reply 8 days ago

    GDIS46, he fairly stated he used painted plywood as a cost-saving method and the hardware is available from multiple sources across the world!
    I think he made his case very well.

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    TangLBTinkerer1351

    Reply 8 days ago

    Thanks Tinkerer1351,
    You were faster than me to reply :D.

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    TangLBmilegrin

    Reply 8 days ago

    It's the brand I took.
    It's is professional quality.

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    PeterM568GDIS46

    Reply 8 days ago

    I have made a few light weight versions of these using a Penn-Elcom product called Flight Panel. It is a 1/3 of the weight of ply board. I am in Australia & there is a Penn-Elcom distributor here. They are a UK company with outlets all over the place. You can also get the aluminum profiles & fittings etc from them.

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    TangLBwubs

    Reply 8 days ago

    It's recovery at work.
    It is shockproof foam for electronic cards.
    I think there is a way to find some on the internet too.
    Search "shock absorbing foam".

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    JamesA41

    8 days ago

    This design inspired me to think about making the under bed drawers for in between the wheel wells in the pickup that slide out when the tailgate is down to be made like this to be more modularized and worth more... if and when removed. Thanks for sharing!

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    SteveR290

    9 days ago

    This is so cool. I would never have thought of making a flight case myself. Am now cross with myself for spending a couple of hundred on a flight case for my mixer :-D

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    Troubah

    10 days ago

    This is a great way to get a case that fits perfectly your equipment. Well done !