Making of a DIY Flightcase




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 :
_ 8x Ball corner :
_ 8x Corner reinforcement :
_ 2x Butterfly clasp :
_ 2x Stop hinge :
_ 2x Male aluminum profile (1 m) :
_ 2x Female aluminum profile (1 m) :
_ 5x Angle 20x20 (1 m) :

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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    28 Discussions


    Tip 6 months 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

    2 replies

    Reply 6 months 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!

    Yolo PigeonTinkerer1351

    Reply 4 months ago

    trailer decks are usually made from marine plywood, which is plywood with a waterproof glue on top, because of this glue it is more expensive than standard plywood


    5 months ago on Step 6

    Love this project. I was thinking about using chalkboard paint on the side and top panels so I could label and change labels easily as the content changes over time. Adding wheels to the larger ones too.


    Question 5 months ago on Step 8

    Very nice job you have done! I'm just wondering about the rivets, what size are they? Do they not go through the wood, rather get stuck in it?

    1 answer

    Answer 5 months ago

    Hi mate,
    Thanks a lot.
    I put the size on the description : D4x10mm.
    I drilled through the wood panel, and the rivets get stuck inside.
    it works well.


    Question 6 months 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

    Answer 6 months ago

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


    Reply 6 months ago

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


    6 months 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

    1 reply

    Reply 6 months 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.


    6 months 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.

    5 replies

    Reply 6 months 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.


    Reply 6 months ago

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


    Reply 6 months ago

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


    Reply 6 months 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.


    Reply 6 months 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".


    6 months 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!