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Custom case on a budget.

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by BigBL87, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I figured I'd share my experience and products I've found for those who are like me and want a nicer case for their firearms but don't want to or can't spend the money to get something professionally done. I am not really handy at all, and with the ability many have on here I'm sure yours could look alot better!

    Awhile back, I was oogling Case Club cases and decided to try my hand at making my own. Ended up a little rough around the edges but functional. I used a Plano All Weather XL Pistol case and 2 layers of 57mm Kaizen foam. For those not familiar, Kaizen foam is made of thin layers of closed cell polyethylene foam glued together. This is the cheapest place I've found it:

    https://www.newegg.com/p/2YG-007B-00003?&quicklink=true

    post-16964-0-13838000-1504867602.jpg

    So, time went by and I ended up upgrading several of my rifle cases from the cheap Plano cases. I recently bought one of their 52" All Weather Rifle Cases at their outlet store for $49 (killer deal!) and ordered this foam from Case Club via Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Case-Club-Closed-Military-Grade/dp/B07Z17LQW4?th=1&psc=1

    It's similar to the Kaizen foam but the layers don't seperate so you have to cut all the way through. This is what I ended up with for my Savage 10. For a total investment of $100 between the case and foam, it's hard to beat. Looks nicer and will last alot longer than the pick and pluck.

    20200204_094418.jpg
    20200204_095330.jpg

    Pretty soon, I'm going to order 2 more sheets of Kaizen to do cases for my AR and Weatherby Vanguard.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  2. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    What did you use to cut the slots in the foam with?
     
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  3. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Snap off utility knives. Larger one for the long stretches, smaller one for the more detailed bits. Some people use an electric carving knife, I also used a hot knife in the past, works really well but the fumes aren't great for you so I use it sparingly and to smooth edges.
     
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  4. Stew0576

    Stew0576 Addicted

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    How much for you to make me a pistol case lol
     
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  5. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Before I get into that business, I'd need some better tools! The one I made is really rough, honestly the pictures make it look better than it is up close, but its functional which is what matters to me. I have actually since cut slots on the top left and right for my LCP 2 and Shield as well, making it a 7 pistol case all said and done.

    Anyway, the design looks complicated but it's not that difficult to do. If you are interested in a more detailed process of how I made the pistol case, I started by using Case Club's custom design tool here:

    https://www.caseclub.com/custom-foam-designer/

    I put in the dimensions of the case and messed with different arrangements and measurements until I settled on what I have, which looks like this in the tool.

    post-16964-0-68417700-1505017538.png

    Splitting that between two layers, it looked like this. Top one has the blue cut all the way through, bottom has the black sections cut 1 inch deep. After that it was just measure and cut. I did have to relieve a little extra for the revolver cylinder after the initial cuts. Each layer is 2 inches thickness and I used foam glue to glue them together afterwards.

    post-16964-0-78477000-1505116240.png

    post-16964-0-05808600-1505116240.png
     
  6. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    With the slots cut for the LCP 2 and Shield, this is what it looks like now. Kinda gives a better view of the roughness, haha. I may redo it with the left over foam from my rifle cases.

    20200205_160058.jpg

    Oh, and as a budget option, if you have a Harbor Freight near you they have some decent weatherproof pistol cases (Apache is the brand) at a good price. No Pelican but good enough for most situations.
     
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  7. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Member

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    better than any work I've done on that front! I dig it!
     
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  8. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    I will open/initiate slots with a filet knife and then continue with the thinnest bread knife we have. It's worked well for me for some time. Imperfections are smoothed with scotch-brute pads and then those are rinsed of residue with hot water and returned to circulation.

    Another great on-the-cheap is to find old musical instrument cases or camera cases at pawn shops, estate sales and junk-shops and modify them.

    Todd.
     
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  9. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I'll have to give that a shot.
     
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  10. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Nice job BigBL87, looks great!

    Have done something similar only milled out the cavities with a router bit and drill press. Made in such a way to stack two pallets within each case. Also did one for a 4 barrel over/under shotgun set. Kinda fun to build them. Think a better way to cut the foam would be to use a hot wire set up.

    017.JPG

    018.JPG

    DE Kit.jpg
     
  11. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I've toyed with the hot wire idea, if I were handier I've seen some inexpensive homemade setups that are very nice I'd like to try. If I could even get a thinner bladed hot knife I think it would make a big difference.
     
  12. robhof

    robhof Member

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    My brother, a professional photographer, yrs ago found a really battered suitcase at a garage sale and foam packed it like you for his expensive camera gear, at one shoot someone broke into his car and ransacked it, but left the old suitcase with his valuable camera gear inside.
     
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  13. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Built a hot wire cutter with an adjustable fence for cutting foam, but to do inside cuts the wire has to be disconnected and fed thru/reattached much like a scroll saw blade. Would be somewhat of a pain but it is possible.

    ms-QHZ82n.jpg
     
  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    We needed to angle cut some 4” thick closed cell material. Unplugged the feed motor on a MIG welder, turned the voltage all the way down, with the end of the wire clamped to the table with the ground cable, put in place a fence and turned the voltage up to the point the wire glowed and ran it through. Worked perfectly. Uploaded a video of it years ago but photobucket is holding it hostage.
     
  15. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Call me crazy, but I'm really considering buying this case and working out a whole new layout so I can fit all 8 handguns in one case. The other way I've been thinking of going is getting one of the smaller Apache cases and cutting that one for revolvers and redoing my Plano for my semi autos.

    https://www.amazon.com/DURATOOL-22-24160-Equipment-Weatherproof-Polypropylene/dp/B079BMBQKH

    Option number two is probably smarter, I don't shoot my revolvers that often so it would make sense too.
     
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  16. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    Looks like it would certainly work but appears to maybe be a bit awkward to carry once filled with shootin' irons.

    Todd.
     
  17. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Ya, that was one of my issues. Much deeper than it needs to be.
     
  18. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    Looks better than any cutouts I’ve done . Mine look like a 5 year old did it with a dull pocket knife. Functions ok so I don’t worry.
    Jeff
     
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  19. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    @Bartojc

    You motivated me to try this myself so I ordered the foam from Amazon and whacked it up to fit my Browning BLR. I used an electric carving knife, bread knife and xacto. I’m pretty happy with it.

    iO0AA1o.jpg

    It also motivated me to clean up my workbench in order to have enough room so thanks for that as well :thumbdown:

    0vbned3.jpg
     
  20. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Looks really nice! I'm thinking about picking up one of these rotary saws from Harbor Freight and trying it out. Designed for drywall but I imagine it would work. Depth isn't quite as deep as I want but I'm thinking I might be able to use a regular drill bit that's a bit longer since foam won't be as hard on it as drywall maybe?

    https://www.harborfreight.com/electric-cutout-tool-42831.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  21. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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  22. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Nicely done Nature Boy, looks great.

    Did a case for an over/under four barrel set, used the open cell foam at the time, wish I'd used closed cell instead.


    Liege set 1.jpg

    Leige case 2.JPG

    Leige case 1.JPG
     
  23. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    I like how it looks! If you ever get bored, doing it in closed cell wouldn't be that much effort, honestly I find it to be a nice relaxing afternoon project (which I'm guessing you know based on previous posts). With the kaizen foam coming in 2'x4' sheets, depending on the size of the case you can often get multiple cases out of it.

    For me, the biggest benefit of the closed cell is the peace of mind that it won't a absorb moisture. Not that my firearms stay in the cases long enough for it to really be a major worry, but I'm just a worry wart when it comes to moisture and rust.
     
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  24. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    Zombie thread time.

    I bought that electric cutout tool and will be ordering the Kaizen foam this week, so I'll update on how it works. Excited to see if I can get a better looking cut.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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  25. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    So, here's my last 2 cases. The electric cut out tool, with the provided bit, cuts just about 3/4 of the way through the kaizen sheet when fully extended, if you wanted to you could adjust the depth shallower to fit your needs. I should have worn a mask (lots of foam dust, still coughing that crap out) but it definitely gave me a straighter, neater cut than the snap off blades, which work fine in their own right.

    post-16964-0-50706300-1583432587.jpg
    post-16964-0-90132200-1583432649.jpg
    post-16964-0-19878700-1583432695.jpg
    post-16964-0-68365600-1583432865.jpg
    post-16964-0-61874300-1583432933.jpg
     
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