How to Create Custom Foam Case Inserts

April 20, 2012 -

Travel cases protect sensitive equipment such as electronics and photo gear from the rigors of life on the road. Many aluminum flight cases are built strong enough to survive anything short of a semi truck rolling over them. The inside of the case can play just as big a role in protecting your expensive toys or tools. Foam padding is a great support system to keep things from bumping around inside the case and preventing damage from impact shocks.

1) Purchase heavy duty, closed cell foam in 1 to 3 inch thickness. It can be found at craft and sewing supply centers. Upholstery wholesalers also typically stock a variety of foams. Buy enough to fill the case top to bottom.

2) Lay the case you intend to make inserts for on top of your foam and mark its outline on the foam with a magic marker. Cut the marked piece out using a utility knife or sharp scissors. Try to stay as close to the lines as possible.

3) Using the cut piece as a template, mark and cut out enough pieces of foam to fill your case when stacked on top of each other. For example, a 10 inch tall case would require five sheets of 2 inch thick foam to fill it) Try to keep the edges as square as possible.

4) Lay out your tools, instruments, cameras or whatever will be traveling inside the case on one of the pieces of cut foam. Organize them so that at least 1/2 inch of foam separates each item from another and use the marker to mark their outlines on the foam.

5) Cut out the shapes with a utility knife or scissors. Try to stay as close as possible to the outline to provide a good, snug fit. This is your insert.

6) Place an solid piece of foam in the bottom of the case. Place the newly cut insert on top of it and set the tools in place. If the tools sit flush or below the surface of the insert you are finished. If the tools are larger than the thickness of one piece of foam, cut a second insert, or more as needed.

7) Use spray glue, such as 3m's Super 77, to attach the insert pieces to each other to form a block. Attach this to the bottom piece using spray glue. Use sticky strips of Velcro type hook and loop tape to attach a second solid piece to the lid of the case. You can also add hook and loop tape to the bottom of the case to hold your insert in place.

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