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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Easy Custom-Cut Pelican Foam Inserts

Customization of equipment in our niche line of work is as common as a DP with the right answer. Whether it's the size of your moleskin pieces or how your wireless is arranged in your bag, you probably do something different than me. The same goes for the type and quantity of gear we all own. For my camera hops, I use Zaxcom transmitters and receivers. With a total of 9 that potentially travel together, I use a Pelican 1500 handheld case to safely transport and organize those units with all their respective cabling. Some of them end up having the "hard side" of Velcro for mounting purposes and that really started tearing into my Pull 'N Pluck foam that came with my Pelican. I was in dire need of an upgrade for this case. Enter MyCaseBuilder ("MCB" from here on).

Super simple design UI

I did a decent amount of research for both local shops here in Dallas with various cutting methods and other online options. I couldn't find another company that was able to deliver the design options and quality foam at as reasonable of a price as MCB. They offer top-notch web-based design software that is incredibly accurate. To design your foam insert, you simply choose from standard shapes like circles and rectangles or you can draw a shape. Just enter your dimensions and you're good to go. I have to stress how easy this software is to use. Provided you can measure your gear correctly, your items will fit absolutely perfectly.
Basically, they make it easy to make really good shit

MCB offers a rather extensive shape library of device templates, like the Pix240, Zoom H4n (I know, I know...) and Shure SM58 microphone. With the "Photo Tracer" option, however, the possibilities are limitless (video below). Their design tools easily allow you to make an accurate cutout for the object you're storing. For the OCD customizers we can all be, this assistance gives you all the confidence that you are making the correct design decisions.

In the event you aren't confident in your design, or may want to change something in the future, MCB has their "FailSafe Protection" available for an extra $8. Per MCB, "FailSafe will allow you to make one revision to your original custom foam design and have it recreated for you one more time absolutely FREE, including the shipping of your newly redesigned foam back to you. (shipping costs for returning the unwanted foam back to MyCaseBuilder are the customer's responsibility)." I opted to get this since it was my first experience, but every millimeter translated perfectly from design to print so I haven't needed it yet.

If you aren't sure exactly what foam you want, check out the video below for a thorough walkthrough of the different options available. I went with polyethylene foam for my build because of its durability. I've also included their Quick Start demo video that takes you through the basics of the design process. Like I mentioned early, it's so very easy to do. You really don't even need a video about it.

Custom foam prices range from about $40 for a small Pelican 1200 (about the size for a handgun and a couple clips) all the way up to $300 for a Pelican 1739 (holds 6 M4 rifles). [Sorry, that's just how we measure goods here in Texas] And they aren't limited to Pelican case templates. They have templates for cases from SKB, Flambeau, Seahorse, Nanuk, HPRC, Boyt, Storm, Zero, and Ameripak, in addition to their own line of cases. Give MyCaseBuilder a shot and it'll boost your organization skills up a few points.


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