Some gear needs extra protection especially when going on an outdoor production. Here is how to quickly make a hard case to protect your gear. I am actually going to use part of the packaging that the gear was sent with. While this is not a solution for every piece of gear, it is often a quick and solid way to protect your gear.
I recently started using the Feiyu Tech 3 Axis Gimbal. Being a small piece with some electronics inside, I wanted to protect it when going on productions, but the hard case was not yet in stock. I still needed the gimbal, so I went ahead and got it, figuring that I will figure the hard case later.
As many camera gear pieces, the gimbal came in a cardboard box. Luckily, that cardboard box was fitted with hard foam insert, and the different pieces of the gimbal (charger, batteries, cables) are nicely tucked inside that protective foam.
BOOM! I knew what to do.
I measured the dimension of the foam box and went ahead and got a $10 toolbox – the smallest toolbox that can hold the foam box. Now the build starts:
What you’ll need?
- a small toolbox
- The foam insert from the gear you bought
- Silicone Sealant (or other foam to plastic adhesive)
- Polyurethane foam spray – make sure you get the kind that comes with a long nozzle thing
- Some padding
this is the insert that came with the packaging, really it is better quality than some of the foam in “bought” hard cases (plus there is the added benefit that everything fits in perfectly)
1. Prepare the box
If the box has any tools, drawers or inner “shelves” take those out. Make sure that the box is clean. We are going to apply glue and Polyurethane and we want to stick well.
2. Insert the foam
The next step is the place the foam from the packaging box inside the box. We do this by applying silicon on the bottom of the foam block and sticking it inside the box.
Apply a generous amount of Silicon on the bottom of the foam block and let alone to dry (preferably with something heavy to press the foam against the toolbox floor)
3. Protect the box
The last step is to pad the box with some Polyurethane. This padding will keep the foam block in place and absorb and hits coming from any side.
Start by applying the nozzle to the spray bottle. Then SLOWLY start spraying a first layer between the foam block and the box. Polyurethane expands, so go easy, you can always add some goo later, but dried Polyurethane is nasty and you’ll need a file to remove it. If you spill some, quickly remove it with a wet towel.
After the first layer, wait a bit and build the second layer. The time between applying the layers, allow some humidity to get in the spray, and Polyurethane needs humidity to harden.
I also used a black sharpie to make darken the foam. I am not sure I like it, but will let it go for now.
The last step is to protect the top. I used some foam sheets I had lying around and placed them on the top cover so the gimbal will not touch any hard surface when it is being hauled around.
There you have it. This is a cheap solution for creating a hard case (mine was $10 for the case, and the rest was stuff from around the house).
P.S. if you are wondering how stable the Gimbal is, here is a quick video: