A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hardshell Camera Cases

I am looking into converting several military grade hardshell equipment cases into camera cases. Unfortunately, the interiors could use some protective foam inserts. I'm not a real fan of the open cell pick and pluck stuff. I prefer the sturdier closed cell foam dividers. If possible, I would even consider inserts that are removable soft sided camera cases themselves.

Yeah, I know, Pelican has great stuff. I already have these low profile hardshell cases though. Does anyone know of any sources for the basic raw components of a divider system that will hold up to steady use? Give URLs if possible.

Edited to add: I found this wonderful interlocking foam tile stuff intended to pad the floors of weight rooms...........

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Blogger Kristopher said...

Buy a closed cell camping ground pad, and cut it up into strips.

Maybe costs $10?

8:28 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Great idea!

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Closed cell foam is great, also look into mini-cell foam that white water boaters use to fit their boats. It can be glued and shaped to give a super custom fit.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very careful about foam that may get ground/worn on by metal edges and generate dust. This is the typical reason for padded cloth/canvas-covered dividers instead of foam... that foam dust gets into everything and eventually screws something up.

10:42 PM  
OpenID reflectoscope said...

The foam for toolboxes is an option too. It might be a little pricy, but it is quite dense and usually has a layer of thermally-activated adhesive. Lots of colours, too.


11:02 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=292695&page=1 has instructions and plenty of pictures on how to cut foam sheets for rifle cases, with individual spots for mags, suppressors, spotting scopes, etc.

I'm sure that some enterprising soul could apply that technique to other size boxes;-D

11:56 PM  
Blogger P said...

I made custom pads for inside my range bag by sewing cordura around the closed cell ensolite, and then sewing the cloth covered foam into pouches and compartments. If you cut the cordura oversized, and leave that material for additional seaming, its easy to do with a normal household sewing machine.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous cwegga said...

I have used this site before to buy foam for custom case projects. Foam Online

8:16 AM  
Anonymous 2yellowdogs said...

Was going to recommend B&H (they sell Pelican insert sets), but Kristopher's idea is great.

Um, are you really up to ten bodies there, X? If so, what does your arsenal of glass look like?

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't have any helpful suggestions, I'm still carrying cameras and lenses around in a tote bag. BUT, the picture in your post bothered me a bit--looked like a dust collection scheme for DSLR bodies w/o lenses on them.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Ed Rasimus said...

Clearly you need a single, detachable carry strap to eliminate a rats nest of neckwear that seems to be filling your kit bag. There is an unmet need in modern camera accoutrements. Everybody seems to give you a logo-festooned attach for the eons strap, but nobody makes one with QD's.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Domke Wraps would also work well for that application, as well as for others....

1:04 PM  
Blogger JAFO said...

that there case IS a Pelican.

We use them all the time at work. That's all I'm sayin'

2:15 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Actually guys, these are not my cameras..... I plan on a kit with only two bodies, and an array of lenses. Ed, the 20mm will be one of 'em.....

Op Tech does make a strap with quick disconnects attached to short attachments. Their Pro strap has quick disconnects, and you can get the attachments separately for multiple camera bodies.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Retro grouch said...


they make the inserts for many other cases you should be able to find one that fits given mill cases are NATO dimensions, peli cases are NATO another option would be to check storm case

Cameras need to be packed correctly this is something you do not cheap out on or you just end up making junk cameras.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Zendo Deb said...

Do a web search on "road case" - the generic name for the famous Anvil Cases.

Through in a DIY term in the search.

There are plenty of people who don't need the water-proof-nature of Pelican, and can't afford top-of-the-line Anvil, but still need cases.

For example. http://www.cnsenterprises.com/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=15

or http://www.starcase.com/hardwareproductsheet.htm#Misc.

Search around and you can also find "how to" info on building custom cases, like the different uses for the different foam, when to use 1/2 inch plywood, etc.

Laminated plywood cases, properly built and with gaskets will not be Pelican cases, but can stand up to some weather.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Pelican Cases said...

Besides the search for a case(I have found that Pelican cases are the most durable and reliable for my needs), The foam that you are looking for is Closed cell foam like Scott stated above. Mini-cell foam may work, but I don't think it is suitable the tasks you are using it for. Unfortunately Anvil cases are far too expensive for any small needs usage, the best route to keeping all parts and items safe inside a case is to get a Pelican case.

11:43 AM  

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