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Pelican cases and foam cutting Login/Join 
Charmingly unsophisticated
Picture of AllenInWV
posted
So I splurged and bought myself a 1750 for my Bergara and I don't want to ruin it.

Any good methods for cutting that middle foam layer without screwing it all up?


_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot
 
Posts: 15729 | Location: Cross Lanes, WV | Registered: February 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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electric carving knife. Outline the backside of the foam with sharpie, cut on the lines. Sure beats the time I tried the same thing with an exacto knife.


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Posts: 7734 | Location: One step ahead of you | Registered: February 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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Although an electric carving knife would be faster, I have long used a serrated blade “tomato” knife. I mark the intended cuts on the foam with a felt tip marker and then am careful to keep the knife vertical as I move it along sawing up and down. It is a little slow, but pretty precise. To cut nice straight lines, hold the knife blade against a guide like a ruler or other straightedge laid on top of the foam as you’re cutting.




“The most common reaction to a life-or-death situation is to do nothing.”
— Amanda Ripley, The Unthinkable: who survives when disaster strikes and why (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008)
 
Posts: 42863 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of lastmanstanding
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Best of luck to you. I could never drop that kind of money on a Pelican case and then cut on it in the form of a gun. I'm to anal and would never be happy with it. Plus I'm left handed. My wife and kids take the carving knife away from me at Thanksgiving when it comes time to carve the turkey! Big Grin It's why I like soft cases.


"Fixed fortifications are monuments to mans stupidity" - George S. Patton
 
Posts: 6994 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: June 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would suggest not cutting it at all.

A lot of people dream of opening up their pelican and *wallah!* inside is your rifle, your optics, your magazines, all laid out movie-perfect.

But in real life, our setups change. We may have to jam in a few extra magazines for that class. Maybe our optics change from an MRDS w/3x mag to a LPVO. Maybe we take a bipod this time, or maybe we leave it off and replace it with a VFG/AFG.

The perfect foam cutout is like the sparkling engine bay on a car. The moment you start using the car as a car, it's not going to be sparkling anymore.

Instead, get a soft case that will fit inside your hard case. There's no need to be perfect, it's a flexible arrangement that can accommodate not only different configurations of the same rifle, but entirely different rifles/shotguns. You'll never feel constrained by the foam; your only limitation will be what you can fit inside the internal dimensions of the case. And, if you ever use the case to travel to a class, you can leave the heavy hardcase at your temporary residence and go back and forth from the range with the much lighter soft-case.
 
Posts: 17727 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
Instead, get a soft case that will fit inside your hard case.


Wise advice (I’ve suggested it to others myself Wink ). (I know about cutting foam because I have owned the below case for a very long time, and well before the soft case/hard case idea occurred to me.)

In this setup, there’s room for the stuff inside the drag bag plus things not carried in the bag like a spotting scope, tripod (not shown), etc., that are not always carried in the case.




In reality, probably the only time we would need a rifle fitted into a custom cutout of the foam of a case like that is if we expect it to be dropped out of a helicopter, and then the case would probably fail first. If you think the soft case inside the hard case wouldn’t provide enough protection in a particular situation, add some sheets of cushioning foam around the soft case and at the ends of the muzzle and stock. Your 1750 should have a separate sheet in the top and a thin sheet in the bottom that’s not intended to be cut. Depending on how thick your soft case and rifle are, you might be able to leave them in the case for extra cushioning without losing too much space.
A rifle and scopesight should be able to withstand some pretty good jolts.

If we must use custom fit in the foam, I recommend resisting the temptation to find a custom spot for everything you can imagine. I’ve seen cutouts for individual boxes of ammunition or even ruggedized flashlights in cases.

Lastly, if we do customize the foam, keep the removed pieces. They can be glued or even just fitted back later when the inevitable changes occur. Smile




“The most common reaction to a life-or-death situation is to do nothing.”
— Amanda Ripley, The Unthinkable: who survives when disaster strikes and why (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008)
 
Posts: 42863 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Be Like Mike
Picture of CEShooter
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Arrange the various parts and pieces on the uncut foam as you would like them to be, stew for an hour or two about the perfect way to arrange everything, trace the outlines, cheating the line slightly smaller to keep the foam tight, and cut vertically with a long bladed x-acto knife and there you go. If you have a little one keep the cutout from the rifle and they can entertain themselves for hours with their new foam gun.

Don't listen to these other party poopers with their logic and reason about not worrying about cutouts because you'll take different gear every time. Razz Amazon sells blank pieces of foam fit to your case and for only a few bucks and some storage space at the top of a closet you can update your cutouts as your gear changes.


---------------
"Structural engineering is the art of moulding materials we don't understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot really access, in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance." Dr. A. R. Dykes
 
Posts: 2109 | Location: 500 Miles from the homeland | Registered: February 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you want a show piece...

My Case Builder

There are other business that do this as well I believe.

Or, you can build a cheap hot wire foam cutter (plenty of how-to's on the interwebz).


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1166 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of inspcalahan
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Another option, but only really for AR style rifles, although I'm sure a bit of customization could be done, are the blowout priced pre-cut harder foam inserts at Brownells right now. They have about every size for Pelican/Storm rifle cases in various layout options, including pistols, mags, etc. I picked up a two layer set for around $75 and am very happy. Plus you can keep your unmolested regular foam for later options. All that said, I'm also a fan of the drag bag in a box method.

https://www.brownells.com/sear...k=gunformz&ksubmit=y
 
Posts: 582 | Location: Alaska | Registered: April 29, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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ruin it? In any case Smile just cut it and be happy. A serrated knife is fine. AND if you don't like it or change it that piece of foam is easily and cheaply replaced.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 9122 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you want to use the same case with cutouts for different weapons, foamerica dot com has replacement foam for all Pelican cases.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: March 11, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Middle children
of history
Picture of Brett B
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Cutting the foam is pretty easy and it comes out really well if you take your time. I used this hot wire foam cutter for the first picture.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod..._title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For the second picture I just used a fresh Xacto knife, both methods came out great. I only use this Pelican setup for airline travel, it's the same case in both pics and I have a few different pieces of foam based on what rifle I need to travel with.








 
Posts: 2533 | Location: Midwest | Registered: September 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just remove the center piece of foam.
Leave the foam under the lid and the bottom.
Use soft case(s) two long guns fit well with room for some ammo. Airlines haven't hurt it yet and zeros have remained unchanged.
 
Posts: 83 | Registered: April 30, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of kimberkid
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
I would suggest not cutting it at all.


I'd second this ... I've got a Pelican 1750 and a couple SKB rifle length cases I'd like to get new foam for and all I've found is $100+ As they want to sell all 3 pieces, not just the center piece.

If you want a perfect case call Peak Case Co, they will build you a case using your outlines, however they are not airline approved, but they do have models that will fit inside a 1750.

They built this one for my Swiss 551 for less than $175, originally I had a longer scope in mind as well as a larger pistol.



If you really want something you'll find a way ...
... if you don't you'll find an excuse.

I'm really not a "kid" anymore ... but I haven't grown up yet either Wink
 
Posts: 5345 | Registered: January 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by kimberkid:
$100+


Nice looking custom case.

But I’ve been wondering about the “cheaply replaced” replacement foam insert for the Pelican. It must be that there are other sources of a replacement besides the factory stuff if it’s “cheap.” I would be curious to know what that is.




“The most common reaction to a life-or-death situation is to do nothing.”
— Amanda Ripley, The Unthinkable: who survives when disaster strikes and why (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008)
 
Posts: 42863 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Charmingly unsophisticated
Picture of AllenInWV
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I think you can get single pieces of foam (for the Pelican 1750) for around $38 on Amazon. I elected to get two pieces of that convoluted foam, one for the center and one for the lid.


_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot
 
Posts: 15729 | Location: Cross Lanes, WV | Registered: February 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:

Wise advice (I’ve suggested it to others myself Wink ). (I know about cutting foam because I have owned the below case for a very long time, and well before the soft case/hard case idea occurred to me.)

In this setup, there’s room for the stuff inside the drag bag plus things not carried in the bag like a spotting scope, tripod (not shown), etc., that are not always carried in the case.



After working with a variety of military units and seeing how guys packed their gear, I started to do the same. When I breakout my Storm case, guys are expecting some scene out of Pulp Fiction where everyone peaks in the case and see's something gleaming and impressive. Instead, my case opens there's a rifle bag, and an assortment of other containers, boxes and other soft-cases packed in. Sorry guys, it's not like the movies, the foam gets removed for all the other gear.
 
Posts: 10713 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I cut up a few foam pieces in my past, but like others have said, my interests changed and the replacement foam isn't cheap. I don't cut foam now days.
 
Posts: 765 | Location: WV | Registered: May 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"Member"
Picture of cas
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I can still remember the surprised look on the airline employees face almost 30 years ago, when they opened my large hard rifle case. I guess they expected to see a just a rifle in foam. Instead there was no foam, but a soft rifle case, a soft pistol case, two fishing poles, tackle, pants, shirts, socks, underwear. lol


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Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.

 
Posts: 18132 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of kimberkid
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quote:
Originally posted by AllenInWV:
I think you can get single pieces of foam (for the Pelican 1750) for around $38 on Amazon. I elected to get two pieces of that convoluted foam, one for the center and one for the lid.

$38 isn't bad but I wonder about the density ... and the pluck stuff is typically weak. It's okay if I'm the one carrying it around, but have you seen how they handle baggage at the airport?

The SKB replacement foam is not only expensive, its an odd size and tapers on the ends too so it either slops around in the case if you don't get the right or its too thick at the ends ... or maybe I'm too picky.

I like the idea of just using rifle bags in the case when traveling, but if I'm just going to the range I carry the bags, and leave the heavy case at home.


If you really want something you'll find a way ...
... if you don't you'll find an excuse.

I'm really not a "kid" anymore ... but I haven't grown up yet either Wink
 
Posts: 5345 | Registered: January 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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