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Replacement / custom foam for gun cases

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PDX1953, May 10, 2016.

  1. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    The cheap foam in my GSG PK5 case is torn so I need a replacement and ATI doesn’t have replacement foam or a new carrying case. The only place I’ve found in the Portland area that can make a new insert is Bauer Cases in Vancouver, WA. I’ve seen some of their work and while it’s great they quoted approximately $200 for a replacement insert but I only paid $220 for the gun.

    Is anyone aware of someone in the NW who can make what I need? There’s a place on 80th & Stark but their main business is upholstery foam. They can order some dense foam but don’t have a way to cut it cleanly to fit the shape of the gun. I also have (4) 22-round magazines that I want slots for so I’d like to talk face-to-face with someone.

    If you know of anyone around here or have had a good experience with a custom case maker somewhere else please let me know who you dealt with.
     
  2. nammac

    nammac I-5 Corridor - West of Portland Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Try looking at www.mycasebuilder.com... I don't have any personal experience with this firm but have read a couple of good reviews and explored their site. They can custom make a dense foam liner for your case.

    There was an article and review for them off Guns America some time ago. Worth taking a look. Best of luck locating the perfect solution.
     
    IheartSig likes this.
  3. Vorpalis

    Vorpalis Portland, OR Active Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Search online for polyurethane foam, which is probably what it came with. Use a Sharpie to outline your gear, then use a brand new box knife to cut it – one of those retractable ones with snap-off blades that can extend out several inches.

    I prefer polyethylene foam, because it provides better protection and is easier to cut. The downside is that it costs more. If you can't find a piece thick enough for a reasonable price, you can always buy a thinner sheet and layer it.
     
    IheartSig and Flopsweat like this.
  4. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    If you buy foam and cut it, be sure it's closed cell foam. The cheaper open cell foam holds moisture more readily and your gun is much more likely to rust. It's really not that hard to cut your own foam. Just do what Vorpalis said.
     
    Brutus57 likes this.
  5. IheartSig

    IheartSig Beaverton Diamond Supporter Diamond Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I would add to this, try arranging your items on the foam, figure out where you want everything, flip it over and put everything in reverse and draw and cut from the side that will eventually be facing down. If you take your time and cut cleanly, it will look awesome.

    I have also heard that people like using the electric meat carvers for this as well because the blade is long and it cuts smoothly.
     
    Brutus57 and Vorpalis like this.
  6. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    I've been looking at these guys for a few months, long before I got the PK5 and have some stored templates for 1911's on their site. They have a template for the H&K MP5 which is what the PK5 is based on but I'll need to look closely at the size specs to see it they're the same.

    I p/u a nearly new nice SKB case recently and while everything would fit, it's considerably deeper than I need. Case Builder hasn't been ruled out at all but I'm supposed to get a call from the owner of Patriot Cases today to discuss my situation. His website says he doesn't sell just the foam but I was referred by one of his best customers so I'm hoping he'll make an exception.

    I was in Cabela's yesterday & saw some soft bags that would work. They had zipper pockets on the sides so I may end up getting one because it'll give me plenty of storage for my extra mags but I'm the type of guy who wants what I want & will spend hours looking for it. And then settle for something else!

    Thanks for all of your suggestions & ideas.
     
    Flopsweat likes this.
  7. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    +1 on Electric Carving Knifes for cutting foam.:)
    The reciprocating blades allow you to cut intricate lines without
    distorting the foam.:D
     
  8. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    The absolute best (and most expensive) method is with a CNC water-jet. The much less expensive but still very workable method is with a hot wire - sort of like a bandsaw. That method will cut fine details much better than an electric knife. If my brother was still alive he'd probably have the parts to build a hot wire table in his garage. He certainly had the IQ.
     
  9. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you ever came across Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar magazine, they had a plan for a hand held EDM foam cutter. Had a buddy who built one and it worked exceptionally well.
    I use foam I get from electronic equipment shipments, and don't care whether or not they are closed cell. I don't store my gun in my case except the time it's in transit or locked up in my hotel. @IheartSig's suggestion to lay out and then cut is a great one. Do it from the back side -if- you can make square cuts. I can drill holes in steel at nearly perfect right angles, but can't cut foam worth a damn.
    I don't use box cutters - blade is too wide and I snap off the narrow ones. I use a fish/poultry deboning knife from the kitchen block, and give it a good sharpening before doing the cuts.
    You might laugh at my foam installation job - being objective, it's fugly. Me, I don't give a rat's a$$ whether not it looks good, it has to hold my gun, scope, tools, magazines and ammo very snugly, and to that end, it does it extremely well.
    [edit] I've done 4 cases this way, only one of them brand new with original foam (not pre-sliced). Also done this several times for test equipment, using old Pelican's I might have on hand.
     
  10. UserNameInUse

    UserNameInUse SW WA Active Member

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    Just to put this out there. Years ago I needed to cut some foam to crate some things for shipping.

    I strung some Nichrome wire from the arbor on a table saw to a small cable attached to the ceiling. You heat the wire by attaching the output of a model train transformer to each end with alligator clips. The transformer also lets you adjust the current and therefore, the temperature of the wire.

    The table saw made a nice big flat surface to work on and the fence is useful for straight cuts. The crank that normally raises and lowers the blade makes a nice tension adjustment. The tension seemed to change as the wire got hot. Of course, you probably want to attach the wire to the arbor with something non-conductive.
     
    Vorpalis likes this.
  11. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    This is what I'm talking about! I'm missing a few items (table saw, transformer, Nichrome wire, alligator clips...) but this method is great for cutting intricate shapes. What I DO have is a a ceiling in my garage so at least I'm not missing everything - lol.

    I was supposed to hear back from the owner of Patriot Cases today but he hasn't called. I just tore the gun completely apart & am going to order some new cap screws & nuts from rrages.com so I don't need the new foam in the next few days. The reason for the new hardware is the factory screws are soft metal Phillips heads & strip out easily. Now that it's apart I also see that it needs a thorough cleaning so I'll break out the Simple Green & my ultrasonic cleaner in a few days. There a magazine safety that'll probably be AWOL once it goes back together. They really annoy me.