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Old January 10th, 2006, 11:03 PM   #1
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Where to buy just the foam for your camera cases?

Hi there

I'm going to need some new foam that I can cut out to reposition my camera gear in the case.

The case I have is this nice aluminum case (http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...DME:B:AAQ:CA:1)
, but unfortunately, that seller doesn't have any foams for sale.

Any suggestions anyone? thanks.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #2
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i got my foam at commercial electronics, got the pelican case.... foam is about 40bux or somthing silly like that...
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:19 AM   #3
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I got some high-density foam from joann fabrics. they have some different densities and thicknesses. East to cut with a sharp, serrated knife.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #4
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The best tool for cutting foam is an electric carving knife. They are about $15 at Kmart. Professional upholsterers use them. I've even seen them on TV shows that do custom cars and motorcycles. The fact that the two blades move in opposite directions keeps the foam from bunching up. Also, the sharp serrations cut very effectively. I made all sorts of complex shapes for my camera case with some upholstery foam from the hardware store. Don't cut yourself, as these things are SHARP!
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:44 AM   #5
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Cool. But is this the same type of foam we are talking about? The tear away foam that came in my case let out a lot of foam dust when I cut it. Not good.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 02:16 AM   #6
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I found that the electric carving knife cut so cleanly that there wasn't much debris. Perhaps it is also the type of foam I used? I don't know if there are significant differences, but the yellow upholstery foam I used wasn't bad about dust. Regardless, a gentle vacuuming is probably in order in either case.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #7
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Idea for form-fitted equipment case

Has anyone tried making a form-fitting camera case with molded soft liner (like in an electric guitar case)? I lost all the foam for my main case and am considering making molds with that canned insulation that expands and hardens. Has anyone done this? I imagine a process like this:

1. Remove everything from case.
2. Line all sides of case with wax paper (waxy side up). Tape the dry side to case with gaffer tape.
3. Wrap gear in three or four layers of Glad Wrap or similar plastic wrap.
4. Position gear in case bottom.
5. Spray in foam insulation, quickly close the case, and let foam expand and harden for 2 hours.
6. Trim away excess from outside of case.
7. Open case over soft protected area, in case the molded lining and encased gear falls out.
8. Remove waxed paper and plastic-wrapped gear.
9. Glue upper and lower case molds to inside of case with industrial adhesive.
10. Repack camera etc. and fine-tune the mold with knife.
11. Once everything fits securely, glue down fabric (I'm thinking felt or velvet) over entire upper and lower molds.

When the insulation hardens, it's like styrofoam. Do you think it's too rigid, if the case was ever dropped? Maybe spongey "real" foam absorbs shock better.

What are your thoughts?
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Old January 11th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Winchester
I got some high-density foam from joann fabrics. they have some different densities and thicknesses. East to cut with a sharp, serrated knife.
Same. In a pinch, Walmart has a pretty decent selection of foam in their craft and fabrics section.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 06:23 PM   #9
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Tim, I am guessing that guitars are inherently stronger than video cameras. Yes, they are both precision instruments, but guitars are made for fairly rough service. Your method would probably work, but just cutting foam with an electric carving knife would be easier. Future modifications are also easier with regular upholstery foam.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:39 AM   #10
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Be careful of what kind of foam...

Foam is not foam is not foam... fabric stores usually sell latex foam rubber. Not at all the right stuff. Unless you want it to rot and crumble into sticky dust.

I bought some 2' x 2' x 2" thick polyurethane from McMaster-Carr. Go to their website, use the search function for catalog page 3276 (just enter the page number in the search field) for a chart showing all the types of foam rubber and their characteristics. Especially important in this application is ozone and oxidation resistance, but abrasion and tear resistance are also considerations.

Now search to page 3304 and scroll down to "Unifoam Polyurethane Foam Sheets" and you'll see the right stuff, just like you find in commercial cases.

Need it cubed? See page 3303. Also, on page 3305 is convoluted (eggcrate) polyurethane foam.

A safe and effective adhesive is Weldbond. Use it sparingly, such as a thin film. Or you could use 3M 77, the aerosol heavy-duty stickum. Just be aware of overspray! It will get on the wrong surfaces and thence onto your equipment. If you have a bandsaw, it'll make short work of the foam and leave a "factory" finish. Otherwise a long, smooth (non-serrated) knife works well, only don't support the foam on you knees...
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