Where do you get foam for your cases?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by 2F/2F, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hello,

    I seriously need camera cases. Finding a large Halliburton case in an antique mall in need of foam (it had none at all) for $30 inspired me to grab a few $2 hardshell suitcases at the Goodwill. I have plans to gut them and convert them into camera cases and free up some drawer/cabinet space for other things.

    What is the best source for high-quality foam that can be cut as needed?

    Any particular brands/retailers about which you could share experiences?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    pelican
     
  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Try a good upholstery shop or specialty foam shop. You should be able to find various grades and firmness. Avoid the cheap white stuff; it degrades into small particles designed to get into your camera mechanicals.

    I like 1 to 1.5 in of flat foam on the bottom, topped with a 2 in. piece cut to match my equipment (you can have various "versions" of this layer to match different equipment). On the top, I like using "egg crate" foam. A very sharp fillet knife works well for cutting.
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Look at McMaster-Carr for high density foam.
     
  5. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have lined cases and rolling convertible school backpacks with closed cell foam (usually blue) 'camping' sleeping pads to turn them into equipment cases. This foam is also freqently seen at the goodwill/thrift store, or is inexpensively bought at a camping supply store. They line the inside walls of the case. I have had good sucess making Internal dividers from doubled up foam core board. I use scotch 77 spray glue to join the panels, and then cut them as one. I join them with clear packing tape, and cover edges with packing tape as well.

    I have several different foam core dividers that fit my cases.

    For instance, one backpack insert is for my Crown Graphic, spot meter, and about 10 film holders, with external pockets holding filters, loupe, etc.
    Another insert for the same case holdes a C330 TLR with lens up to 180, and a Metz 60CT flash rig, and has room for a few other lenses.
    The third insert holds 2 SLR bodies and a whack of lenses for the lightweight nature walk. There is room for a windbreaker, water bottle and lunch in this divider.
     
  6. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    +1 on an upholstery shop. I rigged a cheap backpack with such foam more than thirty years ago when I started hiking about with a 35mm kit. Two bodies, 4 lenses, and tons of misc. small items. Still have it, still use it.
     
  7. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Old hard shell suitcases also work well when new foam is added. And don't advertise that the contents are valuable.

    The closed cell foam that Mike mentions is particularly useful in a backpack arrangement (as the layer between your back and the equipment).
     
  9. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Sleeping mats for backpackers.
     
  10. largely

    largely Member

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  11. L.J.SILVER

    L.J.SILVER Member

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    If you were from Sydney, Australia I'd direct you to a specialist shop called 'The Foam Booth'. Seriously.
     
  12. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    If it is a Halliburton, you can buy it from them. Bill Barber
     
  13. John R.

    John R. Member

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    Buying foam is tricky. Not all foam is created equal. Even if it looks the same it may not be the same. Unfortunately, I do not know the formula descriptions on particular foam types. Some are urethanes and some are PVC's and other types as well. They age and act differently in various climatic and storage conditions. Beware, some will deteriorate and become gummy easily, some will stick to your equipment, some will trap moisture and promote mold growth. Some foam will tear or deform easily, some will snag edges on your equipment and tear. The smaller the foam porosity the better the foam and the stiffer the better as well. Often times you can obtain the perfect foam from shipments of electronics, it's usually the dark gray stuff and it holds up extremely well over the long haul. I have mostly purchased my foam from beacon Worldwide but I also buy SKB cases from them and I just add the foam set option. On occassion I order just foam. I'm not sure what there's is made from but it holds up extremely well and does not deteriorate or off gas. By the way, I have nothing to do with that company. Just mentioning my experience. I have purchased sets from B&H as well and they were okay too. Bottom line is that you have to be careful what you use or the foam may cause more damage to your gear that if you didn't have it. I'd be very caustious of using just any foam. The Foamamerica place seems to have good pricing, with low prices I would find out what it is before I would buy it. Good foam is usually pricey. FWIW
     
  14. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    +2 on upholstery shops and don't forget the bigger fabric stores. I never had any problems with the foam I bought at fabric shops but maybe I just got lucky.
     
  15. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    What I like about a good foam specialty shop is that they often build up or fit out cases for expensive electronic equipment. As a result, they know the different grades of foam and what will last.
     
  16. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    I have on old suitcase(purchased at a garage sale for 1$) that I lined with eggcrate foam that I bought at Walmart. I cut it to fit the case. I store 35mm on one side and MF + meters on the other. When I go out to shoot, I just load up a shoulder bag with what I need.

    Mike