Foam Inserts – Cutting Your Own or Having Them Custom Made
by Steven Holand, Carry Cases Plus Owner
When it comes to creating custom foam inserts for your carrying case or shipping case, there are several options available.
If you’d like to cut your own inserts, purchasing a solid pad is a good way to go. Simply trace your item on the pad and cut the foam using a utility knife. The solid insert could also be used as is to protect thin items.
Solid pads are available in either Polyurethane or Polyethylene foam. Polyurethane foam is soft, durable (similar to the foam in your couch cushions) and great for light to medium-weight items. Polyethylene is dense (the material is the same as those “noodle” flotation toys that kids play with in the pool) and ideal for medium to heavy-weight materials.
Eggcrate (or “convoluted”) inserts, which are made of Polyurethane, work well on their own. The unique grooves in the foam grab the items and hold them in place when the case is closed.
Another option in creating your own inserts is to purchase Diced/Pick and Pluck foam, which comes in pre-scored cubes of Polyurethane. Make your own insert by putting your items on top of the pre-cut grid. Next, remove the cubes touching your item so that it fits nice and snug into the remaining foam piece.
Foam inserts can be custom-made for added protection and a perfect fit. Die cut foam inserts are cut using steel rule dies. Die cutting produces the most precise cut and in my opinion, it also produces the best product. For deep cases, wire cut inserts are a good option. These inserts are created using a computer-controlled abrasive wire-cutting machine. The machine is programmed with the use of a CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawing, which details all the cutouts and dimensions. Both processes allow for either Polyurethane or Polyethylene foam.
If all of these options are overwhelming you, don’t panic. Sometimes it is difficult to decide which insert would best fit your materials. If you have questions, be sure to contact a foam insert professional for guidance.
Steven Holand is the owner of Carry Cases Plus, a foam fabricator with over 20 years of experience creating foam inserts. For the second year in a row, the company was listed as one of Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Visit Carry Cases Plus at www.carrycasesplus.com.