View Full Version : Custom Foam Insert Project

25 November 2011, 18:52
So I tried to cut some foam for my Storm case and I was completely disgusted. I read numerous forum posts about DIY hot wire cutting, etc. I came to the conclusion that I would never be satisfied with the outcome. And just how much money would I spend on butchered foam inserts? Then something really scary happened... I really started thinking. How would I be able to create inserts that would accommodate different AR configurations? I have 3 going on 4. I didn't want to have to keep going through the same process for the various inserts that I may want. And didn't stop until I decided to have it done professionally. Oh dear.

So there's a local firm that produces custom packaging for industrial products. They use CAD designs, water jets and routers to produce the inserts from high density foam. They were intrigued with my project and are working with me on keeping the costs as low as possible. They gave me a ball park quote based on their assumption of the design time. So hopefully those assumptions are good and it doesn't end up costing me an arm and a leg. Sometimes I just get going on things and can't let it go. My hope is that after all is said and done, my expectations will be met. Regardless, I will share the details with you all,. Hopefully I won't end up looking like a real dumb-ass.

So here's what the project entails:

Since it's a 3100, it's not a really long case. I bought the 3100 because it will fit within the wheel wells of my Jeep Wrangler. And it will accommodate a broken down 20" upper. I have 4 ARs to consider: 20" , 16" , 10.5" and 12.5" in the works. This means that I have various stocks, rails and optics. This case will accommodate them all. And if something ever changes, I can have the design tweaked and the insert modified. Currently my variables include the following:

Stocks - Magpul ACS, Magpul PRS, Magpul UBR, Magupl CTR - Since the lower and grip will be snug, the stock area will be
universal to accommodate the various stocks. Grip dimensions are for Magul MIAD.

Rail/Barrel - Carbine length FSB equipped with a DD 12" Lite FSB and Surefire X300. The cutout for FSB and Surefire X300
will provide space for flip up front sights ~8" to 12". Current Rails are DD 10" Lite, Troy 9" and 13", 7" DD Omega X (to be
replaced by 12" Lite FSB). Barrel length of 20" with muzzle brake is accommodated.

Optics - Bushnell 4200 Elite 3-12 x 44 in Bobro extended mount, Trijicon TR21 in LaRue extended mount, Aimpoint T-1 in
LaRue lower 1/3 co-witness mount. There will be plugs that can be installed for the smaller optics.

The case will also include space for the following items: 6 30 round mags, 4 20 round mags, Atlas bipod in LaRue QD mount, AAC M4-2000, Sling, Tube that can hold a variety of items (buffer spring and buffer, etc.), Lens pen, Talon Tool and CAT M4, Tango Down Short Vertical Grip-QD.

I received a PDF today of the first pass design. I'm going to be clarifying a couple of things next week. Once I receive the final design I will provide an update with images. Once I've received the insert I'll provide some photos with the various AR configurations.

If you have any questions or comments on items that you think need to be included, please let me know.

26 November 2011, 06:13
My lazy answer is to instead buy a soft case that fits in there that has re-arrangeable velcro attached padded sections and work from there. For the cost of that many unique arrangements, you could have one case that is eminently flexible, and run the same general system in a smaller SBR carry solution.

ETA - it also doesn't sound like the end of the world if you make a rifle sized cutout for the largest items used, and then wind up with some unused space (if it means having to buy one less insert). The magazines, sling pocket, and a cleaning kit pouch sound like constants in terms of top-down surface area, and they can be moved around a lot. From there, I'd figure out the location of the lower that allows you the most flexibility for the uppers you want (size it around the UBR and ACS - they're the longest and biggest respectively), then start seeing if you can have bracing points that hold the upper in place regardless of what optic/foregrip arrangement you're using.
This is assuming one insert.

26 November 2011, 07:38
I have a good soft bag for an SBR or broken down 16". I started out with the intention of this being the primary case for the 20" Grendel, but then it just kind of expanded from there. I wanted something that could be good for travel and accommodate all of my ARs (whichever I chose to take with me). Attached is the initial layout image.


The upper lid is currently laid out to hold 2 30 round mags, 2 20 round mag and a sling. I may have the sling relocated to the bottom layer and I will then have room for a 3rd 30 rounder in that area.

On the middle (Main layer) in the upper left section there is room for a tube (bubber spring tube) that can hold a variety of items, room for a lens pen, bipod and suppressor (Top left to right, then down left to right). I'm thinking that these may also be moved to the lower layer to add room for more 30 round mags. Or I may simply add room for more mags in the lower layer.

26 November 2011, 20:00
I'd add some room for the gas block on the 20", and in that empty space I'd throw in small gaps for items like earpro/eyepro, cleaning tools and multitools, and somewhere to throw a small inova flashlight (so you can see in the case in the dark).

Not too shabby, that actually looks pretty nice.

28 November 2011, 04:00
I'd add some room for the gas block on the 20", and in that empty space I'd throw in small gaps for items like earpro/eyepro, cleaning tools and multitools, and somewhere to throw a small inova flashlight (so you can see in the case in the dark).

Not too shabby, that actually looks pretty nice.

Thanks for the input.

The LPGB on the 20" Grendel is covered by the handguard.

Realistically ithe space in front of the muzzle (room for 4 20rd mags) will be used for small items. I have a zippered mesh pouch that will fit in that space. But I hadn't thought about room for eye-pro. I'll look into that.

12 December 2011, 08:42
So here's the final drawing. Some of the extra thoughts that I had were simply too much, but I think that in the end, the flexibility of this will provide me with all that I need. There's room for 5 30 round mags and 4 20 round mags in front to the barrel. The 20 round mag area will mostly be used as a genral storage space.

All of the goals for accommodating the various stocks, and equipment have been met. Now it's a matter of waiting for the production. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I can do a test fit. I hope I didn't overlook anything.



3 January 2012, 17:07
Even though I'm fighting a bad cold, I was pleased to pick up my case today. The foam sections worked out pretty well. I took some rather bad pics, but they'll give you an indication of how the case turned out.







I have a section of foam that goes above the optic, but it seems I forgot to include it in this pic.





3 January 2012, 17:19
I like it. If you wouldn't mind, what was total cost (don't need to the penny, ball park would be fine)?

3 January 2012, 17:47
I already had the case which I believe was $170. The foam materials (high density), CAD time and fabrication should have cost more than they charged me. If you wanted an identical foam set it would cost $212 (6% tax included). If you wanted changes it would cost more for design time.

3 January 2012, 17:53
Not bad. I ask because of these (http://www.casesbypelican.com/pelican-m4-single.htm#m4civilian), but on second look the customization you attained far supersedes those cases, and at the relatively same price point to boot.

3 January 2012, 18:05
I was pretty pleased with the outcome and price. They hadn't done any weapons cases before so they took interest in the project. It took a little while to get it done, but i understood that their profitable business had to come first.

3 January 2012, 20:33
I wonder if a standardized version of these could be more efficient (though ARs are a poor choice, maybe the EAG outline or LAV limited DD outline could be a 'standard' choice and they could churn some instant gratification ones out.

That really looks great. The smaller pouches/containers in there are also very well done, that's extremely nicely done.