What You Need
“A fully set up hard case does look stunning.”
A hard case with foam inserts, a cutting tool of your choice (we’re using an electric carving knife), a marker, and the items you wish to place in the hard case.
A typical foam set will include as many as four pieces of foam. We will only be working with the middle two sections. You’ll notice that we have “pull ‘n’ pluck” style foam, which is pre-cut with a grid that you can tear out with your fingers. We learned that this feature could be both good and bad for our project. We’ll explain what we mean as we go through the steps.
Measure how thick the foam is and compare it to how deep you want your items to sit within the case. Our Pelican 1510 case is pretty deep, so we only want to cut into the first layer of foam and just a small part of the second underlying layer.
Place the items on top of the foam and figure out what configuration works best for you. Keep in mind practical factors such as weight distribution. Some say that serialized parts such as receivers should have their serial numbers facing up for easier identification, such as when travelling. Others pay special attention to the orientation of their rifle-mounted optics, preferring to have them “right side up” when carried, which means it looks “upside down” when the case is opened. We recommend leaving at least half an inch in between each of the items if not more. (In retrospect, it looks like we broke a few “rules” with our setup.) Notice that when mocking up our setup, we took the flashlight off the upper receiver so that it could sit more flush against the surface of the foam.
Now that you know how you want your items to be placed, you’ll want to use a marker to trace the pieces. Be sure to trace “inward,” toward the center of each item, so that each “foam hole” is a tad bit smaller than the parts themselves so the foam ends up hugging your parts for a nice tight fit. Prior to tracing, we recommend mirroring the part placements by flipping the parts over. This is done so that any traces of marker won’t be visible when you’re done cutting. When cutting is complete, you’ll simply flip the entire foam piece over for a nice, clean look.