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DIY Eye piece cases

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#1 droid

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

Im looking for ideas on how to make an eye piece case from readily, and cheaply, available boxes ,etc.
Tool boxes, tackle boxes what ever ,everything is fair game.

Ideas?????? photos, descriptions needed

#2 Escher

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

Harbor Freight - aluminum tool case with pick-pluck foam..

http://www.harborfre...case-69318.html

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

I just broke down and bought bolt cases for everything. Keep it all in a cloth "tackle box". Took out all the plastic boxes inside the bag. Works great as the bag also has pouches on the sides, back and front, as well as a pouch under the lid big enough for instruction books, etc.... The reason I went to bolt cases was to keep the dirt out. Bolt cases also help prevent dewing (not that dew is any big problem here), and I mark them so I know what each contains. My next "project" is to get some "glow in the dark" stickers (big circles) to help with identification in the dark.

#4 MRNUTTY

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

The three most popular are:
Harbor freight as mentioned above
Pelican cases
Vanguard cases

Many threads on this subject, with lots of pics, already.

#5 FirstSight

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

I agree that the best low-budget choice for an EP case is the "Harbor Freight" aluminum case (also sometimes called the "Lowe's case" in honor of a similar product Lowe's used to sell with foam bed included). Some have also reported that inexpensive aluminum gun cases are available at e.g. Wal-Mart that can be easily converted to an EP case.

THE PROBLEM with using a tackle or toolbox for an eyepiece case is that it lacks one of the essential qualities of a suitable eyepiece case: an impact-resistant means to internally hold eyepieces securely in place. You *could* custom-cut a foambed to fit a typical tool or tackle box, but you'd typically have to waste much of the depth of the space to accomplish that. As to the grid of trays (sometimes with lids) that are often built into tool or fishing tackle boxes, there are seveal problems: a) the size will often be a poor match to eyepiece size; too big and the EP can rattle and roll around, too small and the EP won't fit in the space; and if the box gets turned on side or over, the EPs can spill internally. NOT good. SOMEONE will doubtlessly report having (to them) satisfactorily used a tackle or tool box as an EP case, but WHY use one of those when for the same or single-digits $$ more you can have a MUCH sounder, far better-suited alternative, the Harbor Freight aka Lowe's case?

The Achilles' Heel of the Harbor Freight/Lowe's cases is the aluminum hinges and latches: a fall from waist-high (e.g. off a table) onto a concrete or wooden floor can be enough to warp the hinges or latches if the case lands on-edge, meaning that the case will never securely close again. But if you're looking for as good and suitable an alternative for a bargain price, you can't beat it without jumping up to the $100 class of truly secure, impact-proof e.g. Pelican or Storm cases.

#6 uniondrone

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

Harbor Freight - aluminum tool case with pick-pluck foam..

http://www.harborfre...case-69318.html


I use the harbor freight case for my accessories. It works quite well. I use this case from Cabela's for my eyepieces. It works pretty well, especially for the price. The pluck foam is now starting to wear out a bit after a few years of use, but that might have more to do with heavy 2" eyepieces than anything. Still it's a good & cheap option.

#7 Pat at home

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

A bit of wood and a few hand tools:

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#8 Dave Ittner

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

There are two things to be aware of regarding the Harbor Freight cases

1) The upper lid has two metal tabs that stick out that are used to help hold the tool pouch in place. IMHO the pouch and the tabs should be removed. Removing the tabs requires sanding down the rivot and then replacing it as one is also being used to hold the hinge in place.

2) there is only one sheet of pluck foam supplied. removing some foam to make room for an eyepiece provides protection from each side but not the bottom. (the top lid has a sheet of egg carton foam). IMHO it is wise to put a layer of foam on the bottom as well.

I have made about 30 or so cases for friends with these modifications and they are quite happy.

#9 droid

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

Ive more or less overgrown? the regular tool box types, lol.

6 2 inch eps, with the hopes of another soon, 7 1.25 inch eps, 2 diagonals, both 1.25 and 2 inch, 2 barlows both 1.25 and 2 inch, several filters, lazer collimator and red beam flash light. It all will not fit in one box, and Im wanting to find a way to have only one box to pack, not three, lol.

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#10 Sarkikos

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

Chris,

The Achilles' Heel of the Harbor Freight/Lowe's cases is the aluminum hinges and latches: a fall from waist-high (e.g. off a table) onto a concrete or wooden floor can be enough to warp the hinges or latches if the case lands on-edge, meaning that the case will never securely close again. But if you're looking for as good and suitable an alternative for a bargain price, you can't beat it without jumping up to the $100 class of truly secure, impact-proof e.g. Pelican or Storm cases.


I've bought at least eight Harbor Freight cases over the years. I think they cost about $19 each after 20% off coupons. Sometimes I've picked up a case just for the pluck foam inside. Then I give the case itself to the Good Will!

I keep separate cases for deep sky, finders and collimation tools, binoviewer and bino pairs, 25x100 binoculars, ST80, and for eyepieces I plan on selling.

The oldest of these cases is about six years old. I've never had any problem with the hinges or latches. The important thing is to never drop equipment! Never done it. Hope never to to do it. Awareness of one's body and surroundings is the key. If the observer is so tired that they start to get clumsy, it's time to go take a nap! :sleepy:

Also, I never set a case full of equipment on a table. My eyepiece case and equipment bag always go on a small carpet on the ground directly beside the table, and covered by a towel to protect from dew.

Mike

#11 Sarkikos

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

David,

The upper lid has two metal tabs that stick out that are used to help hold the tool pouch in place. IMHO the pouch and the tabs should be removed. Removing the tabs requires sanding down the rivot and then replacing it as one is also being used to hold the hinge in place.


All the HF cases I've owned have two hard plastic tabs at the lower edge of the upper lid. I just saw these off even with the edge of the lid. Removing the tabs allows more room for tall eyepieces. I didn't have to replace any rivots or anything else. Maybe the cases sold in your local HF stores are a little different from mine?

there is only one sheet of pluck foam supplied. removing some foam to make room for an eyepiece provides protection from each side but not the bottom. (the top lid has a sheet of egg carton foam). IMHO it is wise to put a layer of foam on the bottom as well.


I also take out the tool pouch and leave the "egg carton" foam in the upper lid. Works great.

I don't bother putting another layer of foam underneath the pluck-foam. The inner bottom of the case is not really very hard, but is somewhat cushioning in itself. Sometimes I'll take a cube or so of pluck foam and stick it down in one of the eyepiece cut-outs to give support to a shorter eyepiece. Otherwise it seems fine to me.

Mike

#12 GpB311

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

I just used a small x-acto blade to trim the pluck foam down for the eyepieces without removing it entirely except in a couple spots where thats what I wanted. I cut two layers of cardboard fit to the shape of the inside of the case and put it under the foam so that it was a tighter fit on the EPs when closed.
That top layer of foam is loose, but the cardboard helps hold that in place too.
Posted Image

#13 Sarkikos

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:42 PM

IME, a good tool to loosen up and extract the pluck foam is an ordinary table knife used to spread butter on bread. Get the kind that has a slightly serrated edge. Even better is a little novelty knife that I have to carve out pumpkins for Halloween.

But fingers will do in a jiffy!

Mike

#14 Jaimo!

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

I've been building a few recently, small little Grab-N-Go Boxes for going out in the backyard...

The Pleiades - Maple on Bubinga:
Posted Image

Inside:
Posted Image

Orion - Maple, Honduran Mahogany, Zebrawood & Holly on Walnut

Posted Image

Enjoy,
Jaimo!

#15 csa/montana

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

I made a wooden insert for my eyepiece case that gave me more room. I attached a metal strip on the front of the case, & inserted magnets in the bottom of my filter cases to take up less room. Works well for me.

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#16 DonsDob

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:22 PM

Scroll thru or do a search on the Equipment forum - especially the "non-astronomy" entry near the top - very useful info there. I use a HF case to hold the finder, telrad, intelliscope COL, some tools and various bits and pieces. Also a small aluminum case from a poker set for eyepieces.

#17 Lane

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

I made mine out of these cases and because I did not like their foam I bought this foam and cut it to fit. These cases are sold at many sporting goods stores and are often available on sale. I paid only $7 for some of mine.

Here is another shot to show that the bottom contains more than 1 pieces of foam, actually 3 pieces. I replace two of them with one piece of that foam I ordered. Kept the top foam and of course the unused bottom piece is identical to the top piece just in case you need to replace the top foam due to damage.

#18 Lane

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

Here are some pics

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#19 Lane

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:01 PM

And

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#20 Luigi

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

Here's a pic of mine from a while back...

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#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

I am always cautious with my eyepieces, there is a lot of money invested and I have had inexpensive cases come unlatched and spill eyepiece onto concrete. The sound is not good, the results are disheartening. I have inspected the Harbor Freight cases and decided they are just no robust enough to risk my good eyepieces to...

What I use for my good eyepieces are two professional quality aluminum clad equipment cases, they are solid and designed for people who travel with fancy electronics and tools...

Of course it does help if you can find them at garage sales for $5...

Jon

#22 izar187

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:42 AM

Another vote for bolt cases/bottles for ep's. Then just nest them in the carrier of choice. Like ones from second hand stores and yard sales. It is then pretty painless to upgrade if more room is needed. Top loading brief case types are my preference. When observing I carry the 3 or 4 ep's I'll be using on my person. The case is nearby if I just gotta, but mostly I just skip the eyepiece futzing these days and happily observe with as few as possible.

#23 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:34 AM

I've been using this case in the pic for almost 2 years without it opening and spilling the contents anywhere. Cost me just over $20.00, But the home made ones here are very nice!

Jaimo, How long did it take to make yours? and what kind of wood did you use? Your cases look really nice! I liked how you joined the corners by taking off those 2 layers, which appear to be some kind of plywood. :waytogo:

By the looks of things here, it appears that standing the eyepieces up is the best way to go as it saves a lot of space! Jaimo, do you sell those cases? Maybe I could get you to make me one! :cool:

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#24 StarStuff1

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

I have had good luck for the last 12+ years with my Craftsman tool box ep case. When I drilled the holes in the walnut shelf for 1 1/4-in eps I accidently used a 1 3/8-in forster bit! The eps rattled like crazy. A few days later I was at the hardware store and saw a bin of nylon friction washers that go into all those plumbers pipe focusers. Glued those in with some silicone and now the eps slide in and out with a little "swish". Also, the little shoulder on the top gives a little cushioning.

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#25 StarStuff1

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

For several years I have often observed right outside the basement door. Since I only use the toolbox case when traveling I would just sit needed eps on a nearby counter top. The more eps I acquired the more confusing it would be to find a particular one.

Late last year I decided to do something about it. This simply a wood box with a piece of heavy denim to fold over the top to keep just out. I like using PVC end caps for ep caps. Not real tight fitting so moisture can escape and easy to mark the focal length fo ID.

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