Designing Your Own Custom Case with MyCaseBuilder

MCB DesignerLast year, we wrote about our SHOT Show visit with MyCaseBuilder and how they make custom cases easy.  The foam case inserts that they had in their booth and Steve’s big-screen demo both told a story about the quality and ease of creation of custom foam, but I wanted to get my hands on one to check it out for myself.  There are myriad shapes and sizes of Pelican cases, OEM gun cases and other cases around GunLink HQ, but I thought that we should start small for our first custom case, so I got to work on designing some custom case from for a Pelican 1170 pistol case for transporting a Glock pistol (if you don’t already have a case, MyCaseBuilder can send your made-to-order foam in a brand new case).

The design tool is easy to use and is pre-populated with many existing shapes for various firearms, firearm accessories, electronics, camera equipment and more.  The Glock 19 shape library includes shapes for the pistol and magazines, in various configurations, and with or without finger notches to make it easier to pull the items out of the form-fitting foam.  For this case, I started with the G19 pistol with finger notches.  I modified the shape with custom cut-outs to accommodate the pistol and sights with the slide partially rearward (so that it can be cased with a chamber flag inserted) as well as a threaded barrel.  

MyCasebuilder G19 CaseThe existing shapes in the library would no doubt provide a home for the magazines, but I opted for a simple rectangle to allow for more options for carrying magazines and accessories.  The design tool also allows you to set the depth of the shape cut-out.  We left the pistol cutout at the default depth, keeping it near the top of of the foam, and made the rectangle as deep as possible without cutting through the bottom of the foam.

While these modifications resulted in a custom case foam perfectly suited to our needs, they only begin to scratch the surface of the customization options available in the design tool.  If a shape that you need is not in the shape library, the tool allows you to upload a top-down photo and supply the measurement of one of the dimensions and it will create a truly custom cutout for you.  The new finger notch tool also allows you to snap notches anywhere along the edge of the shape – which is particularly useful for retrieving items from form-fitting cutouts in the denser polyethylene foam like we chose for this project.

Once the design is finished, the design tool can render the case foam in 3D, allowing you to spin, rotate, flip and view it from all angles to make sure that it is exactly as you need it.  Even with ordering right in the middle of the busy Christmas shipping rush, it only took seven days from placing the order to shipping – exactly what was estimated on the website.  The foam took about 3 days to be delivered by USPS and came the day after Christmas.

The overall fit and finish of the custom case foam from MyCaseBuilder was quite good.  The insert fits perfectly into the Pelican 1170 and the G19 fits like a glove into the pistol cutout, with or without a magazine inserted.  The dense PE foam holds the firearm much more firmly than the squared-off pick-n-pluck insert previously occupying the case and the finger notches make removing it easy, even in light gloves.  The customized shape perfectly fit the partially-rearward slide and extended threaded barrel with a thread protector while the custom rectangle shape holds two magazines, loaded or unloaded, flat or upright, as well as accommodating other small accessories.

Having used the case for travel, as well as a number of range trips, it does a great job of holding and protecting the contents and has no noticeable wear or other issues.  It should hold up well to years of travel, including being tossed around by airline baggage goons.

Foam prices vary depending on case size and are generally a bit more expensive than a block of pick-n-pluck from the case manufacturer (if you can find it for your case).  If you are trying to keep costs at a minimum, you can almost certainly go cheaper with pick-n-pluck foam.  If you already have a hot wire cutting rig (which you probably don’t unless you do a lot of custom foam), you can likely create a decent insert from generic foam.  Even then, given the cost of the cutting rig, the practice required to make a good cutout, and the quality of the MCB product, it would be difficult to beat the price, quality or ease of ordering from MyCaseBuilder.

2 Responses to Designing Your Own Custom Case with MyCaseBuilder

  • Hi, How much are the setting up cost. We produce a limited amount of pistol cases and a foam insert would probably suit us fine. We sell estimated 25-75 per.year cases of one particular model. We have several models. Regards, Charles

    • GunLinkBlog says:

      Hi, Charles. There is no set up cost. The case inserts that we have personally ordered have all been one-off cases. You can go to the My Case Builder website to create an account. While logged in, you can design your own case foam layout (or layouts) and save them in your layout library. Whenever you need one, you can just log in and order that layout.

      The process is very easy and we have been very satisfied with our case inserts.

      If you would like, I can put you in touch with my contacts at MCB.

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