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how to make your own custom foam inserts

Making your own custom foam inserts

Try as we might, we just can’t stock a custom foam insert for every single brand of toolbox, and for every single case variant within those ranges. We always welcome feedback on what additions you’d like to see in our range, and keep a close eye on what’s becoming popular. So our range of ready-made inserts is growing all the time.

However, if you have a case or drawer or even bag that we don’t stock ready made inserts for, it’s still totally possible to create your own custom foam insert for any container. Here we talk you through how.

What you’ll need to make your own custom foam inserts

First up, some Shadow Foam of course. But the size you need will be at your discretion. We can of course manufacture your foam to the exact dimensions of your case with our custom foam service, but this takes a little longer and is typically a bit more expensive as we are making it specifically for you.

So wherever possible, take a look at our value pack and medium sheet options which should be more than big enough to cover most case sizes.

Also you will need the right tools for working with the foam. Our accessories store is full of useful items to equip you with all you need for working with Shadow Foam. Our website often also has incentives with free cutting equipment for qualifying orders, so do check those out. These items are really important not just for keeping you safe when working with the product, but for getting the very best results for your project.

Another useful resource for getting a great finish on your work is the How To section of our website with lost of helpful guides and tips for working with Shadow Foam. We very much recommend you check this out along with any of the videos on our Youtube Channel before getting started on your project.

Deciding on the depth(s) of foam you’ll need

This depends on so many factors. Not least your case size and depth, but also the size of the items you want to store in there. Additionally you might even wish to have multiple removable layers of foam to maximise the space in your case. Really then, this is very much down to you and your own preference and requirements. But we do have some additional information available to help you work out and decide what’s best for your project, so do check them out if you aren’t sure, or if you need more help and resources with your Shadowfoaming project.

Making your own custom foam inserts

When it comes to making your own custom fit foam inserts, there are a variety of methods, so choose the one that’s right for you:

The paper method

(AKA amongst our team as the Blue Peter method) This is by far the simplest method of doing it, and the only material you’ll need for doing it is a little scrap paper and some tape. Yet the results can be really accurate and professional.

In this example you can see us modifying an old Makita Power Tool Case and then creating it’s own custom fit insert for it. And no sticky backed plastic required!

Methods for larger or more complex boxes

We adapted the paper method here for a larger-scale (and they don’t come much larger than this!) case. Additionally it was a really complex shape too which makes this a really good example of how you can use this method for even the most seemingly complicated of cases. In this case a giant, literally bomb-proof Supro Box.

Free-handing or trace cutting

A lot more fraught with potential issues, but totally achievable with a little time and patience. And particularly suited to things like soft-sided bags and cases where the above method just won’t work. They often involve having to do things like mould the profile of the shape of the foam to work with the bag.

But these two example projects give you some great hints and tips for crafting and tweaking the foam to suit these otherwise awkward containers.

Very complex shapes

Using the above method, you can also adapt this to create a custom foam insert for extremely complex cases. In this example we used a soft-sided golf bag and adapted it using Shadow Foam to house a BMX bike. This demonstrates perfectly how you can create inserts for even the most awkward of cases or items.

Creating a dxf file for CNC cutting an insert

With CNC cutting becoming more widely done not just in workplaces but in homes for makers and hobbyists, we thought we’d give you an insight on how that can be done to get a custom insert. Here we demonstrate the method for creating the calibrated illustrator image from which we can then create a .dxf file. From there the custom insert can be CNC cut precisely.

Hopefully this gives you a method to suit you for creating your own custom fit insert, but we also welcome ideas for other methods you’ve found as well as ideas for more popular containers you would like to see added to our range of ready made inserts. Get in touch if you have any thoughts.

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