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Rolling case dilemma...

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Allright guys, i have one for you.  I basically work in many different type of shoots and a wide variety of locations ( indoor or outdoor, clean or dirty and muddy etc… ).  I also do Documentary, simple interview, green screen, fiction, commercial etc…  I have been struggling to find a good rolling case setup that would enable me to feel confident i have at least the minimum equipment to tackle surprise, but also small and versatile enough to workout.  

 

Here are the criteria i want:

Rolling case.

Lightweight ( can be lifted in a car trunk by one guy )

Drawers ( definitly )

Tough

Weather resistant.

Would love to be able to set it on a rear minivan seat and have access to drawers ( like mid row grand caravan type ) or in the trunck of a station wagon.

 

 

Here are some things i did in the past….

 

 

1- Largest pelican box, fitted with drawers.

 
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This was an attempt at making a cart out of a pelican box.  Works great but it is so big ( double the size i want ) and heavy ( over 100lbs empty ), it cannot be managed by one guy.  I'll keep it for shows where i have a boom op and i need a ton of gear.
 
 
 
2- Small Sterilite plastic cabinet, bunged to a collapsible hand truck.

 

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I did this to see if i had enough space in that sized kit.  I do.  But the thing is so flimsy, it feels like its going to flex itself to pieces.  Also the gear is not protected inside from shocks ( no foam ), it lets rain or snow in, and if i put it on it's back, things get out of drawers… not the best.

 

 

 

3- Greg Sextro Mini-Cart.

 

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Now that is beautiful!!!  But, i would rather have something made in a Pelican case type or more weatherproof ( mostly the wet stuff ).

 

 

 

4- Mobile Millitary pelican/Hardigg/Stormcase offerings.

 

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I have looked at these.  They are the Hardigg Medchest series from the Mobile Medical line on Pelican website.  They cost over 2600$, weight around 70-100lbs empty.  Visually what i would like but way to pricey and heavy.

 

 

 

5- Pelican tool chest ( Tom Visser made a version of that ).

See this post for more details. 

 

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Definitly i nice effort from Tom here.  But the case is on it's side ( i don't like that since i would rather have it upright ), still heavy ( 40lbs alone ), and i don't think it is pratical to have everything foamed separately ( waist of space ).  Perfect for airplane travelling i am sure.

 

 

 

So size wise, something along this:

iM2620 Pelican Storm Case
Interior Dimensions:
20.00" x 14.00" x 10.00" (50.8 x 35.5 x 25.4 cm)

 

I already have one of those.  But the trick is to make ( or find ) drawers that are lightweight, will keep the gear in them when case is on it's back.

 

ANY IDEAS GUYS?

 

Thanks

 

Pascal

 

 

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How about a 8 or 10 RU plastic rack case with aluminum drawers to taste?

 

When I designed my current cart, I based it on two 8 RU cases. I used plywood cases because I wanted to mount lots of things to the outside that needed to be stable (antenna mast, boom holder, big wheels, and so on) and didn't trust plastic cases in that respect. The downside is weight, but I can still handle each case well enough to get it in and out of my car, or up a narrow flight of stairs.

Basically, one of the cases holds the stuff I mostly need in the morning and at wrap time (comteks, cabling, and so on) and the other is the actual "working" module with mics, wireless, bits & pieces, comtek TX, and batteries. On top of this I place my 788T bag, which is self-contained on a smaller scale as well. I can use just the bag, or bag with top unit, or bag on full cart (top and bottom unit).

 

EDIT: here's a picture of my cart in an earlier stage. By now, some things have slightly changed.

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I don't use my Pelican tool case that much anymore. It's definitely a kick ass soution for packing stuff up, taking to cargo, put on a palette, but the case is prohibitively heavy to travel on domestic air flights. It's been to Ecuador and back, but that's about it.

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When I read your description, I was picturing maybe something like this:
 
http://www.amazon.com/BOSTITCH-BTST19802-Rolling-Tool-Box/dp/B008J2IPW6
 
Weather resistance is the checkmark it doesn't hit as well, but to get that, I think you're going to increase the weight a good bit (as per the solutions above).

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Thanks John.  I looked at these box and also the Fat Max but decided against them. THey are fairly fragile in the long run and don't believe that they would protect the gear against assistant throwing a gobo stand in the van...

 

Tom, that's what i also taught about that case.  Looks pretty cool but too heavy.  I guess i am looking at finding out how to have drawers in a Stormcase IM2620...

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You might have to build something custom.  ABS plastic comes in 4X8 sheets and in various thicknesses.  Its smooth on one side and textured on the other and black is a common color.  It's fairly easy to cut (score and break, or table saw with fine blade) but is pretty strong. I've used it a lot to make wireless boxes etc. for my bag but don't know how it would do on larger dimensions.  Combined with aluminum shapes it could be pretty strong.

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Bernie, how do you fasten three piece to make a corner? Using aluminium angles, but do you use rivets? Glue?

Interesting.

Rivets and aluminum angles work well.  I combined that with some very thin, high quality double stick tape, (3M makes it I think) and you get a very strong joint.  The double stick gives a continuous adhesion between the rivets.  You can actually stick it all together and then do the riveting.  I've also played with making angles and boxes out of the plastic as well.  You jig the plastic panel with clamps and wood and heat it up with a heat gun.  It's possible but fairly time consuming and if you goof up its hard to salvage.  When it works it looks great and is strong.  I'd think it would be more practical to use aluminum on the larger scale project like this.

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It seems like the objection to most of these quite impressive solutions is weight.  But I don't see a way around that really.  First off the gear and AKS are heavy when added together, and a case that can take that weight AND hold up to airline baggage torture is going to have to be pretty solid.  Is there a possibility that you could use still/DSLR style backpacks and drop them into empty Pelicans for air or truck travel?  It seems like the drawer thing (as opposed to pouches etc) is making the cases need to be pretty rigid (or they will jam right away), and thus heavy.  I look at what the camera dept does and they still have a number of (mostly) human-liftable cases as opposed to a few really monster units.....  Does the result have to ba able to function as a sound cart as well as storage/shipping?

 

philp

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The case doesn't have to act like a cart. For that I will use the first huge case with drawer I got. It's got a sliding shelf that can take a mixer.

What I would like is for the case to be smaller and stand upright with drawer. The idea behind the drawer is simply to be able to access things more easily while being able to put the bag and/or other things on the top. Also can be set on a car seat or in a van/wagon trunk to work to work with.

I tried the backpack route ( actually a messenger bag with a divider insert in it ), and it works BUT i always miss something I should have brought. The Stormacse IM2620 is pretty small and I can fit everything I want in it. Filled with gear and a divider kit, it is still manageable weight wise. I'm willing to add the drawers weight. But can figure out on to build them and out of what....

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I have worked with a couple of mixers that have used a Fiber Case salesmen case,  Drawer case.  They work fairly well for caring lots of gear.   We had one rigged with hooks on the back to attach to a Magliner.  We used that as a follow cart for a whole season on a television show.  When we were in a location that was space limited we were able to lift it off the Magliner and bring in just about everything we needed.  

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.fibrecase.com/salesmancases.html

 

Brian 

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I use this as a rolling case solution:

http://www.sortimo.de/index.php?id=2104&forceMobile=1&sortimo=2012&L=1

It has the drawers, is lightweight and very robust. The great thing about this system is that it is modular. You can buy different size cases with and without drawers (the smaller one don't have drawers) and you can stack them atop each other. Each case will lock onto the case below, which means you only ever need to use the handle of the top case to pick up the entire tower.

The whole case stack can then be clicked onto a roller board which has 4 small wheels, two with brakes, all of them can turn in any direction. Depending on the height you can sit on the stacked cases even when on the wheel platform. They even sell a cushion to fit the case. I also sometimes put my bag on it.

There are different types of drawers (check out their site), and the cases that don't have drawers can be purchased with different insides, like the popular cut-out foam and other things. I have also put the inserts from a pelican case inside one.

This company specializes in drawer racks and other things for cars, so they have various options for securing this in your car.

I have a VW van and they have put a metal bracket thing in there on which I can sort of hang all stacked cases and secure with a belt. It's very quick to put it in.

Great thing about this system is that I can adapt quickly for different jobs, just add another case on top.

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How about a 8 or 10 RU plastic rack case with aluminum drawers to taste? When I designed my current cart, I based it on two 8 RU cases. I used plywood cases because I wanted to mount lots of things to the outside that needed to be stable (antenna mast, boom holder, big wheels, and so on) and didn't trust plastic cases in that respect. The downside is weight, but I can still handle each case well enough to get it in and out of my car, or up a narrow flight of stairs.
You can easily trust plastic rack cases, they are very robust. I have a similar setup as yours, but based on plastic cases. I have simply added large washer on the other side. It's very solid and much, much lighter

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I've been kicking around similar setups in my head.  

I'm doing everything from corporate stuff, medial product shoots, to alligator hunting trips, and fishing boats in the middle of the ocean. 

 

I have the Portabrace WPC-3OR and it's nice (huge) for flyaway shoots, though I feel like there has to be a better solution out there somewhere, no drawers and the dividers suck:

http://www.portabrace.com/products/production-gear/645-wheeled-production-cases

18lbs without dividers but you can fill it to well over 100lbs without hardly trying, it's so big.  
 

One thing I came across and thought was interesting is this from Petrol:

http://www.petrolbags.com/product/1015395.1008306.0.0.0/PA1003/_/Large_Deca_Gear_%26_Accessories_Bag

17.8lbs dry, doesn't have drawers really but has that compartment area underneath the top cargo space, interesting but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. 

 

I stage my gear in 3 levels.  

Just the bare essentials, in a Pelican 1510

Then I add backup equipment, and just in case, problem solving stuff like adapter packages.

Then I'm bringing out the cart with all the bells and whistles. 

 

I'm looking for something that can get me to level 2 that I can just toss on the cart for level 3 and go but airline checkable for fly away shoots. 

 

These are the sort of things that keep me up at night.  

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Crussell, I like the thinking. I'm in the same mindset. Just did a shoot as splinter unit and was in snow and mud. That's where this is from. Had to get on my knees to open up my case to get to a Comtek!!! Wasn't cool!!!

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Now you got me googling around before bed, I'm blaming you if I can't sleep :)

 

I found this, it looks very interesting:

http://festoolusa.com/power-tools/storage-systems/

 

And they have a cart for the system:

http://festoolusa.com/power-tool-accessories/storage-systems/sysport-cart/sysroll-systainer-and-storage-dolly-498660

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With those drawers--how do you keep the contents from shifting and jamming the drawer from opening?  Or small stuff from falling out between the drawers if the case is manhandled or tipped onto its back during travel?  On a camera truck that might not happen, but in air shipping?  Those PortaB rolly production bags look good, but are so big they'd end up pretty heavy...  Some music recordists seemed to like these backpacks (over on GS)--folks who do music shoots via subway transpo etc: http://nambagear.com/products/big-namba-studio-backpack/

 

philp

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When I got my Fat Max, I added some mounting points for bungees and boom bobbers. The bungees hold the bag down securely on top of the case. It holds steady through moves, the boom holders are oldy for resting though. Bungees have to be removed to open the Fat Max, which is only a minor annoyance. This set up has served as a great "project cart" for a bunch of shoots. I know the fat max will lose a fight to something one day, but that day has yet to come.

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