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 My experience on cutting pelican case foam 
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not really 'gunsmithing', but I didn't see a better place for this:

I have researched lots of solutions for cutting foam, box cutters, electric turkey knives, handheld wire knives... after all my homework, I decided I didn't want to buy a specialized tool that I will probably only use a couple of times.. and I spent all my money on the case anyway.

I decided that a 'hot wire table' would be the best route, and after looking at several other designs this is what I came up with, using stuff I had laying around my house.

Step 1, need a table surface. a piece of plywood on some 2x4s would have worked, but I had half of a planter box that was destined for the dump, so it got re-purposed into my table.
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Step 2: the hot wire. I found a roll of multi strand picture hanging wire, turns out a single strand is about right. you can buy nickel chromium wire if you want, this worked for me. a spring and a bolt to connect it at either end
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Step 3: couple of scrap 2x4s and a piece of plywood to reinforce it and I have my arm. I made it 14" deep so it could reach all areas of my foam. eyelet screwed into the upper arm, with the spring, and a hole drilled through the table for the wire to go through.
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Step 4: Underneath, the wire is wound around the bolt, and tightened with a couple of nuts. all held in place by the spring on the upper arm, keeping tension on the wire.
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Step 5: To heat up the wire, I went through my bucket of AC adapters that I keep from all my electronic devices that have died over the years, and tried a few of them until I found the right amperage for the length of wire I was using. I ended up settling around 1.25 amps, and one of them did overheat in the process of cutting. All I did was cut off the end, and put an alligator clip on each wire. then clipped one to the bolt on the bottom of the table, and one end to the spring on the top. the wire heated up nicely and cut through the foam like a breeze.
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This took me about an hour to get together and test out a couple pieces of foam, not too bad, and didn't cost anything.


Now, on to the Pelican case.

Step 1: I started placing everything I wanted to put in the case, moving it all about, and settled on what was going in, and the approximate locations
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Step 2: I traced out everything onto poster board. this step makes cutting them out, and final placement MUCH easier. after tracing out the guns/mags, I cut inside the lines by about 1/8" to account for the width of the cut, and give everything a nice tight fit.
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Step 3: Now all your stencils can be pinned on to the foam in the exact location you want them, and lining things up is nice and easy. I left a bit of room under the AR in case I think of something I want to add, like a cleaning kit or something.
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Step 3: the scary/exciting part. start cutting your foam! I used a box knife along a straight edge to give me a spot to pull the wire through the foam. Then turn on the power and guide the wire slowly around the stencil, if you move too quickly, you'll get angled cuts. repeat this step until all your pieces are cut out. after each piece was cut out, I'd put it back in, to help keep the foam keep its shape while cutting the other pieces out.
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Congratulations! you've got a custom cut case to be proud of. :rockout:
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Last edited by brian on Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:37 am
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Sweet I need to do this. But I have to say I think you spent all your money on the sweet contents in that case, not the case. :thumbsup2:


Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:43 am
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That is bad ass Brian! :bow:


Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:45 am
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Nraman wrote:
Sweet I need to do this. But I have to say I think you spent all your money on the sweet contents on that case, not the case. :thumbsup2:


hahaha, yeah, that may have been part of it. :thumbsup2:

I think the contents warranted a better case than they had previously


Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:47 am
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I am BEYOND impressed.... :bow:

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Please support the organizations that support all of us.

Leave it cleaner than you found it.


Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:54 am
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This would make a good PIF to do for someone or you could charge to do it.
(I would pay)

:bow:

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Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:20 pm
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Damn! You can start a side business.

Very cool!

Thank you for sharing - good info! :thumbsup2:

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Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:33 pm
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Wow, awesome!


Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:36 pm
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Very cool!


Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:53 pm
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Is there anything you can't cut?


Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:50 pm
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Massivedesign wrote:
Is there anything you can't cut?


The list just got shorter :bigsmile:


Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:06 pm
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Thanks for the write-up and photos. You laid it all out so simply that most of us can replicate this at home. You rock!


Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:13 pm
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Way Cool! Nice work Brian.

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Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:30 pm
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brian wrote:
Massivedesign wrote:
Is there anything you can't cut?


The list just got shorter :bigsmile:


Perfect answer to that question. Now I know who to come to when I decide to do one of these things. Great job man.

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Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:51 pm
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I nominate for sticky!


Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:20 am
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