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Ikea style pistol box - community project

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Post by shootingsight Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:30 am

I'm kicking around the idea of making an Ikea style pistol box, where I could get a laser company to cut a bunch of pieces from aluminum sheet, use aluminum angle to form corners, and sell it un-assembled as a 'kit' for a user to install.  This idea came out of a tangential discussion on a different thread, so I decided to start a new thread dedicated to the subject.  Following is my final post in the old thread, to start this one off:

I think the idea of an ikea style kit is workable.  Thin aluminum plates can be laser cut very efficiently, including having all the screw/rivet holes already correctly placed.  Corners are formed by using aluminum angle, either on the inside, or the outside of the plates.  Aluminum angle could be similarly prepped, either using extruded profile, or laser cutting, then bending in a press break (the latter having the advantage that again, all the holes are laser drilled in the correct locations).  There is hardware to be assembled - handle, latches, drawer slides, hinges.  But that job becomes easier if you are doing a bunch of them at the same time, and again, all the screw holes will be pre-drilled by laser, so will be in the correct locations.

Normally, this type of thing in metal would be assembled by taking one big sheet and bending it to form corners.  But if you accept that all corners will be formed by angles with flat plates attached on both sides, suddenly this project becomes easier, and can be shipped as a flat box.

So: pop rivets, or screws with nuts?  Since you are laser cutting the holes, you could even put square holes in the plates, then use carriage bolts for a cleaner look.

I'll start developing it in CAD.  That way, if any of the community want to contribute with design ideas, I can post drawings for people to critique or build on.  There is a laser/fabrication shop right down the street from me that I have done business with, so we might actually be able to pull this off.  An Ikeish pistol box ...

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Post by John Dervis Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:55 pm

A kit idea would overcome one of the major hurdles of the high shipping costs so you might be on to something.  GUNS magazine has their old issues online and if you look at some from the 50's and 60's you will see adds for both complete boxes as well as for kits like you describe.  These were made of wood of course but the aluminum would probably be better for consistency and accuracy of the holes and such.  An offshoot idea might be to offer just the outer box so a buyer could design and fabricate their own tray.  I will suggest that one of the keys for me would be that the design of the front should be angled like a GunHo or Pachmayr box.  I have seen attempts at a squared off front which I am sure is easier to build but the angled front is a more practical design.

Good luck with your project.
John

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Post by oxbowbob Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:04 pm

FWIW ... Wasn't someone on here building or built a box using parts from this company? Looks like a convenient short cut.

Penn Elcom - N-Case 2 (penn-elcom.com)
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Post by javaduke Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:08 pm

Would it be possible to design this with optional parts and extensions, such that it can be built into 2-gun, 3-gun or 4-gun box, with optional additional drawer for small pieces, spotting scope mount, magazine holders, etc?

And you'll need to come up with a catchy Swedish-like name for it Smile Something like "Büllseye" Razz

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Post by shootingsight Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:21 pm

I did see that thread.  When I look at it, it looks like these components are intended to be glued/stapled together, and they are for thicker pieces, like wood.  I was thinking of using aluminum sheets.  Wood has a density of around 1, aluminum has a density of around 4, but the tensile strength of aluminum is about 8x higher than plywood.  So instead of 1/4" plywood, I could use 20 ga aluminum, which is 0.032" thick.  It would be the same strength, but only half the weight.

My thought is to use button head screws and nuts instead of rivets.  That way, you could assemble it a little loose, then square it up and snug all the bolts.  You could then (optional) unscrew the panels one at a time, add glue, and put that panel back on so it is glued and also has screws.

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Post by rich.tullo Tue Aug 23, 2022 4:05 pm

John Dervis wrote:A kit idea would overcome one of the major hurdles of the high shipping costs so you might be on to something.  GUNS magazine has their old issues online and if you look at some from the 50's and 60's you will see adds for both complete boxes as well as for kits like you describe.  These were made of wood of course but the aluminum would probably be better for consistency and accuracy of the holes and such.  An offshoot idea might be to offer just the outer box so a buyer could design and fabricate their own tray.  I will suggest that one of the keys for me would be that the design of the front should be angled like a GunHo or Pachmayr box.  I have seen attempts at a squared off front which I am sure is easier to build but the angled front is a more practical design.

Good luck with your project.
John
Composite is good too.
rich.tullo
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Post by Wobbley Tue Aug 23, 2022 7:06 pm

Well, with sheetvaluminum you can use a router to make sheet metal blanks.  But, you still end up with a lot of $ in labor.  A CNC machine operator has a burdened cost of around $100 to $150 per hour.  And then you get to use a lot of fasteners (figure on one rivet or screw per inch) even “pull” rivets becomes tedious.  Bonding might be better, but that is VERY process dependent.  

Maybe a better idea is to use 5mm Baltic plywood?  Cut out on a CNC 2 axis router, and jointed as necessary, might be a better option.  You won’t be able to sit on it, but is should fit the needs better. 

For a really deluxe lightest weight box you could use 1/4 thick cored composite panels.  Relatively easy to join, you “can” sit on them, and they’re virtually indestructible (at least less so than plywood). 

Both of these systems could be shipped flat, saving on shipping cost,
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Post by Wobbley Tue Aug 23, 2022 7:23 pm

My only real wish is that we really re-think these ideas of “pistol boxes”.  Basically the pistol box really is an exotic spotting scope stand.  That’s it’s main function on the line in the “classic” configuration.  There are way way better ways of doing all of the current functions.  

Consider a box with 3 layers of drawers.  The bottom two are for transporting guns laying down each nestled in foam cut out for your gun.  The third drawer are for your “everyday” things and stuff you need on the line.  It can be deep enough for muffs, glasses, block to rest gun on..,cleaning supplies and most other things.  Then there is a “top till” split into two lengthways.  The side further away from the front opening has the spotting scope.  The other side can be for muffs and other large items.  The box is secured like a machinist box with a front panel that drops down and can be lined to be a soft area for the gun to rest on.  

There’s no need to design a “pistol box” like it’s still the 1950s.
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Post by fc60 Tue Aug 23, 2022 7:28 pm

Greetings,

What CAD software will you be using?

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by zanemoseley Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:14 pm

javaduke wrote:Would it be possible to design this with optional parts and extensions, such that it can be built into 2-gun, 3-gun or 4-gun box, with optional additional drawer for small pieces, spotting scope mount, magazine holders, etc?

And you'll need to come up with a catchy Swedish-like name for it Smile Something like "Büllseye" Razz


Extensions would require engineering and fabbing easy to detach joinery which costs more and reduces ridgity, might as well look at the best selling 3 gun Strongcase and start with those dimensions.

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Post by SonOfAGun Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:38 pm

Wobbley wrote:...

Consider a box with 3 layers of drawers.  The bottom two are for transporting guns laying down each nestled in foam cut out for your gun.  The third drawer are for your “everyday” things and stuff you need on the line.
...

Yeah, this is exactly it.

Each gun drawer holds a gun and magazines, etc. This seems much more logical than the old "standing upright" approach in traditional boxes.

Another sectioned drawer for tools, supplies, small parts, etc.

Heavy guns on the bottom, lighter stuff like scope and muffs at the top to increase stability.
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Post by Wobbley Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:41 pm

Using case lathes on the ends, you could also have a 4 inch deep or so attachment for carrying ammo and other heavy items.
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Post by zanemoseley Tue Aug 23, 2022 9:12 pm

SonOfAGun wrote:
Wobbley wrote:...

Consider a box with 3 layers of drawers.  The bottom two are for transporting guns laying down each nestled in foam cut out for your gun.  The third drawer are for your “everyday” things and stuff you need on the line.
...

Yeah, this is exactly it.

Each gun drawer holds a gun and magazines, etc. This seems much more logical than the old "standing upright" approach in traditional boxes.

Another sectioned drawer for tools, supplies, small parts, etc.

Heavy guns on the bottom, lighter stuff like scope and muffs at the top to increase stability.


Except an all drawer version that isn't "standing upright" wouldn't accommodate a spotting scope as well. To me the benefit of a bullseye box is half in the scope stand and scope storage aspects. I don't even transport my pistols in the box, it's just for the scope, mitts, mat, clipboard, stapler, mags and some ammo.

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Post by Wes Lorenz Tue Aug 23, 2022 9:53 pm

This was my take on an aluminum box with no drawer slides that weigh a lot. The drawer has a hinge in the back to allows the drawer to tilt to remove the gun cases.  
The pistols survived a really bad event in those cases. I'm designing a new revision with some improvements, so I don't have to TIG weld as much.

Ikea style pistol box - community project Cimg0514

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Post by RoyDean Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:05 pm

I have been noodling on this subject for over a year. Like Wobbley, I want to explore something different from the traditional "Pachmayr" style.

I am (slowly) building a "tote" out of 80-20 Aluminum with standard fasteners. Yes, it will primarily be "an exotic spotting scope stand". I'm building a "space frame" from the Al extrusions, no panels needed, guns in standard plastic carry cases which drop into place. Tools and loose bits in a dedicated plastic box and/or on magnets. Built in clamps to hold it securely on to the bench. Brass screens "fan" out at the back. 

Unfortunately I am travelling this month, but when I get back to base I will make an effort to progress and will post photos - watch this space!

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Post by SonOfAGun Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:18 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Except an all drawer version that isn't "standing upright" wouldn't accommodate a spotting scope as well. To me the benefit of a bullseye box is half in the scope stand and scope storage aspects. I don't even transport my pistols in the box, it's just for the scope, mitts, mat, clipboard, stapler, mags and some ammo.

Well, it could be the same form factor as a traditional box, but instead of the top shelf that holds upright guns, there could be a series of drawers. So the lid still flips up for scope mounting, etc.
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Post by popchevy Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:29 pm

Kinda like a tool box ? hmmm. A carbon fiber tool box would be too cool and light.

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Post by 10sandxs Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:45 pm

oxbowbob wrote:FWIW ... Wasn't someone on here building or built a box using parts from this company? Looks like a convenient short cut.

Penn Elcom - N-Case 2 (penn-elcom.com)
Yeah I was/am. Looked at selling it as a kit. Someone good with tools CAN easily assemble with a tube of construction adhesive and some clamps. If they get it square, they're good to go. If they don't, you start over.

I tried 20 ga aluminum with 4 sides bent and the seam bolted in the middle of a face. It was still really flimsy and i ended up adding a bunch of reinforcement to make it stable. I'd say it'll be just as bad or worse bolted to angle. Anyone remember Erector Sets???

Strong case uses thin aluminium, but two sides to form a "box within a box" so they can get some rigidity there. 

My second box was 1/8 sheet welded. Super solid... super heavy.

I looked at composites for the panels, honeycomb core laminates, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Things get expensive quick.

Good luck. I mean that seriously. Be prepared to get a lot of feedback about why it's too big, or too small, or doesn't have the right features or is to heavy, or too light (blow over in wind) and of course... its too expensive.

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Post by popchevy Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:57 pm

Too expensive !!! I used to race a carbon fiber formula car, it consumed 100 dollar bills at a frightening pace. But in the process , I learned to work with the stuff. I'm not rich , so I had to fix my own panels. Someone comes up with some plans, I'm intrigued. It would be time consuming , but fun.

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Post by shootingsight Wed Aug 24, 2022 10:52 am

My thought here was to use screws with nuts, so you could assemble it finger tight, but still leave it loose enough that you could square it up, and snug the screws.  Then, after it all worked right, take off one panel at a time, add glue, and put that panel back tight before going to the next panel.

You are correct - this will be an experiment in balancing rigidity versus weight.

I also like your comment about the double wall.  I'll think about using U-channel, instead of L-channel on at least some of the panels.  That way, you could make it double wall, even though it was bolt-together.

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Post by xman Wed Aug 24, 2022 3:01 pm

Why mess with designs like Gun Ho and Pacmeyer. The designs are tried and true. It is only the materials that need up-dating .... The economy of scale in manufacturing, even in a limited market can make this doable. Established shooters get the new boxes for the "wow" factor and donate the older boxes to juniors. A win-win situation.

Upright pistols, secured correctly with the friction holding fingers in a multi pistol unit does work. Yeah you do need to pad the fingers some to add "grip" to the finger slots but they work. But dont test with the Sampsonite luggage gorilla please. (a blast from the past for those of a certain age....)
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Post by hengehold Wed Aug 24, 2022 4:13 pm

I like the idea of selling a pistol box kit. I also like the idea of drawers for the guns instead of the traditional standup design. However, like others have stated, I do not even carry guns and ammo in my box because it gets too heavy. In my limited experience, my box serves two main functions:
1. Scope stand for 50 yds.
2. Brass deflection screen holder, if my shooting neighbor does not use an effective brass catcher.
In my opinion, Any new design should accommodate those two functions.
-TH

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Post by shootingsight Wed Aug 24, 2022 4:30 pm

I was thinking of adding wheels and a long handle, so you can pull it behind you like rolling luggage these days, but I'm thinking first let's get a shell, so we can tweek material thickness.

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Post by xman Wed Aug 24, 2022 4:46 pm

shootingsight wrote:I was thinking of adding wheels and a long handle, so you can pull it behind you like rolling luggage these days, but I'm thinking first let's get a shell, so we can tweek material thickness.
Most range location/parking are pretty rugged, dirt, gravel, rocks you name it until you get to the firing line that "usually" has a concrete pad. Just my experience. I agree on lets get a workable shell/kit or even complete box manufacturing using laser and/or printable parts.
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Post by 10sandxs Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:55 pm

Be judicious where you use 3d prints and what material. They fail quickly and catastrophically if applied wrong.

I use them daily and have success and horror stories. The quality of the printer is also a VERY big factor in the quality of the print.

Someone mentioned economy of scale... that happens at hundreds, not tens, and I don't see the pistol box builders turning down work because they're too busy...

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