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Ikea style pistol box - community project

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Jack H
Jon Eulette
sbtzc
Coupebuilder
Greg Walloch
jim fabanich
straybrit
Dulcmrman
Tim:H11
twl
hengehold
xman
10sandxs
popchevy
RoyDean
Wes Lorenz
SonOfAGun
zanemoseley
fc60
Wobbley
rich.tullo
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oxbowbob
John Dervis
shootingsight
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Post by shootingsight Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:30 am

First topic message reminder :

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 xman Wed Aug 24, 2022 6:31 pm

10sandxs wrote: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...
Like "Field of Dreams" "Build it" and be a superior product "and they will come". A trickle at first yes. Get a reputation, encourage donations of older boxes to Junior programs. Contact State Associations for Junior programs info. Post on forums the idea of buying and donating. Five 8-1/2 x 11  sheets of paper takes standard postage. Mailout to State Championships Match Directors for distribution locally. There is a path to success.

Market, market, market. Bullseye is NOT a subset of a subgroup. It stands alone. 

Yes startup is a $$$ factor. But one shooter at a match, showing off the "NEW" box maker product, with the donation program can work wonders. Or as I would hope so.
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Post by 10sandxs Wed Aug 24, 2022 6:34 pm

xman wrote:
10sandxs wrote: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...
Like "Field of Dreams" "Build it" and be a superior product "and they will come". A trickle at first yes. Get a reputation, encourage donations of older boxes to Junior programs. Contact State Associations for Junior programs info. Post on forums the idea of buying and donating. Five 8-1/2 x 11  sheets of paper takes standard postage. Mailout to State Championships Match Directors for distribution locally. There is a path to success.

Market, market, market. Bullseye is NOT a subset of a subgroup. It stands alone. 

Yes startup is a $$$ factor. But one shooter at a match, showing off the "NEW" box maker product, with the donation program can work wonders. Or as I would hope so.
That is a dream...

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Post by twl Thu Aug 25, 2022 1:43 am

Funny .. this reminds me of the old joke about what you get when designed by committee ...
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Post by Tim:H11 Thu Aug 25, 2022 6:26 am

I’m of the belief that until someone starts manufacturing and offering a bullseye box for sale, the most affordable route and accessible way for people to make a case regardless of shop experience is to convert a Pelican or Storm case into a bullseye box. I’d like to see someone building and offering boxes again but until that happens I think the pelican is the best bet.
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Post by SonOfAGun Thu Aug 25, 2022 11:01 am

10sandxs wrote:...

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...

Right. Even if there is some pent up demand for new boxes, or even more demand for a "new and improved" rework of the traditional box design, what happens after that initial demand is satisfied? Maybe you sell 50 the first 18 months. Then what? Could someone sell a three dozen a year? Two dozen? Less?

I'd love to hear from the guys who have most recently tried to market these products. What was their run rate? Whatever it was, it seems it was too low to be a sustainable business.
- Canatek
- Greg Walloch Precision Pistol Box
- Strong Case

A customer assembled kit approach would help- less labor for the mfg., less storage space required for stock, and lower shipping costs.

The most cost effective thing would be to find an existing product that is made for some other purpose, that already has a significant and self justifying market. Then adapt that product to our purpose. Something that is common, and is already sold by the hundreds (or thousands). Then the economies of scale would play in our favor.
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Post by Dulcmrman Thu Aug 25, 2022 12:10 pm

While attending the Phoenix Rod & Gun Club Mid-Winter Precision Pistol match last February I saw quite a number of competitors from the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) and other service teams as well as many civilian shooters who were NOT using the traditional Pachmayr type of box.  Most had some kind of fairly large rectangular foam lined case into which they put their guns, ammo, and accessories.  I didn't look closely, but I'm certain that these boxes were designed with some other purpose in mind and adapted for shooting.

Some of these simply mounted their scope on a short tripod and placed it on top of the closed box.

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Post by straybrit Thu Aug 25, 2022 3:11 pm

I think that's got more to do with the fact that at the end of the match those boxes get tossed into the small box trailer, or armorer's truck at big events, and hauled off. The standard Pachmyr type box is fundamentally unsuited to this type of handling. For the same reason that you wouldn't check it in for a plane trip with your guns in it.

I've been toying with the idea of a drawer based box myself for a while. One permanent drawer with a cut out liner for a specific gun. Above that a space with front opening (side hinged) doors with sections for scoring stuff, headset,  enough ammo for a single gun match, oil, tools etc. Topped of with a tool box type drop in insert and a curved top opening on the long side. In there goes your spotting scope and vertical rod for mounting it. In the rear shooter side corner a vertical slot for the mounting rod, probably with a threaded mount point at the bottom. A corresponding notch in the lid. Then you can close everything up and still have the scope in place. A clip-on 1 or 2 drawer enclosure for 3 gun matches - i.e. the normal one day 2700. I have some outline designs in Fusion360 but like so many other projects it's competing for very limited bandwidth.  It works out to about 16" long  by 11" wide by 16" high. One of these eons I'll get around to building it.

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Post by Tim:H11 Thu Aug 25, 2022 6:38 pm

Dulcmrman wrote:While attending the Phoenix Rod & Gun Club Mid-Winter Precision Pistol match last February I saw quite a number of competitors from the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) and other service teams as well as many civilian shooters who were NOT using the traditional Pachmayr type of box.  Most had some kind of fairly large rectangular foam lined case into which they put their guns, ammo, and accessories.  I didn't look closely, but I'm certain that these boxes were designed with some other purpose in mind and adapted for shooting.

Some of these simply mounted their scope on a short tripod and placed it on top of the closed box.

We flew. We didn’t want to risk flying a bullseye box and have the airline destroy them. I had my guns in soft cases, and used a small spotter on a mini tripod. I have since built a small bullseye box out of a small pelican type case specifically for flying it to matches. If we drive, I take my usual wood type bullseye box. If we fly, the wood box stays home.
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Post by jim fabanich Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:02 pm

I have several “pelican” type boxes. On one, I am going to add a swivel that will attached and be accessible from the inside. This swivel will be for my scope rod. When not in use the rod is unscrewed and placed inside the case. Foam will be cut out in various amounts to accommodate, in this instance my Rimfire kit but can be expanded to hold my CF/45acp as well as some accessories, mags, ears and eye wear.

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Post by RoyDean Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:17 pm

This was my attempt at a "travel case" for the 2021 Summer Tour. It worked OK. I put the scope and it's support in another bag together with catcher, ammo, etc.

I put this locked case into a holdall for flight check in so that it was not obviously guns.

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In terms of protecting the guns during transit and having everything I needed at the range or for cleaning, etc., in the hotel it was great. But too heavy to lug about at Perry and there is no need to have more than two guns at the firing line during any of those summer tour events.

I drove up to OH/IN and used my regular wooden bullseye box in 2022. But I  kept my guns in separate plastic cases, That worked fine, but I hope to improve things for 2023!

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Post by hengehold Sun Aug 28, 2022 11:17 pm

RoyDean wrote:This was my attempt at a "travel case" for the 2021 Summer Tour. It worked OK. I put the scope and it's support in another bag together with catcher, ammo, etc.

I put this locked case into a holdall for flight check in so that it was not obviously guns.

Ikea style pistol box - community project - Page 2 Img_2074
Ikea style pistol box - community project - Page 2 Img_2072
Ikea style pistol box - community project - Page 2 Img_2073

In terms of protecting the guns during transit and having everything I needed at the range or for cleaning, etc., in the hotel it was great. But too heavy to lug about at Perry and there is no need to have more than two guns at the firing line during any of those summer tour events.

I drove up to OH/IN and used my regular wooden bullseye box in 2022. But I  kept my guns in separate plastic cases, That worked fine, but I hope to improve things for 2023!

Do you attach a brass screen somewhere on that scope stand?

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Post by RoyDean Mon Aug 29, 2022 2:07 am

Yes - after getting pinged with 22 brass by an AMU guy at Cardinal I made a big screen and clamped it to the scope "post". It worked, but was not ideal. For my next "tote" I plan to create a "fan" of screens pivoting on a threaded knob. The challenge is to keep it light, but stiff enough to resist Perry style wind. The simple screens I used this summer, spring clamped onto the hinged lid of my wooden box, worked fine, so I now have a good starting point.

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Post by Wobbley Mon Aug 29, 2022 6:42 pm

Not to rain on anyones parade here, but perhaps instead of an “IKEA” pistol box, perhaps it would be faster/better/cheaper to come up with a “kit” to convert a “Pelican” case like Roy did.  A small box to ship if the case is purchased separately.  The bits and pieces are cut and shaped with fastener holes pre drilled and instructions to suit.  I used a Pelican 1450 for my travel case because it fits inside my check luggage.  I figure less potential pilferage when air traveling.  So we’d need some sort of foam for the guns (3?) perhaps a place to put a scope, a partition box for small tools and stuff plus a place for earmuffs… As for scope mount, perhaps something a bit more elegant than what Roy made but similar concept.  so if someone like Froneck could make the metal bits perhaps a kit could be put together?
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Post by Greg Walloch Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:04 pm

Well, someone asked, so I’ll tell you my experience.  I built just short of 2,000 boxes over 30+ years.  I built up to 150 a year.  With other boxes floating around, Pachmayr, Gun-Ho, and Strong Case, I rarely had demand I couldn’t keep up with while living life.  

Yes, sometimes I was backed up a month or two, but I think the market for boxes in the U.S. was probably less than 500 boxes a year as boxes get passed on to other shooters, folks make their own box, or people just went with other options.

I looked at building aluminum boxes at least ten times.  They were as heavy as any Baltic Birch box, and suffered from different maladies like rivet-loosening, manufacturing costs, and fluctuating demand.  

I thought the Strong Case was well done and well-designed, but I couldn’t find someone to duplicate it for less than about $500 per box.

I used to think that the design of the box was pretty much at its pinnacle, as the sport sort of demanded a particular style to accomplish firing line safety.

I still think about these darn things daily.  I think if I needed a box, and I kid you not, I’d grab a Home Depot 5-gallon bucket, put on a multi-pocket Bucket Boss to hold my magazines and other junk, throw my pistols in gun rugs, and fashion up a scope mount that attached to that bucket.  Not pretty, but darn effective.

Shoot well everyone!

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Post by Coupebuilder Tue Aug 30, 2022 11:54 am

Been watching this thread awhile and Greg has it summed up well. In a diminishing amount of shooters there are a lot of used boxes around and the current price of materials is at an all time high. a 5x10 sheet of .050 5052 aluminum is over 400.00 Looking at my Strong case 3 gun box Im guessing it would require a 1/3to a 1/2 sheet.  Im also very well versed in laser cutting, cnc forming and bending and the other types of fabrication that make this work. To reproduce a strong case currently, in the US, I would be looking about 400.00 ea in qty of 100.    So before any other factor is considered retail pricing would need to be at least 600.00 and WD pricing might be 520.00   Thats an awful lot of money to lay out and hopefully sell 40k worth of boxes. Not to mention shipping them safely would probably start about 30.00 and go to 75 for opposite end of the country. 

I think if someone is really interested in a DIY kit the best way to do it would be 3/8 baltic birch or poplar or similar and laser cut so that it can be dovetailed at corners and assembled with mainly slot and tab and dovetail style joints. I can see doing that in qty for 100 or so per kit. add a wooden drawer and wood slides for 40.00 and then sell options. 

Ive been looking at this for years now and that the most economical way to produce any box with current price of materials and lack of skilled labor.

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Post by sbtzc Tue Aug 30, 2022 5:55 pm

Watching this thread I've wondered why there's been no mention of range bags.

It seems a pistol box is a glorified scope holder. There's a huge amount of empty space. And the box itself is a lot of weight. My 3 gun, XL Strong box weights around 16 pounds. A large range bag weights 4 pounds with a 3 gun foam holder and the NG scope tripod. 12 pounds is a lot.

The downside to range bags;
  • They don't deflect hot brass from your neighbor 
  • The NG scope system, isn't as stable in the wind, takes time to set-up and take down, and the scope itself leaves something to be desired 
  • There's nowhere to attach a deflection screen
  • There's nowhere to put cool match and gun stuff stickers 


The upside to range bags;
  • Weight
  • Less money and readily available 
  • Won't blow over in the wind
  • Built in pockets for organization 
  • Less wasted space
  • Packs in the car easier
  • Padded 
  • Less conspicuous at hotels, etc. ("That's my sumo wrestling regalia and body oiler.")


So, if one were to get a heavier tripod where a better scope and a deflector could be attached, the weight advantage is moot. But you have to say, it's still a better arrangement. 

Just my 2¢
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Post by Jon Eulette Tue Aug 30, 2022 6:42 pm

International pistol disciplines are shot out of a bag so to speak. If traveling by plane you’ll have a hard case. But if driving locally a range bag is typical. Table top tripods or spotting scope mounts are used. Was very rare to see someone using a bullseye box unless they were just getting into international. Having said that, I like/prefer a gun box for shooting bullseye.
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Post by Jack H Tue Aug 30, 2022 7:48 pm

I made a plywood box in the early 70s.  It's about 4 gun size.  It needs an new interior design.  It is orange.
I made it like that after I walked up to a twin set up on the line after a target repair.  Every thing was just like mine, box and gun.
That was the same way I sat into a Pinto car that my key didn't start.  I looked around and saw between the seats a purse that was not mine.  I looked outside and spied my twin Pinto on the left.  Moving to my twin Pinto, I saw a bunch of ladies at the windows inside a laundromat laughing their heads off.....
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Post by sbtzc Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:51 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:,... If traveling by plane you’ll have a hard case.
 
Pistol box doesn't work to fly guns either.
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Post by sbtzc Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:58 pm

Jack H wrote:,...
That was the same way I sat into a Pinto car that my key didn't start.  I looked around and saw between the seats a purse that was not mine.  I looked outside and spied my twin Pinto on the left.  Moving to my twin Pinto, I saw a bunch of ladies at the windows inside a laundromat laughing their heads off.....

Hahaha!

I was 7 when I returned from the restroom at a drive-in movie and got into mom's car. I sat and ate popcorn for around 5 minutes and then looked at mom. Holy shit! That's not mom. Nice lady just smiled and didn't say a word. I ran screaming to the other white Ford 500.
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Post by TonyH Wed Aug 31, 2022 7:07 am

Jack H wrote:I made a plywood box in the early 70s.  It's about 4 gun size.  It needs an new interior design.  It is orange.
I made it like that after I walked up to a twin set up on the line after a target repair.  Every thing was just like mine, box and gun.
That was the same way I sat into a Pinto car that my key didn't start.  I looked around and saw between the seats a purse that was not mine.  I looked outside and spied my twin Pinto on the left.  Moving to my twin Pinto, I saw a bunch of ladies at the windows inside a laundromat laughing their heads off.....
How did the Pinto look in orange trim? lol!
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Post by Jon Eulette Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:07 pm

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Post by GME Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:49 pm

Jon,

Not sure what you intended to send, but the image isn't visible, and clicking on the buttons doesn't reveal it.

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Post by 10sandxs Wed Aug 31, 2022 2:54 pm

My guess is hes probably trying to bring discussion back to topic...

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Post by DRNurse1 Wed Aug 31, 2022 10:15 pm

Excellent thread. My FiL paid for some of his competition by making wooden boxes which could house six 1911 metallic sight firearms and a small diameter scope laying down in drawers. It has a narrow drawer to accommodate a small amount of equipment, too. There are several of them still appearing on the line attesting to the durability of gun boxes in general. Without a much better "mouse trap" or an expanding customer base, I fear this will not be commercially viable even as a kit. So take several new shooters to the range!!!

May I offer: A drawer version adaptable to orthopedic grips and optic sights would be better received.

Also, Strong box attains some of its stability using hollow double wall construction fore and aft. 

Last, "Ikea-style" requires a bit of construction ability or multiple tries to work out the errors.

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