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Old 12-02-2019, 08:20 PM
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How do they make the foam trays for this tool box?


Anyone read the Sharper Image catalog. They have a great tool box here. Alas these are not the tools I need. I need some of them, but not all of them. And, there are some tools that I need that are not in this case.

So, my question is how to make the foam trays that are used to hold the tools in this tool box? Because, I think I can get an aluminum case easily and inexpensively. And, I already have most of my tools. So, how can I make the foam trays that store the tools in this case?

Thanks in advance
Ficer67
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:26 PM
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What makes you think they are foam?
The trays look like simple vacuum-molded plastic to me.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:31 PM
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There's a ton of tutorials on youtube to make your own trays.
My recollection is that there's two basic ways. Either get some dense styrofoam and whittle out the spots for your tools or pour in some resin or foam (like Great Stuff), cover it with a plastic bag and shove all your tools in where you want them. After it dries you can clean it up.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:32 PM
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I'm not going to google this from my work computer, but they make cases for guns with self-setting foam inserts. You put the gun in, a couple magazines, cleaning kit, whatever, and close it, and it forms around the gun. I don't remember if they harden in place or just stay kind of soft, so that might not work for you.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:35 PM
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And keep in mind, though this will make your tools look neater, you'll be able to hold considerably less in the same space.
IMO, you're better off getting some cheap tool box organizers and making them work for you.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:00 PM
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Thanks guys! I am doing this project for Christmas. I want to make a case with some plastic trays that hold all of the tools that I need for work. I want them stored in a molded foam tray. It might take me into the new year to complete this tool box.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:11 PM
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For larger items, you can get foam pre-cut into cubes. Just pick out the cubes where the equipment gets inserted. Wouldn't work so well for, say, a set of socket wrenches, but great for camera equipment, etc.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:30 PM
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Beowulf is correct - the tool box you show is likely custom made vacuum formed plastic. When you look at it, usually each tool slot will have slight bumps on the sides. The tool itself snaps beneath those, holding the tool in place, regardless of box's orientation.

I've done the Great Stuff spray foam technique and it works OK with some caveats. I used plastic cling wrap and sank the tools (wrenches, screwdrivers etc) into it. That holds them reasonably well but the problem is there is nothing that keeps them in place if you move the toolbox upside down etc.

The choice I had to make was to only use one side of my homemade wooden storage box and keep the other side as straight foam, with no tool indents, i.e: the tools were on the right opening side and the left opening side was just flat foam. There maybe some youtube videos with a solution to this now, I did mine a few years ago. It's not a particularly efficient way to store narrow things like hand tools, so I gave up on it.

Where I found this technique worked really well was for power tools that were quite thick and I could use both sides of the box. For example I made a "briefcase" box for my router and the foam secured the router on both sides when it was closed.

I did another that worked fabulously: I have a nice middle eastern glass Hooka pipe, that breaks down into its components. I was able to create a nice protected storage box for the glass ball and separate spots for each component wth the same technique. It stays very snug and protected on both sides.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:51 PM
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Any reason you couldn't do the Great Stuff thing on both sides?
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:45 PM
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Another option is to use Kaizen foam which is specially designed for this purpose. Instead of molding it around tools you can cut or melt it to get the right shape.

And while custom foam tool drawers look amazing, the disadvantage is that you have to redo them if you get a new tool that doesn't fit or if you want to move stuff around. But they are pretty.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:47 AM
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@Chronos - I first tried it for small thin hand tools like wrenches (like the OP shows), but they aren't very thick (1/4")?. Imagine you've got a briefcase sized box and it's filled with great stuff, now you're trying to place an entire set of 1/4' thick wrenches, so each sits 1/8" into the curing foam or then you have to go in after the foam has set and trim it exactly so 1/8" of the tool is in the foam.

I suppose it could be done, but TBH, it was a pain in the ass and becoming a lot of work to end up with a really shitty looking amateur job. So I gave up for those small hand tools.

Doing as you say, in 2 halves, worked beautifully on larger (thicker?) tools (like my 4" thick router) or my hooka (6" glass ball). As it expands, it envelops the item, but because they're so thick there's lots of room for error if you're not exactly halfway. And it doesn't look as bad.


@Ficer67
Lee Valley Tools (an amazing wood working / gardening retailer & online sales if you don't know of them) carries this Maxi Systainer tool storage system. I've seen them in the stores but I don't have any personal experience with it. It looks exactly like what you're looking for:
https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...systainer-case

It's a case system that you buy foam inserts for and then sculpt the inserts to fit each tool:
Quote:
The perforated foam is divided into more than five hundred 16mm removable squares to let you match the approximate shape of an object for a snug fit to keep it from shifting.
It's a similar way to hold the tools that StrangeLove mentions, but this seems to be a whole system with a box as well.

Last edited by GMANCANADA; 12-03-2019 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
The choice I had to make was to only use one side of my homemade wooden storage box and keep the other side as straight foam, with no tool indents, i.e: the tools were on the right opening side and the left opening side was just flat foam. There maybe some youtube videos with a solution to this now, I did mine a few years ago. It's not a particularly efficient way to store narrow things like hand tools, so I gave up on it.
I had one which didn't flip open but slide open. It consisted of seven trays, three plus three square ones atop each other on each side, with the double-sized one in the bottom. Each pile of trays had two flat rods (I'm sure there is a better name for that), one on each of its sides, which kept the piles from breaking apart. When the trays were closed, they were held together by a hook-and-eye arrangement on the two half-handles and one on the two top trays. When you opened the box the trays formed a V. For decent-sized tools it would need the trays to be higher than mine were, but I think it could work. And if the trays had a removable side, the foam parts could be slid out to provide better acces to those tools that were partially inside.
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Last edited by Nava; 12-03-2019 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:05 PM
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@Nava - That's a great solution - I had been doing the concept as a folding briefcase style box. If I take another run at it I'll do what you did. Thanks
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