Who is Road Cases USA?What is the process for taking dimensions for custom cases?What are some tricks for measuring?I’m afraid of getting the measurements wrong on my case. What can I do to make sure I’m accurate?How do I use the foam in one of your DIY foam cases for an LCD Screen?What are the design considerations when designing a case for a podium?What are the design considerations when designing a case for a piece of medical equipment?What are the design considerations when designing a guitar vault case?What are the design considerations when designing a sports equipment shipping or sporting goods ATA cases?What are the design considerations when designing a motorized TV lift case?Do you have any trade show trunks that can double as a table?What are the pros and cons of designing for durability?What are the pros and cons of designing for light weight cases?Do you ship Internationally? Do you ship to Canada?Do Road Cases ever break?What are the most common causes of damage to what’s inside the case?What steps do we take to reduce damage when shipping cases?How soon will my case ship?What does ATA stand for?Where can I look to see the dimensions that I am allowed for a carry on, and for checked baggage, and what should I watch out for?Can you tell me about the different types of foam you use in your cases?How do I measure my LCD screen for a custom case?How do I measure my Amp? (rubber feet, odd dimensions)?How do I measure my mixer?
Founded in 1978, Road Cases builds reusable shipping cases for the safe transport of equipment. We are a small, family owned business known throughout the industry for custom building cases to suit customer needs with a fast turnaround time inside one day. Road Cases stands out from its competitors because it can protect any type of equipment in transport, while at the same time offering fast and friendly customer service.
Over 95% of our cases are custom built in the United States, in our facility in Commack, NY. In the 40+ years we have been operating, we’ve developed proprietary industrial technology to allow us to build custom cases quickly, while focusing on the features our customers care about most - protecting the investment shipping inside of the case.
What is the process for taking dimensions for custom cases?
We know making a big investment in a shipping case, and being unsure whether you measured your equipment correctly, can be scary. The short answer is, we are here to help.
When you order one of our custom cases, we will send you our measuring sheet which contains specific instructions on how to take the measurements. We recommend that you compare the measurements you take with the measurements provided by the equipment’s manufacturer.
If you contact us with your equipment’s manufacturer and model number, we’ll calculate the measurements and respond to you to review it. However, and this is very important, you must confirm the dimensions from the manufacturer. Why? Sometimes the measurements for the same model number can change from year to year, or are sometimes just wrong. Road Cases is here for you throughout this process so, to ensure the measurements are correct, we will guide you through everything on the phone. Previous customers have called us on Skype and FaceTime so that our experts can even give you pointers live on a video call.
You’ll often hear us speak about inside dimensions vs. unit dimensions. Inside dimensions are the measurements that you need for the inside of the case. Unit dimensions are the measurements of the item being put inside of the case. Typically, we add half an inch to each inside dimensions to calculate the overall unit dimensions. Rest assured though, if you believe you are a case-building jedi master, you can ask us to reduce the clearance for a snug fit.
Another consideration while taking measurements is that the thicker the foam, the more forgiving the dimensions are. The reason for this is that if your case is lined with one inch of foam and your item is a quarter of an inch larger than the inside dimensions, it’s likely your item will still fit. This is because the foam will compress to allow the item to fit in the case.
What are some tricks for measuring?
Our team of experts have revealed some of their tips and tricks to taking proper measurements.
Many items are not shaped perfectly:When we’re building cases, it makes our jobs much easier if you can take a photo on your phone or create a quick drawing of the item you are trying to measure. We understand that most cases are not perfect rectangles suited to width x depth x height dimensions.
Where to start: The width x depth x height measurements which we start with are always the largest possible dimensions, in order to fit the item in the case. If there are meaningful differences between the measurement at the deepest point to the shallowest point, it is useful to provide these to your case designer.
Calculating measurements:Sometimes it is better to add two measurements together, rather than trying to measure in one length. For example, when you are measuring the total depth of a display screen, including a mounting bracket on the back, it is easier to measure the screen width and then to add the depth of the bracket afterwards.
When using a tape measure, it is often easier to measure from the one inch mark and then subtract one inch, for a more precise measurement (and so the metal stub doesn’t get in the way).
I’m afraid of getting the measurements wrong on my case. What can I do to make sure I’m accurate?
We understand purchasing a case is a big investment and that’s why you should know that you are not alone by having these concerns. There are three things which you should know to help reduce your fear.
Probability: The number of orders where a customer takes the measurements incorrectly is incredibly low, probably one in 1,000.
Support: We are here to help. We can walk you through the process of taking dimensions on a video call.
Our experience: This isn’t our first rodeo and so we typically build a half-inch buffer into the cases. In most instances, the case would work just as well if it were another half-inch larger, so you are better off erring on the side of caution by having the measurements taken on the large side, rather than having the item too large to fit into the case.
How do I use the foam in one of your DIY foam cases for an LCD Screen?
We make three types of cases to protect your display screens - so you have a variety of options to decide which is best suited to you.
Custom cases: These can be built to the exact measurements of your screen, which is great for items that have an unusual shape to ensure they are a snug fit while being transported.
Generic-sized cases: You are responsible for adjusting the interior dimensions of the case. For some generic sized cases, Road Cases can supply strips and sheets of foam so you are able to adjust the dimensions inside the case. This helps ensure your items are kept safe and secure.
Adjustable cases: These have a built-in adjustment mechanism for changing the interior width of the case to match your model’s size.
With all of our cases, keeping the screen upright during every step of the packing process is essential. Televisions are not designed to be laid on their sides, because doing so could put pressure on or damage the LCD/LED display.
That is why it’s important to use the supplied foam sheet to protect the screen itself, taping around the edges with a removable adhesive. Use the foam strips to create blocks on the top, bottom, sides, front and back of the interior of the face. To cut the foam you can use shears or a band saw. To attach the foam to the case, you can use contact cement or this spray foam adhesive available from Penn-Elcom. Alternatively, you can call us for help.
Finally, you can also use cushioning material which you have saved from other deliveries, such as bubble wrap. Carefully slide your TV into the box, and secure with foam edge protectors. Make sure the TV unit is secure within the box and not able to move from side to side. Foam wedges which you cut from the foam strips can be useful in minimizing the movement of the screen.
What are the design considerations when designing a case for a podium?
All cases start with the basics. This involves collecting the size of the item due to go in the case (the width, depth and height) and information about how fragile the item is, so that appropriate foaming of the case for transport can be made. In the case of podiums, it is important to consider how the podium will be lifted in and out of the case. For example, is the podium heavy or light enough that the person travelling with it will be able to remove it? Does the case design consider how high the podium would need to be lifted before lowering it into the bottom half of the case? Does the podium have wheels that would make a ramp case easier? Our expert case designer will review all of these important considerations with you.
Another consideration is the difference in size between the bottom portion of the podium and the top. If the top is slightly larger than the bottom, the bottom section of the case may require additional foam and support.
What are the design considerations when designing a case for a piece of medical equipment?
One consideration for a medical equipment case is how the case is intended to be transported. For example, if the case is to be used for shipping via small parcel carrier or LTL, then the case is going to be handled multiple times by people who are not accustomed to handling fragile cargo, and who are likely not expertly trained like the Road Cases staff and your logistics workers. This means we must build your case interior to protect the item from mishandling.
You should also consider who is planning to use the equipment inside the case. If you are using the item, be careful that all controls are accessible and that you have accounted for power and ventilation.
How the case will be moved in transit is an important factor. Should it have wheels, forklift blocks or both? Should it have enough handles for one person to roll it or for multiple people to roll it. If there are sensitive areas around the surface of the item, we can add foam blocks to the case to protect it.
If the case needs to fit through a standard door, then the Road Cases team will build it to a maximum depth of 30 inches. This should be taken into consideration when designing the case with your case designer.
The information you provide Road Cases at the purchasing stage will help assist you with all these factors in the future.
What are the design considerations when designing a guitar vault case?
In the initial stage, you should tell us how many guitars do you plan to store in the case? How many electric guitars? How many acoustic guitars? How many bass guitars? When building the case, our designers will need to know if you require a drawer to store accessories.
Is this guitar your prized possession? If so, you should look towards our crushed velvet interior, which provides a luxury case for your instrument.
Perhaps you’ve spotted your dream case online, and would like it to become a reality? Let us know and we’ll make it happen. We would need the overall height of your largest guitar, as well as the widest body. We take into consideration if the guitar is electric or acoustic to figure out the needed space to accommodate the thickness of each body.
The logistics of where you store the guitars, and the volume of instruments required to fit in a case are important to now. If you need the case to fit through standard commercial doorways, we typically build these with one strap to hold the guitars back to the neck holder, and then one strap to hold them down vertically in the compartments.
What are the design considerations when designing a sports equipment shipping or sporting goods ATA cases?
This covers a wide range of possible sports, equipment and shapes. The important thing to remember is that we custom build the case to your specifications. Our custom cases can include drawers, dividers, shelves, various foam and carpet linings, and a wide variety of handles or stacking features.
A good starting point is to call our team of expert case designers and explain what it is you are trying to transport. A sample photo of a case you found online can be a great starting point. If you are artistically inclined, feel free to sketch your idea for us.
What are the design considerations when designing a motorized TV lift case?
The TV display screen can be permanently housed in the case and is remote operated. This means that it only requires one person to set up the case and raise the screen up and down from the case. The lift that we use has a universal VESA mount, so it is compatible with any display that can fit a universal VESA mount.
At the initial consultation stage, it’s important for us to know if you need any specialty jacks installed such as Cat5E, HDMI, USB, FireWire 400/800, or if you need a storage area built in the case.
Do you have any trade show trunks that can double as a table?
Yes. We can basically make anything you need. So, if you need shipping cases that can double as a table, desk or a countertop bar for shipping goods to trade shows, we can help.
The standard height for a desktop or tabletop application is 28 to 30 inches. This measurement has to be the height of the case including the wheels. For a countertop height, or bar height case, we typically design for between 36 and 42 inches.
Getting these measurements right is the easy part though. You should think about the weight of the case because the larger it is, thicker plywood is required, and therefore the case is heavier. You should also consider whether that case protects what you are shipping, as too much space inside the case can be a source of equipment damage.
Finally, you should consider who will be moving the case - is it one person or multiple people - and is the weight and set up appropriate so that it can be lifted and/or fit through standard 30’’ commercial doorways.
What are the pros and cons of designing for durability?
This is always on a case-by-case basis and that is why a consultation with your case designer will determine the best needs for you.
Higher durability will better protect your items, as well as the investment in your case, but higher durability generally increases the weight of the case. This is because we need to use thicker and larger materials.
Thicker plywood is heavier and when we design larger-sized cases this introduces more complex design issues. Some issues are bowing or buckling in the plywood, which means the weight of any lids need to be removed. We also need to take into consideration the height of the base that the item needs to be lifted over to be loaded into the case.
Our case designers are experts in helping you to navigate these challenges.
What are the pros and cons of designing for light weight cases?
Light weight cases are easier to transport, have lighter lids and can be opened easily by one person. The decision you have to make is that the cases offer less durability in some cases.
Light weight cases are built using a thinner plywood. We most commonly build light weight cases using half the thickness of plywood, ¼’’ (5.2mm) instead of ⅜’’ (9mm). The cases weigh .7lbs per square foot, which is 43% less than our heavier plywood alternatives.
We also have honeycomb plywood alternatives that are constructed from ABS laminate sandwiching, either a plastic honeycomb or aluminum honeycomb panel. These materials can be as light as .33 pounds per square foot but they are not as durable as our more commonly-used cases.
We do have availability of rotomolded or injection molded cases that are constructed from a thin wall lightweight plastic and can meaningfully reduce the weight of a case. These are great alternatives when a standard size fits your needs.
For custom or large sizes that are needed in small to medium volumes, it often can be hard to justify a mold cost that can be a larger investment, however we are happy to discuss this option with you.
Do you ship Internationally? Do you ship to Canada?
Yes, we do ship internationally. We also offer a free shipping service to 48 U.S. states. For orders shipping internationally, we can arrange a shipping service for you, or you may choose your own shipping service, to pick up the case. However, for these international shipments, any shipping costs would not be included in the base price of the case.
When we design a road case, our highest priority is to protect the equipment going in the case. Shipping cases that are being handled by trucking and shipping companies get beat up more heavily than cases that live on the road with event production companies.
On rare occasions, parts of the case become damaged because of poor handling, such as being dropped, or the cases get beat up over time through wear and tear. We use zinc-plated steel for our ball corners, recessed latches and handles. You can expect all of our hardware to stand up to the rigorous challenges of life on the road over a number of years.
Common damages we see on cases is from either forklift or conveyor belts damage to wheels and hardware. Because of the shear power of forklifts and conveyor belts, there is no way to prevent them from tearing wheels off and ripping right through plywood castor boards. Occasionally, we see circumstances where latches get damaged by being dropped and due to direct blows from blunt objects which causes the latches to stop functioning or aligning perfectly.
Finally, for cases that reach a mature age, like that of our company, the ester foam lining inside the case begins to lose its springiness and can crumble. In these situations, customers can ask us for replacement foam for the case to restore its function.
What are the most common causes of damage to what’s inside the case?
In 99% of damages, handling error is to blame as opposed to manufacturing. When we design cases, we assume most carriers don’t care and will drop, stack, or toss cases and the items inside. When the case is dropped, this sudden acceleration and deceleration jars the contents.
One way to help with this is to allow some movement via the dimensions, durability factors, placement and choice of foam agreed at the start of the consultation process, and we usually start with ¼” gap between foam and your item, depending on use.
What steps do we take to reduce damage when shipping cases?
We understand that one of the most frustrating circumstances for you, and for us, is when a case is damaged by the shipping company before you have had a chance to use it. Sadly, this is not uncommon. Most shipping companies are interested in processing high volumes of packages and not handling your case shipment with delicate hands.
The other consideration we are up against as a company is that you paid good money for the case so you want it to arrive in pristine condition. A scratch on the aluminum trim / valence or a dent in the plywood ruins that Christmas morning feeling, when you’d probably not even notice that scratch had you been using your case on the road for three months.
Rest assured that we understand completely and are almost always able to replace your case at the responsibility of the shipping agency.
We take measures to make sure that your case arrives undamaged. That often includes boxing the case securely, for oversized cases we use reinforced cardboard corners to absorb shocks that can happen during transit, and we also use scrap plywood to protect the outside of skidded products and use industrial wrap to keep them watertight in transit.
But despite all those efforts, if you do notice damage, be certain to note the damage with the delivery person, take pictures on your phone and contact our shipping department as soon as possible.
We typically run on a production system where cases are built to order and shipped within 10 business days. Please note that the 10-day period does not include transit time from our facility in Commack, NY.
Need your case sooner than that? We understand and that’s why we have designed an option for that which we call our priority build model. We can often ship these cases in three to five days, sometimes within 24 hours. For this, we charge a fee because of the disruption it causes to our production.
For example, we typically cut all cases being built from ⅜’’ Navy laminate plywood at one time to improve sheet yields. When we get a priority order, we have to stop that process, set up the table saw to cut the new type of wood for the custom order and store the usable scrap pieces of those cuts for the next time we are using that material. This process repeats for each step of the production process.
ATA stands for Air Transport Association. It is a set of standards that were designed to create a uniformed model in the cases. It is used to protect items being shipped in air cargo. By having this set of design parameters, you can create a common language among shipping companies from all countries to ensure they are taking the correct precautions in protecting your items.
Where can I look to see the dimensions that I am allowed for a carry on, and for checked baggage, and what should I watch out for?
All airlines publish the dimensions and weight that they accept for carry on and for checked luggage. For example, United Airlines publishes their baggage rules here.
There are a few important things to remember, though. Airlines have their own rules, dimensions, and guidelines, so it is important you check each carrier that you are planning on travelling with.
Often, your bag will not be measured prior to boarding, so some customers opt for what size will fit in the baggage compartment, rather than the size that is technically allowed. This comes with risks though, as your case can be refused if it does not fit or is measured at check-in. Remember to include the weight of your item when determining the shipping weight you will be using at check-in.
Finally, some customers choose to ship their item using parcel services such as FedEx or UPS prior to leaving, so as not to need to worry about carrying their item to the airport. This has its own risks, though, in regard to damage from shipping companies.
Can you tell me about the different types of foam you use in your cases?
We primarily design your case with soft foam and hard foam. For our soft foam, we use an estafoam that is nominally 2 lbs per cubic foot (but is actually 1.67 lbs PCF). For our hard foam we use ethafoam or “plank foam” that is 2 lbs per cubic foot.
We use hard foam when we want to avoid an item sinking far into the foam, such as in the design of a live in amp head case, and we use estafoam if we want the item to have more movement in the case.
How do I measure my LCD screen for a custom case?
To start, we usually suggest finding the manufacturer's published dimensions. These are often found on the respective company’s website.
Then, you need to measure the width, depth and height of the screen to compare those to the manufacturer’s dimensions. We have seen many cases where the manufacturer’s dimensions are slightly different so it is always good practice to double check.
We have a measurement sheet that can help walk you through this process so that your new case will fit the screen perfectly and offer your item the best protection possible.
How do I measure my Amp? (rubber feet, odd dimensions)?
We usually suggest starting by looking up the manufacturer's published dimensions. Then, the second step would be to measure the width, depth and height of the amplifier to compare those to the manufacturer's dimensions. As also mentioned above, we have seen many cases where the manufacturer’s dimensions are slightly different so it is always good practice to double check.
It’s important to include any handles or rubber feet in your overall dimensions as the case would need to be built with these attributes in mind.
Also, some amplifiers have odd dimensions, or a slanted front or rear, so it’s important you provide us with this information. Even things like the difference in thickness from the bottom to the top of the amplifier are really useful to our design team. If you are able to send us a picture of your irregular-shaped amplifier, this will help us determine the extra foaming that is required.
Once we have all the measurements, our design team will figure out a solution to compensate for these differences and ensure that your amplifier fits securely in the case.
We need the largest dimension, but it’s also helpful to send us a picture as an additional foam block can help.
As mentioned previously, we suggest starting by looking up the manufacturer's published dimensions, then measuring your item yourself, and comparing the two measurements to ensure they are the same.
Be sure to include any faders, buttons, knobs or rubber feet in your overall dimensions as the case would need to be built with these attributes in mind.
It’s important to note that some mixers have odd dimensions or a slanted top, so in these cases you should alert us to it at the consultation stage with your case designer. This can be anything of note, such as the difference in thickness from the back to the front of the mixer.
Pictures of your mixer are really useful to our designers, so they can work out how much foam is required to adequately protect it.