So you just got your brand new hard case and are ready to dive in and start plucking to customize your foam insert, but you're not quite sure where to start. Never fear, because with our tips you’ll be ready to create the perfect cubed shapes in your hard case in no time.
Keep reading to learn more about how to customize your cube foam insert for maximum protection of your gear with our tried and true tips!
1. Trace the shapes before cutting
Before starting, make sure to organize the placement of the items you want to protect and trace a space for each piece. This allows you to make sure you have room for everything and makes it easier to know where to pluck. The easiest way to do this is laid out all your items on the top of the foam, and then using a marker or pins outline the shape of each item.
2. Make the holes smaller so the foam “grips” the item
When creating space for each piece, it’s a good idea to keep the spaces just slightly smaller than the item so the foam can “grip” it. This makes a snug fit for your equipment so that there is no chance of the pieces shaking or moving around inside your hard case.
3. Keep the shapes square
Although you may want to try and round the shapes to perfectly fit your equipment, it is a lot easier to follow the square shape of the foam. Going against the foam to make rounded shapes is a lot more difficult and looks a lot rougher, but plucking out square shapes gives you a nice finished look for a lot less effort.
4. Leave at least an inch between each item
While it is important to have a snug fit for each item in its own spot, you don’t want your pieces too snug to each other. Depending on how fragile your pieces are, you’ll want to try and keep a minimum of 1 inch (2-3 centimeters) between each item, giving them enough cushion. For more fragile pieces, it’s recommended to leave closer to 1 ½ - 2 inches (3-5 centimeters) between them. This is easy to measure since each cube of the foam is ¼ inch in size, so you should be leaving at least 4 cubes of space between each item.
5. Pay attention to depth
Just like each item has a particular outlined shape, each also has a specific depth. You don’t want the space too deep, making it hard to remove the item, or too shallow causing too much pressure on your equipment when the lid is closed.
Most cube foam inserts come with multiple layers, so it’s easy to create the perfect depth. After you’ve traced the space for your item, remove the foam one layer at a time testing the depth of each layer. You’ll want to keep at least one layer between the bottom of the case and your equipment, though, so that there’s no chance of the pieces knocking against the hard exterior.
6. Hands or knives?
While there is no big consensus on whether using your hands or a knife to cut the shapes in the foam is better, there are pros and cons of each that you should consider.
Using your hands is the easiest way to remove the foam and the best way to ensure a clean look, but it does mean that you can’t get as close of a cut. Using a knife allows you to get a close cut, especially if you really want an exact fit or rounded shapes. However knives are a lot more difficult to use on cubed foam and are only recommended if you have a steady hand and a new, sharp blade; otherwise, you risk tearing the foam which leaves you with a rough finish.
Now that you know the ins and outs of cubed foam inserts, you can dive right in with your own case. Once you have customized your foam insert, you’ll never want to go back to standardized ones, so go ahead and get started on creating the perfect cubed foam shapes for your hard case!