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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ and Glossary for Customized Shipping Cases

How much will a case cost?
Pricing is generally based on size. Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers will gladly quote a price on what you need. Note that a complex case design and interior details will add to the base price.

How long does it to receive a case?
Typical production schedule requires 10 to 14 working days. Rush orders can generally be filled, but may require an expediting fee.

How much does a case weigh?
Case weight depends on many factors; the type of case, the panel thickness and options such as casters, legs, interior partitions, etc. Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers can give you an approximate weight. Can I give you a PO from my company for a case(s)?
Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers have many large companies that they build cases for, in order to use a PO, most will have you supply them with a credit application.How much weight will the airline allow?
Carry on baggage is 45 lbs. Please review weight restrictions. What is a valance?
Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers cases are manufactured using many parts. Please see the industry terminology Glossary of Terms below for more information.

Do I have to measure my equipment?
Generally, yes. However sometimes Custom Shipping Case suppliers will be able to retrieve that information from a library of manufacture model numbers. However, with the constant changes in production lines, it is best that you send accurate measurements to assure the perfect fit.

Are options included in the cost of the case?
No. Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers add Case options such as casters, combination locks, Wheel-Easy system, custom interiors, etc. are to the cost of the case.We have a shipping case at work that is broken, can you fix it?
Most Custom Shipping Case suppliers not only repair cases, but other manufacturers cases, as well. Plus, many offer refurbishing, re-foaming, and retro-fitting to any existing case and custom built case. A good example of a Custom Shipping Case suppliers, and our recommendation, a company that lives up to and beyond most other custom shipping case suppliers in customer service and customer satisfaction is Maxline Custom Cases.

Industry Terminology:

ABS - Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene. A styrene plastic material used as an outer laminate for shipping cases. A Termoplastic Resin = Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene. It is a tough durable material, resistance to impact, solvents.

ACX - Designation for a particular grade of plywood as is recognized by the American Plywood Association.

Angle - Common term for the aluminum material which is used as an outer corner covering on shipping cases.

Anti-Static Foam - Polyfoam or polyethylene foam materials, specially treated, to render them non-conductive to the negative effects of static electricity. Excellent for PC boards & magnetic media cushioning.

ATA - Air Transport Association of America. Federal organization responsible for setting guidelines for testing of cases and containers. The ATA has set the standards for commercial airline shipping cases and containers. Airline Transportation Approved = A guideline in which manufactures need to meet or exceed the Airline Transportation Association.

Ball-Bearing - A series of metal balls mounted in a grease-filled circular RACE encasement. Use of ball-bearing races allows casters to swivel either horizontally or vertically.Ball Corners Made from stamped steel, they provide protection at the most critical outside area of your case. They act as both the first stage of shock absorption as well as elevating your case 1/4" off the ground.

Base - The lower portion of a case which would sit flat on the ground when being loaded.

Blocking - The act of providing wood or foam support for encased items. Blocking increases the effectiveness of case interiors.

Blue Label - Second Day air shipment by UPS. Ship Monday, arrive Wednesday.

Brown Label - Surface shipment via UPS.

Browser - A common reference to the pointer you use on-screen as directed by your mouse. When we say, "Point Your Browser" we mean click your mouse on that spot to be directed immediately there.

CARPET LINING - Carpet lining is ideal where foam cushioning is not needed. Indoor/outdoor grade carpet is a thin (1/8") extremely tough lining material available in Gray or Black.

Caster - Another term for wheel. Roller ball bearings that swivel mounted wheels made from rubber, making your case roll/move smoothly

Casterboard - Plywood panel which is mounted directly between the bottom of the case and the casters steel mounting plates. Intended as a shock isolator and disbursement device.

Cavity Cut-Out - A space which has been cut-out, typically, directly beneath the item being encased. Commonly used for storage of cables and owners manuals.

Claim - Necessary procedures to be compensated for rework or replacement of case damaged by freight carrier.

Clamshell - A two piece lid. See Style "CS-3" & "CS-4" in Custom Reference Guide for further description.

Combination Foam - When two types or densities of polyfoam and/or polyethylene foam are bonded together with adhesives to create varying cushioning effects, Combination Foam is the result.

Common Carrier - A freight carrier who hauls all types of common freight to various geographic locations.

Compartment - A small to medium storage area placed with the case interior. A partitioned area within a case for isolating attachments or accessories.

Conceptualize - The ability to visualize something being verbally described.

Coupler - A device for attaching multiple cases together.

Cubed Foam - Also called, "diced" foam. Polyester foam which has been cut into 1" cubes. Only the corners are left attached so you have the ability to "pluck" cubes to achieve a desired space.

Cut-Out - A precision formation hot-wire cut from a block of foam. A case might have multiple cut-outs for anything from camera lenses, microphones, fittings, or any small item needing isolation.

Density - A word used to define the relative compactness of the cell structure of foam materials. Higher density, rated in pounds per square inch, is for higher weight items and lower density is for lighter weight items.

Die Cut - A precision cut-out made in case foam that matches the item to be encased accurately. A pre-cut, steel rule template is typically used as the "die".

Double-Angle - Term for inner and outer aluminum angle material extrusion. Angle is actually dual-edged, providing support from the inside and the outside of the case.

DRAWERS - Drawers are manufactured to size using high quality materials and high weight capacity ball bearing drawer slides. The drawer interior can painted black or lined with carpet or foam.

Edging - Term for the outer "angle". All outer 90 degree angles, form the edging of the case.

E.I.A. - Electronics Industries of America. Common term to refer to rack mount cases and their vertical hole spacing.

Etha - Short form of Ethafoam, a trade name for open-celled, rigid expanded polyethylene foam.

Extrusion - A process in which metals are formed to a shape. A shaped and formed piece of aluminum material. Commonly refers to outer angle aluminum extruded shape or tongue and groove aluminum valance extruded shape.

F-B - Short for Front to Back. Commonly means, "Depth".

False Bottom - A false floor at the bottom of a case which hides a lower compartment or cut-out for cable storage. False bottom is fabricated of foam covered plywood .

False Lid - Isolated compartment in the lid of a case which is hidden by a hinged foam covered plywood door. Door secures via button-snaps, velcro or small catch.

Fiberglass - A high strength resin reinforced material used as an outer laminate on cases. Fiberglass has a stucco (pebbly) finish for superior resistance to marring and scratching. Fiberglass also has exceptional bonding strength to plywood and its expansion & contraction coefficients are virtually the same as plywood thus negating de lamination in extreme heat, cold and high solar situations.

Filler Panel - A pre-cut panel of aluminum for filling E.I.A. rack mount space. Commonly used for occupying additional vertical space.

Foam Blocks - Specially cut polyfoam or high density polyethylene foam blocks used at strategic positions within a case interior to provide added support and cushioning.

FOAM: DIE-CUT - Die-cut foam is very precise, machine pressed and cut. Each piece is exactly the same. It is ideal for complex foam inserts, particularly when many small items are going into the case. However, dies range from $300 to over $1000 plus set-up and press charges, making this cost effective only on large quantities.

FOAM LINING - Foam is available in a wide variety of thickness. 1/2", 1", 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2"and 3" flat sheets of 2-pound density, charcoal polyester foam is the most common interior lining. High-density polyethylene and Anti static foams are used on special applications.

Foam-to-Foam - A description of a particular measurement, inside from foam-to-foam vs. inside from wood-to-wood.

Footprint - That surface of case which occupies the ground or a table-top. (The width and depth of the case.)

Fragility - A word used to define the relative strength of an item to be cased. A low fragility factor means strong and durable while a high fragility factor means fragile and delicate.

Friction Glide - Glide is accomplished non-mechanically. Wood against wood or metal against metal. Alternative is mechanical ball-bearing roller glides.

Gasket - A neoprene rubber material of precise size to fit the 3/8" aluminum groove half of a tongue and groove valance. This provides for better environmental isolation at the critical closure points of the case.

Girth - With regards to a 6-sided case, the sum total of the shortest dimension x 2, plus the next to the shortest dimensions x 2, plus the longest dimension. Girth is used to determine size freight-ability.

HAND CUT FOAM - We produce foam-fit hand-cut interiors daily. Many of our orders are small quantities requiring very complex foam configurations. This is the most cost effective and expedient method to produce individual custom designs.

Hand Slot - A special foam cut-out, at the sides of components for removing the item from the case.

HDPE - A shortened way of referring to High Density Polyethylene - the plastic resin material used as the outer walls on Carry Light & Star Light Cases. HDPE is extruded in a fluted design and has a tensile strength of 400 pounds per square inch.

Hot Wire - An electro-mechanical device used for highly precise and smooth-edged foam cutting.

I.D. - Abbreviation for Inside Dimension.

Indoor-Outdoor Carpet - Often referred to as I/O carpet. This is a tight-nap Ozite4 carpet used to line cases.

Latches - the most common are Butterfly. They offer the most secure latching system available on the market. The Butterfly latch is recessed into your case.

Layout - The pattern you would like the interior of your case to follow.

L-R - Short for Left-to-Right, commonly meaning "Width".

Laminate - The outer material bonded to Plywood.Lid - Opposite of the base of the case, commonly the upper portion of the case. E.I.A. rack mount cases often have front and rear lids or front and top lids.

Lid-Stay - A device used at the joining of the base and lid of the case to prevent lid from extending further than 90 degrees. Available as an option in steel or STAR's standard 1-1/2" nylon strapping.

Logo - An artistic representation of a company's name which defines it graphically. See also Stencil.

Netscape Navigator - A universally used and commercially marketed browser application owned by Netscape Corporation. One of several broadly used applications that allows a person to access the World Wide Web.

Next-Day Air - Refers to an air carriers ability to "ship today to arrive tomorrow."

Non-Protruding - Another term for flush mount or recessed.

O.D. - Outside Dimensions, typically, edge-to-edge.

O.D. Ball-to-Ball - "Outside Dimension, Ball Corner to Ball Corner." Due to the fact the ball corners are rounded and protrude from the outer angles of the case, sometimes you'll need to know the O.D. from Ball-to-Ball.

Orange Label - Third Day shipment by UPS. Ship Monday, arrive Thursday. Pallet - A wood or other composite material used to facilitate handling by forklifts and other mechanical devices. See also Skid.

Partition - Dividers inside your case for storage. They can be stationary or adjustable, depending on your needs. Can be a plywood or polyethylene separator within a case. Plywood partition is braced and supported, by a double-edged aluminum extrusion. Plywood partitions are 1/8" to 3/4" in thickness. They are capped with vinyl, foam or aluminum. Polyethylene foam partitions are 1" or 2" in thickness.

Partition Types - Secure, free floating, and movable. - Secure partitions are permanently installed, riveted in place and capped with aluminum channel for strength and appearance prior to foam or carpet lining. - Free-floating partitions are only 1" wide, wrapped with high-density foam and allow for a more compact design. - Movable partitions slide into slots in the perimeter foam. They are limited to parallel movement (left to right or front to back)

Pattern Cut-Out - A special cut-out made in foam-filled case to provide a sculptured area for an item or multiple items to rest. Typically, pattern cut-outs are created with a hot wire cutting device. A template is used to provide the pattern for the cut-out. See also Sculptured & Hot Wire.

Plush - Short napped material available as a lining.

Poly - Shortened form of Polyfoam, Esterfoam or Polyester foam. This is the soft foam.

Polyethylene - Rigid, higher density foam material ideally suited for items with higher concentrations of weight.

Prototype - "One of a kind" item, typically, the first article. It's a good practice where multiple cases are concerned, to purchase a "prototype" before ordering a quantity of the same item.

Protrusion - Something that sticks out. Often referred to in case drawing and dimension gathering. Protrusions might be small micro switches, fuse holders, or hard rubber feet protruding from the surface of an item.

Rack - A term for an E.I.A. compatible closure for holding rack mount (19" width) components.

Rack Shell - E.I.A. rack closure excluding lids or attachments. See style F0.

Ramp - A slanted attachment option to cases for increasing the accessibility in and out of the case. Ramps typically store in the front hinged or removable lid. Heavy equipment on casters can be difficult to load into a case. The ramp offers an ideal solution. Added to vertical style cases to make a difficult job easy.

Rear-Mounted - Usually refers to additional E.I.A. rack rail which is the metal angle used for attaching electronic components into rack mount cases. Both front and rear rack rail will be of use, especially when glides or rear-mounted items are needed.

Rectangular Cut-Out - A cut-out similar to a Pattern Cut-Out, however, the pattern used is always a square or rectangular shape with no template required. Typically, multiple rectangular cut-outs are needed for battery packs, walkie-talkies, PC boards, etc.

Red Label - United Parcel Service's answer to Next Day Air. Ship it by a specified time on Monday and your package will arrive by a specified time on Tuesday.

Reverse Catch - When the standard arrangement of the standard latch is reversed 180°. Large half (portion with twist mechanism) of the recessed dish is mounted to the upper section of the case and the smaller, strike portion, is mounted to the lower section.

Rigid - Word used to define one particular type of caster. Rigid casters do not revolve horizontally, only roll vertically. As opposed to Swivel casters.

Roller Glide - Mechanical device which attaches either to drawers, shelves, or other case components for providing smooth relatively effortless access.

Sculptured - Definitive word for a precision foam cut-out as accomplished via hot wire. Sculptured foam typically has very few right angles, mostly curves.

Second-Day Air - Ship it by a specified time on Monday and your package should arrive by a specified time on Wednesday.

Server - The computer within which a URL or e-mail system resides. American-0n-Line, Gemini, IMConline, Delphi, MSN, etc., are Servers from which you access the entire World Wide Web, or Internet.

SHELVES - Shelves are permanently mounted on aluminum angle and riveted to the case. Aluminum channel is installed on the front edge or strength and appearance.

Shockmount - A word used to define a Rack mount case.

Skid - The employment of 3" x 3-1/2" wooden beams on the under-side of a case to both elevate the case from the ground surface and to provide an ample target for forklift blade beneath the case. Skids are options on many cases, size permitting.

Skid Plate - A protective plate attached to the bottom of the case, the casters are then attached to the skid plate allowing for maximum strength.

Standard - A "standard" is a case design we've built many times before. Standard Catch - The standard arrangement of a heavy-duty twist catch as mounted on a case. Anything deviating from the standard arrangement, which varies from case style and type, constitutes a "reverse" catch. See also, Reverse Catch.

Stencil - A pre-cut block or logo rendering of letters or images to be transferred to the case surface. See also Logo.

Stucco Finish - A term describing the textured pattern finish of the outer panels of a case. The stucco panel finish, as contrasted with a smooth panel surface, maintains an extended professional appearance, while maximizing resistance to case abuse in transit.

Surface Mount - As contrasted to something mounted in a recessed fashion into the case surface.

Swivel - The action of a caster on the horizontal plane. This is a standard definitive word for a particular option of STAR CASE Caster. Alternative to a swivel caster is a rigid caster.

T-B - Short form for Top-to-Bottom, commonly meaning "height".

TABLE/LID CONVERSIONS - Fold out table legs can be added to any large door or lid 21" wide x 40" long. This feature allows the lid or door to be used as a table.

Tapped - The alternative to untapped rack rail. A tapped rack rail is tapped to 10-32, which is the standard screw size used throughout the electronics industry for rack mount and EIA use.

Template - The pattern from which a die-cut or sculptured interior comes.

Tie-Down Ring - A steel member which permanently attaches to case for use as a tie-down while case is in transit.

Tongue-and-Groove - A generic term for the male and female valance extrusion which forms the closure of a case.

TRAYS - Trays are an ideal way to optimize use of the interior space, particularly when many small parts are involved. Trays can be stacked in multiple levels for easy access to individual parts. They can be lined with carpet, foam or foam fitted.

Twist/Hasp Catch - A variation on the standard recessed butterfly, spring-loaded catch employing a D-ring and hasp for lock ability. Padlock not included.

Untapped - The alternative choice to Tapped Rack Rail. As described under CLIP NUTS previously, untapped rack rail has EIA standard spaced 1/4" holes which employ a specialized clip nut. The advantages of Untapped Rack Rail over Tapped is the ease of dealing with stripped threads. One simply needs to replace a clip, not an entire rail.

Valance - An inter-locking system. We use this type of inter-locking system for our lids and bottoms of the case. This allows a tight, dust-free seal when the case is closed. Also see Tongue-and-Groove in this Glossary.

Valance Spanning Catch - A variation on the standard butterfly catch. This catch doesn't require routing-out of the valance to install - the catch portion "spans" the valance. Valance-to-Valance - Critical interior measurement which spans from one inner valance edge to the other.

Velcro3 Hook-and-Loop - Special material used for positive closure of interior trap doors, compartments, and as hold-downs and restraints inside case.

Velour - Long napped material used for cushioning over foam. Often selected for its aesthetic appearance.

VELVET LINING - Velvet lining is used on the screen side of flat screen monitors for scratch resistance or as foam covering for that classic appearance, primarily in guitar cases.

Vinyl - A thin material used to line S. For certain applications, vinyl can be bonded to various foam densities to isolate contents from contacting inner foam lining.

W x D x H - Abbreviation for Width, Depth and Height.

Wood-to-Wood - A critically important dimension inside a case as contrasted with Foam-to-Foam or Valance-to-Valance. Generally refers to the cases overall Top-to-Bottom height.


Copyright 2004