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Shipping the Set. No. 1 Chest & Contents

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sleeplessnashadow View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 01 2018 at 2:12pm
Having acquired a number of chests built for the Model M3 Sniperscope that were shipped to me it's not uncommon for the chest and/or contents to be damaged because of the variety of packaging methods used. The size and weight can make them a challenge to package properly.

Two chests I received seperately the battery and power pack had not been secured or supported with packing. The weight, open space and handling caused the battery and power pack to impact the wood partition in the right side of their compartment. The wood splintered breaking free from the nails at the front and bending the L brackets at the rear. These and others also sustained minor damage to the outside of the chest as styrofoam peanuts were used inside to fill the areas around the chest. When the item inside the box is heavy the peanuts shift during handling and movement allowing the chest to shift and sometimes penetrate the wall of the cardboard box.

So while preparing for a move I decided to come up with something better that is inexpensive, easy and can be done with readily available materials. What I came up with can also be used for shipping. Obviously there are several different ways to accomplish this. This one works for me, the chest and it's contents.

The Box

Standard corrugated cardboad shipping box 20" x 16" x 14" high. I would have preferred the thicker walled cardboard but couldn't find one in this size. These were obtained from a brick and mortar store as buying them over the internet most sellers sell them in sets of 5 and up vs just one or two. Add the shipping cost, "free shipping" with a higher box price and the damage the boxes can sustain. UHaul's website was the only one I found that carried the size and would ship 1 or 2. Since it's a standard box size available from UHaul there's a good chance their brick and mortar businesses may have them or can order them absent the shipping costs.

The Packing Material

Expanded Polystyrene Foam sheet, 1" thick. Available in various sizes and tend to be less expensive at places like Home Depot.

The Tape

The fit of the chest inside the padded box will be tight. Depending on the quality of the box the outward pressure can cause the vertical glued box seam to separate. I used a thick clear packing tape but in hindsight strapping tape would have been better. To include reinforcing the vertical seam. Another option suggested to me was to have the box banded after it was sealed.

Packing it All Up

Most of this is common sense but there are a few things to know beforehand.

The Battery

It is strongly recommended the battery be removed from the chest and shipped separately. Whatever is inside the chest needs support to keep things from shifting during shipment. This includes the compartment to the right of the battery/power pack compartment if the power pack and/or battery is to be shipped inside the chest. A solid styrofoam block cut to the dimensions inside the side compartment, not pieces or peanuts. The block can be constructed with tape and the left over styrofoam sheets.

The Power Pack

A note on shipping the power pack. Every 20k volt power pack that's been mailed to me has taken damage on the inside during shipment. Sometimes during a prior shipment. The black rectangular plastic base plate secured inside the bottom of the aluminum power pack case hasn't been a problem. The clear plastic base and pieces containing the rectifier tubes and high voltage tower are secured to the black plastic base by several screws. Over time the clear plastic becomes brittle. Movement of the power pack focuses the energy generated into the screws that secure the clear plastic causing the clear plastic to snap. Once loose inside the aluminum box the clear plastic parts get battered around into fragments.

The solution to prevent this damage is to open the power pack, unscrew the three clear plastic parts that cover the rectifiers and high voltage connection, then remove the rectifiers and vibrator. Package them separately. WARNING: removing the power pack lid needs to be done vertically to avoid breaking the high voltage parts. Attached to the inside of the lid is a plastic tube containing the high voltage line. It slides down inside the clear plastic high voltage tower attached to the inside of the case. Lift the lid vertically until the the two separate and are clear of one another.

Dan may add a few more things on this. We realize most are loathe to open the power pack for fear of damaging the contents. But realize the impact of time on the internal parts. Not opening it and protecting the contents during shipment is far more likely to cause far more damage than leaving it sealed up.

Cutting the Foam

Cut the first styrofoam panel to fit the inside width and length inside the bottom of the cardboard box. Cut a second panel of the same size for the lid. Cut two panels 2" shorter in height so they sit between the top and bottom panels but extend to the box. Cut the last 2 panels 2" shorter in height and width so they'll fit between the other panels.

The panel that sits against the chest handle at the front of the chest needs a relief cut for the chest handle and clasps. Otherwise the styrofoam will bulge the box outward. It doesn't flex enough to accommodate the handle and clasps. The hinges at the back of the chest are small enough not to require a relief cut.

I chose to cut handles in the sides of the box to make it easier to carry. Though this can be done with a knife I used an inexpensive device called a Box-Buddy designed for this purpose (do a Google search). Make sure to cut the handles so the folding flap is at the top as it provides support given the weight.

Inserting the Chest

I learned the hard way. The weight and bulk of the chest make it difficult to insert the chest with the styrofoam in place. The styrofoam panels break easy.

With only the bottom panel in place insert the chest into the box. Slide the front side panel over the chest handle then insert the side panels around the chest. Fold the flaps of the box side handles up before sealing the box. To remove the chest from the box remove the side panels first or getting the chest out becomes a challenge.

There's about a 1" gap between the top of the chest and styrofoam lid. Styrofoam or another means of taking up this space needs to be added as the top panel will snap in two without the support.





The End Result

This pic shows some of the lessons learned so it's not 100% perfect packaging. Also just a reminder on the tape you use. The pics show a thick clear tape. In hindsight strapping tape with reinforcement of the seam and/or banding the box are better alternatives.



If all the componenets are included and shipped inside the chest the total weight will be about 47 lbs. Shipping the battery separate the weight drops to about 35 lbs. Whatever the cost increase for shipping the battery separate is money well spent in protecting the contents worth far more.

Shipping the chest alone obviously the weight drops significantly but this package will do a good job of protecting it for under $6 or $7. Cheap insurance the hard to replace chest will arrive intact with no damage.

For moving I didn't seal the top of the box but it should still be reusable if caution is exercised in loading, unloading and taping/opening it.

Jim
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeplessnashadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 18 2020 at 10:18pm
Just a couple notes to add to the original post that have come from the experiences of those using this packing.

A heavy duty box is definitely a better option than the lighter weight boxes.

Reinforce the vertical seam on the one box corner using strapping tape.

If you find you have a 1/2"-1" gap between the box top flaps when closing them it is most likely caused by the use of the thick styrofoam in the space between the top of the chest and the styrofoam panel in the top of the box. Use of a thinner styrofoam or a different packing material to fill this space should eliminate the gap between the box flaps.

The chest handle and latches on the front of the chest need to have a relief cut in the styrofoam that rests against them. Align and press the front panel of styrofoam against the front of the chest to make an impression where the handle and latches are. I cut a square out of the the front panel for the handle then cut the panel in half horizontally. Cutting holes for the latches is not recommended as it weakens the front panel. Instead, dig out a small amount of the styrofoam for each latch.

When putting the chest into the box I place the lower half of the front panel in place, sit the chest into the box, then place the top half of the panel in place.

Hope this helps.

Jim

Edited by sleeplessnashadow - Jul 20 2020 at 3:05am
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