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DIY Roller camera case, under $90, carry-on size with padded dividers


Here's the padded divider:

http://calumetphoto.com/eng/product/calumet_padded_dividers_for_wt2175/rm24553

Note: Calumet went through financial trouble and may no longer offer that item.

Pelican also makes a padded divider: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00131P5NC/?tag=mhlocal-20

And if you'd like the full monty, this is the carryon pelican case with padded dividers:

http://amazon.com/dp/B0019CSVMW/?tag=mhlocal-20

Roller cases are the lifeblood of the working videographer/photographer. Sometimes i can get away with a backpack, but sometimes i need the roller, and many a time i need both! 

Pelicans are the gold standard, but that have two potential drawbacks: price and conspicuousness. Price isn't that bad actually, under $200 for the carryon size. And there's plenty of other brands making basically the same thing all in the $150 area. But price aside, a lot of the time i just don't want to look like im hauling camera gear. Enter the Samsonite case.

After the usual absurdity of macy's discounts and coupons, the case cost me something like $50. The main thing is to get a carryon size case thats 15" wide, most of them are 14" wide, and will not work with the calumet divider. I also happened to find that calumet had an ebay account and was listing some specials on padded dividers, the size i needed was under $30, nice!. 

The modifications required for this pair to work together were minimal. the primary need was to cut notches in two of the corners of the divider for the case's wheel wells. you could just hack away with some scissors and call it a day, but i like tidiness, so i opted to do some careful exacto knife surgery. Quite simply, i didn't really remove any liner, just the foam underneath, the liner i just cut the seams and a few lines, and tucked the excess back under with some high temp hot glue. Now, i mention high temp hot glue, which believe it or not is not a redundant statement. there's more than one type of hot glue. The normal one you find is regular temp, Do Not Use This. Instead you need to find the high temp glue, along with a high temp or dual temp gun, which has a little switch to increase the temperature. Using the high temp glue will remove the possibility that the glue can melt inside your bag and equipment. 

The only other thing i recommend you do is fill in the gaps between the bars on the bottom of the bag. Just open up the roller case and feel the bottom and you'll see what i'm talking about, there's not a flat bottom, it's got bars. so grab some filler, i use cardboard and thick yoga mat foam. 

Now just shimmy in the divider, and boom, you have a roller camera case.

Some optional additions you can do involve hardening and padding the top. I put in some corrugated plastic plates in the outer top pockets, and then some foam in the inner pockets of the lid. This adds some protection and the inner foam helps keep items in thier place.

Added on 2012-11-23 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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