Plywood Drone Box

In Tutorial by jackmanworks@gmail.com0 Comments

The main frame of the box is just a scrap piece of 3/4″ plywood that was approximately 2’x4′. The top and bottom of the box is just 1/4″ luan plywood. Internal is carved from FastCap’s Kaizen Foam. Hardware was salvaged off pieces in the trash. Handle was salvaged from an old fire hose my landlord was saving, I assume just in case he was ever motivated to put out a fire (good luck with that now). Finished with linseed oil and paste wax (I’ll probably put something tougher on there one of these days).

■ Music by Eye On The Shore: http://soundcloud.com/eyes-on-the-shore/10-down-the-middle
■ Kaizen Foam provided by FastCap: http://www.fastcap.com/estore/pc/Kaizen-Foam-p13435.htm

 

Build Details

It all starts with the innards of the box. This is a product called Kaizen Foam which is customizable to fit whatever you want to store in it. I stacked up 4 of these on the inside of the box – 3 in the main part of the box and 1 in the lid.

To get all 4 squares out of the foam that I had on hand, I need to attach some smaller pieces together. This was easy with just some spray adhesive on both surfaces.

I measured to determine that it would sit in the 3 layers of foam with about 1/2″ left of foam padding underneath the legs.

A long nose permanent marker is used to trace out the drone in the first layer of foam.

To cut the foam I heat up the knife with a propane torch. It only takes a few seconds to get it hot enough.

With the hot knife, it just slide through the foam like butter.

Once the shape is cut, I just peel back the foam and am left with a perfect recess for the drone.

Testing the fit in the 1st layer.

To transfer the same profile into the 2nd layer, I sprinkle a little sawdust in the holes.

I then put the second layer of foam on top and flip it over. This then shows exactly where I need to cut the second layer.

After refining the 2nd layer for a perfect fit I attach it to the bottom layer with spray adhesive. Ditto with the 3rd layer.

Once the base is all stacked together I cut some holes for spare parts and also use this black pipe to make a compartment for the spare propellers (heated up the same way as the knife).

The foam for the lid is cut by pushing down on the motors, which leaves a mark showing me where this layer needs to be cut.

Onto the fun part, the box! I like to use plywood the wrong way (See my Crazy Curvy Plywood Stool). I cut a bunch of square strips (3/4″ x 3/4″). Because… Jackman always has to be different :/

Lots of strips!

I made some faux box joints to join the corners. This is done by cutting 2 sizes for each side, half of them are 1-1/2″ longer than the others so they protrude by 3/4″ on each side. I have to be sure that the opposite faces are the same and the other 2 faces are the negative version of that so the sides all fit together.

I draw a line at 3/4″ in from the edge on each side. I use this as a reference line to position the pieces in a straight line during the glue-up of the sides (to make sure the fingers are all in the right place).

Each of the 4 sides is glued with wood glue and set to dry for the night.

I sand the inside faces smooth and flat prior to gluing the sides together because it will be next to impossible to access these faces once everything is attached.

This glue-up is the most stressful part. You have to be quick to apply the glue because there are so many faces coming into contact with one another and it dries relatively quickly.

The clamps pull everything in tight. I alternate them on all the sides until everything is pulled together.

Always leave the fingers on the box joints a little long. I sand them down here until everything is flush.

Then the frame is cut to final width…

And 1/4″ luan plywood is glued and clamped onto each face.

Once that’s dry, a flush trim bit is used in the router to even up the edges.

The lid is then separated from the bottom of the box by cutting the 4 sides on the table saw.

Then the foam can finally be installed into the box! I use my left hand to allow the air to come out of the box and my right hand to push it down inside.

I installed a pair of small hinges by mortising out each side and attaching them. The recess I made for these hinges is slightly deeper than the depth of the hinges themselves. This will make the box “hinge bound” (which you usually don’t want), but I did that here so it would keep a bit of tension on the latch to keep it from popping open.

The aforementioned latch is then installed on the opposite side.

Then it’s loaded up with all of the shenanigans!

To finish the box I first put a couple coats of linseed oil on to soak into the surface…

Then apply a coat of paste wax and buff it out to a nice finish.

What’s this mess? Well, the box still needs a handle, so I raided my landlords fire hose pile…because, why not?

I cut a strip of the fire hose off and drilled a hole on each end.

Grommets were installed in both holes.

I then drill a pair of holes into the side and attach it with a couple of carriage bolts.

Leave a Comment