We started building Road Cases (ATA style) mainly for ourselves. In our business EVERYTHING you have on a show or event must be surrounded by some sort of protection. Correction, GOOD protection. The gear HAS TO WORK when it comes off the truck, it has to pack well, and the case can't fail on you. We tried cases built by other vendors but found most were generic designs, of questionable construction, and used cheap materials. To get the "good" cases (R&R, Spectrum) they had to be shipped in from a distance which sometimes cost as much or more than the case itself. We found the only difference between a cheap case and well built one was primarily the reputation of the guy who built it. It's easy to cut corners in case construction using substandard material and shortcuts in construction details.
We also found that since we were an "end user" we had a greater knowledge of what a customer needed and how to make the cases better than just a simple case builder can. Little tricks that make cases more useful and last longer. Stacking tricks, riveting techniques, proper hardware location, use of Stainless Steel, lots of tricks to learn and apply. Every case we build comes with a lifetime workmanship warranty. We'll fix it for free if it fails.
Since we like to do things the right way (buy once, cry once) and Ebay has the cheap case market cornered, Tour-Duty was the way we would go. Future customers would see our cases and ask us to case their gear. Word got around about the quality and clever designs so I've decided to show a few examples of what we have done.
Notice the design of the Mic Stand case. 25 short/med/tall tripods in PVC tubes. 6 cast iron based straight stands,
a drawer that holds 6 drum claws, spare clips, goose necks, etc. All in a quarter-pack sized case? A new level of density in mic stand cartage.
The drum cases shown offer superb protection as well as rapid setup times. All-in-one cases allow cymbals, shells, hardware, and spare heads to deliver in the solitary case. True, they aren't as inexpensive as bags or roto-molded tubs, but the setup time savings for professionals more than justify their cost over a period of just one year touring. Having a "slot" for each drum component makes inventory require only a quick glance. Beautiful for backline techs.
The StudioLive has special requirements that need to be met in a case. It only weighs 30# so it simply can not rest on a bed of foam or blocks of foam. It also needs to allow air flow in the rear of the console to cool the CPU and PSU section. In my design this is done with nitrogen injected neoprene strips that have no memory effect (like poly foam) and do not collapse. The board rides on the proper durometer suspension to protect it from a 5G knock in all directions yet still absorbs road vibration. This case does what a case is supposed to do. Protect the contents!
You can see the vent plenum just below the factory vent perforations on the rear half of the frame.
The case lid has a palm rest support shelf with carpeted foam and a carpeted stair-step foam block that holds the top-most back edge (at the attenuators). These keep the board sitting on the neoprene strips when transporting (no matter which way the case is turned) and don't scratch the board finish. The board stays put and doesn't shift even if it falls over, gets turned upside down, or dropped off the lift gate or loading dock. It protects from shock, heat, and vibration. Not just cosmetic damage, shock protection. What a concept....................
Normally, those things don't happen I know. 98% of the time everything is fine and the load-in and out is uneventful. AND, I can't assure you the console will still work after such an occurrence either. The severity of such a drop may be more than the circuit boards and components can take.
BUT, the possibility of such an occurrence happening is taken into account in this design. At least this case design gives the board a fighting chance of survival when that 2% of Mr. Murphy comes around.
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