I quickly realised back in November last year, when I flew to the States with a complete set of Copics that I had to have a total re-think as to how I transport my markers............and here is the solution that my husband and I came up with:
An aluminium case with a removable case trolley - no more sore shoulders or strained elbows for me!
We opted for an aluminium CD case - with an 80 CD capacity. As I intend to use this case when travelling by plane it needed to be of the correct dimensions for airline cabin baggage allowances......
BRITISH AIRWAYS: 250mm x 450mm x 560mm
VIRGIN ATLANTIC: 230mm x 360mm x 560mm - Completed case fits these requirements!
Here it is out of the box and oh look, it comes with detachable hinges, a feature that really makes this a very practical Copic transportation/storage solution.
And then of course you need some wheels to get this beauty mobile:
Penn Elcom Removable Case Trolley 235mm/9.25" which we sourced online from a suitcase repair/spares store
Now, from the outset I would explain, you do need some DIY skills
You will also need:
1 x dark grey/black flat sheet packaging foam 1/4" (6.3mm) thick
1 x black closed cell polyethylene sheet with adhesive backing 5mm thick
Additional black feet to fit to base 15mm deep
Counter sunk and Pan head bolts (they'll need to be cut to length)
Nuts for above bolts
Washers (small and mudguard)
Basswood sheets - 1/16" x 3" x 24", 1/16" x 1/4" x 24" and 1/16" x 2" x 24" (from a hobby shop)
Eggcrate louvre (holes need to be 15mm x 15mm to accommodate Copic Sketch)
Electric Drill and drill bits
Set Square and tape measure
Hacksaw (to cut screws to exact length)
Gorilla Glue or similar
Strong double sided sticky tape
Angle grinder for cutting egg crate, but you could use a hacksaw if necessary
Oh and a good old fashioned pencil
Apart from the tools which my husband already owned, all the above were sourced online from various stores in the UK - just Google, that's what we did!
Now I had the benefit of Peter, my wonderful, practically minded husband......who had great fun pulling out the CD dividers and then stripping out all the foam......a great tip (thanks Jenn Dove) use a spatular or scraper for this bit.
and here is the case base with foam removed
The next step is to carefully remove the four grey feet from the back of the case and re-fit them on to the end of the case that is going to become the bottom when the trolley wheels are attached. You'll probably need to use a drill for this bit as the feet are fixed on with rivets. Peter drilled the back of the rivet out to remove them neatly. And of course, you then need to drill the holes needed to re-attach them. He used pan head bolts and washers to refit them.
The image above shows the case with all it's feet attached - the ones it's resting on are original little grey ones. The small grey ones on the left were originally on the side facing you and new holes were drilled in the side of the case to accommodate them. These feet stabilise the case when you stand it up on its end with the wheels attached. You can also see the replacement black feet (opted for black to match the trolley mechanism) - they were fixed into the original holes where the smaller grey ones had been, this ensures when open, ready for use the weight is evenly spread over these feet and not the trolley attachments.
The above picture shows the mudguard washers and bolts inside the case - inner four are the trolley attachment fixings, whilst the outer four are for the new black feet ......Note: mudguard washers are used to spread the weight.
This is what it looks like from the other side once the trolley brackets had been fitted.
Once you have fitted all the additional hardware to the former CD case you can smarten up the inside again by fitting the replacement 5mm closed cell foam. We opted for one with a sticky backing just to make life easier.
Now it's time to build the frame to accommodate your Copic markers - we used the same eggcrate louvre as we have done in the past with a lightweight basswood frame - please make sure you get the correct size eggcrate for your markers. Peter used Gorilla Super glue to stick it all together.
above is the top view of the pen storage and below is the base of the frame
The protruding wood to the left in this picture was subsequently cut to fit the case tightly, so that the frame stays in place when fitted in the case.
Here is a close up of the frame prior to the addition of the second eggcrate louvre. Two layers of basswood have been glued together, the narrower one on the inside, creating a lip upon which the second eggcrate sits - it is glued in to place and then a narrow strip of basswood fits above it (flush with the top of the frame) - this too is glued in place.
This particular frame will hold a complete set of Copic markers (excluding the fluorescents) and as shown in the image below there is room at the side for a pencil case to keep extra crafting equipment.
Now the original CD case had eggcrate (ridged) foam in the lid, but this proved to be a tad too thick and the lid would not close properly when all the pens were loaded, oops! So Peter had to strip this foam out of the lid, fix in a layer of the same closed cell foam he had used for the base as well as a rectangle of flat sheet foam cut to fit which we adhered to the polyethylene closed cell foam using double sided sticky tape.
Here are photographs of the finished case.
Above shows the case with the trolley detached, standing on it's base feet like a normal case
(To attach the trolley, turn the case on its side and simply clip the lip on the trolley in to the top bracket, then push a button on the lower part of the trolley which allows you to clip it neatly in to bottom bracket, it clicks in to place and off you go)
To the left the case has the trolley fixed, resting safely on the grey feet you moved, with the handle in the closed position and to the right it shows the handle fully extended.
I hope that this explanation has been of help and should you find yourself travelling with your Copics this is a "Wheely" good solution to the problem of lugging 350+ markers around!!