Need to ship something safely? How to build a custom crate. for less than $100.
You've probably already contacted a crating company, and are astounded how much it costs to have something crated for shipping. Its way more cost effective and really not that difficult to make your own crate. which is key if you will need to reuse the crate, as it can be easily assembled and dis-assembled. The materials are relatively cheap and accessible. If you have some basic building skills, know how to use a cordless drill, and have access to a chop saw and table saw, its definitely worth it to just do it yourself. keep reading and good luck!
Step 1: Materials and tools
You can buy all these things at Home Depot or Lowes.
- 2x4s (note, the actual dimension is 1.5" x 3.5")
- 1 4x4 (actual 3.5" x 3.5")
- 1/2" OSB or similar inexpensive plywood product (not MDF or Particle board - they won't hold up in wet weather). I paid less than $20 for a full sheet (48" x 96") of OSB.
- 1/2" Foam insulator sheet (I like the lavender stuff, but the white/aluminum stuff works okay too).
- 2 Cordless drills (an impact driver for driving screws and a regular drill for pre-drilling holes)
- Countersink drill bit
- Screws (I like two sizes, some at 2.5" length and some at 1 1/4" length)
- Chop Saw (for cutting 2x4s to length)
- Table Saw or Panel Saw (for cutting down sheet good)
** Optional - Bandsaw (for ripping 2x4s in half along their length)
The amount of materials you need will depend on the size of your crate.
(For reference, my crate ended up being 40" x 46" x 26" high, and I used two sheets each of OSB and Foam, and probably four 8 foot 2x4s).
For smaller crates that are lightweight and won't be fork-lifed, a 2x4 frame is probably overkill. You can reinforce the corners with
strips of OSB or scrap plywood instead.
For local moves, bolt on some HD casters and make sure at least one has a brake.
<p>Has nobody here actually tried this?</p><p>Well, I did, and it seems like the dimensions are off. In the diagram, for example, the top is clearly larger than the base OSB. But in the cut list, it says to cut the base 1" larger in each dimension. Something's amiss.</p><p>Before you follow the details, make sure to confirm that the dimensions make sense. I didn't, and now I have a $200 crate that should have cost $100 in materials. </p>
<p>If you are crating goods for international shipping, you may find that using natural timber, as used in parts of the crate shown in this Instructable, will incur a quarantine inspection fee at the destination port. To avoid this, all wood used in the crate should only be plywood or OSB.</p>
A heavy crate most probably will have to be lift by a fork lift, it would've be nice to see that portion build and shown in the picture
<p>You didn't mention the staples, which are pictured and seem like a necessary (although inherently sketchy) element.</p>
<p>Nice instructable. Glad I found this cuz I have some breakables to move soon. Building a big then crate for a flat screen and some smaller ones for computer monitors. Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>Great instructable! A long time ago I used to build shipping crates. We manufactured and shipped heavy flow meters nothing fragile. Our crates had to stand up to the abuse of getting shoved around. </p><p>I really like the idea of circling the screws to make them easier to find. We used staples, sometime I would get a wild hair and staple the crap out of top (I still had some maturing to do) and never thought about the pour soul that had to pry open the crate at the other end.</p><p>Thanks for the trip down memory lane. </p>