The Car-ry Box
Scroll down for the pictures.
When the Element was loaded to go to the field the first few times, planes were spread all around on the rear floor and there was a big mess in the back. Getting everything in and out was hard on my back and the planes. When the planes were put up on the folded seats and the windows were open they blew around. Time to design.
The box is made out of blue foam. The bottom is made from 1 1/2" blue insulating foam that had been laying around the shop and the rest is from 1" foam purchased for the box. It required less that half of a 2ft. x 8ft. sheet. Deciding on the dimensions of the box required measuring the car and the planes.
The planes were propped up on scrap lumber and measured to determine how deep the box had to be so that the planes could be supported by the sides and the slots in the sides. The width of the box is wider than the maximum propeller diameter (by a few inches) that might be on any plane in the box combined with clearance for any servos in the wings (for ailerons). The length (the longest dimension) of the box was determined by the space between the wheel wells in the back of the car.
Once the box was assembled the planes were propped up in place again to determine spacing that would allow the maximum number of planes and the least chance of damage when they were loaded and removed. The slots for the wings were cut with a very thin Japanese saw. The other cuts were made with a 1 1/2" putty knife that was filed sharp along one edge. The putty knife would work for the slots too but it was more awkward to use than the saw. The slots were angled slightly; this made enough additional space for one more small plane.
All the pieces that were cut away to make the slots were (luckily) saved. When When the box was first loaded in the shop it turned out that some of the wing slots were too deep so pieces of the removed material were glued back in to move the bottom of the slots up. There were wide slots cut on one end to accept my Hell Raiser (biplane). After the HR was lost, the scrap was glued back in and new slots cut to accept the Mini E3D wing. The scraps were offset from the main sides of the box to allow the foam box sides to support the Mini E3D wing at its ribs rather than on the covering.
The wood strips inside the box (running vertically between the slots) are paint stirrers glued in place. They firm up the sides which were too flexibly fragile after the slots were cut. The thicker bottom piece was used to provide more resistance to moving objects and to make it easier to glue the box together. Itís held together with PL Premium polyurethane glue, applied with a caulking gun. PL is inexpensive (less than $4.00 for a tube) and is the same stuff as Gorilla glue but thicker. It can be thinned with a solvent like mineral spirits to make it brushable.
The first time the box was put into the Element it wouldnít fit; it was too wide for the space at the door. After messing with it, it went in by starting with one end in and forcing the other end past a door-holding loop that was in the way; the groove made by the loop in the foam was not a problem and the box goes in easily now.
After using the box for a while Iím happy with it. If the wing spans of the planes are less than the space between the folded-up seats or the space without the seats, the box can be turned at a right angle and equipment cases can go to either side of the box. A small plane like the Microstick can be placed in the bottom of the box (under the larger planes). I avoid putting anything heavy in the bottom of the box; that could be a disaster waiting for a curve in the road. So far, so good.
One photo shows the box placed front to back with the seats out; the other shows the box across the Element with the seats folded up to the sides. There are seven planes in there (six in the box including a Mini Stick and a V-tailed glider) with room for a few more.