Building an instrument shipping box

Recently I´ve built an instrument shipping box in this case for a viola which I sent to the US for a competition. I wanted to make sure it is a very stable package since I didn´t want to take down the bridge and leave the soundpost in. The second thought was to make the package easy to open and repack for the person who would receive the instrument and later send the shipment back to me. Weight is always an issue when it comes to shipping expenses so I tried to keep the weight down.

Polystyrene seemed to be the ideal material- light, easy to work with and resistant to compression. The Polystyrene came in sheets from a hardware store and I found a good cardboard box with dimensions where I could stack 4 layers of Polystyrene on top of each other with the middle two having the cut out for the case.

The first step was to draw the outline of my case onto two of the sheets.


Then I used a bandsaw to cut out the shape.


I stacked four layers into the cardboard box, one full sheet of Polysterene on the bottom, two with the viola case cut out on top and the upmost layer being a full sheet yet again.



To my disappointment I ended up with a weight over 5 kg which is a limit for price level of international parcels in Germany. The material cost for the Polystyrene and the box was ok. I also liked the simplicity of the packing without having a bubble wrap chaos. The viola case was packed snugly and had no chance to move around much during transport which is good. If one intends to use the box more than once I think it´s an worthy investment in time and money.

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