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Savings Tips

Welcome to the penny-pincher, save-a-buck tip center . . . Hey, it's okay, we are the SAME WAY here at CNS. It's all about saving dollars and we couldn't agree more! Sure, we are in busines to make money, what business isn't? We could try and sell you only the items that made us the most money, but we aren't greedy. We want you as a customer. We want you to be able to afford to build your own cases. We want to help you find a way to get what you need within YOUR budget. That's why we included this helpful information for you. If you have a cost-savings question that you don't see covered here, send us an inquiry and we'll see what we can do to help!


There are basically two categories of road/flight cases. Bona fide heavy-duty cases from reputable case companies, and cheap flimsy crap that look like road/flight cases. Do your homework and you'll see that this is true. Get quotes from legit case companies. Search the web for "bargain" cases. You will see the desparity in pricing. Stay away from the crap, then price out your parts and materials with us and see how much you can save compared to buying legit road/flight cases.

Also, please keep in mind that if you are researching cases in the Internet, you will run across some very inexpensive cases. REMEMBER the old saying, you get what you pay for. This is so true in the flight case industry. I have seen guitar pedal cases for $79.95 that would cost $229.00 from a legit case manufacturer. Please understand that there are a lot of cheap knock-off brand cases floating around out there. You have to be careful, as they look nice in photos, but are actually inferior quality and some are just plain crap. Some of these "companies" don't even actually sell the cases that they present in their photos, but a cheaper version. When comparing your savings, you have to compare apples to apples. You will be building your cases with the EXACT same parts that 75% of case manufacturers use, and not cheaper substitutes. Also, the more complex the case, the more the savings, as it is the labor costs that kill when buying from a manufacturer, not the parts and materials.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When comparing prices on case parts in your quest to save money, be sure that you are comparing similar parts. Is the material the same gauge? Are there the same amount of mounting holes? Are there offsets? Are there any other special features that set one item apart from another?

For example, there is a reason that one Large Ball Corner has a different cost than another. Large Ball Corners with offsets for extrusions cost more, but they serve a valuable purpose. If you see a Large Ball Corner somewhere for $0.90 - $1.25, but it does not have offsets for extrusions, or is a lighter gauge material, then you can not compare it to one with with offsets, that is made of thicker steel that costs $1.50. So, be informed and choose wisely.



1. The first thing to remember is that legitimate road cases are very expensive to purchase.

NOTE: If you have shopped around you know that you will find inexpensively priced cases on the web that LOOK just like bona fide flight cases. They will have the aluminum trim, shiny steel corners and other hardware. And some of these might work for you under gentle circumstances, such as moving gear in your car under the best of conditions. But this is for sure . . . almost all of the cheaply priced "flight cases" or "road cases" that you find at outlets like Musician's Friend, eBay Stores, etc., are just that . .  CHEAP. They will never hold up over time nor protect your expensive gear under rugged conditions. Pedal board "flight cases" for $69.95, or Fender Twin "road cases" for $179.99 will be nothing but an absolute disappointment to you once you see and feel how flimsy they are.

2. Parts, materials, and shipping when buying stuff to build your own isn't that cheap either, but it is MUCH cheaper than ordering a case from a manufacturer, or even buying stock size cases from retailers. Don't be fooled by the listed prices - YOU WILL PAY SHIPPING FEES for cases that you buy, and they aren't cheap in many instances.

A smaller stock size case with a large retailer like Musician's Friend may ship for free or as cheap as $20. However, get to stock cases that are larger, or have casters, and you are looking at anywhere from $70 - $130 in shipping during checkout. It's the same thing when ordering from case manufacturers. With us you can build your cases cheaper, they are CUSTOM to your gear, and shipping in most instances will be cheaper due to being able to ship parts in smaller boxes that do not require special handling/charges.


- 44"W x 26"H x 22"D trunk-style case, similar to the one seen in our video, with three compartments, foam lining, all recessed parts, heavy-duty hardware, and casters may run you approximately $600-$850 depending on the manufaturer, PLUS $70-$130 shipping. (Beware of some lower prices that you will see as many times those cases do not come with all of the options/hardware that you may see in the photos - such heavier-duty parts may actually be upgrade items. Also remember that you get what you pay for - budget doesn't usually = QUALITY - unless of course you do it yourself !)

- The same case as above, only building yourself, will run you approximately $200-$300 for parts and materials depending on your selections (cheaper if you follow our cost saving tip below reference local wood), plus approximately $35-$65 depending on shipping options (cheaper if you follow our cost saving tip below and use local wood).

You can still cut down on the expense, and here are some tips on how!

1. Purchase your plywood sheets locally. Cut your panels, then simply paint them the color of your choice, followed by 2-3 coats of a strong high gloss polyurethane or polycrylic finish. You will be amazed how well this will hold up for years to come, and you can easily touch up nicks and scratches over time. This one tip cuts your overall purchase cost by 20%-30% and your shipping costs by 50%-60%, as the plywood laminate sheets are the single most expensive component in the process, due to their properties, weight, and bulky dimensions. Other than missing the exterior plastic sheeting, your cases will look and perform exactly the same!

ONE NOTE REGARDING WOOD THICKNESS IF YOU PLAN TO PURCHASE YOUR OWN WOOD AND LAMINATE IT YOURSELF WITH OUR ABS PLASTIC SHEET OR YOUR OWN FINISH 1/4" plywood at stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot will usually be listed as such. However, with 3/8" and 1/2" you may see them listed a bit differently. They y not be listed as 3/8" & 1/2". You may see 3/8" listed as 11/32" or 9mm-10mm. You may see 1/2" listed as 15/32" or 12mm-13mm. Please keep this in mind as you shop for plywood.

2. Scale down on the wall thickness of your case. The cost for parts and extrusions will increase somewhat with thicker wall dimensions. Using 1/4" plywood instead of 1/2" can save 15%-20% for the hardware and extrusions. HOWEVER, remember that
cases with larger overall dimensions will not perform as well with wall thicknesses that are too thin. See our recommendations section to be safe.

3. Select parts that are not quite as heavy duty. Example: use a standard flat corner instead of a ball corner, use 2-rivet corner braces instead of 6-rivet, use surface-mount spring-loaded handles and latches instead of recessed, etc. These type of options can save another 10%-20%, not only in parts cost but shipping as well due to less weight.

4. Don't build a case at all. This is the maximum savings tip that we can provide!