Our process for bringing custom cases to life

We understand that every custom case project is unique, and it’s our job to help you get what you need while following a process that actually works. From value-engineered design capabilities to a range of manufacturing processes, we guide you through every step of your case development while offering the customization solutions you need to get the results you want.

custom case design and development

How it works

Discovery

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The process begins with learning about your needs and defining your goals. We spend time understanding the ins and outs of your product, budget, timeline and manufacturing methods so we can align on a solution that works best for you.

Concept

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Combining your ideas and our knowledge, we sketch out high-level design options that coincide with your brand that will ultimately set the tone for the final design — from functionality to colors and beyond.

Design

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With a roadmap in place, we move to the drafting table where the design and concept begin to take shape. This is a critical phase where we define and answer open questions — refining ideas as needed and finally applying the design for manufacturing.

Presentation

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As your ideas and vision come to life, together we’ll review the solution via 3D models and renderings. While the initial vision has been captured, elements can (and will) be revised to make sure your goals are met and your expectations are beyond exceeded.

Tooling

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This is the point in the process where custom dies, molds or other production tools are incorporated. Depending on the manufacturing process, this could take as little as a week (wow!) or up to 6 weeks (still wow, considering) in the case of a complex injection molded tool.

Prototype

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It’s aliiive! OK, not quite — but this is the exciting part where the product comes to life. While sometimes it makes sense to test features before production in some cases, custom projects (of all sizes) won’t move to the manufacturing stage without an approved First Article.

Manufacturing

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With the prototype complete, our next step is to build your custom case. Once we cut, mold, sew and print the appropriate materials, we’ll carefully assemble, inspect, pack and prepare your case so it can be shipped to you and your customers.

Delivery

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It’s here! It’s finally time for the world to see your new case. Whether you need help with inventory management or just-in-time shipments to expedite the fulfillment process, our team is here to guide you from start to finish.

Take a closer look at our capabilities & techniques

The design processs

First, we begin with the questions you ultimately want answers to. Like, “How will customers use your product?” or, “What are your objectives with your packaging solution?” and maybe, “Will people look very cool holding my product?” Okay, maybe not the last one — but the questions, and subsequent answers, should drive the start of the design process. 

From passion points and goals around your product to the nitty gritty like budget and timeline, once a roadmap is defined for your custom case, your napkin sketch concept moves to the drafting table. And this is where your case starts to take shape — figuratively and quite literally.

PMS

PMS Color Match

Designing a sales kit for Tiffany & Co.? We can match that oh-so-recognizable blue perfectly. Texas Longhorn gear needing that burnt orange touch? We would never accidentally swap that for a University of Tennessee bright orange. Using the Pantone Color Matching System to evoke your brand, we nail the exact color you need.

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Debossing

Debossing/Embossing

From leather or pleather to molded foam to aluminum, we can produce raised (embossed) or sunken (debossed) representations of your company name, logo or graphics. No matter how detailed the image, we can replicate it for an unmistakable mark that links your case with your company and brand.

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Embroidery

Embroidery

Want to add a splash of color to your soft-sided case? Spot color thread embroidery offers a stylish way to highlight your company name or emblem, and can be sewn into the finest detail.

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Hot Stamp

Hot Stamping/Foil Stamping

Hot stamping is a dry printing method in which a heated die and foil are used to apply graphics to a surface. This technique can be used on almost any substrate for a clean, concise visual to make your custom case…well, hot.

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Labels

Labels

From shiny gloss and matte finishes to digitally printed labels with a faster turnaround, we use a range of adhesives to apply interior and exterior labels to convey your message in an aesthetically impactful way.

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Laser Engraving

Laser Engraving

Highly focused and collimated lasers are used to achieve clean and precise detail in aluminum, wood and plastic. Laser engraving/etching carefully carves out your company logo or design.

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Molded Logo

Molded-In Logo

Molded-in logos are created directly into a tool which is then stamped and molded into your plastic, metal or wood case. The end result becomes an integral part of your product presentation.

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Silk Screen/Screen Printing

Silk screening can be applied to various materials including plastic, metal, wood and aluminum. The ink is applied to the surface through a porous mesh material for sharp, colorful graphics that help make your custom case pop.

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Stencil

Stenciling

Using a “physical negative” template to paint identical letters, numbers, symbols and shapes on a case, stenciling is a great option for cases subject to rough shipping methods or harsh environments that don’t respect the product as we wish they would.

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Branding Capabilities

“It’s what’s on the inside that counts” might be a lovely motto for human beings, but for custom cases, both the inside and out matters to us — so our customization isn’t limited to the interior. Transform the exterior of your case into a tangible representation of your brand — from matching it to your brand’s color scheme, molding it into the shape of your trademark, or simply making your logo pop.

Product Engineering

As a partner, Cases By Source works with you to design and engineer the best and most efficient way to protect your equipment. From small electronic devices to large military applications, our team of design and engineering experts closely controls the design for manufacturing (DFM) process of your custom case so that all functional requirements of your product are met and properly cared for.

From the design table to the end user, the quality of your product will never change.

Prototyping

Once production tools are built (if applicable, of course), it’s time to bring your case to life. This is made possible with 3D printing, computer numerical control (CNC) technology and a variety of other top-of-the-line technologies. All cases need First Article approval and environmental and International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) testing performed before manufacturing can begin.

The added value of custom engineering

We’re no stranger to the need to solve technical problems for customers. In fact, we anticipate and welcome this challenge with our integrated solutions and process.


Whether a custom case needs to be equipped with casters, cooling fans, lights or a power source, we can deliver outside of the box — even if it’s inside yours. Here are just a few examples from our portfolio to show you how we do that:

The Customer: A world-renowned beverage company

The Back Story: Liquids were traveling from far-off places — sometimes even developing countries — to reach testing facilities at various corners of the globe. Loads weighed 75 pounds, and temperatures had to be maintained to ensure the quality of the goods upon arrival.

Where We Come In: The soft-sided case we developed for the customer included a foam tray insert to enhance air flow, as well as gel pack inserts to stay within the critical temperature for weeks at a time. Meanwhile, the addition of recessed in-line skates offered an added degree of support for the heavy payload.

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The Customer: Technology developer for off-grid and decentralized communications

The Back Story: Designed for military operations, law enforcement and first responders, the business developed a device that enables mesh networking over long-range, low-bandwidth radio frequencies. This network can span for miles, making it ideal for off-grid communications.

Where We Come In: The custom case we designed and manufactured functions as a charging station for the individual units and also includes antennas in the event of infrastructure failure. With this in mind, the packaging solution plays an integral role in extending the applications (and quality) of an already impressive device.

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The manufacturing process

Cutting, molding, sewing, printing — it’s all part of the manufacturing phase. Using the most economical and effective processes, we assemble, inspect, package and prepare the shipment for you and your customers, with assistance offered in managing inventory and Just-In-Time shipments.

Injection
Molding
Roto
Molding
Blow
Molding
Custom
Fabrication
Foam
Fabrication
Thermoforming-
Vacuum Forming

How It Works:
In this economical and efficient process, plastic is first melted and then injected into a cavity. Once hardened, the plastic is removed.

Benefits:
Solutions are lightweight and resilient, have excellent load-bearing properties and allow for uniform wall thickness. Injection molding also offers a variety of finishes, vivid colors, and resins that can be tailored to specific applications (i.e., to satisfy FDA requirements).

Injection Molding

Applications:
Injection molded cases can be used for art supplies, automotive components, consumer electronics, industrial equipment, lawn and garden equipment, OEM instruments, and more.

What We Offer:
Cases By Source has a broad line of stock injection molded cases that we customize with foam or plastic molded interiors. Many of these cases are waterproof.

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How It Works:
In this economical and efficient process, plastic is first melted and then injected into a cavity. Once hardened, the plastic is removed.

Benefits:
Solutions are lightweight and resilient, have excellent load-bearing properties and allow for uniform wall thickness. Injection molding also offers a variety of finishes, vivid colors, and resins that can be tailored to specific applications (i.e., to satisfy FDA requirements).

Roto Molding

Applications:
Injection molded cases can be used for art supplies, automotive components, consumer electronics, industrial equipment, lawn and garden equipment, OEM instruments, and more.

What We Offer:
Cases By Source has a broad line of stock injection molded cases that we customize with foam or plastic molded interiors. Many of these cases are waterproof.

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How It Works:
Blow molding is the process of forming hollow products by expanding a hot plastic parison against the internal surface of a mold. The exterior can have a smooth or textured finish to resist dents, cracking and scuff

Benefits:
Blow molding offers an inexpensive solution and a durable case for many applications. Low tooling costs and lots of customization options like foam, trays, routed pockets, plastic doors, sizes, colors, logo plates, molded logos and metal latches. To reduce more costs, a custom molded insert can be created to remove the need for foam and excess cost.

Blow Molding
Applications:
Blow molded cases can be used for bulk containers for food, industrial equipment, fuel tanks, lawn and garden, medical equipment, handheld power tools, outdoor displays and outdoor products.

What we offer:
Cases By Source offers a line of stock blow molded cases, BudCase, in over 50 sizes. We can design a foam insert or molded tray into one of these stock sizes or design a blow molded case from scratch for quantities over 1,000.
 

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How It Works:
In this economical and efficient process, plastic is first melted and then injected into a cavity. Once hardened, the plastic is removed.

Benefits:
Solutions are lightweight and resilient, have excellent load-bearing properties and allow for uniform wall thickness. Injection molding also offers a variety of finishes, vivid colors, and resins that can be tailored to specific applications (i.e., to satisfy FDA requirements).

Fabrication

Applications:
Injection molded cases can be used for art supplies, automotive components, consumer electronics, industrial equipment, lawn and garden equipment, OEM instruments, and more.

What We Offer:
Cases By Source has a broad line of stock injection molded cases that we customize with foam or plastic molded interiors. Many of these cases are waterproof.

Read More

How It Works:
Any stock case can be customized with a foam interior. Foam is available in a variety of colors, densities, textures and chemical formulas. To produce your custom foam, one of the following manufacturing processes may be used; die-cutting, water jetting, CNC routing, to laser cutting

Benefits:
Foam material and the manufacturing process can be selected depending on the volume and application. Foam inserts can easily be prototyped and when it comes to production, inexpensive cutting dies can be made for high production volumes. CNS routing and water jetting may be better for lower volumes to avoid tooling costs. 

Foam Fabrication
Applications:
Foam inserts are used for the protection of sensitive parts and equipment. They can also be used for inventory management and Foreign Object Damage (FOD).
 
What we offer:
Cases By Source offers full design and engineering services to design and manufacture your custom foam inserts. Send us your physical parts or CAD, we will create technical drawings and renderings for approval. Following sign-off, a first article will be made to assure fit. Once approved, your project will move into production. 

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How It Works:
Vacuum forming is a thermoforming process in which heat and vacuum pressure are applied to a plastic sheet to form the case or part. Different thicknesses of plastic can be used, and the finished part/case can provide great strength.

Benefits:
Thermoforming is a cost-effective plastic molding process that offers quick turnaround times and relatively low tooling costs. Fairly complex molding shapes can be achieved with vacuum forming.

Thermoforming
Applications:
Thermoformed cases are great for avionic equipment, computer enclosures, deployable weapons systems, electronic testing and monitoring equipment and military instrumentation to name a few.
 
What we offer:
Cases By Source offers a range of stock thermoformed cases from SKB and SPI.

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Ready to put your custom case project in motion?

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