How to Design a Custom Case for Shipping Fragile Equipment

Philly Cases

Why Use a Custom Case to Ship?

Today we expect to ship everything. But there are some items that need extra care when shipping, particularly if they are often shipped, maybe back and forth as they are used from coast to coast. For many, this may include shipping musical instruments, firearms, motion picture equipment, medical equipment, trade show booths, audio and lighting production equipment, and more. That’s why we suggest working with a company like Philly Case to customize cases to your exact shipping needs.

How to Design a Custom Case for Shipping Fragile Instruments?

One of the most common uses for a custom case is to ship fragile instruments. Philly Case provides custom ATA solutions to fit your needs including drawers and dividers, keyboard shelves, tilt-and-pull handles, stacking features, and various foam and carpet linings that will ensure your instruments arrive intact.

How do I Design My Own Custom Case for Flight or Ground Transportation?

We work with you to understand and provide the best solutions for your needs that not only keep your fragile items safe but adhere to ATA specifications. Our technical designers will guide you through a comprehensive list of options giving you the freedom to customize while also providing our expertise to create the right case for your needs. Once your case is designed, our team of craftsmen will construct your cases using high-quality materials like furniture-grade plywood on the exterior and protective materials like cushioning foam or carpet-lining on the interior. Then we will add finishing touches including hardware including ball corners, heavy-duty wheels, and recessed steel handles that all meet or exceed ATA specifications.

What Does ATA Case Mean?

An ATA case is a term given to containers that meet government specifications for design, development, and procurement to ensure that its contents are effectively packaged for shipping via airlines. The acronym ATA is derived from the Air Transport Association which originally created the specification. Other names referred to this kind of case include “road case” and “flight case.”

What Material are Flight Cases Made From and What Rules do They Need to Conform to?

By law, it is known as the ATA Spec. 300 Category 1 specification. Originally applied to just containers shipped via air, this has become the reference name for all cases of this style. Today most people recognize this style case as one found backstage at a concert, with aluminum edges, recessed steel latches and handles, and wall panels finished with a protective plastic laminate on the outside. Depending on its use it may have panels made of plywood and plastic of varying thickness. An extra laminate layer seals the panels and is made of ABS plastic, textured aluminum, fiberglass, or even plastic resin. The interior is typically made of felt carpet, wood, or foam depending on what it’s designed for.

There are generally three types of ATA cases:

  • Custom wooden
  • Stock or Standard-sized wooden
  • Molded ATA case

How can a Custom Case Maker, Help you Design a Custom ATA Case?

Philly Case has been designing and customizing flight cases for 75 years. As the leading flight case manufacturer for 1000’s of businesses including Fortune 500 companies and the US Military we are skilled in working with clients to customize ATA cases to their needs. Reach out today to speak to one of our skilled craftsmen who will work with you to understand your needs.


  • “Airlines for America.” Airlines for America, 2020, Accessed December 2020.
  • “ATAA 300: Packaging of Airline Supplies, Revision 19.” Air Transport Association of America, Air Transport
  • Association of America, 1996, Accessed 2020.