Archive for the 'Touring' Category
May 3rd, 2013 by admin
A&S was honored to be asked to make case pieces that would be part of an art exhibit. We make cases for exhibits all the time but to be part of an exhibit, now this is COOL! When we were asked to make pieces as large as 28′ feet long and 14′ feet high, we knew we would have to overcome some challenges. Indeed the scale of the pieces makes this installation impressive. It was a joy to see our cases as part of an art exhibit. We get to be involved with cool projects everyday but there is something about being part of an art piece that is immortal!!!
March 28th, 2013 by admin
When I first began designing cases in the 80’s the bulk of cases we designed and built were for the music industry. Amps, guitars, keyboards, drums, and band instruments were high on the list. Audio and computer cases were a very quick growing second. This was back in time when monitors were still CRT technology and were enormous. And laptops had not even been talked about yet. A computer was a large, heavy desktop model that weighed a hundred pounds. (I know… I’m old. You have no idea how lucky you are!) We had to figure out how to get everything into one huge case or several small cases that weren’t really small. Now, I put 10 laptops in a case that can be checked as luggage on a plane.
Some requests were very challenging because the hardware had not yet been designed or developed to allow us to do really complex cases. I can still remember the first customer who wanted casters on the end of his piano case so he could pull it like a luggage cart. There were no recessed casters in those days. So I figured out how to recess a regular Colson caster into the end of the case and mount it to an interior “casterboard”. This was not a really good solution because it was a Roland RD300 which weighed a ton. The keyboard kept bowing the interior casterboard which caused problems with the wheels. Today it would have been a piece of cake.
For a while, entertainment cases were a huge deal. This was before TV’s were 2” thin. The old ones still had a big tube protruding out the back. And we needed to fit it in there with speakers and stereo equipment. Today, the vesa mounts on the back of the TV’s make it possible to do most anything. We can even mount the TV on an electric lift so it comes and goes when you want it. Quietly.
This year, it seems the new designs are lending themselves more to television production and post production than ever before. For me, these are the most fun because they can be very challenging. Mounting several screens and mixers and gear in a case that can roll over any kind of terrain is new just because the technology of the gear is new. In ten years this too will be out of date.
I never knew designing cases could be a career. And I certainly never thought that one day I would look back and see how far case design has come over the years. A&S has always been on the forefront of new design. We always strive to find the newest and best products to make our cases better. And I think this is evident in the products we have created. Check out our galleries to see where we came from and where we are going.
February 28th, 2013 by admin
Back in my younger days I was a champion door slammer. It was the very best way to get rid of all that ire. Slam that door as hard as you can! And I always looked so demure people were stunned. And the neighbors didn’t really like the fact that the entire apartment building shuddered. Now, however, it is truly “in” to slam! the door!
A&S SLAM Racks and Cases™ are a 21st Century innovation! Road cases have been around for decades. There are lots of companies claiming to make Road Cases. Most of them use inferior or low quality materials of questionable origin. There are a few that make pretty good cases. But A&S has always been the leader in quality and innovation. And we have done it again on both counts!
These cases are made using an Eastern European phenolic birch ply material that has more layers than regular fir ply. The layers are laminated with a marine glue and the top and bottom textured/colored layers are put on as part of the lamination process. This makes for a very strong, water resistant wood. We use an innovative door channel that turns the case into a six sided box so that it is stronger.
But my favorite thing about the Slam! Rack is that there are no more twist latches to test your finger strength or tear your jeans. You just set the door into the slam channel and slam it shut! I can’t tell you how many of my favorite jeans I have torn with those twist latches. But wait, you have too! Now you get the strength of a Kriz-Kraft rack with the ease of the Slam! Rack.
We can also make a killer workbox and trunk using the same Slam! technology. This technology allows us to make a great case that costs less. One of the best things about this job is the ability to dream up and design new products. And this is one of the best so far.
January 16th, 2013 by admin
Ginny and Byron have been exposed to music their entire life. Their father was a concert clarinetist, and played jazz locally in Sacramento. He was a Band Master in the Army, as well. Their mother was a concert flautist. Their Grandfather was a percussionist in the Shiners’ Drum Corp., and their Grandma was an excellent cellist! Byron and Ginny both play guitar. He is a self-taught musician and, being left-handed, found it difficult to find guitars to play. At the age of 16 he built his first “lefty”! He’s been building custom guitars ever since.
The first Charity Guitar was for Breast Cancer. Ginny Jobe was diagnosed in 2009. While well on her way to being cancer free, she was the original promoter of the first guitar. And A&S collaborated with Ginny and Byron and made the case for the first guitar. The Jobes donated the guitar to the Susan G .Komen Run for the Cure where raffle donations were in excess of $8,000.
Now, Byron and Ginny are working on their second guitar “The Veterans Memorial Charity Guitar”. And A&S is again very proud to be included in the second collaboration to provide an ATA case for touring for the new guitar. The proceeds from this one will be donated to The Fallen Warriors Memorial Organization.
August 20th, 2012 by admin
In the old days when you got a case it had a top lid. It was either a POL or POC (meaning a pull over style with a large lid and a small base for a big heavy item), or a trunk style. Everything had to be lifted up and into the case. If it was a pullover lid then it just had to be lifted as high as the small base of the case and casters, which was probably 9” off the ground. A trunk style would likely be significantly taller. Somewhere along the way we got smarter and designed a case with a front door like a refrigerator. This made it easier to load some things into the case. But they still had to be lifted up and into the case. Then came the Ramp Case. Now we’re talkin’! Now the big heavy thing with wheels could just be rolled up a ramp and into a case.
We still use foam to hold the item in place. We can also use foam with a loadspreader under the item to give it shock protection. Or we can use rubber shock mounts and a loadspreader to give it shock protection. It can be held in place with a variety of straps depending on the weight of the item. We can use ratchet straps or straps with buckles. As useful as it is, Velcro would probably not be an option in this case.
We can build with an accessory compartment. We can also make the case with a front and rear lid if necessary. Sometimes there are multiple compartments. But the idea is to make it easier to roll a heavy item up into the case instead of having to lift it up.
The ramp itself is generally ½” ply wood. This can be covered with carpet or aluminum. Or it might need to be ¾” ply wood. If needed, we can build it with steel or aluminum. The case can have skids or casters. The ramp is usually connected to the case with a heavy duty hinge. On rare occasion the ramp will be removable and stored inside the case. There is steel or aluminum at the end of the ramp so it flows evenly to the floor. If it is a very heavy item and long, there might be supports to keep the ramp straight. If it is a short item from front to back, the ramp might need to be a double with a hinge in the middle. When it is ready to be used, it unfolds out of the case and the item rolls down and onto the floor. The ramp then folds up into the case and is held in place with straps. The lid is closed and the case rolls away or is removed by a forklift.
At A&S Case Company it has been our mission for a long time to seek new solutions. If you want to see a ramp in use, check out our video of R2D2!
August 7th, 2012 by admin
In the great world of cases you have custom cases and pre-made cases. Which one is better? Which one is ATA? Which one will work best? These are all valid questions and only you can answer them. But I can tell you what the differences are so you can make an informed choice.
Many of the prefabricated cases that look like your typical “road” case are made overseas. They are made using poplar instead of ACX plywood. The hardware is much thinner and more brittle. And it is usually not made with the same care or material that western manufacturers choose. Because they are made using 3/8” poplar laminated with a black plastic material, these cases are generally much heavier than those we manufacture. Frequently, the wood is warped or bowed because they do not have the same quality control as we do here in this country. Also, the laminate is likely not virgin and may have recycled ABS or contaminants in it. Sometimes these cases can be ordered as custom and sometimes they are premade to fit a generic size. If they can be ordered as custom expect to wait 6+ weeks for your case. It needs to be designed, built, and then shipped here in a container. And while your case may have an ATA rating, it will be rated for 1-10 round trips instead of A&S’ 100 round trips based on ATA Spec 300 Cat 1.
Then there are the plastic cases. There are some very good plastic cases on the market. And there are some that are serious junk. Plastic cases are made by rotation molding or injection molding or vacuum forming. Cases that are rotation molded are rotated continuously during the mold process to insure the plastic adheres to the wall of the mold. Injection molded cases are injected into a mold and hardened. Vacuum forming is where a sheet of plastic is heated and then stretched onto a mold and held there by applying a vacuum between the plastic and the mold.
Many of the plastic cases claim they are water tight. Be sure to check their warranty to see how much water and for what duration that claim is good. Plastic cases can also be made with different thicknesses of plastic. You want to make sure that whatever plastic case you have in mind, it will be held to the standards you need in your environment. This means you will need to ask questions about the rigidity, thickness, and shock resistance.
Molded cases are usually offered in basic sizes. This makes sense if you realize that for every size that is made there has to be a mold that size. The more sizes offered the more stock that needs to be kept on hand and the more molds that need to be made and kept in stock. This can be a sizable investment and that cost will be passed on to the consumer. If you purchase a molded case off the shelf, you will need to settle for what sizes they make. Frequently, that size is nowhere near what you really need. If you have a custom case made, you will get exactly the size you need with no wasted material. This also means you pay to ship just the size case you need. Not the size case that is offered.
It is important to note that plastic molded cases of any type are made from polypropylene or polyethylene. This is an olefin material derived from petroleum. This seems a poor choice in a time when we are desperate to get away from petroleum and petroleum products. While we may never get away from them completely, we need to find better, greener, and more renewable products. The recyclable and/or renewable material in these cases is at less than 30%.
The A&S Kriz Kraft Airack is 90% renewable and/or recyclable. It is made with ½” ply ACX plywood, laminated with ABS or fiberglass, and uses no polyethylene or polyurethane foam. The airack provides better air flow and the Kriz Kraft design provides a six sided case which is much more stable.
Here at A&S everything we make is made to order. This means we do not need to stock extra cases and you pay for only what you need. And your case will be sized for your equipment, not the size closest to what is most frequently purchased. You will not wait 6 weeks for your finished case. You will get a case that is made in the USA. Our standard turnaround time is 2 weeks when we are really busy. And if your case ever needs to be repaired because the forklift driver didn’t see the casters, we are just down the block, not halfway around the world.
June 14th, 2012 by admin
Photo by Kim Kumpart
Photo by Kim Kumpart
When the owner of A&S Case Company suffered major loss as a result of a fire in his tack room, the only glimmer of hope was in an A&S case. He was able to salvage only the items that were stored in the case. Although a few pairs of boots and one helmet is a small amount of gear, their mere survival was enough to keep his spirits up. When fire strikes, it is not only the physical loss but also the emotional link to the past that is lost and when all seems lost, a little glimmer counts for a lot.
These cases were made out of Aluminum Stucco over ½” or 3/8” wood and although we do not claim that our cases are fireproof, the Aluminum Stucco proved to be very good protection against the raging blaze. We have had other cases show up here for repair after fire damage which you can check out in our Video Galleries under “A&S Cases Lead Interesting Lives… See what this one survived”.
A&S prides itself on protecting Competition Critical Equipment and is proud to have shown up for our owner in a time of need.
June 1st, 2012 by admin
Back in the old days, if you had a drum set and you needed to transport it, chances are your options were limited. You would have one case for the toms and snares, one for the bass drum and cymbals, and another for the hardware. Heaven help you if you had more than a 5 piece drum kit!
Today we have the A&S DrumBox. This case holds an entire 5-7 (or more) drum kit along with the cymbals (in their own compartment) and hardware in a removable tray. How easy is this?
Since all our cases are custom, we can easily configure each case to the drum kit you have. And, since it is Kriz Kraft, it is even stronger than a regular case with a regular lid. And, you have the option of having a single door that hangs on the back of the case or a double lid that hangs on each side of the case!
For the extra special drums, we can even cover the foam with velvet.
Even the military has gotten into the “swing” of things with our A&S DrumBox!
May 11th, 2012 by admin
I get asked this question a lot. How do you get everything from stickers to stencils off a case? It depends on what the case is made of.
ABS is the most common laminate. This is a plastic product and is sensitive to acetone and other cleaners that are not water based. Anything that is not water based can cause the ABS to crack, bubble, melt, or de-laminate. If your case is laminated with ABS you can clean it very effectively with Simple Green. Simple Green and a toothbrush will even get very old stencils off. I should also mention that you will have to put in some serious elbow grease and patience, but it will work.
If your case is laminated with fiberglass, you can clean it with almost anything you have handy. Even mineral spirits won’t cause a problem with the fiberglass. It is tough!
If you have an uncommon laminate like Wilsonart or diamond birch, you will be safe with soap and water or Simple Green.
April 10th, 2012 by admin
I don’t think anyone ever asks me what an ATA case is. Everyone “knows” what an ATA case is. Since every company that makes a case says they are ATA cases, everyone seems to assume that all ATA is the same. NOT SO!
The ATA Specification 300 has three categories for cases or containers: CAT 1 sets forth design and construction standards for a case built to withstand the rigors of 100 round trips by air freight; CAT 2 sets design and manufacturing standards for a case built to last 20 round trips; and CAT 3 sets design and manufacturing standards for 1 round trip. Basically a sturdy cardboard box with Styrofoam to protect the boxes’ content. These trip numbers are based on material and workmanship. It doesn’t matter how good the case is built if the forklift puts a hole in it.
This means that all those cases brought in from overseas or made in someone’s garage, do indeed meet some ATA specs. But what good is an ATA case that is good for one trip if you need to ship it repeatedly? You will be replacing that wonderful ATA case every time you ship it. And how long can you afford to do that?
I know that some of the imported cases look like the real thing. They have fancy chrome like ball corners, are made of 3/8 poplar and seem like the real thing. They have nice twist latches and recessed handles. But the corners and hardware are thin and brittle, the poplar is heavy and nothing like ACX ply and the method of assembly leaves something to be desired.
All the materials that go into making our case a real ATA case are manufactured themselves to a reasonable standard. You cannot use substandard materials to build an ATA case. Our corners, latches, handles, corner clamps, angle, and valance are themselves quality materials so our end products meet the rigid standards of the ATA Spec 300 Cat 1 and MIL spec 810.
Most of what goes into the building of a case is labor. The cost of labor is a pretty fixed price based how much it costs to keep a company up and running on a day to day basis. This means that someone operating (legally or illegally) out of a home based environment is going to be able to charge less for their labor because their overhead is less. Amazingly these same companies, who could afford to buy quality materials, often opt instead for inferior materials so they can charge less. They still build an ATA case at a cheaper price than we can. Their case will NOT go 100 round trips because their material and perhaps their workmanship are not up to standards.
The material price can be flexible. Since there are several companies that sell parts for ATA cases we might have the ability to shop around a bit. But there is also the need to be extremely careful about each piece. A huge percent of hardware now is produced overseas and shipped here. Some of it is quality and some of it is not. We could purchase much cheaper hardware but again, we would not be meeting our own level of standards let alone the ATA spec. You might say, “So what? Who will know?” The airlines will for sure. And we will know we produced an inferior product. And the customer will be the loser in the end.
The Air Transport Association as well as the International Air Transport Association and their member airlines have produced ATA Specification 300 and its 3 categories for their own protection. The specification sets the rules that govern their liability when a case and its content are damaged in transit. They only have to accept responsibility when the shipping cases design and manufacture are compliant with their specification. So the important question to ask the company or sales outlet that is offering you an ATA Style case is — does it just look like an ATA case or is it in fact compliant with the specification? If they say it is compliant ask them — which category is it compliant with? It is your money and if it is a non-compliant case it is your liability.
I guess the bottom line is that there are companies out there that care. We have been successful since 1976. You are not successful for that long unless you care. We care about the way we build a case. We care about the materials we use. We also care about how those materials are constructed. Our manufacturing meets the AQMD’s standards. We will not stoop to building an inferior case with substandard materials and call it an ATA case. You will get what you pay for from us. It won’t be as cheap as the imported case, but the shipping company will pay to repair it when they trash it.
When you are spending your hard earned money, especially in this economy, you have to trust that you are getting your money’s worth. At A&S we work hard to earn and keep your trust. This means you may not need to replace or repair your case, but when you need a case for a new piece of equipment, you will return to us.