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PACKING - How to do it! Need to ship something? This is where you can share your ideas.

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Old 09-14-2011, 02:23 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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Pacific's Packing Pointers - a Tutorial on packing large items.

Hello, everyone:

Packing large items is always a PITA, and a lot of folks just don't have a good idea on what to do when they have to send something big and heavy. I thought it might be a good idea to give everyone ideas about how to pack heavy items. And since I am in the middle of packing one up right now, well, what could be more opportune?

Here's what I do with a typical large amplifier or receiver.

What we need to think about and remember is that large, heavy items have a very large conservation of momentum, and they can really tear through packaging. The first thing to consider is the front panel. The front panel switches and controls must never, ever contact anything. What I like to do is start with a blank piece of styrofoam thick enough to be larger than any protruding object on the front panel. Then, I use some home-made tools to melt clearance holes in it to allow for it to sit flush to the main panel. You can use razors, saws or melting-type tools to accomplish this. In the case of this particular item, just holes are not enough, but let's take a look first.



Above, you can see that I've cut out clearances for the various large protruding parts.

But in the case of the 1080, the tuning bezel sticks out from the front panel, so we have more work to do.



What I did here was to use my melting tool to cut out a clearance outline for the bezel. After that, I melted a crosshatch pattern in the area, and then used a wood chisel to remove the styrofoam. The final touch was to use a heat gun to lower high spots and also to congeal the styrofoam so that all the little beads stay in place.

This piece has very little strength, so let's beef it up. I cut a piece of cardboard to the same size of the bezel protector, and I glue it to the front. Below, you can see the glue pattern. It's very important to glue the edges to make it strong on the outside.



Attach the cardboard to the front. Make sure you squish it down (you can weight it with books) and let it sit for five minutes or so. Then, seal the edges with tape, as that make the entire assembly very strong.



Now, let's start packing. Pay attention to the power cord. Power cords are sharp, so wrap them so they don't scratch the back up.



One of the most important things you can do is wrap the unit in a thick plastic bag. Packing material is exceptionally abrasive, and trucks vibrate. Nothing ruins a finish faster than vibrating packing material scrubbing the surface. Also, you always want to keep packing material out of orifices (like tape doors) and the plastic keeps it out. I use honking thick trash bags for this. If your bags are thin, use two. When you wrap the unit, don't wrap it tight in the front, because we still need to be able to seat our front panel protector.



Now, fit the panel protector to the unit, and use some tape to keep it in place.



The next step is optional. On units with wood sides, I like to add cardboard to them.



Everybody forgets about the bottom. Those little feet are putting massive PSI on the box, and this is a bad idea. I tape a piece of foam which is the same thickness as the feet to the bottom of the unit to distribute weight.



Now, pick a box as close to the size of the unit as you can. If it's too big, you can cut it down to fit. In this case, it is too tall, so I cut down (can't see it in this photo) the top. Also, the cord is pushing the box out. We don't want that.



Here, the box has been cut down and clearance has been cut for the power cord. Tape up that first box well.



Now it's time for the second box. We want at least 2" of clearance around all surfaces, so pick an appropriate one. Note: popcorn compresses easily and should only be used to fill voids and to protect very light items. In the example below, I have used a big piece of styrofoam and used popcorn to keep it from moving around.



Now it's time to put the box in. After it is set in and centered, we want to fill in the outer box so that the inner box can't contact the outer box. I use folded cardboard for this. And in those center areas, I tape the cardboard in place because we don't want it moving out of place during shipping. The popcorn is exclusively for void-filling.

Something else that is exceptionally important: ALWAYS leave shipping information INSIDE your box!! You never know what will happen to the outside.



Next, we fill up the top. Here, I use a combination of formed fiber filler (like egg-cartons, but much stronger) and popcorn to keep the filler from moving around.



Close up the box. Always let the carrier know that the item is fragile, and heavy. Print the weight on the outside of the box so that a handler knows what to expect.



Lastly, always insure for a high value. It's cheap, and carriers pay vastly more attention to insured boxes. They don't know what's inside, and they don't want to have to find out.

Total packing time for this item: 3+ hours. But worth every minute.

There's certainly other ways to accomplish this, but this is how I generally do it. Hope this helps folks with their own shipping!
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net

Last edited by Pacific Stereo; 10-29-2012 at 06:41 PM.
  #2  
Old 09-14-2011, 02:42 PM
Des-Lab Des-Lab is offline
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Now THIS is a useful tutorial on how to do it correctly. Lord only knows how many good vintage pieces have been forever lost over the years due to careless or negligent packaging. Of course part of this can be attributed to buyers; a precision job like that is neither easy nor cheap. Since everyone always wants "Expedited Overnight" delivery for the price of "Last Class Bulk", many sellers probably say the hell with it and stuff it into a box as quickly as possible then roll the dice and hope that it shows up in one piece. Like you said: all that packaging, double boxes, cardboard cutouts, glue, etc. And three hours. That costs money and buyers need to understand that. But in their minds, it's hard to justify spending $100, $200, or even $300 in shipping/packaging when the actual item probably didn't cost much more than that-if it was even that much to begin with.

Thank you for taking the time to put this together. Definitely keep it prominently posted. Hopefully sellers will find it useful and educational. Hopefully at least some buyers will start to respect what goes into a good packing and safe journey and realize that they aren't always being gouged for shipping.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:02 PM
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Rat44 Rat44 is offline
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Thank you very much for that quick lesson.
Many of us do not pack,ship or receive items regularly.
We depend on original shipping boxes.
Being involved in the heavy haul trucking business exposed me to the hazards of vibration damaging equipment.

I believe most techs recommend removing the volume knob on most equipment .
Close proximity to the glass and little clearance would be my guess,am I right ?
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:06 PM
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retrokeeper retrokeeper is offline
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This deserves a royal sticky,a section all to itself,whatever,it's great advice and a true help to those who don't know,and a brush-up for those who already know!!! Rob
  #5  
Old 09-15-2011, 07:20 AM
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Socal Sam Socal Sam is offline
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In things tech, P.S. is the man.

The package must survive a four foot drop that occurs at the sorting facilities.

I use medium density Styrofoam sheets and large cell bubble wrap. I never use open cell foam as this material can completely compress transmitting shock to piece. I've shipped over 100 pieces including the bastard of bastards SX-1980 without damage.

I never use shipping popcorn. It compresses and shifts.

Sorry to be critical, I would not want to drop your package four feet.

Last edited by Socal Sam; 09-15-2011 at 07:22 AM.
  #6  
Old 09-15-2011, 08:23 AM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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I've done it a number of different ways over the years, including your method, and yours also works very well. You definitely have to use the high-strength bubble wrap for that method. Like you, I have packed many, many units and tried different methods over the years. I have had very good results with this one. Like you say, open cell foam is definitely a no-no. And popcorn is useful ONLY for filling voids and keeping other packing material from shifting. It can be used for light items like tape decks, but never for anything with any real mass.

A hybrid for this method might be a couple of layers of high-strength bubble wrap on the bottom of the second box.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net

Last edited by Pacific Stereo; 09-15-2011 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Layers of layers!
  #7  
Old 09-15-2011, 12:00 PM
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I did something very similar to that recently to transport a high-dollar tape deck. I used the same styrofoam sheeting technique to create form-fitting coffin for the deck, and then added layers outside of that of more sheeting faced with a couple of layers of large-bubble bubblewrap cut and taped in place on those boards. I made a two-layer sandwich like that for the bottom, figuring it was more likely to have to handle the impact from dropping.

That added some extra cushioning for impact w/o allowing the deck inside the foam coffin to move around at all. Worked great.

John
  #8  
Old 03-27-2013, 04:42 AM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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Exclamation This may need a thread of it's own but it's an important shipping fact

USPS 'tracking' number
When USPS (the postal service) changed their postage classifications in early 2013 they made some of the biggest changes on years to their services. There's a number for each mailing on the receipt slip that's a 'tracking number'. Save the receipt until you know it got there and don't rely on an EMAIL and the recipient to know the number.

It could be a lifesaver.

PS (make sure it's typed correctly or your recipient may get what you see in attachments...I cut and pasted it from the message sent that time and now it works once corrected ) oh well, it's cool
Attached Images
File Type: jpg USPS-page-section.jpg (14.6 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg TC-window.jpg (14.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg USPS-TC-Error-message.jpg (14.1 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by Warped Bezel; 03-28-2013 at 01:56 AM.
  #9  
Old 07-31-2017, 11:03 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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I use a foam spry can it's only $2.50 a can, I start by putting a large plastic bag inside the shipping box and then cover the item to be shipped with another plastic bag, Then I cut 4 pieces of Styrofoam to use as a base to lift the item up inside the box leaving gaps all around the item inside the box.

I then spry the entire space with liquid foam, Then close the outside plastic bag and put a piece of plywood (made specifically for this purpose) on top of the box with a weight on the top. After the foam solidifies I lift up the plywood and seal the cardboard box.

The most important advantage of this method is that the whole box feels like one piece, No loose objects, no vibration and the shock will distributed evenly on the entire surface.
  #10  
Old 07-31-2017, 09:06 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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That's the poor-man's expanding foam packing system. Haven't tried it, since I use a lot of the Quik Tuff RT products. But I should!
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
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