Beckman DM73: Package Armor

For reasons not relevant here, I sent the Beckman DM73 to a good home in Europe. Having some experience with the brutality applied to innocent packages by various package-delivery organizations, I filled a Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Box with a solid block of corrugated cardboard:

DM73 - cardboard armor
DM73 – cardboard armor

One inner layer has a cutout for the manual:

DM73 - Operator Manual package
DM73 – Operator Manual package

The meter and its leads tuck into form-fitting cutouts:

Beckman DM73 - cardboard packing
Beckman DM73 – cardboard packing

I bandsawed the cutouts from a block with enough layers for some space on the top and bottom:

DM73 - bandsawing cardboard package
DM73 – bandsawing cardboard package

After mulling that layout overnight, I made a similar block with the saw cuts on diagonally opposite corners, so pressure on the center of the edges won’t collapse the unsupported sides. A slightly larger meter cutout allowed a wrap of closed-cell foam sheet that likely doesn’t make any difference at all.

With everything in place, the box had just enough space for a pair of plastic sheets to better distribute any top & bottom impacts.

I won’t know how the armor performed for a few weeks, but it’s definitely the best packaging idea I’ve had so far.

Update: After nearly two weeks, the package arrived undamaged and the meter was in fine shape. Whew!

7 thoughts on “Beckman DM73: Package Armor

    1. It was easier than it looks, at least after I realized how to bandsaw my way to the interior spaces without using a knife.

      You’ll note I didn’t get diverted by building a CNC box cutter … [grin]

      1. Yes I expected you to use CNC but was happy to see the old fashioned way – good for common sense

        When I was in college in a class on the slide rule – the instructor had a story about his time in college – slide rule class ans the instructor gave a long talk about the upcoming problem that would stretch their knowledge – then the instructor ask “what is 2 times 2” and yes – immediately the sound of 115 slide rules coming out of their cases – proper tool for the job

  1. And here I thought I was the only one to go this far on packaging. I recently informed our office manager to stop throwing everything out related to packing materials. We are always on the hunt for packing materials to ship very very expensive items. Contrary to popular belief, bubble wrap, air pillows, and Styrofoam peanuts DO NOT work for everything. Sometimes custom packaging has to be constructed. Everyone doesn’t think like an engineer (often including my fellow engineers) and I realize not everything is going to be shot into space, however most shipping damage can be prevented.

    1. I really like foam-in-place conformal packaging, but the equipment is way spendy and the ingredients have such a brief shelf life.

      The flat-rate package meant I didn’t need to worry about ounces. The next box size is twice the price and absurdly oversized, even by my standards; I hope I wasn’t being too optimistic.

      1. I almost mentioned those. The last time I used some (Instapak) I believe I bought or was given some from a package store from their stock at minimal cost. Of course now ebay, Amazon, etc. may have more to offer. The ones I used were just tucked into an electric heating pad before use for 30 minutes or so and worked great without all the usual expensive hardware.

        1. The world is definitely getting better: when I looked at foam packaging, you squirted two-part foaming goo over your well-wrapped widget inside the box!

          The bags are surprisingly cheap, too, at least when you buy an absurd amount.

          Thanks for the pointer!

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