Safely packing something to be shipped?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by juntari, May 11, 2012.

  1. juntari

    juntari New Member

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    Hi everyone, everyone always does great work but I rarely see anyone talk about how they pack their things to be shipped safely. I made a helmet which I will need to send soon and want to know the best way to deliver it without any damage. It is made out of plastic, roughly the size of a motorcycle helmet. I figure step 1 is putting it in a box but what should I use to protect it? Foam blocks cut to size? Packing peanuts? Air bags like amazon sends? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. I sent something once unprotected and it had cracked down the middle so I don't want to make the same mistake twice.
  2. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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  3. juntari

    juntari New Member

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    Are you serious about sending with fedex or is that whole bit sarcastic based on the video?
  4. Dart

    Dart Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Having sent many, many different items, I think I can help ya out.

    Is it a fragile item? If so, make sure there's at least 2 or 3 inches of space in all dimensions to account for padding. Ideally, you line the box with styrofoam (or something like it) and then wrap the item with some bubblewrap. Then using some newspaper, pack the item so that it sits in the middle of the box. Be sure to pack it snugly but not too tight as that could cause damage to fragile stuff. But don't let it be loose either.

    One thing I like to do is use old t-shirts for stuff that can be scratched easily. It adds a bit of weight to the packaging but it protects very well.

    Packing peanuts are good, bubblewrap is good... anything that'll deform can ensure the item has the best chance to arrive in one piece.

    About the box: Once you've packed it all, make sure you use a good quality packing tape. Duct tape is good but sometimes it doesn't stick well to the cardboard. Don't be shy with the tape. I also completely tape over the packing label just in case things get wet. Taping over it kinda waterproofs it a bit (as long as the rest of it is totally covered.

    I could go on and on about this but I think you get the idea. Just isolate the item in the box and make sure it can't move too much.

    Good luck!
  5. Rebelscum

    Rebelscum Sr Member

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    If it were me....

    I'd use a new box that is double wall, large cell bubble wrap, and tape all the seams.

    New, so it doesn't have any creases that can give, double wall, so it will hold its shape without support from inside, bubble wrap over peanuts because peanuts can shift, tape the seams so they don't give up the integrity of the box shape regardless of how hit.

    I've sometimes double boxed a prized item.

    And as important as anything, insurance.
  6. Contec

    Contec Master Member

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    Search for Fedex on the forum and you will see what other members has to say about them and other companys.
    I can't really say which company is better, some have good experience with them and some don't.
  7. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I've heard bad things happening on purpose to boxes with "fragile" on them, seen a few too. Pack it well and it should arrive safely anyway, no need to tempt those irresponsible enough to see just how fragile they actually are (this really happens unfortunately).

    A combination of peanuts and air pack or bubble wrap is the best, as they will absorb any impact the most. Any firm packedging will transfer the impact to your prop (bet you can't tell what mindless job I used to have :lol). Put some peanuts in the bottom of the box and cover the piece in bubble wrap and place in box too (give it at least 3" clearence all round for the peanuts), then fill the rest of the space with peanuts, it should survive any normal handling bumps and knocks :thumbsup

    The little extra shipping cost it might add doing it this way is less important than the item being shipped, better to be safe than sorry.

    Hope that helps

    *edit* holy c**p there are some fast finger out tonight, all while I was writing this.
  8. SloeDjinn

    SloeDjinn Active Member

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    When I ship a bottle, I wrap it in several layers of bubble wrap. The stopper I wrap separately (often sticking it in an old bubble-lined mailing envelope).

    I don't use the airbags - I don't trust them. Had many things arrive with them deflated.
    However, I do like the idea, so instead, I pour packing peanuts into old plastic shopping bags, making little cushions. You'll be surprised how few peanuts this method takes.
    It also contains the peanuts so that they don't shift during shipping.
    As well as keeping them from flying everywhere and sticking to everything when the box is opened and the item removed.

    Since you're asking about a helmet, I would also suggest putting one of the peanut-filled cushions inside it. For interior support.

    To be covered by insurance, any fragile item should be double-boxed.
  9. thebooder

    thebooder Member

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    One thing that I always like to do is have the package be signature required.
    That way they have to hand the the package to the person instead of tossing it over a fence or leaving it unguarded for hours at their doorstep.
  10. juntari

    juntari New Member

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    Thanks for all the help! One last thing, a few people mentioned insurance. For sure I'm going to get insurance on it but I heard somewhere that artwork will not be insured? I think it was Volpin who said something like that about one of his helmets that was shipped and damaged but I might be wrong.
  11. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It costs more, and takes some time to build, but shipping crates are the only real way to make sure. I build mine from framing stud 2x4s and 3/8" plywood. I've never had one of these damaged in transit. Standoffs inside the crates themselves keep things aligned and isolated from any outside impact.

    I only ship finished products this way; kits and raw castings are shipped in cardboard boxes.

    Overkill? Maybe. I tell my clients that if they want the piece to arrive intact and perfect, the extra $50-60 or so in shipping costs is worth the peace of mind. Sure is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with damages after the fact.

    edit: On the topic of insurance: You'll need a sales invoice in order to do anything with this, but even still I've gotten the shaft from USPS because "artwork" is only covered to a finite amount (something like $150 or similar) Also, if you want to get the money from the claim, they'll want the item in exchange for the payout.

    I once had a raw casting disappear in transit, and USPS wouldn't pay out insurance because the package wasn't damaged - it was lost. They maintained that wherever it might be, it might still be intact, and therefore insurance wasn't applicable because I couldn't *prove* the item was broken.
  12. thegreatgalling

    thegreatgalling Sr Member

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    I think this question relies on your local options, but for around $12, I ALWAYS have my local UPS store wrap my items - even when I choose to send via USPS. They wrap it with the right amount of bubble wrap and even create a custom box which usually saves a few bucks on shipping since it isn't oversized.

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