Minelab CTX 3030 Detecting Forum

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CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: EAvila
Date: January 25, 2018 02:14PM
So I'm a little late to the CTX game, but I am here. I plan to do some travel with mine, so I wanted to make a protective case that would carry everything.
I researched all I could find, checked out pictures, read the threads, explored all the case options, and finally made my decision so here is my summary.

The number one criteria for a hard case for the CTX is size. Because of the grip/display, it needs to be rather wide.
NOTE: We'll discuss LxWxH with length being the longest dimension (call it the X axis), width being the second longest on the same horizontal plane (so Y axis), and the height being the Z axis, or depth of the case (i.e. floor to top of lid).

If you were to break it down the upper shaft with the controls, battery, etc is 26x11x4.5". That would fit in a smaller case, and you can get a very compact package. The drawback is you have to take it apart every time you want to put it away (remove coil and lower rod). Works well for travel when you need the smallest form factor, but not as practical when you want to work out of the case and be able to put the detector away without breaking it down which is my preference.

However, when you add the lower rod and the 11" coil, with the detector collapsed the requirements grow to 41x16", and this is where we run into trouble as most cases are 12-14" wide. A length of 42" is commonly available. All of this is assuming a layout that does not put the doctor in the case diagonally, but instead parallel to the sides of the case itself. I wanted to do this for layout reasons, as well as aesthetics.

So what options are out there with a minimum 16" width 5" height?

There are a couple of styles of bow cases. There are those with irregular shapes, such as:

The Plano PROTECTOR SERIESĀ® COMPACT BOW CASE # 111000 (43x19x7") ~$50

And the heavier duty Plano ALL-WEATHER BOW CASE # 108115 (48x20.75x7.75") ~$90

And a couple of rectangular options, the Plano PARALLEL LIMB BOW CASE # 114400 (44x19x7") with no foam ~$74

And the heavier duty Plano FIELD LOCKERĀ® COMPOUND BOW CASE # 109600 (46x18x7.25") ~$214

The bow cases typically are open, with columns and straps used to secure the product. These can be adjusted for your layout, and several people have used them for the CTX. That last Plano comes with foam, but it's precut for a bow (which you could replace, but that's an added expense).

SKB also makes a couple of different cases that would work. I won't mention them all, or their various variations here. Their model names are roughly Length and Width numbers, so 4219 case is 42" long x 19" wide. there are also variations based on empty, with foam, with different latches, etc. but the major options include:

The iSeries 4719 Double Bow/Rifle Case # 3i-4719-DB (46x18x7.5") ~$250

And the one I and others here have selected which is the iSeries 4217 Mil-Spec AR / Short Rifle Case # 3i-4217-7B-L (42.5x17x7.5") ~$235

This last one is a bit deeper (height) than I wanted (7.5" vs ~5"), but it turns out to be a benefit as we move forward with the layout. I got it with the standard foam which is an open cell foam. Cost to go to a stiffer closed cell foam was more than I wanted to pay, and the open cell turns out to be stiff enough and easy to work with. It is not pre-cut pick and pluck, so you'll have to cut it, but the result is much nicer than the pick and pluck IMHO. Cheapest place I found it was a place called for about $228. Depending on ship costs and ship times, there may be better options, and people on Amazon and @#$%& both sell them.

Layout was important to me for a few reasons. First, I wanted to fit in all of the accessories, a few misc items, the 17" and optionally the 6" coils as well. Most of the time I run the stock 11", so my layout would be with the 11" attached and places for the others.

Second, I wanted everything to be well protected, so the layout had to individually cradle each item, while leaving enough foam between them to protect everything from over-zealous bag handlers.

And lastly, I wanted everything to look good in the case, as well as be organized in a logical and functional way.

Before I got the case, I had done a preliminary layout on my floor to determine the case size I needed. this layout had the detector with the 11" coil resting on the 17" coil that would be sitting right underneath it. The top portion of the lower rod resting on the ears/bolt of the 17" coil. This provided support as well as a compact package as I could keep everything within 5" in height and the 17" width. The rest of the accessories took up little space, and were oriented to minimize space and maximize space between items. So for instance the charger/base/WM10 sat on their back edges, sending a tiny footprint on the foam, and with the 5" of depth it was perfect. My accessories included headphones, WM10, charger and base, spare batteries, and then misc like the cables, spare parts, and other small items in a plastic case.

Speaking of which, I picked a Plano Waterproof Stowaway (3400 Series) plastic box for my misc items. # 344010 (7.4x4.5x1.75") ~$5 and available at Walmart or Amazon. They make ones with different compartments inside, but I just got the wide open one for versatility. And it's the cheapest option.

There are a couple of tools that you need to customize the case. These include a marker to draw the outline of your items, and a knife, hot wire, or other tool to make the cuts. A measuring tape helps, but is not necessary.

I used the following:

That blade let me cut all the way through the foam, and the marker with its long thin tip was perfect for tracing the outlines of the items.

Let me clarify that the foam for this case comes in 5 pieces. a .5" layer on the bottom, and then 3 pieces of ~1.5" foam, and then an egg-crate piece in the top lid; we don't mess with the top lid. These layers let you control the depth of the items, as you only have to cut each layer where it's needed.

My first step in looking at this, with the added depth of the case I selected allowed me to change my layout. I was able to move the 17" coil to the bottom most layer, by itself, and have plenty of extra room if I wanted to add more items later. I still positioned it to support the 11" and lower rod, should things really get bumped around. So on top of the .5" foam at the bottom, we one of the 1.5" pieces of foam with the 17" coil:

Then I proceeded to lay out the top layer. Because of the depth of the foam, I decided that rather than cut through the top to layers of foam to fit each item (oriented vertically as I had initially thought), that I would lay them out flat and only have to cut the top layer rather than both top layers. As a result, the top layer looks like this:

I organized the batteries/chargers along the bottom. Shallow items like the charger/stand and WM10 I raised to the surface by cutting the foam plug I cut for it in half and putting the resulting 3/4" piece of foam underneath it. Otherwise it would sit lower in the hole and not look as good. I routed the wire for the charger along the outside edge of the case so it would not be stressed coiled up tightly in a hole or under the charger. The headset is sticking out a bit more than I like, so I'm debating cutting a bit of the middle foam layer to let them sit lower in the hole. My only reservation with this is the wire coming off the headset getting stressed if I jam it in deeper.

So the middle layer of foam, just below this top layer, really only has a small section cut out for the display, and for the control box/battery unit. I cut that by laying this top layer on top of it and tracing the areas that would extend beyond the 1.5" of the top layer. Everything else is firmly supported by the second layer of foam underneath this one.

Lastly, in the misc box I have the following items:

Once I use this for a while to confirm the layout is good and I don't need to add anything else, my last step is to spray the top foam with plasti-Dip (a spray plastic product that comes in a rattle can) which while seal the top layer, hide any imperfections or marker lines, and make the whole thing look more professional. One could also spray glue the top two layers of foam together. that would make it more "cohesive" but would make it more difficult to modify later if you wanted to add items to the top or even to the second layers. We still have most of the bottom layer for additional items.

I realize many people just use the detector with no case, or even a soft case. I happen to be stuck inside in cold weather so this was a project that kept me busy for a while. Hope other can benefit from some of it.

Anyway, hope that helps. Lessons learned here I can use when the Equinox comes around, and that should be able to fit in a smaller case. And the CTX can travel without concern about mishandling now.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: sgoss66
Date: January 25, 2018 03:21PM
OUTSTANDING job on the workmanship! SUPERB case!

Thanks for sharing!


Minelab CTX 3030
Minelab Equinox 800
Garrett ProPointer AT
Lesche hand digger
Lesche 38D Ground Shark "King of Spades"

Norman, OK

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: trojdor
Date: January 25, 2018 05:05PM
Well done. :thumbup:

A tip that I picked up cutting out foam for camera gear cases over the decades:

Freeze the foam in your freezer before you start...
The foam becomes infinitely easier to cut cleanly, and your knife doesn't have to be quite as sharp to make nice shapes.
(I've even used steak knives to successfully 'saw' the foam this way.)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2018 05:06PM by trojdor.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: Big Treble
Date: January 27, 2018 10:53AM
Thanks, some great ideas and resources. Looks great.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: halfstep
Date: February 07, 2018 11:16AM
Nice case. Here is a link to some kaizen foam that is made for this type of application. It is layered foam so one can also cut to desired depths and shapes. It comes in several thicknesses also. This foam is used in toolboxes and cases to organize and secure items. It would work great in your detector case.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: EAvila
Date: February 07, 2018 10:59PM
Nice case. Here is a link to some kaizen foam that is made for this type of application. It is layered foam so one can also cut to desired depths and shapes. It comes in several thicknesses also. This foam is used in toolboxes and cases to organize and secure items. It would work great in your detector case.

I've use the Kaizen foam for other projects, mainly tools. The two-color aspect is great to see what you forgot to put away, and looks great.
Blade and marker I used actually came from FastCap, they have interesting stuff for sure.
In this case the foam that came with the case worked fine, but a closed cell certainly would protect better, be waterproof, and several other benefits.

Unrelated, but I posted this is Steve's lower rod thread. I'll include it here since it works to protect the CTX:

To pad the edge of my factory rod and protect the coil cable where it enters the rod, I used an auto door edge guard that slips over the edge and is held on by double-sided tape as well. I got this one from Amazon as it was the right size and softer than others:

Basically I measured roughly and cut a piece. You get several feet of it and all you need is a few inches.

Then I fit it in place, adjusted length and position, and pulled up one end enough to start pulling the paper off the double-sided tape.

With it still in place I was able to pull the paper off the tape without it shifting. Lastly I put a hair drier to it to help it conform to the corners permanently.

This is what it looks like completed. Note the inside edge that is not visible is longer than the edge you see, so it offers plenty of protection for the coil cable.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: halfstep
Date: February 07, 2018 11:29PM
Those SKB cases are really nice and well built. They have really good latches and the shell isn't flimsy. I have owned a couple for bows. I use to shoot competitive archery. They are pricey but worth it. With the price of the ctx, a good case is a small investment. What headphones are you using for your ctx? I am going to need a good set for my ctx when it warms up.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: EAvila
Date: February 08, 2018 08:30AM
Those are the GG Amphibian waterproof. Still trying to get an adapter to go from CTX to Phono so I can use them with the wireless module too.

Re: CTX 3030 Hard Case
Posted by: Big Boys Hobbies
Date: February 12, 2018 09:41AM
You killed it! Looks great! Nice work Sir!

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