It took me a while to get all the components together, but I finally finished my location laptop case.
I started putting this together after watching the excellent "Location Laptop Case" YouTube video posted by commercial photographer Chase Jarvis.
I pretty much followed the way they designed theirs, with a few minor modifications.
The case is the Pelican 1490 which fits the 15" MacBook Pro. If you are designing one for the 17" model, there is a larger version of this case - the Pelican 1495.
I started with industrial Velcro on the bottom of the case to hold 2 external firewire drives (One main, one backup).
I cut a hole in the divider to route the firewire cable through. I chose to mount the drives with the firewire ports facing the front so that it would be easier to access the ports and on/off switches.
One of the problems I encountered with mounting the drives below the computer was that the MacBook Pro fan would constantly run, due to the heat from the metal casings of the drives. I added an Elecom gelpack on top of the hard drives which is very thin, but also helps to draw heat away from the drives.
There is another hole cut into the side divider to route the firewire cable out from the drive bays and into the side ports of the MacBook Pro. There is a notch cut in the divider to make space for the firewire 400, 800 and USB ports.
Since there is only one USB port on this side of the computer, I have a 4-port Elecom USB hub connected here (The flat white box on the right side of the photo). This allows me to connect multiple additional devices, such as a wireless mouse, Wacom tablet, iPhone charger cable, etc.
A Sandisk firewire 800 CompactFlash card reader is installed in the upper part of the case. The firewire 800 cable is run through the back of the case, down under the foam and up into the side of the laptop.
I also sometimes need an SD card reader, so I found this on my last trip to Japan. It's an SDHC card reader which fits into the ExpressCard slot on the left side of the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro is a slightly older model (not the unibody) with a matte screen. It is encased in a Speck MacBook Pro 15" See-thru snap on case. I like this case because it simply snaps onto the MacBook Pro and protects it from scratches. I then added the Compushade folding laptop sunshade which mounts to the lid of the case.
This makes it easy for times when I need just the laptop itself and not the Pelican case. I can unplug the cables, take just the laptop with me, and still have it protected by the Speck case and the Compushade.
Since I use this laptop for both photography and video editing, I also added a keyboard overlay for Final Cut Pro. You can find this at www.kbcovers.com.
On a recent trip to Japan I found the perfect travel mouse for this laptop. This is the Elecom micro receiver BitGrast mouse. The transmitter for this wireless mouse is TINY!
The pockets in the upper part of the case store the extra battery and power supply. Also keep a few extra model releases in there.
I used to keep a 6x8 Wacom Intuos Tablet in there as well, but it was a pretty tight fit. Planning to keep the tablet at home and invest in the smaller Wacom Intuos tablet for traveling.
When I'm working and have access to an outlet, I slide the laptop slightly up and back so that it rests on the hinge of the Pelican case. This lets me connect the power adapter and gives me access the left USB port (and allows me to connect the R2D2 USB hub at the office). It also gives the hard drives underneath a little breathing room so they run a little cooler.
Things to get in the near future:
1. smaller Wacom tablet
2. decent set of collapsible headphones for video editing
3. external battery with a MagSafe connector (for times when there's no available outlet)
4. Solar charging option?