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Plano AW 2.0 Gun Case

Skills Used: Industrial Design, User Research, Form Development, Visual Branding, 3D Printing, SolidWorks, SketchBook Pro, Photoshop, Keyshot

For this project, I had the responsibility to redesign the iconic Plano AW (All-Weather) Case. The current Plano AW Case has been on the market for over a decade and was in need of a face-lift. For this project, I utilized the entire design process from sketch to final model. The ability to employ the entire design process allowed me to collaborate with sales, engineering, design and brand management from start to finish. This enabled all parties to contribute valuable information.

Product & User Research

To better understand the pain points and key features of the first generation of Plano AW cases, I conducted in person interviews with law enforcement officers, hunters and gun enthusiasts to see what features they liked in the current case and to see what they would like in the next generation of AW gun cases.

01: Improve Latches

The latches on the end of the existing case were easily damaged because most users slide the case into storage with the long end facing out. 

03: Ergonomics 

The existing handle had a smooth texture. This caused the handle to slide in your hands if you are carrying a heavy load. In addition to the smooth texture, the latch below is hard to open as it blocked by the handle.

02: Lid Strength 

When users go to a retail outlet to purchase a new gun case, they often give the lid a  “push-test” to test the strength. If the lid flexes too much, they will not purchase the case.

04: Tie-Down Locations

The current AW case doesn’t have a location to strap down the case. Preventing the user from safely transporting the case in a truck or ATV.

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Design Process

I started the design process by ideating different forms in photo shop that would allow the case to be strong and lightweight. Once a final 2D direction was chosen I begin designing the case in SolidWorks to translate the 2D direction in a 3D design. This allowed me to understand the proportions and scale.  It also allowed me to 3D print out the touch points to ensure the ergonomics were correct.

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Form Ideation

Ideation began by developing forms that would increase strength and remove weight from the unit. In addition to creating a light and robust design, it was important to create a case design that could easily scale in size. 

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SolidWorks Modeling & DFM

To develop the Plano AW 2.0 Case I worked directly with a design engineer to create the final product. The design engineer and myself used SolidWorks to create a final design that blended the original design direction and engineering requirements to bring the gun case series to manufacturing.

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Tooling Designed for Cost Savings and Size Interchangeability 

The AW2 case has a “X” shape on the top and bottom shells to increase strength and to utilize one molding tool to produce three rifle case sizes.

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Improved Handle

The AW2 case includes a rugged grip. The rugged grip provides a secure hold when carrying heavy loads.

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Stronger Latches

All of the latches were placed at the front of the case to reduce the risk of damage. Additionally two contact ribs were placed on the sides of the latches to absorb impact.

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Chamfered Edges & Finger Grip

The case includes a chamfered edge to increase strength and to remove catch points. The negative surface inside of the chamfer improves lid strength and serves as a finger grip when sliding the case out of storage.

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Tie-Down Locations

Webbing slots were built into the case. This allows the user to securely tie down the case to an ATV or truck.

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