A lot can happen to freight while in transit. Less than truckload (LTL) shipments are shipped together as
Accidents and improperly packaged freight go hand-in-hand, which lead to shipping delays and unnecessary damage. It’s important to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Having a shipping company package your shipment can be expensive, and only purchasing freight insurance isn’t a solution, since a freight insurance claims can be denied if your freight isn’t properly packaged. Being proactive during the packaging process proves to be the best contingency plan. Safeguard your pocket and your freight against the road most traveled by making sure you have the right packaging. For maximum protection, crate the freight yourself.
Follow our instructions to learn how to build a cost-effective shipping crate for under $100!
If you don’t own power drills or saws, rent them from your nearest home improvement supply store.
How big is your shipment? Measure out the dimensions
We’ll start at the “end” and build from the bottom up. This will be piece E.
If your shipment is heavy and requires a forklift or a pallet jack, you have to build a pallet base. There are two ways to do this: by constructing the bottom and risers yourself, or by using a stock pallet base as the bottom.
For the sake of this tutorial, we will manually build the bottom and its risers.
With your measurements established, cut the OSB wood for the bottom to size. It will need to be fully framed with 2x4s so that it will be able to support the weight across the board. Drill a pilot hole for your screws, then follow with the countersink drill bit so the screws will sit flush with the surface. These measures will help prevent splitting the wood. Secure with 1 ¼"
The risers on the bottom should be at least 3 ½ inches off the ground. Cut two 4x4 pallet risers to length with a saw. The orientation of the 4x4s should be in such a way that they do not protrude around the base. Make sure the gap in between the 4x4s doesn’t violate the requirements of pallet lifters. Use the 2 ½” length deck screws to attach the pallet risers from the top to the OSB base you have cut to size.
Compile a list of the parts that will make up the crate sides and their frames. The sides are your A, B, C, D pieces. Each letter will correspond with the one that will be
Sides A/C will be shorter than the length of the bottom. Sides B/D will match the length of the bottom. The overlap is necessary so that you have something to screw the sides into.
Brace each outer edge of the sides with 2x4 frames, four to each panel. Use the c-clamps (optional) to hold the sides in place. Screw through the 2x4 frame into the pallet sides with the 2 ½" screws—one at each corner, then, depending on the measurements, evenly spaced across the frame all the way to the other corner—
After the walls are braced by the 2x4s, fit the sides together and attach with screws, then fasten them to the bottom (screws at each corner, then evenly spaced in between).
Measure out your insulation foam. The road is bumpy so it’s important that you add insulation to all sides of the crate: top, sides, and across the bottom.
Measure the inside walls and bottom of your crate. Make sure when you cut the sides you leave room for insulation to be fitted at the bottom and the top. Secure the foam by attaching it to the insides, or you can slide it in between the
Cut the lid, piece F, to size (should mirror the size of the box). Pre-drill the holes for the 1 ¼” screws. The foam insulation for the top should be cut to size, inset and flush with the sides of the box once placed inside. The lid should lay flat when you set it over the foam to screw it in. Mark a corner with spray paint or notch (the corner and corresponding side) so you know which way the lid should sit.
And voila! You’ve got a crate.
Make sure you write down the weight of your shipment, as well as the weight of the crate. The combined weight is important in figuring out freight class. Accidentally excluding the crate’s weight from your final, overall number can drastically change the price of shipment once you find a carrier. Avoid billing adjustments at all costs.
Let FreightCenter help. Finding the right carrier and quote can be a headache, but with a trusted partner like
Get your free online freight quote or call one of our dedicated freight agents at (800) 716-7608 to get started.