Last week, when I was sick and quarantined with strep (again), I watched through the end of Star Trek Discovery Season 2 and spotted a neat-looking tubular-shaped tool box.
There was another movie or show I watched recently that also featured a round tool box.
These tool boxes reminded me of the Ridgid Pro Tube tool box, which seems to have been discontinued. I have one of these, although it’s in storage since I could never find a good place for it.
Round tool boxes are neat in concept, and a little more comfortable to carry, but they can’t be stacked and have less storage capacity than rectangular tool boxes with the same footprint.
Still, the tool/equipment case in Star Trek Discovery warranted a closer look.
There’s a long top handle and a rather comfortable-looking side handle.
The handles, overall geometry, and the latches convinced me it’s definitely not the Ridgid. So, I dug deeper.
It turns out, with reasonable certainty, that it’s an HPRC 6200 case, which is available empty, with cubed foam on both sides, or internal protections for carrying photo/video tripods or other similarly-sized gear.
HPRC describes the resin construction as being made from a special blend of “polypropylene TTX01,” glass fiber, and rubber.
The HPRC case is watertight, impact-resistant, and also resistant to dust, moisture, sand, and acids. It can be used in temperatures from -40°F to 176°F.
It features reinforced corners, an automatic air pressure equalization valve, two-phase latches, and internal O-ring.
HPRC describes their case as being unbreakable.
This isn’t just a prop, it’s quite possible the exact case that a Star Trek medic might use for an away mission first aid kit, or an engineer for a warp core maintenance tool kit.
The problem with using something like this as a tool box, instead of a tripod or equipment case, is in taking advantage of the lid space. Ridgid’s has/had a large tray that sits on top of the main compartment and extends into the lid. The HPRC doesn’t have that structuring built-in, although accessories or custom structures could be installed to make it work.
The case is priced at $189 empty or with cubed foam, or $267 with tripod protection padding (less via distributors). HPRC makes a larger-sized case, 6300, with wheels.
More Info(6200 Case via HPRC)
Buy Now(Tripod-Padded Case via Amazon)
See More(Other HPRC Cases via Amazon)
See Also(Longer 6300 Case via Amazon)
This is a really interesting post. I’ve noticed Festool systainers used in the background of “The Expanse”.
I don’t think I caught that!
I did see Milwaukee M18 tripod LED worklights on a wall of the Rocinante.
They also have the Dewalt DCL070 lights in the cargo bay of the Behemoth.
Check out this link for a picture:
Also, I think in the original episode the doctor is using one for his tools when he’s treating the guy who lost his arm on the Canterbury.
Hi. There were a few L-Boxxes too, used as med kits on the wall.
I wonder if Mars pays the same premium we do the US for a Systainer?
I have that Rigid case, which finally found a home as my model rocket work box. Agreed that the size is less practical for stacking, and space, but it’s cool:)
I like that Ridgid! It’s probably not great for anything I would need it for but it looks cool and I still want it.
Me to, I like my Rigid boxes and as I recall the cost on it when it was out was not unreasonable. The one here is out of my price range at this time.
The tube toolbox has a few more cubic inches of space than the rectangle box has I do believe.
Plus, the tube tb went on sale for $19,99! The rectangular box was $40. It was simple math at that point! I bought out 3 local stores and gave them away as Christmas presents. Kept 6. 3 in use. 3 stored.
I can fit my Ridgid cordless job max, my Gen 5 circular saw, Gen 5 reciprocating saw, 2 4AH batteries, safety glasses, 2 ft level and a square in 1 tube. With space for a few more small items.
The tray is removed and the curved top slides over the top and locks securely! Snug fit keeps out dust and water.
With tray in, you can keep a large assortment of hand tools and smaller needed parts.
The consumer didn’t see these as perfect storage vessels. Most thought they looked cool, but couldn’t grasp their main objective…unconventional storage containers! They really do rock!
And with the right pad lock and cable to hook to your tie downs, most thieves will probably pass right on by when they recognize the difficulty they face in opening them!
Ridgid is making some badass items for the people in the field. Their toolboxes are just another example!
As for the ones seeing this In movies, it’s in a movie titled, “passengers”, I think? Chris Pratt and the mockingbird chick? It’s his black and silver toolbox he uses in the movie.
HPRC makes some nice cases … I have sold a few from my work as with SKB and Pelican
I have a few SKB cases i use for luggage and work perfect
I bought a couple Pelican cases to use as tool boxes and have never looked back at any other tool boxes or bags i have things organized in the Klein tool pouches and its worked perfect for me for a couple years now I do have a couple very large hard cases that i keep other tools in that dont get much use and i have some of those moisture boxes in there to keep the smell and keep the tools from rusting even though they are water tight it just adds a layer of protection to it
I don’t understand the advantage of these over a same size rectangle. Seems less stable and lower capacity. What an I missing that makes it desirable?
Less leg-bashing during transport? I think that’s about it.
Maybe so when transporting by handle. Likely though a huge PITA when in a truck or trunk.
Its also stronger i have a mason driend who dropped one off 8 bucks high and its fine. Ive been searching for one sence with no luck. Pluss you can step on it over and over without damaging it and unlike most tool boxes you can use the lid for storage without the box flipping. You can also reach everything in the box without digging i understand it wont hold a million tools but id highly recomend this to any mason. And really wish theyd start making them again.
There’s a few odd lines in your reply …
Because it looks awesome. Like right out of sci-fi. 😉
A different case but the Dewalt ToughSystem in Starwars Rogue One ?
I also always thought the Ridgid case looked cool and I was slightly tempted to get one but I could never understand the practicality unless its for a very specific item in mind.
Strep Again!? Bummer!
When one of my kids had it we were enjoined to keep her on the full course of antibiotics and then toss out all our toothbrushes and open toothpaste tube – then put the bathroom cup and brush holder through a couple of cycles in the dishwasher.
Hard to prove the negative – so I don’t know if this helped – but she/we did not have a recurrence.
I’m just glad it was only strep this time. Last November the strep and pneumonia took a greater toll on me.
No idea where I got it from, either time.
Mike (the other one)
The Ridgid tool box…or case looks like it might be easily strapped to the bed or rails or a work truck or maybe something like an ATV.
I’m sorry to the Rigid fans out there, but the HPRC cases just flat out look better. I think these are the cases you’d bring construction tripod tools into the worksite with. You could very easily outfit a vehicle or tool carrier with wood slats that hold these in place for transport, then pull them out as needed to carry the tripods into place. The larger one has wheels on the bottom edge, so that would make a lot of sense.
I’m not saying they would replace the TSTAK/Tough System/Packout/Etc. systems that are made by the companies that make the tools, but I can definitely see the HPRC cases being a very specific purchase. Not a giant market, but certainly a very welcomed one.
I think I might use one for putting all my Dremel equipment in, completely modular in the foam kind of thing.
Strep? Eeewww. Sorry man.
That said I’ve literately bought or commissioned a dozen or more soft, hard and triangular actual tripod cases.
For storage plus mostly land and air transport. No one at our studios much liked the round versions. They don’t stack. They tend to roll. And they’re hard to pad except the (usually removable top) and the bottom. My favorites have always been custom padded triangular shaped ones.
Did I digress enough?
I have 3 old photo tripods – a diminutive Leica tabletop version – a much bigger Bogen and an even larger Gitzo. The Gitzo is in a bag slipped into a length of cardboard tube on which they used to roll carpet. Not so elegant but it worked for me. For how little I use them – I probably should sell them off.
Back in the GC business – we used mostly canvas/nylon bags for the tripods – but the older transit and newer, lasers and total station came in much more protective cases. You would think that if you were buying a high end tripod (e.g. Leica or Seco) they would offer something better than a bag as a case.
I remember seeing those cases in Discovery and thinking there’s no way they would actually be used in an actual spaceship where space is limited and every cubic inch of volume is valuable — even in the 23rd century. Then again they seem to have way too much space anyway, think about ships today, they’ve been around for 1000 years are still not designed with passageways so large that you can have 10K runs with 10 people abreast.
But for some reason it was the toolboxes that threatened my suspension of disbelief, strange.
what was that airplane movie with Jodi Foster – world’s largest plane there is a gun change on the plane and they’re below decks in the “electronics bay” and it’s got servers like an google office building. . . . . .
sorry been on the world’s largest airplane and it’s Avionics Bay doesn’t look anything like that – oh and I’m not running though it either.
I sort of always thought once you started building your ship in space – then the whole weightless thing played into the ability to build a GIANT structure. But that’s pushing things too.
Those exact issues were answered by Trek fans ages ago. Because, you’re 100% correct, it makes zero sense.
According to the “In-Universe” explanation, the invention of artificial gravity plating for the floors led to exponentially larger ships as time went on. The NX-01 Enterprise was only 5 decks, and barely 50 years after Humans got Warp Drive, and the side effect of having Artificial Gravity.
So, skip ahead another 100 years, and the ships like the Discovery have 10+ decks, but are still only crewed by a relatively skeletal number of people. What it now has an abundance of, is TUBES. Storage between walls in Torpedo shapes, for use in emergency storage, like the doctor’s use of that white HPRC case medkit. Much of their functional tools, and components, are stored in round tube shapes, because you can store those like a honeycomb for maximum use of space. (No pun intended)
Now, get all the way to the epic Enterprise D, and it has 35 decks, crewed by over a thousand people and their families, and there’s finally room for multiple cargo bays throughout the ship… Looking back on Next Generation, you notice they revert back to Square/Cube type containers. But when space was cramped, even in the Original, there were the odd Round container, not kept in a Cargo Bay, but rather integrated into a wall panel of some sort.
I know… Shut Up, Nerd… I can’t help it… Just an interesting parallel with the idea of storing these HPRC cases in daily life here in our 21st century.
That actually makes sense, that specialty kits of parts would be stored in a honeycomb-like structure.
Funny enough, when Fandom Nerds get thinking about things, they often go straight at the set designers, and put a reason there that the set designers never thought up at the time.
That Honeycomb design for the walls? Yeah, it came from an argument about “They Jeffreys Tubes” they had in every ship since the NX-01. Entire passage ways you could either walk through, or crawl through, connecting every single wire, fibre, and conduit or switch running behind and between walls. TOS had the Enterprise as a relatively small ship, and yet the Jeffreys Tubes were able to fit a standing engineer, like Scotty. Yet, scale up to TNG’s Enterprise D, and those same tubes require you to crawl everywhere around the ship. Reality is, set building is expensive, so set designers are limited by the materials of their time. But give a fan a chance to imagine it’s real, and they’ll do all the REAL engineering for you.
If you also notice on Discovery, the Spore Drive has spore “Pods” in the wall of the drive room. The pods are round, but they’re arranged in a staggered line formation, to gather spores, like a Honeycomb. Discovery ALSO has a Warp Drive, so it’s in another engineering bay we haven’t had the pleasure of seeing yet. So the Spore Drive is in a space where there’s storage in the wall, justifying why everything they pull out in a hurry is rounded, but everything they pull from storage is cubical of some sort. This was the era of using walls or bulkheads as storage “Docks” for needed items, so they could have more crew room, and still have easy access to everything they need.
To add insult to injury? TNG era Klingon ships, like the Bird of Prey, have an extremely angular design to them, with hexagons on the walls, and computer screens. As if everything has been minimised for maximum use out of the least space. Literally JUST enough room for the Klingons to use the tech to kill something and go about their duties. Same concept, twisted to suit the Klingons. Everything of a space-saving manor in Star Trek ends up either a Honeycomb Pod, or a Triangular durable box. For TV and Movies? The design is just “Futuristic”… In the Fandom’s canon of the thing? It’s Space-Saving, Durable, Utilitarian shapes.
Go figure, right? We do all this planning, designing, and building in our real lives here, and, of all things, Star Trek shows us exactly what we’re doing on a smaller scale these days, set hundreds of years in the future, and equally larger and abundant as we think.
I would love to see a Ridgid staff member closing the Ridgid one with the tools in the lid taking up as much space as pictured …
Space can be still be used utilized in that design to some extent, and I could see a neat setup with a mixture of dedicated tools and parts, while the rest of the wasted space goes to reinforcement … and there are corners to take direct impacts …
But ultimately, looks cool but lacks practicality.
It looks nice and could be good for like an under-seat toolbox you keep in the car or something. But for me, I still prefer the home depot bucket with the tool organizer on the outside. It seems to work really well.
I have two of the Ridgid boxes and they have a couple of advantages.
The main one is when open, the contexts can be spread out and utilized from both the lid and the bottom; very easy to work out of them in that respect.
It’s also handy to be able to set them on their sides for storage either loaded or empty, assuming the contents are amenable to being stored like that.
They also do stack fairly well; kind of key into one another.
And they are quite easy to carry and super durable
For the $20 or so I paid for each, I’m happy enough with them.
The Expanse like any other sci fi show has lots of repurporsed Tool brand lighting. Love seeing the dewalt, and even Ryobi lights. Is there an film online database for repurposed tool like this, like how there’s the firearm one.: imfdb.org
Sorry to hear that you had strep again. Cool looking tool boxes. My first (tool box) crush was a Kennedy Cantilever tool box. Now, all these yrs later , I’m still in ❤️ with them.
One of my favorite nerd subjects: would you do that sci-fi thing in real life?
Setting aside the low-hanging fruit (looking at you, Mr. Lucas), one advantage of cylindrical containers is significantly lower failure in decompression. If you wanted a container to maintain atmosphere in the event of a larger failure (or cargo transfer), the cylinder would make for a better strength for a given mass. Outside the Star Trek universe where shows pay attention to the actual physics of space travel, mass is everything when accelerating or decelerating, so a cylinder has some advantages.
Stuart – are you watching the new Star Trek Picard series? I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a fight scene involving a Stanley Fubar.
I saw! I was highly amused.
Unfortunately, every browser and every streaming service now blocks screenshots of any kind, and so it’s impossible to share news of any tool prop sightings.