Replicating Adam Savage’s ILM Toolbox

A functional replica of a prop replica maker's toolbox. Yeah, it's a little meta.

I stumbled onto this thread in the Replica Prop Forum over the weekend. Matt Kerr, a Tested reader, studied posts about Adam’s ILM-era model making toolboxes to replicate his own as a gift for a friend. The finished project turned out wonderfully, and Matt shared the story of his build with me over email.

“The project started off easy enough–I picked up some sheet aluminum, angle bar, and rivets. I began by cutting the sheet aluminum to the dimensions of a 17″ x 9″ x 6”, open top box. Next, all the angle bars were cut to length and all parts were assembled creating the “shoebox” or lower half of the toolbox.

Once that was finished I made a paper template for the end caps for the lids. The length and height of the cap was easy enough at 4.5″ x 6″, but the curve was tricky. Once the curve was figured out, I added 1/4″ across it to cut and bend tabs to connect to the skin. With the caps complete, I measured the curve, cut, bent and attached the skin to the end caps with rivets.

The lids were the most tedious part of the project. After they were finished, the rest of the project went smoothly with the addition of hinges, handles and butterfly latches. Safety wire was used on each side of the lids to keep them from opening further than 90° from the lower box.”

The project, from design to completion, took almost a year, and Matt plans on making more of these boxes and building scissor lifts for them as well. We’re also due to shoot a video showcasing Adam’s original boxes, which currently live in the Cave. In the meantime, Matt shared some basic schematics for his box build for other makers:

Photos courtesy Matt Kerr

Comments (10)

10 thoughts on “Replicating Adam Savage’s ILM Toolbox

  1. A while back Adam said he had the perfect toolbox for socket wrenches, which he was waiting to unleash on the world. When will we get to see that toolbox?

    I believe it was in “Building an inexpensive toolkit for beginners” podcast episode.

  2. I think he had designed it, not built it, and either way, if it is as good as he says he might be wanting to turn it into a commercial product.

  3. After seeing Adam’s Maker Faire 2012 speech I inspired to start making replicas myself. Where better to start then the mans toolboxes. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Love the story, where’s the video featuring the original toolboxes? I saw one in a video of the cave, but it was tucked away on a shelf and the camera basically moved right past it. The stories on the boxes are out there, but it would be great to have a video showcase of them.

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