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Desperate: need to reduce Packtite size to save $500

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  1. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 0:44:34
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    So I live in Taiwan. My mom is flying to Taiwan to visit me and bring me the Packtite that I ordered online.

    But, as it turns out, it is too large, even as check-in lugguage.

    To FedEx the giant package that is the Packtite to Taiwan, it costs US$500. USPS is less at US$400.

    Please, can someone come up with an idea to reduce the size of the Packtite? To take apart the rack somehow? Maybe saw the metal rack into half? How do I do that?? My mom would have no ideal how to saw off metal...What tools would she need? Can I just leave the metal parts in the States and try to find similar ones here in Taiwan?

    Granted, I've not seen how it's packaged in person, by my mom says that the length (38 inches/ 95.6 cm) is the problem.

    Please, someone, give me an idea or two. You'll have my eternal, undying gratitude. Seriously -- and a free tour of Taiwan or anything else.

    -NoBB

  2. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 3:33:45
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    How much time is there before your mom's flight. Has she already booked a particular flight.

    Ideally the person who should advise you is djames1921 who posts on bedbugger.com from time to time and is the developer/producer of the PackTite.

    However, it's conceivable he might feel constrained for legal reasons about advising you on this? If not and if there's sufficient time before your mom's departure, hopefully he'll see this thread soon enough and can tell you some good way to solve the problem.

    Also – is your mom flying out of NYC by any chance? I live in NYC so if it turns out she's flying, say, tomorrow or the day after so there's no time to implement something djames1921 might prescribe, she could bring the PackTite here to my location on the Upper West Side and I'll cut the metal rack in such a way that the length will become enough shorter to satisfy the baggage requirements; and I think you'll be able to re-assemble it in Taiwan pretty easily by taking coat hangers or similar and using them as parallel rods and taping the rods of the PackTite platform to them so as to get the platform back pretty much in its original form. The tape will have to be a heat-resistant type of course. In fact I'll do a test re-assembly here before your mom departs to verify the rods work okay, and then I'll include the rods with what your mom takes along. Since she will have seen how the re-assembly works that should improve your chances of success at getting the item put back together in Taiwan.

    I don't claim any expertise whatever in this or in tools/construction/etc. in general beyond everyday household skill; but if your mom is flying very soon so in effect the only other alternative would be to leave the PackTite in her NYC hotel room, I could offer to do this as a last-resort option. I do have a reasonably well-stocked amateur toolbox which includes hacksaws etc. so your mom wouldn't have to buy any tools, and if there's any additional hardware needed for the work there are of course plenty of well-stocked hardware establishments in the neighborhood.

    Your mom should make sure to inquire what the detailed parameters for baggage will be for her flight – evidently she has already ascertained 38 inches is too long for any dimension, but what's the maximum that's okay, and what's the maximum permissible sum of the three dimensions, etc. – to make extra sure we fit the requirements before she heads off to the airport.

  3. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 4:06:12
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    God bless you jrbtnyc, that is truly very kind of you.

    Unfortunately my mom lives in Oregon and will fly out of Portland. She leaves on the night of Tuesday, June 7.

    I can write an email or letter or what have you to djames1921/Packtite to declare that I do not hold him or his company responsible for anything that he or anyone suggest I do to the Packtite. In fact, let me write it out here: I will hold no one legally or otherwise responsible for giving me advice, here on bedbugger.com or anywhere else.

    You mentioned a hacksaw. My mom would have zero idea how to use one. She'd have to hire someone to do that. I wonder where she could go for that kind of service?

    If we leave out the metal rack here in the US, I wonder if I could just get some other kind of metal rack to replace it here in Taiwan. I know it has to be small enough as to not touch the sides of the Packtite, and "tall" enough to leave some space underneath to fit that little heater unit.

    Another idea is that, perhaps the Packtite Company could ship just one "component" overseas -- like the metal rack to Taiwan. Cuz that bottom metal rack and the top metal prop thingy are what makes this package so costly to ship.

    Alas, will I really have to pay US$800 to get my hands on a Packtite? All of sudden I regret my career path of working at a non-profit -- I should've picked a higher-paying job just to survive bed bugs.

    I really am just trying to survive.

  4. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 4:58:41
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    The metal rack is extremely specific to the PackTite sizewise and shapewise so I truly don't expect you can find something in Taiwan to replace it.

    But I think any handyman, hardware store guy, or whoever, can cut the rack, doing so in the middle of individual rods comprising the rack so upon re-assembly, coat-hanger-or-whatever rods can be placed on the two ends of the rack rods so as to re-unite them; in other words don't cut the rack rods where they meet the cross-struts, cut them in the middle of their extent. Then your mom and the handyman would place the longer cut portion of the rack back along and over the shorter cut portion which is the portion that will encompass the heater; then fold the PackTite canvas all around those, maybe including a piece of wood or particleboard or something inside with them to add structural support; and then tape the PackTite canvas all around its outside. Then the handyman and your mom, in my view, would find any old strong cardboard box to put that in, possibly reinforced inside with pieces of corrugated cardboard or air-conditioner styrofoam or similar to further assist the two pieces of the rack not get bent in transit. (Perhaps it's not so critical anyway? they could even get bent a little without affecting the device all that much after re-assembly?)

    Again, make sure your mom knows exactly what measurements are acceptable to the airline.

    Maybe I can "draw a little picture" of the rack here, as seen from above, with F's denoting where the four [legs and] feet are, sticking downwards i.e. away from the viewer...

    F----|--------|--------|--------|--------|----F
    |----|--------|--------|--------|--------|----|
    |----|--------|--------|--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|--------|--------|----|
    F----|--------|--------|--------|--------|----F

    ...which in my opinion your mom and the handyman should cut like this...

    F----|--------|--------|----# #----|--------|----F
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|--------|----|
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|----# #----|--------|----|
    F----|--------|--------|----# #----|--------|----F

    ...so there are rods sticking out on both sides to which the re-assembly coat hangers or rods or whatever can effectively be taped; don't cut it like this...

    F----|--------|--------|# #--------|--------|----F
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|--------|----|
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|heater|----|
    |----|--------|--------|# #--------|--------|----|
    F----|--------|--------|# #--------|--------|----F

    ...leaving rods sticking out only on one side so there's no leverage to tape rods onto upon re-assembly...if that makes sense.

    Looking at my PackTite here, it seems this should work okay, and that then flipping over the longer portion of the rack, the portion at left in the middle "diagram" above, it should fit over the shorter portion of the rack, the portion at right in the "diagram" which includes the heater; and both pieces, with both pairs of legs/feet pointing downwards, should fit inside the PackTite canvas, which can then be closed snug around them. The heater has to be in the shorter cut portion because when the two portions fit one on top of the other, the one that includes the heater has to be the lower one of course. Maybe put in there before closing some wood or particleboard or something, cut to fit, so as to protect the rack rods from getting bent; plus corrugated cardboard or styrofoam or etc. as bulk filler. In Taiwan for the re-assembly you can use rods along the lines of coat hanger rods, but on the heavy side of the range of what coat hanger rod weights are. And as suggested before, if there's time to experiment with such rods while still in Portland and find ones which seem to work well and be able to bring those along rather than start a search from scratch in Taiwan, so much the better.

  5. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 11:58:46
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    jrbtnyc,

    I've emailed your post to my mom. She's printing it out and on her way to Home Depot as we speak.

    You have a free bilingual tour guide waiting for you in Taiwan now. Though I'd suggest waiting a couple of months before booking your vacation, just to make sure that your host is in fact bed bug free *fingers crossed*

    -NoBB

  6. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 13:16:29
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    Hey great, and maybe your mom knows someone at that Home Depot who has helped her with tasks before and has scads of tools and know-how.

    Of course don't forget about electric current issues. I presume in Taiwan the outlets are different from the USA; and also do they use 220 instead of 110 – if so it's not enough just to have a plug adapter so you can physically plug in the PackTite – you should also place a power converter brick between the outlet and the PackTite so the PackTite receives the 110 it expects, not 220. If your mom has any other ordinary, light household item she can bring along to Taiwan, the two of you can test the adapter and brick on that first, before using it on the PackTite. Perhaps djames1921 will see this thread soon and can comment with great specificity on this electric current issue, since the PackTite has a timer which might have particular concerns.

    If you and your mom and perhaps the Home Depot expert will provide a detailed report after you've re-assembled the PackTite in Taiwan, describing any difficulties encountered or whether it was smooth sailing, then if this approach does work maybe other people can use it too, so PackTites can go to some places where they haven't before.

    Maybe also djames1921 can engineer some version of this size-reduction strategy as an official part of PackTite 2.0 if and when he's working on a revised and improved version.

  7. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 20:10:09
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    I just looked at my Packtite and I think you can find a rack that will work. I don't think it has to be the exact size of the outer shell. I just think you'll need to rest the rack on four feet. The heating unit should be easy to re-attach to any wire rack. My neighbor is an engineer and he thought it would be simple to duplicate the entire thing.

  8. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 21:24:24
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    toledo - 1 hour ago  » 
    I just looked at my Packtite and I think you can find a rack that will work. I don't think it has to be the exact size of the outer shell. I just think you'll need to rest the rack on four feet. The heating unit should be easy to re-attach to any wire rack. My neighbor is an engineer and he thought it would be simple to duplicate the entire thing.

    Reserve judgment until djames1921 comments on this. Several times he has described the process of developing the PackTite and there are definite complexities such as avoiding cool spots and hot spots and maintaining safety aspects. I have the feeling he might explain quite persuasively that substituting some rack "off-the-shelf" could have a high possibility of defeating the PackTite's effectiveness or, worse, creating a fire hazard.

  9. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 5 2011 22:39:13
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    My mom didn't have any luck at Home Depot

  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 0:16:38
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    I have alerted David James to this thread.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  11. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 4:10:15
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    NoBB - 5 hours ago  » 
    My mom didn't have any luck at Home Depot

    NoBB,

    Can you describe what aspects didn't work out – there was no one willing to do the cutting and/or help with the re-configuration of the rack in the PackTite canvas into a suitable container to become an item of luggage?

    There's still today and part of tomorrow before your mom goes to the airport. If you tell me in a PM what neighborhood your mom lives in and is comfortable in (don't tell me her exact address, just the general locale within a few blocks), I'll go on Googlemaps and find one or more hardware stores and I'll call them up and ask if they have someone who can do this task for your mom. I propose offering to pay them $50 plus any materials costs – still a lot better than the $500 shipping charge that would occur otherwise. If I talk to the hardware store guys and they sound okay, then I can walk them through the requirements because as you explained, your mom doesn't have a good natural "feel" for these types of things. So then she can go to the hardware store and they'll already know what the "job specs" are. Then I think it won't be something all that difficult for them to do – might take, say, only an hour or so. Also I'll send you my own phone number in a PM. Aim is to get this taken care of today, Monday, so your mom can then focus this evening and tomorrow morning on other aspects of preparing to fly out.

  12. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 7:07:42
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    Yes, David James is the expert and I'm sure he'll have some alternatives for you. I would just have your mother use a screwdriver to take the heater off the rack. Just be sure to tell her to bring the hardware and diagrams, so you can connect it to another rack. I wish I was good at posting pictures on the internet. If you could see a Packtite, you'd feel much better about all of this. The rack looks like my oven rack, only it's a little longer and not quite as deep. Obviously an oven rack would do just fine inside a Packtite. The only thing you really have to worry about is the items you place ON the rack. You need to have a 2" clearance for the heat to circulate. You can read all the assembly and use instructions at http://www.canineinspections.com/packtiteinstructions.pdf

  13. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 7:10:03
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    Oops! Let me try that web address again. It's http://www.canineinspection.com/packtiteinstructions.pdf

  14. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 7:15:13
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    Toledo and other folks: you may not be aware you can edit any post for the first 60 minutes after you post it. See that "History Edit" over on the left? Click the "Edit".

  15. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 20:19:54
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    Great news

    My mom found, through a friend of a friend of a friend, a mail forwarder type of business in Portland Chinatown that specializes in shipping to Asia. She was able to mail out the whole giant package for US$98.

    She was positively elated when she told me about it. I was too.

    I think what happened at Home Depot was some sort of miscommunication. After that, Mom didn't feel comfortable having someone alter the shelf/rack anymore -- and I couldn't talk her out of it.

    But now the problem has been solved. I'll be able to get my hands on a Packtite after all, in less than 10 days.

    jrbtnyc -- my offer stands. If you come to Taiwan, I'll time off of work to take you to true local hangouts and other cool places. The best months to come would be October/November (less heat, no typhoons, cheaper tickets than Dec/Jan).

    Thank you to you too, Toledo, and NoBugs.

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jun 6 2011 23:41:04
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    Glad you found a solution, NoBB!

  17. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 7 2011 0:23:06
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    Seriously, I'm so happy -- I'm gonna buy everyone on this forum a round of cyber drinks.

  18. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 7 2011 10:07:10
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    I'm glad you solved your problem. $98 is much better than $4-500. I've been searching for ways for ways to get my son's longboard (long skateboard) to Spain this summer, so I know what you're dealing with.

  19. NoBB

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 7 2011 20:31:56
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    Toledo,

    Have you checked out Ubox? I haven't used it before, but came upon them while searching for affordable international shipping. Maybe try to get a quote from them.

    Now I think all of these smaller shippers are probably cheaper than FedEx and USPS and UPS.

    Good luck!

    -NoBB


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