i made this design several years ago now, i made a polypropylene version (this version is the "deluxe" metal version) and used it for a few years i believe, it was used for burrowers and regular snakes, it never caused a problem, the burrowing use also included about 4" of moist coco/moss mix piled on top, it worked perfectly even in this scenario.
the version i built and used was slightly different, i had the stat probe fixed to the "sitting surface" this tweaked design places it inside to simplify the look. one *important* point this unit has to be calibrated due to the stats probe position, what i mean is a thermometer probe has to be place on the surface and the the stat gradually increased till u get ur 90of for example, ur stat will almost certainly not show 90 on the dial/display, it will be close but not exact, hence the calibration, simply because of mat variation, the material between the probe surface and the bottom of the snake.
so lets begin, this example is a 17x11 version, just because, u can use any size mat or use multiples, i recommend only habistat mats with this design, thats all iv used with it and i think their the best available, im not a fan of the cheaper "printed" type mats.
the mat, i often trim the clear plastic edge back some to get the smallest unit possible it is not necessary
the bottom sheet, cut to size from aluminium warehouse (https://www.aluminiumwarehouse.co.uk...t-cut-to-order) i recommend 1.2mm 6082 as it has excellent corrosion resistance
edged with 20x10mm alu flat bar its stuck to the sheet using 3m double sided tape, make sure u get the position right as its a very very firm attachment,
the flat bar is attached/3m to the bottom sheet only, the top sheet is left removable for servicing (https://www.aluminiumwarehouse.co.uk...lat-bar/page/2) this is principally a spacer and fixing edge
plus 10mm underfloor insulation (Electric Underfloor Heating Insulation Boards 6mm & 10mm XPS | eBay)
as above plus cutouts, one square for the mats block, the thicker block side goes down, the channel is for the stats probe, it is towards the mats edge to allow a higher possible temperature, ie if the probe is in the middle of the mat it will max out sooner than a probe placed near the edge, a higher temp can be brought down, a temp thats not high enough and maxed out on the stat is no good to anyone (again this is why calibration is important)
plus mat, the stats probe is underneath in the channel cut out
top sheet added, the drilled holes are at the flat bars midpoint/5mm, they are of the size necessary for the chicago screws, the best method for drilling the holes is to have the complete unit clamped together with edges square and flush, then simply drill thru the entire piece, top sheet-spacer-bottom sheet, then it makes no difference if ur position is off, all the holes will be in line with each other.
close up of the mat cable the probes cable exiting, iv sketched a hole as the exit point, but it would be far far easier if a section was just removed from the flat bar length
the entire assembly is held closed with chicago screws/binding posts (https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_f...fLoc=1&_sop=15) this design would use 9mm, this allows the unit to be servicable, u can use more than pictured
as above, closer view
when i designed this i really wanted it to be thin, ie take up little room and be hidden under substrate, i wanted it to be servicable, with the unit pushed up to a cage side (or back) the cables exiting the unit can exit the cage via a hole at floor height, so the idea was to get heating, to get control, but with none of it visible or even in the cage, all thats in the cage is the unit, the snake is unable to interfere with any component, i have also used it in large tubs.
all the above material (inc the chicago screws) can be replaced with plastic material choices, i have made some with polypropylene sheet, i used thicker polypropylene as the edge spacer, i used plastic chicago screws, the metal version is just nicer looking, the metal is a better conductor of heat, its very easy to sterilize. u can also combine materials ie alu sheet with a polypro spacer would be ideal, iv used hardwood as the spacer but i dont recommend that in moist caging.
is it cheap? i doubt it (though with postage and material minimums it is cost effective the more u make), i never made it to save money i designed it to solve a problem, heatmats inside a cage that are protected from and for the snake. the design above is 12.4mm thick, that isnt bad even if i do say so myself :-) (its actually the stats probe that determines the overall unit thickness)
as i said this version needs calibration simply because the probe is internal, and may not experience the same temps as the outer surface, once calibrated its essentially set and forget. i have tested this design extensively, the problems i found were minor and easily fixed, and those fixes are included above.
use as you will : victory:
if anyone wants the sketchup file to pick apart and modify id be happy to email it
ps polypro sheets on ebay https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_f...sheet&_sacat=0
dual chamber hide
the chamber hide
i designed this a few years ago, they are essentially a modified retes stack but are enclosed. **because they are enclosed they cannot be used like a retes stack.
i used the foam material because its light and easily worked, i used a one piece cutout but u would get more hides by just cutting lengths from the block and gluing them together, i just liked the one piece cutout shape
blue craft foam, depending on the species its for u can use 50mm thick or 75mm CRAFT FOAM SHEETS BLUE EXTRUDED STYROFOAM MODELLING SCULPTING - FREE UK POSTAGE! | eBay
the layout for my particular hide shape, the walls are 25mm thick, they can be sanded into shape, they do not absorb matter and are easily sterilised
i cut the shape out using a dremel drill bit meant for plasterboard
so the bottom chamber is capped by a lid with an access hole, i used slate as its heavy and i just like the material, u can also use wood, plastic, foamboard
bottom chamber, ideally over the heatmat
both chambers together, the upper chamber can be partially filled with moss if you want or need a moist environment, the access holes are offset, ie bottom is to the left, top to the right, to prevent light entering the bottom chamber. this dual chamber is ideal for small caging tubs were space is short as it gives a cool hide and warm hide in the same area (slate is especially suited for this specific need)
in practice i found animals would use both levels equally, feeding an animal usually just involved leaving the food at one of the access holes. the hide above is 18x12, for a large adult corn i would use 75mm foam or for an average sized corn or similar i would use 50mm. the pieces are not fixed together in any way, which means u just lift a layer to have a peek, levels are interchangeable if cut to the same layout. a dual chamber using 75mm is approx 6" high, the 50mm foam results in an approx 4" high hide, so their quite low profile for their area size and the size of snake they can contain.
internal view of the dual hide above
i made some of these a few years ago for a friends chondro caging, to support the perches, the design allows different diameters of perches branches yada yada
i used a cheap plastic cutting board like these White Plastic Large Medium small Chopping Board Kitchen Cutting Board heavy Duty | eBay
the V shape helps prevent rotation, but this still happens with enough torque, i modified some to prevent any rotation (modification next post)
u can get multiples per board, more than pictured with a smart layout
if one is not enough they can be stacked to provide a thicker support
i used these bolts to fix them in place (thru rub walls) screws could also be used in classic wooden caging BLACK CAR MOTORBIKE VAN NUMBER PLATE FIXING BOLTS & NUTS LICENSE FITTING SCREWS | eBay
pin modification to prevent perch rotation
the fitting with a 5mm hole drilled into it
shelf pin 5mm 25x SHELF SUPPORT PINS, STUDS , METAL PEGS
in place pin
a matching grove, hole, or cutout prevents a perch spinning
this is another branch perch fixing that can be made with a cheap hole saw set, using two different sized holesaws. the small inner circle is cut out first, with the larger circle cut out last. i recommend cutting half way thru the material on one side, then the hole is completed from the other side, this gives a cleaner cut.
each layout makes 2 separate fittings when cut in two
with a pin to prevent perch rotation
the semi circular fittings were made for pvc pipe perches, they are often used for static arboreals like chondros and etb's
off the shelf vivarium conversion to drawer cage
the drawer cage is an old design, it goes waay back to bob applegate and even before, it consists of two sections, the upper cage and the lower drawer portion. its a great captive replication of a burrow in a cage, its also handy for keeping pairs together, as they can be separated for feeding, one in the drawer, the other in the main cage. the drawer sections are usually heated by heatmats, in a two drawer cage only one needs heated, the one at the cages "hot end", in the large drawer design only a portion of the drawer has to be heated, again usually mirroring the heated cage end.
a regular off the shelf cage, but these are actually very good quality as i bought one once to test mods on :-)
Melamine Vivarium OAK 36 x 24 x24
i prefer plant trays or large level cat trays as drawers Garland Planting Tray, Seed Tray, Work Tray, 53 x 40 X 9,5 cm very sturdy | eBay
the main portion of this mod is the drawer area, the length and width are cut to the main cages dimensions, the height though, thats the most important part to get right in the entire build, it is as follows
internal height = heatmat+drawer+spacer* is ur cut height, so in this design its approx 97mm, this gives a sliding gap of 1mm, i always go for tighter tolerances as u never know what species that cage may house in the future, so design for the smallest babies
to make sure the cage and drawer section align correctly, and stay aligned, shelf pins are used as below
with drawers in place, single and dual
access to the drawer from the cage is via a hole cut into the floor, the hole has to be at the front, if it was at the back it would act like a guillotine as the drawer back passes the hole! so entry point at the front, the hole has another fitting around it, a substrate barrier and drawer cap in one, i have used round food tubs of the right size, a hole is cut in the tubs bottom that matches the floor entry hole, the tub lids can be used to close the drawer section off from the upper cage.
floors with entry caps
complete cages closed single and dual
complete cages open single and dual
internal minus glass
as i mention above the only difficult part in these conversions is getting the drawer section height exact, as a spacer* i used a blank dvd disc, one on each corner, this overall height mark, one at the front and the back gives ur cut line, if ur not sure, add a 1mm or 2mm, then plane (or file/sand if u dont have a plane) down any excess material till u get ur best fit.
an additional point i have learned when using the drawer caging for humid species, if the drawers are filled with moist substrate the moisture will condense on the underside of the *cage* floor, and melamine is not waterproof, so the way around this is to cover the under side of the cage portion (the ceilings of the drawers effectively) with a layer of heavy duty self adhesive vinyl, its very durable as there is no wear and tear on that surface.
u can also do internal cage conversion ie theres no additional drawers section but instead the glass is moved up to make way for drawers and a false floor, but its a bit more technical and very cage specific so this is the method i suggest for a first attempt.
ps this design can also be changed to make one large classic design cage into two smaller drawer cages by adding a midwall, taking advantage of the 2 sliding doors setup
the 50 litre cage
this cage is built around the 50lt rub in single unit form, its also designed for standard 600mm melamine.
when selecting a drawer it should ideally be a solid color, to prevent light getting in, the idea of a captive burrow is that its a retreat into the safety of darkness, of being hidden from predatory eyes. thankfully rubs come in solid colors including black
possible equipment for the above would be a 17x11 mat under the drawer and a reptile radiator in the upper cage with led strip lighting (iv used all 3 in such designs and they go together quite well).
rough dimensions based on the specs of the box
this type of setup would be ideal for all sandboas, all rosys, all common hogs (not madagascan), species like diones leopards, mountain kings, san louis potosi, housesnakes, mexican milks, species of that size and habit.
this design is stackable, the viewing panel can be glass or acrylic ideally around 5mm
a similar design but around 1200x600x600 single unit
a variation of the above, 2 units, that can be temporarily split or permanently divided
regarding the 50lt cage, there is a 33lt size too and this would make a as good if not better replacement in this design, reducing drawer height while increasing upper cage height.
This is a set up I would like to have dabbled with.
I tried it with my double decker RUB design for the anacondas but think it's worth a go with the design you've suggested.
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