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this time I like the look of this material https://www.cutplasticsheeting.co.uk/integral-foam-pvc/white-ex-cel-integral-foam-pvc/

at 10mm it can be structural, probably even with nutserts, but that would just be a box, if you want a basic box buy an off the shelf one, ul get a better finish for the money.
As most commercial vivs use 18mm thick panels, to compare that with the PVC boards. 2.5m x 1.2m in 19mm thickness - £384 inc vat per sheet

That could make a 4' x 2' x 2', with solid back and a single 60mm substrate retainer (or light shield depending which way up the thing is). If you wanted a second strip to hold the glass tracking in that would require a second sheet with a lot of leftover material.

4mm glass with edges ground all round, plastic tracking, and a couple of vents - £50 so you you could end up with a PVC 4x2x2 for around £420-£430.

If the 13mm material is used (personally I feel this is the minimum) you could shave off £123, so £300 all in

As for joining, I would probably use a solvent based poly adhesive that "welds" the two surfaces together rather than traditional screws.
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
all spot on malc, now you know why I have a thing for expensive giant plastic tubs. :2thumb:

I mean I suppose £300 is good for a pvc 4x2x2 but I build weird things because I probably put too much stock in design, I mean I made a teak rack with giant tubs on soft close rails just so I could play with the joinery (it killed my chisels and plane though, it was soo friggin hard), and I liked the finished hardwood colour, it was not cheap but it was pretty. i tested the shit out of it then I broke it apart and made a cage thing. I made a solid oak version that I built at a specific angle for a weird wall, I sold it before I could get a chance to re-morph into something else.

a boa guy asked me to make a rack (that might have been the Black goldfish tub one) and I almost said no because the design was just too mass produced but I made it anyway, I made an entire dual drawer cage just so I could inset stats in the fascia with all the electrics hidden, an animal never made it inside though before I repurposed it, I did test the shit out of it though, the stats were those stc-1000's, remember them, I really really liked their dependability, on/off with a useable small swing, I always think of the temp swings from basic stats as simulated cloud cover : victory:

I had a guy in Germany, no Austria maybe, Daniel with the dodgy English, he made me three multi channel stats, one four 2 eights's with lighting and misting channels on the 8's, I made a aluminium polypropylene monster rack just for the eight channel, each shelf contained the heating for the tub above and lighting for the tub below but limited to I think 28mm total thickness. my most important takeaway from that project, don't take the guard off ur chopsaw because it becomes a terrifying monster thereafter.

this company https://www.facebook.com/imcages/?e...ref=gs&dti=1378901919006736&hc_location=group makes very pretty designs, very well thought out, cnc's are beautiful things

I hope you know your post makes me want to abandon this design and buy a giant polypro water tank and do weird things to it:2thumb:

thanks for taking the time for ur input, its very useful information

rgds
ed
PS I have an ex-cel sample, its very nice, very durable, worth the money?, if u can get it trade yes, retail eh I dunno, given the sparse pvcs products available probably yes, just based on its hard face

As most commercial vivs use 18mm thick panels, to compare that with the PVC boards. 2.5m x 1.2m in 19mm thickness - £384 inc vat per sheet

That could make a 4' x 2' x 2', with solid back and a single 60mm substrate retainer (or light shield depending which way up the thing is). If you wanted a second strip to hold the glass tracking in that would require a second sheet with a lot of leftover material.

4mm glass with edges ground all round, plastic tracking, and a couple of vents - £50 so you you could end up with a PVC 4x2x2 for around £420-£430.

If the 13mm material is used (personally I feel this is the minimum) you could shave off £123, so £300 all in

As for joining, I would probably use a solvent based poly adhesive that "welds" the two surfaces together rather than traditional screws.
 

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Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
so the structural tube would be the single finned version (there are various different forms, but often at a premium.)

different sides of the fin can be utilised for different products, the 6mm side for 5mm foamex and the 15mm side for multiply or ex-cel (sizes for a specific design, I couldn't find aluminium warehouse specs) , to make a unit of foamex using the 6mm fin side would be much cheaper, like 2/3rds cheaper https://www.plasticstockist.com/Palfoam-Foam-PVC-Sheet/White-Matt-Foamed-Pvc-Sheet.aspx but its less durable, you could consider the foamex panels replaceable though, ie as they stain or score, replace. this is one of the ideas behind the initial design, all panels are replaceable.

one of the advantages of pvc panels is self adhesive vinyl (fablon types) adheres to it strongly but comes off clean, meaning the interior (and exterior for that matter) can be any colour scheme u wish, and changeable as often as you wish. there is no chemical residue or drying time BUT I would avoid on the ceiling re heating/ fixing points without modifications.

PS I have used leaf green vinyl to waterproof the entire interior of a large female baroni's cage (it was the usual melamine board build), it worked out nicely
 

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Discussion Starter #44
so this floor plan explained

the blue 745mm x 495mm is the tubs top OD

the red is the tub backset by 25mm, its not a good idea for the tub to be flush with the cage front, 15mm is all that prevents an escape.

Green is a 2mm gap either side of the tub

pink is extra width to get to 600mm, the minimum cage depth
 

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Discussion Starter #45 (Edited)
this is the same floor plan but with the tub's base in yellow, its a tapered tub, but not extremely so, probably the most important tub feature after overall size.

these combinations form the inner length and depth of the cage, they also let u plan ur heatmat placement
 

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Discussion Starter #46
the beginning's of the ground structure, this is made from plain tubing as the fin offsets don't allow for a flush panel, you could use a shim but I will use a custom fin, there are easier ways but this method is in keeping with the design I think
 

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Discussion Starter #47
this fin is 25mm x 15mm, its just cheap unequal alu angle https://www.aluminiumwarehouse.co.uk/25-mm-x-15-mm-x-2-mm-aluminium-angle it can be a different size, id probably go with 20 x 10 if my pop riveter head fit but I don't think it would. so to attach the fin use some 3m double sided tape, clean both pieces with acetone, both pieces will be very difficult to part, even just with the tape, add some rivets and the piece is permanent.

this is the preparation for the first of three horizontal panels, all this prep is to ensure the panel is flush with the tube surface, to allow an easy sliding action
 

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The thing I like about this thread is that it shows outside the box (no punn intended) thinking. Looking at alternatives to the RUB and traditional melamine viv.

In the US you can walk into the equivalent of B&Q and pick up an 8'x2' sheet of 13mm ( PVC for $40 - so less than $100 (£75) for the amount needed for a standard 4 x 2 x 2 viv.

Sadly PVC just hasn't caught on enough to be a cheap product in the UK
 

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Discussion Starter #49
so this is the complete bottom piece, this piece is designed to hold 10mm ex-cel to take the weight of a sockerbit tub with a good depth of moist substrate, I know from xenopeltis experience this results in significant weight, so the piece has to be strong and resistant to twisting.

when you start this type of design you should think of the uses it will be put thru during its lifetime, this type of design lasts for a very long time, with replaceable panels it won't age or wear, it can be used for arid or heavily humid species without worrying about material cons. all gaps throughout the design should be no more than 1mm, this allows for tiny neonates ie a gravid garter, u can be safe knowing it is escape proof. also given the materials it can be thoroughly disinfected without damaging the materials.

this design will not be corner siliconed. seam silicone'ing is originally from the aquarium hobby, its purpose in a typical wooden cage is to prevent water getting to the end grain, melamine despite its shiny surface cannot handle water very well, exposed chip swells very easily. silicone does not age well (though there are techniques during assembly that are more durable), eventually it begins to ribbon over the years and become unsightly, it would also prevent replaceable panels
 

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Discussion Starter #50
the bottom piece requires an ex-cel panel 749mm x 575mm, when purchasing cut to size panels you have to be prepared for errors, not only in panel sizing, but also with ur own tube cuts, 1mm here and there means custom fitting. I would purchase the panel with an extra 1mm or 2, then using a sharp block plane, plane the panels till their a friction drop fit. the panel is held in place from below with just a few stainless 10mm pan head wood screws, their simply to hold the panel in place and are not structural.

Once complete the bottom piece can hold any tub volume, Inc water and will be impossible to twist.

the surface is flush fit for easy sliding
 

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Discussion Starter #51
the design line so far
 

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Discussion Starter #52
now is the time to think about the first electrical component, bottom heat for the tub, this will be achieved with a 18x11 mat, placement can be on the short or long side, ill chose long so the cable exits thru the rear of the unit.

this is where the floor spec overlay is essential
 

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Discussion Starter #53 (Edited)
the pad placement, notice its offset, this is because of the wires terminal block, the tubs bottom surface will stop when it hits this block, there will be additional stoppers to position the tub anyway
 

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Discussion Starter #54
the next dimension is not set but dictated by the build so far, ie an accumulated comedy of micro errors :2thumb: which is fine, because were not cnc's, handmade means just that

the dimension in question is the drawer compartment height

but its a simple formula, mat thickness + tub height + plus spacer height* = total height. *the spacer can be anything, cd's, coins, double sided taped to the tub rim. this allows free movement while remaining escape proof

so the false floor is in a lot of ways a mirror of the bottom but the ex-cel is in the hanging position (there is a alternative ie resting on a fin but that would add 2mm to the gap, but im not keen on that), so the false floor is fixed by recessed nylon bolts, this will allow for any upper volume weight, substrate cage furniture etc

the upper tube structure is missing fins, yet to be modelled
 

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Discussion Starter #55
so the access hole is very important, its size and position, I use the biggest hole saw I have, which is 70 or 85mm, the hole size should ideally be two body thicknesses+. the hole is placed at the front because placing it at the back will break ur snakes neck :gasp: the snake is peeping out, u pull the drawer open the back of the drawer scissors against the front of the hole.

the hole needs a substrate barrier and cap (coming next), the access hole should ideally be out of the cage lighting's line of sight, the drawer is an escape from light, from the upper cage, its purpose is to reinforce safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
I used to use a drain pipe access and screw cap for the substrate barrier but their way overpriced, so a food tub around 100-110mm across and at least 75mm high, with a hole cut in the bottom the same size as the floor access hole. the tub lid lets you cap the drawer off, which is really handy for splitting pairs during feeding.

the tub is attached by two recessed nylon bolts, the floor is 10mm thick so there's plenty of room
 

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Discussion Starter #57
the finished bottom level edit (- walls), you have two options in rgds to what you see inside fins or no fins, I like the fins look internal. finished drawer level height 179.5mm
 

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Discussion Starter #58
a close up of a side rail, it comprises of the single fin tube with a 2nd riveted fin
 

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Discussion Starter #59
finished bottom level v2, the top cage fins have been added
 

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Discussion Starter #60
bottom level complete, more fins than a shoal of aluminium fish
 

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