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Old 07-16-2020, 11:22 PM
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minorhero minorhero is online now
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Default Re: 4 Foot Vivarium Build From The Ground Up


Progress has been made! I have cut most of the pieces for the vivarium itself (at least the first layer) but I have not yet begun cutting the various slots/holes for ventilation/windows.

Meanwhile on the stand front work continues. I puttied over screws and then essentially set aside the stand body to work on the top. I made a form out of 3/4" melamine. I used some leftover silicone from a bathroom remodel to seal the seems.

I forgot to take a picture of it before I used it, but here it is after I peeled it off of the concrete.

When it came time to mix the concrete I made a huge mistake. You see I watched a video on how to do make a concrete table like a year ago. It was pretty simple and I 'thought' I remembered it accurately. Instead I left out a crucial step. The concrete I was using is rapidset motar mix. I was supposed to essentially make it according to the bag (with slightly more water) and then add some plasticizer to give the concrete a much lower viscosity making it pourable. I definitely forgot the darn plasticizer. I had three 55 lb bags of concrete. The first half of the first bag was essentially made to the package directions and it was THICK when I poured it into my mold. I immediately realized I screwed up and started mixing in more water, like double what the bag called for. This gave me a more pourable mix but it still wasn't as good as if I had used the darn plasticizer to begin with. The rest of the concrete was made with double water till I filled my mold. But the damage was done with that first half bucket. I got quite a few gaps around the sides.

I used a jig saw (without a blade) clamped to the buttom of my table to vibrate the whole thing and this cut down on the number of bubbles but anywhere where the first half bucket came down I got a lot of voids and bubbles.

Here is how the concrete top looked after I dumped it out of the mold:

You can see some pretty big voids around the sides in the front if you look for them. They are much more noticeable in person.

I didn't want to scrap this attempt so I decided to try and fill these voids. I literally used up all the mortar mix I had making this slab so I decided to try some grout patch I had left over from another project. I'm glad I did as it worked extremely well. Here is how it looked after I added the grout but before I sanded it down:

And here it is after I wet sanded the slab:

Pretty happy with how it turned out in the end. Not super noticeable in the picture but the darker grout patch makes it look like I purposely created the voids.

Anyway that brings me up to current. Next step is to sand the stand down a bunch to take the edge off the corners and then I can begin painting on primer.

Last edited by minorhero; 07-16-2020 at 11:40 PM.
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