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Old 09-15-2020, 04:39 PM
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minorhero minorhero is offline
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Default Re: 4 Foot Vivarium Build From The Ground Up


I have been picking away at the viv construction and decided to post a progress update now that it looks a bit like something ;P

First up was making the front piece complete with vents. This is the most 'difficult' part of the build not because it is super intricate but because I am not super talented when it comes to anything that is done by hand. I much prefer setting up a jig and using power tools to create straight lines guided by my jig. The easiest way to make this piece though involved drilling a few starter holes then free handing it with a jig saw before following it up with a router. The corners would be free hand though so of course that is where it was roughest.

From there I cut out the short side pieces. Again I needed to rely on my jig saw skills so... yeah could have been better ;P

Here are the pieces just propped up to see how it looked:

From here I could begin gluing the reinforcement pieces in place. Since this viv will be epoxied on the inside and painted on the outside I have a LOT of room to smooth over rough edges and generally fix booboos that would be difficult or impossible to fix if I left it as stained wood.

After gluing the reinforcement on I could start the rest of the glue-up. The next step was figuring out the bottom. This could have been done before this point but I find it is a LOT easier for me to use the actual pieces I will be working with to figure out things like angles and sizes so it wasn't until I had all the pieces lying next to each other that I could take final measurements.

I originally planned for the bottom to be made from 2 pieces with different angles to create a kind of trough. This design makes sense when working with something like plastic (like how my insitu is made) but it didn't make sense when working with wood so when it came time to actually build it I abandoned the multiple angle bottom and instead went with a single piece slanted bottom at a 15 degree angle.

Once the glue set I could glue on the opposing side. I did have a another whoopsie before this step when I glued the reinforcement onto the wrong side of this piece.... twice.... but I got it sorted.

Around this point I realized I messed this whole thing up. Not so much that I can't fix it, but it does complicate the entire build. You see I made my sloped floor run the full 20 inch depth of the vivarium instead of stopping at the front wall and the back. This meant that I needed to glue-up the front wall and the back ONTOP of the sloped floor instead of against it. Whoops. Oh well its not the end of the world it just makes things more difficult. In this case it meant cutting 15 degree angles in the front and back pieces. The back will also need to be in 2 pieces.

This brings me to gluing up the back:

And that brings me up to current. Next will be gluing up the front and then I will be adding more reinforcement pieces to overlap the various joints.

Overall I am pretty happy with progress. I was originally a bit wary of using only 1/2 inch plywood simply because it felt a bit wobbly when handling it in long pieces. But once I started adding the reinforcement pieces that worry went away, they really add quite a bit of stiffness.
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