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Old 03-25-2019, 10:21 PM
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Default 1/4 Lexan Lid

Hey guys I have been searching and reading about tops for my two Exo Terra 18x18x24 builds. I planned to opt out of glass as I need lots of cut outs for vents, mist nozzle and 2”-3” hole for circulation fan which comes on when misting to help circulated the water. I found a shop locally that cuts lexan to order so I don’t need to order a full sheet of lexan as its very expensive. The thickest the carry is 1/4”. Will this cause issues with warping at that thickness ?
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:57 AM
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Even thicker will warp. Get glass and get at least the mist hole drilled.

For ventilation build yourself and screen.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/5-16-in-...1680/202091988

I use this for my screen

https://www.amazon.com/Brite-Bronze-.../dp/B01AB4T0AK
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

Glass. I would not recommend anything else. I have fiddled with plastics and found them to be way more expensive, totally unreliable, and sometimes even harder to work with than glass at least when it comes to cutting. Drilling glass is very simple to learn to do it just takes the willingness to learn but it will pay off in the end. Future builds will thank you. lol
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

Agree with the previous responses 100%. Stick with glass.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

Thanks for the responses guys !
It still shocks me that 1/4 lexan would warp under LED lighting.
As for it being difficult to work with I find the total opposite. Im a machinist by trade and love drilling/cutting/machining lexan.
As for drilling glass I have done it a few times in my reef days without any issues. I just was worried about cutting vents.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

I don't believe it's the heat of the lights that do the warping. It's the differential between the humidity on the outside and the on the inside. I totally agree with these guys that you are better off with glass. What I do is just get the glass cut a couple inches short in the back. Then, I hot glue mesh over that gap at the back. That takes care of the ventilation (since you already have the under-door vents in the front). The wires for an internal fan can be run in before you do your hot gluing. Then, if your tanks are like mine, you just have to cut a couple of holes for your misting heads. That should do it. It doesn't need to be super complicated. Almost all of my tanks lids are like this and they work great for me.

Good luck!

Mark
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

I agree completely with the "glass is better than plastic" theme. And will add that I have recently gotten some experience cutting glass (after a fair bit of happy returns from drilling it). In short - cutting glass isn't too bad either - well worth learning and doing IMO.

Until a few weeks ago, I always paid for all my glass cutting. I really don't know why I took the plunge and just bought some little sheets of glass and a glass cutter tool - but I did. (Amusingly, I overbought, thinking I'd have some wasted breakage - nope.) It's pretty exciting to just ditch a chronic, reflexive bias, and discover that there really wasn't much to worry about. Plus my inner cheapskate relishes saving a few bucks, and some wait time, and a bit of driving around.

good luck!
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

I have an 18"x36" piece of 1/4" lexan covering a plastic tub with a fluorescent light that sits right on top it. It hasn't warped even the least little bit.

Also, years ago I used to raise discus fish. On those tanks I used 1/8" lexan for lids. Even with all the heat and humidity those lids never warped.
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Last edited by gary1218; 03-27-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 03-28-2019, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary1218 View Post
I have an 18"x36" piece of 1/4" lexan covering a plastic tub with a fluorescent light that sits right on top it. It hasn't warped even the least little bit.

Also, years ago I used to raise discus fish. On those tanks I used 1/8" lexan for lids. Even with all the heat and humidity those lids never warped.
Well a friend of mine owns a water jetting company and cut me two 1/4 lexan tops today. I think its 8or9 to 1 on the glass vote but didn't cost much to experiment. I added my mist nozzle hole and 3 - 3" grommet vents across the front of the lid. They look sharp but I guess time will tell. I plan to order a few larger glass bits off ebay this weekend to have in case I end up going the glass route.
Thanks for all the input. I will update this in a few months time !
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Old 03-28-2019, 04:10 AM
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Do you have capabilities to make a frame for it?
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

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Do you have capabilities to make a frame for it?
Im sure I could come up with something. Aluminum I'm guessing would be the best option ?
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

when talking about using clear plastics for lids there are a few things to consider. There are polycarbonate products such as Lexan or Makrolon brand, and there is Acrylic, typically Lucite, Acrylite or Perspex brand.

Acrylic tends to be shinier, better UV resistance, doesn't yellow, greater clarity. It however will chip and crack easier and softens at a lower temp.

The other thing to consider is both varieties can either be cast or extruded. Cast would have a lower water absorption therefore resisting warping due to differences of temp and humidity on both sides. The caveat to this is it's typically more expensive than extruded.

Just to confuse you even more.....my sign supplier only uses extruded Acrylic from a reputable manufacturer as they find it deals with humidity much better that the easier sourced Lexan here in Toronto. The signs however are mounted in a vertical orientation, not horizontally in the case of a lid.
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Last edited by andrewdingemans; 03-28-2019 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdingemans View Post
when talking about using clear plastics for lids there are a few things to consider. There are polycarbonate products such as Lexan or Makrolon brand, and there is Acrylic, typically Lucite, Acrylite or Perspex brand.

Acrylic tends to be shinier, better UV resistance, doesn't yellow, greater clarity. It however will chip and crack easier and softens at a lower temp.

The other thing to consider is both varieties can either be cast or extruded. Cast would have a lower water absorption therefore resisting warping due to differences of temp and humidity on both sides. The caveat to this is it's typically more expensive than extruded.

Just to confuse you even more.....my sign supplier only uses extruded Acrylic from a reputable manufacturer as they find it deals with humidity much better that the easier sourced Lexan here in Toronto. The signs however are mounted in a vertical orientation, not horizontally in the case of a lid.
Thanks for the insight ! I'm pretty sure it is lexan branded. Time will tell.....
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

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Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
I don't believe it's the heat of the lights that do the warping. It's the differential between the humidity on the outside and the on the inside.
This is correct. The warping is due to the plastic taking up water and swelling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary1218 View Post
I have an 18"x36" piece of 1/4" lexan covering a plastic tub with a fluorescent light that sits right on top it. It hasn't warped even the least little bit.

Also, years ago I used to raise discus fish. On those tanks I used 1/8" lexan for lids. Even with all the heat and humidity those lids never warped.
This is interesting. I may get some polycarbonate just to try a comparison with acrylic regarding humidity warping.

Did you get any yellowing of the Lexan?
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: 1/4 Lexan Lid

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Did you get any yellowing of the Lexan?
No, none at all.
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