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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I'm struggling to determine the best way to do doors for this plywood build I'm planning. I can't decide between sliders, swinging, or some concept I haven't thought of yet.

What do you think?
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I'm thinking I wish I had your construction skills 馃槄

I'd go for a swing door since it looks better and works more easy. Sliders take up space even when opened. But it's mostly personal taste ofcourse..
 

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I think that sliders might be problematic when they are taller than wide -- a lot of weight on a small area doesn't slide well. My AP snake cage doors slide a lot better than my InSitus, anyway, and the InSitus want to 'tip' when first pushed to open.

I wonder if a hinged door might be harder to engineer, though -- the hinge has to be 100% solid or the doors will sag, and that wouldn't be good at all. An 18 x 60 or whatever door is going to be a heavy piece of glass. Sliders are just glass in a track.

I agree that swinging doors are more functional.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good thoughts. For hinged doors, would it be helpful to have 4 hinged doors (2x2 pattern), or is there no real value in reducing the size of the opening (escape risk) when working in this type of tank?

I'm thinking out loud in this thread.
 

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I'd agree that swing doors will work better than sliders at this size, but swing doors DO require quite a bit of engineering to be safe and properly functional.

I'm almost embarrassed to say how much a pair of 3/8" thick low-iron glass doors, 22"w x 31"h each, tempered, beveled edges, with commercial grade self-closing hinges and simple pulls cost to have installed in a larger terrarium I built: $500.00 at my custom glass man's material costs. His retail would have been nearly double that.

The plate size and function/stresses drive the thickness, the thickness drives the hardware "gauge" and both of these drive the price. I also had to beef up the enclosure design to stiffen the side jambs to support the hinges, so the glass would not sag.

This custom glazier work was done by a friend who does all of our top-of-the-line shower/steam shower enclosures in our custom/luxury homes. The "heavy duty everything" was driven by my requirement to have frameless swing doors this large. In essence, as heavy as the doors and hardware are, they could have been full-size shower doors for the little more actual glass it would have taken. The commercial grade self-closing hinges pull the doors closed once they are within about 30 degrees of closing and will stand open between about 45 and 90 degrees. The tempering was optional, but just good sense to have it done for safety reasons when glass is that size.

I could have saved a lot of money by having smaller panes, (like having sidelight or sill/transom panels) thus reducing required thickness. I could have saved some by using a frame to support the glass, instead of having hinges and pulls drilled in. I could have saved even more if I had been able to use sliders and eliminate the relatively expensive hardware. As it was, I had a design idea and told my guy to just do it, knowing he would be fair with me and the value would exceed the cost, but I still have to admit being a bit surprised when I got the final bill.

Bottom line, be prepared to spend a lot to have it done correctly into large openings or downsize your openings and simplify/economize the glass requirements
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd agree that swing doors will work better than sliders at this size, but swing doors DO require quite a bit of engineering to be safe and properly functional.

I'm almost embarrassed to say how much a pair of 3/8" thick low-iron glass doors, 22"w x 31"h each, tempered, beveled edges, with commercial grade self-closing hinges and simple pulls cost to have installed in a larger terrarium I built: $500.00 at my custom glass man's material costs. His retail would have been nearly double that.

The plate size and function/stresses drive the thickness, the thickness drives the hardware "gauge" and both of these drive the price. I also had to beef up the enclosure design to stiffen the side jambs to support the hinges, so the glass would not sag.

This custom glazier work was done by a friend who does all of our top-of-the-line shower/steam shower enclosures in our custom/luxury homes. The "heavy duty everything" was driven by my requirement to have frameless swing doors this large. In essence, as heavy as the doors and hardware are, they could have been full-size shower doors for the little more actual glass it would have taken. The commercial grade self-closing hinges pull the doors closed once they are within about 30 degrees of closing and will stand open between about 45 and 90 degrees. The tempering was optional, but just good sense to have it done for safety reasons when glass is that size.

I could have saved a lot of money by having smaller panes, (like having sidelight or sill/transom panels) thus reducing required thickness. I could have saved some by using a frame to support the glass, instead of having hinges and pulls drilled in. I could have saved even more if I had been able to use sliders and eliminate the relatively expensive hardware. As it was, I had a design idea and told my guy to just do it, knowing he would be fair with me and the value would exceed the cost, but I still have to admit being a bit surprised when I got the final bill.

Bottom line, be prepared to spend a lot to have it done correctly into large openings or downsize your openings and simplify/economize the glass requirements
Very good perspective. This gives me ideas. I wonder if I should create wooden door frames that accept polycarb or acrylic inserts. They would scratch over time, but would be lighter, replaceable and much cheaper.
 

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Also, I discussed sliders with my guy and at first told him that sliders were what I had in mind, but due to glass size/weight, there needs to be roller hardware, which is problematic with live animals on substrate. I'm housing monitors on a mix of coco fiber and medium sand and there is always debris on the sill, located 6" above the substrate.
 

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Very good perspective. This gives me ideas. I wonder if I should create wooden door frames that accept polycarb or acrylic inserts. They would scratch over time, but would be lighter, replaceable and much cheaper.
I'd consider something like aluminum for the framing -- wood would also be quite heavy, and possibly hard to seal effectively at the transition to acrylic.

Do you nee to have the whole front glass area openable? A glass panel up top, and at bottom, and then two swinging doors in the middle section would be lighter doors, anyway, and could get by with thinner glass. Lots of seams to interrupt the visual affect, though.

Another idea: full glass front, and a side access made of whatever you want.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I'd consider something like aluminum for the framing -- wood would also be quite heavy, and possibly hard to seal effectively at the transition to acrylic.

Do you nee to have the whole front glass area openable? A glass panel up top, and at bottom, and then two swinging doors in the middle section would be lighter doors, anyway, and could get by with thinner glass. Lots of seams to interrupt the visual affect, though.

Another idea: full glass front, and a side access made of whatever you want.
Great points. Especially the stationary front and side door access. Reminds me of how zoos and museums do it.
 

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IMO hinged/swinging doors are always preferable to sliders, unless its a tank with zero substrate that can get stuck in the track, which is highly unusual in this hobby.
The side opener is definitely a cool idea, but may become inconvenient in the future if you ever wanna have this enclosure side by aide with another one, or built into a multiunit system.
If you want a cool and simple way to do hinged doors, tanner serpa of serpadesign just did a video a few days ago of a mantis enclosure he built, and the way he did the doors is brilliant, could really easily be implemented in other systems. Im using the same method to convert a 40B right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Current design of the door. It is a swinging front opener with inspiration from Serpa. Right now, I believe a front opener is better so tanks can be placed beside each other as Reillybeast mentioned.

The door is a wooden frame with space for an acrylic insert (1/8in thick) slid in from the top of the door.

The base of the door has a slight overlap with the base of the tank so water or dirt will flow back into the tank. I'll probably want a slight slope (into the tank) on the lip it overlaps.

I like magnets for my other tanks, so I'm thinking about going with those inserted into the wood as well.

I'm thinking it will be held together with pocket holes or self-drilling deck screws (I love them).

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