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Im just curious if there are any successful companies who are fully dedicated to the design and fabrication of vivariums, enclosures, custom gardens, and/or zoo exhibits. If anyone knows of companies who do this, and who are successful enough to make a full time living out of it, I would like to hear about them. Thanks all!
 

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Hey Justin, there is a guy on one of the monitor forums I'm on that builds zoo exibits for a living but at the moment I can't remember his name. I'll try and find it tonight or tommorow when I get on the computer (on my phone right now).
 

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I don't know about the US,but there's a European company that builds custom vivs,I can't remember the site they have but they are top quality.
 

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Im just curious if there are any successful companies who are fully dedicated to the design and fabrication of vivariums, enclosures, custom gardens, and/or zoo exhibits. If anyone knows of companies who do this, and who are successful enough to make a full time living out of it, I would like to hear about them. Thanks all!
Construction in AZA Supplier Search / Design&category_id=1792

The link isn't wrapping for some reason. so if cutting and pasting it doesn't work click on AZA Supplier Search and go down to construction/design and click on the relevent category.

Ed
 
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Terra 5 maybe...? That might not be a true full time gig, tho.

Even with a bunch of clients it's not feasible unless you get a wholesale account as a pet store to sell the cages & accessories for a profit along with the vivarium work. Unfortunately most wholesalers (real wholesalers, I mean) won't sell to you unless you are a legit online business or true retail store.

Logistically if you are only profiting on the labor involved... Ehh. You'd need a lot of work. If you can at least sell plants & some supplies along with the billable labor then maybe. Still you'd need to stay busy to really make a living out of it.

Then again it's all relative to what you expect to earn and the cost of living for where you are located...

The guys building mainly for commercial (state/museum/zoo) exhibits are the only ones who I've seen that are truly making a living of this.
 

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What about creating vivariums for waiting rooms, and then doing maintenance on them, as a job, like people have businesses to take care of fish?
 

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I believe Cindy Dickens from Vivarium Concepts does this. I've seen her operation many times and she's always working on a Viv for someone else. She does schools and offices. Pretty sure she doesn't do zoos.
 

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I believe Cindy Dickens from Vivarium Concepts does this. I've seen her operation many times and she's always working on a Viv for someone else. She does schools and offices. Pretty sure she doesn't do zoos.
Yes she does for Businesses and Individuals

Anyone Know who did Ft Worth Zoo's MOLA?
 

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It looks like they are using a heavy duty polyurethane foam in the few I clicked on. It is probably being carved out of larger blocks and placed into the exhibits. It looks like they are using fiberglass for the covering in a lot of the exhibits.

Ed
 

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One of the major hurdles in doing large scale professional displays for private hobbiest is the ridiculous cost involved. Most of the public zoo/aquarium displays are many thousands of dollars in materials. Especially tropical displays that feature a lot of fiberglass and epoxy rockwork and tree replicas. Easy to drop $5000 plus into a larger terrarium, but then to find someone to pay for the final product is hard...an institution might be okay with that and see the return investment from visitors, a private individual not so much.
 

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It looks like they are using a heavy duty polyurethane foam in the few I clicked on. It is probably being carved out of larger blocks and placed into the exhibits. It looks like they are using fiberglass for the covering in a lot of the exhibits.

Ed
when you refer to the foam, do you mean the stuff they look to be applying, then "working down" into a more natural form?

*in one picture, they show the framing, then an application of "the foam", and then it worked down into a more natural form*
 

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when you refer to the foam, do you mean the stuff they look to be applying, then "working down" into a more natural form?

*in one picture, they show the framing, then an application of "the foam", and then it worked down into a more natural form*
There are several ways it can be done. I've seen a couple of different ones (and here is an example of one method http://www.bbrock.frognet.org/Making artificial trees and vines.pdf). Depending on the size of the object being sculpted it and the weight/traffic it is expected to handle may or may not be built onto a wooden or metal (even rebar) framework. Onto that framework they typically either mount scultping styrofoam, rough precarved polyurethane foam, or a expanding spray polyurethane foam. These are then either carved into the rough form or continued to buildup the materials. Once the material is carved to the desired shape, they are then coated with a fiberglass material, a epoxy material, hydrostone, cement or a layered combination of them. These are then further shaped to reach the desired level of detail and tinted, painted or sealed depending if the coloration and detail is acceptable. If you search hydrostone, there are some early threads discussing this.. or you can pm Ben Eiben (he is a member here) as he has worked with a number of these methods in crafting enclosures for institutions (he also makes some wonderful hobby enclosures and was one of the two people I am aware of who started using clay).

Ed
 
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