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Stage 1 of Plywood rack

2437 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Homer
My Dad and I finished the first stage of my plywood rack today and we got some pictures of it. I still need to sand it down, caulk all joints, then have the guy paint with the fiberglass resin gel coat, and then add backgrounds, wood, plants, etc. You can see I left areas above each tank for lighting and other things. I added an "edge" all the way around the front so that I can set glass in it for front opening. I am a little concerning on how I am going to make a front opening out of the large tank (4' tall x 2' long a 2' deep) and all ideas would be appreciated. To give a rough estimate, it's about 6' 6" tall x 4' long x 2' deep, overall. The large tank is 120 gallons, the two to the side are each 52 gallons and I think the tortoise pen on bottom is aobut 90 gallons. Enjoy, all input appreciated.

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wow! thas amazing! :D hopefully I'll be able to start on one of those. Is the back all one piece of wood?
Yes, back was made of a thinner piece of plywood, because we knew the "shelves" would more than support it. Also made a base on bottom.
Very nice D. I was thinking it would be a much smaller scaled set up but you went all out. :D I took care of a little bit of over due frog business today as well. I drilled 9 tanks for the misting system nozzels. All I have to now isput the tubing to gether and plug it in.

Talk to you later bro,
Looks good Derek, how are you planning on keeping the air circulating in there? I was thinking about a design like that and I was going to see about getting the magnetic type strips that you find on a refrigerator door to seal it up, but since you have left an inset for the glass to rest in, in your design you probably won't need them. Don't forget the holes for water drainage! Nice job, keep posting as you go along. Ridge
Looks good Derek. Id add fan placement holes where the lights will be mounted. You can probably also fit drainage pipes (if it is needed) like Ben did with his rack setup.

It looks good, Derek! I just bought the plywood today for some new custom tanks.

For making the big tank front opening, I would probably recommend making a plywood "frame" (a piece of plywood with the center cut out slightly smaller than your glass) and using a piano hinge to allow it to be opened like a door.

Are you going to put a face frame on the front so that you have a 1-3" lip al the way around (at least on the bottom)? That would be ideal to prevent leaking, substrate falling out, etc. It definitely looks good! What size plywood did you use for framing--3/4"? 5/8"?

Once again, very nice!
Looks good Derek. Like Homer suggested I would add a face frame to that set up. It would add a nice finished touch as well as give you a lip to hold in media and mount doors. It can be difficult to get good tight joints and I would recomend a great little tool for putting it together - Kreg's Pocket Screw System. I belive you can get it at HD. I have one and absolutly love it! It drills a couter bored hole at a shallow angle in the back of you rails/styles that make up the face frame. It has these special little screws that are amazing. The joint you get is so strong you wont belive it and you always get a nice tight proffesional looking joint.

I would also add some muffin fans for ventilation.

What kind of lighting will you be useing in there?
Is that going to be a rack? or are you going to seal the plywood and have the vivarium be part of the enclosure? I would be a little worried about the shelves holding up, as I dont see any supports. My brother an I have made a few tank stands. We built them with full fish tanks in mind, and we erred on the side of caution, for support. We framed everything with 2by4's glued and screwed together.

Are there any supports I'm not seeing? or is it alll plywood? Depending on how you do the interior It might not be a problem, but if you have a fair amount of gravel/standing water/rocks etc I would be worried about the upper shelves.

just my 2 cents.

Very nice Derek! I've been waiting to see picture for quite a while and it looks like you've got a great start. Make sure to post some more pictures once you get everything sealed up. I'm interested to see how you'll figure out the door too. Good luck,
First it looks great, very well done, and I can not wait to see the rest.

I will be interested how you keep the heat down. You will need a good number of fans and vents.

What type of plywood are you useing?

I've been thinking of a way to do some stands, and more tanks, might try some plywood ones...
I too am curious to see how the shelf will respond to the weight. I had a plywood rack years ago that was supported out the wazoo, but the weight still bowed it to a level I was uncomfortable with. The heat may be a problem as well, but it really depends on a lot of factors. I wouldn't see it being too big of a problem unless you use certain types of compacts.
it seems your father makes a good job :wink:
The solid back will help hold up the middle piece and then it will hold the bottom. I still would want a brace under ther larger section to be safe, but thats just me. Keep the pics coming.
So much to reply to, I'm just going to go down the line. Just so everyone knows, this is not for darts, heat is a good thing, I'm keeping P. sauvagei in the larger tank, then some L. flavomaculatus (big-eyed tree frogs), C. guintheri (eyelash frogs), and my russian tortoise.

Tony T, Thanks man, bet your frogs will appreciate the new misting system.

Ridge, If you have seen Ben Green's racks, he has a section of no-see mesh at the top in a blac frame. I plan to do this, but on a much larger scale, one on top and one on bottom for the taller tank. After talking/debating/arguing with Scott MacDonald I will not be using a drainage system, but siphon it out of the water area when needed.

Moe, thanks, I was thinking about cutting out squares on both sides of the lighting areas, (only 1 side for the smaller tank, obviously) to put some smaller fans in, but with P. sauvagei heat requirements, I would think it would blow the heat out (main purpose, haha). Still in debate.

Homer, Thank you especially, because you were the one who helped me a while back about the resin. I was thinking of making the frame thing, but the plywood would cover up viewing area. Another kink to work out. If you look close, there's a lip around the fornt of each of the cages about 1" to set the glass on. I used 3/4" I believe, thinner on back, since it's supported by everything else.

JHupp, I will have to look that tool up, thanks. My lighting will depend of species, but I do not use compact fluorescents (don't have the cash), so it will be fluorescents and incandescents for P. sauvagei.

Tad604, as the name suggests, yes it will be a rack. Also as I mentioned, it will be sealed with fiberglass resin and the vivarium will be in there, no glass tanks. We took molding (1/2" x 1" I think) and put it on 3 sides of each shelf to hold them up so we could get the glue, brad gun nails, and screws to hold. By framing this with 2 x 4's, it would be overkill, I don't want to make a boat, jsut a rack of vivariums, which aren't heavy at all. On a side note, My Dad and I can sit in that large tank without a sag. I prefer to use false bottoms (lighter), and not much standing water.

Devin, Thanks devin. I will be sanding all this week, thne filling in any spots with silicone, then caulking all the seems, and then it can be coated with the resin. I was thinknig about doing the great stuff back gorund on the frog tnaks, still not sure aobut the tortoise pen on bottom.

Kyle, once again, not for darts. I keep forgetting to point out these little bits of info (haha), since it is an all dart frog board.

Justin, This rack is pretty rigid, we used a lot of that molding to support each shelf and the divider in the middle. Thanks for the interest.

Urban Frogz, I have been perfecting my plans for a long time now and took them to my Dad and he said he could help me build it. He's self employed, and does remodeling, construtcion, carpenter work, etc. all kinds of stuff.

Klye, Thank you for the concern :wink:

Now I'm exhausted, haha. I appreciate all of the questions, commments, suggestions, etc. Keep them coming.
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I keep forgeting its not for darts... Finish it already, I want to see the finished product. ;-)
Good luck with the sanding. It's annoying, but definitely necessary. Sorry about not noticing the trim banding. That's still difficult to see even when I know it's there. Good luck with the finishing, and make sure to very carefully check for any water leaks. I definitely had problems with fiberglass bubbling, but it sounds like you will be using some higher grade stuff.

All the best,

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