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Discussion Starter #1
How much weight can 1/8" glass safely hold?

I'm currently working on a few designs for my first vivarium and one of my favorites is a sixteen inch cube with two rectangular prism, one on top and the other on the bottom of the tank, that are twelve inches on the sides and six or so inches high. Would the bottom panel of the cube safely hold the innards of the vivarium?
 

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I don't get it at all. I'm a glass guy but can't help without some sketches to see what you are talking about.
 

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How much weight can 1/8" glass safely hold?

I'm currently working on a few designs for my first vivarium and one of my favorites is a sixteen inch cube with two rectangular prism, one on top and the other on the bottom of the tank, that are twelve inches on the sides and six or so inches high. Would the bottom panel of the cube safely hold the innards of the vivarium?
if this is your first time trying to do STRUCTURAL DESIGN I would really really really really really really really really recommend you start with at least wood or have a serious professional double check your drawings....

glass is dangerous and structural engineering isnt a joke! Safety first!
 

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Are you talking about the very bottom of your structure? You would like to know if 1/8 glass will support the weight of the hydroton/false bottom, substrate and other pressures from inside the vivarium?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry about the delay.

I don't get it at all. I'm a glass guy but can't help without some sketches to see what you are talking about.
I'll post sketches in a few days. I don't have access to a means to post them at the moment.

if this is your first time trying to do STRUCTURAL DESIGN I would really really really really really really really really recommend you start with at least wood or have a serious professional double check your drawings....

glass is dangerous and structural engineering isnt a joke! Safety first!
I've done several structural projects in class and a few around the house. I've just never worked with glass in this way before. At the moment, I'm just gathering information to find the best materials to use. I'm a perfectionist and won't even touch a piece of glass until I know everything about it: relevant or otherwise.

Are you talking about the very bottom of your structure? You would like to know if 1/8 glass will support the weight of the hydroton/false bottom, substrate and other pressures from inside the vivarium?
Indeed. The tank itself will be placed on a small, 12" by 12" by 6", rectangular pedestal.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Here's the rough concept in question. Please note that this only the first of about twenty I've on sketch paper though this is my favorite at the moment. My concern is the glass touching the bottom black rectangular prism. Will an eighth of an inch be enough to hold the contents of the vivarium, assuming it's a false bottom, or must I convert to a thicker panel or a different material?
 

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to be putting the entire weight of the tank on the center of the glass like that would require some legitimate structural engineering calculations. I'm sure pumilio would be the "go to" guy for glass information, but even if he had numbers memorized, I would ask for cut/spec sheets on any glass products before proceeding....this type of build requires exact enough values that a "ballpark" simply will not cut it.

If you need help with the engineering, I can help you out...but honestly its just not worth the time/cost, esp not for a first build (as you will discover many more quirks/"features" that you will wish you had added after the fact).

Not saying it can't be done....but building your own tank is a huge endeavor both in terms of structural integrity and water-security. To add on a design that involves "actual" structural engineering and then all that combined with the learning curve of making the viv itself....

I tend to take on some pretty ambitious projects myself, but that is one huge leap!


EDIT: Just guessing, but 1/8" glass most likely will be too thin to hold up the entire weight of a tank+lights+water+safety factor structurally off the weakest part of the glass...but if your tank is small enough it might be possible. Really need to find out the actual specs on the type of glass you are planning to work with

EDIT2: I can't speak for Pumilio's experience level, but I believe he has years of glass-working experience. I have been working with vivs for about 7 years and have a few years of professional engineering experience...I also wouldn't do try this.
 

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Sorry, but you are outside of anything I've done. I'm no engineer. Personally, I wouldn't try it. Certainly not with 1/8" glass. I would use a bottom support or, at the least, much thicker glass for the bottom.
 

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Does the bottom panel need to be transparent?

If you just want the smaller square supporting it, you could put a piece of plywood or something under the tank to distribute the weight a bit better, and it wouldn't even really show. If you are really concerned, you could bevel the edges of the plywood, so it would only be visible from a very low angle.

Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but it looks like you are thinking of a glass cube vivarium, standing on a short, narrow pedestal, as well as having a small, short canopy/light enclosure?
 

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Does the bottom panel need to be transparent?

If you just want the smaller square supporting it, you could put a piece of plywood or something under the tank to distribute the weight a bit better, and it wouldn't even really show. If you are really concerned, you could bevel the edges of the plywood, so it would only be visible from a very low angle.

Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but it looks like you are thinking of a glass cube vivarium, standing on a short, narrow pedestal, as well as having a small, short canopy/light enclosure?
That's what I was thinking for a bottom support. I don't see why being clear would be an issue as any substrate will pretty much negate any clarity, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Certainly not with 1/8" glass. I would use a bottom support or, at the least, much thicker glass for the bottom.
Does the bottom panel need to be transparent?
That's what I was thinking for a bottom support. I don't see why being clear would be an issue as any substrate will pretty much negate any clarity, anyway.
I could change to a thicker glass or another material if need be. The only reason I'm considering 1/8" glass is because I've a few stacks of panels that've been lying around for years gathering dust.

Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong, but it looks like you are thinking of a glass cube vivarium, standing on a short, narrow pedestal, as well as having a small, short canopy/light enclosure?
Indeed, though the prisms can be lengthened and widened if demanded.
 

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All I can give you for this is an educated guess from 20 years doing windows. I am NOT an engineer and take no liability for this. If this were my project I would feel very comfortable using a 3/8 piece of glass for the bottom and you could get away with 1/8" DS sides. Using the 3/8 I would not worry a bit. In consideration of using 1/4" I am still on the fence. It might be OK with 1/4" and for my own use, I might try it with 1/4" if I had it around anyway. If I needed to buy a piece anyway, I'd just go up to 3/8. You could also have a nice beautiful polish on the 3/8" for a very professional look.
The top would all depend on the weight of the light fixture you are putting up there. 1/8" is probably fine there. If you feel like it is particularly heavy, up the size to 3/16" or 1/4"
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Why not make the bottom part out of wood and save yourself some trouble
If need be I can use a different material but I would prefer glass. It's purely an aesthetic choice.
 

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This is entirely possible, but I would just like to reiterate that glass is extremely dangerous and structural engineering is not a joke.


If you plan to build something like this I would STRONGLY recommend you to at least run your numbers by someone with engineering experience.....but I want to really strongly reiterate that this is a complex project with seriously dangerous consequences if done wrong and would NOT recommend as a first viv.

A lot of the components in this hobby are "DIY" but I think it is important to realize where our personal limits are too.
 
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