Hatchling Enclosure Help

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by Vengeance, Nov 15, 2013.

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  1. Vengeance

    Vengeance Not so new Member

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    Hi DIYers,

    I'm working on a hatchling enclosure for a hatchling we plan on getting this season (female 100% Het for Albino Darwin, so excited!), and I've run into a snag. In Sketchup I planned to have sliding glass doors, although the length of the enclosure may complicate the issue as the doors can only be opened a little less than halfway or 114mm. Would it be better to have an outwards opening door (either one or two, like a pantry cupboard) or keep with the plan of sliding glass doors? If an opening door is a more suitable option, how do I go about mounting it? I'll be using glass either way.

    Enclosure dimensions 300mm wide x 400mm high x 200mm deep - legal size until she reaches 100cm.

    Sketchup plans for visiual reference to sliding doors; no measurements for the glass here, other than 326mm high (which will actually be a couple of mm shorter, otherwise I'd never get the glass in). Guestimate on width of each pane of glass is 154mm - half of the interior would be 134mm.
    [​IMG]


    Visual reference of enclosure 'skeleton' - I haven't screwed it together yet. I'm yet to get the top and bottom lip cut, Bunnings couldn't cut to the size I wanted (34mm :lol:).
    [​IMG]

    Another question, I'll be using a heated tile as a basking spot - providing belly heat. Would a heat cord or a heating element be better suited to my needs? Min heat cord length I've been able to find is 3m, gross overkill but it is the cheaper option. If the heating element is a better option, excluding price - I'll be getting an electrician to set it up. The shelf is 120mm x 120mm.

    Would lighting the interior for viewing using a mounted LED Strip light be the best option? I can't think of any other lighting option that won't dominate the enclosure.

    Sorry for all the questions, my experience with building things is limited to a partially completed BTS enclosure (going to finish it before Christmas, hopefully!). :?
     
  2. Lawra

    Lawra Come here Squishy! Subscriber

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    Hi Vengeance,

    Good on your for getting handy and building the enclosure yourself :)

    I would ditch the sliding doors and have it hinged on one side instead. There are so many hinges available out there depending on the look you want. I used piano hinge for my first enclosure build and it worked well.

    What is a heat tile? Is that like a heat rock? I've heard bad things. Using a heat cord under a ceramic tile seems to be the better alternative. Dont be misled by the lengths though - I recently managed to comfortably fit 7m of heat cord under a 450x450 tile.

    Hope this helped.

    PS make sure to seal those raw edges :)
     
  3. Vengeance

    Vengeance Not so new Member

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    Thank you, Lawra, your input does help! I appreciate it, none of us here are well versed in the art of woodwork. I initially planned to house the hatchling in a click-clack but I was stung by the DIY bug. Building possible enclosures in Sketchup only feeds the beast for a short while. :lol:

    Piano hinges look alright, I'll have to duck down to Bunnings and have a look. How did you secure the door? I'll have to look around for some locks too, I remember seeing a post in here explaining something about locks.

    A heat tile is exactly what you used - a heat source under a ceramic tile, apologies for my poor choice of words. I think I'll go with the heat cord over the heat element, routers are cheaper than I imagined. I am going to seal the edges with melamine edging, grabbed a pack with the same finish/design as the melamine itself. Wouldn't want it to look dodgy, although I'm hoping it doesn't in the end.

    Cheers. :)
     
  4. Lawra

    Lawra Come here Squishy! Subscriber

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    I was a bit of a weirdo and made an enclosure to fit into a wardrobe insert at home (partner is a cabinetmaker = random storage units lol)

    I tried typing out a description but I think I'll just post pics instead :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Vengeance

    Vengeance Not so new Member

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    The pictures help a lot, thank you for sharing. Having it fit into a wardrobe insert is clever, and now I'm imagining a wardrobe full of them, haha.

    The image that shows the door clears up my confusion, by placing the hinge on the outside underneath it remains out of sight. The sliding lock answers my question of how it's secured, never thought of using those! I might still use a cam lock, so it'll have a key.

    Cheers! :D
     
  6. Vengeance

    Vengeance Not so new Member

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    Right I can't seem to edit my previous post. Anyway, does anyone have experience with knife hinges for glass doors? I'm still undecided with what hinge to use with a standard opening door like the one in Lawra's picture. I've got melamine rabbited to allow for glass to sit in it, like a photo frame, I just lack something to cut a mitre 45 degree angle. The last time I cut bit of wood with a mitre box and hand saw was a disaster.

    I like the knife hinges on our factory made snake enclosures, it looks cleaner than any door I could ever build. I am thinking it's worth a shot, but my concern is the gap left with the knife hinge up the top of the enclosure. Caine can't get out as he's too big, but a hatchling could. Perhaps a sheet of glass spanning the top to bottom with a few mm of clearance to allow for the knife hinge but nothing else?

    I finally bought a router so I can rabbit the edges to stop the glass from swinging inwards and to ensure there isn't a gap, though I'll have to re-silicone the inside on that particular edge. Not issue, I need to silicone the back anyway. I'll probably use the same lock setup as we have on the factory built enclosures.

    I looked at heat cord routed into a small shelf. I like the idea and our heat tile set up in our Darwin's enclosure hasn't had an issue with overheating or failing like our heat lamps with thermostats did. I still need to get the heat cord to see if that works, the routing job I did wasn't exactly professional, but with silicone a tile over the blunder, it should come up clean, I hope.

    Will get some pics later today showing the knife hinge and lock setup.

    Would recommend using a 28mm spade bit to cut holes for the 40mm cabinet vents. It was a bit messy from the woodchips and noisy too, but the holes for the vents are perfect size and look clean. Chipped edges will be hidden by the rim on the vents.
     
  7. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Hey Vengeance,
    I have always used sliding panels on mine but at 300mm wide as you say this will limit access.
    Why not make the glass front panel fixed and hinge the lid instead?
     
  8. wokka

    wokka Guest

    You could have a one piece vertically sliding glass door using the usual track, or you could route a groove for the glass to slide in
    . you will need to set the top front edge back say 2cm so the glass door can slide past.
     
  9. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    Seen this setup work well with no stacked enclosures. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre use them, just need a suction cup and a piece of 2x4 to prop the door on.


    Rick
     
  10. Vengeance

    Vengeance Not so new Member

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    I'm thinking I should just build a larger enclosure and provide more hides for the hatchling, so I can use sliding doors - the sheet of melamine was only $20 and the screws used can be removed. Time was not wasted as it was fun to build and I learned that using a multi-tool to cut is much easier than a jigsaw, but isn't as neat as I imagined! I might even try using ply and finishing the edges with a Roman Ogee, Champfer or round over router bit. I am having some trouble visualising some of the suggestions given as I am fairly new to DIY building - I appreciate them nonetheless.

    I did not wish to hinge the lid as my Eastern Blue Tongue always freaked out when I accessed his old enclosure from the only entrance, the top. He's not had any issues with sliding doors. I realise snakes are different, but front facing doors is what I hoped to use. Regardless, thank you for the suggestion, Pauls_Pythons.

    Wokka your idea sounds very good and this project just might be salvageable. I have seen wooden pencil boxes with that sort of sliding opening, I never thought to apply that to glass. The issue is that I will have to dismantle the enclosure - that isn't too much of a problem, just an inconvenience. I should have put more thought into this before sealing it with silicone.

    I'll edit in photos of the knife hinges and of the progress of the current build once I get them off the phone.

    Thank you everyone for your ideas so far!

    Here they are, apologies for the dodgy phone pictures:

    Knife hinge and glass lock:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Enclosure:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rabbited edge I was going to use to seat glass into and use a photoframe esque way of keeping it there, or glue/silicone:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  11. wokka

    wokka Guest

    i cant work out how to attach the correct pic or to remove the wrong one.
     

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