New Connectit Dble Bay Build , concept to completion

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by nuttylizardguy, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Well-Known Member

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    My old stacked home made plywood 4ft x 2ft x 2ft tanks are over 10 years old and look really rough and not really nice to look at.

    Time to build a double bay for my two central bearded dragons and for my two eastern bluetongues, I want something solid and at the same time nice enough to look at that they look like good furniture.

    I've settled on my bays being 1.2m x 0.6m deep by 0.5m tall for the dragons , and by 0.4m tall for the skinks.
    I'll do modular builds using Connectit 1" joiners & 1"x1" square aluminium tubes (structure), Perspex for sides ( will use screws to fix in place to aluminium tubes ) and plywood top and base , sliding glass / Perspex front doors.

    The base will be built accommodate a 25L under bed tub , and will be made from 75x200mm offcuts for 75x200mm Sienna sleepers and plywood , and on casters.

    The standardized base design :
    The format shown is for my family area , the format will have provision for two 25L tubs to roll in / out from the front for the other that will be placed with it's back to a wall ( butting against a single 75x200mm x 1.2m with the sleepers forming a E shape. )

    Advantages are :
    * very low centre of gravity
    * mobile
    * very strong structure
    * modular design
    * makes good use of waste timber offcuts from the sleepers used to build a bunch of raised garden beds and retaining walls in my front and back yards ( timber that would otherwise go to the tip or be broken up to be burnt , 75x200mm sienna sleepers are expensive ! ).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  2. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    You're sure putting a lot of effort into your blueprints!

    I've always made my enclosures with three basic priorities - 1) Keeps the animal happy, 2) Makes my job of maintenance quick and easy, 3) Cheap. It sounds like your priorities are a little more focussed on looking pretty to you, so I'd suggest staying away from perspex. It's a problematic material for several reasons. I personally used it once and once only, almost 30 years ago with my first ever Blue-tongued Lizard. I had a heat lamp too close and it melted on a hot day. It's not a great material to use on something you'll have a heat source associated with. It tends to warp over time if used as a structural material, and for your aesthetic priority it'll be terrible - everything including those lizard claws are going to scratch and scuff it so that after a while it's going to be quite an eyesore. Even just gently washing it will make it look cloudy after a while, and if you ever need to scrub it, it'll look awful afterwards.
     
  3. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm with Sdaji on this.Forget perspex. Use timber sides for better heat retention and glass front for longevity. You'll be glad you did
     
  4. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Well-Known Member

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    I'm worried about my very active boisterous grand son breaking glass , so decided to stick with Perspex , plus the location of the system will make timber sized too much of barrier and claustophobic.
    If I encounter the issues you mention, I can easily enough swap out the Perspex for glass and plywood later , the Perspex wont be structural in my build , will be installed by sliding into channels rivetted to the 1" square aluminium tubes. Have a Dremel and it's great with very small thickness cutting blades.

    If I had a 4th bedroom that was unused , I'd be happy with timber backs and sides , as the bays would be lined up against a wall.

    More info
    Settled on 1200mm wide x 600mm deep and 500mm tall for my dragon bays.
    [​IMG]

    Optimising my cutting layout , 4mm wide blade on their machine , to use minimum machine cuts I get the following cuts on 2 sheets :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ordered these today , told them the 344mm high sliding doors may need to be shaved down a bit once I tie down the allowable height for the sliding door tracks (might use aluminium if the plastic ones are not UV stabilized).
    General idea
    [​IMG]
    - just need to tie down how tall the doors need to be fit the tracks.
    Last time I built a tank ( about 7 years ago ) , the glazier visited and cut the glass to size to fit the tracks he supplied and fitted.

    Properties considered for plywood
    density = 0.5 g/cc
    k = 0.14 W/mK against the grain
    Decomposes exposed to temperatures higher then 90 degC.
    Cheap but needs to be sealed ( a lot of extra bother and effort ).
    I am not a carpenter and I want to have double bays that my wife is agreeable to sharing family space with and wont look like an eyesore to her.

    Properties of soda glass
    density = 2.7 g / cc
    k = 1.3 W/mK
    BRITTLE

    Properties of Acrylic sheet
    density = 1.185 g / cc
    k = 0.21 W/mK
    Softer than glass, but can be cut using woodworking tool.

    Mechanically, the Connectit system is stronger than plywood and much faster to assemble a strong and very rigid structure with minimal tools and building skills.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    You asked for advice, got advice, dismissed the advice... don't say we didn't tell you so.

    If you're worried about your boistrous kid damaging glass, it's really not right to have the enclosure in there at all for the sake of the animals, but he'll damage the glass/perspex runners faster than he'd have broken glass, and perspex doesn't work well in place of sliding glass.

    But hey, if you're going to ignore advice based on first and second hand experience you need to gain some first hand experience of your own :) Not sure why you asked, but good luck and have fun :)
     
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  6. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Well-Known Member

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    That's fine , if it doesn't work out , I can pretty quickly swap out the Perspex sides and back piece for plywood , and swap out the Perspex doors for glass .

    I've had Perspex doors on the dragon tanks ( timber ) for a long time, not been scratched up , same with the bluetongue tanks ( timber) . The timber tanks have started falling apart and looking not nice after only about 4 or 5 years. Essentially ready to go out on the green strip for the next bulk pickup.
     
  7. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    I agree and don't really see the purpose of the post..but hey best of luck to him if he wan't to go to all that trouble.

    Funny thing is, a lot of Nutty's post remind me of our old mate "Kingofnobbys" / "Ian".
     
  8. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Oddly enough, I was thinking the same thing a while back. But the internet is used by millions of people, so it's quite possible to come across another person with the same attitudes and writing mannerisms. Most likely just a coincidence in any case.

    Back on topic, I personally wouldn't recommend perspex for lizards. Been there, done that, and I wasn't too pleased with the results. Sdaji summarizes its faults well.

    What do you mean by this? Does UVB lighting damage plastic glass sliders?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  9. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Well-Known Member

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    Nero ,

    I don't know . I've only used metal channels in the past for enclosure sliding doors.

    I like the look of the plastic ones but that is something that might become an issue 12 months , 2 yrs down the track if the plastic is not UV hardened and the tracks become brittle on the inside where the UV is falling on them from the MVB and T5ho ( or what have you for your pet reptile ).

    For the others, I don't recall asking for advise on this , just going through the process of designing it , then building it , and simply thought others might be interested as I've not seen any even mention using Connectit as the basis for the enclosure or multi-bay builds. As far as I can tell I'm doing something new and thought others might be interested and if it works out it's new option other then knocking together vivs from plywood, melamine , laminated MDF or the other box with a window / door approaches.

    I've had homemade tanks made from plywood , and I'm not interested in doing another ..
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  10. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    You might be surprised to know that he is some sort of hero on an English beardie forum, they love him because he is an "Aussie expert", I tried to join that forum so I could continue to bag him as I have done on 3 forums in the past, but I was blocked. Go figure
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Oct 2, 2019, Original Post Date: Oct 2, 2019 ---
    I have some enclosures that are over 10YO with plastic tracks (they are Cordroy brand, so I don't know if they are better) but I have had no problem with UV or MVB lamps affecting them
     
  11. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    I had to repurpose my old Perspex sliders on tracks

    they warped so bad, my snake was able to lean on them and get out

    SO i had them cut to shape and bolted them to wooden doors, and they worked as "windows" although they were a bit dirty, they did the job
     
  12. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Well-Known Member

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    I'll be using Cowbrey tracks like this
    [​IMG]

    4.5mm thick clear polished acrylic for the sliders ( designed for 5mm glass ).

    6mm thick clear polished acrylic for the sides and back of each tank.
    The 6mm acrylic sheets will slipped in place in some aluminium channel and any gap filled with gapfiller to avoid nail snags .

    Linear expansion on even my biggest sheet will be under 1mm for delta T of 25 degC , sheets will be cut to take 1mm expansion into consideration.
    If the 6mm acrylic gets too badly scored or is too bendy ( doubt it ) , I can easily swap out for 6mm project panel.
    If the 4.5mm acrylic is too bendy , I can easily swap to glass for the doors.

    9mm project board ( plywood ) for my removeable lids.
    18mm project board for my bases.

    My bays will be modular, so I can add or mix and match in the future as needed, there will be a 100mm tall air gap between each bay ( an empty connectit & aluminium frame to allow access to wiring and easy removing of the lid.

    The bays will secured by unequal angles & 1 screw per side.

    [​IMG]
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 12, 2020, Original Post Date: Oct 4, 2019 ---
    There is a company in the USA who is doing tanks much like mine will be built : https://www.zenhabitats.com/

    They use PVC paneling for reptile tanks that will need to be damp and 9mm bamboo plywood paneling for "desert" species and Perspex for display tanks.

    Their standard tops are still mesh (so very poor thermally) , I guess it's an American thing with those stupid mesh tops they all seem to have , but they do offer solid timber tops.

    They also use double sided tape to hold stacked enclosures and their spacer units together ( not the best solution IMO but dirt cheap ).

    Can't find local suppliers of 1" square hollow tubes with channeling (fins) on two sides here so must adapt by adding aluminium channeling to the required sides . I suspect Zen actually do the same (likely glue the channels in place) , I'll be fixing my 10x10x1.6mm channels with m4x6.5 csk selftapping screws.

    These are available but not from Bunnings :
    https://www.aluminiumtc.com.au/store/product/view/receptor-75mm-gap-black-anodised-511/
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020

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