New fella with an age old question.

Discussion in 'Newbies forum' started by Daikaiju, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. Kaiwei

    Kaiwei Not so new Member

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    Ok ok, i'm not refused to learn!
    I'm convinced and will go with grooves under the tile!
    Thanks for the advice!
     
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  2. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I've prouced the following detailed account of one style of entirely removable heat tile. It avoids the need to rout the floor of a cage or use any tape.

    A DIY Heat Tile
    One of the most effective ways to use heat cord is sandwiched between a wooden base and a stone or ceramic tile, to make a heat tile. This provides both a basking spot and the heat source for the warm end of an enclosure. Recessing the heating element of the cord into the base will hold it in position, while a thin strip of attached edging will keep the tile on top in place. It only requires about a 10 mm hole next to where the tile is to be positioned, to thread the cord’s heating element inside the enclosure. The heat tile can then be assembled (or disassembled) inside the cage.

    A suitable base can be made from 16 mm MDF with 8 mm deep furrows cut into it. Starting with the first furrow about 1 cm in from the edge, cut parallel furrows across the entire width of the base. Then cut a few more at right angles across the top and bottom sections, for looping the cord from one furrow into the next. Having more than one cross furrows allows you to alter the lengths of the cord loops, which in turn will alter the temperature reached by the tile. Corflute also makes for a good base.

    To work out the best spacing between furrows you should assemble the tile with the loops temporarily fixed at the chosen distance apart. I’d start at about 3 cm. Then run the heat tile in its proposed position until a stable temperature is reached. To get a more realistic result, the air gap along the edges between the base and tile top will need to be sealed e.g. using masking tape. This is to prevent warmed air from escaping, something that will not happen once the tile and base sit flush together and have a strip of edging in place.

    A standard 15W reptile heat cord is 4m long, of which the last 1.5 m is heating element. This is suitable for about a 20 sq. cm area. A 25W cord has a 2.5 m heating element and is suitable for roughly a 30 sq. cm area. Heat tiles can be made in any regular shape, simply by cutting the base to the desired size and shape and then affixing thin wooden edging to it so that cut tile pieces can be dropped in and will remain in place. Slate, granite and similar natural stone tiles provide a great choice for melding into a naturalistic designed enclosure. The variety in ceramic tiles makes for easy colour coordinating.
    Note: All wood used needs to be sealed to make it waterproof.

    A few other things to bear in mind.
    1. The furrows need to be wide enough where they intersect, to allow the cord to be bent through 90 degrees without forcing it.
    2. The end of the cord is a few times thicker than the rest of it, so the spot where the end sits will need to be wider and deepened to accommodate this.
    3. Ceramic and natural stone are reasonable conductors and so spread the heat from the cord evenly by the time it gets to the surface of the tile. These tiles are also good at storing heat and as a result they take longer to warm up. The positive to this is that when a cold reptile plonks its body on them, the tiles will be able to heat up the reptile without dropping a lot in their own temperature.
    4. Do not use paving tiles/bricks as these generally are porous (as they contain air spaces) and are therefore not good conductors.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020 at 1:18 AM
  3. Daikaiju

    Daikaiju New Member

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    Now i know people are saying dont put tape in the actual enclosure because the snake can get stuck on it (something i didnt think about but now can see why its such a bad idea)

    if i were to router channels in the bottom of the enclosure am i able to use blue tongues technique and cover the channels and tape with a ceramic tile then placing the substrate on top of that?

    also is it possible to run an extra long heat cord into multiple enclosures or is it best to have one cord per enclosure?
     
  4. shaun9628

    shaun9628 New Member

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    Very happy that I read this thread as it has saved me from making the aluminium tape mistake'
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020 at 10:43 AM
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  5. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    U don’t need tape to hold down the cord if you’re routing a groove and putting a tile on top of it

    KISS
    Keep
    It
    Simple
    Stupid
     
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  6. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I assume you would want to use the tape to help spread the heat, as the routed channels will hold the cord in place. I think you’ll find that a tile does a good enough job and addition of aluminium tape will make little to no difference. That aside, you can drill holes in the tile and screw it to the base so it cannot be moved by the snake. That way it can easily be removed if you want to, rather than using something silicon to hold it in place.

    One long cord certainly can be used to heat multiple cages. In a rack system, enclosures are shaped more long and narrow and are placed in the rack with their long sides together. A looped long heat cord is then run under the back end of all the enclosures in one level. Hatchie racks are the perfect example with usually just two strands of the cord under each.

    With normal style enclosures, the trick is to minimise the amount of cord connecting one enclosure to the next. So with two enclosures you would place them side by side and have the hot ends together. More than two, the ideal is to stack them one above the other and have the heated ends all on the one side. By having the entry hole for the cord in the back bottom corner, the amount heating element exposed to the air (and therefore not heating the enclosures) is minimised to the total height of the minus the height of the top enclosure. Note: Start at the bottom and work up as power outlets are normally near ground level.

    If you are interested, I can explain how a couple of mates converted a melamine book shelf into multiple enclosures, heated with one cord.
     
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  7. Daikaiju

    Daikaiju New Member

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    only if and when you have time i would love to read how your mates did that.

    I would much rather have enclosures like that then racks for now :)_
     
  8. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    They started with a large free-standing unit with 5 fixed shelf spaces, a length of extruded rectangular aluminium tubing, and a length of timber that was only just able to be inserted into the aluminium tubing. Holes were cut in the back bottom corner of each shelf to the exact size of the aluminium tube. A length of tubing was inserted the length of the side in the bottom corner and fixed in place. I think the front end of the tubing was capped. The rear end of it was cut of flush with the back of the shelving. A loop was routed into the timber and the heat cord sat in that and that was inserted into aluminium tubing.

    You can get aluminium tubing in quite a variety of profiles, some of which are quite wide and flat. So if you wanted to you make a tile shaped hot spot in the back corner of shelfing.

    I think I remember now about the front of the tubing. A strip of melamine wood was place across the bottom at the front of each shelf. This served to keep in the substrate and also provided a sealed end to the aluminium tubing. The tracks for the glass sliding doors were positioned on top of this strip.
     
  9. Daikaiju

    Daikaiju New Member

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    In my profession i am able to get quite a lot of aluminum tubing and channels in various sizes (once it opens back up because of covid ofc) so that wouldnt be an issue if i went down this path ( quite ingenious reall)

    I can only speculate that the reason behind the channeled timber being inserted into the tubing as well was
    to secure the heat cord against the side of the aluminum to increase heat distribution and more effective in heating that area?

    I do like the idea of making my own sliding glass doors for an enclosure like this BUT again cause of work i am able to get large sheets of Polycarbonate and just make simple and cost effective hinged doors.

    Your descriptions have been thorough and i appreciate it immensely thank you!
     
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  10. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    Thanks for asking the questions and showing genuine interest in the answers. That is what makes it worthwhile for me.

    Sliding glass and hinged doors both have their pros and cons. Sliding glass provides full vision and you are unlikely to catch the tail of a snake. They can be opened just a little to prevent a flighty snake from coming straight out. However the air gap between the doors is source of heat loss unless you use a seal, which then spoils the appearance a bit.

    With a hinged door, I’d suggest having the hinges along the bottom edge so the door opens downwards. This way the door cannot slam accidentally on the snake and an lively snake can be more easily returned to the enclosure by opening it just enough to tip the snake in and letting gravity do the hard work.
     
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  11. Daikaiju

    Daikaiju New Member

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    It would be idiotic from me if i didnt listen given the amount of knowledge you and others have as well as sharing it.

    I did think about the doors and which way i wanted them to open. Drop down is a good idea, i had ideas using gas struts to hold it open if i were to go up but money could be a factor as well it might be an eyesore.

    However this build and my dream will be a year in the making as i see no point or benefit to make it now and then move it when the other house isnt built yet. But it is good to understand it a lot more for longer and build something that is great then half ass it because i dont know what im doing yet.
     

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