universal rock backgrounds?

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Trewin, Sep 28, 2015.

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  1. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    Hi, building an ackie cage and was thinking of getting a 3d ledge background from universal rocks. They look pretty good on there website, especially soon as you can get them in bendy stuff rather than foam. anyone used these backgrounds before? what are ur thoughts on them?
     
  2. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    They look really good, but are pretty expensive. You can make a 3D background fairly easy yourself. Either use polystyrene and glue on bits and shape it to what you want, or with a polystyrene flat sheet as a backing, use a can of expanda foam and form the shapes while it's still soft. With either method, you then cover it with render, and then seal it with pond sealer. The big tip is to use gloves when touching the expanda foam (just ask my wife).
     
  3. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    haha cheers, might give my own a go but easy just buying one
     
  4. Burgo89

    Burgo89 Active Member

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    It's always easier to buy unfortunately not always the most affordable, I need another enclosure instead of shelling over 800 bucks for reptile one I went down to Bunnings bought all the gear I needed for under 100. Also can't beat the satisfaction of DIY
     
  5. BrownHash

    BrownHash Well-Known Member

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    Probably the best option would be to have a crack at a DIY and if you don't like the results then buy one.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Suspended Banned

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    They're an awesome product, I'm yet to see any DIY attempt that remotely compares to a Universal Rock product (David Kirshner's lace monitor wall aside), most look terrible IMO.

    Not a great example but the photo below is an older wall that I have in an enclosure where I raise baby lace monitors before selling them, they've crapped all over it so it looks a bit tired but it's withstood their claws with no issues. This wall (made from the latex, not foam) is 1200x600 & cost me $240.00. The other good thing about these walls is that they retain heat really well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  7. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    For my beardies' feature wall I used some 100mm foam sheeting that renderers use to clad houses. Chopped, pinned and glued pieces into place for the general shape then used coloured tilers grout to cover it, with a final texturing by flicking grout onto the surface. Dry-brushed some sandstone-coloured pond sealer and gave it a final coat of clear matte and it came up looking really quite good. Whole process took less than a day. Used to play war games so just applied the same techniques used in making war games terrain.

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  8. BrownHash

    BrownHash Well-Known Member

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    Any chance of having a look at some photos?
     
  9. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'll have to dig through my old phone for some pics. The feature wall is no longer in use, the beardies moved to a different housing and my albino Darwin took over, so the wall was removed as it wasn't suitable to the new occupant. I don't even know where it is now, likely buried in the garage somewhere. Watch this space though.

    If i can't find the images, I will be building another for my sandy in the coming months anyway when it outgrows it's current home, I'll make sure to do a how-to on here.

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  10. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    240? more expensive than i thought lol, maybe I'm making my own after all. hopefully i can make something that looks half decent. Can someone post some photos of their custom ones?
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Suspended Banned

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    Really, I thought that was cheap.

    I don't understand why, in many cases, people spend decent money on their animals yet won't spend equivalent/appropriate money on their housing (this is including lighting, heating etc & isn't directed at you Trewin). I guess this partly explains why so many people have issues with the animals that stem from poor husbandry.
     
  12. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    Chris, i understand about spending the money on lighting and necessary needs ect, but for a background, which may have no influence on the Ackie whether its a homemade background or a 240$ background. And if you can save money why not? As long as the animal gets its needs.


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  13. Primo

    Primo Active Member

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    They are really nice and made from plaster molds of real rock faces.

    I have 2. This one is the crevice style and it's in a boa constrictor cage. (bottom).

    Here it is before I furnished the cage.

    [​IMG]

    The crevice is fairly flat and takes up little to no depth in the cage. If you buy a slightly wider slab, you can add your own contour. You can see I did it on the right side for a bit of dimension and effect.

    This is what it looks like with a furnished unit.






    [​IMG]

    This is the more expensive 3D ledge background. My coastal loves it.

    [​IMG]


    Both are very durable rubber items. They are not cheap or flimsy.

    The ledges on this particular piece come out as far as 8 inches in some areas.

    [​IMG]



    My snake uses the ledges as resting areas and ambush points, and when mixed with perches and branches, the backgrounds look very real.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    Alright, i think I'm going to make my own enclosure using cement. i saw this video and i thought it turned out looking real good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZcQUJ42G1Q

    I guess some of you wight have used concrete before? what do you seal it with? would it have any negative effects on the lizards?
     
  15. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    I happen to be a concreter

    Pond sealant is good, stay away from any other tanking/waterproofing/bituminous paint stuff as it can be pretty nasty to work with and likely won't be good for the inhabitants.

    I have found that panel grout will achieve the same result but it is much lighter, something to consider.

    Also when working with cementitious material, the dust is exceptionally nasty. Use it outside and wear a face mask at the very least.

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  16. imported-varanus

    imported-varanus Active Member

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    Buy the time you've bought all the gear, experimented and spent a few hours on it, you would probably be financially ahead and saved yourself some time/ effort by purchasing one of the Universal backgrounds. Lightweight, retain heat well, look good, no nasty out gassing or toxic chemicals for you/ or your herps and will last forever. These are going on 9 years old now, outside in the UV and all weather and still look as good as the day I bought them home.
     
  17. Waterrat

    Waterrat Almost Legendary

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    I go with imported-varanus on that one. I have five 3-D panels from Universal rock, I use them for my photography. They've been scrubbed, hosed down, tossed around, and ten years on, they still look great. Well worth the money.
     
  18. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

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    They do look quite good. I'll stick with DIY personally, but I have a knack for finding suitable materials for little or no cost, time and what little tools I actually need to do so, plus the experience and patience to achieve a decent result.

    After making my last post I went and visited a site supervisor I am friends with, and ended up scoring a heap of 120mm and 50mm polystyrene sheeting he had left over for nothing. So it looks like I'll be starting my own new feature walls early.
     
  19. Trewin

    Trewin Active Member

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    Thanks for all the info, just in case I'm not so lucky as to find polystyrene sheeting, what type would you recommend? and does anyone know where i can get it relatively cheap? iv got a big enclosure to cover. No doubt the universal rock ones look amazing, but i could almost buy another lizard for that haha.
     
  20. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Either Google polystyrene suppliers/manufacturers in your area ( the guy we use often gives me a heap of off cuts for next to nothing), or ask at any electrical goods store. Fridges, TVs, etc all come packed in it.
     
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