A Diffrent Kind Of Diy Enclosure...

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nufnsus

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I thought I'd post up some progress pictures of my 'hybrid' enclosure set-up...

We've all seen the cabinet-conversion type enclosures, or the built-from-scratch melamine enclosures. The former is generally used to house snakes which require vertical room to 'stretch their legs', while the latter tends to be cold and sterile in its appearance. Neither option was appealing to me, so I set out to find a relatively simple and cheap solution which would appeal to me aesthetically while meeting the needs of it's resident, a Woma python.


Here's what I used;

Old-but-sturdy Desk, 1500mm [W] - ($100, "donation" to local youth-work fundraiser)

Workbench, 1200mm [W] x 540mm [D] x 910mm [H] - ($29, Bunnings)

3mtr strip of 600mm [W] carpet - (Free, Gumtree)

1200x600x12mm MDF panel - ($10, Bunnings)
900x600x12mm MDF panel - ($8, Bunnings)

SikaBond Instant Nails FAST - ($5, Bunnings)

1000x450x500mm Glass Vivarium - I actually had this sitting in my folk's garage for the past 15 years, where it had been gathering dust since bringing it over with me when I moved to Australia. I'm stoked to finally put it to use again!


First, I set up the desk and planned out the enclosure's placement within the room;

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I then proceeded to cut down the metal legs of the workbench, so that the inside dimensions - measured from the top of the lower shelf, up to the support brackets of the upper shelf - would equal 545mm once assembled.
(Obviously, you can cut it down to whatever size suits your build. These dimensions worked for me, since I was building it to suit my old glass vivarium)

With the metal frame now shortened and assembled, I measured the internal dimensions for the backing-panel and side-panel.
In this instance, it was 1195mm [L] for the back, and 521mm [L] for the side (533mm less the thickness of the chosen MDF panel, in my case, 12mm).

A trip to Bunnings later, and I had my MDF panels cut to size and ready to go.

Test-fitting the backing panel, which runs from inside edge to inside edge, ensuring a snug fit;

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Satisfied that the panels fit as intended, I cut strips of carpet to suit, using the MDF panels as guide;

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A liberal application of Liquid Nails, followed by resting some heavy weights/ books on the back of the panel for 30mins, ensured the carpet stayed put;

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I only glued down the vertical sections of carpet. The strip on the bottom shelf is held in place by the other panels and the weight of glass enclosure. This will allow me to change the carpet easily, in case it is soiled or damaged some time down the track.

Test fitting the carpeted back-panel, under stern supervision;

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Side-panel in;

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And glass vivarium slid into place;

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Heating is taken care off by a 25W heat cord, taped down with aluminium tape and sandwiched between clay tiles, which in turn have been secured with dabs of silicone;

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An EcoTech Advanced Thermostat controls the temps, while a simple thermometer monitors the temps on the cool end, and a fridge thermometer acts as back-up check on the hot end of the enclosure (persistent alarm sounds if certain temp ranges are exceeded, in case the thermostat fails).


Next steps will be to provide a source of light. Since Woma's are more active at night, I intend to have a day-light solely for the purpose of inspecting/ cleaning the tank (i.e. light is only on when necessary), while an automated night-light would be timed to go on between 6pm-12am, so I can watch him/her slither about from the comfort of my chair when I'm home.
For the night-light, I plan to use these Infrared LEDs with blue tint and just some basic warm white LED's for the day-light.
As I understand, the light emitted by the Infrared LEDs should be non-disruptive to the snake as it goes about its business each evening - please correct me if I'm wrong!
https://www.jaycar.com.au/5mm-infrared-transmitting-led/p/ZD1945
I'll update the thread once I've made some further progress/ completed the set-up.


Overall, I'd say this method (using workbench + MDF panels) could make for a nice alternative to the usual builds, since it requires a very minimal amount of tools. Might even be able to transpose the idea to create a 3~4 tier stacked set-up, using the 1800mm [H] shelving models of the same system.
Obviously, not everyone has a spare glass enclosure sitting around, but I see no reason why one couldn't make a simple sliding-glass door on the front face and enclose the remaining sides. All that would be needed is a drill and some silicone...
 
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