Thanks everyone for your replies! I like the idea of white paint, and I've worked with silicone a lot so doing the joints with it should be easy. I really don't want to use poly in there if I can avoid it, I think it'd leak a lot of fumes at higher temperatures.
Malkore - I'm not planning on running glass between the canopy and the lights. I'm going to do a planted tank, so I want the lights right there. I'm also using a moon light kit I bought on here (forgot the link) for night light, on a reverse timer from my grow lights. It should be super sweet.
The back will be more or less open, depending on how bad the light escapes it. If a lot of light escapes, I have a plan to drape it with black fabric in back and use fans. I work in IT so I already have an extra power supply and a handful of stealth fans I could use in there.
The canopy is over 12" high, and looks really nice. It should hold all the lights, a power strip, and any other equipment I need.
There are a couple of drawbacks to the project so far, but I like the tradeoffs:
- Spendy. I've spent more than I meant to, but I don't really care. I've enjoyed the work a lot and think it'll pay for itself in entertainment value. And let's face it, none of us would be happy if we weren't constantly tinkering.
- Time. Building and finishing my stand and canopy has taken at least 100 hours over the last year. But split up, it hasn't been that bad.
- Canopy Weight. This thing is 6' long, about 2' deep, and 12" high. All oak over 2x2's. That adds up. I can still lift it, but with lights and everything in it that's going to be harder. I already have a design in mind for a prop system. I'm going to build "legs" for the corners of the canopy so I can lift it 1/2 at a time and prop it up. I know that my plants are going to need maintenance, and I want to be able to do it when I'm alone.
I will post tons of pictures, blueprints, and my experiences when I'm finished. Hopefully some of you can learn from my mistakes.
You can get an idea of the canopy in my gallery at:
Talk to you soon!