You will save money for sure. I've started on a DIY
tank, stand, and canopy. here's what I've come up with thus far:
1/2" Cast Acrylic (don't use extruded or anything smaller than 1/2" for tanks higher than 14")
Dimensions are: 36" (L) x 18" (W) x 17" (H). Gives about 47 gallons.
Cost: Professionally laser cut = $108 (cheapest in town). If I wanted them to also assemble it, the total would have been $228 ($40/hour x 3 hours).
Acrylic bonder: $10
Silicone: Free (Already had some. Can't remember the price)
Duct Tape: $5
Plastic molding (like what comes on manufactured tanks): $22
6 2"x4" "stud" boards: $23
1 1/2" Sanded Oak plywood: $35
1 2"6"x12' Cherry for trim: $20 (1/2 for the canopy as well)
4 "column" deco wood trims (to bridge the stand and canopy aesthetically): $10
1 box 3" wood screws: $5
Sandpaper or planer: Free (already had both)
Cabinet doors and hardware: $7
1 1/2" Snaded Oak plywood: $35
Piano hinge: $5 (clearance)
$10 and counting (need more, plus some sealant)
So you see, I've spend roughly $275. I expect that the total cost will be roughly $300. Figure what this similar would cost retail: $185 for the tank, $70 for the canopy, and $300 for the stand for a total of over $500. It may be less, but the place I shop, this is the cost. I've saved $200+, but at the same time I've lost countless hours working on this. Every cut has to be precise. Every measurement needs to be correct, within 1/16". You will have very good results (my stand looks better than any retail I've seen, plus it will probably hold twice the weight) and a higher gratification upon completed, but PLEASE ensure that you don't take any shortcuts.
I haven't checked the links in the DIY
section, but here's what I've used:
For the canopy, I just looked at the retail ones at the store and made my own design.
I have the 3D (AutoCad, however you want it) renderings with all measurements if anybody wishes to have them.