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Old 01-19-2004, 04:18 PM   #31
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hey guys, thought i would update.
well friday was a bust, but saturday was good, i got everything cut, sanded and built the top and bottom frames, then the heater went out, so i called it a day.
didn't bother working on the project on sunday, but watched football. Monday came around and i did a rough count of the screws that i had left, and found out i didn't have enough, so i ran up to HD and got some more. when i got back, i picked up where i left off, and installed all the vertical supports to the bottom frame, it was a little difficult but some jigs made life alot easier. i have about 8 more screws and cutting/shaping a plywood top left to do, and just grabbing some lunch. After those 8screws i will polyurthane the frame completely, and probably post some pics and let it cure for 12-24 hours.

i came up with one idea, but it won't work for a saltwater, maybe i will build a second stand for 30gallon fw tank and apply this finishing idea on that. since i do really like the idea. Here's the idea, i was thinking of getting some styrofoam, or paper mache, or even a light mix of cement, and build rock work (immitating river rock) on the outside of the stand. i was talking to a buddy about this idea, and he drew this up after talking about it. http://12598.tripod.com/nextstand.JPG
i am thinking it could be difficult, but it would really be worth the effort. This stand was a pretty easy build, alot easier if i had a table saw or a miter saw but i am thinking i have 1 more stand in me. who knows though, and first things first.

Thai i checked out your gallery, the stand looks outstanding. what color were you thinking of painting/staining it ?

jim have you had any time to get pics of your finished stand yet ?

thanks
bry
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Old 01-20-2004, 03:22 PM   #32
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I'm just waiting on some 100% Tung oil for the hood. I just ordered it today and hopefully I'll get it by the end of the week. I learnd that Tung oil was used by the ancient chinese to waterproof their ships, so i figured that it should work well. Also, it is 100% non toxic. I had looked into getting an epoxy finish, but none of the manufacturers could guarantee that the condensation on the hood wouldn't be contaminated by leeching hydrocarbons. So I didn't want to risk it killing off all of my pets.

I started on the raised panel doors last night. I just have to finish the interior panels and then the outer edge of the doors. Pictures will be up here as soon as they're done.

Jim
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:18 PM   #33
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sweet jim, i can't wait to see everything.

my stand is coming along, i wish at a faster pace though. i believe at most i have put in about 5hrs of work so for on it, the frame is almost built, but i need to devise a way to cut the ply for the top. then cut sections of ply for the a bottom shelf, similar to that thai has done. i should have some free time tomorrow evening for this, hopefully it will work out then.
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Old 01-21-2004, 11:58 AM   #34
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I haven't done anything beyond the skinning you've all seen so far... yet. I spent last night prepping to re-seal the glass, hopefully I can put the silicone on tomorrow. I'm going to clean one last time tonight, let it dry until tomorrow night, then apply it.

Tonight I have a buddy coming over - we're going to go buy some trim, put it on, and start the staining. Hopefully I'll have some good pics up tomorrow!

Still no luck on doors... if anyone is interested (craftsmen?) in helping me build a pair, I'm looking at something simple in unfinished oak. I'll pay (not too much!), if anyone can make and UPS them? hmm... in the meantime I'm going to stain the rest and get the tank running! My fishies are excited for their new home
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:43 PM   #35
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Hi guys,
I've been reading this thread and other DIY stand threads this past couple days, and I think I've got a better idea on how to go with my stand(55G), even though I've done zero projects before. Thank you all for all the great details, and truely, impressive work!

I have a few questions I'd like to ask:

Thai: My I ask what type of screws did you use on your frames? You seemed to have put more screws than in the garf diagram, did you feel the diagram didn't have enough? Also, did you build the stand top to be exact the size of the bottom of your tank or slightly bigger?

Jim: Did you have any 'frames' in your stand? Is it because you used 3/4' maple board so it's sturdy enough to forget about the 2x4s?

Also, if I followed the garf.org basic frame structure, how tall do you think it could go? I'd like to go at least 35", maybe 40", would it be steady?

Thanks!!!
MM
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:32 AM   #36
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There are no 2x4's in my stand. 3/4" ply is plenty strong in compression. The maple is just a veneer on the plywood, so it doesn't add much strength, but it does make it look nicer. If you look around in pet stores, you'll notice that the stands are typically made out a 3/4" particle board. They are also typically built without a back, which IMO is a design for disaster later down the road. The lateral strength of the stand will decrease drastically without a back panel.

There are two components to a strong design in this case:
1. Triangles : they are the strongest shape as they cannot deform without stretching or compressing a side. Think of a square. If you push on two opposite corners, what will you get? A diamond. If you want to add a...
2. Non Deformable object:
In this case of adding a back panel, the square will no be able to deform under the load due to the panel being fastened to the sides. All of the stress is then placed on the item that holds the back panel to the sides. In my case it's glue and biscuits, for Thai it was screws. Screws would be easier to use unless you are handy with furniture. Even if you use screws, adding glue to the joint before screwing will add some extra strength.

If you have any other questions just post them and i'll be happy to help you out

Jim
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:36 AM   #37
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One more thing.....

I set my stand up so that the height of the middle of the tank was exactly at eye level when sitting on the couch at the other side of the room. It ended up being roughly 30". Also, you must make sure that the tank is completely level when you are filling it. My stand was perfectly level, but the way the carpet compressed, I needed to add a 1/4" shim under the entire length of the rear of the tank. Who knows what the carpet will do....


okay, well that was two things
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Old 02-20-2004, 01:23 PM   #38
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For my input...

- After looking at different types, I used 2.5" decking screws. I had a lot lying around the house, so there's a mixture of the black ones with a phillips drive and stainless steel ones with the square drive. Though they're probably strong enough, I would stay away from the galvanized metal ones... my drill breaks those all the time, so I imagine 1500 lbs. sitting on top could do some damage. I'm not an expert though, so I go with the overkill philosophy.

- As for the number of screws... overkill philosophy again. I'd rather be way safe than have a potential for sorry. Especially when sorry = 125 gallons of water on my living room floor.

- Height: My frame is 32" high, with 1/2" plywood on top. It's very stable. I arrived at that height after some reasearch; I called a few custom stand makers around the country and asked what their max height was for big tanks. Most said 36". For me, the tank is on the other side of my kitchen table, outside the main traffic area of my living/dining room. The table is about 30" tall, and my last stand was 24" tall... I wanted it higher than the table so I arbitrarily picked 32".

- In hindsight, I would have gone 34". There are standard pre-made cabinet doors at HD for $18 each that are 28" high. After trim, they wouldn't fit on my stand . If I did it again, I'd plan the height around my doors. (Unless you plan to make the doors yourself). I had to have my doors custom made, but I got lucky; I know a cabinet maker who did both of my doors unfinished for $40 total. Plan your doors early!

- Lastly, I built the stand frame 1/4" larger than the actual tank to give me a little wiggle room. The skins take it out another 1/2" total, and the trim covers the metal frame around the glass. I would do the same size again.

Hope this helps! If I can add or clarify anything, please let me know!
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Old 02-20-2004, 06:37 PM   #39
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just felt like i should add my 2 cents

my stand just needs to be skinned, but the frame is rock solid. i used #12 3inch wood screws [from hd] for my stand. looking back i wish i would have used deck screws. i stripped a few screws during the frame construction, just 3 though. the only thing i did differently was after drilling pilot holes, i just filled them with wood glue and screwed them down and wiped off the excess. Again that's overkill but it's nice to overkill when you're dealing with 600 or more lbs.

thai is dead right, do not exceed 36inches. the higher the stand, the more supports you will need, and the chance of the supports failing is more likely. every commericaly made stand i have seen for a 55gal tank is 28inches tall, personally i went to 30 because it would move the tank closer to eye level in the room the tank is going.

according to the garf plans for a 55gal tank (demenision wise), they suggested you use 6 10inch horizonal beams (used in the top and bottom frames) 4 on the bottom, and 2 on the top. i added 2 more at the top, just to add more supports for the tank. i had about 36 inches of left over wood, so i thought i would overkill again.

lastly i built the stand to the same measurements of the tank, in the beginning i didn't see a point in going bigger than the tank, however now i have a new problem.. space for a sump. i am going to run a salt setup, and was planning on having a 15-20gal sump + 10gal fuge, at most i have 12inches (width) and 46inches (length) of usable space for a sump inside the stand, but it's proving difficult to find rubbermade containers or similar that fit in those dimensions and have the volume i want. i am still looking (have been for a month) with no luck whats over. i guess the next project will be to build a sump and fuge from arcylic (don't really want too though)

my biggest suggestion, is plan the filtration now (and sump) before building anything and once you have a plan don't deviate from it like i did.
the garf stand, is great though, it's totally rock solid and a great alternative to commerically made ones. if you have anymore questions/comments about what i did, just let me know

bryan
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:19 PM   #40
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The sump is an issue... I'm faced with the same thing, that they don't make Rubbermaid containers in convenient sizes to fit under my stand and still hold 20-25 gallons

As for supports - for my 125 gallon, I have a total of 8 vertical 2x4's, and 5 evenly spaced horizontal braces across the top and bottom with 2 72" 2x4's running the length.

I'm going to do a full write up of my stand, with accompanying pictures, as soon as I get motivated... right now, I'm going to drink a beer and watch the T-Wolves whoop it up on Detroit :P
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