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Old 05-07-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
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Motorized 55g stand

I currently have a 55g empty that im looking into getting up and running over the next couple of months. Ive been skimming thru the DIY posts on AA and ive come to the conclusion that i would like to build a motorized 55g hideaway tank. I know that movement isnt the best thing for a fish tank but im thinking that as long as i go with slow-moving actuators, i should be ok. My ultimate goal is to have a dark cherry wood colored stand with 4 hidden actuators that can raise/lower the tank. this way the tank can double as a stand. Plus not to mention the "wow" factor if i can pull it off. only questions i have are.
1) if i build the footing a bit wider, will stability for the movement be an issue?
2) as long as its smooth and consistant, will the movement harm the tank and/or fish??

ohh and its going to be a FW setup as well.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by negligent_inmate View Post
I currently have a 55g empty that im looking into getting up and running over the next couple of months. Ive been skimming thru the DIY posts on AA and ive come to the conclusion that i would like to build a motorized 55g hideaway tank. I know that movement isnt the best thing for a fish tank but im thinking that as long as i go with slow-moving actuators, i should be ok. My ultimate goal is to have a dark cherry wood colored stand with 4 hidden actuators that can raise/lower the tank. this way the tank can double as a stand. Plus not to mention the "wow" factor if i can pull it off. only questions i have are.
1) if i build the footing a bit wider, will stability for the movement be an issue?
2) as long as its smooth and consistant, will the movement harm the tank and/or fish??

ohh and its going to be a FW setup as well.
Cool idea, scary proposition.

How high would the tank be when you're moving it? High CG and you'd be looking at a serious tipping issue (even with a wider base) IMO, not to mention any wave action that 55g of water could cause stress on the silicone seams.

If you do it, you're gonna have to do a detailed build thread is the only other thing I can think of . Oh and pics, lots of pics please.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:13 PM   #3
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Cool idea, scary proposition.

How high would the tank be when you're moving it? High CG and you'd be looking at a serious tipping issue (even with a wider base) IMO, not to mention any wave action that 55g of water could cause stress on the silicone seams.

If you do it, you're gonna have to do a detailed build thread is the only other thing I can think of . Oh and pics, lots of pics please.
itd be at sitting-eye level once fully lifted.so prob no more than 48" at the most, and that would be the highest point. i know its a very scary proposition but then again, how many people have done it?
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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itd be at sitting-eye level once fully lifted.so prob no more than 48" at the most, and that would be the highest point. i know its a very scary proposition but then again, how many people have done it?
Maybe I misread what you're doing. Are you moving it vertically, or horizontally?

If all you're doing is a vertical lift, heck yeah that'd be easy. I agree a slow move is best but upfront I don't see any issues. Take a look at hydraulic scissor lifts and copy that.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:55 PM   #5
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Maybe I misread what you're doing. Are you moving it vertically, or horizontally?

If all you're doing is a vertical lift, heck yeah that'd be easy. I agree a slow move is best but upfront I don't see any issues. Take a look at hydraulic scissor lifts and copy that.
yeah id be going vertical with it, so that way when its lowered, itd look like nothing more than a wooden stand/coffee table. and its funny that you mention scissor lifts cuz thats what i was thinking
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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yeah id be going vertical with it, so that way when its lowered, itd look like nothing more than a wooden stand/coffee table. and its funny that you mention scissor lifts cuz thats what i was thinking
OK. My bad lol.

Yep and I bet if you look around you'd find something pre-built that would be easy to adapt or if you have a healthy budget, have it custom sized for the dimensions of the tank and the height you want to raise it. You might want to consider a rim around the support (base) plate with some room to fit super dense foam in, in case there's a shift in the tank (as if 500lbs of tank could shift, but you never know). The only thing I can recommend without being there, is to have proximity switches near the top and bottom of the lift points so you can slave the hydraulic pump down and have it ease into the final stop point. Lifts tend to just jerk to a stop and that could be disastrous.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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OK. My bad lol.

Yep and I bet if you look around you'd find something pre-built that would be easy to adapt or if you have a healthy budget, have it custom sized for the dimensions of the tank and the height you want to raise it. You might want to consider a rim around the support (base) plate with some room to fit super dense foam in, in case there's a shift in the tank (as if 500lbs of tank could shift, but you never know). The only thing I can recommend without being there, is to have proximity switches near the top and bottom of the lift points so you can slave the hydraulic pump down and have it ease into the final stop point. Lifts tend to just jerk to a stop and that could be disastrous.
the one thing i dont have is an IMMEDIATE healthy budget. i obviously am not looking to run out and buy everything needed and build this in a weekend or two. its def gonna take a few months, but i feel that in the end, itll ultimately be more than worth it. only thing im stuck on is the gear to actually do the lowering and lifting, i dont want it to be super loud when its moving the tank. iwas thinking about hydraulics but only downside to that is that if it were to blow a line or leak, thats one major mess to clean up. imma sleep on it and get some rough drawings started tomorrow possibly.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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hehe... Yep, it's not gonna be cheap and IMO, you don't want to pinch pennies on something like this.

I guess you could do a gear system, but it would be a pain to raise/lower, noisy and not very stylish if you have a room full of guests watching you, if you know what I mean :P.

A hydraulic system would be under a lot of pressure and if you build it rated at 1K psi (for example), it would easily raise the 500lbs with ease. I've seen system upwards of 5K psi in industrial settings and never heard of a failure unless something was done wrong or damaged. For me, it'd be cooler hitting a button (think remote too ) and watch it slowly raise or lower, than cranking a cumalong handle.
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:44 AM   #9
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hehe... Yep, it's not gonna be cheap and IMO, you don't want to pinch pennies on something like this.

I guess you could do a gear system, but it would be a pain to raise/lower, noisy and not very stylish if you have a room full of guests watching you, if you know what I mean :P.

A hydraulic system would be under a lot of pressure and if you build it rated at 1K psi (for example), it would easily raise the 500lbs with ease. I've seen system upwards of 5K psi in industrial settings and never heard of a failure unless something was done wrong or damaged. For me, it'd be cooler hitting a button (think remote too ) and watch it slowly raise or lower, than cranking a cumalong handle.

haha a remote, you know i was thinking the same thing... imagine if a friend stops over and tries turning the tv on and there goes the 55g tank raising up outta nowhere lol.

def not even considering a gear system, i dont mind putting decent money into this, just cant do it all at once, so i believe ill take it 1 step ( or .5) at a time and see where i land, ive already accepted that this will be a learning experience and not to expect it to work flawlessly the first time around.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:01 AM   #10
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didnt get around to sketching up anything today due to it being Mother's Day and all, but idid decide that im def gonna do it. gonna be a painstakingly slow design process, as to i must make sure i can fit all the operating gear inside the stand without causing clearance issues.

and Mr. Limpet--i know you mentioned setting proximity sensors so that i could slave the pump so it eases to a stop, what if i use a form of semi-soft rubber bumpstops, that way the last 2 inches or so of either up or down travel will be cushioned?? think that would work in place of the proximity sensors??
oh and on a side note, i am gonna attempt to stop the "fish bug" with my 55g. im gonna try to not go any bigger than that but we shall see. in a little less than a year, ive gone from a single 10g non-planted w/ in-tank filter to a 20g planted and cycled with HOB filter....doing good so far lol
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