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Old 06-07-2017, 07:13 PM   #1
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Any material engineers out there?

Ok folks, after constructing a sweet- canopy for my 60" 120 gallon aquarium, sealing the wood underside and topside with primer and multiple coats of paint, my lid is now warping from the heat of the lights and the moisture from the aquarium.

Is there a material out there that is lightweight that I can reconstruct this canopy from???

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Old 06-07-2017, 07:19 PM   #2
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Ok folks, after constructing a sweet- canopy for my 60" 120 gallon aquarium, sealing the wood underside and topside with primer and multiple coats of paint, my lid is now warping from the heat of the lights and the moisture from the aquarium.

Is there a material out there that is lightweight that I can reconstruct this canopy from???

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This is what it is doing....
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:21 PM   #3
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Could you seal the wood with something to keep the moisture from it?
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:53 PM   #4
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venting the hood will help moisture to escape along with the letting the heat of the lights
escape , should help with the warping
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:08 PM   #5
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I think it is the cheap, force grown pine we have to work with. That white spruce crap at the big box stores is cut green and not dried properly. If it isn't clamped, glued, and nailed down then it will probably warp. I use MDF with oil primer and paint. If you get enough paint on it it is waterproof. Works great!! Here is a stand and hood I built out of MDF. oh and it is STRAIGHT and FLAT!! Just heavy and makes a dust storm when you run it through the table saw. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-08-2017, 02:08 PM   #6
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What about PVC boards?

Well I know they would be fine against moisture, but depending on heat from the light? Then again they do sit out in 100 degree weather during the summer months . I would think by your pic Youre using LED and it wont generate a ton of heat really and venting should be fine.
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Old 06-08-2017, 02:27 PM   #7
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Heat has not been an issue for the MDF. I don't know about pvc board. I use 1/2 inch MDF. You should give it a try. There are lots of forums online and people talking about how to work with it. If you use primer on the end where it was cut and then sand real good then it won't soak up anymore paint. You can also use a router too. Just be prepared for a dust storm. A nail gun is a must. If you are going to screw MDF then pre-drill. That stuff is hard as a rock. I glue, nail, and clamp all my MDF. If you use it for the stand then depending on the weight of the tank a little more suport may be needed from some 2 by lumber.
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:35 PM   #8
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Ok... never use mdf above an aquarium.. Or below if we're talking building materials. Wouldn't use pvc either, mold and mildew love the surface for some reason. Pine sucks. Don't use pressure treated either. Get some cabinet grade plywood, you'll need to dress up the exposed edges. Glue, seal and caulk everything. It will still warp if you do not ventilate it, you need to get moisture out of there. You get a couple computer fans and have one pushing and one pulling air. Doesn't need to be a torrent, just enough to keep it dry.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:24 PM   #9
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they started using a pressure treated red wood out here in Colorado they claim its better than the green boards and it is guaranteed to resist mold and warping . how true the claims are I have no idea , I haven't used any but I'm sure I will sooner or later
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:34 AM   #10
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Put a frame on it vertical edges would brace and make flat board ridgit less likely to warp. Venting will also help release heat and moister.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:33 AM   #11
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Ok... never use mdf above an aquarium.. Or below if we're talking building materials. Wouldn't use pvc either, mold and mildew love the surface for some reason. Pine sucks. Don't use pressure treated either. Get some cabinet grade plywood, you'll need to dress up the exposed edges. Glue, seal and caulk everything. It will still warp if you do not ventilate it, you need to get moisture out of there. You get a couple computer fans and have one pushing and one pulling air. Doesn't need to be a torrent, just enough to keep it dry.
mold on painted PVC? I honestly cant see that lol, other wise decks all over the world would be rotting apart. I use PVC boards for a lot of outdoor humid/wet projects.

MDF if painted with good material is actually pretty sturdy.

Can you make the canopy just an open top? This would probably solve a lot of the problems youre worried about.
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:21 AM   #12
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mold on painted PVC? I honestly cant see that lol, other wise decks all over the world would be rotting apart. I use PVC boards for a lot of outdoor humid/wet projects.

MDF if painted with good material is actually pretty sturdy.

Can you make the canopy just an open top? This would probably solve a lot of the problems youre worried about.
Mold can grow on anything under proper conditions. Yes mold can grow on paint. I've pulled boards off homes with mold on the back side, all types of materials. Mdf is pressed paper essentially, it is not remotely designed for damp applications. Maybe if you put 10 coats of semi gloss paint on it..
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:19 PM   #13
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Mold can grow on anything under proper conditions. Yes mold can grow on paint. I've pulled boards off homes with mold on the back side, all types of materials. Mdf is pressed paper essentially, it is not remotely designed for damp applications. Maybe if you put 10 coats of semi gloss paint on it..
yes I know it can grow anywhere but Id think a canopy would be safe enough. I also agree you would need either high end paint and/or many coats for mdf. Once sealed you would be surprised tho. I built my downstairs kichen cabinet's doors with mdf and they get drench when cleaning sometime and still hold up. They were coated with benjaman moore oil paint tho
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:23 PM   #14
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yes I know it can grow anywhere but Id think a canopy would be safe enough. I also agree you would need either high end paint and/or many coats for mdf. Once sealed you would be surprised tho. I built my downstairs kichen cabinet's doors with mdf and they get drench when cleaning sometime and still hold up. They were coated with benjaman moore oil paint tho
As long as it's vented. The solid core doors we install are mdf, I've literally watched one puff apart from simply being exposed to torrential downpour for like 15 seconds. Once the moisture gets in its all done..
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:52 AM   #15
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As long as it's vented. The solid core doors we install are mdf, I've literally watched one puff apart from simply being exposed to torrential downpour for like 15 seconds. Once the moisture gets in its all done..
yeah MDF will turn to a sponge if ANY part of it touched water but if its sealed its stronger than wood sometimes and always manufactured perfectly straight and will never "really" warp.
I was a non believer before I did a few projects with it. Now I use it alot due to its cheapness and perfect manufacturing.

I just built an AC window surround from it to seal that gap a window unit leaves when installed. Those lame collapsible sides they come with are just awful and I hate taping plastic all over.

this was just after I cut the insert. It was painted with about 5 coats of exterior semi gloss white in and out, then sealed with weather stripping and V strip around the AC itself.

Looks and works great. Just showing what little projects can be done with MDF.

If you wanted to make a canopy with it you could always also seal the inside with cheap super thin plexi.

I used pine on my setup and it worked good though.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:15 PM   #16
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yeah MDF will turn to a sponge if ANY part of it touched water but if its sealed its stronger than wood sometimes and always manufactured perfectly straight and will never "really" warp.
I was a non believer before I did a few projects with it. Now I use it alot due to its cheapness and perfect manufacturing.

I just built an AC window surround from it to seal that gap a window unit leaves when installed. Those lame collapsible sides they come with are just awful and I hate taping plastic all over.

this was just after I cut the insert. It was painted with about 5 coats of exterior semi gloss white in and out, then sealed with weather stripping and V strip around the AC itself.

Looks and works great. Just showing what little projects can be done with MDF.

If you wanted to make a canopy with it you could always also seal the inside with cheap super thin plexi.

I used pine on my setup and it worked good though.
Its not stronger than wood and is extremely susceptible to warping. Its cheap and a smooth surface which is conducive to a cheap, clean painted finish. Ask any finish carpenter what they'd rather work with. I hate working with mdf, give me birch ply any day. Just because you've used it for a little while doesnt mean you'll have it for a long time.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:47 AM   #17
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Its not stronger than wood and is extremely susceptible to warping. Its cheap and a smooth surface which is conducive to a cheap, clean painted finish. Ask any finish carpenter what they'd rather work with. I hate working with mdf, give me birch ply any day. Just because you've used it for a little while doesnt mean you'll have it for a long time.
Yes I would take birch any day as well but when money is a factor for a "certain" project MDF works if, as you stated, its going to be painted. I would never build my cabinet bases from it but the doors yes.
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Old 06-20-2017, 11:31 AM   #18
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Exhaust fans on both sides for air flow is step one. Any sealed cabinet like that is going to build heat and moisture

maybe something like this is an option, or some other composite material

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Old 06-20-2017, 03:08 PM   #19
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why not just make the canopy open on the top?
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Old 06-20-2017, 03:30 PM   #20
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Any material engineers out there?

[QUOTE=evil Nick;3449621]I want to contain the light into the tank and not to the room
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