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Old 01-17-2021, 03:58 AM   #1
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The old is new again/lizard to fish build

Ever have a past hoby or cool price of furniture that you think man I wish I had a tank instead?
Well I did and I am currently working on a solid oak double bearded dragon enclosure my father built 10-12 years ago. It has been in storage for about 5 years and I know I'm not doing bearded dragons again. But I really liked the enclosure and the fact my dad made it makes it special to me.

Does normal tanks fit inside it? No.
I have to build custom aquariums to fit the openings.
Is this practical? No
It's heavy as sin and a pain to move. Also has to have a lot of work done to even start the project.
Is it cheaper? No
The acrylic will cost twice what two tanks would and that don't count the rest of the modifications I have to make.
Will I beat myself up if I mess up? Yes
It is very sentimental to me as it was something my father built for me a long time ago.
Is it worth it? YES!
I will get to use it again and it's a beautiful piece of furniture. Also I get to make new happy memories.

Now the plan. It will be a double 90 when I am done.
This is what I'm starting with.
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The tank inside is a 40 breeder for reference.

I already took the glass sliding doors out but have a lot more to do before I can get started.
I have to get this wire out and design on how the top of the tanks will be made. And how access will work.
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I'm thinking I will keep the framework and just coat it in some water proofing. Maybe clear flex seal. Then I can make a polycarbonate lid to slide in over the frame.

The back will also need to be taken off until the aquariums can be set in place. I also need to reenforce some places a little before it can be put back.

The openings are 46" wide, about 23" deep, and 21" high. The face has an overlap around the openings if about 1-1.5". I am going to keep this and just let the acrylic set against it completely filling the viewing ports.

This will be a slow build but I will update this thread as I make progress. Hope you all enjoy it as I move forward.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:33 PM   #2
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So I got the rest of my supplies to get started! Also just found out aquarium silicone does not bond well to acrylic. This is my first time working with acrylic and I did not know that until I was watching some videos and someone mentioned it. feeling kind of stupid right now but the good news is is I found out before I put the tanks together and filled it with water.
So now I have to order some acrylic sealant. Debating on using Weld-on 4 or 40.

So just a little update and sharing my mistakes as I go also.
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Old 01-25-2021, 02:54 AM   #3
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That is an awesome stand! Look up Serpa design on YouTube. He has a very similar setup and at one point I think walks through how he set up his tanks in it.
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Old 01-25-2021, 02:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallascowboys16 View Post
That is an awesome stand! Look up Serpa design on YouTube. He has a very similar setup and at one point I think walks through how he set up his tanks in it.
Thanks I'll take a look!
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:52 PM   #5
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Update:
I worked on one of the tanks today.
Finished cutting the acrylic and got the 4 sides put together.
Both sides, bottom and back are all 1/8" black acrylic.
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I am going thin with these panels because the frame is made of solid oak that is 3/4-1" think. Normally this would not be thick enough for 97gal of water. But I think with the hard wood behind it there shouldn't be an issue.

The front panel is 1/2" clear acrylic.
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Much harder to cut than the 1/8" and we had to use a new carbon blade. The acrylic blade was actually not working as well and causing it to heat up and melt. (Thankfully we did a couple of practice cuts first.)

Next was peeling back the paper on the panels so that they could be set up and melded together.
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Here you will see I was using 8 corner clamps to hold the panels together and used a little tape to help hold the sides flat.
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This is where thankfully we did another test.
I took two scrap pieces and used the solvent to fix them together as a test for how it works. I found out the it will run down some and also attach the pieces to whatever they are on.

So I had the take the bottom pieces out and tape the corners.
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I used Weld-on 4 and a needle point aplicator bottle.

It is now sitting for 24 or 48 hours before I work on it again.

Next I will turn it over and place in some brace pieces.

I think the second one will go faster after we have experience building the first one.
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