DIY - Projects & Ideas • My 55g Mbuna tank project

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Postby Steve C » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:10 pm

GTZ wrote:If you're going to pocket hole 2x4's, just use 3/4" ply for the whole stand and pocket hole that instead. No picking out straight wood, you're stand is already 'skinned' plus it's lighter.


I would, but I'm use to working with things such as dimensional lumber and that combined with the limited woodworking tools I have, I just have much more confidence that I can make a skinned dimensional lumber stand look much better than a plywood one. Plus I plan to (if money allows) skin it with a very nice oak so I'd still want to skin it even if I did plywood.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:41 pm

I can't wait to see that cave deal in the stand, that will make a cool effect at night.
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Postby Steve C » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:34 pm

Well back on this project as time permits. Picked up all the lumber for the frame yesterday as well as a Kreg jig jr (very happy with that tool!)

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Started by making two frame structure for top and bottom that were identical. I decided to do them this way so the 2x4 uprights would mount in between the top & Bottom frames so the wood would be supporting the weight rather than any weight on the fasteners.

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First upright mounted....

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Couple of the pocket screws done with the new jig...

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I also decided to double up the corner 2x4's in a "L" shape also pocket screwed in as well as screwed back to side. May be overkill but it's cheap insurance IMO. You can also see the height of the stand in this picture. I never do like to have to bend over to look into a fish tank, and since I'm 6'6" with long arms I can get away with a stand height higher than most people, so I did mine 39" to the bottom of the tank.

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That's were I'm at right now, will post more later as I get time to get more done on it.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:53 pm

Now you're just showing off with the pocket corner jig.

Looking great, I like overkill, I never worry about anything giving way.

Keep it up.
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Postby Steve C » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:17 pm

Now you're just showing off with the pocket corner jig.


:lol: I tell ya man it was a great investment. Once I saw someone else here use it I thought to myself "oh yeah I gotta get me one of those!".


Well all the frame is now done. Actually didn't think I would be able to get the entire frame done today but glad I did. Now I can move onto some sanding and then skinning it and laying out all the trim/shelves/power strips etc etc.

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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:27 pm

From a movie favorite of yours....

What have you got here, a portable shower or a monkey cage?
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Postby Steve C » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:15 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Headed to Lowes in a bit. I am thinking of going with some 1/2" red oak plywood to skin it with and then add some nice trim pieces, but we'll see what looks good to me when I get there. Hopefully I'll have some pics of starting to skin it later tonight/tomorrow.
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Postby Steve C » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:47 pm

Well started skinning it with some 1/4" red oak wood today. Gonna have a bunch of filling/sanding/staining/poly/repeat to do once I get it all skinned, but I think it's gonna look real nice once it's done. Wiped one area with a damp rag just to see how the grain is going to look.

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Postby The King Crabb » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:07 am

I like it, nice work! :thumb:
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Postby Steve C » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:14 am

I just decided that is going to be the back of the stand and I am going to start over on skinning :lol: Mainly because the more I look at it I just don't want to deal with any nails at all or trying to fill nail holes with filler/putty. So I think I am going to just turn it around and start over and liquid nail the skin on without any nails at all except for under where the trim goes.

Aw well, do it right now matter how long it takes I guess.
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Postby dr2391 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:44 am

Hey its looking nice. I just bought a tank and now in the planning stage. I was wondering what kind of converters did you use for the cathodes
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Postby Steve C » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:03 am

These are a newer style of cold cathodes that have a Built-in Micro Inverter so they actually plug into the wall outlet rather than having to have in inverter/converter like the older cold cathodes use to. I ordered them online from a computer modding shop called "xoxide".
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Postby MikeyMike22 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:04 pm

I'm actually a little upset with your project. Whereas I was content with my setup before, I now want to do this with my 125 gallon tank!
I've also built my own stand, but I can't wait to see how you do your canopy...I could use some ideas. The canopies I've made before are basically a 1x1 frame with plywood face and a few trim pieces. They looked nice, but had no lids, doors, etc. and had to be taken off for maintenance. Not a big issue with my smaller tanks, but I think I need something more functional for the 125.

Awesome project!
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Postby Steve C » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:19 pm

:lol: Thanks Mike.

I've got an idea of how I am planing on doing my canopy. What I am going to do is to build basically a canopy that is about 30" tall and it will have 3 openings (basically windows because they will be covered with clear acrylic). In the middle window will be a very cool croc skull I have, not the cheesy one that you see at LFS but a very realistic imitation I have had for awhile. Then on each side of the skull will be windows with a nice piece of holy rock or something of that nature in them. Then each of the three windows will be backlit with white CFL bulbs.

Then to make it easy to clean and do PWC's I plan to hinge the front half of the canopy.

I hope to have the stand done in a week to 10 days and then start the canopy.
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Postby dr2391 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:38 pm

which ones are the ones you got? i can't find any on that website that say they plug into the wall
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