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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone has built any of their own tank racks using metal via welding and/or bolts & nuts? All I have seen anyone build is using wood...

I'm a welder and have access to plenty of metal - and have plans to build one or two small racks to hold my two 55's for now. As I get bigger tanks I would like to build racks to support them.

Also, anyone used metal to build any large tanks - or at least for the framing of their large tank?

Any information would be great. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I might add, I will try to get the plans for the racking of my 55's post ASAP - still in the "design phase". I know I would like to use some 2" square tubing (@1/16" thickness) to go the full 48" length and 18" width (want to build the stands wide enough to hold a 75 gallon should I upgrade sometime).
 

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There is a cold formed steel design guide (I can't remember the name) that would give you an idea of the strength for the members. You should be able to find it in a good library, then it is just a matter of doing the math to figure out if it would work. There is also a program called CFS that will figure the strength of just about any shape, but I don't know how much it costs.

Real quick, since you are a welder you would know better than me, but isn't 1/16" (16 Ga.) a bit thin to take a good weld?
 

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umm i have been looking into getting angle iron that has those pre drilled holes(4 nuts n bolts) and doing it that way, with a wood shelf in it, very study. *** got a pic of someone elses with a similar design
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stickzula said:
Real quick, since you are a welder you would know better than me, but isn't 1/16" (16 Ga.) a bit thin to take a good weld?
I'm just a welder, not an engineer. :lol:

Actually the guys here at work thought it should work just fine, but I wanted some opinions from people that might have previous experience.

As for getting a good weld, that's not a problem. Our new welders really get good penetration.
 

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Maybe this will help...
ALRO METALS GUIDE
It's a digital version of a reference guide we use here at work... check the "Structural Shapes" for a start. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am not sure I quite understand all that is going on there - but I know what size tubing I am using.

Tubing and Pipe >Square>2X2 @ 16 ga.
HERE

Now did I miss where it tells the strength of that tubing?
 

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I didn't see any strength callouts. Just the size, gauge, weight, and grade.
 

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you may want to shoot over to reefcentral.com i frequent the board quite often and notice alot of the guys building large salt tanks run steel stands and such.
 

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A guy in Erie PA is a welder and has built a lot of metal stands for his fish room and for local hobbyists. He used to sell fish and stuff on Aquabid, but I haven't seen his auctions lately. I drove there and looked at the stands. He explained how he welded them to avoid the stresses or bowing you sometimes can see in commercial angle iron fish stands, but I'm not a welder so I could not pass on to you his explanations. It cetainly can be done well. Great looking stands that had little blocking of access to the lower tanks. However that may not be as much of an advantge over wooden stands as it would seem, since you lose the recessed spaces that allow you to install lights up inside the box made by the stand's rails. In spite of that I almost ordered stands for all of my fish room tanks. It was only that he was so backlogged with orders that it would have been months before he could fabricate them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for all the replies so far. Some great suggestions and I will try to get a tentative blueprint up for you guys too look at soon (been busy finishing up the move). Thanks again, and I'll be sure to check out reefcentral.com.
 

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I have built a number of steel stands using both tubing and angle. The angle is a poor choice as it is never straight. The 4' by 1' stands I built were of 1 1/4' tubing with 1/8" wall thickness. I prefer the thicker walls for ease of welding. They are totally rigid. I have seen commercial stands for 65s (36" x 18") that were made of 1" by 1/16" tubing, but I thought they were a little light.
My metal stands have a 1/2" nut welded inside the bottom of the leg for jacking bolts. This is something that is generally not discussed in stand construction, but is something I consider essential for ease of leveling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
BillD said:
My metal stands have a 1/2" nut welded inside the bottom of the leg for jacking bolts. This is something that is generally not discussed in stand construction, but is something I consider essential for ease of leveling.
Actually, I did plan to do this too. I agree, having the ability to level a stand is a must. Thanks for bringing it up on here before I got to it.

I was wondering what kind of bracing you used on your 4' stand?
 

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I used no bracing at all, like the commercial stands, and the stands are totally rigid. The advantage of the 1 1/4" tubing is that a 5/8" (15/16" or 1" dia) nut fits nicely inside. My stands are located in my basement near the floor drain where the floor slope is close to 3/4" per foot. It would have been very difficult to level them without jacking bolts. I used socket head bolts for the feet rather than hex head so they wouldn't walk when turning them. Alternatively, 3/4 " heavy duty nuts are 1 1/4" and would fit on the bottom of the legs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·


Here's the design I have in mind for now. Here's some things I want this rack to accomplish:

- Heavy Duty. Each shelf to be able to handle a 75 gallon. As of now, I only have two 55's (hence the 45" long tube offset through each shelf). Also, the tanks are more for breeding purposes now, but would like to keep the option open for more show-style tanks.

- Adaptibility. If feasible, put two of these racks side-by-side (secured by bolts) to hold an 8' tank.

- Transportable. I would like the rack to be assemblable/disassemblable using bolts/nuts.

- Lightweight. Goes along with Transportable - Use lighter material to cut down on weight on floors and transporting.

Each shelf will be welded up as one unit and each leg will be its own unit. The shelves will rest on the triangular gussets (welded to the legs) and will be bolted through the legs, for front-to-back swaying. On the inside of the corners, an L-shaped plate will be welded to the legs. The plate will be drilled and be bolted to the shelves to help with side-to-side swaying.

At this time, I will probably use 1/16" sheet metal to cover each shelf. Each leg will have a plate welded on the bottom with a hole drilled through it. On the back side of the bottom plate (up, inside the tube), I will have a nut welded (unsure of size, but will probably be 1/2"). A bolt will be put it to make the whole stand levelable.

I will paint the rack, probably using a self-etching primer and finishing coat. Also in consideration, non-skid tape put on top of the tubes.

Do I need any other bracing in each shelf to help support the approximately 800 lbs. of weight that will be on each shelf (prevent bowing/warping)?

Is 1/2" clearance on all sides of the shelves enough?

Would longer gussets be better, so that all the pressure wasn't on the joint welds of the shelves (3" or 4" long versus only 2")?

Will 2", 16 ga. tubing be strong enough for the legs?
 

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Your tubing will be more than strong enough for legs as that is what they use for 6' tank stands. The gussets will make the leg ends rigid, but what about side to side? Since you wish to bolt, I would gusset the four back corners. My only concern with the light metal is the bolting. If it was all welded, it wouldn't be a problem, but you can crush the tubing with bolts and you have a very small shear area where the bolts pass through the tubing.
 

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i have built a stand using the angle metal from bed frames. The length and width I measured allows for 1/4" excess on all four sides. It was suggested that i make the stand so the tank would sit inside the angled metal once welded. I prefer allowing the tank molding to be completely viewed.
I used the more ornate iron works from porch railing for the front legs. The rear legs are made from the back of metal outdoor patio chair legs. Cut to length. 10" from the floor , horizontally, i used the more of the same patio chair legs to tie all four stand legs together .
Be aware of what type of floor the tank will stand on. the weight over time will indent tile and wood.
 

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Great thread I have been planing a stand for my 125G that can hold a 75g or two 20G longs (undecided) and this has given me lots of ideas. :thumb:

Please post any progress as you go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I haven't started building this yet as I've got a few other things going at the moment. As soon as I start, I'll have photos. :thumb:
 
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