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post #1 of 29 Old 03-24-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Would like to build something like this

Hello,

First time poster here. Not really good with woodworking, other than very basic things. Much more familiar with things that are powered by gasoline or electricity.

Anyway, I am trying to build a fishtank stand. I found one that I really like and would like to copy its design and finish, however, I can't seem to wrap my mind around it's design.
I played with SketchUp and designed something similar, but after spending a day driving around town looking for materials, I realized that some of the things I thought I could find simply dont exist,
so I have to go back and re-think my design.

This seems like a simple enough build, right? Corner vertical moulding is made out of 2 pieces of birch plywood with a 45 degree rip cut connected into the 90 degree moulding. Top and bottom planks of wood forming the door frame also seem to the cut and assembled the same way. How do you make this connection absolutely seamless? Top moulding that goes all the way around seems to be pre-milled L-shaped, but on the 3rd picture you see that it was made out of regular 3/4" plywood. I understand that you can make this at same way you make that vertical corner moulding, but again, how do you make it seamless? I only see 45 degree cross cuts where top side is connected all around the stand. How do i make a seamless connection between top horisontal side of the moulding and vertical sides? How do I design something like this so no screws/staples visible on the outside? And what kind of finish is this? It looks gorgeous.

Picture worth a 1000 words, so here we go:














Here is design i used. Basically it is a classis fish tank stand design that everyone uses, because it could easily support 750-800 lbs of water and very expensive animals. In my case it wont work for 3 reasons.

1. There is no 2x4's nicely finished. Doug Fur from Home Depot and Dixieline will need alot of work, unless I wrap it in plywood.
2. Too much door overflap with a 2x4 behind it. Won't be able to install those hinges.
3. That L shaped top moulding I was trying to find does not exist. I can have it custom milled out of 2x2 or 3x3, but setup costs are going to drive the price up significantly.

Would anyone please help me with re-design on this thing? The only requirement is ability to support 750-800 lbs.

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post #2 of 29 Old 03-24-2012, 11:46 PM
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What are the Dimensions? This looks to me to be a combination of 2x4's ,
3/4" ply, 1/2" ply and maybe some 3/4" hardwood. Inside is all painted so before you paint you use chauking. It just looks seamless. Outside has brad or finish nails. I can see where they are in a couple pics by the dark walnut stain blends em in. That L is two pieces of 1/2" ply cut at a 45' angle then glued. The darker the stain the easier it is to cover stuff up IMO.

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post #3 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 12:14 AM
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I don't know how big your fish tank is. Judging from the pictures I assume it's a big one and very heavy. I’m afraid the weight could make it collapse. If you had wider corners I think it could be made with wood. Making it like the picture and having doors on four sides, I believe I would build a cube frame with 1 ˝” tubular steel and wrap it with wood for aesthetics. Any welding shop should be able to make the cube for you.


<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: black; FONT-SIZE: 10pt">I would also use more solid wood than plywood. It's inevitable with cleaning and maintenance you get water on your base and the solid wood will hold up better. Perhaps just make the doors plywood. If they are damaged by water they can more easily be replaced.

Last edited by Steve Neul; 03-25-2012 at 12:20 AM.
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post #4 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I don't know how big your fish tank is. Judging from the pictures I assume it's a big one and very heavy. I’m afraid the weight could make it collapse. If you had wider corners I think it could be made with wood. Making it like the picture and having doors on four sides, I believe I would build a cube frame with 1 ˝” tubular steel and wrap it with wood for aesthetics. Any welding shop should be able to make the cube for you.
It's going to be around 30"x40"x20" or 100 Gallons. With rock and everything it will be around 850lb or so. Plus a sump (second tank plumbed into the display tank that houses all equipment, probes, heaters and filtration) inside the stand, probably additional 200lbs.

This is what it looks like underneath. It's a very popular and proven design and when made out of 2x4's can easily support 150Gal tanks.
Many people that I know use this very plan with no ill effects.
http://freshwatercichlids.com/do-it-...aquarium-stand

As far as wood, I plan on treating it with whatever waterproof finish is available, but all water related maintenance will be done inside the stand, where sump is. So outside will only see occasional small splashes.

Last edited by solefald; 03-25-2012 at 12:31 AM.
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 04:03 AM
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It appears from the photos...

That the builder uses 3/4" Poplar cut to 2" or 3" widths to form the leg assemblies. The doors look to be either 1/2" or 3/4" Birch plywood. The stain looks to be a Walnut. The interiors is painted white obviously. The strength of the unit comes from the corners being an assembly of 2 or 3 pieces and supported across the top with stretchers which are an assembly of several pieces. You can see gaps between the pieces in one photos of the underneath.

This would not be a difficult project for someone with a table saw for the rips and plywood sizing and a mitersaw for the corner miters. It has a nice contemporary look in my opinion with the reveals around the top. A picked white finish would have been my choice rather than the dark stain, but overall a nice piece.

Poplar is a very friendly wood to use and will be found in the Home Depot racks. Maple is another good choice and is a great working wood if the grain is fairly straight.

Titiebond 2 or 3 would be my choice of glues. A finish nailer looks like the way to assemble the assemblies.... bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 06:48 AM
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Aquarium cabinets can be structured with 2x4's, but my complaint about that method is that 2x4's are very unstable. They can twist and crack. I see a major possibility of failure to the structure you linked to is the ability of the framing to "rack", as there is little done to minimize movement between horizontal and vertical members.

A structure can be configured with 3/4" plywood in a basic design like this. The plane widths of the members are wide enough to create a "gusset" effect, which affords strength to different movement directions. Frames can be made by gluing up two layers of plywood. For the look of the exterior, moulding can be added to give the look you want.

A 2x4 structure could be used and overlayed with plywood in essence to give the same look, but, I'm not overjoyed with that method.








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post #7 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 07:31 AM
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I have built aquarium stands for my 55 and 84 gallon tanks. As well as building a 240 gallon plywood/Epoxy aquarium. Will post pics a little later.
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post #8 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman

Aquarium cabinets can be structured with 2x4's, but my complaint about that method is that 2x4's are very unstable. They can twist and crack. I see a major possibility of failure to the structure you linked to is the ability of the framing to "rack", as there is little done to minimize movement between horizontal and vertical members.

A structure can be configured with 3/4" plywood in a basic design like this. The plane widths of the members are wide enough to create a "gusset" effect, which affords strength to different movement directions. Frames can be made by gluing up two layers of plywood. For the look of the exterior, moulding can be added to give the look you want.

A 2x4 structure could be used and overlayed with plywood in essence to give the same look, but, I'm not overjoyed with that method.




.
+1 Cabby that exact thing happened here at a Benni Hanna restaurant. A huge fresh water tank in front waiting area failed from 2x4 and
shattered sending every gallon of water broken glass and fish onto bench and floor. Fortunately it happened overnight when they were closed but the poor fish
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Gentlemen,

Really appreciate your responses. I found another picture of this setup, and it clearly shows rabbet joints (Next to the white power outlet)



I also discussed it with a couple of local guys who built their fish tank stands and both said that I am going overboard with 2x4.

So here is my second attempt at designing this thing. This just shows one corner. I did not want to complete the plan until you guys approve of the structure itself. Do I need I to change anything here?





Teal = Doug Fir 2x4.
Yellow = Pine 2x2 for additional support.
Orange = Pine 1x3 (3/4 x 3 1/2 in reality)

Rabbet joints everywhere. Every piece glued together in addition to screws and staples. I also plan on adding a floor and wrapping the whole thing in 3/4 birch ply, also glued and stapled, so that would add extra structural support.

Not sure if that top horizontal 2x4 that makes the T-joint is need there? Remove it or add another one for more support? Should I also add another 2x4 along the bottom so both legs are connected on top and bottom?

Oh, and I own a cheap 10" Ryobi table saw and a pretty decent 10" Rigid Miter saw, so making rabbet joints, as well as angled cuts won't be a problem.

Thank you!

Last edited by solefald; 03-25-2012 at 09:30 PM.
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-25-2012, 11:51 PM
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I can't help but fear for your safety with the design of this aquarium stand. The rabbeted joints will help a little but I don't think there is enough glue surface to keep your vertical members vertical. I'm afraid giving the weight it won't be something that will gradually fail, I'm afraid it will just snap and fall. I believe the vertical members on the corners should be at least 6" wide with the 2x4's behind it to give you enough glue surface to properly support 850 pounds.


It appears it's necessary for this unit to be open on four sides so I drew my version. The sketch is just the structural part of the stand, which will give you access on four sides and support the weight. The structure should be fastened together with screws as well as being thoroughly glued and clamped. I also did not draw the cross pieces at the top. The sketch was getting too busy.

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post #11 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Steve, but I really really think that 2x6 are a total overkill for this. I just saw a 250Gallon long (72" length) sitting on a 2x6 stand build with the design I linked in my 2nd post in this thread. For my tank it will be a definite overkill.

I changed my last design a bit and I think this would make it bulletproof.
With 3/4" ply top and bottom, 1x3's holding 2x4 together and serving as additional support, 2x4 cross braces PLUS another layer of 3/4" stained ply wrapped around the whole thing, I don't believe it will break under my tank. Oh, and one of the walls will be permanently attached, so its even more support.

The tank sitting on the stand that I want to copy is a 130Gallon cube. That's 1085lb of water only. His tank itself weighs 250lb, plus 100lb of water and 100lb of sand, minus whatever amount of water rock and sand displace, but lets stay his total weight is 1200lb. My tank will be much less than that, and his stand seems to be constructed entirely out of 1x3 poplar and 3/4 ply. I don't see a single 2x4 there, and his tank has been up and running for 2 years with no problems.


Last edited by solefald; 03-26-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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post #12 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 09:41 AM
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Well I've never built an aquarium stand before however I've been building things professionally for 40 years. Over the years I seen a lot of things people have built fail so sometimes when a project comes around red flags go off in the back of your mind and overkill becomes instinctive. It appears you have your mind made up so I certainly hope I'm just being paranoid. You might think of it in these terms. If you were having a house built with pier and beam construction, the floor would be expected to handle a live load about 40 pounds per square foot. They would probably use 2x10's or 2x12's to frame it. Then your aquarian stand is expected to hold a little more than 100 pounds per square foot.

One other thing came to mind. I don't have a clue how often you need to get into the bottom of stand. If you don't get into it very often, you could put tee nuts on the inside and screw the doors shut. This would certainly keep the unit from wracking.

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post #13 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Steve, my apologies if I came across as dissing your expertise. This was not my intention in any way. After all, I came here to get an advice.
As far as getting inside the stand, this is going to be a daily thing. Sometimes multiple times a day. The idea is to have it large enough for everything. Sump, extra water storage, automatic top-off system, chemical reactors, fish food and all maintenance tools. My family would really appreciate if I get all that stuff out of the way and hide it somewhere :)

After more thought, I decided that horizontal 2x4 laying flat to form a frame in my previous design is a really bad idea, so I am leaning back towards the original design.





Orange = Additional 2x4's for support in the corners.

Again, entire thing will be wrapped in 3/4" birch ply and the back wall of the stand will be permanently attached, so only 3 sides will open.
I think this is going to be the most stable construction with 4"x6" floor surface contact in the corners. What do you think?

Last edited by solefald; 03-26-2012 at 11:49 AM.
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post #14 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
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Orange = Additional 2x4's for support in the corners.

Again, entire thing will be wrapped in 3/4" birch ply and the back wall of the stand will be permanently attached, so only 3 sides will open.
I think this is going to be the most stable construction with 4"x6" floor surface contact in the corners. What do you think?
You've received our thoughts. I wouldn't use 2x4's, and would provide better gusseting methods than what your drawing shows.








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post #15 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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You've received our thoughts. I wouldn't use 2x4's, and would provide better gusseting methods than what your drawing shows.
Hi Cabinetman. The only reason I am leaning towards 2x4 is because I am building this whole thing on my patio, with only basic tools (plus a table saw and a miter saw) and would really like to avoid gluing layers of ply together, of possible.

I will, however, add gussets, but 3 out of 4 sides will have to be able to open, so having rigid side walls is not an option.
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post #16 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 03:26 PM
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Steve, my apologies if I came across as dissing your expertise. This was not my intention in any way. After all, I came here to get an advice.
As far as getting inside the stand, this is going to be a daily thing. Sometimes multiple times a day. The idea is to have it large enough for everything. Sump, extra water storage, automatic top-off system, chemical reactors, fish food and all maintenance tools. My family would really appreciate if I get all that stuff out of the way and hide it somewhere :)

After more thought, I decided that horizontal 2x4 laying flat to form a frame in my previous design is a really bad idea, so I am leaning back towards the original design.





Orange = Additional 2x4's for support in the corners.

Again, entire thing will be wrapped in 3/4" birch ply and the back wall of the stand will be permanently attached, so only 3 sides will open.
I think this is going to be the most stable construction with 4"x6" floor surface contact in the corners. What do you think?
No apologies needed. I realize you don't know me. I normally wouldn’t be that pushy but the stand scares me. If you came to my shop and ordered it, I would automatically make the steel frame because I would look at it from a liability standpoint. I wouldn't have to worry about it, I have my own welder and steel is cheap. What you have sketched now is the best so far. I would feel better if the top and bottom rails were through mortised but you don't have the equipment for that. The only thing I can see that you might be able to do yourself is put 1/2" hardwood dowels in the joint between your vertical members and top and bottom rails. What Cabinetman said about gusseting would also be helpful if you could hide a plate like this one across the joint under your finished wood. The plate is 1/16” thick 3 1/8” wide and 7” long which a similar one should be available everywhere. Then where the 2x4`s goes behind glue and screw it to the horizontal members. Other than maybe using a hardwood to construct this out of I think this design is as good as you can get using wood and having to leave the sides open. Just don't cheap out on glue.
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post #17 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 04:04 PM
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Hey if you want to stop by and I will take a look at your designs and help you out with this give me a call, you got my number.

I have the designs from my stand and you are more than welcome to use them if you want. Just let me know.
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post #18 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hey if you want to stop by and I will take a look at your designs and help you out with this give me a call, you got my number.

I have the designs from my stand and you are more than welcome to use them if you want. Just let me know.
Thank you! I'll send you a PM :)
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post #19 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 04:06 PM
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No problem
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post #20 of 29 Old 03-26-2012, 06:00 PM
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How about 4 Mortise & Tennon Frames dovetailed together? That ought to be strong? or 4 legs with M&T's for the aprons and stretchers?

LOL NEVERMIND ME!

Maybe reinforce with steel rods & bolts

Last edited by woodgeekess; 03-26-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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