BiscuitSlayer's 90 Gallon Stand and Canopy Build Journal... 56K Beware!
I started building a stand for my future 75 gallon and it has been a lot of fun to work on so far. I have been dieing to get a 75 gallon going lately, but I have been torn between building a stand or buying a stand. After reading a thread by another user, intermediate_noob, I decided to build my stand and canopy using a design that was discussed in the following thread:
intermediate_noob offered a frame design that I really like, so that is the foundation of this project for me. Here is a picture of the design he came up with through researching some reefer forums where the design was originally offered. It is simple and rock solid, and on top of that, the design made A LOT of sense to me since the weight transfer from the top frame to the lower frame is the key to the weight dispersal for larger tanks. Here is a picture of the design that he shared with us:
As you can see from the picture above, the key is the legs of the stand. It consists of a "floating" 2 X 4 that connects the upper frame to the lower frame. It is then surrounded by two 2 x 4s that are what actually transfer the load from the top frame to the lower frame. This is a sound design and it is very easy to make. In essence, the only things tools you need to make this frame are:
Carpentry Square (I used a 45 degree speed square)
Saw of some kind. I used a powered miter saw, table saw, and jigsaw. A circular saw would get the job done though.
Drill with counter sinking head with 1/8" bit.
Phillips screw driver.
I used 2 1/2" plastic covered deck screws to connect the frame pieces. Keeping the wood together is the key. The screws aren't used so much to carry the load as they are just to hold things together.
Here are some pictures of the finished frame:
Here is a couple of pictures of the "floating" 2 x 4. You don't want the floater part of the leg to make contact with the floor or the top of the frame because you don't want any load distributed to the floor or underside of the tank. It just connects the top frame to the bottom frame. At first I disagreed with this aspect, but now it totally makes sense to me. Here they are:
This is a picture of the outer parts of the legs that transfer the load to the upper frame from the lower frame. There are a total of 8 equal length 2 x 4s used for this part.
As you can see in the following pic, everything is level from side to side:
Once the frame was done, I put 1/2" plywood on the top frame and lower frame (for the shelf):
Next step was to add the electrical components. I am kind of anal about electrical aspects with regards to the stand. I like to have the different components split into zones that I can control with a simple switch controlled receptacle. As you can see in the next picture, I added 4 boxes. The top one with be a GFCI, and the next three will be switch controlled receptacles.
There is plenty of room behind the boxes to tack up the wire and do whatever needs to be done. Great frame design!
Here are the switches that I will be using along with the 15 Amp rated 3 prong grounded plug. The idea is to run the plug wires into the line side of the GFI. Then run the regular wire from the load side to the switching receptacles.
I have a little more done, but I haven't taken pictures yet. Hopefully I'll be able to post them tonight or tomorrow morning.
Great build journal so far and one I've been waiting on. ;)
I have plans for a 75g in the future as well and had ideas for the stand etc., but this will be tons of help.
I'm looking forward to seeing the electrical as well. I was leaning towards the standard power strip type deal, but this may sway me as it looks like a great alternative.
It's looking like a beast of a stand, but I'm all for overbuilding when it comes to a big heavy box of water in the house around kids and pets...lol
Great job so far and thanks for taking the time to do a build journal to share. :thumbsup:
I'll try to keep things going to keep it interesting. The electrical isn't too bad, and ultimately I will be using some strips. They will plug into the receptacle side of the swith/receptacles. Unfortuately, it is a little more complex to use the switch receptacle combo than I had originally thought. No show stoppers, but a bit of a PITA all the same. I'll post specifics with some pics so that you can get an idea of how I had to wire it up to meet my needs.
Once the stand is done, it is going to be pretty heavy. I am using light 1/4" oak plywood for the skin, but I have a ton of trim and I am going to use 3/4" oak plywood for the canopy and the doors on the stand. I was going to use 1/2 inch, but every piece they had at the store had water stains, and I didn't know how deep they penetrated. No big deal, but it will add signifigantly to the overall weight.
I am going to re-inforce my floor joists where this is going to properly handle the weight without causing the floor to sag, etc. I have 2 x 10 joists, so it shouldn't be a problem.
I'll try to get an update tonight.
Great build and pictures. I'd like to see a cost total at the end of the project, as I'm thinking about a 75 myself.
Thanks eyebeatbadgers! I can probably work up a rough cost now, but I think I will be returning some things. I'll just wait to the project is complete and then I'll post the total after returns, etc. I can tell you this now. It would be cheaper to buy a built stand. I have about $350 into it so far with all of the electrical and lumber.
I wired things up for the most part. The key to the switch/receptacles is to break off the little brass tabs that isolate the switch from the receptacle. When you chain one receptacle to another using the type that I am going with, you want your hot load and line to connect to the one side where the switch is so that the unit always has power. To make the receptacle run off of the switch, you want to run a small line from the switch control side to the hot side of the recepatcle. All neutral wires tie into the netral silver terminal. I hope the pictures below make that clear. The switch control side is the same side as the white neutral wires in this case.
After finishing up the wiring, I like to wrap up the terminals and the ground wire with electrical tape. I do this just as a precautionary measure to keep any stray copper from making contact with another wire. If the hot wire was to touch the ground, it would make quite an arch/spark. You don't want anything like that happening.
Here is everything pretty much buttoned up. I split the plywood pannel and attached it with a hinge so that I could get into the wiring and fix anything that might be problematic should the need arise. Its better to be safe than sorry.
I am going to use two of the lights pictured to work off of the bottom switch so that when I open the cabinet to work on things there will be some light in there. I was able to get two of these lights for about $16.
This is somewhat of a technical question. The plugs for the lights are polarized, meaning that one side of the plug is larger than the other so you can only plug it in one way. Does anyone know which side is the hot side? I don't want to make a guess. Any help will be appreciated. Here is a picture of the plug:
My intent is to cut the plug off and wire it directly to a switch. Shouldn't be a big deal as long as I have the wires in order.
Thats my update as of now. Next steps will be skinning the stand and starting the trim work. I can't wait!
You do nice work.
Coupla questions, tho.
What exactly is the function/need of the "floaters"?
And do you think the 2x6s were necessary?
I agree with the tendency to overbuild, but just thought that stand looks mighty heavy. Especially when you add in the 1/2" ply.
What do you think it will weigh when finished?
After thinking a bit about this question some more, I have some relevant information why I would use 2 x 6s for this type of frame again and again. When I built the upper and lower frames, the lower frame was warped and twisted pretty bad. The upper frame was level and true. I was somewhat worried about this as I thought that the stand woudn't sit level or it would have wobble to it, etc. Since the upper frame was level and rock solid, I attached the legs to it first. Once I was done I attached the lower frame to the legs. Everything pulled together and the warping and twisting of the lower frame was brought in check.
The bottom line for me is that the 2 x 6s are level and true if you get a couple of good lengths. Had I used 2 x 4s for the upper frame instead, I think I would have some major issues with the stand being level and wobble free. Instead of having one frame with some issues, I would have two. If they had the issues in "the same direction" problems might be compounded.
The floater makes absolutly no sense to me. Yeah I see that it is attaching the upper and lower frames together, but you make a point to say that it shouldn't make contact with the floor. Since you are finishing out the top with ply why would it matter if it makes contact or not? The ply is gonna distribute the weight to all points beyond the 4 corners....
IMO the "floater" looks like an after thought of someone that didn't plan ahead....;)
This is the thread from Reef Central where we all started and it talks about the floaters: Reef Central DIY Stand
I was going to try to explain what everything was for, but I do not want to take the wind out of Biscuit's sails because this is one heckuva awesome looking stand. All your questions and more are answered in detail on the ReefCentral thread and I am sure Biscuit could offer up his info too.
Once question to Biscuit, are the switches controlling each outlet they are connected to? Meaning the switch would turn off their respective output? Also, do you think one GFCI is enough? I wired three of them for my last project (two for lights, one for heater and pump) because I did not want a single point of failure. Do you think this was overkill?
Where did you get your plywood and did you buy a 4x8 sheet for the 1/2" and 1/4" oak? I cannot seem to find any good plywood at the local Home Depots or Lowes. May have to go to a lumber yard.
Kudos to you man, you are my hero!
Look at the face of your outlet. If you were to plug it in the outlet, the wide pronged side of the outlet has the silver terminals/neutral (white) wires correct?.
Don't worry about taking the wind out of my sails. You know this design as well as anyone, so feel free to speak your mind. It is because of your thread that I built the stand this way. Maybe you would have more luck articulating the purpose of the floater.
As far as the switch/receptacles go, each switch will control the respective outlet/receptacle it is attached to. The GFCI will protect the lower switch/outlets from ground faults, etc. Not sure what you mean by overkill on this. The single point of failure is that if the GFCI trips, everything will shut off. If you are thinking I missed something, please explain. I don't want to overlook things while I am still building it out. It is easier to make changes now than later. :)
I was only able to buy 1/4" eight foot sheets of oak plywood at Lowes. For the canopy, I am going to use 3/4" ply, but I only bought 2' X 4' sheets. I have a plan that will require some work to make it fit the actual tank.
As far as heros go, you're mine. If it wasn't for you and your thread, I wouldn't be building it. :)
Once again, feel free to comment as you wish. I won't mind at all.
Essentially it is not an afterthought. The whole point is that you don't want the load of the tank, water, substrate, etc. to be transfered through the floater to the floor. You would effectively be taking all of that weight and transfering it to your floor rather than evenly transfering it to the lower frame (which covers more area).
If it doesn't make sense to you now, read the original link to Intermediate_Noobs thread at the top of mine. From there it will take you to the reef central threads where this design was originally thought of.
It is definately not an afterthought. I originally thought like you do, but now I am a believer.
Thanks for your input. I do agree that it does look like what you are suggesting. I just wanted to be sure. I might tear a receptacle apart just to make sure.
As far as the GFCI, I was talking about overkill on my setup not yours. I used two GFCI outlet (and a covered outlet) where you only used one. My thought was this. If water got on something, only one receptacle would trip. Therefore, my lights (two of the receptacles because of multiple timers) are on their own GFCI outlets. If they get wet, the lights go off, big deal. For the pump and heater, they are on their own outlet with a protective splash guard over it. Inside this is a switch so I can turn the pump on and off for water changes and a constant for the heater.
So wow that is confusing without a picture. I will try to post one tonight. Basically all I was saying is that with a single GFCI, if it trips, everything goes down. I added a secondary precaution to keep my pump and heater going. Thoughts on this?
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