DIY - Fluval Chi hood / CFL stand
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:55 PM   #1
jointbeaker
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DIY - Fluval Chi hood / CFL stand


I've been lurking on the forum for about 2 months now, and it's doing nothing but driving the girlfriend insane.

I picked up a Fluval Chi 5 gallon from the local PetSmart for 35 dollars, and wanted to make some sort of hood/cover/stand for a cheap CFL setup. If nothing else, it gave me something to do on a Saturday. Cheers....Here's the photos.

It all started with this:


I got it home, and it sat for a few days. I decided I didn't want to use anything other than the tank on this Chi...so off came the light/filter and the mount that was epoxied on the back of the tank:




Friday night, I get the idea, and stores are closing....run to Michaels quick, and get some thinner 3/16" plywood, almost like balsawood. I'm not sure how this'll hold up in the long run...but if it fails, I could always make something out of thin gage stainless at work. I guess I'm considering this my cheap test project. Heh.

I'm currently looking for housing, but stuck in the same apartment I've been in, the last 5yrs. Needless to say, my workbench is my kitchen/breakfast table area.

Also, I have zero woodworking tools, clamps, or anything of the sort, so here's what I was working with.


I'd lay the mat'l down, and place two 25lb weights on it, and cut straight edges with a dremel cut off wheel. Sounds honky as all getout...but apparently I have pretty smooth handwork as all of the cuts turned out pretty well.

I've never kept a planted tank before, but have just barely started dabbling with an amazon sword in my other chi in the kitchen. I really like the idea of more of a planted tank...and this is going to be my testbed.

After I got the boards cut, I marked off, and drilled holes for the corner braces. I'm sure I went overboard, but it was fun and I definitely lost track of time.

The rest of the pictures:





looking up inside the tank, you can see how the corner braces work with the bolts to sit on the edge of the tank.


Sitting at my desk, it'll be easy to watch from here.


From light source to bottom of tank, I've currently got approx 17" in depth. From light source to water is more like 6".

I've got nothing in the tank yet, and probably won't for a while. Baby steps for teh noob. Hehe.

Lighting: 6" diameter clamp style worklight, 13W Sylvania 6500k CFL

Thoughts? Criticism?
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:31 AM   #2
PinoyBoy
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Great DIY!

The hood looks very nice and modern, but have you thought about filtration, heating, and other stuff that goes in the tank? Also how about water evaporation? I wouldn't want the wood to warp because of it.

Are the metal brackets sitting on the edge of the glass?

PS: Clean the computer screen.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:36 AM   #3
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How is the light resting on the wood? I see like a full wood cover in that bottom up shot. I would paint the wood with some type of water-proofing material so it doesn't warp overtime due to evaporation as PinoyBoy mentioned.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinoyBoy View Post
Great DIY!

The hood looks very nice and modern, but have you thought about filtration, heating, and other stuff that goes in the tank? Also how about water evaporation? I wouldn't want the wood to warp because of it.
I'm not sure which direction I want to go for filtration. In my other Chi, I've got an AC20. I had a pc of glass cut at Lowes to act as a cover, which DID help with evaporation quite a bit. I was going to talk to my dad tonight back home, to see what he'd recommend finishing this wood with. It's cheap, I've got more time invested in it, than dollars at this point. That's what makes it cool to me I guess

Quote:
Are the metal brackets sitting on the edge of the glass?

PS: Clean the computer screen.
Yes, right now the metal brackets are sitting on the edge of the glass.

and...my computer screen is always like that. I clean it one minute, I turn around, and it's back to being dirty...

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diwu13 View Post
How is the light resting on the wood? I see like a full wood cover in that bottom up shot. I would paint the wood with some type of water-proofing material so it doesn't warp overtime due to evaporation as PinoyBoy mentioned.
the light sits on a full wood cover, that's resting on the top series of bolts. I haven't cut the hole for the light yet, as I don't have any tools to make that an easy job. I plan on cutting a hole, and then making some sort of posts/guides so the light can't move around too much.... Make sense?

I'm not planning on filling the tank for a while yet...I'm still reading and getting to know what all I want to put in it.

Thanks for the feedback. Cheers.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Ah I see. Yea because the wood looked like a solid piece which would block all the light :P. You don't have to worry about posts/guides for the light as it won't move around at all if it's just resting on the hood, but if you'd like it wouldn't hurt.

I think you could get a can of epoxy for cheap, black as well, and painting the wood/braces with that would match your screen/speaker/mouse. Just a thought!

And I have the logitech mx revolution mouse as well ! So good haha. I didn't figure out there was a button under your thumb until I installed the "setpoint" program.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diwu13 View Post
Ah I see. Yea because the wood looked like a solid piece which would block all the light :P. You don't have to worry about posts/guides for the light as it won't move around at all if it's just resting on the hood, but if you'd like it wouldn't hurt.

I think you could get a can of epoxy for cheap, black as well, and painting the wood/braces with that would match your screen/speaker/mouse. Just a thought!

And I have the logitech mx revolution mouse as well ! So good haha. I didn't figure out there was a button under your thumb until I installed the "setpoint" program.
Thanks....

I Do still need to cut the hole for the light to pass thru, but considering I was making all of my cuts the other day with a cut off wheel on the dremel...I may just wait a bit to do that up.

I don't have anything to put in this tank yet, so I'm really not in that big of a hurry.

I'm thinking of either just sealing the wood with a clear sealant, or....I've really enjoyed a lot of the ADA style flat/semigloss cabinets I've seen lately....so I dunno which way I'll end up going.

Thanks for the feedback.

ps- I like the MX Rev too. It was a replacement for another Logitech mouse that crapped out on me. Called up Logitech support, and within 2 weeks or so, had an upgraded mouse, as the one that quit on me, they didn't have parts for anymore. Nice work Logitech.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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little update here. I really like how this looks on the desk, so I'll probably go ahead and seal the wood with something....still undecided if it's going to be a clear true "sealant" or some sort of colored epoxy.



Cheers.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:20 AM   #9
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Oh nice! So you already cut the wood on top for the light to shine through? How did you cut it?

Hm... clear or black. That's a hard choice. Clear would make it match your desk. But black would make it match everything else haha. I think if you do paint it black you should paint the outside of the shop light black as well to match. If you leave it clear you won't have to paint the light.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:14 AM   #10
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I have to say it again, fantastic build!
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:50 AM   #11
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Wow looks awesome! What about sinking the clamp light down inside the hood a bit to hide it more? Really nice work!
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:35 AM   #12
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I have to say it again, fantastic build!
Thanks mega. I guess I made this up out of boredom, as I never really used it.

I'm thinking of starting it up tho soon, so I might just give it a go yet.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrmotorhead View Post
Wow looks awesome! What about sinking the clamp light down inside the hood a bit to hide it more? Really nice work!
Matt
The height of the light, was limited basically by the materials I ended up using. The balsawood was cheap enough to play with, and decide if I liked the layout/functionality/looks of the structure. If I didn't like the outcome, I wouldn't be out too much money, and was able to spend an afternoon creating something.

When the light sinks deeper into the hood, it gets closer to the substrate and waterline. If I wanted the clamp light more hidden, I suppose a wider board could have been used, but it didn't necessarily worked with my budget here.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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How did you remove the epoxy part from the Chi??
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