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Old 03-04-2013, 05:42 PM   #16
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I am not an engineer, but even if the screws under the top tank held, I would be worried about the plywood wanting to bow outward at the front corners. I do like the concept, though.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #17
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One other thing. Your plywood is cut wrong. The grain should run top to bottom not front to back. And it's not just cosmetic. Although plywood has multiple plys it is stronger in one direction. That direction happens to be with the grain, just like solid wood. As has been said: Glue is your best friend.

BTW if you had used 3/4" plywood and proper joinery the 1 x 4s would not have been need for anything except trim and you wouldn't have needed a single screw.

You're putting a 29 in front. And a sump inside. How will you access the sump?
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:20 PM   #18
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Y not just go with 2x4 all the way?
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
One other thing. Your plywood is cut wrong. The grain should run top to bottom not front to back. And it's not just cosmetic. Although plywood has multiple plys it is stronger in one direction. That direction happens to be with the grain, just like solid wood. As has been said: Glue is your best friend.

BTW if you had used 3/4" plywood and proper joinery the 1 x 4s would not have been need for anything except trim and you wouldn't have needed a single screw.

You're putting a 29 in front. And a sump inside. How will you access the sump?

If there is a complete frame of the 1x4s on the inside, the plywood will effectively just be cosmetic, with some reinforcement against racking. But, yeah, you can do a stand with just plywood, and have a quite strong one at that. I don't have the precision to cut stuff that accurately my self, but for those who do, they can build a simpler stand with fewer materials, and have it come out quite strong and nice looking.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:56 AM   #20
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If there is a complete frame of the 1x4s on the inside, the plywood will effectively just be cosmetic, with some reinforcement against racking. But, yeah, you can do a stand with just plywood, and have a quite strong one at that. I don't have the precision to cut stuff that accurately my self, but for those who do, they can build a simpler stand with fewer materials, and have it come out quite strong and nice looking.
Believe me I know. Sometimes you just don't have the money for 3/4" oak but with 1x4s and 1/4 you can make a great stand.

Your materials with a 1x4 skeleton behind 1/2" ply is really more not less material.

And I do remember before my skills were where they are now building skeleton cabinets. In fact last year I took apart a solid wood cabinet I built 27 years ago. (solid wood not skeleton) I couldn't believe the sloppiness of the joints and the poor design. Now I build high end stuff as a hobby. If I were to take it apart in another 27 years I know the joints will be right. I won't look back and get that letdown feeling. Every time I visit my mother's house and look at the cabinet I built under the sink I about want to cry. It is terrible. But I built it with wood I had at the skill level I was at. Man I hate that sink cabinet.

The main thing I see with his plywood really is the grain direction.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:58 AM   #21
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If there is a complete frame of the 1x4s on the inside, the plywood will effectively just be cosmetic, with some reinforcement against racking.
Yup, I'm not worried about the plywood because it is only acting as a shear panel. It's equivalent to diagonal bracing, which mostly only adds strength against racking. I loved solid mechanics and structures in college; took some additional classes for my MS too. (hint... I know what I'm doing, so don't worry, folks)

Not shown in the original pics are the last couple jack studs that vertically support the frames under the tanks. Also, I'm gusseting (plywood triangles in the corners) the back of the stand for strength against racking in that plane. This is the only weakness that is preventing me from setting it up and getting some water flowing.

I don't have access to the tools to do better jointery right now. I just wanted to make something that was good enough and to show how most folks can get by with a few simple tools. Well... how to make something a little nicer looking than the utilitarian concrete block and framing lumber stand. (I'm not hating)
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:17 AM   #22
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(hint... I know what I'm doing, so don't worry, folks)
Now I am worried.




Only thing that bothered me was the grain direction in all honesty. But I won't see it from my house.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:33 AM   #23
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One other thing. Your plywood is cut wrong. The grain should run top to bottom not front to back. And it's not just cosmetic. Although plywood has multiple plys it is stronger in one direction. That direction happens to be with the grain, just like solid wood.
You're right about the strength of plywood depending on the orientation. In industrial plywood, each ply is about the same thickness. If and only if there are an odd number of plys, the outside face plys define the strongest orientation, which is usually in the sheet's long dimension. I'm in 100% agreement with you on this.

Then I go look at my 1/2" veneer plywood and notice two things. First, the veneer thickness is ~1/32" to 1/64" thick (Google agrees) and the three plys inside are ~1/6" thick each. Second, the grain of the outermost inside plys is perpendicular to the veneer grain. It is likely that these plys contribute more to the composite strength than the veneer. In that case, the strong direction is likely to be perpendicular to the orientation of the veneer. If so, this is dumb luck on my part because I payed zero attention to grain.

This is neat stuff. Unfortunately, the text Indychus linked earlier doesn't get into the plys or the distinction between industrial plywood and hardwood veneer. I'm sure somebody has written something. I'm not sure anybody else on this forum cares about learning more.

However, for conventional furniture making, you're right that my veneer grain is in the wrong direction. Yes, it is unattractive. Call me silly, but I don't care. This is not my nice stand, just my cabin fever project. My grandchildren are definitely not inheriting it. This is proof of concept for me. I hope this attitude doesn't offend you too much.

I need to get some water in this baby and turn everybody's attention away from my shoddy carpentry. Maybe I should take pictures of the first cabinet I built to convince you I'm not a hack. haha!
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:12 AM   #24
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You're right about the strength of plywood depending on the orientation. In industrial plywood, each ply is about the same thickness. If and only if there are an odd number of plys, the outside face plys define the strongest orientation, which is usually in the sheet's long dimension. I'm in 100% agreement with you on this.

Then I go look at my 1/2" veneer plywood and notice two things. First, the veneer thickness is ~1/32" to 1/64" thick (Google agrees) and the three plys inside are ~1/6" thick each. Second, the grain of the outermost inside plys is perpendicular to the veneer grain. It is likely that these plys contribute more to the composite strength than the veneer. In that case, the strong direction is likely to be perpendicular to the orientation of the veneer. If so, this is dumb luck on my part because I payed zero attention to grain.

This is neat stuff. Unfortunately, the text Indychus linked earlier doesn't get into the plys or the distinction between industrial plywood and hardwood veneer. I'm sure somebody has written something. I'm not sure anybody else on this forum cares about learning more.

However, for conventional furniture making, you're right that my veneer grain is in the wrong direction. Yes, it is unattractive. Call me silly, but I don't care. This is not my nice stand, just my cabin fever project. My grandchildren are definitely not inheriting it. This is proof of concept for me. I hope this attitude doesn't offend you too much.

I need to get some water in this baby and turn everybody's attention away from my shoddy carpentry. Maybe I should take pictures of the first cabinet I built to convince you I'm not a hack. haha!
Brother it doesn't offend me one bit. It just goes against the natural forces of nature and the earth and could cause a catastrophic collapse of something or other and it will be entirely your fault. Just didn't want that on your conscience.
In my "epic" project which is almost, finally over I have a cabinet that's 54" wide. Plywood is 48" Grain has to, absolutely must, run top to bottom. It hurt to have that much waste but I hopefully will find another project to use it up. There are some things that I am OCD about. Doing it right is one of them
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:54 PM   #25
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Brother it doesn't offend me one bit. It just goes against the natural forces of nature and the earth and could cause a catastrophic collapse of something or other and it will be entirely your fault. Just didn't want that on your conscience.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #26
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I loved solid mechanics and structures in college; took some additional classes for my MS too.
I remember way back taking a strength and materials class which I guess was the predecessor to your solid mechanics course. That was a great class. Got to destroy a bunch of things all in the name of science.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:55 AM   #27
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I updated the original post with a fresh picture showing all the vertical members and diagonal bracing I added in the top back corners for some vastly improved racking strength.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:10 AM   #28
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Here's what I've been up to the past couple months with this multi-tank stand (MTS... haha).



Up top is a 20L grow-out tank of sorts for an Anubias coffeefolia and a couple Java Fern rhizomes I had left over. What we got here is inert substrate, 60W equivalent LED in a shop lamp light, HOB... a quick-and-dirty tank setup to get momentum built back up on this project. Right now it has 11 neon tetras, but it previously held my 6 Torquoise Rainbowfish for quarantine. This tank won't stay in this setup for much longer.

Check out the little Java Fern plantlets growing on the roots off of this rhizome... this is the only one I've seen this happen with.



You'll notice that I have Peace Lilies sprouting out of the tops of both these tanks. That's an experiment I started about a month ago with the suction cup planters I got from Riparium Supply. So far so good. There's new leaf growth and I see the roots growing/working their way through the media. These plants represent 1/2 of the plants I thinned out of a Peace Lilly pot I bought for $8.99 or something from one of the big home improvement stores. I plan to supplement with more planters made with similar-looking clear acrylic suction shower things I found at Meijer in the bathroom section. They're big and are shaped like a fat slice of pie to fit into the corner. I'll have to get some more plant species to try out with this. (I should document this and share if I remember.)



My intention is to have more riparium plants in the top tank to add to the height. I'm going for the most use of the vertical space.

On the bottom we have another 20L with dirt and a Flourite Black gravel cap (kinda silly, but I had the Flourite already). Sponge filter, 50W heater, and two 60W equivalent LED bulbs in some reconfigured spotlight fixtures. I'm not happy with how the bulbs stick out of the fixtures... I don't think I used the appropriate bulb size.

The dirt on the bottom is Miracle Grow Organic Choice Garden Soil (never again... too much wood) with a little less than a pound of Amaco Mexican Red Clay broken into little balls and mixed in somewhat. Tannins leaching were way higher than I expected... needed 2x 50% water changes each week or more to keep up with tannins for the first ~6 weeks and I have reduced to weekly changes. Using RO water at 6 degrees of hardness with Equilibrium, and weekly doses of 2mL Seachem Flourish for micro-nutrients.

I planted relatively heavily in the beginning. I got most of my plants for the bottom tank from Dustin at Aquatic Jungles out of appreciation for his prolific YouTube videos; they include an unidentified Sword, Jungle Vals, Dwarf Sag., Anubias (barteri?), rotala, and some Water Sprite or something that didn't make it. The Jungle Vals are all rotting off at the substrate level and floating away, and I don't know why. I added from my LFS a bunch of crypts that completely melted and are sheepishly growing back, plus a clump of Myriophyllum mattogrossense that melted but is regrowing from the tips of the stems. These last two plant species look like hell, but I'm going to give them their time.

My plants from Aquatic Jungles arrived just before I went on a week vacation back in August. So, I let them float in the top tank because the bottom one didn't even have water in it. While they were floating around up there with the Turquoise Rainbows, the 'bows must have gotten frisky and scattered an egg or two that I must have transferred to the bottom tank. About two weeks ago I found a tiny fry wiggling around while I was removing plant debris and wood bits during a water change. He must be chowing down on all the wee beasties in the newly-dirted tank.



My next steps are to move that top tank somewhere else, move the bottom tank up top, and rebuild one of my 29 gallon tanks to sit down in the bottom spot (notice the gap between the tanks that ought to reduce with the taller 29 tank). I got a submersible sump pump and built some overflow plumbing to tie the tanks together with a hidden 10 gallon tank behind the stand as a sump. The overflow system worked great in my tests, but I'm not ready to tie the tanks together quite yet. I'll put off showing the plumbing for another post.
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