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Old 08-11-2009, 12:38 AM   #1
notoptimal
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Building a corner stand, got a Q


Recently I had the good fortune to pick up a 44 gallon corner tank, its (14 year old) stand and a Fluval 404:



The tank was previously used for saltwater, and I'll be using it for a freshwater planted tank. My issue is with the stand -- that door is only 9" across when open, and trying to get in there to service a canister filter, its plumbing, CO2 and the heater (if need be) would be a major PITA. So I've decided to take the plunge and build a DIY stand.

I am planning on building a 2x4 frame standing 24" tall, topped by 1/2" plywood. My question centers on supporting the front of the tank. Normally, on a rectangular tank, the supports go at the corners. For this shape of tank, I think I have two options for supporting the front:



The three black squares are the vertical supports at the three square corners. My options are the red and blue supports - would it be better to have 2 supports at the two front corners (red), or would the one support in the middle (blue) suffice? They'd all be 2x4's, and yes, they'd be under the top frame (that's just a scribble to show what I'm thinking ). I'd like to go with the single support since that provides more room to access the internals, but figured I'd put it out to the hive...er...aquarium...mind before finding out with a full 44 gallon tank.

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Old 08-11-2009, 12:52 AM   #2
redman88
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i am no expert but i think the one blue would work then you could make two doors and open the entire bottom up with just a middle support in the way.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:22 AM   #3
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If the tank was being supported just by the posts, either way would work. But, since the tank should be supported around its lower plastic frame, it is really the horizontal "beams" around the outside that do the supporting. If you make that frame with good enough corner joints I think you could make it work with the blue post, but it would be much easier to make and make it structurally sound if you use the red posts. That way each "beam" is supported at its ends.

Why not use the red posts, but make the door in front be a two piece door, with each half hinged to open from the outermost black corners. The doors would then be bent to fit around the outside. It would look great, and have good access too. You could also add a second hinge to each door, like a folding door, so the hinge in the middle makes it bend around that post.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:42 AM   #4
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why not use a sheet of plywood for the top and top frame two layers of 3/4 inch should make a strong top to connect the uprights too. then you don't have to worry about any joints that need support. then you would be able to do just 4 uprights, and still make the bi-fold doors for great access.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
If the tank was being supported just by the posts, either way would work. But, since the tank should be supported around its lower plastic frame, it is really the horizontal "beams" around the outside that do the supporting. If you make that frame with good enough corner joints I think you could make it work with the blue post, but it would be much easier to make and make it structurally sound if you use the red posts. That way each "beam" is supported at its ends.
My thinking with the blue post is that it, combined with the 1/2" plywood on top, would make the front corner joints not as critical for weight bearing, as the three corners and the entire front beam would be the main weight bearing points, with the other short beams being there more for torsional support. I am not an engineer, though, so that might not be accurate. As for corner joints, I was intending to bevel-cut the front piece with 45 angles and then drive two 3" deck screws into the ends.

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Why not use the red posts, but make the door in front be a two piece door, with each half hinged to open from the outermost black corners. The doors would then be bent to fit around the outside. It would look great, and have good access too. You could also add a second hinge to each door, like a folding door, so the hinge in the middle makes it bend around that post.
For access, I was planning on making removable face panels instead of doors for ease of construction and because of the tank's future location. With the red posts, I'd have about 9" of access width on the square sides and 6" on the diagonal front, and the posts would almost be completely under the front beam anyway (barring the use of 2x2s or bevel-ripping a 2x4). With the blue post, I've got two 14" wide accesses instead, which makes 2-handed access a bit easier. For size reference, the two long sides of the frame would be 22" long (same as the long sides of the tank).

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why not use a sheet of plywood for the top and top frame two layers of 3/4 inch should make a strong top to connect the uprights too. then you don't have to worry about any joints that need support. then you would be able to do just 4 uprights, and still make the bi-fold doors for great access.
Redman, I'm not quite sure what you're describing with the double-layer of plywood...do you mean to use a double layer of 3/4" for the top and connect legs to that? If I've got that right, I'd be worried about twisting under load. I'm using BiscuitSlayer's 75 gallon stand build as the guideline design for the frame on this build.

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:10 AM   #6
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two 3/4inch for a total thickness of 1.5 inches and 2x4"s for the legs
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:28 AM   #7
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A doubled 3/4 inch plywood top would probably work fine, with the single post in the middle. I would still put a 2x3 frame under the top just to make sure the load is distributed well. Of course, you can look at the stands the LFS sell, and wonder why we worry about any of our DIY stands.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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Put two posts in the red location.

The one blue post in the middle is not an acceptable alternative. When you do this, some of the tank is "hanging" outside the footprint formed by the four posts. The plywood top is then a cantilever - it supports some of the weight while being suspended in the air. The only thing that supports that weight is the bending moment of the plywood. Is even 1.5" thick enough? Maybe, if the two 3/4" were carefully glued together to act as one rigid beam. Without some analysis it's best not to trust it, though, IMHO.

There's no reason to use vertical 2x4 construction lumber posts here, if you're concerned about room. This is not a room addition. You could make the two back panels out of 1/2" plywood only, connected with a rabbet joint. The two posts in the red locations could be 2x2's, and that'd be more than enough. If you're making the 3 front panels removable, have the plywood top rest on 3 1x4 beams that run along the perimeter, connecting the two posts to each other, and to the back.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:11 PM   #9
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What PDX-PLT said
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:17 AM   #10
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Hmmm....PDX-PLT, you've made some good points. I lack the tools and skill at this point in my DIY career to attempt a rabbet joint (that I'll trust), so I think I'll use 2x2's at the red post position and 2x4s in the rest of the frame as originally intended. Yes, way overbuilt, but being way overbuilt = peace of mind in my book.

Thanks for the input...once I get the build underway I'll try to get pics up here.

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Old 08-12-2009, 03:55 PM   #11
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What about cutting out square holes on the other 2 "front sides" and
then put doors over the holes??

Could that be an option??

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
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What about cutting out square holes on the other 2 "front sides" and
then put doors over the holes??

Could that be an option??
It could be, but those sides are also structural -- the stand is 3/4" plywood supported with what look to be 1x4's in the back and along the top and bottom (similar, I think, to PDX's recommendation of what I should do). It can't be seen in the photograph, but the top platform also has (salt)water damage resulting in some peeling & layer separation. It's also 14 years old, and there may be non-obvious water damage in the wood.

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