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Old 02-01-2005, 03:36 AM   #16
scolley
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IMO, Sean is right on target here, identifying a very good way to tackle this problem. Like the old problem of lifting the world, if you only have a lever that is long enough - you can do anything with the right tool. No argument there. As mentioned in my last post though, I've put a few constraints on the tools I select. (please folks, don't for a minute think that I don't appreciate your input, because I DO! Thanks!)

IUnknown - I don't know what that is, but it looks real slick. And it might even not violate my goal of trying to create a process that is repeatable by your average guy or gal. Assuming of course that you can tell me that those things are easily purchased at a reasonable cost (though they do look a bit nice, translated "expensive").

Problem is, I don't think they will help.

From the looks of it, the tool (whatever it is called) will help put a right angle on a corner, where the four corners are held in compression. That would help for the top corners. But as I mentioned in my last post, I don't think the top corners are a problem. It's the bottom corners that are the problem. And I don't think that device can hold them in compression because the bottom pane would get in the way. You'd just be trying not compress the bottom sheet against itself, unless the total perimeter of the sizes exceeded that of the bottom pane, which I believe would be a serious design flaw (a problem I dealt with about three posts ago).

But lets assume for a minute that my argument above is somehow fuzzy thinking. Even still, the tool you are showing seems to be geared to keeping the sides square, relative to the other sides. And IMO that's just not a real problem. Anything you can set with a square should be good enough. I.E. - it should not be a big deal if the supposedly rectangular tank, when viewed from above, turns out to be a bit of a rhombus.

The real structural problems set in when the sides are not at right angles to the bottom. Then new, and evil, stresses begin to be applied. And short of Sean's "build something" solution, I'm yet aware of anything to help that problem beyond a carpenter's square.
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Old 02-01-2005, 06:31 AM   #17
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I wonder if the aquarium manufactures put this much thought into this process.... I think the tank cost would weigh much less than the headaches involved in this DIY endeavor...But there is nuthin better than pointin out the fact that you built an awsome lookin display all by yerself!!
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Old 02-01-2005, 12:13 PM   #18
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You know that little jig you showed a picture of would be useful while you are taping the sides together after glueing them. It would free up both hands and hold the top together until you got the tape up there. Then you could slip it backover the tape to hold it together while you worked on other corners. For the bottom, maybe just a strap clamp like they use for chair legs. It's like a strap hold down for cargo on your roof rack only you can apply more pressure with it.
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:36 PM   #19
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Scolley,
I thought of them more as being extra hands. With the right angle clamps you would build the tank in steps as described before. First you would do the front and right panel and let it dry over night, then do the other side, etc. I would think that using tape would not be sturdy enough, and using the right angle clamps would let you concentrate on the silicon job (most important part). I don't see how you make the gap with the spacers and tape on the bottom panel, once you take the spacers out to start the silicon, I don't see the tape holding things in place. With the right angle clamps, you put the spacers in place, get everything where you want it, tighten, remove the spacers, and then concentrate on filling in the gap with silicon.

I think they are like $7 each at your local hardware store.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:00 PM   #20
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I have made a few 20g in the past ...all glass.

A few years back I decided I wanted a bigger tank, the cost to buy was way out, si I looked into builting all glass.....glass in this area is really $$$ so I decided not to.

Still wanting a bigger tank....after much research I have built two plywood tanks....one is 75g and the other is 95g

They are about 10 years old now and look new.

My cost was way down....and I found it much easier working with wood than large glass panels. Wood is a little more forgiving too. You can also be a littel more creative.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:09 PM   #21
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Man, you guys are killin' me!

Ok... thanks Mark.

Sean, I get the point on the strap and the jigs, but having done it once now, I know. You don't need them. Masking tape works really, really well. There's a tiny bit of sliding around as you assemble, but once you square things and tape it that way, it stays that way. I've already proved that to myself.

But IUnknown, I can't ignore your 2-sides, then 1 side the next day... suggestion. THAT I'm attracted to. And a jig might help, and I don't consider $7 too much. Not next to the glass...

The BIG problem I had with the test tank was not keeping it square. The big problem, the one that created the biggest mess, was the time constraint. Having to get the whole thing siliconed, positioned, taped, and cleaned up in the 10 minutes before the silicone starts skinning over was nearly impossible. And that was on a little tank.

Using a jig to set two sides, get them perfect, and let them cure before starting the other side is a good idea. Gotta think real hard on that one.

Oh yeah, you don't take the spacers out. You silicone them in. Maybe I didn't make that clear earlier. They stay there until 24 hours worth of curing, then you rip them out and fill the hole with silicone in a dosing syringe.

I'll be home tomorrow, and will post my "detail instructions". In the interim, I'm going to think about that jig/multi-day construction combination. Could be a winner!
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:25 PM   #22
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Tape the bast**ds and you will not make a mess, use the square!
Take your time and allow it to dry 100%. Then, add as suggested, in stages.

I make the square first, then lower it to the bottom.

A 48" length needs to be rather strong, 3/8" glass will not do.
It will bow without support in the center and maybe break.

The sides/bottom can be 3/8"
Most glass needs to be thicker.

I had them drill bulkhead holes for the larger tanks also. Built in over flowers look nicer than stuff in the tank IMO.
Adding a sponge to the teeth hides that from view also.

Have liberal use of clamps and check the angles a few times.


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Old 02-02-2005, 12:47 AM   #23
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I agree with plantbrain.

I think the glass you selected will not strong enough for the tank. The problem here is the lack of a brace. I think you can build the tank, but you will need the braces.

As much as I hate being the engineer, let me demonstrate.

In a stationary fluid, the pressure is P=rho*g*h, where rho is the density of the fluid, g is Newton's gravitational constant, and h is the depth from the surface.

If you really want to be correct, we should also add on one atmosphere's worth of pressure due to all the air on top of the water pressing down on it.

The reason that's not important usually is that the same air pressure pushes on the side of the aquarium walls and the net force is just from the water.

Still with me ? Good !

I'll do this in SI units and convert it in the end for you. The density of water rho is 1000 kg per cubic meter. g is 9.81 m/s**2, and h is any number from zero to 22 inches, the height of your tank which is also 0.5588 meter, depending on how far down the side we are.

The width (W) is 48" or 1.2192 meter (I am not bothering with the thickness of the glass for this case), and the total height H of 22" is 0.5588 meter.

Hold on. Almost there !

The force on the front side of the aquarium is the area of the piece times the pressure where the specific piece is height wise.

We'll think of little strips of height dh, width W, and depth h. The area of each strip is W*dh, and so the force on the strip is rho*g*h*W*dh.

For example, a 1" front panel strip at the bottom of the 22" high tank would have a pressure force of 169.759 Newtons or approx 38.17 pounds.

If we add all these up, we integrate over h, and get 0.5*rho*g*H*H*W.

Putting in the numbers, that's about 1867.354 newton = 419.7978806 pound-force

A total of 420 pound force pressing on the front panel.

To better visualize this, imagine the front glass pane supported only on the ends with two saw horses, and a 420 pound man standing on top in the middle of the pane. Do you think your glass thickness will take that ?

The sides will obviously be less, but the front and back panels will take the brunt of it.

Your glass thickness is insufficient, and the lack of braces just further condemns this project.



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Old 02-02-2005, 03:09 AM   #24
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Tom - Thanks for the good advice! Will follow, except the part about 3/8" glass. Clearly my diagrams are not clear. (Or maybe I need to go check my math???) The diagram is one using 1/2" glass, though that is not explicit in the diagram. But it should be evident if you add the dimensions up (maybe I should check!!!)

Nick - Hey Chemical Wizard! New moniker. Does that mean you can tell me where the calcium in my substrate went to? Just kidding, that's another thread...

I think 1/2 will work, which is what I've ordered. I must admit Nick, I can't follow your math, and am not even going to try. Especially since when I did, I think I found a flaw in your reasoning. That doesn't tell me that you are incorrect though. It seems to me that you know a lot more about this than I do. It tells me that there is something about what you wrote that I don't understand.

So, instead of me understanding that (tall order), maybe if you could please take a look at the following threads (provided by John P I think), and tell me if you think 1/2" without braces will be sufficient after reading those. 'Cuz I think it will.

Simple link

Complicated link

Thanks folks. This is going to be fun!
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Old 02-02-2005, 06:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackfrost
We'll think of little strips of height dh, width W, and depth h. The area of each strip is W*dh, and so the force on the strip is rho*g*h*W*dh.

If we add all these up, we integrate over h, and get 0.5*rho*g*H*H*W.
Must... resist... Calculus... integration... strips.... ARGH!!!!

Thanks for the college flashback.
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Old 02-03-2005, 03:49 PM   #26
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If aquarium obsessed can make a 1/2" thick 75 gallon, I don't see why you couldn't.
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Old 02-03-2005, 06:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IUnknown
If aquarium obsessed can make a 1/2" thick 75 gallon, I don't see why you couldn't.
Bingo! It can be done!!!


Further, before I decided on 1/2" (12.7mm) as the appropriate thickness of a 48"L (1219mm) x 22"H (559mm) tank, I used the glass thickness calculator found to the right in this link to calculate safety factor and glass deflection.

That yielded a safety factor of 5.1, which is much higher than anything posted on that same page, or on this page too. And it also yielded a massively acceptable deflection of 0.24mm"!


And Nick, I put 3/8" (9.525mm) into the same calculator above, and got a safety factor of 2.8, and a deflection of 0.58. Both numbers appear to be on the low end - something you should probably brace as a safety precaution, but it should still work if you don't. They fall within normal operational parameters.


I do believe 3/8" would work, and those sites appear to back that up, even if it is a tad risky. But moving up to 1/2" calculates out to a pure slam dunk!

Now my only problem is that it could be months before the glass is ready. Rats!
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Last edited by scolley; 02-03-2005 at 10:31 PM..
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:06 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley
Tom - Thanks for the good advice! Will follow, except the part about 3/8" glass. Clearly my diagrams are not clear. (Or maybe I need to go check my math???) The diagram is one using 1/2" glass, though that is not explicit in the diagram. But it should be evident if you add the dimensions up (maybe I should check!!!)
I think 1/2 will work, which is what I've ordered. I must admit Nick, I can't follow your math, and am not even going to try. Especially since when I did, I think I found a flaw in your reasoning. That doesn't tell me that you are incorrect though. It seems to me that you know a lot more about this than I do. It tells me that there is something about what you wrote that I don't understand.
Thanks folks. This is going to be fun!
As Nick mathimatically pointed out, I will be right in the end.
I learned the hard way, you can see the 75 gal 48" long tank without a rim on the DFW site in the gallery under plant fest.

It's the gar tank.

It has 3/8" glass and when I filled it, it bowed way too much.

I added a brace, the brace broke off!

So I added larger and more bracing!

I added water slowly.

3/8", from past experiences will not do on 48" !!!!!

3/8" is fine on my 24" 40 gal cubes

Math is great for modeling and predicting........experience will tell you more.
Unless it's tempered etc, I bet it'll bow like no tomorrow, it might not break, but it will at some point and it'll bow close to 1-2" outward.

Personally for these sizes, Acrylic is much better, lighter and since you spend this much, at least Acrylic can be buffed out if you scratch it.

Again, those larger panels=> 1/2"
The bottoms, sides can be less.

I ain't broke a tank yet and about 1/2 the larger tanks I have had over the years where broken freebie repair jobs!

I spent 20$ in glass and silicone and few hours for a 300-400$ tank.
But I'm careful about not screwing up, many aren't so careful.

But yes, 1/2 will be safe, get top beveled glass, it'll look nice and be nicer to work on.


Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:40 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain
It has 3/8" glass and when I filled it, it bowed way too much.
Understood Tom. But it didn't break, and you weren't comfortable until you braced it adequately. So I think your experience is bearing out the math I linked to earlier. Sure, experience absolutely trumps a formula. But for someone in the future that may not have the benefit of your experience, it could be good for them to know that formulas linked to earlier seem to work. But that your experience provides an excellent reference point...

If you use the formulas linked to earlier, and you get a 2.8 Safety Factor (that's about what Tom would have had), it's gonna bow - more than you are going to like. Shoot for a much higher factor.

The discussion on the 3/8" glass is academic really, since I ordered 1/2". I should change the diagrams so that you don't have to do the math to realize that. It should be obvious.

I think I'll stick with 1/2" on the sides though. At approx. 18" wide, they are not a huge part of the expense, and I'm a bit nervous about the silicone. I'll sleep a lot easier with a 1/2" seam than a 3/8" one. Especially since I'm not planning on leaving much of a lip on the silicone. A seam of it 1/3 wider can only be a good thing.

Thanks for the tip on the bevel - already ordered!
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Old 02-06-2005, 01:57 PM   #30
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I went and looked at Tom Barr's gar tank at his site, and it is EXACTLY what I want to do. If that's 3/8", then I feel OK about the 1/2".

It's exciting to see it setup and done!
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