DIY Hood, stand, LED lights
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:31 AM   #1
moonshinetheslacker
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DIY Hood, stand, LED lights


This whole plan got started because my wife wanted to throw out a bunch of scrap bamboo flooring we had sitting around for the past couple of years. I know I want to do a project with it, but I wasn't sure what... So as she was loading my truck up with bamboo, it came to me! An aquarium stand! Not to mention, we already have a bunch of lumber so it will be super cheap!

heh... that's how it started that is. So far I haven't touched the stand, but have spent over 200 on the hood.

The tank is a 75 gallon that I got off craigslist (I paid WAY too much, since I'm not going to need the stand or hood it came with) I'm going for an asian theme for the whole tank. I'll try to put a basic outline of what the stand will look like online tomorrow.

I've began the hood and have finished 90% of the assembly. I need to add a spring hinge somewhere inside it, or maybe a couple small gas pistons. I have two 20 watt LED flood lights on order right now, and I have a 10 Watt already. If it's not enough light, there will be plenty of room to add in more. I'm also going to get a couple computer fans to blow along the lights. After running the 10 Watt for 12 hours a day, it's pretty warm to the touch. Certainly wouldn't burn you, but it would be uncomfortable to hold in your bare hands for more than 10 seconds.

The stand is going to be mainly made out of reclaimed lumber, and will cost FAR less than the hood is going to end up costing me. The legs for the stand are going to be made out of 3x12's which I am cutting with a band saw to have them slope along the sides. The ends, and doors of the stand will be made out of scrap bamboo flooring that I have laying around. There will also be a piece of bamboo inlay going around the top of the 3x12's. And the aquarium will sit directly on a large DIY butcher board made out of 2x6's. My original plan was to pour a concrete counter top (Just got done building a concrete mantel) but I decided the butcher board will be less time consuming, and a LOT more forgiving.

Oh, the oak! Yeah, there will be some oak thrown in there in a couple places. But the oak is reclaimed as well. I dismantled a few old palettes at work, and sanded down the oak pieces. And the 3x12's came from an old dock that got torn down near my house. They're pressure treated, so I'm going to do a bit of practice staining on some scrap pieces, to see how the wood will turn out. I don't know what effect that green will have on the stains, other than make them a whole lot darker, and probably a little... um... green. But hey, on the upside, if my tank leaks while I'm on a 6 month vacation, and nobody notices, then my floors might rot out, but the feet for my stand will be in great shape!

The wood will be three tones. Very dark brown on the legs, and the hood. Yellow (the bamboo) and my own concoction of mixed reds to make the butcher board and a couple pieces of oak look like antique cherry.

I ran into a bit of a problem with the hood, when I discovered that my miter saw is just a hair too small to cut very large crown moulding. I was able to hold the pieces in place, but just barely, and wasn't able to keep everything perfectly in line. The result... a hood which is less than square. Most people won't notice, but the people with an eye for detain certainly will.

Nonetheless, I do have the proper tools for everything else...

I think...

In any event, here are the beginnings of the hood.


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This piece is going to be glued on to the black rim that goes around the tank. I know a lot of people like rimless, or de-rimmed tanks, but I got to thinking. Why not show off the rim, instead of get rid of it?
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Sorry about the mess behind the aquarium. That's my son's "I love me" wall. I figured a refrigerator can only keep so much junk magneted to it. So I gave him a wall. I think he's forgiven me for sticking an aquarium in front of it, since I told him it was only temporary.

Plus I bribed him with a snickers. That probably helped too!
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More pics will come, hopefully after this weekend. Let me know what y'all think!
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:49 PM   #2
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Great wood-working skills! I'm not being mean, it was just first impression... the last pic looked like the top of a casket to me.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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LOL, I didn't even think about it looking like a casket. That's pretty funny. Thanks for the wood working complement. Here's a quick schematic of what it will look like when complete.

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Old 08-25-2011, 05:48 PM   #4
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This is going to be extremely interesting! Please keep the pictures coming. I have to say I have never seen an aquarium setup like that.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:03 PM   #5
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Very interesting design
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:53 AM   #6
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So asiany. Yup I just made that up.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
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"asiany" Good word!

Here's a few pics of what I've been able to get accomplished this weekend, and tonight. The router work is certainly a pain without a guide. I keep having to use clamps and pieces of wood. It works, but it's pretty difficult setting everything up to have that perfect snug fit.

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I decided not to go with the 4x12 idea namely due to the fact that the only cheap 4x12s I could get were actually 3x12s, AND by the time I ground away all the wood rot, there was so much curve to the sides/edges, that I would end up spending a TON of time to make them look... decent. And decent isn't really what I'm going for. So I decided to sandwich two 2x12s together for the legs.
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This one ^ is my LED floodlight experiment. It's a 20 watt, single diode, flood light. I have it set up about two feet above my 5 gallon bucket with a few plants and some dirt in it. We'll see how the plants do by the time I'm ready to get everything started.

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Old 08-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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This is going to end up looking awesome!
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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Hit a bit of a snag yesterday night as I was just about to begin glueing the butcher board together. I'm not sure if Home Depot got a bad lot of 2x6s, but the ones I got are apparently 1x3/8s, instead of 1x1/2 so my board was 3/4 of an inch too short. I'm REALLY glad I checked before glueing everything together. Otherwise I would have assembled the entire stand, and it wouldn't have had the proper depth for the aquarium! In any event, I'm hoping on having the stand completed by sunday evening.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:18 PM   #10
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Where did you get those 10W flood lights and how much?

Are they the ones that come with bare wires and all you have to do is wire it to a power plug or source?
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:21 PM   #11
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I got mine from Amazon for $30 a while back and it came bare. I had to wire it using spare computer cord.
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:23 PM   #12
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:23 AM   #13
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The 10W I got from amazon. 32 dollars, I believe? And the 20W I had to order from Ali Baba express. It's basically an amazon.com set up for international purchases. I had to sign some customs forms for a package coming in from China. The single 20W LED emitter is about an inch in diameter! A LOT of light.

I finished glueing the butcher board about half an hour ago, and I stained a couple pieces of practice wood. The practice wood is to figure out which exact stain/mix of stains I want to use, and how many coats to put on there.

Also, yes, the flood light just comes with bare wires. Just pick up a small junction box at Home Depot, to make your wiring connections in, and use wire nuts + electrical tape.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:19 AM   #14
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So I've managed to get some headway on a few things, but back tracked on others.

First off, the success! The DIY pine butcher block is coming out really well. I still need to stain the underside, and poly all sides, but it's looking good. There was a lot of angle-grinding going on in order to make everything sit together just right.Click image for larger version

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And after everything is sanded...
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A little stain...
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And the final coat of stain.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:33 AM   #15
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And a pic of the legs after being stained.
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But there's a problem... First, I was wondering whether or not to put another coat of stain on the legs, or if they would look good being a little lighter. So I set the legs in front of the butcher block. LOOKED GREAT!! So I then put some of the bamboo flooring between the legs. Oh.. My... Um... That looks... terrible? Great... so, I just got done sanding ALL the stain off all four legs, with 60 grit sandpaper. Then 120, then 220, then wood conditioner, and 220 again. MAN! I hate losing an entire night's worth of work... but hey, this thing needs to look good.
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Tomorrow will consist of re-staining the legs, staining the bottom of the butcher block, and polyacrylic coating some of the smaller trim-bits which will be going in the notched out areas of the legs.

Anybody have any ideas as to what level of gloss I should use? I would imagine most stands have a satin finish, as the glass of the tank will be pretty shiny, and be the main focus. I was thinking about using a high gloss on the butcher block, and satin or semi-gloss on everything else. The bamboo flooring has a satin finish.

P.S. Do NOT use my method for creating an actual butcher block. The pine will soak up moisture, bacteria, etc. This is not for eating on, just for holding a tank, and looking cool. Also, if I had more clamps, and hardwood, then I wouldn't have had to use the angle grinder to make everything sit properly. I think this is coming out pretty well, considering I'm using my front porch, and dining room to build this beast (thanks, honey. I owe you)
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