Making your own crossbraces?
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:18 PM   #1
FwoGiZ
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Making your own crossbraces?


I have a 4x3ft custom tank and the top is reinforced wide glass top with plastic trims around it.. I hope this make sense? if not I can upload pic when I am home!
So what would be my best way to go about making some kind of crossbraces so I can put lids on there?
So here's a drawing of what it looks like right now...
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and here's what I came up with for an idea... not sure if this would work or be solid enough!!! remember tank is 4x3ft..
basically all the red is additional glass pieces that I would silicone on top of the plastic trims+ those glass ledges
I know the glass wouldn't stick to the plastic with silicone so I would mostly put silicone on the glass ledge but some of the weight would be pu on the plastic trims too hopefully.
Click image for larger version

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I am sorry if this is confusing, I am having a hard time explaining this with the right terms... english isn't my first language

Thanks in advance for tips/opinions!
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:44 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure I understand what you're describing. It's basically a eurobrace with the plastic top trim still in place. This sort of arrangement is usually done without the plastic trim in place, but that's largely your choice.

But I have to ask why you are contemplating this? Is it simply to accommodate glass covers or in an attempt to fortify this custom build?

In either case, I wouldn't recommend glass strips in the two center braces. Possibly 1/2" thick, but anything thinner would run a very high risk of cracking at that span and width. It's difficult to explain the working properties of glass, but I wouldn't be comfortable with 3 foot long glass strips in the middle.

If the intent is to accommodate glass covers, silicone should adhere sufficiently to allow you to position polycarbonate (won't bow like acrylic) strips in the two middle locations while using glass along the perimeter. It will adhere, but the tensile strength of the bond isn't one to be relied upon too much.

Hopefully this helps.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
I'm pretty sure I understand what you're describing. It's basically a eurobrace with the plastic top trim still in place. This sort of arrangement is usually done without the plastic trim in place, but that's largely your choice.

But I have to ask why you are contemplating this? Is it simply to accommodate glass covers or in an attempt to fortify this custom build?

In either case, I wouldn't recommend glass strips in the two center braces. Possibly 1/2" thick, but anything thinner would run a very high risk of cracking at that span and width. It's difficult to explain the working properties of glass, but I wouldn't be comfortable with 3 foot long glass strips in the middle.

If the intent is to accommodate glass covers, silicone should adhere sufficiently to allow you to position polycarbonate (won't bow like acrylic) strips in the two middle locations while using glass along the perimeter. It will adhere, but the tensile strength of the bond isn't one to be relied upon too much.

Hopefully this helps.
quick google search and yup this is exactly what aquarium folks call euro brace!! (sorry im from vivarium hobby mostly;P)

Reason is to accomodate a very specific lid system, as I'll need both mesh (in the center, on the lenght) and around 3 lids on each side, attached with plastic hinges

I know exactly what you mean tho about the glass cracking in the center and I guess that's why I am here... that's the best idea I came with but I thought aquarium hobby would have much better ideas or tricks!
I was wondering if I use larger strips or thicker but then we'll be talking lotso money...

Polycarbonate eh? I guess that could be a good idea as I don't need the bonding strenght so much, it's mostly in a supportive way that I need those center braces.

Here's a drawing of what I have in mind... nothing definite tho but I gotta come up with a plan soon hehe.
I was also thinking maybe doing it with the mesh frame on the width instead of the lenght? with 4 bigger lids instead of 6
Click image for larger version

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if you are wondering, I need mesh because geckos will require some UV to go thru (UV doesnt go thru glass)
but then I need glass lids to have easy access everywhere to feed/clean but also to keep humidity in the tank.
big project haha :P
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:19 PM   #4
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UVB is effectively blocked by glass. However, at least 50 percent of UVA radiation can pass through windows. (Car windows have been proven to let in more than 60 percent.)
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
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Wow, that's pretty intricate. The best that I can can suggest is 3 inch wide braces made of 1/2" glass, and I'm a little hesitant about it. Now knowing where you're headed with this, I think even polycarbonate would bow under the weight eventually. I don't think the cost would be as difficult to manage as it will be to find a glass shop that will work with 1/2" glass in these dimensions.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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Wood?
Metal?


if not yeah I was thinking thick 4-6in wide 3ft long pieces of glass but that will be expensive cause I also have to use same thickness glass for the peripheral!
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Wood?
Metal?


if not yeah I was thinking thick 4-6in wide 3ft long pieces of glass but that will be expensive cause I also have to use same thickness glass for the peripheral!
Flat aluminum bar will sag at 3 feet I think and both wood and aluminum would have some adhesion issues at the ends. Aluminum U channel would work, structurally but I don't know how you can incorporate your glass covers into that.

As for the cost of 1/2" perimeter and center braces being expensive: Not many things are dirt cheap when it comes to any hobby. I think you'll have more trouble just finding a shop to cut 1/2" glass to your needs than being able to afford it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:25 PM   #8
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damn ok I'll check out the glass store...
if not, any other ideas? That's a hard one eh.... my biggest dilema on this build.

I also tryed finding plastic cross brace rims thing but obviously they don't exist in 4x3.

ugghh
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:34 PM   #9
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Honestly, that's about the best I can come up with. Even more honestly, you wouldn't be pleased with what a wooden strip or section of aluminum U channel would look like sitting on top of the tank. I think what you have is a custom tank that was built to run open-topped and your intended use just doesn't mesh well with the tank's design.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
Honestly, that's about the best I can come up with. Even more honestly, you wouldn't be pleased with what a wooden strip or section of aluminum U channel would look like sitting on top of the tank. I think what you have is a custom tank that was built to run open-topped and your intended use just doesn't mesh well with the tank's design.
That pretty much sums it up my friend!
Was originally a coast-2-coast salt water tank. But I needed all of the plumbing and that kinda size for my project plus price was alright.
Only issue I knew I was gonna encounter was the lid issue... I WILL HAVE TO figure out tho... I have already put lotso time and money on this masterpiece.
I want it to look kindo like a treasure chest so maybe building a wooden frame that would sit on top of the reinforced rim might do the tricks... I just hope the gecko won't be hiding around it ;(

if anyone else has genius idea lemme know hehe!
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:16 PM   #11
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What about using polycarbonate sheet to cover the top like a acrylic tank? Cut a sheet with the openings you need. Use the cut out material to put cleats inside the edges so it won't move around and leave it unfastened so you don't lose the rimless tank if you change your mind about how to use it later on. Excess could be used as braces and to support the covers. This would be very clean looking. Likely heavy but lighter than glass and less likely to break. Actually less than I thought, at least here. $300 for a 1/2"x48x48 sheet. Now shipping? Probably a huge ouch! Nope, wrong again shipping is included AND this particular place cuts your purchase for you. If they could only do the inside cuts you would be ready to go! Then again you aren't in the US or Canada but I suspect there are plastic dealers in your area as well. http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Lex...R-0-500AM48X48

Using hardwoods makes the whole thing much sleeker and lightweight. You probably could get away with 1/4" ply and 1x1" boards rather than the usual 1/2" and 1x4". A frame of 1/4" ply about 2" wide around the whole thing using 1x1" in the middle of them to sit on the tank walls and provide cross bars and support for the tops? What about using window screen frames and just using some sort of clear sheeting for the 'glass' part of it? Coat the wood well with waterproofing stuff and it would be very light weight, preserve your rimless tank and likely be quite attractive. If the 1x1" supports were 1/4" up the 2" ply then nearly all the tank would be exposed and your geckos wouldn't be able to hide.

This thing is going to be gecko heaven. That is a huge tank!
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:27 PM   #12
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Ontario is Canada's biggest province btw ;p I live near Toronto
I could probably find some affordable plastic like that but isn't polycarb going to warp? --> gecko escape!

I am not too familiar with the term rimless tank or why it is a good thing but the top part doesn't look neat at all.. I need to make it fonctional and give it a neater look but I'll prolly just hide everything I don't like at the end with black con-tact paper! Also, this tank is and will be forever a vivarium!!! There is no way this thing could ever go back to being an aquarium because of the major, irreversible changes I made on it.

Ya the more I think about it, the more I like the wood thing idea ;p
by using wood I meant making cross braces and rim made of wood, not sure if that's what you had in mind!
two cross braces made of something like 2-3-4x1, then level the remain of the rim with more 1x1 then have my screen mesh frame and 6 lid sit on the wood frame drylok all of the wood. bam?
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:20 PM   #13
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OK, this being a vivarium, have you considered is removing the eurobracing and making a wooden canopy of some sort? Just a thought. The eurbracing in your intended use becomes nothing more than a glass ledge. You could cover, illuminate, ventilate and suspend whatever you wish, much easier I think. Taking that concept one step further, you could make the canopy out of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate sheet won't warp like the more readily available acrylic sheets.
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:46 PM   #14
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First off, Thank you so much for your opinions and ideas!! I really am grateful for you guys helping me brainstorm some ideas for a decent lid!!!!

I haven't considered removing the eurobrace as I don't really find it an encoumberance. Plus like you said, I built some ventilation system that I stuck right under it so it's actually hidden and made it easy to just glue it under there. Basically some 1in abs pipe in which I pierced holes which computer fans are pushing air through, keeps glass condensation free and creates an airflow which improve air quality in the tank.

I thought about making a wood canopy at first but then I thought about all the CRAZY heat that will pull from the electronic in there (2x 48in finnex planted+ along with a UV basking spot, a 60w basking spot, and 4x 48in current-usa freshwater+ strips!), plus I need air exchange (screen mesh) so not such a good idea. Also, I guess you need better access to the vivarium than an aquarium? I'll need to put both my arms in there at some point to do cleaning, feeding, pruning etc, and that without the gecko escaping!

If I leave the eurobracing there, and use it as a wider/stronger ledge to just sit a wood or polycarb crossbracing frame on, do you think that would work? basically swapping the glass for wood/polycarb from my first idea...
I don't know if polycarb would be strong enough tho eh? If it warps just a lil bit because of the weight of the glass lids, geckos will get out. I think wood would be sturdy enough... cheaper and I would actually stain the exterior to make it have the same look as my stand!

Here's another drawing of what I have in mind... that's if I would be making it with wood.
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Also, if that is of any interest, here's a link to a blog/journal I am making about this tank!
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #15
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Can you just post a pic or two of the top of the tank, it was difficult viewing your video to get a clear idea of how best to advise you.

BTW, very nice job so far on setting the vivarium up!!

You can also design the wooden canopy so the center of the top is screened to allow excess heat to escape.
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