I want to build a clear tank stand out of acrylic. Advice on load?
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:26 AM   #1
tizzite
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I want to build a clear tank stand out of acrylic. Advice on load?


After making a couple DIY cabinets, I feel as though the larger ones can be too obtrusive and monolithic.

I was thinking of making ADA's glass stand but out of acrylic:



I don't know much about the load bearing capabilities of acrylic, but I was thinking of using 1/2 clear acrylic for a 20 gallon tank, similar in design to the ADA glass stand.

Can anyone speak on how well acrylic holds up structurally? Would I need to get cell cast?
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:54 PM   #2
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It'll be expensive, more than glass. I'm not sure of the structural integrity but at least .75" thick would work. Large sheets tend to bend under the weight.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:48 PM   #3
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Acrylic is not quite a solid! It is more like an extremely viscous liquid. So, it will creep under a load. The the higher the load and the longer the load is applied, the more it will creep - bend from the load. I would never use it to support a load. But, obviously there is some thickness, and some design that would work for this. Some careful engineering is needed. MDF also behaves this way, and I use a stand made entirely of MDF! http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...877&highlight=
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Acrylic is not quite a solid! It is more like an extremely viscous liquid.
Glass is too isn't it? In very old windows, you can see the glass "melt".
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:21 PM   #5
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Great idea but instead of half inch thickness you need one inch. Don't think it will hold up when you just glue it. It needs to be welded. I am one of a kind who is capable to weld any kind of plastics including acrylic. Unfortunately you live to far away. That means you need to find somebody that can do the specialized welding in your area. Good luck and best regards.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for the great info- yes I am leaning to 3/4" or 1".

Can anyone say if it needs to be cell cast, or is extruded ok?
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Glass is too isn't it? In very old windows, you can see the glass "melt".
Yes, glass has a similar, but different behavior. I think acrylic will bend permanently under loads, while glass literally flows extremely slowly. Acrylic probably hasn't been in existence long enough to know if it actually flows. But, being an organic material I suspect it would just change chemically with age instead of flowing.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Glass is too isn't it? In very old windows, you can see the glass "melt".
That's an urban legend, the thickness difference comes from old glass production methods, not from flow. ie: those old windows were that way when they were made.

Glass is an amorphous solid. It does not flow unless put under serious compression, or heated to become an actual liquid.

http://dwb.unl.edu/Teacher/NSF/C01/C...en/florin.html
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Old 08-25-2015, 02:29 AM   #9
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Just reading some of this. With all that is being said about acrylic how do they build tanks from it then? That has to be a lot more force in different directions than a stand.
Gluing won't hold it needs to be welded? Do the guys that build large tanks know that? Is acrylic ever really glued or is it solvent welded anyway?
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Old 08-25-2015, 03:02 AM   #10
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I think part of the key is that in an aquarium, you have force in all directions.. The weight of the water is spread out over the whole surface of the acrylic tank.

Unless your stand is a solid block, the stand has upright members that are generally fairly narrow, at least compared to the whole tank bottom... Those members have to take the whole weight of the stand compressing against their narrow edge.
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:53 AM   #11
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Yes, that's another question I had- is there such thing as gluing acrylic? Isn't it all solvent welded?

Any thoughts on cell cast vs extruded?
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:52 PM   #12
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A friend of mine, now deceased was a wizard with acrylics. Use to build all sorts of cabinets out of them but his main business was after market boat windshields. One thing he taught me was to always hit the cut edge with a router to get the smoothest surface.

While the acrylic itself may be weak I think that with using right angles vis-a-vis a carcass with a face frame each member strengthens the others same as with wood.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
While the acrylic itself may be weak I think that with using right angles vis-a-vis a carcass with a face frame each member strengthens the others same as with wood.
Can you elaborate on this? I don't know what a carcass or face frame is.

I was planning on having the 1" thick sheets cut for me, and wanted to chamfer the edges 1/4", by that I mean smooth out an edge at a 45 deg angle:


How powerful of a router should I use in terms of horsepower?
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:07 AM   #14
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A carcass is the body itself. Like the carcass of a cabinet is the top, bottom, and sides. It is not the adornments, face frame, doors etc.
A face frame is that part that hides the edges of the sides that face front. They are the rails and stiles you see and generally where the doors are attached. Not being a smart ass but probably easier to google it and look at the pictures.

Since this is acrylic I would use a roundover instead of a chamfer. I just fear that sharp corner will wind up nicked and damaged.

Most any router will work for those type profile edges. A used Porter Cable 690 is a great little router. I use two of them when I make cabinet doors. Doors require two bits for the cope and stick. When I had only one router I would have to change bits after all the cuts were made. I just used two to speed things up and each router only cost me $75. I saved more than that with time I save.

Don't buy a big 3 hp router. I bought a 5 speed 3 horse and I have used it once. The 690 can handle all but the largest bits.
With any router I like using 1/2" bits whenever possible. Even for simple round overs. Woodline has some decent bits for a decent price. They also have some nice sets. Even with the work I do I still can't justify Jesada or CMt bits.
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