Quick disclaimer - I am not at all a handy person, having been taught to cook and sew instead. Nevertheless, custom equipment is expensive, and I'm young, broke, and don't have space in my flat for bulky things, so let's give this a whirl.
What am I even trying to do?
The aim is to produce a semi-presentable, collapsible tank cover that can be continuously modified to suit one's needs. Lots of people (myself included) are moving over to rimless tanks, often with emergent growth and hardscape, neither of which lend themselves well to covers. I've seen plenty of DIY aquarium guards, but have never seen one that allows for anything to rest on the glass (e.g. HOB filters, tubing, lights) or allow for emergent growth without looking terrible or seeming really inconvenient. If I ever decide to move away from emergent & keep jumping livestock like killifish, I can just cover the entire frame in netting.
Using 40cmx1cm lengths of laser-cut black acrylic, my plan is the make a frame that can be easily clipped together and taken apart, to cover an 80cmx40cm tank with HOB, clip on lights, and emergent growth. As seen in the (terribly inaccurate) post its attached below, I'll need 2x 3 different cuts of acrylic totaling 6 pieces. As the cuts will all be accurately and identically cut by a laser cutter, they can be flipped around and used as needed, and hopefully still fit together.
This frame will enable me to cover a portion of my tank with netting, keeping it taut and hiding rough edges. The frame will fit under all equipment attached to the glass and should require minimal effort to remove for maintenance etc. thanks to the detachable components. As seen in the sketch of my tank below, it should be as simple as removing the top right portion by unclipping and sliding out from under the light clip. The left-hand light would probably have to be removed, but after that, the entire frame should
come right off, the right-hand side portion just sliding out from under the HOB.
Ideally using a fairly stiff black mesh, I'd cover the portions of the tank shown in the post it below, while keeping emergent sides uncovered. Once I'm happy with the cut of the netting, I can silicone it in places to the frame, keeping it nice and taught. The black acrylic will hide rough edges, and the netting can be removed with a razor blade if it needs modifying.
Keeping it in place
To stop it from rattling around and falling apart when on the tank, I'll be utilising the power of magnets
stuck to the end of every length of acrylic, and also to relevant points on the tank. The ones here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TACFT...v_ov_lig_dp_it
are self-adhesive so should come off relatively easily should they need removing. Only thing I'm really worried about with these is the potential for rust.
The only reason I'm even able to consider this is that I have a good friend who speicalises in laser-cut acrylic, who should be able to make this out of either off-cuts or at cost. A lot of this is actually based off a table-top game board that he made recently, particularly the joins.
Now for the best bit; Where and why am I wrong?
As previously stated, I have no DIY experience so am bound to have made mistakes. I'm constantly blown away by the amazing skills shown on this forum, so would love any constructive criticism or guidance that you might have.