A DIY canopy swing, A "get out of my way" widget. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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A DIY canopy swing, A "get out of my way" widget.

OK y'all, I saw a post on Nano-reef.com about using TV wall mounts for small to medium sized canopies. You just mount your canopy to a properly mounted TV mount, and when you need to mess around in your tank, just shove it out of your way.


So, being a woodworker, and a die-hard DIY'er, I thought I'd sketch this up. I may very well use this on my next build!


So here is the basic idea. First, if a TV mount from Amazon will work for you, just get that. For $30 shipped you can use one of these dudes.
http://www.amazon.com/VideoSecu-Arti...543484&sr=8-15

Now, if you want to do something customized, here are the sketches. Note that you MUST mount these to the studs in your wall, or use a piece of plywood or 2X4 that spans two studs to use as a solid mount. DO NOT use drywall anchors for this.

Let's also be clear here. If you use good quality hinges, good nuts-n-bolts, and a good quality 3/4" plywood (good domestic core, cabinet grade plywood), you should be able to build this thing to handle NEARLY ANY SIZE canopy.

For canopies greater than 30", you might want to use TWO of these contraptions to provide stability. But if you build these right, two should be all you need even up to a 6 foot canopy. Most of us don't have very heavy canopies, so weight really isn't an issue.

For really long canopies, like 4-6 footers, you may be limited in how much side-to-side action you can get.... and by the length of your electric cables.


But, at the very least, you can make something that would allow you to pull the canopy forward, totally exposing the top of the tank.

When done, push it back.


Take a look, please include your thoughts, and help me innovate. I'M SICK of canopies that get in my @#%@$#$% way.


One is using 3 arms, and the basic design.

The other one is using 4 arms, and shows the range of motion.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 02:42 AM
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Interesting.
Some of the older cantilevered or articulated computer systems were spring balanced for CRT monitors. Those would have no difficulty supporting a wood canopy.

Those are mostly in scrap bins and computer surplus outlets.
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 02:56 AM
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If I were to do this I would be sure to use through bolts with nuts and lock washers to attach the hinges. Otherwise, the tremendous stress on the hinge attachments would rip wood screws out and the whole thing would twist to drop the light. Things that are cantilevered put a lot of stress on the fasteners. But, the idea should work. Whether this is better than raising the light remains to be determined.

Hoppy
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
If I were to do this I would be sure to use through bolts with nuts and lock washers to attach the hinges. Otherwise, the tremendous stress on the hinge attachments would rip wood screws out and the whole thing would twist to drop the light. Things that are cantilevered put a lot of stress on the fasteners. But, the idea should work. Whether this is better than raising the light remains to be determined.
100% agreed. My plan was to use regular bolts with nyalock nuts on the back side. Then spray it all black.

I'm glad you say the idea should work--- you've built a lot of stuff before and your confidence boost my confidence . I'm a cabinet maker and build all sorts of crazy stuff, but never built anything this unusual.

Now, if a person has a simple way of raising the lights, that's wonderful. I simply hate hanging anything from the ceiling. I live in a rental, and drywall is much easier to fix than popcorn ceiling, when you move out .
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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I built a prototype of that swing arm I have pictured above.

Works like a charm, except that even in the closed position, it sags a bit. I will use something as a small, unobtrusive prop to hold the canopy level when it's in use over the tank. Nobody cares if it sags a little when I move it for tank maintenance.


I will also have to use a 3/4" thick mounting block, or else the first plywood section will gouge up the drywall if I swing the unit to the wrong side. No big deal at all.



I'll try to post pics of the prototype today.


BTW I have it built right now such that, fully extended, it puts the BACK of the canopy (an 18" cube shape canopy) a full 48" from the wall. It's a bit overbuilt but with some tweaking, it will work like a charm.

I can't wait to get a chance to do this with a LONG canopy with someone.

This is going to make working around a canopy SO, SO much easier.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 02:00 AM
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I'd go with a smaller number of sections and hinges. 3 hinges, 2 sections would do it.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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You're probably right, if your canopy is a long one. But every section you add gives you another foot or so of length.

In my case, I just build one that has 2 arms, 15", and one arm (the last) that's 7".

I can't make them any longer or my 18" square canopy wouldn't hide them, but I wanted to have at least 35" of extension. So I had to use three arms.


I just finished building the arms. Now I need to build the canopy. Gonna be fun, designing it to hold LEDs.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redfishsc View Post
You're probably right, if your canopy is a long one. But every section you add gives you another foot or so of length.

In my case, I just build one that has 2 arms, 15", and one arm (the last) that's 7".

I can't make them any longer or my 18" square canopy wouldn't hide them, but I wanted to have at least 35" of extension. So I had to use three arms.


I just finished building the arms. Now I need to build the canopy. Gonna be fun, designing it to hold LEDs.
I'm looking forward to seeing the completed assembly over a tank.

Hoppy
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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It will be a couple months before it's over a tank, but I hope (in the next week or two) to actually build the canopy. I'll attach it to a stud in my workshop to test it and see how much it sags.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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I am now 100% confident this will work. Proof?

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 02:20 PM
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Interesting idea, but I think I am missing something.

If your tank is against the wall, and you are pulling the canopy away from the wall for tank maintenance, won't your plywood arms block access to the top of the tank when it is extended?

I would think an arm design more like a desk lamp, ie one that would use some sort of spring resistance and tension knobs in order to raise the canopy upwards would create more accessable tank top space.

But like i said, maybe I am visualizing the finished product incorrectly.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodwillTKE View Post
Interesting idea, but I think I am missing something.

If your tank is against the wall, and you are pulling the canopy away from the wall for tank maintenance, won't your plywood arms block access to the top of the tank when it is extended?

I would think an arm design more like a desk lamp, ie one that would use some sort of spring resistance and tension knobs in order to raise the canopy upwards would create more accessable tank top space.

But like i said, maybe I am visualizing the finished product incorrectly.

The single arm will have about a good solid 170 degrees of motion (half circle)-- not just straight out. I should be able to extend it and push it to the side.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 04:06 PM
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Got it. Now that I look at the diagrams again, I see how I missed that.

Thanks for the clarification.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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What you were thinking-- that it would only/mostly be a "forward" motion, would be the case if it were for a long canopy and needed two of them (both on the back, but on opposite ends).

In that case, you'd be limited in your side-to-side movement, but honestly, I think it's a great idea for those who want to pull the canopy forward a good 2-4 feet (or even longer, if well made) so that they can get behind the canopy, work in the tank, and then slide it back.

Would also make bulb changes and lighting modifications a lot easier.
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