DIY Drop Checker - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Drop Checker

Since there isn't a drop checker to be found in this country I decided to build my own. This is the first prototype I came up with.

I started with a sheet of plexi from a home improvement store:


I marked out 1"x1" squares:


I cut up the squares with a plastic cutoff blade on a dremel:


After cutting I stuck a piece of sand paper on a flat surface and sanded all the edges down:


I used superglue to hold all the pieces together:


The final result in the tank:


I decided to sand all the edges and make it opaque to cover up all the horrible glue jobs I did. I think its actually a bit easier to read, IMHO.

I plan on making at least one maybe two or three more. I need to find a better way to cut the plexi. I can't make a square cut and I think I'm going to make the divider on the inside part a bit taller so that it will hold a bit more liquid. But over all I'm pleased with the result.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 02:31 AM
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vary nice for your first try
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 06:29 AM
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It's a perfectly good drop checker. Thanks for all the details and photos.

If you want a more traditional appearance on your other ones, look into the score and snap method for cutting. Controlled application of heat will make a sanded edge clear again. Solvent-based acrylic glues actually melt edges together, fill gaps, and dry as clear as the acrylic sheet. Plenty of Google-able info on this if you're inclined.

I haven't done much acrylic work yet, but what I've done was fun. Acrylic is amazing stuff.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 03:14 PM
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I hate to be dense but I cannot figure out how you got to the final version from the picture one before.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 03:58 PM
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Yeah, I would love a picture of that as well, since I have an acrylic sheet waiting to be cut up to make one.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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The 2nd to last picture is a photo of the inside. The final assembly (I just forgot to take photos of those steps) is just putting the sides, top and back on to create a box around that chamber.

I plan on building at least one more this week and will update this thread with photos of those steps.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2011, 10:31 PM
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I'm now using DIY CO2 on a 45 gallon tank, supposedly a no-no, but I have low light, so I made a .75 dKH water batch to use in it, and made a drop checker from your design. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...ml#post1301474



Works like a charm!

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 07:33 PM
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Fantastic. I am looking for my razor blade now. I've been needing one, but didn't have the funds. Yay for DIYers!

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 11:04 PM
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I've never had a drop checker, so pay no attention to my stupidity, but I'm assuming the dKH solution stays in there because it's denser and doesn't mix with water. Is this correct?

Cool DIY. I'll be giving this a try in preparation for CO2 soon hopefully. Now I just need to look up how you make the dKH but I'm sure there are already some instructions for that around here too.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loop View Post
I've never had a drop checker, so pay no attention to my stupidity, but I'm assuming the dKH solution stays in there because it's denser and doesn't mix with water. Is this correct?

Cool DIY. I'll be giving this a try in preparation for CO2 soon hopefully. Now I just need to look up how you make the dKH but I'm sure there are already some instructions for that around here too.
No, it has a baffle in it that traps a gap of air between the solution and the water. The gap of air will reach CO2 equilibrium with the water, and thus cause the solution to change color.

Kinda like how some dudes can dive into water with a lit cigarette literally inside their mouth, dive to the bottom, come back up, and the cig is still lit. Trapped in a pocket of air.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by redfishsc View Post
No, it has a baffle in it that traps a gap of air between the solution and the water. The gap of air will reach CO2 equilibrium with the water, and thus cause the solution to change color.

Kinda like how some dudes can dive into water with a lit cigarette literally inside their mouth, dive to the bottom, come back up, and the cig is still lit. Trapped in a pocket of air.

Haha, OK. I have no idea what your talking about with the cigarette divers. I've never heard of people doing that. But I understand about the drop checker. That was my second guess for how it worked, but I thought I would have seen more threads titled "OH $#!%, I tipped my drop checker to the side". Thanks for the info.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 01:33 PM
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Yeah, if you tip them, the fluid can get into your tank. Probably degrades pretty quickly though, nothing to fret.

Or gets removed by activated carbon.
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