DIY stand structure - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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DIY stand structure

I have been looking at various designs for a DIY stand, and one question that bothers is the bulky frame structure of the stand comparative to what is sold commercially.

Looks like most of the DIY stands are having 2x4s as framing, which look ... bulky, and over-engineered. There are exceptions, such as https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...stand-55g.html but very few.
On the other hand, commercially sold stands would never have any internal reinforcement framing. Even for 75gl-90gl tanks, the commercial stands are build from the shell only.

Besides the usual argument "better build it solid than be sorry", I am curious to know why such big discrepancy in the structural component of the stands? Can we use something else instead of 2x4s, say 2x2s, or ????

I am looking for a stand for ~75gl tank. Something nice looking inside and outside, wide opening front doors (removable panels) to get easy access to equipment.

The plan is to find a good solution to this, and post the build here, starting with the plans in scatchup to the final build (may take a while to the final product).

Thanks!
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 03:13 PM
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It's probably a combination of factors, number one being cost: a commercially designed stand will likely meet minimum structural requirements for the cheapest cost. After all, they're trying to make a dollar. The other factors - 2x4s are easy to come by, and work with. Once the stand is "skinned", you're not going to see the frame. Depending on the design and loading, 2x2 could certainly hold the weight (again depends on the design). I built mine from 2x4, because they were cheap and available. Once skinned, they aren't seen. Check my tank journal for some shots of the build process. I made a removable front panel for access. I've done doors in the past, but the material I was going to use didn't translate well to doors.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 03:26 PM
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I've built several from 2x4's,and they are still light enough to move around,plus they're easy to work with,and low cost for the material,as has was said.another of the advantages to overbuilding,is the stand will stay solid even if the floor is uneven.

The commercial stands don't hold up over time,and all it takes is a small canister leak and the stand is pretty much done.I have a 45 gal stand with a collapsed bottom shelf,and the rest is warped enough that the door doesn't close.That won't happen with a 2x4 framed stand.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 03:26 PM
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For me, 2ishx4ish construction is very easy to overbuild something I’m extremely confident in. Overbuilding is a sign of under engineering. There’s ways to calculate what you actually only need but it’s way too involved for me. I’m sure a professional could make some accurate assumptions in what’s enough.

Rectangular boards also only deflect easily in one direction so I can use that to my advantage in knowing how it’s react to different forces. When the frames all tied together I can stand back and say “that’s not going anywhere”.

That was all for my 55. For my new 20 build I’m jointing and ripping them all down to so they’re cleaner, thinner, and have sharp edges which I find easier to work with.

These are just my home gamer thoughts
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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joemomma, thanks for the input. Agree, once skinned you do not see anything from outside, but still, once opened for service does not look nice. I was thinking at least to mill the 2x4s to a better finish. Price of 2x4 and availability is a factor for sure.
BTW, what did you use for skinning your 29gl stand? Looks very nice.

stevewb, i see your points exactly what i was asking - 2x4s look overly engineered, but yes, "going nowhere"!
I hope an engineer can step up and confirm what would be a solid build, but yet not weighing a ton of 2x4s and built to uphold two tons

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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by alphabeta View Post
joemomma, thanks for the input. Agree, once skinned you do not see anything from outside, but still, once opened for service does not look nice. I was thinking at least to mill the 2x4s to a better finish. Price of 2x4 and availability is a factor for sure.
BTW, what did you use for skinning your 29gl stand? Looks very nice.

stevewb, i see your points exactly what i was asking - 2x4s look overly engineered, but yes, "going nowhere"!
I hope an engineer can step up and confirm what would be a solid build, but yet not weighing a ton of 2x4s and built to uphold two tons
Most people use 2x4 because everyone else does and they are easily available at every hardware store.

Another reason is that frequently folks want the front of their stand to be be completely open for easy access to equipment. A 2x4 is a good size for spanning something like a 4 foot gap with a 120 gallon tank on top.

As for milling the 2x4s down. Well that really depends on the equipment you have access to. If you have a planer, jointer, table saw, or router table then you can mill the 2x4s down enough to get past the 1/8" roundover they all have and make them look much more aesthetically pleasing. Or you could buy some hardwood at a proper supplier and mill and cut it down to proper size. Personally I plan to make my 120 gallon stand from poplar when I get my woodshop up and running.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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minorhero, thanks for you input.
Good point about fully open front doors or removable panels. I actually plan to do the same, to have easy access to equipment. Sort of deal breaker. For 120gl i would agree that the weight is significant and a middle support on 4' is needed.
Is that necessary to have double structure with middle support for a 75gl tank? I will post couple of designs and see what people say. If there are good builds already around, that are not overall, a link would be very much appreciated.

I do not have planer or jointer, but I have a table saw, and hope to mill the 2x4 nicely. But, if something at reasonable price would be available at an wood supply store, I would go that way. Maybe poplar, indeed.

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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 06:59 PM
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I think it also depends on the builders confidence with woodworking. 2x4 stands are pretty easy to construct, while dimensional lumber will take a bit more skill/experience and tools.

My two current stands are 2x4, however whenever I build my next stand I'll take the time and effort to make it from dimensional lumber so it is a piece of furniture vs. just functional.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Grobbins48, let's say the woodworking level is ok, not professional, but built a thing or two in the past. I am trying to go with aesthetics but still to have a solid built.
If you have some plans or links along these design lines, that would be great.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by alphabeta View Post
Grobbins48, let's say the woodworking level is ok, not professional, but built a thing or two in the past. I am trying to go with aesthetics but still to have a solid built.
If you have some plans or links along these design lines, that would be great.
I do not, but @Greggz built his out of solid oak and it is fantastic. @Hendy8888 has an amazing stand as well built out of plywood.

Check out their journals, as each of them did a great job documenting their work.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...12-2019-a.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...on-custom.html

Obviously the key to the stand is ensuring things are level, and that there will be no points that put unnecessary pressure on the glass that could cause a stress fracture.
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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by alphabeta View Post
minorhero, thanks for you input.
Good point about fully open front doors or removable panels. I actually plan to do the same, to have easy access to equipment. Sort of deal breaker. For 120gl i would agree that the weight is significant and a middle support on 4' is needed.
Is that necessary to have double structure with middle support for a 75gl tank? I will post couple of designs and see what people say. If there are good builds already around, that are not overall, a link would be very much appreciated.

I do not have planer or jointer, but I have a table saw, and hope to mill the 2x4 nicely. But, if something at reasonable price would be available at an wood supply store, I would go that way. Maybe poplar, indeed.
What size tank are you thinking of and what size lumber are you considering?

I looked into diy stands quite a bit because I was building one in my garage. At the time I had access only to a drill and a circular saw, all of my other equipment being in storage. I got about 80% through the build before I stopped. The end result was frankly not up to my standards. I am used to working with table saw, jointer, planer, bandsaw etc. And frankly used to producing a higher level of craftmanship then my skills with just a circular saw and 2x4s were allowing. So I completely get the desire to make something better.

That said, I did not find anyone using lumber that was substantially smaller then a 2x4. There are plenty of plans for people to use plywood to build tanks. This makes sense considering that most store bought stands are just sheets of mdf. But if preferring to go a route other then plywood, then there is little out there smaller then a 2x4 frame skinned with plywood of whatever thickness the builder prefers.

However, you can certainly improvise, you are essentially building a buffet or a cabinet after all. There are lots of plans out there for those pieces of furniture and so long as you are keeping it to smaller then a 50 gallon tank you will probably be fine. Sadly I suspect no one will be able to give you more assurance then that.
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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 09:07 PM
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I do not have planer or jointer, but I have a table saw, and hope to mill the 2x4 nicely. But, if something at reasonable price would be available at an wood supply store, I would go that way. Maybe poplar, indeed.
Assuming you can get your blade up high enough you can make a simple jointer sled with scrap wood and like 6 bucks in toggle clamps (also assuming you’re not trying to run super long pieces through). Then rip the other side with the fence. I made one last night and am super pleased with how it worked. But in my experience there was a decent amount of blade marks but I think I can iron it out with a little time
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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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minorhero,

it is for 75gl. Lumber size - well, nothing specific yet; something reasonable that can be purchased at a lumber yard, or even big-box.

Let's assume that we start with 2x4 that will be milled on a table saw to 1 1/2x3, so the edges are nice and square.
Here is a quick scatchup that I put down as a starting point. All "joints" will be glued, and screwed. Is this overkill or still something fundamental is missing? What if I would make some end lap joints in some 2x4s? Would that eliminate some of the pieces? What would be a good design?

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Assuming you can get your blade up high enough you can make a simple jointer sled with scrap wood and like 6 bucks in toggle clamps (also assuming youíre not trying to run super long pieces through). Then rip the other side with the fence. I made one last night and am super pleased with how it worked. But in my experience there was a decent amount of blade marks but I think I can iron it out with a little time
yep, that's the idea. thanks!
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 09:45 PM
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The skin for my stand is actually vinyl flooring, I got the idea from Pinterest of all places. It required some "on the fly" design changes, but it worked out pretty well. The biggest problem was adding pieces to the stand (frame) once that was built to have something to attach the flooring to. Ended up just cutting some pine down into 1x2 strips and using brads/pins to attach the flooring.
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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The skin for my stand is actually vinyl flooring, I got the idea from Pinterest of all places. It required some "on the fly" design changes, but it worked out pretty well. The biggest problem was adding pieces to the stand (frame) once that was built to have something to attach the flooring to. Ended up just cutting some pine down into 1x2 strips and using brads/pins to attach the flooring.
got it, very nice!

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