Lamination beams versus 2 x 4's - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2008, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Lamination beams versus 2 x 4's

In this article, if I'm following, they recommend making lamination beams for an aquarium stand. Basically gluing together 3/4" wide plywood to make 1 1/2 " wide beams

http://www.garf.org/calculators/BuildLargeStand_3.asp

I also see alot of plans making stands using 2 x 4's. I don't see many straight 2 x 4's in my local stores, so the laminated beams make sense to me. So the only advantage I can think of of the 2 x 4's is water resistance.

Do I just need to find straighter 2 x 4's (and what am I looking for), or does anyone have good success with laminated beams?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2008, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven D View Post
In this article, if I'm following, they recommend making lamination beams for an aquarium stand. Basically gluing together 3/4" wide plywood to make 1 1/2 " wide beams

http://www.garf.org/calculators/BuildLargeStand_3.asp

I also see alot of plans making stands using 2 x 4's. I don't see many straight 2 x 4's in my local stores, so the laminated beams make sense to me. So the only advantage I can think of of the 2 x 4's is water resistance.

Do I just need to find straighter 2 x 4's (and what am I looking for), or does anyone have good success with laminated beams?
The laminated plywood is going to be at least twice as strong and will not warp.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Steven D View Post
Do I just need to find straighter 2 x 4's (and what am I looking for), or does anyone have good success with laminated beams?
What sized tank are you planning on? I wouldn't be as concerned about using the doubled up plywood unless you were planning on a particuarly large tank.

Finding streight 2 x 4's can be a challenge. I like to buy the Top Choice 2 x 4s from Lowes. You still have to go through the stack to find streight ones, but they are better than average.

The other option is to use a jointer to get two sides flat and then use a planer to get the other two sides flat and level. Then you would have to buy more powertools though.

We actually have a number of DIY stands going at the moment. Just check out the DIY section.

Both Intermediate_noob and I have a frame design taken from the reefer forums and neonmkr has a frameless design using solid oak lumber.

Building one as you suggested can be done, but it will be somewhat dificult to work on by yourself as the weight will go up signifigantly once you start laminating the plywood. I would be interested to follow your build if you decide to go that route though.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 12:35 AM
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One thing I don't like about the page that you linked to:

Quote:
The stand frame can be built using either 3/4 inch Plywood or MDF. We will be making "Lamination Beams" by cutting the plywood or MDF to size and laminating them together to make beams that are 1-1/2" thick and 2-1/2" or 4" wide. This makes a very strong beam that will not warp. The floor, top and all six sides will be wrapped with 3/4" MDF. We recommend painting all surfaces, inside and out, with an epoxy paint. This will protect the stand for years.
Do not use MDF for anything aquarium related. It is like a giant inefficient sponge. If it gets wet, it will swell and fall apart over time.

Plywood, on the other hand, will not do this.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 06:49 AM
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I'd see a benefit in straightness, everyone over engineers these stands so bad that strength is next to irrelevant! Personally, I'd find some good dry straight wood from a good woodworking shop (not a big box) and call it good.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 07:08 AM
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I don't like twistie 2x4 studs either... I get "top choice" or whatever 1x4 pine (nice and straight and few knots) and laminate those together. Side by side for beams and L shape for legs.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
One thing I don't like about the page that you linked to:
Do not use MDF for anything aquarium related. It is like a giant inefficient sponge. If it gets wet, it will swell and fall apart over time.
Plywood, on the other hand, will not do this.
I didn't see that,but whoever wrote that didn't have a clue what he was talking about.MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard.Not only is it like a sponge but it also has less structural strength than balsa wood,far less.This is really funny.What they must have meant was OSB,Oriented Strand Board,but I wouldn't want this near water for any length of time either...CDX plywood holds up to moisture very well though.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2008, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input.

It is for a 75 gal tank, and if I do the lamination beams it will be with exterior grade plywood not mdf. It appealed to me due to making it easier to get straight boards.

I've seen alot of good projects on the DIY section, I just hadn't found one using this lamination approach.

I'll let everyone know once I decide on approach and start a build.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 04:16 PM
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use good 3/4 plywood, acx is smoother than cdx. You can use oak plywood for a finished look. The picture in the article is wrapped in a raised panel look with oak. whatever you use eurathane the inside with 2-3 coats for easy cleaning and water protection. most of the planted tanks don't use sumps but if you do wipe down the inside of the stand with mildow/mold inhibitor before putting anything inside.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2008, 01:31 PM
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Steven D, I am going to be using laminated plywood for the beams on my 135/90 double stand project. I cannot find 2x6s that are straight enough after being allowed to dry so plywood is the next alternative. One thing however is that the plywood will still warp, specifically bow, even when laminated. Be Careful when you laminate the pieces that they are stored with weights on top of them to ensure the ends do not bow up on you.

My projects have come to a stopping point due to some personal issues, but the progress can be seen (as Biscuit stated, BTW his is soo much better, go there first) on the on this forum. Do a search on "BiscuitSlayer" and you will see his project. Guy is a genius.

Anyway, yes something is thinking of doing it...just do not know who will do it first Hope that helps.

Also one other thing is clamps, you cannot have enough of them. I built a radial arm saw table with a friend using laminated plywood. The first attempt was a disaster because we did not have enough clamps.
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