DIY Stand for Nano Cube, Need your Opinion - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Question DIY Stand for Nano Cube, Need your Opinion

I've been searching for a stand for a 12 gallon JBJ nano cube..

Tried to find an Ikea or Kmart nightstand that would suffice for these dimensions (14x15.5 inch footprint) that could withstand 120+ lbs without luck.

Alas, my last resort is to build a DIY stand. This doesn't need to be a beautiful ADA-style stand that goes in the living room. Actually, it'll be fitting between my bed and desk, so the sides aren't even visible.

Based off of Biscuitslayer's great stand journal, and the Reef Central DIY stand, I've made a quick sketch of what I envision the stand would be comprised of.

Since the tank is roughly 120lbs, I've decided 1x2 boards would be sufficient rather than 2x4s throughout the build. Then the legs would be longer sections of the same boards.

I've drawn up two designs, the first is a "light" version with less wood, the second one uses the same structure as the DIY stands mentioned above.

Now here is my question, will the first stand work, or is this stand destined to fail? Is the second stand overkill for a 12 gallon?

I have a feeling that the first is too weak, but I didn't want to make a wooden stand on steroids for a simple 12 gallon tank. My only thought is that I may need another set of supporting legs on the front and back corners, but didn't want to clutter the design if not needed.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Stand 1
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Stand 2
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 06:48 AM
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i'd go w/ #2. better to over engineer then to under. besides the extra wood cant be much more expensive.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 06:53 AM
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The first one should work given the shelves provide enough swaying reinforcement and no drunk friends crash into it. 120lb really isn't much to support but obviously can topple something sideways if it isn't reinforced properly. Non the less, I'm into overkill as well and the second plan looks like the one I'd go with.

Plan one would probably be just as sturdy if the lower shelves were resting on horizontal cross braces. Or if you cover it with plywood, that'll do the trick. You can use nail plates to act as the inner, vertical supports you have in plan two, even in that design they would save you some time cutting and free up a tiny bit of space.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2008, 04:25 AM
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charpark -

Thank you for the compliment!

I don't think you would have a problem with either stand. If I were going to build it like the first stand, I would invest in a pocket hole jig or use biscuits for the joinery.

If you go with the second stand, all you will need are some decent screws as the joinery wouldn't be as necessary since you have the use of the inside screw strips.

I don't know what kind of tools you have access to, but it would be really cool if you had access to a band saw or a router. It would be cool to have the front of the stand conform to the shape of the front bow of the Nano Cube.

If you build this stand, you should post a build journal in this thread so the build can be shared with others. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the end result.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2008, 04:42 AM
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Alternate the leg orientation for lateral stability. Front two front to back, back two side to side.

You still have the issue of connections - how are planning to attach all this together? Only thing I can think of is little angle brackets?

The reason #2 is so much stronger is the ability for superior connections, and resistance to lateral wrack. You can address the wrack by alternating leg orientation, but still have to figure out your connections.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-02-2008, 06:26 PM
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For a tank that small I don't think you can go wrong no matter what you choose. Look at how your kitchen cabinets are built, they are pretty lightweight and very sturdy. People like to say they over-engineered their stands when there was no engineering envolved, most tank stands are just built to use as much material as possible. You're definately on the right track using 1x2. Are you going to skin the stand with 1/4" plywood? If not you might want to add some corner gussets along the back to adress the racking issues ingg suggests. I wouldn't alternate the direction of the legs, it will look strange and will complicate the design.


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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-02-2008, 06:28 PM
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Before you buy any lumber be sure to check the actual dimensions of 1x2 lumber, it's more like .75x1.875 but I can't remember exactly what it is. Your cut list might end up slightly different than it is as drawn above


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-02-2008, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornphlake View Post
People like to say they over-engineered their stands when there was no engineering envolved, most tank stands are just built to use as much material as possible. You're definately on the right track using 1x2. Are you going to skin the stand with 1/4" plywood? If not you might want to add some corner gussets along the back to adress the racking issues ingg suggests. I wouldn't alternate the direction of the legs, it will look strange and will complicate the design.
Personally, I don't think there is a thing such as "over engineering". There is well engineered and poorly engineered, and to me it falls on how does it suit its purpose and how well does it stand up over the test of time.

Regardless of how much material someone uses, something can be either poorly engineered or or well engineered based on a number of different factors other than how much actual material went into the build.

My stand has quite a bit of material used in it, but the materials are fairly cheap in nature (pine 2 x 4s). Does that make it poorly engineered? I guess it would be if the upmost concern was to build a stand with as little material as possible. That wasn't my upmost concern though. My concern was to build something that was rock solid on a second floor with a standard floor joist system and a plywood subfloor. I am still going to reinforce my subfloor joists just because I want even load distrobution accross the board (my joists won't be perpandicular with the placement of the stand).

As far as suggesting 1 X 2s for the construction, I would be wary of a few things. If you are referring to pine, the warp and twist in a 1 X 2 is pretty severe, especially depending on the climate. That, in my oppinion, is fairly important with regards to selecting the building materials. The most important thing in this case is not to just be able to support the weight of the tank. Thats a given. The point is to support the weight of the tank evenly accross the whole structure. While a 1 X 2 will probably be adequate, a severe warp leading to the "shortening" on one corner could cause just enough twist in the tank to cause a catostrophic twist.

Selecting the same size lumber in oak, on the other hand, would be a completely different story. Milled oak will not warp or twist the same way that pine does. A very simple oak frame could be constructed with lap joints and it would probably be 10 times less likely to fail because of how solid and true the lumber will be over time.

BTW kornphlake... My comments aren't directed towards you as much as my feelings about semantics towards engineering comments. I do agree with most of what you said about his actual stand ideas.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-02-2008, 07:53 PM
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You can't address wracking really well without alternating the legs - this is the reason those other stands are "overbuilt", you see, they are creating resistance in multiple planes, and allowing enough wood to be able to make the connections to do it.

I have an engineering degree, and there is often a need for "over engineering". In this case, it is to provide ample wood depth and width to get the connections necessary to prvide resistance to wracking and deflection, for enough resistance not just for the small tank, but also for the thigh of a 300 pound person who bumps it.

Wood moves on its own, and kinda stinks, relatively speaking, at holding connections compared to say concrete or steel...which means you build it without it being "over engineered", someone trips or bumps it, and WHAMMO, over it goes.

Or, you could ignore it, and build a stand like someone built a bridge... like this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lQaI...eature=related
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-03-2008, 04:42 PM
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I suppose it's a matter of semantics, over-engineering vs overbuiding. One is done because you know better the other is done because you don't know any better. I'd encourage people to consider joint geometry first and foremost, strong joints will make the entire stand strong, poorly designed joints force people to add un-necessary reinforcement to acheive the same strength.

A stand constructed with proper joinery will carry racking stresses as shear loads in the horizontal members. Take a look at your kitchen cabinets, they can be pulled away from the wall and still maintain a lot of strength because of the careful joint construction. Consider this: modern wood glues bond to wood so well that in a properly designed joint the wood will splinter rather than the glue separating from the wood. Dovetail joints, mortise and tenon joints, rabbet and dado joints, etc. are designed to exploit the strength of glues and optimize the grain oreintation, proper construction techniques in many cases define over engineering.


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-03-2008, 06:30 PM
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120 lbs is NOTHING when we are talkin about the the structural capabilities of wood.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-03-2008, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, great feedback from everyone! I've already constructed the stand over this past weekend, and I'll post some pics tonight. I went with design #2 and I believe it's very solid - no wobbling, square, and flat on the ground.

I didn't have a chance to take pics along the way, as a step-by-step journal of the DIY stand. Instead I did it as fast as I could, rather than worrying about documenting. I live in NYC, and hammering and nailing is not a good idea in your apartment (generally not allowed on the weekends).

To bisuitslayer, thanks for the tips. I don't have access to ANY tools, other than a hammer and sandpaper (not really a tool, I know!). I'm always jealous of these DIY journals since this stand would come out 10x better and quicker with the proper tools. For example, I don't have a power driver so had to use nails rather than screws. Half way through, I borrowed a power driver, but it was so weak it could not screw the screws in completely. Eventually, I just used it to drill holes, and then had to screw the wood screws in by hand. (it was terrible, believe me). I thought of the idea of conforming the front end, but gave up that idea, lest I attempt to sand for days a square piece of plywood down by 3/4 inch on each front corner.

kornplake, that's a good point. I was shocked to find out when I went to the only lumber store in Manhattan that a 2x1 is in fact not 2inches by 1inch. It is roughly as you said .75 by 1.5 or so. I went with 2x3s which are actually 1.5 by 2.5. I was unaware of this "naming" convention for wood planks and their dimensions. I got pine btw, and it cost me believe it not $68 for the wood and a small box of screws. I was a little upset when I looked at the invoice...each cut was 1.50 and the wood was about 59cents per foot.

I was severly disappointed when I worked for 1.5 days making the stand only to find that it was a very wobbly and prone to horizontal racking. The vertical strength was not a problem. I realized this would be a problem even before I began since my wood was not cut straight. Again, believe it or not, but the saw they used to cut the 2x3s was not cutting at a 90 degree angle. The cut end of each and every single board was visibly crooked, with an approximately 1/4 inch differential from one side of the cut to the other. I think this is pretty clear without having to explain why this is such a problem. Since the boards in effect stack on each other, it's imperative that the boards are actually straight and cut at 90 degree angles. So I actually sanded each cut end down to make them as straight as possible. Even then, the stand was very wobbly due to the boards not making full contact.

Then came Gorilla Glue. I've used wood glue before, but never this. I used it overnight, and it foams to 3x-4x its size. This was perfect as it filled in the areas needed in the gaps between the connections. The stand was literally solid as a rock the next day, with absolutely no racking. That saved my entire project, although of course I would suggest using straight wood and proper construction rather than a fix.

I believe those are the highlights and lowlights of my project, I'll add some pics tonight. I've definitely learned some lessons, and hopefully it'll help someone else avoid those mistakes. Your thoughts?
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-03-2008, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornphlake View Post
I'd encourage people to consider joint geometry first and foremost, strong joints will make the entire stand strong, poorly designed joints force people to add un-necessary reinforcement to acheive the same strength.

A stand constructed with proper joinery will carry racking stresses as shear loads in the horizontal members.

Words of wisdom kornphlake.


Quote:
Originally Posted by charpark View Post
I was severly disappointed when I worked for 1.5 days making the stand only to find that it was a very wobbly and prone to horizontal racking. The vertical strength was not a problem. I realized this would be a problem even before I began since my wood was not cut straight. Again, believe it or not, but the saw they used to cut the 2x3s was not cutting at a 90 degree angle. The cut end of each and every single board was visibly crooked, with an approximately 1/4 inch differential from one side of the cut to the other. I think this is pretty clear without having to explain why this is such a problem. Since the boards in effect stack on each other, it's imperative that the boards are actually straight and cut at 90 degree angles. So I actually sanded each cut end down to make them as straight as possible. Even then, the stand was very wobbly due to the boards not making full contact.

Then came Gorilla Glue. I've used wood glue before, but never this. I used it overnight, and it foams to 3x-4x its size. This was perfect as it filled in the areas needed in the gaps between the connections. The stand was literally solid as a rock the next day, with absolutely no racking. That saved my entire project, although of course I would suggest using straight wood and proper construction rather than a fix.

I believe those are the highlights and lowlights of my project, I'll add some pics tonight. I've definitely learned some lessons, and hopefully it'll help someone else avoid those mistakes. Your thoughts?
charpark -

That sucks that your paid cuts didn't come out straight. I would have been ticked off, although not surprised. Next time you build something and someone is making a series of cuts for you, bring a speed square to check the angles of the first couple of cuts. You'll know immediately if something is off.

Having the right tools to do the job, knowing how to use the tools properly, and gaining experience through building things definately helps with the process of building something. If you were to build the same stand again, it would probably take you a lot less time just because you know the process and you know what to look for that can cause serious problems in the project.

FWIW, I do consider sandpaper to be a tool.

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Some pics...

With nano cube on top
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View of "fancy" sanded front lip
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Highlighted the "Gorilla Glue" between the wood seams. I sanded afterward where it expanded out of the gaps. You'll note how large the gaps are between the beams since they weren't square.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-07-2008, 07:25 AM
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charpark -

That does look like a solid little stand. Looks like you did a great job!

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