DIY Acrylic tanks with milling machine? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-25-2014, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-25-2014, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Acrylic tank with milling machine?

Stumbled across this and thought it was so cool. Has anyone ever tried this and made and actual tank?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 12:23 AM
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I think that's probably a fairly easy way to make small boxes without using a jig or braces or whatever, but not so sure it would work for something aquarium-sized.

You would need to start with a really big sheet of acrylic, and the folding process would get unwieldy quick. Plus, you would be wasting a lot of acrylic. For a cube shaped aquarium, you would be wasting 4/9ths of the sheet.

I don't really know anything about fabricating acrylic aquariums, but their might be issues with the joint strength of a miter vs. butt joint.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 04:03 AM
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Mitered joints are actually quite a bit stronger due to the increased area along the joint.
You don't need to make it out of a single piece of acrylic though. If you're doing something larger like an aquarium, you take the rectangular panels that you've already cut up, and simply miter the edges. Then you just tape the pieces together before folding it up.
Be wary that a lot of tape will melt when exposed to cement.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 12:50 PM
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That's pretty slick . By extension , you could probably use a router table and a 90 degree v-bit to do the cuts . Only problem is that maybe the surface finish on the cuts isn't smooth enough to get a good , watertight bond on the seams .
Might be fun to try a small tank , but don't think its real feasible for DIYing anything big .
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactus Bastard View Post
Mitered joints are actually quite a bit stronger due to the increased area along the joint.
You don't need to make it out of a single piece of acrylic though. If you're doing something larger like an aquarium, you take the rectangular panels that you've already cut up, and simply miter the edges. Then you just tape the pieces together before folding it up.
Be wary that a lot of tape will melt when exposed to cement.
The attractive feature of this method is that you don't need to hit the measurements with great accuracy. You are cutting the pieces so everything fits even if the tank isn't the size you wanted. When you cut individual pieces, you have pieces that are not exactly the right size. Then, when you bevel the edges you add another small error to the sizing of the parts. That means they don't fit exactly right, so the joints don't work.

The normal method for cutting the pieces when you use butt joints also ensures that all of the parts fit exactly. A hybrid of the two methods can only cause major problems.

The real problem here is that a very small percentage of us have a milling machine in our garage.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 01:44 AM
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The equipment in the video is just a router table, not a milling machine.

The hard part is getting a bubble free join. With square edges you separate the pieces with pins, fill with solvent and then remove the spacers to push air and excess solvent out. There is no analogous process for a joint held by tape.

Normally you see other glues recommended (two part or UV) and a 44 degree miter (to provide a gap to wick in the adhesive) but the process is supposed to be fairly finicky.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 12:30 PM
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Nifty way to make boxes and trays.
A V router bit set at correct height from under router table does same operation.

For aquariums you really need to use flat surfaces for bubble free solvent welding as 6911 mentions above. This provides the best , cleanest level surface for the solvent to flow and bond to.
Imho the main thing to consider for aquarium use, is not that it will hold water, but that it will hold water for a very long time. Almost everything effects this from how smooth and clean the edges are to the temperature of the room for the few days it takes to fully bond.
Even with years of experience it does not always work well.
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