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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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There comes a time...

There comes a time in a man's life when he feels an instinctual need to withdraw into the confines of his cave. The need he feels is deep.
Primal.
As he withdraws, he observes his surroundings. He knows a challenge waits within. He contemplates his past. His future. His life.

The need is identified.
The solution is calculated.
The abstract shall become reality.

Measurements are made.
Materials are collected.
Pieces are organized.

Wood.
Metal.
Wire.

His eyes focus someplace beyond the horizon, as he considers his design in solemn thought.
Onlookers whisper "He's a philosopher."
His pencil scratches, his eraser polishes, his eyes grow bloodshot, as a picture of scale and tolerances form a design of efficient beauty.
Onlookers whisper "He's an engineer."
He cuts wood, drills holes, runs wire, sawdust settles on sweat.
Onlookers whisper "He's a laborer."
He softens corners to perfection, sands wood to silk, and oils to an elegant sheen, his eyes inspect every speck for flaws.
Onlookers whisper "he's an artist."
His completed work is unveiled, his eyes sparkle.
Onlookers cry "He's a master!"
He stands by his work with an accomplished smile, though his eyes focus someplace beyond the horizon.

*** on to business ***

This will hopefully be the last time I venture into the world of LED flood lights for my tank. I've been using these things for a couple of years now, and I'll fill you in on what I've learned so far.

Most of these things come with one massive LED emitter inside of a housing which acts as a giant heat sink. The 50 Watt LED flood lights have some serious problems with their reliability. I believe it's mainly due to temperature problems.

I've had great luck with the 10 and 20 Watt LED lights (have yet to have one burn out after 5 years) and so far have had very good luck with one 30 Watt light. So I am building a light set up consisting of six 30W LED flood lights for my 175g aquarium. Due to cost, this DIY will be in two stages. One stage to get it up and running, and the second to set up the on/off buttons the way I want.

I'll upload design pictures when they're complete, but here's the basics. I'm going to have steel rails inside the light box, which the LED lights will sit inside of. There will be rare earth magnets glued to the lights, to keep them from sliding while the system is being lifted. There will be a double pulley system at each corner of the lights, with upper pulleys mounted to the ceiling and hopefully lower pulleys mounted inside the box. Although the complete pulley system would look cool, I'm going for a more modern design, so I want the system to be as clean and elegant as possible.

When I need to access the tank, I will pull down a single bar located at one side of the aquarium. Two ropes (550/parachute cord) will come off of each side of the bar, going through a pulley system. The weight of the lights will be halved due to the system of pulleys, and the lights should lift straight up. There may be an imperfect vertical lift caused by the stretch in the 550 cord, but that will be replaced by stainless steel cable in stage 2.

Sorry about posting before design is completed, but I'm just too excited not to share! Now I'm off to study physics for a few hours, before I allow myself to work on the design.

As a matter of fact, yes, I always post, or reply, in novels. I'm adding it to my signature because it seems like I say it in every post!
Fraternity of dirt #32 I'm dirty

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 04:35 PM
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I don't know where you get your LED floods from, but I tried 4x of the 30w's from a reputable source on [Ebay Link Removed] 2 of them burnt out on me in about a year. Just a heads up, but it does sound like you have more experience with these lights than me.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input! I only have a group of one 30W flood to go by, so maybe I've made a mistake. Although I have the materials to modify the lights for heat, so I'll go ahead and do it. I was just hoping I wouldn't have to.

I've previously taken apart the 50W flood lights, and replaced the thermal grease with high quality CPU thermal compound. That brought the overall average temp down by about 10 degrees.

The last time I did this, I realized there were small ridges in the aluminum, which will greatly reduce the cooling ability of the compound. The desired condition would be something akin to a mirrored finish on the aluminum. Because of this, I also ordered some 1000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 grit wet/dry sand paper. I'll smooth it down the best I can with some 220 grit, then move on to the 1000, and move on up from there. After the 5000, I'll polish it with a bit of leather I have laying around. I really didn't want to get inside these lights, but if you've had such bad luck with the 30W's then I suppose I sort of have to. I'll message you in about a year, to give updates on the lights.

As a matter of fact, yes, I always post, or reply, in novels. I'm adding it to my signature because it seems like I say it in every post!
Fraternity of dirt #32 I'm dirty

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 08:09 AM
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Would seem like making it more thermal efficient would increase the lifespan indeed. Both my lamps was burnt out chips, not drivers so heat is a likely culprit.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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To add to what I mentioned in the earlier post, the new LED flood lights are 100% painted. Even under the LED chip. What lovely engineer thought it would be a good idea to put an insulator between a heat source and a heat sink?

Anyway, on to the progress!


The perimeter of the lights will be poplar 1x10's with a single piece of half inch angled aluminum inlaid flush with the poplar, going around the bottom perimeter. It will have a satin tongue oil finish to match the stand. The joinery will also match the base of the stand, and the top of the stand, in that it will be simple lap joints.

Directly inside the perimeter is the skeleton. The skeleton is made of pine 1x2's and will rest on the outer rim of the tank. This will allow the poplar skin to rest on the outside of the tank, and covering about 1 inch of the glass. This will allow me to keep the "topped off" look without having to top it off so much.

The 1x2's make a rectangle, with a center support brace roughly at center. To make it truly centered, I'd have to measure down to 1/16th, and decided it wasn't worth it, so I just picked an arbitrary "close to center" and stuck the brace there. There are notches I cut out with the router which will allow 1/2 inch steel angle iron to rest along the length.

The dark lines going the length of the light setup is the steel angle iron. I'm using these to act as a channel for the LED flood lights to sit in. I also picked up two 100 packs of 1/16th inch thickness, 1/4 inch diameter circular rare earth magnets which will be glued to the LED lights. I now live in earthquake country, so the angle will be screwed to the 1x2's which make up the skeleton for the light setup.

In order to get the spacing correct and ensure square, I made some brackets out of four pieces of 1 inch square angled aluminum, 9 inches long. The outside corners of the 1x2 skeleton will be routered 1/16th deep on both sides. The 1 inch square will be screwed to the skeleton, and sit flush with the corner. I'll leave some feet on the end at 2.5 inches long. This way, I'll be able to place the poplar outer boards directly on the floor, and screw them to the aluminum, squaring everything true.

I put in too much play (length wise) into my design, and ended up with 3/8 inch of play on both sides:


And this is why I test fit every step of the way. So I disassembled the skeleton, cut half an inch off the length, and put it back together again:


now there's 1/8 inch of play on each side. I wish I would have thought about the brackets before making the cut though, because once I have my corner aluminum brackets in place, there will only be 1/16th of an inch of plan on each side, which doesn't leave for much wiggle room with expanding and contracting wood. Hopefully I don't run into issues with this. Any advice on this aspect would be very much appreciated.

Here are the cross members:


It was difficult getting everything lined up properly. In order to ensure accuracy, I make as few measurements as possibly, and try to make multiple cuts at once. This eliminates minute 1/32 inch differences from one cut to the next.

Also, having the notches cut out together, allows me to square things up for later cuts, like adjusting the length of the overall frame:



I'm off to the garage, even though I should be doing physics homework. More to come later!

BTW, I'm having a housewarming party next Saturday. I need the lights up, the filter pumping, MTS put in, capped with sand, and hardscape done by then. Wish me luck fellow aquarists!

As a matter of fact, yes, I always post, or reply, in novels. I'm adding it to my signature because it seems like I say it in every post!
Fraternity of dirt #32 I'm dirty

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshinetheslacker View Post
There comes a time in a man's life when he feels an instinctual need to withdraw into the confines of his cave. The need he feels is deep.
Primal.
As he withdraws, he observes his surroundings. He knows a challenge waits within. He contemplates his past. His future. His life.

The need is identified.
The solution is calculated.
The abstract shall become reality.

Measurements are made.
Materials are collected.
Pieces are organized.

Wood.
Metal.
Wire.

His eyes focus someplace beyond the horizon, as he considers his design in solemn thought.
Onlookers whisper "He's a philosopher."
His pencil scratches, his eraser polishes, his eyes grow bloodshot, as a picture of scale and tolerances form a design of efficient beauty.
Onlookers whisper "He's an engineer."
He cuts wood, drills holes, runs wire, sawdust settles on sweat.
Onlookers whisper "He's a laborer."
He softens corners to perfection, sands wood to silk, and oils to an elegant sheen, his eyes inspect every speck for flaws.
Onlookers whisper "he's an artist."
His completed work is unveiled, his eyes sparkle.
Onlookers cry "He's a master!"
He stands by his work with an accomplished smile, though his eyes focus someplace beyond the horizon.
I love it! Wish I could write like that.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks Robsworld! I'm sure you can, why don't you give it a go sometime? If you're having problems figuring out what to write about, check out www.reddit.com/r/writingprompts. there's a lot of good stuff there, and you can get good practice and honest feedback.

As a matter of fact, yes, I always post, or reply, in novels. I'm adding it to my signature because it seems like I say it in every post!
Fraternity of dirt #32 I'm dirty

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 12:00 AM
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Yes, someday I would like to try but its a gift as well, lots of people with great a vocabulary can't do it.

Onlookers whisper "Maybe he has the gift hidden inside somewhere. he just needs to look!"
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