55 Watt AHS Light Fixture - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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55 Watt AHS Light Fixture

I just finished making a stand for a 45 gallon rimless tank, so now I need a matching light fixture to hang over it. I had a leftover AHS reflector and endcap, so it made economic sense to try to use it for this tank. I bought a Fulham Workhorse 3 ballast to use, at a good price, so now I'm starting the wood enclosure for it.

My hope is to make an enclosure which matches the design of the stand, but my first try was a flop. I tried to make quarter round, rabbitted molding so I would have round corners on the "box" fixture, but my router is too worn to let me do that well. I managed not to toss the bit at myself, but just barely.

So, I will try a different design. This one will be a solid birch top, which will get rounded corners after the assembly is complete. I will use a different rabbit bit, with a trim router, which is also old, but not so worn out, to cut the recesses along the sides for 5.2 mm maple plywood sides and ends. This way it won't be as heavy as a box made all of 3/4" wood would be.

I salvaged the 1 x 6 birch board I messed up, and now have it cut and edge glued for an approximately 8" by 30" box top. I use a bar clamp which is also a tool guide to guide my Skilsaw for accurate rip cutting. The Skilsaw is getting pretty worn too, but still works well enough for this project.

The reason for the size of the "box" is to allow for rigging up reflectors to help the 22 inch bulb cover a 36" tank with enough light, but without lots of spillover light.

Hoppy
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 02:22 AM
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I'd love to see some pictures, Hoppy (assuming the router doesn't do you in )

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Pics will follow when there is something to show. Right now that is just two boards edge glued together. My design sketch is out the window, and I didn't make another one, since I'm just winging it on this one.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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The edge glued board has been trimmed and rough sanded, so now it needs two profiles rounted on the edges, one a rabbit for the 5.2mm plywood sides, and a round over on the top. Above is the finished rounded-over top, with the router and bit that I used. The router is on its last days, but still adequate for this.


Above is the setup for routing the rabbits, one side at a time, with a guide board clamped on to act as a guide for the guide bushing on the router bit, a top bearing profile routing bit. The router is a trim router, still working well, but one I bought used several years ago.


The above shows how the router bit is guided by the clamped on board. This isn't as easy as it looks, since the router tries to go every way but the right way, leading to a few minor mistakes, hopefully hidden in the final assembly.

Now some more sanding, and the sides are next.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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The first side glued on, using my Workmate, portable work bench as a clamp.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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2nd side glued on.



The ends glued in. I also added some reinforcing strips at each end, inside, to increase the area of glue joints.



The end reflector panels, to help spread the light from the 22 " bulb out to 36 inches. These will either be painted white or have aluminum foil glued on.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 01:39 AM
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5.2 mm plywood??

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babakaty View Post
5.2 mm plywood??
Weird, huh? But, that is what Home Depot calls it. It is a bit more than 3/16 inch thick. It seems to have replaced 1/4 inch plywood, which was actually 7/32" thick. This is thinner still.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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To support the light fixture above the top of the tank I'm using a method I used before, on my 15H riparium. I will use the 1" electric conduit elbow shown, with the conduit connector shown, to attach it to the "box" with a 1" conduit clamp. The hole was cut with a 1 1/2" hole saw, after clamping some scrap boards inside to allow the guide bit to drill into something to guide the partial cut in the top board of the "box".



I used a hack saw to notch the stop ring inside the connector, then ground it out with the tiny sanding sleeve that is shown. That let me poke the end of the elbow further into the connector to make it more secure and adjust the distance from the center of the "box" to the back of the elbow. It seems pretty secure now, but I plan to use some epoxy to glue that connector to the wood top of the "box" to make it more rigid.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 01:46 AM
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Does the hood set directly on top of the tank, or does the conduit support off the tank somehow?

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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The other end of the elbow will connect to a piece of straight conduit. That will be clamped to the wall behind the aquarium, so the light is suspended above the tank, probably about 12-16 inches above. This makes the suspension as nearly invisible as I can get it - the conduit will be painted white to match the wall. All of this because my wife doesn't like the chain-supported light system on my other riparium.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 08:29 PM
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looking good, i wish i didnt live in a apt, i miss my shop


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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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The first photo shows the triangular gussets I glued in to hold the front and back reflectors, and the second shows the first of those being glued to the gussets. The end reflectors are also covered with aluminum foil, glued to the wood with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, sprayed onto the foil, which is then placed in position on the wood.

Bigboij, I don't really have a workshop either, just a small area of the garage, where I work around the two parked cars most of the time. I miss my fully equipped wood shop too, but I'm glad that temptation is no longer available. Working with a bench mounted router, a table saw and a band saw are all potentially hazardous to my health at my age.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
The other end of the elbow will connect to a piece of straight conduit. That will be clamped to the wall behind the aquarium, so the light is suspended above the tank, probably about 12-16 inches above. This makes the suspension as nearly invisible as I can get it - the conduit will be painted white to match the wall. All of this because my wife doesn't like the chain-supported light system on my other riparium.
That's one (!) mistake I made in setting up my 90; hard (read impossible) to work behind once it's set up and 2" away from the wall. And I get the wife thing; happy wife, happy life as it were.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-23-2009, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Glue is still drying, but this is the expanded AH Supply reflector, hopefully able to squeeze just enough more light out of the 55 watt bulb to be adequate for my riparium. Tomorrow I plan to wire it up, and possibly stain the exterior.

I'm also hoping that I can mount this on the wall, with 2 conduit clamps, the bottom one a bit loose, behind the stand, and the top one just above the top of the tank, tight enough to hold the light in position. Then some adjustment will be possible by just loosening that top clamp. Once it is in place and the tank filled, it is there forever! (For a year anyway.)

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