Are DIY tank stands over built? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Are DIY tank stands over built?

I am going to build a stand for my 65g tank, but I really don't want a front center support. Its a PIA to work under the tank with that thing in the way.

I did some calcs and got the following:

55 gals water = 460 lbs (assuming substrate take up 10 gal if space)
Substrate = 100 lbs (begin generous since I don't really know)

Assuming a 48 x 14 dimension of the stand and using 2x4s (small width up), that is 217 sq in of surface area just on the 2x4s. Stand will have ply on top of that.

That calcs to around 2.6 lbs per sq in.

The front 2x4 has 84 sq in of surface area, so it will be dealing with about 220 lbs. I can stand on a 2x4 of that length weighing 200 lbs and it doesn't show any deflection at all.

Given these numbers, I don't see a need for a vertical center support on the front of the frame. The legs could be 4x4s which are way more than enough to support the total weight of the tank.

Anyone had experience with a stand built this way?

I have seen one like this, but the top boards were doubled. This required them to be screwed in instead of notched and joined. That to me is a bigger failure point than a single 2x4.

Just seems like overkill, and really heavy to move around.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 05:47 PM
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Don't forget to add the weight of the tank, lighting and canopy if you have one.

Most stands are probably overbuilt. It's a bit better than underbuilding it though. If the paltform the tank is on begins to warp it could pop the aquarium seams and that can lead to a catastrophis failure. If you have an acrylic tank it's less risk but they are not immune to failure either, just a lot less likely.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 05:57 PM
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Go look at the same size stand at your local Pet** store. Likely there is no center brace other than a plywood piece. You certainly won't see any 2x4's either. Yes, DIY stands are typically over-built. If you use a single sheet of ply to skin the front (cutting out a section for the doors) then you have some additional rigidity/support there too.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 07:18 PM
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Yes, Yes, Yes.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Perfect, its Original!

I saw your stand on the sticky regarding this subject. I think the stand you made is probably my favorite so far. The tapered legs are a great touch and really help keep the feeling of a massive piece to a minimun.

Can you give details of the carcus of that stand? Is it just a typical cabinet carcus or did you reinforce it somehow?

Because its up on feet, the lower horiziontal member is basically carrying a load similar to what an unsupported top member would carry it (in fact its more concentrated at the center point). Any sagging issues?
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 08:16 PM
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koop View Post
Would have been awesome if it actually worked.

500 - Internal server error.

There is a problem with the resource you are looking for, and it cannot be displayed.


Thanks anyway
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 10:19 PM
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My stand for my 75 is all plywood and still completely overbuilt. No center anything but height is an annoying limitation.

If you want the lightest and most rigid top, build a torsion box for the top bit.

If you use dimensional lumber, note that twice as thick (in this case tall) is 8x as strong but twice as wide is just twice as strong as one.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 01:12 AM
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You don't need the center support at the front of the stand if you use a horizontal "beam" above the door opening to carry the load out to the outside vertical supports. If that "beam" is 4 inches or more top to bottom, I doubt that the center post does anything at all. The stand I just made is built that way, and it seems to be working fine. However, one similar stand I made without that horizontal piece did sag a little bit, enough to make the doors rub heavily at the top. That's why I added the horizontal board for the current one.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 07:02 AM
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Yes they normally are. It seems the mass produced stands are built "just good enough" IMO. I'd rather build a stand I can fully trust will not fail, versus one that might.

Chances are you'll spend less too!

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alang View Post
I can stand on a 2x4 of that length weighing 200 lbs and it doesn't show any deflection at all.
A douglas fir 2x4 will deflect about 0.03" (about a 32nd of an inch) in those circumstances.

Yes most DIY stands are overbuilt. This is mainly because:

* most DIY'rs have no ability to do structural engineering calculations, and overbuild out of an abundance of caution as a result;

* many DIY'rs possess neither the tools nor the skills to perform complicatede or advanced joinery that may be needed with more material-efficient designs;

* framing lumber is cheap, so there's little downside to using lots of it;

* tank manufacturers given little detail regarding what is required in a stand; e.g., they'll state "level and flat support" but fail to say how level or how flat. Again, this tends to lead to overbuilding out of an abundance of caution.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDX-PLT View Post
* framing lumber is cheap, so there's little downside to using lots of it;
... and a huge downside to an insufficient amount.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 11:21 PM
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The reason the calc didn't work is because it requires you to fill in all of the fields. Yiou cannot leave one blank.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 04:10 PM
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After I got mine build for my 55g I pretty much decided it was over-built. I also built some aspects of it that I find a bit annoying now. I'm sure its also 10x more sturdy then the ones they have with the 75g tanks at the local store. Why not add another 2x4 or 3 when they are only $3 each. Its not like you are moving the stand very often, so what does it matter if it is heavy.

Considering that the whole thing cost maybe $40 and half of that was for stain and polyurethane which I still have a lot left over, I might just build a new one come summer when I have more time and better weather to make a better one.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
After I got mine build for my 55g I pretty much decided it was over-built. I also built some aspects of it that I find a bit annoying now. I'm sure its also 10x more sturdy then the ones they have with the 75g tanks at the local store. Why not add another 2x4 or 3 when they are only $3 each. Its not like you are moving the stand very often, so what does it matter if it is heavy.

Considering that the whole thing cost maybe $40 and half of that was for stain and polyurethane which I still have a lot left over, I might just build a new one come summer when I have more time and better weather to make a better one.
The issues for me are two fold. First, I don't want to see a construction material tank. This means cladding the frame in nice wood, which brings me to issue two, space. With an over built tank, the space under the tank is less. Granted its not by much, but every little bit helps. Also access through two doors with a center support is very limited. I want to remove that center support in the front. I know hardwood can handle it, its just a matter of being sure I have enough without being grossly over built (see Guy's comment ).

I found someone on a woodworking site that builds tank stands (and other custom furnature) professionally. He seems really knowledgable, and very willing to share his knowledge and experience. I should have a better idea of what this thing is going to look like soon.

This is from his site and is along the lines of what I want to build:
http://www.richinscarpentry.com/gall...picture&id=565
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