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Aquarium tank cabinet stand

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Digizz

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Hi all,

Hope everyone is well - not posted for a while!

I'm about to embark in yet another hobby - tropical marine fish (as if I have enough time for everything else!). I want to build a furniture quality stand/cabinet to hold a five foot, 160 gal glass tank. This obviously weighs a considerable amount.

I'm thinking of building it with a thick solid frame and maple veneered MDF or Ply of some kind to go with the coffee table I made (still not posted any pics!!!).

Any ideas/thoughts/plans/links - especially looking for ways of making it simple but looking effective.

Thanks,

Paul.
 

frank

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paul 160 gals is about 3/4 of a ton ,take a look aroud the garden centres that sell them ,take your tape with you to see if it will fit :wink: do a little sketch or take a photo .i dont do such things but some folks do i belive :lol: :lol:
 

Digizz

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Yeah - already looked at the commercial ones - most of them are very nasty 80's style MFI style made out of plastic laminated particleboard.

I want to build a solid piece of furniture rather than the firewood they supply ;)

Thanks though :)
 

Noel

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Hi Paul, know nothin' about fish things but I would be interested in an update, picturewise, on the shop?

Noel
 

Digizz

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OK - I did take some pics a month or so ago - never did upload them ... hang on...
 

frank

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paul what about what we oldies called a sidboard with cubboards underneath for the pump and such like you should get some good ideas on these lines on the web
 

Digizz

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Yes - that's probably exactly what I'm after - as long as the outside edges can take the weight.
 

Noel

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Thanks Paul, I've seen hospitals with more dust....
If there's any feedback on the site I'll stick it in a new thread.

Noel

EDIT - Behind the times as usual, ok, back to Fishy talk.
 

Digizz

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I started a new thread anyway as various others asked to see pics a while ago :)
 

Digizz

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Any ideas on fixing a ply or MDF laminate around a solid frame?

I need as much free internal space as possible.
 

frank

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paul what about making the frame with 2x2 a/w/oak then fit v/mdf panels shaker style these can be glued to make it rigid and solid ,your frame should be made with 8 legs this will give you three doors on the front the top could be 18 mm mdf and well sealed, the cabinet could be stained to match any other furniture .dont forget to put a thin layer of polystyrene under the tank .
 

Digizz

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This is the design I've come up with for the tank cabinet. The idea is to have as much internal space free as possible. I'm thinking of using 19mm MDF veneered in Hard Maple to match the coffee table I built and is positioned in the lounge. Most joints will be biscuit joints. Doors will be mitred frame out of solid maple with 6mm veneered mdf panels inset.

This is the full picture:



This is the shell without doors and tank shown:



This shows the mitred panels to be biscuit joined. I'm not sure about this yet - the edges may need to be inlaid as per previous suggestion to achieve a good finish? How good a finish can I get if I rout the mitre? I'm after a quick as possible job really.



Shows the panel doors with mitred frame. I know mitres are more difficult - but I didn't want end grain - and the mitres pick up on the design for the coffee table I built. Any other ideas most welcome :)



The cabined will house a large 'sump' - basically another glass aquarium in which various equipment and other livestock is housed. To get this in, I need as big an opening as possible, hence the door post. I thought that using a custom made bracket would hold it in place and allow it to be slid out of the way if necessary. This shot shows the inside view - the brackets will locate on some kind of screw to keep the post in place. Any other ideas?



The main tank is obviously going to be very heavy. I know most commercial tank cabinets are constructed in a similar if not weaker way. What do you think about the load bearing capacity? So far, I've specified 25mm standard MDF for the top - is this man enough for the job and will it resist and bowing (I guess this is OK as the weight is very evenly distributed as the glass will sit directly on top)?

I also plan to seal the inside with something - has to be chemically inert and non-toxic in case chemical residue/vapour get into the water - even a very small amount could be lethal to the fish and corals. I've used Patina on my coffee table - could I use similar throughout, or should I use a poly urethane sealer of some sort inside? I did also think about running a silicon bead around all the internal joints just in case of leaks - good idea?

:?: :?: :?: The big question I have relates to the doors - can you get a hinge to fit this kind of design? I was thinking about a kitchen cupboard style hinge but I don't have the space to fix it to the frame - any ideas? :?: :?: :?:

Any other thoughts or comments would be MOST welcome :)

Many thanks,

Paul.
 

frank

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paul i'm not sure the front will be strong enough to take the weight of all the water plus tank plus gravel if it was me i would build a frame from 2x2 with six uprights and cover it with a skin of ply or mdf ,or as in my other post do it shaker style i know this will pipper up the fitting of the tank inside ,but just think if the cabinet breaks all that water??? ,make the frame solid and then tart up the outer part .
 

DaveL

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Paul,

I am with frank on this, I don't think the front will be strong enough, it was just about alright until you made the front bar removable.

I think you need a brace (box section?) across the front to stop it sagging when you remove the centre bar.
 

Digizz

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The centre post is there for initial fitting of the sump only. I wouldn't remove it after the tank is positioned - Maybe I need to permanently fix it in to avoid temptation?

I did think about a simple 2x2 or 3x3 timber section running across the inside top of the cabinet - maybe that would be a good idea?
 

Midnight

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Paul..

I gotta agree with Dave and Frank.. with the load you're subjecting it to, you're asking an awful lot of your design...

That said... the design has potential...

Personally, I'd look to make the sides, front and back from solid sticks; I'm thinking solid frames with (canna believe I'm gonna say this) MDF panels. In that application, your mitred corners will have awesome strength. I'd look to add to that though with a front to back central frame. This will strengthen the front and rear panels by stiffening their central stile without adding too much weight to the construction. BTW there's no reason why the bottom span of that central frame can't go all the way to the floor; helps transmit more of the load into your floor joists...

Call me biased, but I just canna bring myself to put any faith in MDF's ability to deal with that kinda load in a compressive situation... esp when I'm damned if I can find any load bearing data for it...
 

Digizz

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Thanks Mike.

Is Ply considered to be much stronger in this scenario than MDF?
 

Midnight

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stronger..... definately... but you'd still need a bunch of it to be strong enough...

it's hard to tell without dimensions but that tank isn't gonna be small.....yea..??

remember a cubic metre of water weighs exactly a ton.... add the glass, the gravel etc an...... see where I'm headin??

you can support it either with crude mass.... or well thought out structure; like I said earlier, your mitred corner idea in solid or ply for that matter is about as strong as it gets. A T section would be just about as strong, moreso if the joint was a good tight dado.. the idea is to use joinery that's naturally resistant to buckling; crack that and the rest is easy....
 
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