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Thread: Aquarium stand design

  1. #1
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    Aquarium stand design

    I've started the SketchUp design to build a stand for a new aquarium. The aquarium will be about 48x24x24 inches. This will be about 120 gallons. Final weight will be aprox. 1000 lbs.

    Please take a look at the (hopefully) attached sketch. Do you see any structural problems?

    The stand will be made out of birch ply and most likely maple for the face frame. I'm trying to create a very plain look similar to the style of an ADA stand ( www.adana.co.jp/en/products/na_tank/wood_cabinet ). The doors will be inset plain panels. The finish will be grey paint or some other opaque grey finish. Is it possible to tint poly to get an opaque finish? I've only done stain and clear coat poly or lacquer on cabinets.

    Anyway that's it for now. Please feel free to comment/critique!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
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    John I think I would beef it up a little with some 2x4s then skin it out with plywood.
    One layer of 3/4 ply looks a little ify to me.........??

  3. #3
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    Fabricating with 3/4" plywood can produce a very sturdy cabinet. On edge, plywood will support quite a bit of weight. The trick with the cabinet is to minimize the possibility of racking, or also called twisting. The way it's made with supported corners will act as gussets, counteracting the forces due to a cabinet being very top heavy. A few aquarium cabinets I've done this way:
    Oak tambour over plywood.

    Ebony aquarium cabinet.

    Here is a quick drawing for a plywood construction.
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  4. #4
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    mike i am safe to assume you coverd the raw plywood edge where you made the rabbets with some molding or veneer ?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    mike i am safe to assume you coverd the raw plywood edge where you made the rabbets with some molding or veneer ?
    10-4. If you click on my two examples (I think the links work), you'll see one is covered with Red Oak tambour, and the other with Macassar Ebony Veneer. An alternative if a hardwood plywood will be the finished face would be to add a moulding to cover the joinery.




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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Hoste View Post
    John I think I would beef it up a little with some 2x4s then skin it out with plywood.
    One layer of 3/4 ply looks a little ify to me.........??
    Les,
    Thanks for the reply. Actually the sides are TWO sheets of ply each. I'll glue and screw them together. The current stands I have (commercially made) have 1" thick ply with the top dado'ed in only about 1/4"! They've been going good for 10 yrs. now.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike marvel View Post
    Fabricating with 3/4" plywood can produce a very sturdy cabinet. On edge, plywood will support quite a bit of weight. The trick with the cabinet is to minimize the possibility of racking, or also called twisting. The way it's made with supported corners will act as gussets, counteracting the forces due to a cabinet being very top heavy. A few aquarium cabinets I've done this way:
    Oak tambour over plywood.

    Ebony aquarium cabinet.
    Mike,
    Nice stands.

    I'm planning on a solid wood face frame. Would the same 'anti racking' happen by rabbiting the back of the FF instead of the side? How about a spline to attach FF to side? I'm trying to make the stand as plain as possible. No trim, no detail. The tank will be the feature. The stand is just there to keep the tank off the floor!

    Here is the corner detail...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Colorful, ain't it!

    Side is dark green, FF stile is brown, spline is lime green. One of these days I'm going to have to read up on how to edit colors in SketchUp.

  8. #8
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    John, check out mine, very similar concept..............
    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ht=#post260375

    You don't need all the 2x4 framing, a well built plywood box properly braced so it doesn.t rack or twist is fine. I will question the solid top though, my LFS owner warned me against that, saying the tank needs support around the frame only. The bottom glass will bow due to weight, placing a solid top underneath could cause it to stress out and break. If you look at commercially made stands most of them do not have a solid top.

    I think I might still have the sketch up plans (and as-builts) for mine, If you want them let me know and I'll e-mail (or PM) them to you.......

    BTW, welcome to the aquarium addiction!!
    Last edited by Tony Falotico; 01-19-2012 at 11:12 AM.

    Tony, BCE '75

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hemenway View Post
    Mike,
    Nice stands.

    I'm planning on a solid wood face frame. Would the same 'anti racking' happen by rabbiting the back of the FF instead of the side? How about a spline to attach FF to side? I'm trying to make the stand as plain as possible. No trim, no detail. The tank will be the feature. The stand is just there to keep the tank off the floor!
    There are a few ways to do the cabinet. If you make it like a traditional cabinet with plywood sides and a face frame, you will have a solid wood edging showing from the side. If your plywood and the solid wood FF are the same species, it will look finished. You can just use glue and clamp up the edges. I would suggest that you make your FF rails and stiles wide enough to create the "gusset" needed at the corners to prevent racking. I would make them at least 3" for the rails and stiles. To join the top and bottom rail to the stiles I would suggest making half lap joints.

    I also suggest inner frames connecting the sides to the front and back. It can be like a fitted drop in face frame, and it can be flushed with the top edges. Or, better yet, and easier to do would be to inset a full plywood top to flush out to the top edges of the sides and the front and back. This will maintain the top of the stand to stay square and resist twisting. When you set the tank, there would be no wood edges covering any part of the tank frame.

    Another method can be with 2x4's , but I don't usually use them for anything. If I did, they would be planed and jointed to be flat and square so when they are used in concert with each other, they make clean joints when doing the joinery. Unfortunately, 2x4's are notorious for twisting and warping, but, you will hear of some that say they use them. If you did use them, you could just clad the exterior with 1/4" hardwood plywood (if suitably braced).

    For any joinery, I would use TB III and clamps. Mechanical fasteners will help. I would not suggest biscuits or pocket screws.




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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Falotico View Post

    I will question the solid top though, my LFS owner warned me against that, saying the tank needs support around the frame only. The bottom glass will bow due to weight, placing a solid top underneath could cause it to stress out and break. If you look at commercially made stands most of them do not have a solid top.
    Commercially made stands are made to be as inexpensive as possible. Ask your LFS owner how many tank stands he has made. He likely recommends open tops because that's what he sells. With a solid top, the squareness of the top of the cabinet is maintained. If the floor is not flat, or the stand itself is a bit out of square, a solid top provides a flat surface for the frame of the tank. If leveling has to be made, a solid top will disperse the movement across the plywood top, not in direct line with any of the four legs, or one side or the other. Personally, I think it's a bunch of hooey that the bottom will be stressed if not allowed to bow. I believe it's the other way around.

    If the bottom can bow beyond the thickness of the frame it sits in, it can have an effect on the glue joint angle (becoming obtuse from 90 degrees) to the front and back. Over time, it's stresses like that I would worry about.




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