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 Post subject: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
I didn't really need another rack right now, but for some reason, I am always looking into DIY rack solutions online, I wondered what I could build cheaply, with very basic tools. This is what I came up with...

Image

I had Lowes cut the wood for me, so I didn't need a power saw for that. I drilled the holes with my hand drill and a 1 1/8" spade blade. The PVC is 3/4" and I cut half of it with a hand saw and miter box, but then asked my neighbor to borrow his power saw because it was getting cold in my garage and I was anxious to finish. At first I only used a PVC coupler on the under side of each shelf, and fed the shaft above down through the hole in the wood. That ended up being very wobbly. With a coupler on each side of the wood, it prevented movement on the uprights, and made everything less wobbly. It is still a little shaky, but very usable in my opinion. I am going to break it down and glue the PVC couplers together through the wood. The PVC cement should help keep a nice strong hold there to avoid wiggling. I don't want to glue the uprights only because I want to make the shelves adjustable so I can change the height in the future if I need to. The shelf is sized to hold large 44" x 20" tubs, and they will have lids on them. I wanted the option of using lidless tubs, though I haven't looked into whether or not plywood would be a good choice for that, or if I would need to put a laminate or something else over it to avoid snakes rubbing on it, or other issues.

Total cost for what is pictured (no heat or tubs), was $54 (including tax). Once all the pieces were cut, it assembled in about 5 minutes.


Last edited by psyon on February 10th, 2012, 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 12:55 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
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Location: Amarillo, Texas
O.o damn. I may have to do that. But is heat tape OK on plywood?
And is there any way to add a brace to the back? Both to help stabalize and to prevent myself from accidently shoving the tubs too far back?


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 1:08 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
Paul White wrote:
But is heat tape OK on plywood?


Not sure. That is something I am still looking into. With a thermostat, I don't think the flexwatt would get hot enough to combust the wood. I was going to look into how much it is to put laminate over the plywood or something.

Quote:
And is there any way to add a brace to the back? Both to help stabalize and to prevent myself from accidently shoving the tubs too far back?


That's actually how I realized I needed to sandwich the wood between couplers. I started to put a T on the back side to put in a cross brace. I was going to put them along the sides as well (err.. front in the picture, my tubs will slide into the narrow end). The only reason I didn't use them was because keeping costs down was one of my goals. If you take the PVC that is between the two shelves, you can just insert a T into that and have a cross brace.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 1:12 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
Oh, when looking up FlexWatt and plywood, most people discussing it are using it inside cages made of plywood. I have only found a couple mentions of using it on wood, and people say as long as it is wired properly that there isn't any issue. They mention leaving a gap, so you wouldn't want to sandwich it between two pieces of wood I guess. The tubs I use have gaps in the bottom, so I imagine it wouldn't be an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 1:54 pm 
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Joined: March 1st, 2011, 10:26 am
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Location: NorCal
Looks great! As we've previously discussed I really love that box size. Nice to see an alternative way to put it together from what I came up with.

I use flexwatt on plywood all the time. I recommend using the lower wattage version (4 inch wide, 6 watts/foot), and I completely cover it with a good quality foil tape. The only time I have seen problems is when the flexwatt is not completely covered and the mylar laminate gets abraded due to dragging plastic boxes back and forth across it.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 2:13 pm 
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Location: Iowa
gila, good to know on covering it completely. On my other rack, I just have the foil tape on the sides of the flexwatt and the middle is exposed. Figured that way the flexwatt wouldn't snag when sliding, but I didn't think of long term wear in the middle.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 3:51 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Location: Ventura, CA
Ingenious!


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 6:07 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
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Location: Illinois
Don,

Next time you're bored drive on over, and make me one of those! K thanks bye.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 8:08 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
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Location: Amarillo, Texas
how does the foil tape stuff work with heat tape?


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 10th, 2012, 9:18 pm 
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Location: Iowa
Paul, it holds the stuff down real well, and helps distribute the heat more evenly.

For anyone curious, I took a few pictures when I was building this. I planned to take a few more when I break it down and glue the couplers together.

I cheated and drilled all my holes in one go. My original idea was to feed a long length of PVC up through them, so I needed them to line up really close. With the couplers, you can probably be off a bit so as long as each hole is measured well, the slight variances in drilling shouldn't matter.

Image

This was my system for cutting the small 1.75" pieces of PVC that fed through the wood to hold the couplers together.
Image

Other than the drill showed above though, and the saw I borrowed to finish quickly, I built most of the rack with just the stuff in this picture
Image

(you can see in that picture the oringal method of only using one coupler as a support under the shelf, but not on top... way to wobbly that way)


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 7:09 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
So, I glued the couplers together through the wood yesterday, and let them sit overnight to avoid any wet cement to run down into the spacers. I gained a bit of stability, but not enough to warrant glueing them in the future if I build another one. It may be quicker, to drill some holes through the couplers and shafts and put screws or something in if you want to make sure it won't pop apart, but I don't think there is a need for it.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 7:28 am 
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Joined: April 11th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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ooooooh! I like that cutting block thing! I didn't even know those existed... that would have made SO many projects so much easier :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 7:44 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
KingCam wrote:
ooooooh! I like that cutting block thing! I didn't even know those existed... that would have made SO many projects so much easier :lol:


It's called a Miter Box. That one came with the saw for $10 I think.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 7:51 am 
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psyon wrote:
KingCam wrote:
ooooooh! I like that cutting block thing! I didn't even know those existed... that would have made SO many projects so much easier :lol:


It's called a Miter Box. That one came with the saw for $10 I think.

Wow, I feel like a horse's ace. :lol:

I've heard the term "miter box" a thousand times, never really knew what one was, and never cared enough to ask. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 9:00 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
ditto...I think I'll be buying one soon!

I want to make a rack for the 40x20" tubs myself. I figure I should be able to do 7 high.

I'm also toying with using those concrete tubs---home depot had some 3x2x8" concrete mixing tubs for 11 bucks O.o I suspect they'd be great for kingsnakes, I just can't figure out how to make a good rack for them given the slight curve


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 9:39 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
Isn't the curve only on the ends? How would it be any different than making a rack for any other tubs?


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 11:15 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
I'm worried about the snakes pushing against the top shelf and the tub enough to make a gap. I'm just thinkign it'd have to have tighter tolerances than normal


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 12:41 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
I guess I could see it being a problem if the tub rocked towards the rounded side, and the opposite end tipped upward. I don't know how likely it is though. You could always add some "rails" for the tub to slide into (like it would hang, but not), and that would prevent it from pushing down.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 18th, 2012, 8:13 am 
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Joined: February 6th, 2012, 7:24 pm
Posts: 77
Very cool rack for the price.

Looks like a diy vision rack.

If you have access to a chop saw, you can save a lot of time cutting that pipe.

Be careful with flexwatt on raw wood. There have been a spate of reptile breeder's fires and flexwatt on raw wood is just asking for a disaster, especially if you are using those little alligator clip connectors.


Pyson,

Did the rack end up rigid or a little wobbly?


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 18th, 2012, 8:28 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
scottriv wrote:
Looks like a diy vision rack.


Sort of the inspiration. I have a vision rack in the room already. If they had one in the size I needed, and I had the money, I would probably just had bought another. I also just wanted something to build though.

Quote:
If you have access to a chop saw, you can save a lot of time cutting that pipe.


Very much time! I ended up using my neighbors chop saw to finish because it was cold. Was very fast!

Quote:
Be careful with flexwatt on raw wood. There have been a spate of reptile breeder's fires and flexwatt on raw wood is just asking for a disaster, especially if you are using those little alligator clip connectors.


I was debating putting down a layer of file tape, and then putting the flexwatt over it. I haven't done it yet though. I thought about using my Dremel to route out a channel for heat rope too.

Quote:
Did the rack end up rigid or a little wobbly?


It is sturdy, but if I grab it, I can make it wiggle. It only wiggles a little the long way though. I would say it is just as stable as a wooden book shelf you would buy and put together, if not more. I would make a video of me pushing on it, but that wouldn't reflect how much force I put on it. I can tell you that I hit the shelf with my van when pulling into my garage, and it didn't even have a scratch :P

If you glued everything together, I doubt it would wiggle at all, but I wanted to leave the spacers un glued so the heights could be adjusted.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 18th, 2012, 4:51 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2012, 7:24 pm
Posts: 77
Hey, you could pour liquid/thin concrete down the vertical pipes and shove a piece of 3/8ths inch rebar down each one and it would

make it more stable than the world trade center :-)

Be careful with that flexwatt on wood and I caution everyone to avoid using cheap plastic chinese made power strips as they have been labeled the probable cause of

three different reptile breeder related fires in the last year.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 19th, 2012, 7:56 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
I was checking prices in electrical conduit and gas pipe to see if it would help but really I don't think its needed


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 19th, 2012, 8:06 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na34fwWBTCk


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 19th, 2012, 3:08 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2012, 7:24 pm
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Looks pretty tight to me.

Nice job.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: February 27th, 2012, 4:57 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
If anyone is curious, the rack is working good so far. I am just using intellitemp mats with the tubs right now though.


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 4:32 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 6:56 pm
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Location: Litchfield Park, AZ
Looks like it could survive an Los Angeles earthquake! Do you have it on wheels or is just easily moveable because it is fairly lightweight?


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 Post subject: Re: I was bored, so I designed a rack.
PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 4:41 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
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Location: Iowa
I used some PVC elbows to make some "skis" on the bottom. It slides out on the carpet pretty easily. I debated trying to put casters on it, but wasn't sure of the best way to attach it. As it is now, I have two DIY racks, and a Vision rack. The vision rack is on wheels in the middle, so I can pull it out easily and get to the back side of my two DIY racks :)


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