Acrylic Fabrication Q & A

Not_Eeyore

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If you're planning on putting the frame on the bottom of the tank, this is a big no from me. Acrylic tanks need to sit directly on a flat and fully supported surface. You would never put any kind of trim like this on the bottom of an acrylic tank, let alone assemble the tank using the trim piece. Just from a perspective of order of assembly, that would be completely incorrect if I'm interpreting what you're wanting to do
Glasscages.com sells black frame acrylic tanks.

Joe Glass Cages

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Not_Eeyore

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If you're planning on putting the frame on the bottom of the tank, this is a big no from me. Acrylic tanks need to sit directly on a flat and fully supported surface. You would never put any kind of trim like this on the bottom of an acrylic tank, let alone assemble the tank using the trim piece. Just from a perspective of order of assembly, that would be completely incorrect if I'm interpreting what you're wanting to do

Here is a divided one from glasscages.
 

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Turbo's Aquatics

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It doesn't mean it's a good idea. Basics are basics. Acrylic aquariums need to be placed on a flat surface and fully supported.

You might be able to get away with a brace on a smaller tank, as long as you overbuild the bottom panel. It will bow to some extent no matter how thick the bottom is if it is hovering like that.

Also, I will bet good money that the brace is installed after the tank is built, rather than it being built into the brace.

Going back to your original question, it sounds like you were asking if you could place the bottom panel in the brace, then build the walls on top of that one panel at a time - was that what you were asking? I guess it might be one of those things that is hard to describe in words or something, but after reading it several times I'm still having trouble figuring out what assembly steps you were describing. However it has been a very long day....
 

Not_Eeyore

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It doesn't mean it's a good idea. Basics are basics. Acrylic aquariums need to be placed on a flat surface and fully supported.

You might be able to get away with a brace on a smaller tank, as long as you overbuild the bottom panel. It will bow to some extent no matter how thick the bottom is if it is hovering like that.

Also, I will bet good money that the brace is installed after the tank is built, rather than it being built into the brace.

Going back to your original question, it sounds like you were asking if you could place the bottom panel in the brace, then build the walls on top of that one panel at a time - was that what you were asking? I guess it might be one of those things that is hard to describe in words or something, but after reading it several times I'm still having trouble figuring out what assembly steps you were describing. However it has been a very long day....
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Not_Eeyore

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It doesn't mean it's a good idea. Basics are basics. Acrylic aquariums need to be placed on a flat surface and fully supported.

You might be able to get away with a brace on a smaller tank, as long as you overbuild the bottom panel. It will bow to some extent no matter how thick the bottom is if it is hovering like that.

Also, I will bet good money that the brace is installed after the tank is built, rather than it being built into the brace.

Going back to your original question, it sounds like you were asking if you could place the bottom panel in the brace, then build the walls on top of that one panel at a time - was that what you were asking? I guess it might be one of those things that is hard to describe in words or something, but after reading it several times I'm still having trouble figuring out what assembly steps you were describing. However it has been a very long day....
Yes. I plan on following your steps but inside the bottom frame. Remove masking in the areas to be welded and assemble the whole thing dry. Use IPS 16 or 43 to attach the frame to the bottom pane. Let set for a day. Then weld the short sides to the bottom etc.

Thank you so much for making this thread!!!
 
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Turbo's Aquatics

Turbo's Aquatics

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I think @Joe Glass Cages might have been trying to give you a simple answer rather than a technical one. If you look at their tanks, they are rounded and polished. The only way you can do that is by having the front/back/sides assembled, flush trimmed, rounded, and polished (you need to have overage on the front/back panels along the vertical edges to prevent air from sucking into the joint).

Then, there might be a method where you attach the bottom to the frame, or set it in the frame, place the "wall assembly" on top of it, rig up some spacers, fill the gap with weld-on 40/42 which does a double duty by filling the gap and (very permanently) attaching the frame to the bottom and sides (FYI 3/4/16 is not a gap filler). Also this technique would elminate

I don't know that you would want to do this with 3/4/16 because the entire joint really needs to be pinned and shimmed, tight, weights on top to ensure no air creeps in or seams peel apart as the solvent evaporates, etc.

The bonuses of doing it this way is you don't really care what the bottom joint looks like because you'll never see it. You only "really" have to make the front & back roughly square, and the end panels just have to be dead on parallel on the 2 vertical edges (because the bottom edges of the wall assembly don't actually touch the bottom panel when using 40/42, and the top frame covers up any misalignment).

The downside is you have to work with 40/42, which is really strong, and you kind of have to know what you're doing.

Back to your original post though, you said you were having trouble finding a flat sheet of MDF...I don't know why I didn't answer that one right away but MDF isn't totally rigid, so if you place it on a warped table and place a tank on it, it will bend. Try taking 2 sheets of 3/4", placing one on a flat floor, wood glue, place the other on top, then weights. Let sit for a day. This will be more rigid. But if your work table sucks, you will want to use wood slats and shims under the MDF to make it flat.

You can do this with one sheet also (slats/shims). You should be able to make an MDF surface that is flat and workable without issue...
 

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I think @Joe Glass Cages might have been trying to give you a simple answer rather than a technical one. If you look at their tanks, they are rounded and polished. The only way you can do that is by having the front/back/sides assembled, flush trimmed, rounded, and polished (you need to have overage on the front/back panels along the vertical edges to prevent air from sucking into the joint).

Then, there might be a method where you attach the bottom to the frame, or set it in the frame, place the "wall assembly" on top of it, rig up some spacers, fill the gap with weld-on 40/42 which does a double duty by filling the gap and (very permanently) attaching the frame to the bottom and sides (FYI 3/4/16 is not a gap filler). Also this technique would elminate

I don't know that you would want to do this with 3/4/16 because the entire joint really needs to be pinned and shimmed, tight, weights on top to ensure no air creeps in or seams peel apart as the solvent evaporates, etc.

The bonuses of doing it this way is you don't really care what the bottom joint looks like because you'll never see it. You only "really" have to make the front & back roughly square, and the end panels just have to be dead on parallel on the 2 vertical edges (because the bottom edges of the wall assembly don't actually touch the bottom panel when using 40/42, and the top frame covers up any misalignment).

The downside is you have to work with 40/42, which is really strong, and you kind of have to know what you're doing.

Back to your original post though, you said you were having trouble finding a flat sheet of MDF...I don't know why I didn't answer that one right away but MDF isn't totally rigid, so if you place it on a warped table and place a tank on it, it will bend. Try taking 2 sheets of 3/4", placing one on a flat floor, wood glue, place the other on top, then weights. Let sit for a day. This will be more rigid. But if your work table sucks, you will want to use wood slats and shims under the MDF to make it flat.

You can do this with one sheet also (slats/shims). You should be able to make an MDF surface that is flat and workable without issue...
Thanks @Turbo's Aquatics, that is spot on!

@Not_Eeyore, my reply to your PM question was spot on as well. However not in the right context for this thread.

Glasscages will build an acrylic framed tank for the following foot prints only, 12 x 6, 16 x 8, 20 x 10, 24 x 12, 30 x 12, 36 x 12, 36 x 18, 48 x 12 and 48 x 18 with a max height of 25". And deviation from those foot prints, the tank will be build without a frame and constructed as @Turbo's Aquatics outlined. In addition, any tank with the foot prints above mention with a requested height above 25" will not be built with a frame.

I am completely synchronized with @Turbo's Aquatics outline and suggestions.

Hope this helps.
 

Not_Eeyore

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Thanks @Turbo's Aquatics, that is spot on!

@Not_Eeyore, my reply to your PM question was spot on as well. However not in the right context for this thread.

Glasscages will build an acrylic framed tank for the following foot prints only, 12 x 6, 16 x 8, 20 x 10, 24 x 12, 30 x 12, 36 x 12, 36 x 18, 48 x 12 and 48 x 18 with a max height of 25". And deviation from those foot prints, the tank will be build without a frame and constructed as @Turbo's Aquatics outlined. In addition, any tank with the foot prints above mention with a requested height above 25" will not be built with a frame.

I am completely synchronized with @Turbo's Aquatics outline and suggestions.

Hope this helps.
Yes, my build is 48 x 18. I turned to DIY when the shipping quote for your tank was $335 to a terminal 100 miles from my place. I wish your company had offered pre-cut/prepped pieces with instructions for DIY assembly.

I am also using the 1/4" the quote suggested as an upgrade thickness. As I understand your message, I should assemble dry and attach the bottom to the frame, and then proceed with @Turbo's Aquatics steps.
 

Not_Eeyore

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Yes, my build is 48 x 18. I turned to DIY when the shipping quote for your tank was $335 to a terminal 100 miles from my place. I wish your company had offered pre-cut/prepped pieces with instructions for DIY assembly.

I am also using the 1/4" the quote suggested as an upgrade thickness. As I understand your message, I should assemble dry and attach the bottom to the frame, and then proceed with @Turbo's Aquatics steps.
Typo in bold and italic...should be 1/2". Glasscages standard is 3/8" for black frame acrylic tanks and they offer an upgrade option to 1/2"
 

Not_Eeyore

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Turbo's Aquatics Joe Glass Cages any recommendations for remover to make sure all masking glue is off the edges?

Oophf, epic battle with old masking paper! Over then course of 3 weeks I peeled, rubbed, and scraped the stubborn masking paper from the edges of my build. Couple of tips for anyone else dealing with this... If the paper is just old then cold is your best friend. If the sheet has rubbed or been scraped against some thing else; then olive oil, warmth, and a wide acrylic scraper worked well for me. My finger tips worked well for getting the leftover glue balled up. Understand, I am not a pro and this is my first try at this. Probably the ugliest peel ever but I am really proud of my success.
 

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Not_Eeyore

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For old paper, just use a heat gun on a higher setting, keep it moving and watch your fingers
I chickened out on the heat gun after my dad said he caught a porch on fire the first time he tried to use one.

Would you point me to any info on perfecting the edges to be welded? I do not have a router. They feel smooth, just look odd.
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