Anyone knowledgeable with building acrylic aquariums?

Troylee

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Going thicker just to be "on the safe side" causes other problems.
I’ve built plenty of tanks myself and if I’m doing a panel 90x30” tall I’d use 3/4” as I’ve seen them bow.. most 220 gallons are half inch and it bows but it’s acceptable.. I’m not saying you’re wrong and it can’t be done but they scratch easier with scrapers etc when they belly out like that.
 
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Everyone, thank you so much for your help! This thread has been more active than I had thought it would be.

I want to be clear, this is me just thinking out loud right now, this isn't something I'm going to be able to do in the next few days to weeks, more like a couples months, but I'm very interested and I do very much appreciate the help with my questions.

@Joe Glass Cages and @Tenecor Aquariums , to you both in particular, I VERY much appreciate you stopping by and I would absolutely appreciate any advice you would be willing to offer me, but I definitely don't want to waste your time. I know you both make quality aquariums, but I am quite sure those would be beyond what I can afford, at least not in the next few months. I am fairly certain the only way I can afford to do this is with a DIY build.

What size did you settle on? We have precut diy kits we sell to fabricators. Let me see if I can get them to sell one to you. If you want to give it a try let me know. Our kit edges are +/- 2 mm flat level and true. They also come complete with polycarbonate lids and feed cups.
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@Tenecor Aquariums ^These look really nice! I'm still thinking this will be unaffordable for me at this time, but maybe in the future. Would you mind posting here or PM'ing me a quote for a tank approximately: 36"x24"x24" please? Dimensions are flexible, especially the height, if costs can be kept to a minimum. Thank you in advance!

I did watch a lot of videos on working with acrylic today, and I do feel confident that I can do this. I have some questions about some of the details, but the process of welding acrylic seems pretty straight forward and doable to me. Again, I'm something of a woodworker, so I feel confident I can build wooden jigs/frames/supports to help me hold the panels straight and square. I also have a fair amount of clamps. I thought I would progress by welding scraps, the doing maybe an ATO reservoir, and then a small tank or two, and then maybe the final project.

My biggest question right now is where should I look to get my material? This is the single biggest question I have, as this determines the affordability of this project for me. I found some plastic suppliers listed locally to me, I think it might be best to make some phone calls.

I also found Shapes Plastics online who has cut-to-size 1/2" cast acrylic from about $17/square foot, which seems too good to be true, but in line with what I was hopping to spend. Is this a good material for building my tank? I know nothing about the company or shipping or anything else, but the price of the material is fantastic.

https://shapesplastics.com/1-2-clear-cast-acrylic-cut-to-size

Again, I'm just thinking out loud, but I appreciate any help. Thank very much!
 

Tenecor Aquariums

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Everyone, thank you so much for your help! This thread has been more active than I had thought it would be.

I want to be clear, this is me just thinking out loud right now, this isn't something I'm going to be able to do in the next few days to weeks, more like a couples months, but I'm very interested and I do very much appreciate the help with my questions.

@Joe Glass Cages and @Tenecor Aquariums , to you both in particular, I VERY much appreciate you stopping by and I would absolutely appreciate any advice you would be willing to offer me, but I definitely don't want to waste your time. I know you both make quality aquariums, but I am quite sure those would be beyond what I can afford, at least not in the next few months. I am fairly certain the only way I can afford to do this is with a DIY build.


@Tenecor Aquariums ^These look really nice! I'm still thinking this will be unaffordable for me at this time, but maybe in the future. Would you mind posting here or PM'ing me a quote for a tank approximately: 36"x24"x24" please? Dimensions are flexible, especially the height, if costs can be kept to a minimum. Thank you in advance!

I did watch a lot of videos on working with acrylic today, and I do feel confident that I can do this. I have some questions about some of the details, but the process of welding acrylic seems pretty straight forward and doable to me. Again, I'm something of a woodworker, so I feel confident I can build wooden jigs/frames/supports to help me hold the panels straight and square. I also have a fair amount of clamps. I thought I would progress by welding scraps, the doing maybe an ATO reservoir, and then a small tank or two, and then maybe the final project.

My biggest question right now is where should I look to get my material? This is the single biggest question I have, as this determines the affordability of this project for me. I found some plastic suppliers listed locally to me, I think it might be best to make some phone calls.

I also found Shapes Plastics online who has cut-to-size 1/2" cast acrylic from about $17/square foot, which seems too good to be true, but in line with what I was hopping to spend. Is this a good material for building my tank? I know nothing about the company or shipping or anything else, but the price of the material is fantastic.

https://shapesplastics.com/1-2-clear-cast-acrylic-cut-to-size

Again, I'm just thinking out loud, but I appreciate any help. Thank very much!
That's a 90 gallon tank. 3/8 inch $550. 1/2 inch $720. Both plus crated shipping. No directions or advice included. Let us build it for you, $1,000 plus shipping. You will get flawless seams and go to a happy place. If you decide to do it yourself, there is a almost 100% chance you will go to a sad place. The guys posting on this thread about making their own are much more skilled than you are. Ask them what their first one looked like. The same reason I don't build a toaster is the same reason you should consider just buying one. But, if i were you and wanted to give it a try, go for it. You will end up spending as much money on clamps, solvents and beer as what it would cost to just buy it premade. Also keep in mind, it's always easy for the other guys to beat our prices. But never our quality. Last month, we shipped over 250 aquariums and sumps. Best wishes to whatever direction you go. I am in California right now and need to put on a life preserver. All the best and good night.
 
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That's a 90 gallon tank. 3/8 inch $550. 1/2 inch $720. Both plus crated shipping. No directions or advice included. Let us build it for you, $1,000 plus shipping. You will get flawless seams and go to a happy place. If you decide to do it yourself, there is a almost 100% chance you will go to a sad place. The guys posting on this thread about making their own are much more skilled than you are. Ask them what their first one looked like. The same reason I don't build a toaster is the same reason you should consider just buying one. But, if i were you and wanted to give it a try, go for it. You will end up spending as much money on clamps, solvents and beer as what it would cost to just buy it premade. Also keep in mind, it's always easy for the other guys to beat our prices. But never our quality. Last month, we shipped over 250 aquariums and sumps. Best wishes to whatever direction you go. I am in California right now and need to put on a life preserver. All the best and good night.
Thank you, I think. To be fair, I'm not the one who tagged you in here, but thank you for your reply, and I'm sorry if I wasted your time.
 
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Waste my time? Not at all.
Thank you. I'm just trying to get a feel for what it would take for me to build an acrylic aquarium. I would obviously need to progress from small, to larger, and then to large. But I'm interested and I think I'm capable, I just don't want to waste your time if you can be building tanks for others. But I very much appreciate your help :)
 

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Thank you. I'm just trying to get a feel for what it would take for me to build an acrylic aquarium. I would obviously need to progress from small, to larger, and then to large. But I'm interested and I think I'm capable, I just don't want to waste your time if you can be building tanks for others. But I very much appreciate your help :)
I don't build them anymore. We have lots of skilled fabricators.
 
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I don't build them anymore. We have lots of skilled fabricators.
You posted faster than I could follow up...

I apologize if my prior post(s) sounded hostile. I would very much welcome your help, I just don't want to waste your time :)
 
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OK, I'm very seriously still considering this project. I don't believe I can afford a professionally built tank, so I think DIY is my only option. I've been reading about and watching a lot of videos about building acrylic tanks, and I do think I can do this. Before starting on my "final" tank, I would absolutely start with some smaller builds, like media baskets, an ATO reservoir, or even a small tank. I would even work with some scrap material first, just to gain experience with joining acrylic.

But I would please like to ask where I should look for material for this build? I need to decide if my ultimate goal will be affordable before I start down this rabbit hole, but it's looking good. Online, I found Shapes Plastics who seems to have great pricing on 1/2" cast acrylic that I believe is a full 0.500" thick. A 96"x48" sheet is about $300, plus what I believe is a $400 shipping charge. If I allow for saw kerf and go like 35.5"x23.5"x23.5", I can get my front, back, and two sides out of a single sheet. Extra material could go towards bracing (though I have questions about bracing).

Shapes Plastics also seems to have decent pricing on their 1/2" clear cast acrylic cut-to-size pieces at about $17/sq.ft. I believe if I order a panel for the bottom, front and back and two sides, plus extra for bracing (with questions) it would qualify for free shipping, and total about $660 shipped.

I have zero experience with Shapes Plastics, but they get a 4 out of 5 on Trust Pilot, and I've reached out to them for clarification on their pricing and shipping.

Local to me, I have Laird plastics, which from my research is a recommended place to source acrylic. They have 96"x48" sheets of clear cast that is an honest 0.500" thick. I've reached out to them to see what they want for it.

Also local to me is Curbell Plastic that has 96"x48" clear cast that's 0.472" thick for $460. At 0.472" I feel like this may be an inferior product. They also have a 0.708" for for $666 for a 96"x48" sheet. And, it looks like they charge a flat $30 to cut-to-size from this sheet.

What would you guys do for material? Do you have another suggestion on where to buy cast acrylic?

Thank you very much for your help!
 

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