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Bishop's DIY 29G build thread....

Tom Bishop

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I've been working on this for a while now but kept slacking with the documentation part. First reef build will be a 29G nano reef do to the available space, I have a couple of small freshwater tanks which I built a #reefpi to control the lights, heaters and more. The more I read the more I wanted to give it a go. First thing to do was to build my stand, built it to fit a certain space in my basement. I'm pretty slow and have been working on it weekends and nights when I have available time, I tend to try to think of future usage and how I can do things to make it easier to support and use. I will be also building a new reef-pi unit, very grateful to @Ranjib for starting and sharing such a great project. I went the easy route this time and purchased the @Michael Lane parts, reef-pi hat, mars aqua, ph and doser parts big thanks to him for making things easier!

So here are some pictures of my build:

IMG_20200203_190336.jpg


Plywood frame using kreg pocket hole construction, 3/4" ply using ACX exterior plywood, outside of panels are pretty rough but not seen since its built-in.

IMG_20200218_200047.jpg


Stand with drawer box and top

IMG_20200222_163255.jpg


Sealing things up, internal finish is spar varnish.

IMG_20200226_135643.jpg


Paint for the outside.

IMG_20200228_084706.jpg


Drawer and door fronts, its not furniture grade since I had to use all hand tools but it will do. One door front is warped more than I'd like due to the wood but I was to lazy to re-do it. :)

More pictures to come....if anyone has any questions please let me know.
 
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Tom Bishop

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More pictures....
IMG_20200228_095617.jpg


Cabinet size is fairly shallow, only about 151/2" wide, I made the drawer 12" to provide some room in the back for plumbing. The width is just a little over 41" and is frameless. The drawer box sits on 12" Blum tandem soft close under mount rails, drawer
box is 4" tall.

IMG_20200305_100650.jpg


Wiring for cabinet 24" led light strip, wired with 2 switches in parallel on each door to turn on when either door is open.

IMG_20200305_100710.jpg


Let there be light...

IMG_20200305_101042.jpg


From looking down at my wire guides for the low voltage LED wiring.

IMG_20200307_154437.jpg


Doors and Drawer in place, next up to finish the top.

IMG_20200308_165041.jpg


I laminated the top and back splash.

IMG_20200308_165047.jpg


Up close picture of cabinet top.

Next up Plumbing of tank to sump....
 

Ranjib

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I've been working on this for a while now but kept slacking with the documentation part. First reef build will be a 29G nano reef do to the available space, I have a couple of small freshwater tanks which I built a #reefpi to control the lights, heaters and more. The more I read the more I wanted to give it a go. First thing to do was to build my stand, built it to fit a certain space in my basement. I'm pretty slow and have been working on it weekends and nights when I have available time, I tend to try to think of future usage and how I can do things to make it easier to support and use. I will be also building a new reef-pi unit, very grateful to @Ranjib for starting and sharing such a great project. I went the easy route this time and purchased the @Michael Lane parts, reef-pi hat, mars aqua, ph and doser parts big thanks to him for making things easier!

So here are some pictures of my build:

IMG_20200203_190336.jpg


Plywood frame using kreg pocket hole construction, 3/4" ply using ACX exterior plywood, outside of panels are pretty rough but not seen since its built-in.

IMG_20200218_200047.jpg


Stand with drawer box and top

IMG_20200222_163255.jpg


Sealing things up, internal finish is spar varnish.

IMG_20200226_135643.jpg


Paint for the outside.

IMG_20200228_084706.jpg


Drawer and door fronts, its not furniture grade since I had to use all hand tools but it will do. One door front is warped more than I'd like due to the wood but I was to lazy to re-do it. :)

More pictures to come....if anyone has any questions please let me know.
Looking good. The plywood will be strong enough to support the load ?
 

Ranjib

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More pictures....
IMG_20200228_095617.jpg


Cabinet size is fairly shallow, only about 151/2" wide, I made the drawer 12" to provide some room in the back for plumbing. The width is just a little over 41" and is frameless. The drawer box sits on 12" Blum tandem soft close under mount rails, drawer
box is 4" tall.

IMG_20200305_100650.jpg


Wiring for cabinet 24" led light strip, wired with 2 switches in parallel on each door to turn on when either door is open.

IMG_20200305_100710.jpg


Let there be light...

IMG_20200305_101042.jpg


From looking down at my wire guides for the low voltage LED wiring.

IMG_20200307_154437.jpg


Doors and Drawer in place, next up to finish the top.

IMG_20200308_165041.jpg


I laminated the top and back splash.

IMG_20200308_165047.jpg


Up close picture of cabinet top.

Next up Plumbing of tank to sump....
Wow.. that looks gorgeous what’s that laminating material ?
 
Best reef aquarium LED lighting
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Tom Bishop

Tom Bishop

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Looking good. The plywood will be strong enough to support the load ?
Way more than strong enough, I have a strength engineer double check the loads and 3/4" 7 ply is pretty stout. I actually have the load calcs on my work pc, its kind of hard to tell by the picture but across the front is a 3 1/2" header over the opening. The sides are notched for the header to sit on and transfer the load. He figure deflection at mid point something like .010.

Here are a couple sketchup pics...
stand-side.png


Before doing the calculations I looked up the strength of a standard base cabinet and they are usually rated for 500lbs and you should see some of the construction techniques for them. Actually 3/4" was probably overkill but better than the 2x4 since it maximizes space.

I've done a leak test and had both tanks full and all appeared to be well.
 
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Tom Bishop

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Wow.. that looks gorgeous what’s that laminating material ?
Thanks!

Menards laminate sheet, can't remember the name but it was the cheaper version, $13 for a 2'x4' sheet. The contact cement was as much as the laminate, my daughter picked out the color and I think it looks really nice.
 

Michael Lane

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That's looking really good! I especially like the lights wired to turn on when you open the doors. Adding lights under the tank for working in the sump has been one of my favorite upgrades.
 
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Tom Bishop

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More Pictures....all 1/2" pvc...used snap and strut for the hangers, modular marine 800PGH overflow, banjo bulkhead for return and spears unions.
IMG_20200403_164122.jpg


Let me just say that plumbing took me the longest, I do not have enough front to back room to place the overflow on the back so I have attached at the one end. It's a modular marine 800gph overflow and i think I have the pipes adjusted to about the right height, took me a day of playing with it to kind of understand how it works.

IMG_20200403_164132.jpg
IMG_20200403_164145.jpg


Close-up of my little support blocks supporting the pipe.

IMG_20200403_164151.jpg


More plumbing...
IMG_20200403_164215.jpg


Not all of my runs are perpendicular, i got better as I went along but still bugs me...:)

Now I am currently working on getting the rest of the parts, return pumps, powerheads, refractometer, reef-pi, etc...I cant seem to make up my mind on the return pump, I only need about 200GPH or less so I don't need something big but trying to find something reliable and quiet. If anyone has any suggestions let me know, I have probably looked at all of them and just can't make up my mind.

More to follow....
 
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Tom Bishop

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For quiet I would 100% go DC.
I ended up going with a Eheim 1250, I don't need much flow for the small tank and for reliability it should be pretty decent. I looked at all of the options but most of the DC based pumps did not inspire confidence for reliability. The varios line looks good but since I'm starting from scratch need to get my best bang for my buck, I do agree the DC pumps should be really quiet.

Thanks :)

Now I am trying to decide on whether to go with 2 Aqamai kps powerheads or 1 Red Sea wave 25, the nero 5's look nice but would probably need 2 of them and so once again trying to get my best bang for my buck. Still have decisions to figure out, still need a light which I am probably going to go with the Mars Aqua since I can control it from my reefpi.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
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Tom Bishop

Tom Bishop

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Instead of starting another thread in the DIY section I am going to document my #reefpi build here also. This will be my second reef-pi build, I have one controlling 2 of my freshwater tanks and has been running over a year chugging along. For my new reef tank I will be building one taking the easy approach with @Michael Lane goby hat, doser module, ph module and mars aqua module. Big props to Mike, he does quality work, I'd love to learn more about how he makes the boards and solders them up, and his prices are crazy for the time I know he puts into it. Plus that and he provides lots of help on the #reefpi threads, thank you for making an an affordable option for boards. Another shout out to @Ranjib for the overall project and making it open another huge contribution for those of use that would rather do it ourselves than purchase an Apex, nothing wrong with an Apex but if you like DIY and endless options reefpi is where it's at. Still not sure the best way to thank Ranjib because he has put a lot of time and continues to do so into the platform, he is always willing to offer a suggestion or guidance for new users, Thank you Thank you THANK YOU! :)

Here are a couple of pictures of my build, I was going to use a pi zero but I also had a pi 3A+ sitting around and decided to go with that. I will be using the modules stated above along with usb booting a m.2 sata drive vs SD card. I will have 2 outlet strips a dj8 and an hs300. I will be using temp, ato, doser (later date), ph and lighting functions and probably more as time goes. Using a leftover pencil storage box from one of my kids for the case since I don't have one of those fancy 3D printers (trust me I want one). Taking a little of a different approach with this one vs the normal case with cutouts, I am going to use JST-SM connectors for most if not all of my out bound connections. I purchased a crimper and JST-XH and JST-SM connector kits, will allow me to quickly add and remove things in and outside of my case, plus I can squeeze a lot more connections this way. Still working on layout but that will come this weekend, should have it pretty good to go...so TLDR here are some initial pics:

IMG_20200417_074416.jpg


IMG_20200417_074425.jpg

IMG_20200417_074431.jpg


More to follow...
 

Michael Lane

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I'm glad that reef-pi and my boards are helpful to you. I'm very happy to be able to contribute to reef-pi, and I'm constantly inspired by Ranjib's patience, perseverance, and perspective.

I like the way you have the JST connectors with ports on both sides of the enclosure. I've made the mistake (several times) of assuming that I could just hard connect wires through the enclosure. The octopus style also helps keep things from getting too cluttered to connect.
 
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Tom Bishop

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I'm glad that reef-pi and my boards are helpful to you. I'm very happy to be able to contribute to reef-pi, and I'm constantly inspired by Ranjib's patience, perseverance, and perspective.

I like the way you have the JST connectors with ports on both sides of the enclosure. I've made the mistake (several times) of assuming that I could just hard connect wires through the enclosure. The octopus style also helps keep things from getting too cluttered to connect.
Yeah I think I am going to do all or as many as I can connections this way, since I have the crimper I can make cables to match, power and all of the connections will be JST_SM except for the DJ powerstrip and the dosing module which I haven't verified but looks to be an RJ-11 jack. Still thinking about that one and the Serial connection to the DJ strip, I thought about splitting the connectors up into 1 5 port and one 4 port but may just run the ribbon cable through the enclosure. Not sure what to do about the rj 45 connection but may do something similar but then would have to keep the connections matched up, still mulling those connections around in my head.

I do have one question about the PH module, it appears to be threaded on the body of the connector, is there a nut that goes with it or do you happen to know the size?

Thanks :)
 

Ranjib

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Instead of starting another thread in the DIY section I am going to document my #reefpi build here also. This will be my second reef-pi build, I have one controlling 2 of my freshwater tanks and has been running over a year chugging along. For my new reef tank I will be building one taking the easy approach with @Michael Lane goby hat, doser module, ph module and mars aqua module. Big props to Mike, he does quality work, I'd love to learn more about how he makes the boards and solders them up, and his prices are crazy for the time I know he puts into it. Plus that and he provides lots of help on the #reefpi threads, thank you for making an an affordable option for boards. Another shout out to @Ranjib for the overall project and making it open another huge contribution for those of use that would rather do it ourselves than purchase an Apex, nothing wrong with an Apex but if you like DIY and endless options reefpi is where it's at. Still not sure the best way to thank Ranjib because he has put a lot of time and continues to do so into the platform, he is always willing to offer a suggestion or guidance for new users, Thank you Thank you THANK YOU! :)

Here are a couple of pictures of my build, I was going to use a pi zero but I also had a pi 3A+ sitting around and decided to go with that. I will be using the modules stated above along with usb booting a m.2 sata drive vs SD card. I will have 2 outlet strips a dj8 and an hs300. I will be using temp, ato, doser (later date), ph and lighting functions and probably more as time goes. Using a leftover pencil storage box from one of my kids for the case since I don't have one of those fancy 3D printers (trust me I want one). Taking a little of a different approach with this one vs the normal case with cutouts, I am going to use JST-SM connectors for most if not all of my out bound connections. I purchased a crimper and JST-XH and JST-SM connector kits, will allow me to quickly add and remove things in and outside of my case, plus I can squeeze a lot more connections this way. Still working on layout but that will come this weekend, should have it pretty good to go...so TLDR here are some initial pics:

IMG_20200417_074416.jpg


IMG_20200417_074425.jpg

IMG_20200417_074431.jpg


More to follow...
We are fortunate to have folks like you to keep us motivated and give us feedback :)
Setup looks awesome
 

Ranjib

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I’m using pi 3 a heavily for all my new builds. It’s easy to source compared to zero and have standard usb /hdmi connector, but form factor is not as big as the pi 3b. Perfect compromise in price and ease
 

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