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Another Homemade Terrarium.

Discussion in 'HH General Discussion' started by HDreptiles, May 15, 2011.

  1. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Ok, I am not the first to use this design, nor will I be the last. It is a good design and fairly easy to do. So here goes. I am not a carpenter, however, I do have a small history with power tools. So here goes.

    First you need to determine what size you want. I am making one with the same dimensions as a 20 gallon long fish tank. 30"x12"x12". This is going to be for a fire skink and the lights will not be on the inside of the terrarium. I will be cutting holes in the outside to place the fixtures in.

    Ok, so lets begin. First you will need some supplies. I am going to use 1/2" MDF. You will also need some 1 1/4" inch wood screws and some wood glue.

    IMG_1823.jpg

    The screws.

    IMG_1822.jpg

    The glue.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    First you will need some pieces cut to size. You will need the following:

    2 pieces of 11"x11" for the sides.
    1 piece of 30"x12" for the bottom.
    1 piece of 30"x11" for the back.
    1 piece of 30"x11 1/2" for the top.
    1 piece of 30"x1 1/2" for the front.

    First, you will need to dry fit everything. The sides and back will be placed on top the bottom piece. It is easier to assemble the sides and back first.

    IMG_1812.jpg

    Make sure you predrill and use glue on all joints. It should look like this. Glue it first and set it in place, then you can predrill and put screws in.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Next, place your bottom piece on the sides and back. Line it all up and glue and predrill and screw it together. When the bottom is in place and fastened together, flip it on its back. You can then put on your front piece. Again use glue and screws on all seams. Attach the two side edges to the sides and the bottom edge to the bottom piece of your terrarium.

    IMG_1813.jpg

    This is how your seams should look at this point.

    IMG_1813.jpg

    And this is how your terrarium should look.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Make sure you wipe any excess glue off the terrarium. Next you can put the top on. Use the same method as putting the bottom on. Make sure you line the rear edge of the top board with the back panel. It should fit flush on all sides and not hang over the front at all. Glue all joints, predrill and screw in all 3 edges.

    IMG_1820.jpg

    It should look like this. Let the glue dry for some time before you do anything else to the terrarium.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Your shell is for the, most part, done. I am going to make some doors in the next day or so and start sealing the inside. I will be using aquarium safe silicone and Drylok on the interior. The outside I will paint black to match my bedroom furniture. I will also be marking and cutting holes for vents and lights. As I make progress, I will keep you updated, and post as many pictures as I can.
     
  6. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Ok, boys and girls, I'm back, and I have vents!

    You will need the following:

    Wood glue
    A hole saw, I used a 2 1/4"
    Some screen
    And some screws that will not poke out of 2 layers of the MDF

    IMG_1831.jpg

    The hole saw

    IMG_1830.jpg

    Screws
     

    Attached Files:

  7. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    First, use the hole saw to put a hole in the side of the terrarium. This is going to be the vent and should look like this.

    IMG_1824.jpg

    Next you need a square piece of wood for the frame. I cut a 4" square and centered the hole in it like this.

    IMG_1826.jpg

    Then cut your screen to fit over the hole, but well inside the frame edges like so,

    IMG_1828.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  8. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Apply the glue and put it over the hole in your terrarium. Next predrill the corners and put your screws in. It should now look like this.

    IMG_1829.jpg

    And you have a vent. All the seams and screws will get covered with sealant. Silicone in the joints and drylok on the screws.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Going to bump my own thread until I get a response. :-"
     
  10. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I appreciate you taking the time to document your enclosure build! This will most certainly help someone out and I look forward to the finished result.
    Great job so far!
     
  11. DimitrisDaisy

    DimitrisDaisy Elite Member

    I like how simple your design is :D A good enclosure doesn't need to be complicated :)
     
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Looks great! Can't wait till it finished!
    I love how you broke it all down into sections, very easy to understand for those of us who need to learn visually!
     
  13. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Thank you. I will do my best with this build. It is my first one, so bear with me.

    Thank you. It is for sure not my design. But it is a good one that I will probably continue to use. It seems really solid so far.

    It is the way I was building it. I just kind of did it in sections. And thank you for the kind words.

    Hopefully tomorrow, I will be putting the silicone in it and doing some sanding to clean up some not so clean edges.
     
  14. jewledrose

    jewledrose Elite Member

    I love how it is starting to look, can't wait to see the finished product! Great work! :)
     
  15. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Thank you. Unfortunately, I probably will not be able to start painting it for a while yet. I still have a door to make and some more holes for the lights.
     
  16. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    Looks very clean and simple! I think too often people, myself included, try to complicate builds too much.

    Why did you decide to go with MDF? I personally don't like it. Moisture reasons and for weight.

    Everything looks so clean that one thing that sticks out to me is the brace plate with the screen. I think that could be cleaner by cutting the edge at a 45*. Easy enough to remove with just the screws. Not sure if it would be worth trying with the wood glue.

    Looks great! Keep up the progress. It is an inspiration as well as a reminder.
     
  17. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Thank you. I like this simple design and I think I am going to keep using it just change the size as needed. I chose MDF because of the density of it. I really don't like how it cuts and drills though. Too messy and easy to mess up. The next one I do will be plywood for sure. I really wanted to do all the edges at a 45* angle, but I lack a table saw, so I had to do it this way. I was originally going to put round vents in and silicone them in place, but I could not find any that were small enough for this terrarium. As of right now, the glue is too set to take it apart and try to change it, so I will have to leave it alone, but that will be on my list of things to change for the next ones. As far as the moisture goes, I am going to be putting silicone in all the seams on the inside and dryloking the entire interior multiple times. Plus, I am going to prime and paint the outside as well. I don't think moisture will be that big of a problem. And like I said, I am for sure going to use plywood next time. I am already kind of skeptical on the dimensions of this terrarium and am thinking of doing another one that will be a few inches wider and taller. But I want to finish this one and see if I even need to change it. I have a feeling I will be changing it just so I can put the light and heat lamp on the inside. I am planning on doing at least 3 more maybe 4 depending on the design I can come up with to separate my leo's. I will put build threads up on those as well. I am thinking a 4'x2'x2' for my beardie as well, but that is a little ways away as he is still less than 3 months old.

    Thank you for the feedback, and if there is anything else, feel free to tell me. I would love to come up with a simple, functional design that I can put together easily and quickly if I ever have terrarium emergency.

    P.S. I would strongly suggest countersinking all the screw holes on the outside for aesthetic reasons and will be doing so on the next ones.
     
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Another problem with MDF is the screws. Over time the screw holes will wallow out.
    Glad to hear that your next one will be using plywood.
     
  19. HDreptiles

    HDreptiles Elite Member

    Yeah, no more MDF for me. I was smart though, and used wood glue on all the seams as well. I hope it will last a while. I have a few more terrariums to make before I want to go back and start re-doing things.
     
  20. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I learn more from my mistakes when building than I do doing things right. and after about 5 or 6 builds I am finally starting to get things together. looks like a great design am looking forward to seeing the finished product
     

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