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Ball Rack Construction.

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by Dragoness, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Well, I've been wrong before, and I'm betting it'll happen again at some point. Really surprised the foil tape came up from the polycrylic, never seen it not stick to any clean surface, after all the stuff was intended to stick to metal ductwork. I never tried sticking it to the poly though. Did it come loose from the heat tape too?
     
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That's odd. Maybe the tape was old? I haven't seen anything that stuff wouldn't stick to. And that includes polycrylic.
     
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    My point exactly, unless the surface had a coat of dust, wax or some other substance. Thats why I asked if it had come loose from the heat tape. Possible bad/old roll.
     
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I didn't read the entire thread but wanted to share my advice and opinion on the heat tape spacing question you asked.

    Leave a space between the heat tape and the bins. You do not want the tape being rubbed consistently. Also, leaving anything directly on a hot surface concentrates the heat. I am writing from experience. I had a funny smell coming from one of my leo racks a few years back. When I looked closer i noticed that one piece of the heat tape had melted/burned/charred itself. I obviously discontinued using the rack (Animal Plastics cable rack converted to heat tape at AP's suggestion). I removed all of the shelves and on EVERY piece of heat tape, where the tub sat on the ends, there was evidence that the heat was most certainly causing burns/charring/melting. The rack itself is fire proof. Animal Plastics were the ones who told me to use the heat tape directly on the shelves and that there wouldn't be an issue. (Their new racks have heat tape, recessed.) My current racks all run heat tape and all of the heat tape is recessed, so there is ZERO contact with the tubs. These racks are going on 5 years without an issue. the AP one lasted me less than a year.

    For those who believe I may have done something wrong, these are 2 articles I wrote:

    Wiring Heat Tape & Wiring Heat Tape To Dimmer Switch

    Any time you can prevent any type of friction between the heat source and the tub, do it. Leave a small space. :)
     
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The tape was a brand new roll, purchased and opened for this project. It stuck very well to the heat tape (and my fingers, and my jeans, and anything else I managed to get it stuck on.)

    I think the wood was just too rough despite sanding and polycrylic, so we added a few layers of paint, and the first layer of polycrylic on top of that is currently drying. Will probably sand again, and apply a second coat in the morning before work. Now it is almost plastic-smooth.

    The bins I have are raised on ridges on the bottom of the bin - I'm not sure if that is enough to prevent burning/melting, or not. It leaves a gap of about 1/4", but the ridges themselves may still rest on the mats.

    I should probably get some very thin strips of wood (of plexiglass) to put along the shelves. One on each side of the heat tape, and another at the other end of each bin to keep them even. Limited space to work with unless we readjust the shelves (which we left room to do, but it's a last resort if we can't find a thin enough material to fit.)

    Rich is it safe to assume you were using a thermostat when your rack started melting?
     
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Strange to me you had problems like that Rich, how tight was the fit for the tubs? I always try to make sure they fit loosely enought to slide completly freely. The weight of the tub shouldn't cause any damage. I actually have to work on one of my racks sometime soon to address an overly tight fit that developed I believe due to the castors not being properly supported and warping the bottom piece.
     
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    When we put the rack together, we left a little extra space between the shelves, because I didn't want the bins sticking in place. It also accounted for thickness of things that would be added (heat tape, foil tape, paint, polycrylic.) Currently, most of them have a gap at the top around 1/4" or less.

    Second coat of poly was added this morning, and I have a long (12 hour) workday ahead of me, so no more will be done with it today. Will see how it feels tomorrow, and try the tape again.
     
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Finished installing the heat tape last week, and dragged the rack upstairs.

    Plugged it in today, and taped the thermostat probe onto the back of one shelf, directly to a bit of heat tape I left sticking out.

    Have it up and running right now (no snakes in it yet) to monitor and refine temps. So far, the temp gun is giving readings between 86-92ºF, but it has only been running ten minutes. I hope it will even out as it is running longer.

    Almost any time you use a new heating element, it is a good idea to off-gas (cure) it for a day or two before introducing animals. After a day or two of monitoring, and stable temps, in the snakes go!
     
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    After running a few days, temps are much more stable (89-91ºF) and no signs of burns or damage to any of the bins.

    Measuring floor temps of each bin with a temp gun.

    The topmost shelf measures 90 very consistently. The ones below it are all between 90-91, and the bottom most rack is usually 89. I'm pretty sure this is because it doesn't have another shelf beneath it contributing heat...

    Going to bins out the bins again, wash the cage carpets, and start moving snakes in this weekend.
     

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