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Custom Uro Enclosure III

Discussion in 'Enclosures' started by Vers, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Thanks, Payton. It depends entirely on the grade of the plywood, and there are several grades. Personally I only use interior cabinet grade ply which are meant for these types of applications. The enclosures you see here were all constructed using 3/4" birch ply. In any case, growing up in the trade definitely has its advantages, especially with two full wood shops at my disposal.
     
  2. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    They are excellent looking! The grade of the ply makes an enormous difference to the final product. I envy you for the wood shops and the cabinet maker carpentry skills too.

    My current build I am going to be transferring Levicy too, I have a cabinet maker helping me with and I am quite proud of it so far.
     
  3. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Thanks, man. I can't wait to check your build out. If you get a chance between moving, life and everything between try and grab some shots of it in progress. I like browsing other people's enclosures as much as I like building my own.
     
  4. katie41586

    katie41586 Elite Member

    Jealous and impressed. People don't understand the amount of work, precision, and planning that goes into these things. From what I've seen anything under $1000 would be a steal for an enclosure like this. I've been looking to buy a new one as I may be moving this summer and the one I made for my pair of uros just isn't cutting it anymore. I wonder though, do yours dig? I have one that loves it. I've been trying to think of ways to install a sort of false bottom in an enclosure with a hole leading underneath to a bottom of substrate. That way, the barrier could prevent the substrate from drying out and the lizards would have an enclosure of both bare floor on top and deep substrate to dig in below. The problem would be finding a way to attach the false bottom so that it can be removable if necessary, but secure so it could never fall on them.
     
  5. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Hey, lady, long time no see! I'm not currently keeping them on a particulate substrate however I do have a few designs in mind to incorporate both a false floor/drawers or dig box/section. I plan to incorporate something like this as soon as mine hit breeding age, which is right around the corner for my ornata. Unfortunately the plans are all virtual at this point, as are most of them, but I can translate them into something more tangible if you are at all interested. Do you have a thread open that shows off your uros?
     
  6. katie41586

    katie41586 Elite Member

    Yep, just posted an album! Pics are a little old, they have grown in size since then. Would definitely be interested in seeing some designs, but no hurry. :)
     
  7. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Nice--they look great! I'll get some of those ideas of mine drawn up asap :)
     
  8. DragonsKeepers

    DragonsKeepers Subscribed User Premium Member

    Those are awesome. I would love to have the room for woodworking, but any mess I make needs to be cleaned up pretty quickly. I would love to see the process of those backdrops and how tight you fit them in, if they're easy to clean, weight, etc. How would those work in a humid environment? And is the black just a paint? I see so much about staining, but we don't have much natural wood in our house - most is black or very dark, so we would love the look of black enclosures.
     
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    They clean fairly easily. I have somewhat similar ones. I just mist the area then wipe with a paper towel or brush.
     
  10. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Thanks. I haven't had much experience cleaning the backdrops in these specific enclosures, mainly because all of them apart from one don't have any ledges for the animals to defecate on. The one that does have a ledge has been defecated on in the past but given the high internal temps it dried up very quickly, which allowed my to just brush the stools off. This went on for a short period but has since stopped, so I don't really need to worry bout it anymore...at least for now. For these backgrounds I decided, unlike most people, to leave them unsealed to prevent that glossy appearance. Clear coating/sealing will form a protective layer over the concrete which not only strengthens and increases durability but also aids in the cleaning process. Unfortunately it also makes the backdrop look wet, which isn't desirable for arid/desert themed setups...at least not in terms of aesthetics. I did, however, decide on that route when I constructed my nephew's leo backdrop but did so for the former reasons--durability was more important in this case. That said, for jungle and forest species, the wet look works very well in terms of keeping with the theme. When properly cured (preferably wet cured when used in a humid/moist environment) and sealed the backdrop should do very well.

    As for fitting, they fit fairly snug. The backdrops seen in this thread consist of three to four separate panels that are slid in and pressure fitted--there is nothing holding them in place apart from the other pieces. I designed them like this to prevent removing every piece in order to repair single panels without removing the entire backdrop. I designed my nephew's backdrop differently, using a single three sided backdrop with a 1/4" ply backing and wood bracing (both vertical and horizontal) for support. I then used (my arch enemy) spray foam to coat the inner surface area to form the rock face. Once dried I carved and coated the foam with a sand/topping concrete mix fortified with a poly mixture, which adds both strength and flexibility and aids in the curing process. After a few days and several layers I allowed about a week for it to cure, after which I applied a couple coats of non-toxic Zinsser Shellac. Once it was cured I simply dropped it in to the enclosure from the top--it fit like a glove. In this case, for such a small enclosure (3x2x2), it worked very well. If you decide to use spray foam, with or without insulation board, ensure you leave plenty of time for it to cure, otherwise when you go to carve you will be delving in to the stickiest mess you've ever seen. Also be sure to coat it with concrete in an environment, specifically temperature, that best reflects the temperature within the enclosure, otherwise the foam will expand or contract which causes weak spots and or cracking. I made this mistake twice before I realized just what was happening.

    Paint wise I used just standard water based satin black paint for my enclosures. Once dry is posses no known health risks, especially when on the exterior.
     
  11. DragonsKeepers

    DragonsKeepers Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for that info. Is there a benefit to concrete mix over grout?
     
  12. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    In my experience the sand/topping mix (which I now sift to remove larger material) seems stronger than grout and its also cheaper. The benefit of grout is that its often pre-colored and or pre-fortified and it has a much more consistent, small granular size which provides a smoother finished texture--this is the reason why I started sifting out larger particles from the topping mix. I have also considered applying a couple layers of topping mix as a base with a finishing layer or two of grout to maintain the more smooth texture I prefer, but I've yet to try it.
     
  13. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    What do you mean "wet cure" of the sealant?
     
  14. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Wet curing refers to keeping concrete damp or completely submerged in water for a week to a few weeks time. Doing this ensures moisture does not evaporate out of the concrete which would cause it to dry too quickly, resulting in shrinkage and or cracking. Keeping moisture locked in for an extended period of time allows the concrete to take needed time in curing, thus strengthening it. It's also important to submerge and wet cure any concrete that you are planning to use in aquatic environments in order to balance PH levels (at least that's the word on the street).
     
  15. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Oh ok. I knew about keeping concrete wet (didnt know you could submerge it though) but for some reason I read the post as needing to "wet cure" polyurethane type sealants and I was wondering how that would work. I should pay more attention to what I am reading.
     
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I never liked straight concrete mix. Mortar worked better for thinning out and brushing on. There's also a Top n Bond product which is even better.
    I mix in an acrylic bonding additive to help increase flexibility. Not sure if it helps a whole lot or not.
     
  17. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Top 'n bond? Is that the brand name?
     
  18. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Yea, if you google it, it will come up.
    It's a surfacing product so it's designed to be strong in thin applications.
     
  19. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Cool thanks. I have yet to start my backgrounds but have a Lon list of products that can be used and how to use them so I will now add this one.
     
  20. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Mike, I don't use straight concrete either, I use a sifted and poly-fortified sand/topping mix.
     

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