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Bearded Dragon Enclosure Help

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by dabiddabird, May 25, 2012.

  1. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Hello, with Toothless's enclosure done its now time for Tigress to get a new home. I haven't decided on material yet but its either gonna be melamine or sanded ply at 3/4 in.

    I would like to see if you guys can run through my current plans to double check the dimensions for me. I am trying to build the entire enclosure with one piece of wood that is 4ft by 8ft. Any thoughts or suggestions on my dimensions? Is there a simpler way with fewer cuts or just simpler in general?

    Any help would be very much appreciated.
    IMAG0108.jpg
     

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  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Plywood would be stronger and less heavy plus easier to cut. And can be stained and protected with Minwax Polycrylic.

    I believe the Merlin made an enclosure using the one sheet of plywood, maybe someone will chime in on that.
     
  3. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Yea I like melamine's finished surface but dislike its weight. A single sheet is heavy alone I can only image how heavy it will be after adding glass, lights, and accessories.

    Most likely will go with a sanded ply with a nice stain.
     
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't care for melanine.
    The weight.
    The cost.
    And the fact that it is basically glued together sawdust means that any little scratch in the finish that alllows moisture in and it deteriorates!
    With a good sanded plywood and several coats of polycrylic you will achieve a similar finished feeling surface.
    This cage is 4ftx2ftx18inches and everything except the framing on the door came out of a 4x8 sheet of plywood. The key to pulling this off is just as you have done on the drawing.
    IMG_0485.jpg
    Just make sure to actually measure the thickness of the plywood and make your overlapping measurements based on that and not just the 3/4 inch thickness. Often you will find that the thickness is not exactly 3/4 and it can cause some interesting moments when you start assembling the enclosure!
     

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  5. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thats the one I was talking about!
     
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I figured as much! LOL!:D
     
  7. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Thanks merlin . Your post was very useful. May I ask what type of wood you used?
     
  8. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    make sure you finish the sides that are hidden as well. (the bottom and the back.) this will "lock" the wood in and ensure it expands and contracts together
     
  9. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    I'm a little lost understanding what you mean. Can you expand on it a bit please?
     
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    They mean to put the finish on the wood all over before you assemble it. Not just on the inside.

    The wood I used is 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood, birch. It is more expensive than regular sheeting plywood but it will save you hours of trying to sand the cheap stuff down and it looks much better.
    I just got thru looking at some for a new project at Home depot and it was about 45 dollars a sheet.
     
  11. Wolfbandit

    Wolfbandit Elite Member

    I'm curious as to why the moldings are on there? I'm also looking to build something like this for my beardie. Are the moldings going to be used to keep the door on the front? I'm thinking about using sliding doors. I understand all the other measurments aside from why the back is larger and as said before, the molding. Thanks!
     
  12. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, as Merlin isn`t here just now, maybe I can help; are you talking about the framework around the front edges? If yes, that`s the frame of the glass door, which opens downwards. You won`t need that on a sliding glass front. Not sure what you mean about the back being larger?
     
  13. Wolfbandit

    Wolfbandit Elite Member

    I figured out why the back was 19.5". =] It's to compensate for overlap to screw it together. If my measurements are correct, the actual footprint 'width' of the enclosure will be 19.5" also?

    I also figured out why the moldings are the size they are. I forgot to compensate for the 3/4" width of the plywood.

    Which would be better for a bearded dragon? A door that opens downwards, or a sliding door? Is it just preference? I've been reading that plexiglass scratches easy. Should I have to worry about this with a beardie? Shouldn't I still have a molding even if I have tracks inside for a sliding door (if I chose that option)?
     
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If you are talking about the framework around the glass yes that is the door itself.
    There is a 1/4 inch groove cut in the back of the framework that the glass is siliconed into.
    As Stefan says it opens downward.
    Which is a big mistake with a cage on the floor like that. The darned door is always in the way! I have another enclsoure in the designing and the doors will open out from the side!
    Yes plexiglass scratches easily. And is not as rigid as glass so it can "bow" out. For a sliding door I would recommend 1/4 inch glass
     
  15. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Hi I am using the moldings to give my enclosure depth. So if a particulate substrate was ever to be use (i dont plan to) it would not fall out of the enclosure when opening.

    I am also going to use sliding doors and the tracks will be mounted on the frame/moding (whatever its called lol) for the top and bottom.

    Im basically going with this design but made from plywood rather than melamine.
    http://www.timelessspirit.com/images/dragons/largeenclosure.jpg
     
  16. Wolfbandit

    Wolfbandit Elite Member

    Is 1/4" glass easy to cut? I'm going to see if I can talk the people into cutting the pieces for me.

    I'm thinking of going with a design more like the snake cage posted above, except using sliding doors. I want to use a bottom molding to keep the substrate in the enclosure, but I was going to put the tracks inside the cage (top and bottom) inside the molding piece. Will this help with the 'bowing' of the plexiglass since it will have approx 6" to help guide it and keep it sturdy?

    If my measurements are correct, I'm thinking the plexiglass will be 48" long, cut into two 24" pieces (giving a 3/4" overlap for the pieces) and will be 16.5" tall (minus whatever the track puts me at). I got the 16.5" from taking away 3/4" from the top and bottom of the inside of the cage.

    Can you use any finish to color/seal the plywood? What have you guys used?
     
  17. Wolfbandit

    Wolfbandit Elite Member

    I could also use a 4.5" frame inside the enclosure, leaving me with exactly 12" (height) for my plexiglass, which will give me two nice even 24" x 12" (length x height) pieces to use. This will make me put the tracks on top of the bottom molding and the inside of the top piece.
     
  18. Wolfbandit

    Wolfbandit Elite Member

    Also, I know some woods are lethal to reptiles. Does this matter if they are sealed?

    It'd be nice if we could edit our old posts >>
     
  19. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Yea your going to want to seal it before use to protect the wood from decay. People commonly recommend a waterbase polyacrylic sealer as it is safe for reptiles after it drys a few weeks to a month(to ensure all vapors evaporate).

    I have more experience with epoxy resins for other projects i have done and prefer to use that instead. Its more expensive but it brushes on nicely, gives a really smooth finish, and requires less time and coats than acrylic sealers. Epoxy is the same stuff they often use to laminate wooden dinner tables. And not to mention its used for marine applications as well so water isnt an issue.
     
  20. dabiddabird

    dabiddabird Elite Member

    Pine, cedar, and I can't recall for sure but I think redwood as well. I have seen some people use pine you just need to make sure it is well sealed.
     

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