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I Need Help Building Crested Gecko Enclosure

Discussion in 'HH General Discussion' started by reverendworm, Oct 11, 2008.

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  1. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    lol... yup, I do not want to create a wind tunnel.

    I have been meaning to ask about the use of the buggies you guys have mentioned...

    Won't this create an issue with the CGs eating my garbage disposals?
  2. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    Mattering on what bugs you're planning on, you may lose a few. Springtails are really small and should be ignored by even the smallest hatchlings. Millipedes and beetles will matter on the size of the species. Lager species wouldn't be eaten, though baby millipedes might. Beetle larvae are all burrowers and wouldn't be bothered, though you would need to use a pine free substrate if you choose to keep beetles. A good number of pillbugs may turn into snacks if they stick to the surface and not out of sight.
  3. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    hi everybody!

    I'm sorry that it has taken so long to get with you guys, but that's because I have been busy constructing a small slice of earth.

    Status update, construction is about half done and dimensions have changed a lot. This is more because of space requirements and practical design solutions for ventilation and whatnot.

    I have to admit I cheated and in lieu of building a cabinet to fit my needs, I went and bought one at home depot. Let's face it I am not a cabinet maker. It still needs modification, though, so some work still needs to be done in the cabinetry department.

    Onto a different subject, I know that this was previously discussed, but I need a definitive direction to go on as far as the glass / plexi issue. Glass is harder to work with as far as installation goes, but plexi is more prone to scratching and fading over time. Which way is the better way to go? Like an idiot (or possibly not) I've been listening to my friend who has been helping me build this thing and he has me really paranoid about using glass.

    Any thoughts? I am wondering if there are any practical solutions to the clouding over time issue of plexi... Or is there any other way to go? Maybe higher grade plexi? (NO SCREEN!!!)

    Or am I just paranoid about glass.

    Either way, we are a few steps away from this issue, so whatever

    Oh, and for those of you who want pictures, not to worry, I have documented this step by step and will have a full how to when I am done.
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I have plexi in my frog enclosure. Mostly because it was easier to work with. Its been in there for a year now and no scratches. I figure if it fades or scratches badly, I can replace it in a matter of half an hour so I didn't really consider glass.

    Glass is fine as long as you know how to work with it. The only time you really need to worry about glass, is with an animal who is big enough to tail whip it, like an iguana or a skink. Crested geckos would be fine with glass.
  5. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    My crested gecko resides in a 45 gallon aquarium. All 4 walls are made of glass, and he is fine. (The tank itself is heavily planted with artificial life. lol)

    Both would work fine. If you are really worried about the glass breaking, use plexi. Since the plexi will dim and scratch over time, make the plexi panes removable. That will allow you to swap them out if they do get to a point where you are not adequate. It will also allow you to change to glass in the future if you opt to.

    The thickness of the glass will also determine how strong it is. If you go with some really thin stuff, it is more likely to get broken than if you went with something thicker. My 45 gallon tank is 1/4" thick glass and I bet it can take a beating. I know Spidey (my crested) hasn't been able to break it yet. lol ;)
  6. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    hahaha.... Thats pretty good. My real concern is using 1/8" glass vs. plexi. I was ok with the glass, but this is going to be flush mounted with a piece of corner trim cut to shape to create a "track" for the glass to rest in (using good ole redneck engineering). Really, considering the amount of money I have dumped into this project, I would hate to skimp on viewability, even if it would be in the distant future.

    I am really on the fence as to what would better suit my needs. I want to install all components myself, but the prospect of breaking a $200.00 dollar glass pane sounds unreasonable. I would rather get some plexi cut to size, but I don't want to replace it when it eventually clouds or scratches. Me not being very knowlgable about either product doesn't help either.

    I am wondering if there is a cloud / scratch resistant product that is similar to plexi that has a longer "shelf life." This of course would have to be at least somewhat reasonably priced. I am willing to pay more for quality product if need be, but if the cost exceeds professional glass installation, I'll just stick with the glass idea.

    What are your thoughts?
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    $200 dollars? :eek:Geez how big of a plate are you talking about?
    The 1/4 inch panel (13.5x45) I used in my boa cage was only 27 dollars! And glass is considerably cheaper than plexi.
  8. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If you don't want to replace the plexi, use glass. I use plexi on a number of projects. I have some plexi that is 5+years old and it is still clear enough to see through. The haze that is formed doesn't make the enclosures inhabitant impossible to see. It just has a mild foggy appearance.

    Glass is definately better than plexi. You could also consider using smaller pieces of glass by tossing in a divider. Two smaller pieces are less likely to break than 1 larger piece. The smaller pieces would have less strain on them since their surface area would be much smaller.
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    As Merlin has already stated, that price for glass is a total ripoff.
    I would price around a few different places. You'd be surprised how much the price would change.
    Definitely don't use the 1/8" though. has to be 1/4".
    The determining factor for me has always been price and the scratch factor.
    Plastic is almost always way more expensive.
    Also I would think that a large piece of plastic is going to warp and bend a little making a sliding door difficult to open.
  10. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    I really have no idea what glass is available in the states but here 4mm float glass goes for about 35 euro (about $50) the square meter and it's hard to break even after scoring. I would take a look around try shops that build cages they normally have glass for a good price and will break it to size for no cost, some will even sand the edges for a small fee.
  11. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    LOLOLOLOLOL I just halfway had my mind made up about going ahead and using 1/8" lexan (plexi type product with some scratch resistance and guaranteed not to yellow or cloud for 10 years). Its a little expensive at $96 a sheet (36x72) at Home Depot.

    Although still a work in progress, the rough dimensions of the glass will be

    30"x40" for the side (one side only)
    30"x40" for the door (may be split into 2 for 15"x40" x2)
    and a trapeziodal piece dimensions unknown off of the top of my head.

    As I said before, these are rough estimates and will be more precisely measured once enclosure is complete sans glass / plexi. I am still waiting on an estimate for glass from a local shop, but I will continue to debate until I can make up my mind. I'll have to see about 1/4" to see if it is around my price range. Glass would ideally suit my needs better because I could limit the exposed support structure. This lexan is way too flexible to use as a door without having a wood frame, which would break up the sight line into the enclosure.

    The debate coninues...
  12. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    OH, by the way, I also have a question about adhesives. It would save me a lot of trouble if I could simply lay these panes into place and use either siliconeII or go straight up aquarium adhesive. These would be adhered to 2x4s and 3/4" birch paneling (reinforced) so that they sit directly on top of these materials without any edges routed, but instead installing back stops and front trim pieces to hide the edges.

    Q 1) Is this an appropriate method of installation?

    Q 2) Will either of these adhsives join these materials without incident (aside from some potential razorblading excess off)?

    Q 3) Set up times for these to adequately support glass? (I'll probably need to buy bar clamps, but I just want to know)
  13. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Silicone will hold the glass extremely well and at room temperature should take half a day to setup.
    It will not hold plexiglass though.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. Silicone will hold the glass but not the acrylic products. What I did on my door to the boa cage was to simply set the table saw at 1/4 inch wide and cut a strip out of edge of the boards. the glass was cut to fit in it. A line of silicone, laying the boards in the frame and in 12 hours it was handleable. But it takes 48 hours to cure completely.
    And Lexan WILL scratch!
  15. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    You can also buy clips that screw onto the wood part and then clamp the glass down. Then you could just use a little epoxy glue to secure it.
    These clips are usually sold for holding mirrors up.
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Great idea Mike! I had never thought of using those!
  17. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    Great news!

    I just called my glass guy and has some estimates worked up. The problems solved; 1/4" glass it will be.

    I think that I'm running out of questions for ya'll.

    Additional input is still (as always) welcome.
  18. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Hmm, I have yet to see any progress of this enclosure.
  19. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    LOL I agree!!!
  20. reverendworm

    reverendworm Active Member

    OK OK OK I relent! Mind you that this is just a partial, yet to have rest of roofing, wall, supports, hardware, ect. installed.

    I know that my paranoia about sturdiness made me opt to use 2x6 for the flooring, but overkill is way better than not enough

    At the advice of my friends (to whom most of the credit for construction improvement has to be given) I cut
    2 lengths of 2x6 to 60",
    one length at 57",
    and for the sides, 2 lengths at 27"

    Giving me a total base of 60"x 30", to which 3/4" birch was applied to the top (as a side note, all birch plywood used is 3/4")

    This was all screwed together with 3" screws

    After that, it was time for the walls that will be visible from the front and side. I accomplished this with birch plywood cut to 20" tall and appropriate lengths, then fastened the corner together with a temporary 2x2. I overlapped the birch ply to cover the 2x6s to make the finished enclosure look purrty.

    For the sake of continuity, I have to admit that I forgot to take pictures of construction sans legs...

    Then, it came time for the legs. I opted to go with decorative legs from Home Depot, combined with 2x4s cut to length wherever they would not be visible. I also have to add that the leg in the center was later removed because of issues with ductwork (mentioned later).

    Here is a closer view of decorative legs fastened to floor joists. I used 3" wood screws offset to avoid collision with each other. I also screwed these to the flooring itself, where it will later be covered with wood filler.

    Earlier in this post, you may have noticed that there was a drain installed in the flooring. Due to my design flaws, (routing of the ductwork) I had to fill this in. This in and of itself is not an issue, rather this illustrates how to easily fix a hole. Keep in mind that this is not going to be in any contact with substrate, or support any weight.
    This was accomplished by spraying a scrap piece of wood with WD-40, then placing said wood on the underside of the somewhat large hole. After that, I sprayed Great Stuff directly onto the lubricated wood, held in place for a few minutes, then removed the wood, leaving the hole filled. After fully curing, I cut this down so that it was flush with the top of the flooring.

    Front view of the enclosure thus far

    Here is a picture of some of the ductwork that gets attached. These pieces are assembled (incorrectly) for the purpose of outlining the ventilation holes. The assembly is later corrected when it is actually mounted.
    As a side note, there are more efficient ways to do this, but the thought had not occured to me at the time. If (when?) I ever build another enclosure, I'll either figure out another way for ventilation or use the type of ductwork that is not fully enclosed so that I can cut better vents by attaching the open "length" directly to the flooring. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    This is a picture of the flooring with the holes for ventilation. I drew the dimensions of the registers I used on the bottom, then cut the holes. I know that it looks rough, but since this will be sealed and not visible, looking purrty is not necessary.

    I cut the registers down, then used liquid nails and screws to hold them in place. After that, I used more great stuff to seal any gaps.

    Here is where I cheated a little bit. My original intention was to build a cabinet from scratch. Alas, I was runnung low on birch ply, and I somewhat cringed at the thought of dropping more money on something that I was not sure I could make on my own (at least not at the quality I wanted the finished product to look like). So again, I went to Home Depot (I want royalties or advertisement fees or something when this is all said and done), and I found an unfinished kitchen cabinet for about 30 dollars more than what I would have had to spend for more ply. This is doubly convenient because it has brackets for attaching a countertop to. This is where the fan and filter for my ventilation system will go.

    From there, I used OSB as my next wall, with an angle brace. This all got screwed into the cabinet. The angle brace serves a dual purpose that will be explained later.

    There are a few things going on here, so let me explain. I cut a 60" piece of OSB. The exact height escapes me at the moment, but the overall floor to top measurement is 45", as with the other inside wall. The temporary 2x2 was removed, and in its place a 2x4 cut to size was placed at each corner. These will serve as 2 of 4 support beams for the roof. The back panel is screwed into place at each edge, and will have 2x4 supports run along the inside of the enclosure.

    This is also where the angle brace comes in. At this point, you must be wondering what the deal with installing ventilation on the floor of an enclosure that will have viv substrate covering the bottom. I installed some more, and soon there will be a piece of birch covering these. Essentially, this will be a false wall/floor that will act as a large air box to direct the flow of air. This will blow across the entire front of the glass, hopefully preventing glass fog. I somewhat swiped the idea from someone on this site (I think it was Rich, but I am not swearing to anything). The gap in the front will be covered with screen to prevent "adventuring" Geckos, followed by a collection trough located inside that will catch what water that manages to make it into the gap.

    There is more, but it is almost 5AM and this dude is getting tired. This is where I am currently at, but I have the plans for wiring, plumbing, and great stuff carving (complete with rock ledges and whatnot).

    passing out now.... I leave you with an image of the front
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