I need to have a frame and lid built for my grow chamber. Does anyone know of a L O C A L (minneapolis area or close to it... within 40 miles) company that would be able to help me?
I am looking for a basic "shelf" frame for an acrylic two-piece hinged lid (also known as a canopy). If there is a company that specializes in either, please let me know!
Thanks much, and good luck with the upcoming growing season.
PS: please don't respond with "I had a custom lid designed for my terrarium by a company here in Seatlle, boy does it fit well... etc"
Hmm, do you mean a wooden box with lights inside that you can set ontop of your terrarium?
What kind of lighting will you install inside it?
here are simple instructions for a fluorescent canopy setup:
using 8" x 1" wood planks from the hardware store cut one to the length of the front, this is your front wood
Measure and cut two planks the length of the sides these are your side planks.
Predrill and screw the side planks to the front wood so they form a [ shape. I call this a C frame.
Cut three lengths of 1" x 1" wood about 12" long and attach them to the inside of the C frame about 1" above the bottom edge. These are the braces which will hold the C frame on the tank.
Finally cut a piece of 1/2" thick plywood or oak the exact length and width of your C frame. This plank is your lid
Set the lid on top your C frame and screw the lid down. Make sure the inside braces are on the bottom when you do this!
The canopy itself is now complete. Quite painless and I'm able to make them in about 20 minutes (I do live in MN too by the way).
To install fluorescents you simply attach the strips to the inside of the canopy lid. I use all available lid space when dealing with fluorescents to achieve maximum intensity so for a 48" x 18" canopy I use 3 twin tube fluorescent strips (or six tubes).
hope that helps a bit! Sorry I don't have proper diagrams to show the steps![img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img]
You know... that might just be crazy enough to WORK!
Thanks Josh. That helps -I certainly am interested in building my own canopy and cutting out the middleman. Do you happen to have pictures of these canopies?
However, what you described is a little more than what I had in mind. You gave instructions for building a full blown canopy with light hood. I am simply looking for an acrylic two-piece lid (to preserve humidity) and something for it to rest on that serves as a frame for the top part of the chamber.
Why don't I just rest the lid on top of the chamber? Wellll the chamber was designed out of 11/16" Acrylite. It is realatively thin (still thicker than glass... but not as strong). The chamber was built by Plastics to Go several years ago and is finally seeing some use. By now the LONG SIDES have bowed out significantly (about 1/4"). Two large gaps exist that... well, for lack of a better word, really mess everything up. Obviously, if I cut a piece of plastic or glass, it will not seal the whole chamber. Yes I could cut a similarly bowed piece of glass... and keep cutting new lids every half-year until I have an elliptical chamber.. : P
I need a strong FRAME
for the top of the terrarium (without the metal mesh as seen in the petsmart one) to straighten the sides of the aquarium and preserve that shape -the PetSmart model is not available in the dimensions that I need. This style of frame is VERY COMMON amongst aquariums and often appears as a 1" piece of plastic or metal rimming to top and bottom of the tank. On the inside of the frame there is a ledge that the lid rests on when closed.
The lid is simply two pieces of acrylic or glass that are joined with a hinge. PetSmart sells them as a "Glass Canopy." Unfortunatley the do not sell any in a size that I could use.
Once again, my chamber is 48" by 15"
By the way, by slightly be***** up your design (Swords), it is entirely possible to use that for what I need to do. I'm looking into it as I write this. thanks!
Oh, just a cover? Check out home depot or menards. They sell sheets of plexiglass that are in various sizes and thickness. 48 x 15 is a weird size but they do sell a 48" x 24" sheet so you could get a very thin sheet that hopefully wouldn't collapse your sides. *If they won't cut the plexiglass sheet for you just get a straight edge and score it with a sharp utility knife and snap it off (doing this well takes practice and I'm definately no expert at cutting plexiglass!). It won't be a hinged lid but just lift it off when you need to.
I use these plexiglass sheets over my home made grow chambers but I use a front access of either storm windows or sliding glass shower doors so I don't need to do any more with the lid than cut it to fit and screw it down.
Well here's the story so far:
I think the spirit of your original design, Swords, is alive and well with my current design.
I am using 1/2" plywood to make the whole shabang (canopy, hood and everything). It will not be quite as high as yours (only 5" as opposed to 8"). It would be 8" if I had not given in and bought three *slimline* 3" wide twin-lamp 48" erm... "industrial" strip lights from Home Depot (Holy light batman!) that mount onto the 15x48" plank that covers the hood. I was previously using the style of shoplight that has the big metal reflector with fins that stick out to around 7". Even if I removed the reflector, the fixtures would still be 5 3/4" wide. In order to mount three of those in on a 15" wide plank... well... it's interesting.
And yes, these are "industrial" (ie. flimsy) Energy Saver strip lights. They came unassembled and un wired (yay). These lights are not exactly the paramount of precision engineering, but they were cheap and low-profile. One nice thing, depending on your point of view, is that they came *unwired* (only a few wires sticking out of the ballast). I was able to wire the three fixtures to run off of the same power chord which saved a fair amound of work in the future.
I am using two 15x24 sheets of acrylic from home depot as a lid. They will rest on a thin ledge of plywood. One nice thing I just thought of, is that I could always use extra sheets of acrylic that have been frosted, and lay them on top of a section of the canopy in order to soften the light for specific plants (to a certain extent).
The "big change" that needed to take place was the modification of your braces.
I needed a contraption that held in the sides of my tank to prevent them from bowing out and being generally annoying. Although the general placement of your braces is still a bit of an enigma to me, I took the concept and ran with it. I cut four lengths of plywood that went on the outside of the frame. These run a little bit past the full length/width of the tank. They are about 2" wide. 1" of the brace is mounted onto the frame of the hood for strength. The remainder of the brace holds in the sides of *my tank, conforming the tank to the dimensions of the frame of the canopy.
It is basically just like the canopy braces sold for most store-bought aquariums. Another way to describe is is that I took a copy of the frame (C Frame) and made it longer and wider by the thickness of my plywood (7/16ths on both ends). Now I basically have two C-Frames, one is a little bit larger and "skirts" the first frame. This holds the contraption on the tank and retains the structural integrity of the Acrylite.
One big change that I made was that I separated the C-Frame into two pieces. The "top" piece is now the "hood." The bottom piece is now the "frame." The hood is about 4" tall and it houses my strip lights -basically just a light hood. The frame is about 3" tall and it is the foundation for everything. The frame is the same dimensions as the tank, and the same dimensions as the hood.
My whole point in doing this was to be able to hinge one side of the frame to the hood. Thus I am now able to swing the hood up and off of the tank. The frame is still secured to the tank via the outer brace. Mounted towards the bottom of the frame is the ledge for the acrylic lid pieces. Now I can fiddle with my plants without having to remove the entire canopy assembly.
That's about it. I'll try to post some drawings once I get my web server issue straightened out.
The only other addition I might make is a few small sections of wood on the inside as a second brace to retain the integrity of the tank if it felt like bowing in the other direction. Also, an inner and outer brace makes me feel more secure -like there is a little more holding the canopy onto the tank. Now all I am worried about is the weight of the canopy being too much for the 11/16" Acrylite. I may secure the canopy on a few small chains to reduce some of the load (or rest it on some supports, but the chain idea seems like a better idea, seeing as how the ceiling is only a few feet away from the tank).
Feel free to make comments.