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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran BallPythonWannaBe's Avatar
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    DIY Cage - Sizing, door help

    I have a Pink tongue skink I need a new cage for. I decided a diy wood cage would be the cheapest option. I have plans to get another so I'll be doing a divided cage. So I'm thinking cage dimensions should be 36x24x24 with a divider in the middle. I'll use pond shield to keep humidity from damaging the wood. I can use a drill and screws just fine but I've never tried to build something like this. Any ideas on how to do the door? I was thinking a 1x2 frame with plexiglass screwed on. I'm also not sure how to add tbe divider. Most of it is basically just a big box so that's not a problem but the specifics are difficult for me. I'd have home depot do the big cuts so I can basically just assemble everything.
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  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Making a wood frame and attaching a piece of acrylic with screws is an option for a door. Getting the door frame assembly rigid enough that it isn't floppy can be a little bit of a challenge, especially if you're just using butt joints (= where the pieces of wood just butts up against the next piece). Make sure you don't screw it down too tightly, as acrylic flexes and expands under temperature and moisture changes and differentials, and can snap if it can't move a little.

    If you're thinking about just a plywood box without any additional framing, that isn't necessarily going to work well. Screwing into plywood from the ends does not give a strong connection, especially if the cut isn't all that smooth (not sure how well HD is going to cut down plywood; I doubt they'll use a finish blade). If the 'box' is less than rigid, any movement in it will make the doors not line up. Making a wooden frame and then skinning it in thinner plywood is a better and sometimes cheaper option (since good thick plywood is expensive), but complicates construction.

    Not sure what skinks need for ventilation, but that's another enclosure design element to consider.

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  4. #3
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    Re: DIY Cage - Sizing, door help

    I built a divided 3 x 2 x 2 plywood enclosure for my snake. I used 1/2" aluminum c- channels to hold the divider and glass door. Rather than using pond shield, I suggest using a cement mixing tub. I love this tub so much that I basically built the enclosure around it. Here a link to a thread where there is more on the specs of my build: https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...-for-Antaresia. And here are some pics:



    A couple more suggestions. Coat the plywood in poly. This will help prevent warping. But drill your holes first. Once the poly hardens, it will be a lot harder. Use low voc poly, but even so expect it to take a while to finish off-gassing. Update us as you progress and I'm sure I'll have some more suggestions. Good luck.
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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran BallPythonWannaBe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Cage - Sizing, door help

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    Making a wood frame and attaching a piece of acrylic with screws is an option for a door. Getting the door frame assembly rigid enough that it isn't floppy can be a little bit of a challenge, especially if you're just using butt joints (= where the pieces of wood just butts up against the next piece). Make sure you don't screw it down too tightly, as acrylic flexes and expands under temperature and moisture changes and differentials, and can snap if it can't move a little.

    If you're thinking about just a plywood box without any additional framing, that isn't necessarily going to work well. Screwing into plywood from the ends does not give a strong connection, especially if the cut isn't all that smooth (not sure how well HD is going to cut down plywood; I doubt they'll use a finish blade). If the 'box' is less than rigid, any movement in it will make the doors not line up. Making a wooden frame and then skinning it in thinner plywood is a better and sometimes cheaper option (since good thick plywood is expensive), but complicates construction.

    Not sure what skinks need for ventilation, but that's another enclosure design element to consider.
    Normal ventilation, not sure exactly what vents I'll use but I'll have airflow of some sort for sure. They need about the same as a BP, nothing super special. So would a box made from stronger wood with thinner plywood sheeting work? 2 x 4 seems like overkill but I'm not good at visualizing sometimes. Would 2x2's be strong enough for a frame?
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  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Cage - Sizing, door help

    Quote Originally Posted by BallPythonWannaBe View Post
    So would a box made from stronger wood with thinner plywood sheeting work? 2 x 4 seems like overkill but I'm not good at visualizing sometimes. Would 2x2's be strong enough for a frame?
    Yes, 2 x 2 framing would be strong enough, and probably sturdy enough to prevent racking. Buying 2 x 2s (as opposed to ripping your own) is less good, since the corners are eased (rounded) and this makes less structurally sound butt joints. Rabbeting the joints would help. But yes, skinning in plywood can make a pretty sturdy structure -- this is how kitchen cabinets are made.

    Do think about the glass door in a channel design that Homebody described. Personally, I would use double sliding glass doors in sliding door track, especially in a cage with a divider. Acrylic (as in your original idea) is a miserable material compared to glass, in my experience.

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