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Thread: DIY Large Rack

  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    DIY Large Rack

    After I posted pictures of my rack I had several people ask me to write up a DIY on how I built it. So this is my attempt at just that, let me say this is the first time I have attempted to write one of these so if I am not clear or missed a step please let me know and I will fix it.



    Materials:

    (6) 2' X 4' X 8' (total rack)

    (3) 2' X 2' X 8' (per level)

    (1) 2' X 3' X 8' (per level) - note the HD and Lowes near me don't carry 2X3's so I had to use 2X4s but 2X3s are all that are needed

    (1) 4' X 8' (per 2 levels) tile board (like used in a bathroom) This is basically thin MDF with a waterproof while vinyl coating (in HD it is found between the wood and bathroom dept)



    If you want the hatchling rack portion then you also need another tile board and a 1/2" X 4' X 8' MDF board



    For heat (3 tubs across):

    I used metal wall studs - these are like 2X4's they are used as wall studs (but they have only 3 sides...see image)

    About 5' of Flexwatt and Refletix per level + aluminum tape to hold it together.

    Thermostat of Choice (Herpstat or Helix are best)



    Tools:

    Table Saw with a Dado blade (a Dado blade is basically 2 normal table saw blades with cutting spacers between then that allows you to cut grooves - you find them wherever they sell table saw blades. Using this method it only takes about 10 mins to cut all the tub grooves. Alternatively you could use a router but it will take hours as you cannot cut deep enough with one pass.

    Chop Saw

    Cordless Drill and a lot of 2.5" woodscrews

    Hammer and finishing nails (I used a brad nailer which is much easier but not everyone has one of these)



    Finally you need your choice of tubs. I used 31QT Rubbermaid tubs (but this design is easy to "grow" to 41QT tubs as your snakes sizes dictate.



    Getting started:

    1. Measure the length of the tubs you are using (front to back of where the lid sits).

    2. Cut the 2X2's you need 2 pieces cut to what you measured and 2 more cut 3" longer for each level (NOTE you will need 2 more of these longer ones later on for the base).

    3. Cut the 2X3s to the same length as the +3" 2X2s, you will need 2 for each level.

    At this point I cut all the wood I needed for each level (of these parts).



    Time to cut the grooves:

    5. Set up the Dado blade (according to its instructions) you want it 1/8" larger then the thickness of the tub edge (for Rubbermaid this = 1/2").

    6. Cut one corner of the longer 2X2's (they will look like L's then cut both corners of all the 2X3's to make a "T" (see images).

    You now have all the rails for the tubs.



    These next steps are tough to explain and I didn't take pictures during the building process so bear with me.

    7. Lay one of the grooved 2X2 on the ground groove up,

    8. Place one edge of a tub (tubs will be upside down) in the groove then a grooved 2X3 under the other edge, then a tub in the opposite side groove then another 2X3, tub and finally a grooved 2X2.

    So you will have 2X2 - tub - 2X3 - tub - 2X3 - tub - 2X2. This will stretch out about 5' long.

    9. Measure from the outside to outside of the 2X2. Cut another 2X2 to this measurement, again about 5'.



    Make the levels:

    10. Connect the long 2X2's (cut in last step) to the non-grooved 2X2's (the smaller ones on the inside) with 2.5" woodscrews to create a square frame.

    11. Measure the outside of this frame and cut the tile board to fit.

    To put the level together you want to sandwich the tile board between the frame and the rails.

    12. Place the frame on a flat hard surface and attach the tile board to it (use the finishing nails) with the waterproof side up

    13. Attach one of the grooved 2X2 to the frame (from step 8) - If looking at the left side the 2X2 will look like a backwards 7

    14. Place one of one of tubs under this 2X2 - then place a 2X3 at the other tub edge (will look like a T), repeat with another 2X3, tub and finally a 2X2 at the other edge. If you measured correctly in step 9 the 2X2s will land on each edge perfectly. Screw all this down with woodscrews to the frame (through the tile board)

    I recommend predrilling the screw holes so as to not split the tile board.

    At this point you should be able to turn the frame over and the tubs will remain suspended and slide in and out.

    15. Repeat steps 10-14 for each level



    As this is unwieldy for a single post I am going to stop it here and “put it all together” and the “hatchling” and “heat” portions in a separate post.
    Sean

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to lord jackel For This Useful Post:

    BFT12890 (11-06-2011),Driver (08-18-2011),SGExotics (12-22-2009)

  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Monty's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    awesome job on the diy!!! to bad i dont have the room for a rack system, or the snakes to fill up a rack system yet. mom just got over her fear of snakes with my first bp so its gonna get some pressuring but i might just wait till i move out to build a rack system.

  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Sevo's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    Good job man. I think it you did it perfect. I cant wait for the rest. I know it is a pain to make DIY's.. thank you for taking the time to do it

    Chris L.

    "Do just once, what others say you can't do and you will never pay attention to their limitations again... "
    -My falconry forum

  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    DIY Large Rack - Part 2 Putting it together

    Put it together:

    16. Cut (2) 2X4s to the measurement from step 9 + 3”.

    17. Attached a full 2X4 to each end of these cut boards from step 16 (with the cut boards under the long ones - like a big U)

    These will create the uprights which the levels will attach to and the boards and give a base to attach casters to so you can move the whole rack

    18. Cut a 2X2 to the same length as the 2X2s in step 2 + 3” (see NOTE at step 2)

    19. Attach these 2X2’s between the bottom boards from step 17 connecting the 2 “U’s (attach them where the 2X4s meet each other)

    When done you will have an upright frame with (4) 2X4 posts, a base board in the front and back, and the (2) 2X2s holding the bases together

    20. Cut the metal wall studs to the same length as the boards from step 9

    21. You will need to notch the ends of these studs 1.5” on the sides so that these studs will rest inside the frame you created for each level. Cut a stud for each level

    22. Place one of these studs across the 2X2s you installed - it will “float” between the 2X2 with only the notched ends resting on the wood.

    23. Now for the tricky part you need to measure the level thickness with the tubs floating. I used bricks the hold a level off the ground with the tubs just touching the ground and measured from the ground up to the bottom of the one of the 2X2 rails.

    24. Cut 4 pieces of scrap wood to this measurement.

    25. Place one of the scrap pieces at each corner of the 2X2s (that are at the base of the 2X4 structure) and set the first layer on these pieces. Make sure this level is level and then attach the level to the 2X4s with wood screws.

    26. Test it...you should be able to slide the tubs on this level in/out with ease and have the bottom resting on the metal stub below.

    If so...then congratulations the rest is easy.

    27. Move the scrap pieces up on top of the level and repeat for each next level.



    Once you are done attaching all the racks you can move on to the heat.



    Tape the flexwatt to the underside of the metal studs then put the reflectix on so it sandwichs the flex between (use Aluminum heat tape). I will assume you can get instructions elsewhere on how to wire it up or have it wired when you buy it.

    Place a metal stud on top of each level so that the tubs above rest on it (or float no more then 1/16 above…any more and to much heat to dissipate and not heat effectively.



    Congrats this completes the basic rack…next we move on to the top and hatchling portion.
    Sean

  6. #5
    BPnet Lifer muddoc's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack - Part 2 Putting it together

    Very nice DIY Sean. I always love to see how other people do it. I always get an idae for improvement on my own racks from other peoples mistakes or successes. Job Well Done.
    Tim Bailey
    (A.K.A. MBM or Art Pimp)
    www.baileyreptiles.com
    The Blog

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    Registered User Subzero's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    Why do I see people putting reflectix 'ontop' of the flex watt? Never made sence to me, each row of flexwatt is heating the tubs above it... so why put insulation between the flexwatt and the tubs.


    (________) tub
    ======== reflectix
    ----------- flexwatt

    I dont see how this makes sence, if anything you should lay down reflectix then put flexwatt ontop of the reflectix so that heat doesnt radiate down, but all goes up to the bottom of the tub.

    (________)
    -----------
    ========

    get what im sayin? if im wrong, sorry lemme in on the secret.

  8. #7
    BPnet Veteran Gloryhound's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    Quote Originally Posted by Subzero View Post
    Why do I see people putting reflectix 'ontop' of the flex watt? Never made sence to me, each row of flexwatt is heating the tubs above it... so why put insulation between the flexwatt and the tubs.


    (________) tub
    ======== reflectix
    ----------- flexwatt

    I dont see how this makes sence, if anything you should lay down reflectix then put flexwatt ontop of the reflectix so that heat doesnt radiate down, but all goes up to the bottom of the tub.

    (________)
    -----------
    ========

    get what im sayin? if im wrong, sorry lemme in on the secret.
    I believe the steel around the flexwatt strips is to help maintain heat better. A breeze will cause bare flexwatt to cool down very quickly. Wrap it in steel and the breeze also has to cool down the steel which maintains the heat longer. Basically it makes your thermostat work less!

  9. #8
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    Quote Originally Posted by Subzero View Post
    Why do I see people putting reflectix 'ontop' of the flex watt? Never made sence to me, each row of flexwatt is heating the tubs above it... so why put insulation between the flexwatt and the tubs.


    (________) tub
    ======== reflectix
    ----------- flexwatt

    I dont see how this makes sence, if anything you should lay down reflectix then put flexwatt ontop of the reflectix so that heat doesnt radiate down, but all goes up to the bottom of the tub.

    (________)
    -----------
    ========

    get what im sayin? if im wrong, sorry lemme in on the secret.
    Your bottom example is correct in how this rack was build.

    Tub
    Metal Sheeting (helps to hold the heat longer and disperses is over a larger more consistant range)
    Flexwatt
    Reflectix (furtherest from the tub - acts to reflect any heat back toward the tub which allows the flex to work more effeciently)

    Hope this clarifies the setup for you.

    Sean
    Sean

  10. #9
    BPnet Veteran twh's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    the way i read the DIY it's metal stud then flexwatt then reflectix on bottom ????




    Quote Originally Posted by Subzero View Post
    Why do I see people putting reflectix 'ontop' of the flex watt? Never made sence to me, each row of flexwatt is heating the tubs above it... so why put insulation between the flexwatt and the tubs.


    (________) tub
    ======== reflectix
    ----------- flexwatt

    I dont see how this makes sence, if anything you should lay down reflectix then put flexwatt ontop of the reflectix so that heat doesnt radiate down, but all goes up to the bottom of the tub.

    (________)
    -----------
    ========

    get what im sayin? if im wrong, sorry lemme in on the secret.
    TIMOTHY W. HURKMANS

    " Do you really believe that what you believe is really real ? "

  11. #10
    BPnet Veteran lord jackel's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Large Rack

    Quote Originally Posted by twh View Post
    the way i read the DIY it's metal stud then flexwatt then reflectix on bottom ????
    You are correct.
    Sean

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