DIY PVC Enclosure

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ferrisk
Tenderfoot
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Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:34 pm
Country: Canada
Location: ontario

DIY PVC Enclosure

Postby ferrisk » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:41 pm

Aloha,
So I've spent a good time doing research on how and what I should build my custom enclosure for my soon to be Iran Jaya but was never really satisfied with the lack of info or guides of the process of building enclosure. I knew that i would have to keep up a higher humidity so I didn't want to deal with melamine and the chances of it expanding. I've read of people using marine ply which is a sealed plywood. I thought that might work but was didn't like how the finish would look and worry of chemicals leaching. So I looked into if there were any plastic suppliers near me, luckily I found one. For anyone else in the Greater Toronto Area and interested in building your own the place I found is called " Plastic World." Now the material I used for my build is 1/4 inch foamed PVC, this is the same material you see the enclosure that places like Herp House and PVC cages. The Foamed is preferred over the solid PVC sheets as they are lighter.

[Design

Another reason I wanted to build my own enclosure rather than purchase one is that many of the ones for sale used acrylic hinged doors. I kinda find them tacky and clunky compared to a glass sliding door. But one issue I quickly discovered was that the channels that hold the glass are slightly more than 3/4 of and inch, while the PVC is only a 1/4 inch thick. I was quickly able to work around this by just tripling up the sheets so I'd use 3x 1/4 inch sheets, which came up to 3/4 inch, now this was not exactly the same width as the channel but 2-3 mm short, making the channel overlap slightly. I worked around this by making the outside of the enclosure flush and the overlap from inside the enclosure. The second issue I found that if I wanted to build a 4x2x2 cage as I had planned, then I would need to purchase a second sheet of the Foamed PVC. A single sheet being roughly 90$ canadian if you end up using more than one for a single enclosure you might as well buy a pre-built one. So I had to work around the 4'x8' dimensions of a single sheet. Since i'm building this be for a Bluey I know that the 2ft height is not as necessary. I was able to cut that quite a bit. The final dimensions for the enclosure is 4x2x16. When I went to purchase the sheet they were kind enough to cut it to size for me, free of charge. I would also recommend you do the same as you want to have as accurate and straight a cut so when it comes time to glue you don't have pieces sitting unevenly.
20170826_171718 1-min.jpg

Cuts: Sides- 2x(24"x16")
Front- 6x(2.5"x47.5")
Back- 16"x47.5"
Top&Bottom- 2x(24"x48")

Ventilation

Now with this I have probably thought of every way imaginable that it could be done. Now with the material at hand I knew it was very workable, being able to cut through it using a sharp blade. At first i considered drilling two holes across one another and cutting the plastic between them creating a slit of sorts. That seemed too complicated so I decided to go old fashioned and drill holes. After googling " radial hole pattern" i was able to find something close to my liking. I was going to trace this google image and use it as a template to drill the holes onto the PVC sides. I chose to do the sides as i will most likely have it propped up against a wall, having the ventilation on the sides ensures there is a consistent flow of fresh air. Right before i was to begin drilling the holes I was cleaning up my garage and found some old pots i used for gardening earlier on in the year. Miraculously the the bottom drainage holes were the exact size and pattern that I was looking for. So i just ended up cutting of the bottom of the pot and using it as a template. The Foamed PVC is soft enough where a sharp object will leave a dent in it so I just used a screwdriver to mark off where the holes will go.
20170826_215435-min.jpg
20170826_215440-min.jpg


If you want to have a nice pattern where all the holes are inline with each other i used a straight piece of plastic and compare each marked point with another making sure they were all square and parallel to one another.
After drilling the holes i felt like i needed more ventilation so I ended up adding an extra round of holes to each end.
20170826_215405-min.jpg


Glass Door Railing

Looking for these was little tough but after calling the manufacturer they let me know that Home Hardware carries their products. But before I can use the channels i first have to cut and paint them. The Best way i found to cut the hard plastic is to use a torch and heat a razor red hot, melting the plastic. This give a smooth and even cut with minimal effort. For paint I used Krylon Fusion- Black Satin. I Just followed the instructions. I found that 3 coat of the paint was enough for proper coverage.
20170826_155829-min.jpg
20170826_155837-min.jpg
20170827_225559-min.jpg


Gluing
Unfortuatly this section will not have as many photos. As i was doing this project solo, so i couldnt stop half way to take photos.

First i started of with the front 2.5 inch lips. My gluing procedure consisted of gluing two pieces together, letting them dry, then gluing on the third piece. The glue that im using for this project is Weldon-16; relatively fast set and medium viscosity. The 5 oz bottle was enough for this whole project. When placing the glue I'd put a good a amount on one side. When joining the two pieces together make sure bother gluing surface get evenly coated in the adhesive. Reason being is that the adhesive is not actually doing the gluing but its a solvent that slightly melts the plastic together, so once it dries the two pieces are now essentially one. Once you have good glue coverage apply some pressure to ensure proper contact between the surfaces, i just used some heavy containers i found in the garage.
20170826_174608-min.jpg
20170826_174511-min.jpg


Prior to further gluing i decide to build a jig to help hold up some of the longer parts during gluing so they wouldnt move around. Later on you'll see that i added more onto it to give it even more support.
20170827_142505-min.jpg

I began by gluing the sides and back first, as their the smallest and easiest to work with. make sure both joint get proper coverage of the solvent adhesive as i needed to go back and add more.
20170827_154938-min.jpg

Then I moved onto the top/bottom.
20170827_171034-min.jpg


Afterwards I glued in the railings/lips. I basically followed the same steps i did for prior pieces. Finally, i glued on the plastic channels. These were a little more difficult as the gluing surface was not entirely even as it was made up of 3 individual pieces instead of a a single one. To ensure it glued on properly i used tape to apply pressure evenly across the whole channel.
20170829_224246-min.jpg


Lighting

For the lighting/heating I installed a single porcelain light fixture. For the full Item list on that and install i followed this post " Updating My Room Again" by Fatal_S. The Link is below
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=21894

Final Cost List
Black- 1/4 inch Foamed PVC (4'x8')- 100$
Weldon 16- 10$
Glass Panels- 70$
Plastic Channels- 12$
Spray Paint- 8$
Light fixture- 5$

Cost of pre-built equivilant- 300, roughly 95$ in savings.

I hope this post is informative and has helped a few of you. If you have any questions or feel like some things need more explanation, feel free to ask below.
P.S. I'll add some more photos once i get the glass and decorations in.
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Last edited by ferrisk on Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tcopitho
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:53 pm
Country: Canada
Location: BritishColumbia

Re: DIY PVC Enclosure

Postby tcopitho » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:23 am

This is fantastic, thanks so much for sharing!

Ive been contemplating building some of these, I cant wait to give it a try.

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