Aunt Minnie

Tips on how to build this stand? PICS!

46 posts in this topic

In convincing my significant other to let me start a reef in our condo, I had to promise that the aquarium stand/cabinetry would literally be a work of woodworking art and mesh well with our contemporary/modern interior design style. While I enjoy DIY projects, I admittedly don't have the skills or tools necessary to build something which would meet the above criteria.

 

Below are pictures of the most beautiful stand I have seen which meets my wife's criteria. I particularly like how the tank is recessed into the stand. They are pics of RC member d2mini's reef cabinet which was built by a woodworker in Houston (this is the same tank featured in EcoTech's Radion marketing pictures). I therefore have 2 questions:

 

1.) Any tips on how to build this particular stand? I can't seem to figure out how it's constructed from the pics alone. I've tried contacting the original builder but to no avail.

 

2.) In the very probable chance that I can't figure out how to build this stand, I'm willing to pay someone to build it. Does anyone know of a Chicago-area woodworker or cabinet maker who could build a stand extremely similar (if not identical) to the one below? If so, any idea what it would run me? I also don't mind driving a couple hours to pick it up.

 

The dimensions would be similar to d2mini's stand albeit a little smaller: the tank is a 28" cube; I'd like the stand to be 36" tall. Thanks again!

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Edited by Aunt Minnie

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Apparently it's built from pine with birch ply and custom mixed stain.

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this is pretty amazing. im going to play with sketchup and see if i can re-engineer something like this.

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That's a really simple stand. It looks like it's made out of 2x4s, ply, and birch pannels. The only fancy bits are mitered joints (top "lip") which can be done with a miterbox and patience, and maybe some corner trim.

 

If you printed out those photos, took them to a home improvement store like Lowes, and asked... they'd point you to everything you need. And possibly even cut the lumber for you for a small price. Then you'd just have to screw it all together - if you have a drill - and slap some finish on it.

 

The only thing that might cause you trouble is the recessed cabinet hinges.

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this is pretty amazing. im going to play with sketchup and see if i can re-engineer something like this.

 

Seriously. I searched high and low through every major reefing site on the internet to find a stand like that. I'm so sick of all the absurdly priced cheap particle board stands sold by most manufacturers. To make things worse, my system I'm planning is a "weird" size. Unfortunately I'm not getting much help from the original builder. Let me know if you figure anything out with sketchup!

 

That's a really simple stand. It looks like it's made out of 2x4s, ply, and birch pannels. The only fancy bits are mitered joints (top "lip") which can be done with a miterbox and patience, and maybe some corner trim.

 

If you printed out those photos, took them to a home improvement store like Lowes, and asked... they'd point you to everything you need. And possibly even cut the lumber for you for a small price. Then you'd just have to screw it all together - if you have a drill - and slap some finish on it.

 

The only thing that might cause you trouble is the recessed cabinet hinges.

 

OK that's good to know, seeing as the only power tools I own are a mitrebox, palm sander and drill. Despite this I am still questioning if my DIY skills are able to build something this clean-looking. While I have built many remote-control aircraft (my other hobby) from a pile of wood sticks, I've never fabricated a piece of furniture before.

Edited by Aunt Minnie

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Here's some more eye candy in hopes that I can get closer to figure out how to build this thing. Any more tips?

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As beautiful as that stand is, this guys sucks at organizing wiring! haha :)

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Piece of cake....I just built a really nice stand for my 55 gallon....unfortunately I live in Seattle.

 

Looks to me that the stand could cost about a hundred bucks, with really minimal tools.

 

The key is the stain job....you could ruin a really nice stand with a horrible stain job!

 

Piece of cake....I just built a really nice stand for my 55 gallon....unfortunately I live in Seattle.

 

Looks to me that the stand could cost about a hundred bucks, with really minimal tools.

 

The key is the stain job....you could ruin a really nice stand with a horrible stain job!

 

Oh...and if you are interested, I could probably draw it in CAD and spec out every cut for you and a supply list.

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Wow you guys are AWESOME!!! Thanks for all the encouragement and links to your helpful threads. I'm working all day today but will read through all of these builds as soon as I get a chance.

 

Looks to me that the stand could cost about a hundred bucks, with really minimal tools.

 

The key is the stain job....you could ruin a really nice stand with a horrible stain job!

 

Oh...and if you are interested, I could probably draw it in CAD and spec out every cut for you and a supply list.

 

OK ood to know that something this awesome can be so cheaply. To be honest, it looks like it would cost a lot more than that. You're definitely right though -- I'm sure expert stain job is contributing to how good it looks. I'm also wondering myself how difficult it is to apply stain. I'd hate to go through all the building and planning phases only to ruin the finish!

 

Thank you SO much for offering your CAD skills. I studied 10 pictures of the stand last night and tried to figure out how it was constructed and laid down some preliminary drawings on graph paper (old school, I know). If this doesn't work out, I may definitely take up your offer. Thanks again!

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I'd hate to go through all the building and planning phases only to ruin the finish!

 

Use your offcuts/scraps to test stains. If I were going to do a stand like that, I'd probably also put a seriously heavy-duty acrylic finish on the top of the lip - the areas most likely to get banged by rocks, dripped by water...etc. Maybe even the penny-thick pour-on junk.

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http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...86871&st=60

 

I have build pics of my stand in this thread. You can see some finished pics of the same stand in my current build thread in my signature

 

That guys stand looks too low for my taste.

 

 

Dave your stand looks awesome! Very similar to what I want to do, although I'm planning to have the tank "recessed" into the top. Still figuring out how to achieve this...

 

Yeah, his stand is a little on the low side, although his tank was also 24" tall. I'm currently planning my stand to be 36" tall, but may in fact consider building it up to 40". Thoughts?

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Dave your stand looks awesome! Very similar to what I want to do, although I'm planning to have the tank "recessed" into the top. Still figuring out how to achieve this...

 

Yeah, his stand is a little on the low side, although his tank was also 24" tall. I'm currently planning my stand to be 36" tall, but may in fact consider building it up to 40". Thoughts?

 

If I remember correctly my stand is 41" tall. But my tank is only 14" so it works. Why are you wanting to recess it? You can always just put some wood trim around the plastic if you are wanting to hid it. But mine does fit the "modern" style stand. I based it off an elos stand's looks.

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I tried to build a similar one, check out the links below maybe they will help...

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...=262429&hl=

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...=259543&hl=

 

Love the contemporary look of your stand, very similar to what I'm trying to achieve. Birch is a really nice looking wood, regardless of how it's finished. I noticed you decided not to "recess" the tank into the top as was planned on your original sketchup drawing. Any reason why? Also, you mention in your thread that "all joints will be PL'ed and toenailed 16ga." What does this mean? Forgive my n00bness.

 

Why are you wanting to recess it? You can always just put some wood trim around the plastic if you are wanting to hid it. But mine does fit the "modern" style stand. I based it off an elos stand's looks.

 

The idea to recess the tank originally came from d2mini's design which I originally posted -- I just really like how it looks B) ! I also plan on building the stand larger than the footprint of the tank in order to give me more room under the tank for sump, equipment, etc. With this being the case, I feel that the "recessed" look with be a little cleaner (as opposed to the tank just sitting on a slightly oversized stand).

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I decided to build the same stand for myself to house an external sump hooked up to my BC29.

And once i move, it will have a nice new 80-90gallon tank sitting on top of it :)

 

Link to my SketchUp diagram is below. Feel free to change dimensions to fit your needs.

 

NOTE: Not sure yet how I am going to mount the doors. If I decide to use hinges, this plan wont work,

but I may end up making removable doors held in place by magnets and some kind of internal support.

 

https://dl.dropbox.com/s/da4i7r1lgfkugi9/st..._doors.skp?dl=1

Edited by solefald

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WOW solefald you are AWESOME. Thanks for the Sketchup link!

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Ok, don't use this design just yet. I posted it on a woodworking forum to see what they think, and basically got ripped 7 new a*sholes, for being a n00b and having no structural integrity that would prevent wood from twisting.

 

I also spent all day driving around town looking for materials I imagined I would be able to use for mouldings and such, but they simply don't exist.

 

Back to the drawing board for now. I'll post the design when it's approved by woodworking nerds

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Ok, don't use this design just yet. I posted it on a woodworking forum to see what they think, and basically got ripped 7 new a*sholes, for being a n00b and having no structural integrity that would prevent wood from twisting.

 

I also spent all day driving around town looking for materials I imagined I would be able to use for mouldings and such, but they simply don't exist.

 

Back to the drawing board for now. I'll post the design when it's approved by woodworking nerds

 

OK I am really confused; this looks like a really solid design. How can basic 2x4 construction stiffened with a plywood outer skin be worse than all the sh*t particleboard/MDF prefab stands out there? Not to bring up everyone's favorite adversary site, but your stand's structural design seems to obey all the principle's posted in this somewhat lengthy RC thread (you'll get the point after the first couple posts).

 

Those crazy woodworkers! Just curious exactly what they said was wrong with it?

 

I totally hear you on having difficulty locating the mouldings, trim, etc. When I first saw this stand and thought of plausibly trying to build it myself, I made trips to all the area home stores (yes I am that crazy) but to no avail. Where in the world did the designer of the original stand get everything? You'd think the owner of this stand over on RC would want to help his brethren out and at least give me his standbuilder's business email/phone, but I can't get him to respond to me on his thread or via PM.

 

I'm new to SketchUp but will also try to come up with something.

 

Erik

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Basically that forum is a bunch of armchair woodworkers and cabinet makers, who have little to no experience with fishtanks and the first word on their mind is "liability". They also go into crazy calculations of weight, load bearing abilities of apartment buildings and so on. According to their calculations anything over 50 gallons is going to fall though your floor, kill downstairs neighbors and cause all kinds horror scenarios that could only be achieved if you divide by zero :) The only real valuable piece of information I got from a 3 page thread is that it's beneficial to use rabbet joints in *some* cases.

 

I went back to my local reef forums to ask there, since there are lots of dudes who build their own stands, stands for other people and have monster 180+ gallon tanks. After refining my plans a few times, I believe i got something that works. However, I decided to explore other options, mostly because I realized that making this thing our of 2x4 or larger will eat up valuable inside space and may end up being VERY heavy. Not to mention that I sold the idea of building this stand to my girlfriend as "I am going to build a storage for my fishtank things that will serve as additional workspace. it will sit right here under the stairs". If she found out that I am building a stand for a future fish tank, she would flip, since I already have 3 tanks running and she is not stupid, so she knows that a storage/work desk do not need to be built out of massive amounts of 2x4's.

 

Anyway, I made a second plan, but this time with a metal frame made out of 1 1/2" square steel tubing. Yes, I will have to pay someone to cut and weld it for me, but I will sleep better at night knowing that the structure is sound and not doubt myself for rejecting crazy woodworker talk. It will also be less work for me. I will still have to spend a considerable amount of time painting it (or driving it somewhere to get powder coated), wrapping it into plywood and making it look nice, but it will probably free up a day or two of my time and minimize the amount of tools I'd have to buy to actually do it myself. I have some tools, but I am sure I will need many more. It will also be a much easier sell if I decide to get rid of it later. Everyone likes a nice stable metal stand supporting their considerable investment.

 

I sent quote requests to 10 or so local metal fabrication shops, but so far haven't gotten a single answer. One of the local reefers with skills and tools offered to do it for me for $200, granted i buy and deliver materials, which will run around $60-80 for ~60' of tubing plus a bunch gusset plates. He figured it will take about 4 hours to cut and weld, so $50/hr sounds like a good deal, considering that my time is much more valuable... at least to my employer :)

 

Other possibility if my girlfriend's dad. He is a professional welder with 25 or so years of experience, but he works for a military contractor, so no outside work could be brought in and after 60 work weeks, he does not like to do any side projects other than working on his bike. Perhaps one of his buddies could do it for me, but I am yet to talk to him about it.

 

 

You should probably check out my thread on sdreefs, so I don't have to re-type that whole thing here

 

http://www.sandiegoreefs.com/forums/showth...uilding-a-stand

 

Let me know if you want my plans. I don't mind sending them to you... or anyone who asks, really :)

Edited by solefald

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Hey Solefald,

 

Very helpful post, I understand your preference towards a steel stand. The "dream" system I was initially planning was a 55 gallon walk-around cube plumbed to a 20 gallon sump. That plan was unfortunately shot down by the wife, who objected to the large initial investment that such a system would cost. In addition, my industry is relatively volatile, and we aren't sure how long we'll be staying at our current residence. I'd hate to setup a 55 + 20 gallon system only to have to rip it down in a year!

 

I digress. When I was initially planning this system, I had looked into steel stands for the strength, practicality and clean lines inherent to their design. If you are serious about going steel, definitely check out MeuserReef's steel stand build here. While his system is quite large, the design principles can be scaled down (or up) accordingly. Using magnets, he designed the wood face panels (beautiful African mahogany) to be completely removable, allowing full access to the sump, skimmer, reactors, etc. The thread is lengthy but very thorough. After inquiring with several local contractors over the costs of going steel (as I have ZERO welding skills and know absolutely no one with welding skills), it became apparent that wood would be much more cost-effective for a smaller system (i.e. under 90 gallons). This is when I discovered the beautiful stand I initially posted in this thread.

 

I have reached out to several local cabinet/furniture builders, in addition to hobbyists and amateur woodworkers who would be willing to build the dream stand I posted. Unfortunately, the absolute cheapest quote I got was $600, with most quotes being in the $800 range and one being as high as $1200. Disheartened, I decided that I would have to prepare my DIY skills in order to build my own stand. Unfortunately, I am somewhat of a perfectionist. Even worse, my wife is insisting that the stand be a professional-quality product which will mesh with our home's modern decor.

 

After scrapping my initial 55 gallon cube design for logistical reasons, I have decided to go with a tried and true small all-in-one design. It will be an 20x18x14 quasi-cube (~20 gallons). I'm still looking into a tank builder but am highly considering Chris @ www.picoaquariums.com. Such a system will not require as high of an initial investment and would be more manageable should we have to move in the near future.

 

Back to the stand...after scouring numerous lumber/hardware stores and online sites, I was totally unable to find trim/moulding which even resembled the stuff found in the stand I initially posted above. I have therefore modified my design and will go the 2x4 route. You are correct, the 2x4s take up precious room within the stand, however this won't be a big deal to me since I won't have a sump (just an auto top-off container and misc. supplies).

 

Below is a SketchUp picture of the design I'm going to use. The entire thing will be skinned with birch plywood stained medium brown (although I've heard that birch can be a b*tch to stain/finish and am now learning as much about finishing wood as possible). I got this design from another member on Reef Central (see below). Note that the design of my stand will be flush with the tank however. In fact, the panels will extend about 0.5" above the plywood that the tank sits on, thereby "nestling" the tank onto the stand for a very Euro-inspired, modern look.

 

Thanks for all your links, they've been very helpful. I'll let you know how everything goes.

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Holy crap, that guy has some epic skills. I definitely got some ideas from his thread. And that DIY skimmer? WHOA! His bare bottom tank looks like ass though :)

 

As far as trim on that stand, it is not pre-made. I have researched ways of doing that, and the easiest would be 45 degree beveled rip cuts, 45 degree cross cuts and glue. However, late last night, inspired by this dudes epic skills, I have found a router bit capable of producing 90 degree locking connections. It's $70, though, so I may just deal with the problem using the tools I already have - table saw and a miter saw.

 

SE33LM-2T.jpg?1329202013

 

I also spent some time browsing CraigsList skilled labor section and sent out requests for quotes to build this metal stand for me. So far I got 4 responses ranging from $150+materials to $500. I suggest you do the same. There are many people looking for work, and chances are you can find someone for dirt cheap. Just make sure you send them a complete and easy to read instructions and total amount of materias that will be needed.

 

I like your design too, but I don't understand why the owner of the stand in the photo you posted chose to have this crazy border around his tank. This just makes the whole thing look terrible, no matter how nice the stand is.

 

I wanted to go without any trim, but since i'm building a "storage / additional desk" (yeah, right), I am going to take a 3/4" IKEA table top from my desk (I swapped it when I moved into this place to mach the floors and have the old one sitting in the closet) and will cut out a piece that would fit perfectly into the opening for the tank and will be flush with trim. BAM! Your stand is now a desk! :)

 

Lets keep updating this thread with the progress, so if someone decides to build one of these later, they would have plans an 2 different ways to achieve the same result. Or maybe be can have a "So you think you can stand?" showdown at the end :)

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hey guys,

 

i've been following this thread as i've wanted to build the same stand for awhile. I ended up biting the bullet and starting my build last night...it took me 3 hours and i got the frame built. Just need to add the trim work and doors before paint. I had all the pieces cut by home depot, and it really wasnt as hard as it may seem. the stand is solid, i used pocket screws and glue. no inner frame just 3/4" maple plywood. heres a couple pics:

 

 

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started with this:

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pocket holes

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glue and screw:

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starting to get somewhere:

Hamilton2-20120329-00235.jpg

 

bottom frame and back put on

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bottom frame

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top frame

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before the top went on:

Hamilton2-20120330-00246.jpg

 

 

let me know what you think!

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Man, that looks pretty sweet! I had no idea Home Depot does cuts.

I built a DJ stand few years ago and Home Depot would only do a maximum of 2 cuts, so I ended up using jigsaw to cut the rest. Boy, was that thing crooked! haha

 

How big of a tank are you going to put on it? I would add some legs iside though. Nothing major, just a 1x2 or a 2x2 in every corner, just so I would sleep better at night :)

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