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Fisker

A more DIY approach to things...

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Fisker

Hello!

 

So, now that I've kinda got my housing situation and such lined up for college, I want to expand my desk for schoolwork, and also add more space for aquariums. Right now, I've got a tiny corner desk and a tiny dresser to keep tanks on, and to be honest, I'm feeling pretty cramped. Which is my own fault, for having aquariums, but y'know... I've got the bug.

 

I was looking around at desk pricing, and for what I'm wanting, it's going to be pretty expensive to buy something sturdy and big enough. I want a desk that's going to be at least 72" long, 16" front to back, and at least 32" tall or so. Every price I've found has been several hundred dollars for something that looks tacky and might not hold up to water spillage and the constant shifting weight of water, so I've looked around for more DIY options.

 

I actually considered attempting to modify the King of DIY's stands, as they're cheap and easy to build. But, I don't want that bottom beam to be there, and I'm not sure how much that'd effect stability and strength. So, I turned to Aquarium Co-op's old stands, which are basically cinderblocks stacked on top of eachother with 2x4's running between stacks to create table tops. I'd need to wrap it in some cheap plywood or something, but this'd be an easy, cheap, and very moveable way to add some more table space in my room. It wouldn't look great, but I think I could make it fit in fairly nicely. Here are the plans:

 

1) I'd be using 16 of these: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Common-8-in-x-8-in-x-16-in-Actual-7-625-in-x-7-625-in-x-15-625-in-Standard-Cored-Concrete-Block/3608978 4 stacks of 4, for a resulting height of 32", which is basically how tall my desk is right now. Would that be too far apart for the 2x4"s to support the weight? Weight is supported on the corners with most normal tanks, correct? So, if I shifted the tanks so that they're kinda balanced over a cinderblock, would it ease the pressure on the wood? Anyone know more about this than I do?

 

2) I'd basically be using whitewood 2x4"s, treated with a non-toxic sealant to avoid water damage. Cheap, long-lasting, and strong. I'd thought about just using two along the length of the desk, with about an inch of space in the middle (since 2x4's are actually 1.5x3.5"s, right?) Which should be fine. I'd hand-pick the best ones I could, but the Lowes near me usually has decent lumber, believe it or not.

 

I'd probably use some adhesive to make sure the 2x4's don't move around on top of the blocks, and maybe some plywood to wrap the sides, but I THINK that those would be the only supplies I'd need other than perhaps a few mats to avoid the blocks damaging my already-ruined hardwood floors.

 

Does anyone see any flaws in this? Any reason why this wouldn't work? Remember, I'm going with something cheap, effective, and easily assembled and disassembled. I just need something to keep my pets and my PC on. With my current plans (wood, blocks, adhesive, and felt), I've got this costing me around $60. 

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Tamberav

Are you on the ground floor with concrete?

 

I ask because cinder blocks + a tank would be very heavy.

 

As far as weight...depends how far apart the blocks are under the 2x4.

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Fisker
2 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Are you on the ground floor with concrete?

 

I ask because cinder blocks + a tank would be very heavy.

 

As far as weight...depends how far apart the blocks are under the 2x4.

Yup, on ground floor,

 

Well, if I'm doing 4 stacks of cinderblocks equally spaced under a 72" board, they'd be around 10" apart.

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Superdave

Maybe consider putting 2x4 on their "short" edge on top of cinder blocks, then add a sheet of plywood on top?  Any structural work (floors, roofs, etc.) rely upon the strength of the board with the short edge on top and longer edge running vertical.  In attached pic, the red mark is where you would place tank.  Blue arrow is showing orientation.  

 

You could also add a third "stack" of blocks in middle/back (or along rear/wall side of desk) to add some support and or distribute the weight.  

 

What size tanks are you considering?  

Capture.JPG

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Fisker
On 3/26/2019 at 10:36 PM, Superdave said:

Maybe consider putting 2x4 on their "short" edge on top of cinder blocks, then add a sheet of plywood on top?  Any structural work (floors, roofs, etc.) rely upon the strength of the board with the short edge on top and longer edge running vertical.  In attached pic, the red mark is where you would place tank.  Blue arrow is showing orientation.  

 

You could also add a third "stack" of blocks in middle/back (or along rear/wall side of desk) to add some support and or distribute the weight.  

 

What size tanks are you considering?  

Capture.JPG

I had read that placing the boards on their short edge wasn't advisable due to everything being too easy to tip over - there's less for the glue to adhere to, if you choose to use wood glue.

 

I had been planning to probably use a middle stack for support.

 

The tanks will be nanos - probably a 10 gallon, a 5.5, and 3 gallon to start with. All "desktop" sizes. I hope to upgrade the 10 into a 20 long and the 5.5 into a 10 in the near future, but y'know. I'm not gonna be putting anything massive on this, regardless.

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Privateer

Check out Simpson strong ties...very sturdy...can make a desk/stand to any dimensions using 2x4s...and not expensive..I made this stand from them but you can cut the wood to whatever lengths you’d like.

 

IMG_20190113_133305814_zpszpe3ixfq.jpg

 

 

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Fisker

So, I decided to go with my original idea. 12 cinderblocks, stacked 4 high for a height of around 32". I used 2 2x8's cut to 7' for the main desktop, and covered it with a table cloth. Total cost was around $45, and it worked out pretty well. I wish I had gone a bit deeper with the cinderblocks, as 16" is pretty dang shallow to use with a monitor and a keyboard, but it works. It took me maybe 20 minutes to "build", but the entire set-up time was around 3 hours. I had to take down tanks, move them out, move out old tables, clean, and then get back to work with bringing everything in. Really wasn't bad too bad! It's super sturdy. 

 

Stand.thumb.jpg.5019186253279a264a49b369565449ab.jpg

 

Next on the agenda is to kinda revamp my lighting "fixtures" - basically, I want to re-do the PVC fixture over my 10 gallon with something that takes up less space and doesn't require zip-ties. I'll probably use some 1 1-2" PVC and the two light socks I have now to create a fixture that sits on top of the aquarium - with "legs" that come down on either side of the tank to keep it secure. Should work pretty well. I'll do the same thing over the 5.5. Now that it's spring I can paint the PVC so that it doesn't look too janky, as well. If anyone has any suggestions for DIY fixtures, let me know! I'll eventually be doing another DIY LED fixture from scratch, but I want to wait until I'm setting up a larger tank for that, so for now I'll be sticking with my PAR 38's.

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Lingwendil

1/2" EMT electrical conduit  (four feet is like ~$3) from home depot, and bend it in store with the bender that they sell. Screw it to the back of the boards you use, with the pipe clamps (~$1 or so) and let the end rest against the wall, much cleaner looking than PVC. Then you can hang the sockets or eventual fixtures from the ends of the conduit. I put the cables onto key rings so I can slide them around, and have silicone cable ties wrapped around them to keep them still. Dig through the drawers in the hardware section to find some covers for the holes in the end of the pipes. Easy peasy.

 

I set up similar for my 20 long, and the crappy stand I have for it. Use steel cable or chain to hang them, I have less than ~$15 in the whole setup, very "starving student" friendly 🙂

 

Where are you located (assuming USA) ? Roomate situation, staying with family, dorm? A killer desk is easy enough to make if you have access to basic tools, and if you were local I would be glad to help out!

IMG_20190215_205215.thumb.jpg.6a5e7c3e510541be89540cb184ac5132.jpg

IMG_20190215_205202.thumb.jpg.ea3dd640286aa7d5e2d90a36cad434f2.jpg

IMG_20190215_205148.thumb.jpg.16ac5237ebe85e8582413a8cff7e8182.jpg

IMG_20190215_205133.thumb.jpg.7a058f21393fc76d180a55078f50cb92.jpg

 

 

 

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Tamberav
2 hours ago, Lingwendil said:

1/2" EMT electrical conduit  (four feet is like ~$3) from home depot, and bend it in store with the bender that they sell. Screw it to the back of the boards you use, with the pipe clamps (~$1 or so) and let the end rest against the wall, much cleaner looking than PVC. Then you can hang the sockets or eventual fixtures from the ends of the conduit. I put the cables onto key rings so I can slide them around, and have silicone cable ties wrapped around them to keep them still. Dig through the drawers in the hardware section to find some covers for the holes in the end of the pipes. Easy peasy.

 

I set up similar for my 20 long, and the crappy stand I have for it. Use steel cable or chain to hang them, I have less than ~$15 in the whole setup, very "starving student" friendly 🙂

 

Where are you located (assuming USA) ? Roomate situation, staying with family, dorm? A killer desk is easy enough to make if you have access to basic tools, and if you were local I would be glad to help out!

IMG_20190215_205215.thumb.jpg.6a5e7c3e510541be89540cb184ac5132.jpg

IMG_20190215_205202.thumb.jpg.ea3dd640286aa7d5e2d90a36cad434f2.jpg

IMG_20190215_205148.thumb.jpg.16ac5237ebe85e8582413a8cff7e8182.jpg

IMG_20190215_205133.thumb.jpg.7a058f21393fc76d180a55078f50cb92.jpg

 

 

 

 

I like it, was just like my starving student set up. I didn't even buy the pipe bender, I just bent the stuff in store on the floor. Needed that pipe bender $ for more ramen.

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Lingwendil

Same. The bender takes all of two minutes to use in the aisle, and having worked at Home Depot previously (don't recommend btw) I asked nicely if they were OK with it first. 

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Fisker

That's a smart design!

 

I'm actually just a college student living at home. Saving up for my own place next year, and for now, I'm space and cash limited. I ended up getting a new light anyway, so I just sorta DIYed a stand for it out of some leftover PVC.

 

873290697_Light2.thumb.jpg.fba84e75be52d532fded6e519592c68e.jpg

 

It's fugly, but it works!

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Lingwendil

You can easily church that up a bit with some eye bolts through the PVC and some S hooks to hang the cables 🙂

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Friendly
On 4/5/2019 at 9:01 PM, Privateer said:

Check out Simpson strong ties...very sturdy...can make a desk/stand to any dimensions using 2x4s...and not expensive..I made this stand from them but you can cut the wood to whatever lengths you’d like.

 

IMG_20190113_133305814_zpszpe3ixfq.jpg

 

 

that is a sweet stand...love the stain and the antique-ish steam punk feel. :)

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