Thursday, August 16, 2007

A new stand...

My old stand was somewhat improvised. I was determined to make this one super sturdy so there would be no question that it could support the weight of almost 2,000lbs of water. I hardly ever create more than a pencil sketch of something before I start building, but I had discovered this great new program called Google SketchUp. It is basically a 3D drawing program with a very unique interface. It takes some getting used to, and watching of the tutorial videos, but it's amazingly powerful. Oh, and it's free!

Design goals this time around were:
  • Leveling feet
  • Removable rock panels
  • Removable trim for easy aquarium placement
  • Over-built design
  • Use notched wood posts that directly support the top frame without relying solely on the hardware
  • Keep the use of cedar and rock. I discovered later that Cedar is an ideal material for use around aquariums because it will never rot.
After a few major revisions, I arrived at the following plan:

Although I calculated the weight per foot to be only 250lbs, I opted to use grade 5 - 2.5"x3/4" hex head bolts with a matching nut and washer. The combination was about $7.50/set, but the high grade means that it should be possible to turn the nut to level the stand, even under full load. I found some plastic caps to put over the head to keep from scratching the floor when I move the stand around during the build.

The panels were designed to be a piece of plywood with two layers of 2x4. The rock facing would be glued to the plywood, then the panel could be inserted between the legs. This would allow filter components to be placed under the stand if desired, plus it makes the stand easier to handle. As an added bonus, when adjusting the leveling feet, the panels can slide up and down so they are always resting on the floor regardless how much leveling adjustment was necessary.

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