DIY Enclosure

This forum is for discussing Do-It-Yourself projects. Building your own enclosure, incubator, etc? Share your ideas with others here!

DIY Enclosure

Postby BeardedDragonSteve » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:00 pm

So does any one have a certain DIY enclosure that they use because eventually I would like to upgrade my Smaug's cage from 40 gal Aqueon Breeder Aquarium to a 120 gal cage. I am wanting to do DIY because that would be cheaper than scouring pet stores or the internet for something that is 200 dollars american. But it would be much less than that for DIY. So if you have any blueprints or anything that would be helpful.
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:37 am

Please check out the DIY board on this website to give you some ideas and them if you see something someone has made here you can always PM them and ask
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby Terry15 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:25 am

I like this one that someone posted.[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby claudiusx » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:52 am

Moved by Moderator from Enclosures to DIY
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby claudiusx » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:55 am

Hi there,

There are a few builds here in the DIY section you can look at.

I will tell you that it's usually cheaper and easier to just buy one if you can get it for 200 bucks. Unless you already have all the tools you need, or are needing to make multiples, it's not really too cost effective.

I make my own because I have my own shop full of tools, enjoying woodworking, and I have multiple dragons to house.
If it's just 1 dragon and you dont have the tools, I'd probably just buy one unless you really want the experience of building it yourself.

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby MrSpectrum » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:03 pm

Terry15 wrote:I like this one that someone posted.[Click image to enlarge]

That looks like a furniture (dresser?) conversion. They can be pretty nice if you can find the right "raw materials". :wink:
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby MrSpectrum » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:08 pm

BeardedDragonSteve wrote:I am wanting to do DIY because that would be cheaper than scouring pet stores or the internet for something that is 200 dollars american. But it would be much less than that for DIY.

claudiusx wrote:I will tell you that it's usually cheaper and easier to just buy one if you can get it for 200 bucks. Unless you already have all the tools you need, or are needing to make multiples, it's not really too cost effective.

Having just gone through the process, I agree. I figured if some company could sell me one--or a kit--I could build it for half that, or build a better one for the same price.
Result: :laughhard: I probably should have just bought one--or the kit. I budgeted $ X00.00 and so far I'm up to 2x X00.00 (and still counting) and I've got one heck of an enclosure! (Not saying if that's good or bad; there are some good things, and some things that could have been better, or I should have thought through further.) Live & learn.

For plans, search the archives on this site (and google) for Crossfire Enclosure.
Here are the links I have for it; there are many many more--it seemed to be a huge rage several years back (before my interest in reptiles re-emerged).
CROSSFIRE MADE EASY **UPDATED - 3.09.2008** 56K Warning (Discussion from this forum)
crossfire enclosure plans (Pics from Google)
Crossfire Enclosure

I couldn't find any other plans that were truly "free"; most that said they were free were guys trying to sell plan books.

Here's one company/guy that sells a kit for what is basically a crossfire enclosure.
D.I.Y. Reptile Enclosure Kit (48″W X 24″D X 24″H)
NOT an endorsement--just passing along this one I saw on a YT video, and looked up his website.

All that said, I looked at pics of dozens (hundreds?) of enclosures, figured out how they went together and what I liked/didn't about each one, and designed my own on a really old version of Visio (but just about any drawing tool would have done).

The biggest bugaboo in my plan was that I wanted a tile floor, but couldn't find a tile cutter/saw that would handle the large tiles I wanted to use for less than what I was spending on the whole enclosure, so I wound up designing the enclosure around the tiles, which actually worked out quite well.

The other factor was the plywood. When I priced it out, 3/4" plywood was only a few percent more than 1/2" plywood, so I went with 3/4". What I hadn't considered was that 3/4" weighs 50% more than 1/2". That's not a problem for everyone, but I wound up with an enclosure that weighs over 225lbs. It ain't going anywhere.

Another result of pricing revealed that going with Baltic/Russian Birch plywood came out cheaper than North American Birch plywood, with less waste. Baltic Birch is also a better plywood--preferred by cabinet makers. The upshot was that instead of 4 x 2 x 2, my enclosure is 5 x 2 x 2. Opposite of the weight, this may not work for everyone, but it worked out great for me. :)

So my suggestion is study a LOT of enclosures & plans, take copious notes, and design/modify your own.

Good Luck!

Factors to keep in mind:
Pine, Cedar, and some other conifers are toxic to BDs. This can be averted by sealing the wood w/ a good non-toxic sealer.
Melamine core is usually pine particleboard
MDF is usually processed pine core
North American plywood (hard or softwood veneer) almost all uses pine core material.

Baltic Birch uses birch for the core as well as the veneer--birch & most hardwoods are nontoxic to BDs (verify).
Plywoods, MDF, Melamine, etc. all use formaldehyde in their binders. It must be sealed to prevent outgassing of formaldehyde.

IME, Glass is cheaper than acrylic or plexi. It's still worth shopping around for--prices varied greatly.

Best Wishes
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Re: DIY Enclosure

Postby BeardedDragonSteve » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:12 am

claudiusx wrote:Hi there,

There are a few builds here in the DIY section you can look at.

I will tell you that it's usually cheaper and easier to just buy one if you can get it for 200 bucks. Unless you already have all the tools you need, or are needing to make multiples, it's not really too cost effective.

I make my own because I have my own shop full of tools, enjoying woodworking, and I have multiple dragons to house.
If it's just 1 dragon and you dont have the tools, I'd probably just buy one unless you really want the experience of building it yourself.

-Brandon

I personally dont have any tools but I can borrow them from my dad.
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