Enclosure Build - Need criticism/ suggestions/ help

Cr34t1v3

Member
Hello Everyone,
Firstly I'm new here so thank you for having me. Wasn't sure if this should have been in the DIY or Enclosure section so please feel free to move if needed. I've been reading a lot on this forum not only to make sure my little guy is getting everything he needs, but also to educate myself as much as possible since it is my first beardie. Currently I have a juvenile in a Zoo Med juvenile 20G kit modified to maintain proper temps and humidity as well as UVB. The enclosure works for now but I know I'm going to need bigger, and probably best to get the design sorted now rather than later so I can start accumulating supplies. I created this on powerpoint so please excuse the archaic look.

The topper section will be a removable section, but will still be anchored to the top so it's not loose. Also I have the opening currently designed for doors that open upward, was thinking about opening sideways but would really like sliding doors (need more knowledge/research). I'm an absolute novice at woodworking so I'm not trying to get too complicated. I just haven't done the complete research on sliding wood doors and since this will be an enclosure that will be visible to everyone I'm trying to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible while making my guy as comfortable as possible. I'm going for either 1/2" or 3/4" maple plywood with a painted interior, and probably painted exterior. I chose maple because that's what seems to be what's recommended as one of the better woods and I'd rather build this to last a good while. All of this will sit on a stand/cabinet that I'll build most likely with 2x4 bracing to uphold the weight of both top sections. I know, it'll be heavy - thankfully I have moving dollies, brothers, and plan on this being in 3 pieces (topper, main living section, and stand). The living space will be 48x24x24 - that seems to be the recommended size for when they're fully grown. Vents are placed on the back and side of the living space as well as vents in the top of the topper section to help ventilate stored items. Sliding glass panes on the front that I believe are 3/32" thick from Lowe's. I did one pane 1" larger because I thought it'd be a bit of added security to have the pieces of glass overlap instead of stopping right at the edge.

My Questions: What wattage/strength should I be looking for as far as UVB, CHE, and the basking lamp for this size of an enclosure? I figure the basking lamp would be the most flexible since I can adjust the length of distance between the lamp and basking spot but I'm not smart enough with science to know how to scale what I have up. What temperature probe and accompanying timers/switches would you all recommend? Thoughts on best location for temp/humidity probes?

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say. Thank you in advance!

Godzilla Enclosure Design.jpg
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Wow, you're really ambitious and that's quite a project ! I would think that a 60 watt CHE would be fine unless your house gets really cold, then you could go with a higher watt. The best uvb tubes that are usually recommended are the Arcadia D3 12 % or 14 % or else the Reptisun 10.0 t5. The 24 " would be a good size.
 

Cr34t1v3

Member
Original Poster
Not sure if that makes me nervous or tells me I'm in the right direction, haha! Just trying to make the first one right or at least mostly right. My house usually stays anywhere from 66 - 76 depending on the temp outside, but usually try to keep it in the 72 - 74 range. So far the 60 watt CHE I have works great and keeps the temps around where I need them. Having difficulty with the humidity right now, but am adding/moving water trying to figure it out. Looks like this will be the big bump in the road. Any tips for that? I noticed it dipped to about 20%, I sprayed it immediately and have been all day to try and keep it that way but not much luck.

I'll start looking into those bulbs though, thanks!
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Looks like this will be the big bump in the road. Any tips for that? I noticed it dipped to about 20%, I sprayed it immediately and have been all day to try and keep it that way but not much luck.
Don't worry about humidity. It's basically a non-factor. Only an issue when it gets too high and your dragon is immunocompromised.
I'm going for either 1/2" or 3/4" maple plywood with a painted interior, and probably painted exterior.
If you're going to paint it, just use your normal pine/birch/available plywood; you'll save money. Maple plywood is no stronger than regular plywood. The only benefit to using maple plywood would be the grain pattern. Painting it negates that.
What wattage/strength should I be looking for as far as UVB, CHE, and the basking lamp for this size of an enclosure?
For UVB, you buy based on size, not on wattage, as the length of the bulb is what determines how much wattage is required to light it. Like AHBD mentioned, for a 4x2x2, arcadia 12% or 14% is a good choice. I personally use 14% 22'' bulbs in my 4x2x2s. If you want to use the 12%, I'd go with the 34'' version.

As far as wattage for heating. You are not going to be able to pre plan that. The only way to know is to get the enclosure all set up, and try a few different wattages of heat bulbs and play with your basking surface distance until you get the temps you need.

If you haven't, check out the DIY section of this forum. There is a sticky at the top with links to some members build threads.

-Brandon
 

Cr34t1v3

Member
Original Poster
Thank you for all of the suggestions - I've been doing some more research on things, and since this post have had to become a roach farmer. My little one seemed a bit scared of crickets and has zero interest in worms, but eats roaches like crazy. I've come to realize there's a lack of supply around here and having a colony seems way more cost effective in the long run. So that's been fun...

Onto the enclosure. After reading up some more around here and looking at different things I've come to the conclusion of building a simpler enclosure and will just make the stand so that I can house what's needed. A few more questions - I believe I saw in your post @Claudiusx of your double 4x2x2 enclosure you painted the inside, but that was after spray painting and it still took a few coats.

How much paint does it normally take to paint a 4x2x2 if there is an average? I bought a gallon from a local habitat for humanity but now after reading that I'm afraid it may not be enough. It is Valspar No VOC though - I made certain of that.

What's the best way to seal the corners? I saw someone was using a silicone type sealant, but wasn't sure if there were other ways, or if it would even be needed since I'm painting it.

I was thinking about going with a tile substrate because I have some extra tile that was leftover from buying the house and they're two 2x2 pieces so it'd work perfectly (and free ;)). But then I also saw on the same post that grout could be used... and I have tile grout that was leftover here as well so I was curious on using tile grout as a substrate, and what I'd have to be mindful of. I would of course seal it, and would suspect that would take a few layers and a week or two of curing/gassing. Thanks again!
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
your double 4x2x2 enclosure you painted the inside, but that was after spray painting and it still took a few coats.
In that specific build I only painted the insides, no other sealant was used interior wise. The number of coats will largely depend on the quality of the paint and the color. The paint I was using was pretty cheap and light, meaning it needed a few coats just to fully cover. 1 gallon will be more than enough for the interior. I did both interiors with a 1 qt. size can.

What's the best way to seal the corners?
Depending on how tight your seams are, you could get away with just using paint. The paint will fill in the seams (assuming they are tight seams). A few coats and the seam should disapear.

If your seams are larger, you can use a paintable silicone caulk first, and then paint over the caulk.

I was curious on using tile grout as a substrate, and what I'd have to be mindful of.
I would stay away from it. I haven't actually seen anyone use it as a substrate, however its a common material in building fake rock structures in enclosures. It really doesn't provide any benefits that other options do, but it does have some setbacks such as the grout sealant breaking down eventually, staining, etc.

-Brandon
 

Cr34t1v3

Member
Original Poster
Awesome, that makes me feel much better with the paint then. I was thinking 1 gallon should be plenty but after reading that it made me second guess, lol. I plan on gluing at each seam and screwing them in as well. I thought the paint might seal but just in case a Plan B never hurts as I'm noticing while I'm researching. I chose an almost sand color for the interior color. Thought it'd help being more of a desert type color.

Would there be anything I should watch out for with tiles, or just make sure they're completely disinfected/cleaned before putting them in? They're textured for grip, but it is a bit busy as far as the pattern

I'm hoping I can get all of these little details nailed down before I start this all. I chose to also drill out the vent holes instead of cutting out slots or putting in an actual vent or set of vents.
 

SkittlesK

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Dry-Bones
Hello Everyone,
Firstly I'm new here so thank you for having me. Wasn't sure if this should have been in the DIY or Enclosure section so please feel free to move if needed. I've been reading a lot on this forum not only to make sure my little guy is getting everything he needs, but also to educate myself as much as possible since it is my first beardie. Currently I have a juvenile in a Zoo Med juvenile 20G kit modified to maintain proper temps and humidity as well as UVB. The enclosure works for now but I know I'm going to need bigger, and probably best to get the design sorted now rather than later so I can start accumulating supplies. I created this on powerpoint so please excuse the archaic look.

The topper section will be a removable section, but will still be anchored to the top so it's not loose. Also I have the opening currently designed for doors that open upward, was thinking about opening sideways but would really like sliding doors (need more knowledge/research). I'm an absolute novice at woodworking so I'm not trying to get too complicated. I just haven't done the complete research on sliding wood doors and since this will be an enclosure that will be visible to everyone I'm trying to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible while making my guy as comfortable as possible. I'm going for either 1/2" or 3/4" maple plywood with a painted interior, and probably painted exterior. I chose maple because that's what seems to be what's recommended as one of the better woods and I'd rather build this to last a good while. All of this will sit on a stand/cabinet that I'll build most likely with 2x4 bracing to uphold the weight of both top sections. I know, it'll be heavy - thankfully I have moving dollies, brothers, and plan on this being in 3 pieces (topper, main living section, and stand). The living space will be 48x24x24 - that seems to be the recommended size for when they're fully grown. Vents are placed on the back and side of the living space as well as vents in the top of the topper section to help ventilate stored items. Sliding glass panes on the front that I believe are 3/32" thick from Lowe's. I did one pane 1" larger because I thought it'd be a bit of added security to have the pieces of glass overlap instead of stopping right at the edge.

My Questions: What wattage/strength should I be looking for as far as UVB, CHE, and the basking lamp for this size of an enclosure? I figure the basking lamp would be the most flexible since I can adjust the length of distance between the lamp and basking spot but I'm not smart enough with science to know how to scale what I have up. What temperature probe and accompanying timers/switches would you all recommend? Thoughts on best location for temp/humidity probes?

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say. Thank you in advance!

View attachment 76875
Wow.
Now you're telling me you're building this.?

I just bought one that looks kind of like this.
I didn't buy a Zen I wanted one.
 

Cr34t1v3

Member
Original Poster
Wow.
Now you're telling me you're building this.?

I just bought one that looks kind of like this.
I didn't buy a Zen I wanted one.
I've gone to a much simpler version, but it's basically just taking off the topper and allowing the glass to go the entire width of the enclosure. I may make a topper at some point, but I think for now my stand will provide enough storage space.
 

Cr34t1v3

Member
Original Poster
For the wood, since I'm painting it, would I be able to go with something like this?

Or would it have to be something more like this?

There's a definite difference in price which is mostly why I'm asking.
 

SkittlesK

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Dry-Bones
For the wood, since I'm painting it, would I be able to go with something like this?

Or would it have to be something more like this?

There's a definite difference in price which is mostly why I'm asking.
I just got mine together.
 

SkittlesK

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Dry-Bones
For the wood, since I'm painting it, would I be able to go with something like this?

Or would it have to be something more like this?

There's a definite difference in price which is mostly why I'm asking.
Not sure although good luck
I would love to have carpentry skills like that.

Almost looks like personal preference with the paint.
I Dunno I'm not a carpenter.
I'm not a painter either.

Good luck
 

Members online

Still Needs Help

Latest resources

Latest profile posts

lol i feel like i ask so many questions on this site but i just love it here!
so many questions & not enough days
I'm painting Devlyn's house while she brumates. You can message me to hold me accountable because I procrastinate >_<

Forum statistics

Threads
152,928
Messages
1,227,636
Members
74,822
Latest member
Eddiebeardie
Top Bottom