claudiusx":144nag16 said:Good luck with your build, you should start a thread in the diy section. We need more diyers in there! Lol.
After NOT being able to find any information on the elusive "CrossFire" enclosure (I'm guessing there may be a story behind this, but I don't know), I embarked upon the endeavor of designing an enclosure (which turned into 2 enclosures) from scratch. I watched about a dozen (probably more) YT vids on DIY enclosures, took a lot of notes, reviewed as many commercial enclosures as I could find, took more notes, then took stock of my own abilities (and took more notes :roll: )
"A man's got to know his limitations."--Dirty Harry
Several personal factors/considerations went into my designs:
1. I do not have access to a table saw (I do have a radial arm saw).
2. I do not have access to a tile cutter/saw, and I knew from research that I wanted a tile floor for easy cleaning/maintenance, maintaining claws, etc.
3. I wanted something that looked a little nicer than a "plywood box" (even though that's essentially what it is). This is just aesthetics; I don't care for exposed fixtures & wiring.
4. I'm not what most folks would call a "craftsman".
Since I don't have a table saw, I had to design something with as few cuts (of plywood) as possible. I won't go into the pros/cons of having the DIY chain store cut it for me; I got it cut elsewhere.
Adventures in Plywood:
At first, I was intending to build the enclosure out of 1/2" plywood. Upon pricing out several kinds/varieties, I was a bit surprised to learn that the difference in cost between 1/2" and 3/4" plywood--even very good quality plywood--is incremental, only a couple dollars per sheet. This was my first mistake. While the price difference is negligible, the difference in WEIGHT isn't; 3/4" plywood weighs 50% more than 1/2" plywood. These puppies are going to come in between 225-300 LBS! (Live & learn... )
Baltic Birch is great stuff, and used to be more expensive than regular plywood, so I figured designing for it would be an exercise, and I'd wind up using regular 4x8 plywood. Not so this time. For some reason, the Baltic Birch option priced out about $100 less than 4x8 plywood.
Moral: Plywood/lumber are commodities worth shopping for.
The 2 Options:
1. Since Baltic Birch comes in 5'x5' sheets, it didn't make sense to me to cut a foot off of each sheet to build a 4 ft. enclosure, so I designed it as a 5 ft. enclosure--fewer cuts, and far less waste.
2. Again, to save cuts, I designed the enclose for 4x8 plywood to be the full 8 ft. long, with a removable partition down the middle. This leaves the option of two 4 ft. enclosures (side by side), for 2 dragons, 2 different species of lizard, or a breeding enclosure (male on one side; female on other side) or one big-*** 8 ft, enclosure.
Since I don't have a tile cutter/saw, and I found some nice big (12"x24") slate tiles at a big-box store, rather than designing the box and trying to cut/fit the tile into it (nigh impossible), I designed the box(es) around the tiles. :twisted:
A Word on Tile:
I found some natural stone (slate) tile, which is impervious. It's not exactly the color I would've chosen, but being impervious, lizard poop won't penetrate and... linger. The tile I almost chose (for color & texture) was quite porous, and IMO would--over time--soak up odors, etc. like a sponge. Word to the wise. :wink:
As mentioned previously, I didn't want exposed lighting fixtures/wiring. so I designed the boxes to be 36" tall; 25" for the lizard, and 8" for the fixtures/wiring (I measured a deep dome enclosure at 8" in case I needed to go that way, but see next paragraph...) with a "false ceiling" between the compartments. The remaining space is taken up by plywood thickness, tile, etc.
UVB will be provided by a 48" T5 fixture with integrated reflector. Basking lamp is concealed within a recessed aimable "eyeball" fixture.
The false ceiling (containing the lights) will be painted sky-blue (not that a C-B lizard will know/appreciate that... :roll: ) and the back wall will be covered with slate backsplash tile (to match the floor). I also bought some smaller slate floor tiles that I've removed from the backing, and will use to build some climb-ables, basking areas, small planters for live succulents, etc.
I thought about devising some way to utilize baking soda as an odor inhibitor (Cool your jets, folks, I also read that baking soda is a definite no-no for beardies). I haven't totally given up on this idea; I just need to figure a way to make it beardie-proof.