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Diy Sump revisited

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big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
Hey all, at least 1 person thought this info would be helpful so I will do this write up step by step and hopefully anyone who has some knack for woodworking can easily accomplish a sump! Tools required to do this like I do it are; table saw, jointer, router w/ flush trim bit, bar clamps, a corner clamp, and a bottle syringe deal, these are available at the plastic supply places. Materials include weldon-4 and Plexiglas G cell cast acrylic in 3/8 and 1/4" sizes.

I like to lay out my plan first and get all the dimensions setup. I chose to make this sump 36" long 18"tall and 18" wide. I wanted at least a 12 in wide area for my skimmer as to have easy access to it. My last sump had an area just big enough to fit the skimmer in and it turned out to be a real pain in the a. So the skimmer section is 12" followed by 2” for the baffle, another 12" section for a refugium, then another 2 in section for more baffles and finally about 5" for the final chamber that the bulkhead is in for the return pump. I cut my pieces on a table saw which is the preferred method for acrylic. If you have the proper support a circular saw can be used with good results. I cut all my pieces just slightly oversized so that I can run them thru the jointer to take out any blade marks the table saw leaves on the surface. If you don't have a jointer the blade choice for the table saw becomes much more important. I use a Freud Diablo 80t w/ a TCG finish. If you do have access to a jointer the blade choice is less important imho, but you do want a nice sharp blade that does not chip the edges. I used 3/8" Plexiglas G cell cast acrylic for this project for the sides and 2 of the 4 baffles, and 1/4" for the other 2 baffles and the bottom. The front and back are sized 36.25 x 17.75, the sides are 17.25 x 17.75, the baffles are 12 x 17.25 and the bottom is 36.25 x 18.25. The reason the front, back and bottom are oversized is that it is easier to make a good bubble free seam if you have material on both sides of the piece being glued. So I assemble in this order; left side to front, right side to front, then glue in the baffles 1 by 1 to the front. After these are all glued on the back creating the box. Then I glue on the bottom, flush trim, flame polish and that is that!

So here are some details of how to get it done. Obviously cut all the required pieces for your design. Get them jointed to the final size. On you work bench use some 2"x4"s and cut a piece of ¾” plywood or melanome to about 37x19. It is important for this piece of material is perfectly flat! Lay the piece of ply or melanome on the 2x4’s so that you can fit a bar clamp underneath it. Next lay the front panel flat and peel off the protective masking. Start with the left side and peel back about an inch and cut off the strip from both sides. Now position the corner clamp so that it holds the side about 1/8” from the end of the front. Use some small pieces of piano wire or fishing string to raise the side off the front, and leave the corner clamp loose a little loose on the side but tight to the front. I use 8lb test monofilament, works like a charm. Now using the syringe bottle to apply the weldon4 into the gap, all it takes is to put the needle up to the edge and give a little squeeze and it will draw in the fluid thru capillary action. It should take about 10 or 20 seconds to get the joint filled, if you did it right it will not have any bubbles, but a couple won’t matter at this point. Now wait about 10 to 20 seconds and pull out the pins, a little tip here is to put your index finger from you one had right up to the joint, and use the other to pull out the wire. After you get all the pins out, tighten up the corner clamp and then use 3 or 4 bar clamps to add pressure from the vertical piece to the horizontal piece. A little pressure is all that should be needed, and if you clamp them too tight it will result in a poor joint. Well after about 1 hour you can take the clamps off and go to the other end. Do the right side the very same way. After you get the two sides on begin with your first baffle. I like my baffles to be situates so that as the water is draw/pushed thru the lower area and dump out at the top, then the next one draws from the bottom again and dumps at the top and hopefully all the bubbles will have been kept in the first two chambers. Mine did work rather well. So start from the left side again and use a little duct tape tab to mark where you want your baffle to end up. Peel the mask off the baffle completely, and line it up so that the bottom lines up with the bottom edge of the front. I then put the back on the other side to help hold the piece in place, a little duct tape here helps out. Raise the baffle up again w/ some pins and apply the weldon4. Now this is where it can get tricky, you could use a corner clamp here to help hold it but it is not really necessary, Use the finger and pull lol method and then hold the piece right where you want it for a couple mins as it will be very slippery to start. After a min or 2 it should be stuck in place. I then use a 2x4 turned on edge and clamp it onto the back side to apply a little pressure. Install all the baffles like this 1 at a time in their respective places. So after that you take the piece off the bench and lay the back down and peel off the masking. Do the joints on this side the very same way 1 at a time, and next thing you know it will be done. Once it is done make sure that the bottom perimeter is perfectly flat all the way around with the corners flush on the side where it will be glued to the bottom. If there is an edge that you can grab w/ your fingernail you should sand it flush. So take your box off the bench and lay down the bottom, peel off the mask and place the box on it and check for a good fit. Now before applying any glue take a good long look at it to make sure that everything is laying flat. If there are any gaps around it I shim it up w/ pieces of paper under the bottom. If you don’t do this you will end up w/ some really poor joints in some places. Once you get it all flat and flush you can then raise it up on some pins use 1 about every 6 inches around the perimeter and a couple under the baffles that contact the bottom. Now here it is nice to have a little help. I have never had anyone help me do this but it sure would be nice! Get the weldon4 in there as quick as you can, I think the fastest I have done this is about 2 mins don’t forget to apply some under the baffles. Now as soon as you’re done start pulling pins! Do it quick and be careful not to bump it around. Once you get them all out start adding some bar clamps to add some pressure. I like to get one on each corner and then add 1 every 8 inches or so around the whole deal. They don’t need to be incredibly tight either, just a little extra pressure is it. Now here is a tip, if you are watching your seams after the clamps go on, keep an eye on it for about 10 mins, if you see some bubbles developing add a clamp in that spot and add a little more pressure in that area, this should help it out. So now your sump should hold water. Bust out the router and use a flush trim bit with a bearing on the end. Flush trim the front and back, then do the bottom all the way around. After that peel the remaining masking back a little along all your joints around the bottom and inspect for any bubble tracks that look like they could possibly cause a leak. If you have any of those I would run a bead of weldon 16 on the inside of that area, this is a thickened version of 4 that comes in a tube. Now if you want to you can flame polish the edges but that is not necessary. It is a little tricky, you can use mapp gas to do it in a propane torch. Definitely do lots of practice on a scrap before attempting to polish your sump. You can also sand the joints starting w/ 320g wet dry and ending w/ 1000g, and then easily polish it w/ a buffing wheel attached to a drill and use Tripoli for the compound. Well if you read this before the pictures are posted don’t worry I will hook it up later today or tomorrow. Have fun diy’ing!
 

wanareef

reefer addict
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
250
Location
Portland, OR
To get the rounded edges, you can use a 1/4 round carbide bit with a bearing on it. and then just buff it out. I see that you are just using the clamps for a weight, I have not used any thing to weigh it down. If there is too much pressure it can cause a "dry joint" and you can have a failure.

Now just need pictures to go with the instructions, for the visual learners (me). Good information.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
wanareef - I was thinking the same. I'm very visual. Tom, great instructions - put up pics when you can!!

Thanks for putting this together - I think it will be beneficial to so many of us!
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
Sorry about the pix guys, they are on my pc which has been down since the tank move. It will be back up and running soon!
 
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