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The Art of Over-Engineering

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MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
I was rather disappointed with what I was able to find when I was looking for a DIY Tank Stand plans on the web/publications. So I thought that I would share my adventures in my first DIY project and share with everyone what to my own mind is a darned good tank stand.

I’ve purchased a 110 gallon (60x18x25) acrylic tank, and I needed a stand to put it upon. I wanted a good looking stand that wouldn’t have my wife retching every time that she saw it, would have ample storage space under it, and not fall apart during any episodes of “As Niagara Falls.” The last two requirements eliminated any of the stands commercially available at LFS or furniture stores, and I was unwilling to afford a custom creation. That left me building a stand.

Sounds easy, right? Not a chance. Every wood worker will tell you not to nail/screw a 2x4 to another 2x4 and then drop up to 1200 lbs on it. The weight is being supported by little thin shafts of steel. You need Lap Joints. I started with the books that I have, moved on to the library for the books that they have, and then finally on to the web for more plans. I finally came across some plans that I liked at Aquarist's Den. They were pretty generic and easily adaptable to what I needed.

This first shot is a length of 4x4 cut to 65”. My tank is 60” long, if you take a 4x4 that is actually 3 ½ by 3 ½ and subtract 1” for the lip that the tank will ‘sit’ in, you will have 2 ½ inches on either side, add those together with the length of the tank and you get 65”. That’s how I came up with the 65” length. The notch you see here is actually one and an eighth inch deep. Reason being that if you make the frame 60” perfectly, the 60” tank won’t drop in.
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
The second shot is showing the lap cut into both the top and bottom of the 4x4. The bottom is cut an eighth inch by 3 ½ inches deep. This is the ‘recesses’ where the leg will rest. The top lap is an inch and a half by 3 ½ inches deep.
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
Here’ the short side. Once again, the tank’s eighteen inches long, subtract one inch for the lip, and you have two and a half inches on either side, add that together, and you get five inches. Five and eighteen is twenty-three inches long. The Lap has been cut to one and a half by three and a half inches deep
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
Then I glued and placed brads in ¾ inch plywood to the top frame. This completes the top part of the frame. Here you can see the 1/8” recesses for the legs already cut in.
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
I’m in the process of staining the trim pieces now. I’ll post more pictures as I move along. (Oh, did I say that "I'm" staining? I meant that my loverly wife is staining!) :p
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
Well good job, that is definately the most overbuilt stand that I have ever seen. I think you should test it to failure and we can all place bets on how much it would hold. I think that I could definately park my 7,000 pound truck on top of it. I think that could prolly hold 10,000 pounds b4 it would fail, as long as you skin the whole thing w/ some 3/4" ply and glue all the joints w/ gorilla glue.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
WHAT'S OVER-ENGINEERING???

Looks great! I love overkill!!

You want to see over-engineering at its best? Take a look at my stand:

The stand's frame is constructed of A500 Structural Steel - dimension of steel: 3" X 1.5" X 11 Ga (120 wall). The dimensions of the frame itself: 36" X 48" X 24"

Now, for all the engineers out there, I am condensing this structural analysis of the tank down - I'm just the peon here (hubby is the engineer), and don't really understand all of this but basically it comes down to: This frame can handle the stress of 2892 pounds per square inch....with a Factor of Safety = 24, which means it can hold 24 full tanks. When the weight was considered for figuring the stress, all of the rock, water, sand, inhabitants, canopy, everything was taken into consideration - it is safe to say this is pretty darn accurate. This frame is extremely level, and probably slight overkill...lol It was then covered in Marine Topside.





Almost done (except now the glass tank is getting replaced with an acrylic):
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
Ah! We finally see the brains of the outfit and the supervisor of the project in that last photo! Cute daughter, Nikki.

Oh, yeah. The IAP Tank and your stand look great too.:D
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Oh man I am not even going to tell you about mine, I will just say, 6 by 10s, 8 inch lags and all mortice and tenon. lol

Mike
 

MarineDreamer

Est. April 2nd, 2005
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
492
Location
Granite Falls, Wa
LOL

My Mother once told me that love equals time. If you're taking the time to weld and/or cut mortice and tenon joints; then I guess you love.

Thank you Jason for the kind comments. Tom, being that I'm L.D.S; I can't not support your sinful gambling as to how much weight the stand could take before failing. (Read: I would cry like a baby when the stand collapsed!) But thank you none the less for the official 10,000 lbs rating. (It’s going to be covered with ½ inch plywood and yes, all of the joints have been glued.)

I’m finding it difficult to wait until the stain dries to do the final assembly. I will post pictures when I’m done. Then, I’m either moving on to the canopy and lighting, or plumbing. –Sigh- I haven’t decided which.

Trevor:cool:
 

Doug1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
249
Location
Southern Oregon
mojoreef said:
Oh man I am not even going to tell you about mine, I will just say, 6 by 10s, 8 inch lags and all mortice and tenon. lol

Mike
Then again not everyone scubascrubs algae or snorkles to adjust the rock stack ;)
YA know if you go bigger next time it will be post and beam out where the deck is now, then again the hot tub could be a frag growout easily enuff
 
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