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Old 02-26-18, 09:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Time to build!

Ok.. this may be long guys!

First off, I am new to the forums :-)

I have 12 years experience of keeping different reptiles. I mostly care for snakes now. I currently keep BCIs, Ball pythons, Dummerils boas, colubrids, carpet pythons and Im just now getting into Burms.

I have been buying animal plastics and boaphiles for a while now. I am seeing how much money Im wasting and how much of a better enclosure I can make myself. Not to mention the different ways I can customize them and make them hold heat and humidity even better.

So, I have been doing a ton of research to where my head feels like its going to pop. I know how these enclosures are made. I know everything from sealants, to screws to the tools needed and whatnot. HOWEVER.. I have hit 2 snags.

1) What hardwood plywood do you guys use? From research all the stuff sold in Lowes, Home Depot and menards is junk. I heard people talk about hardwood plywood made from Sepele and meranti. I hear this is the best? Or is it overrated?

2) My enclosures I was planing on stacking. So basically I was going to make all the enclosures out of 3/4 thick plywood. Will these be okay to stack?

All enclosures needed so far is going to be 6x2x2

I also gave it a thought to try PVC myself. However, nobody seems to know where any of the major makers from Animal plastics to boaphile gets their material. CDPVC seems to be a ghost or covered up by another name they do not wish for us to know..

Anyway.. any help would be significantly appreciated!

-Jim
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Old 02-27-18, 05:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

Welcome. I am about to execute some plans for stacked enclosures as well. I looked into a lot of options and every one of them has people that love it and people that hate it. I was goign to use 1/2" birch and seal it really well but recently did a tank repair experiemtn using the coroplast sheets. It has been prettys ucessful so I am goign to build a frame out of 2x4 and a floor out of birch and then cover all of the sides and floor with chloroplast. It should keep the weight down considerably. I was getting pretty worried about the strength/weight balance using all plywood since I have 6 enclosures to build. I am going to start my first "unit" of two 4x2x18" enclosures very soon. will let everyone know how it goes.
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Old 03-03-18, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

The birch or maple veneered plywoods will work fine. Since they are a little more costly, they generally won't be warped badly and I've had good luck with them. I mostly used them for racks but I did build a few cages. The only problem with them is weight. They will weigh a ton. I sealed all mine in a water based sealer polycrillic which took a week or so to cure and the stink to go away. I used these plans
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Old 03-04-18, 11:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

Having built my own cage many years ago using 3/4 inch plywood.......never again. You using 3/4 inch without accesories or a snake inside will be upwards of 70 pounds plus. The cage I built years ago the best thing I liked about it was the day I burned it.

Sheets of plastic in the Wichita, Ks area is easy to find. Google plastic fabricators or sheets of plastic in a big city in your area and you will be surprised. The big box stores.......forget them. They will try to sell you pipe if you mention PVC.

I buy my cages and an AP cage or similar with ease of movement, cleaning, disinfecting, no hernia surgeries, etc. is far from a waste of money to me.
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Old 03-04-18, 02:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

Go with HDPVC. MUCH lighter, works great with regular woodworking tools and is impervious to water, uratates etc. My cages are made from 3/8 inch, but you can get 1/2 inch if you're making larger enclosures.
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Old 03-05-18, 04:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

Another thing and you've probably thought about this already is the weight going on the bottom viv depending on how high you stack them. For instance our biggest burm is around 14ft long and weights around 48kgs, if you x2 that if you were to stack them three high, it may cause some bowing or such on your bottom viv. Another thing to consider is how high will the top viv be. The last thing you need is trying to get a 10+ snake out of a viv when it's having a bad day at around shoulder or head height. I hope this helps a bit
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Old 03-05-18, 08:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

There are some tools online that lets you calculate the potential sag of wood vivs based on the weight...

like this one: The Sagulator – WoodBin
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Old 03-05-18, 06:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

Where's your sense of adventure??

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave himself View Post
Another thing and you've probably thought about this already is the weight going on the bottom viv depending on how high you stack them. For instance our biggest burm is around 14ft long and weights around 48kgs, if you x2 that if you were to stack them three high, it may cause some bowing or such on your bottom viv. Another thing to consider is how high will the top viv be. The last thing you need is trying to get a 10+ snake out of a viv when it's having a bad day at around shoulder or head height. I hope this helps a bit
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Old 03-05-18, 07:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Time to build!

This may be cost prohibitive but if that's not an issue for you, have you looked at Coosa board? I don't have any specific site to promote, but it's all over the web. From what I remember, it's rot resistant, easy to cut/work with, and has an excellent structural strength/weight ratio. And it comes in a variety of thicknesses.
It's used in marine applications and I believe is strong enough to be used as a transom (the part that an outboard motor is mounted to).
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