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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Dennis, I'm in need of a second opinion.

I’m in the planning stages of setting up a 180g tank. I’m getting tired of having all of these smaller tanks to maintain and decided to go big! I’ve never built a stand for something of this size. I’m planning on the total weight the stand needs to support to be around a ton or so. The tank probably would not be purchased until September or October, maybe a bit later so take your time responding :)

The dimensions of the tank would be 72” x 24” x 24”. My current thoughts are to build (3) 24” base cabinets and join them together to form a single 72” cabinet. Each cabinet would be a 4-sided box with ¾” thick vertical supports in the front and rear. Not sure of the width of these supports yet, but probably 6”. The center cabinet may include 3 drawers instead of a door. The cabinet would basically have 1 ½” thick sides (with the addition of applied sides), and 1 ½” thick center supports where each end cabinet is joined to the center cabinet. Below the cabinets I would have a 1” thick plywood base to fit the outer dimensions of the three base cabinets. The whole unit would be supported on either 2x4’s (placed on edge, similar to how one would set kitchen cabinets) or more of the 1” ply (possibly laminated to form a 2” thick base) cut to the proper width for the height I want. I would apply base molding to cover the ply/2x base. For a top I would have a 1 ½” thick top made from (2) layers of ¾” ply laminated together probably with some sort of applied edge. The top would have a 1-1 ½” overhang.

I would be using maple ply (possibly MDF due to the cost savings) for the interior of the cabinets (painted white). For the visible parts of the cabinet, I’m thinking of either using Rift/Quartersawn Oak (possibly an Arts and Crafts inspired stand) or Cherry (for a more formal look).

The ply I would use in the construction would be the “ProPly” brand. Not sure if you’re familiar with this brand but it has a 15-ply core with a face veneer of the selected species making it essentially 17-ply. It is heavy and strong due to the multiple layers in the core. It is also expensive at around $90 per sheet, hence the thought of using MDF for the interior of the cabinets. All edges of the ply/MDF would be hidden with either a veneer edge and proper finish (ply) or with lacquer based primer, paint, and possibly a clear lacquer finish (MDF). I don’t want any water compromising the integrity of the stand.

I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this design and if you would make any changes or improvements. I would really like a second opinion as I would hate to see what would happen if the stand were to collapse. The tank will be in the finished basement of my house and rest on a cement slab with tile on top of the cement. I shouldn’t have any load issues with the floor.

Thanks for your assistance.
 

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First,

Thanks for sharing that Steve. It's nice to see you enginous use of materials that don't usually look nice to create something VERY nice:) Well done as always:)

Sorry I have not been around much lately. Between work and personal life I have been very busy lately. THis is really my first night home in over a week. I was in NYC fo r3 days on an install and the night I got back my parents came into town for my bday so I have been AHHHHHH!

Anyway, feeling well rested again and ready to help:)

Matt,

It sounds like a very good plan so far. I know the ply product youare talking about. Not that exact brand but there are a few like it out there, Finbirch, Multiply, Applyplyand the is a new one called Europly (I think) Anyway, they are all suitable and very strong, especially when laminated. Using a lamination for the top is a good idea, IMO. You will have no issues with sagging/weight support with what you are planning.

As usual I stress that good construction techniques must be imployed here, but I know you will/ are capable of this. I mearly say this as a disclamer to everyone more than enything.

Making it of 3 cabinets is a good idea and also a great way to use the space to its best capicity. A center bank of drawers would work just fine. The strength of this cabinets(s) comes not from the open areas of the cabinets but from the sides, front and backs.

Matt, honistly I cannot frosee any problems with this plan. I would love to see a drawing though, out of courisity more than anything. I don't think the front stiles/rails need to be that wide structurally. Most of the weight of the tank wil be transfered to the floor through the sides of the cabinets. This is especialy true if you laminate the sides out of 2x3/4 sheets.

Let us know more as you figure it out:) I can't wait to se what you come up with. I am sure it will be beautiful.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Steve,
Sorry for the delay in responding. I seemed to have had my notification turned off for this topic. Thanks for the link to your project.

Dennis,

We are getting some of the Europly in at the shop also. It is very strong ply and very heavy too!

I probably won't be taking the time to do much of a drawing for the stand. Coming up with a suitable drawing for posting would probably take me longer than building the stand :) You will probably have to be happy with a pic of the finished stand.
 
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