DIY Double Cage Build

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here's my Sketch-Up model for two chameleon cages with a feeder insect stand with mini fridge in between. Everything is to scale so I can just click on a component for exact dimensions. It'll be screened-in from the inside of the cage with 1/2" vinyl coated wire and screened-in from the outside of the cage with vinyl screen. I'll have a bulkhead with a ball valve in each cage drain hole for easy drainage. The support bars inside of the cages will have circle hooks to weave vines through. Both cages will have a custom backgrounds and be fully bioactive and planted. I also have two spare cages for outside time. Thoughts?

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avq4a-4tGs4WgZ0fEZiZ0lE2Wsnvyg
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here's my Sketch-Up model for two chameleon cages with a feeder insect stand with mini fridge in between. Everything is to scale so I can just click on a component for exact dimensions. It'll be screened-in from the inside of the cage with 1/2" vinyl coated wire and screened-in from the outside of the cage with vinyl screen. I'll have a bulkhead with a ball valve in each cage drain hole for easy drainage. The support bars inside of the cages will have circle hooks to weave vines through. Both cages will have a custom backgrounds and be fully bioactive and planted. I also have two spare cages for outside time. Thoughts?

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Avq4a-4tGs4WgZ0fEZiZ0lE2Wsnvyg

Can you upload the pics here? You may get a better response out of people since one drive wants a file downloaded to view :cautious:.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay, so the interior cage dimensions are 30" by 30" by 60" with an added 18" deep substrate tray with drainage underneath.
 

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dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Love the look of the plans. Is that 1/8 gap split so it's 1/16 each side or 1/8 each side? I could see cutting for 1/16 each side which would fill in a little after the sealer (what kind are you planning on using?) and should still be fine.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
1/8" all the way around; I'm planning on using Liquid Rubber for the substrate bin (Pond Armor Pond Shield is too expensive) and either this Kennel Seal from Home Depot or I'll stay with Liquid Rubber for the rest of frame (the plywood backs will have custom backgrounds).
 

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dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interesting product, would be nice if they gave specifics on what they are using for a mold inhibitor though. That is the part I'd be more concerned with using that one. How are you planning on feeding? That is a huge gap for your feeders to escape from.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Well, both chameleons are adults so their food will be bigger, and 1/8 is smaller than 1/4. If that’s too big I’ll probably use weatherstripping.
 
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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
The frame for the cage is in the substrate bin so it’d be more expensive than just four sides and a bottom. I thought about that, too
 

NorCalAnthony

Avid Member
Really neat design. For the door gap you could try adding a small wood strip for the door to close against to help prevent feeder escapes. You'd be surprised how small of a hole large crickets and other feeders can fit through lol. My big DIY cage had a little less than a 1/4" gap where the two doors came together so I added a 1/4" x 2" strip of wood to the back of one of the doors to block off the gap. Even after that and using a feeding cup I would still find occasional feeder escapees though.

That rubber sealer should work pretty good for water proofing. I used liquid Flex Seal (it was in stock nearby) to line a planter box I made for my bio active cage and it's still holding up fine after several months. What were you going to use for drainage? The reason I ask is because when I built the stand for my DIY cage I didn't have a specific container in mind and wound up being somewhat limited on options. You might want to pick something out like a 5 gallon bucket and then make sure you setup is built so it'll fit and be easily removable.

Can't wait to see how this turns out when you're all done (y)
 
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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, my drain hole in the bottom center of the front of my substrate bin will have a drain bulkhead with a ball valve attached so I can just turn the valve and drain the excess water into a bucket when the time comes. I’ll probably make the door gap 1/16” and add weatherstripping if necessary.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
So a tip, as you mentioned a background.

Silicon, and really anything will not stick to liquid rubber. That is one of its biggest disadvantages. The other is it never fully cures, and won't add any strenght, aside of course from the fact Silicon will not stick.

This can be bad and good, for the same reason. When the wood expands and contracts, it can move with it, it can also split due to this and leak.

Another thing to keep in mind, Pond Armor can be thinned for applying, LR cannot, you may think it's cheaper, but it really isn't. It's very very thick, and it will take 2x as much as pond Armor to do the same area. I'm sorry to say, there is no cheap way out of a proper seal, your going to spend a decent chunk of change on that.

A few other options to chew, is Max CLR epoxy, you can get it tinted or keep it clear, it will add strenght, and you can add fiberglass Matt to add more.

And Sweet Water Epoxy Paint. You can do the whole cage with this, and it's the easiest of everything listed to actually apply. It's just like regular paint going on, but it's epoxy and dries as such. You should fiberglass corners for strenght first. Warning on this one, it dries 100% non toxic, it's actually the only product discussed here made for this purpose (Fish tanks, Animal cages) but it's very very toxic before it cures and stinks bad! So plan on painting outside. It is safe after a week of curing, it's made by a company that does fish stuff. This is what Zoos and such use for their large aquariums. It's also, probably the least expensive seeing how much it covers, as a thinner amount is needed. At 85 a gallon, you could probably do the whole proposed cage inside out with 1 gallon.

You could also do a mix, like Sweetwater everything, then also LR the substrate bin for extra security. The biggest issue with the LR, is that silicon won't stick and UV will turn it an ugly color fairly quickly. In the soil bin that doesn't matter.

Also another heads up on that note, just as silicon won't stick to it, it won't stick to silicon. So if you decide to go with LR, do not use silicon anywhere first.
 
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ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
So a tip, as you mentioned a background.

Silicon, and really anything will not stick to liquid rubber. That is one of its biggest disadvantages. The other is it never fully cures, and won't add any strenght, aside of course from the fact Silicon will not stick.

This can be bad and good, for the same reason. When the wood expands and contracts, it can move with it, it can also split due to this and leak.

Another thing to keep in mind, Pond Armor can be thinned for applying, LR cannot, you may think it's cheaper, but it really isn't. It's very very thick, and it will take 2x as much as pond Armor to do the same area. I'm sorry to say, there is no cheap way out of a proper seal, your going to spend a decent chunk of change on that.

A few other options to chew, is Max CLR epoxy, you can get it tinted or keep it clear, it will add strenght, and you can add fiberglass Matt to add more.

And Sweet Water Epoxy Paint. You can do the whole cage with this, and it's the easiest of everything listed to actually apply. It's just like regular paint going on, but it's epoxy and dries as such. You should fiberglass corners for strenght first. Warning on this one, it dries 100% non toxic, it's actually the only product discussed here made for this purpose (Fish tanks, Animal cages) but it's very very toxic before it cures and stinks bad! So plan on painting outside. It is safe after a week of curing, it's made by a company that does fish stuff. This is what Zoos and such use for their large aquariums. It's also, probably the least expensive seeing how much it covers, as a thinner amount is needed. At 85 a gallon, you could probably do the whole proposed cage inside out with 1 gallon.

You could also do a mix, like Sweetwater everything, then also LR the substrate bin for extra security. The biggest issue with the LR, is that silicon won't stick and UV will turn it an ugly color fairly quickly. In the soil bin that doesn't matter.
Ok
Also another heads up on that note, just as silicon won't stick to it, it won't stick to silicon. So if you decide to go with LR, do not use silicon anywhere first.
Thank you! On that note, I’ll probably use Sweet Water! Also, The drainage hole is now going to be on the bottom of the substrate bin so there’s no standing water.
 
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