Help with building cage

#1
So I am aware I may be ahead of myself but I was hoping someone or everyone could show me how to build a wooden cage. A video would be great or step by step. I am planning on having many so I was trying to see what I am up against. I am doing my custom build but my girl wants one and now I want a female too. So I want to build 2

Please help. I plant to get a 4ft light to share and one that would fit good drain systems please. Very basic is fine
 

Beman

Avid Member
#4
ok so search Build in the search function for the forum. It will pull up a ton but it will include everyone that titled their post with the word build as well. Typically this is how I see them come up. Such as Custom build or New build. :) You should get more recent stuff to model after. Plus I am sure others will chime in and help. I did not build mine so I can't help you there :) good luck!
 

Beman

Avid Member
#6
Yeah. So if I just buy em I worry it will be to expensive lol. I say that and just spent 1000 but still lol
LOL yeah well I ended up ordering a Dragon Strand enclosure. So I know what you mean. I am not handy with tools and such so this was easier for me. But I have seen some amazing cabinet builds @Brodybreaux25 just did a fabulous one. But I cant find the link to his. They find used cabinets on craigslist and stuff then rework them and make them beautiful.
This is a thread I have been following where they are building everything https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/ground-up-enclosure.167609/
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#7
I think my builds would be too expensive and complex for what they are looking for but I’d gladly still help!

Let’s start with the dementions and budget, what are you working with?

Do you have power tools and do you know how to use them?
 
#8
Yes I do and my father in law is a custom builder if I need help. He's a busy man. I was hoping to just make something very easy yet durable. I want to make 2 cages so I was trying to stay in a lower budget. I want to buy a cage but 200 is alot. I figured I could make it myself much cheaper. Maybe I am mistaken. Some wood and screen and hindges. Size enough for panthers
 
#9
Yes I do and my father in law is a custom builder if I need help. He's a busy man. I was hoping to just make something very easy yet durable. I want to make 2 cages so I was trying to stay in a lower budget. I want to buy a cage but 200 is alot. I figured I could make it myself much cheaper. Maybe I am mistaken. Some wood and screen and hindges. Size enough for panthers
I wouldn't see any reason this would be that difficult to pull off, especially with help. Go to home depot or somewhere and buy some 2x4s, wood screws, and mesh. Just make sure that the wood is sanded properly and the edges of the mesh aren't exposed to the chameleon, and boom. You could probably build both for less than 30 bucks.

Look at bird cage and chicken coop DIYs for inspiration (just replace chicken wire with mesh that's safe for chams.)
 
#10
Yes I do and my father in law is a custom builder if I need help. He's a busy man. I was hoping to just make something very easy yet durable. I want to make 2 cages so I was trying to stay in a lower budget. I want to buy a cage but 200 is alot. I figured I could make it myself much cheaper. Maybe I am mistaken. Some wood and screen and hindges. Size enough for panthers
I am sure you’re father in law could work out a great enclosure in no time since he is a builder and he would be a great resource if you get hung up. I have zero woodworking skills compared to friends of mine who are builders but I’m a mechanic and love putting things together and taking them apart. The reason I decided to build my enclosure was because everything I looked at seemed way overpriced and didn’t seem user friendly or cost effective to repair if anything should need it. Also I think hand made things that are made well are way better quality and more unique than store bought ones. If you decide to take on the endeavor and need any help feel free to ask me any questions!

Framing a box isn’t hard! Just think of the dimensions you want and once you build a side or two then the rest will come easy!

The stand I am building with the enclosure will end up costing me about as much as a nice cage and drainage system but will be more appealing, more modular, house all my feeders out of sight, be ready to accept another enclosure that will cost a fraction of the price since the base/drainage are there and have fail proof drainage if anything were to go haywire with the misting system (water damage sucks!).

Also I’m not trying to be a hater of reptile products but you can buy lights to fit your enclosure no matter the size with the same output and intensity for half the price if not less. I have been using old fluorescent ballasts I’ve had laying around and will be researching the product codes from the lights to see if I can find the exact bulbs cheaper because let’s face it zoo med, Exo Terra and Arcadia are having their lights made by a manufacturer and rebranding them.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#11
All good advice given above but I have one minor change to suggest. Do not use 2x4s, it would be complete over kill. 1x2s are plenty strong enough to build any average sized custom viv you can come up with, especially simple cost effective ones like your planning for.

$6 for a 1x2x8’ at Home Depot and they come pre-sanded so splinters aren’t a concern like with 2x4s. Or if your really trying to save every penny you can buy the untreated 2x4s($2.85ea) and rip them in half to make two 1x2s. Either way using 2x4s on anything smaller than a massive build is just wasteful IMO...

Pro tip - use wood glue! Glue is extremely under appreciated now a days. If you want a truly rigid structure put a small line of glue in every joint before screwing them together. Cham vivs tend to get moved around a lot and over time the screws will lose their bite!
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#12
You guys rock. lets keep the ideas coming. I just went and spent another 200 at home depot. I really want to make a good tutorial for everyone to be able to use. I would love to make a video but I suck and quite frankly I am not even sure how this will turn out. I did get the wood and I got a tub. So in both my projects one problem I am having is drainage. I mean what a brain buster, I keep resorting to buying trays and plastic bins and I plan to just cut a hole in it and connect PVC to a bucket. However in my head it works. Looking at it. I am not sure at all. I know you can buy drain pans but I need a perfect size one. I just picked one upp today and it's clear see through and the damn thing has a 4-5 inch basin. I hope its not to much. I also got a utility tray, looks like a food tray from mcdonalds but more heavy duty. I want to be able to put it in and seal it and plum it and done but no dimensions are lining up. I am a amazon nut, if you guys have basins for drainage you can show me on amazon, I would appreciate it. I feel like a fool to post so much and no work is done and I have 3 weeks of travel ahead of me but I am back on weekends so I plan to start working on them then.

another challenge for me is the screen. While I get you just staple it. I dont want it to be a eye soar, how do I hide that to make it look clean?

some how I feel like I should really attempt this and then post when it looks decent. I am not going to go through all this effort and publicity and then look like a idiot cause its crappy looking. I am however going to attempt this so thank you all for the comments, I am reading every word and I am taking all the advise.

Shawn
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#13
You guys rock. lets keep the ideas coming. I just went and spent another 200 at home depot. I really want to make a good tutorial for everyone to be able to use. I would love to make a video but I suck and quite frankly I am not even sure how this will turn out. I did get the wood and I got a tub. So in both my projects one problem I am having is drainage. I mean what a brain buster, I keep resorting to buying trays and plastic bins and I plan to just cut a hole in it and connect PVC to a bucket. However in my head it works. Looking at it. I am not sure at all. I know you can buy drain pans but I need a perfect size one. I just picked one upp today and it's clear see through and the damn thing has a 4-5 inch basin. I hope its not to much. I also got a utility tray, looks like a food tray from mcdonalds but more heavy duty. I want to be able to put it in and seal it and plum it and done but no dimensions are lining up. I am a amazon nut, if you guys have basins for drainage you can show me on amazon, I would appreciate it. I feel like a fool to post so much and no work is done and I have 3 weeks of travel ahead of me but I am back on weekends so I plan to start working on them then.

another challenge for me is the screen. While I get you just staple it. I dont want it to be a eye soar, how do I hide that to make it look clean?

some how I feel like I should really attempt this and then post when it looks decent. I am not going to go through all this effort and publicity and then look like a idiot cause its crappy looking. I am however going to attempt this so thank you all for the comments, I am reading every word and I am taking all the advise.

Shawn
I’m a planner for one of the largest chemical company’s in the world. Trust me, planning is the most demanding and important part of any work you’ll ever do!
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#14
Build your own trays the exact size you need them to be or build your cage to fit the trays. Then drop a shower drain in the center and plumb as needed. I also recommend a few coats of FlexSeal for waterproofing. My drainage ties directly into the house plumbing along with my MistKing. The resovior for my MistKing is tied directly into my house water lines so it can automatically refill on its own. All my water/drainage systems are fully automated.

Staples - hide them by stapleing them from the inside part of your viv then paint over them, you’ll never see them.
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#15
Crazy who do you work for? What do you do. I'm a environmental manager for the south east region. Great tips but how do you make that tray? Flex seal coated on wood? Please enlighten me. It looks great
 
#16
All good advice given above but I have one minor change to suggest. Do not use 2x4s, it would be complete over kill. 1x2s are plenty strong enough to build any average sized custom viv you can come up with, especially simple cost effective ones like your planning for.
I just suggested 2x4s because of how solid and durable they are, they're less likely to warp, you can notch/split them in half to frame the mesh easier, and you can get them smooth with rounded edges which would make everything a lot less time consuming when it comes to making sure it's safe. You can be quick, fast, and cheap to make a solid cage that will last forever. I agree it's probably overkill, but it'd be sturdy as hell and easy for someone with less carpentry experience.

The only problems with 1x2s are that the edges usually aren't rounded, and I'd be worried about splitting from using screws, and I'm a big fan of wood screws. From your picture that you used nails and wood glue?

Pro tip - use wood glue! Glue is extremely under appreciated now a days. If you want a truly rigid structure put a small line of glue in every joint before screwing them together. Cham vivs tend to get moved around a lot and over time the screws will lose their bite!
Definitely agree that wood glue is awesome, but I wasn't sure how good of an idea it would be to use with live animals and in a humid environment. I'm sure unless it's directly exposed it's probably fine, but I wasn't about to suggest it and have 10 people telling me I'm an idiot because it could be toxic.
 
#17
Well. I do see your point. knowing my luck I will split the wood. I got 2.5 inch deck screws. I hope it will suffice. I really want a breeding place with many babies. I will stock them with high end chams. I got gorilla glue for wood and I got BEHR waterproofing wood finish. I have a few project I am working on here. I need 3 cages and 1 is a cab build. so I have lots of work to do but I am almost all set. If you guys can think of a better way to waterproof wood, I am all ears. I will be using mist king ultra so water will be all over and I want great drainage. Brodys is my favorite ( personally) I want to make that so please enlighten me I want it perfect link that. I am hoping its not hard.

I also will be letting everything air out for sometime. will be weeks I am assuming before I stock it with my cham.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#18
I just suggested 2x4s because of how solid and durable they are, they're less likely to warp, you can notch/split them in half to frame the mesh easier, and you can get them smooth with rounded edges which would make everything a lot less time consuming when it comes to making sure it's safe. You can be quick, fast, and cheap to make a solid cage that will last forever. I agree it's probably overkill, but it'd be sturdy as hell and easy for someone with less carpentry experience.

The only problems with 1x2s are that the edges usually aren't rounded, and I'd be worried about splitting from using screws, and I'm a big fan of wood screws. From your picture that you used nails and wood glue?



Definitely agree that wood glue is awesome, but I wasn't sure how good of an idea it would be to use with live animals and in a humid environment. I'm sure unless it's directly exposed it's probably fine, but I wasn't about to suggest it and have 10 people telling me I'm an idiot because it could be toxic.
It would definitely be sturdy!

Like you, I am also a huge fan of screws(T-25), maybe even to a fault. Because of this I am all too familiar with splitting wood! I remedy this by pre-drilling every screw location. Yes, it is an extra step but if you want to do it right it’s required. Pre-drilling is as much a part of the fastening process as choosing the correct type of screw to use. Yes, that particular viv has screws and glue.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
#19
Well. I do see your point. knowing my luck I will split the wood. I got 2.5 inch deck screws. I hope it will suffice. I really want a breeding place with many babies. I will stock them with high end chams. I got gorilla glue for wood and I got BEHR waterproofing wood finish. I have a few project I am working on here. I need 3 cages and 1 is a cab build. so I have lots of work to do but I am almost all set. If you guys can think of a better way to waterproof wood, I am all ears. I will be using mist king ultra so water will be all over and I want great drainage. Brodys is my favorite ( personally) I want to make that so please enlighten me I want it perfect link that. I am hoping its not hard.

I also will be letting everything air out for sometime. will be weeks I am assuming before I stock it with my cham.
So you going with 2x4s or 1x2s?

Can you post a pic of the waterproofer you bought?

You’ll have to give me some time to put my drainage system down in writing, couple days... Are you wanting the entire automation plan of just the viv bottom drainage?
 
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