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Old 09/30/2007, 02:07 PM   #526
Roamer
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Well, I finally broke down my 4x8 sheet of Plexiglas G and built my first sump. I have built other acrylic projects before (a couple of decent sized protein skimmers mainly and a few other small jobs), but this was the first major project I did that used the pins method before. A few observations:

1) The first joints were definitely the best. This was when I was attaching the ends and dividers to the front, one by one. Each of these came out pretty much perfect! No bubbles at all. I am VERY pleased with each of these joints. I used a pair of 12" plastic speed squares to align the dividers. I used carpet tape to attach the speed squares to the right spot to hold each divider in the perfect alignment as the solvent did it's work. That worked out VERY well and really took a lot of concern out of the gluing process.

2) When I attached the second side, I obviously had to glue all the dividers at once. These joints were ALMOST as good as the individual joints, but a few of the joints on my bubble trap ended up getting messed up slightly because I had to shift them around slightly after the solvent had been added. I originally had them in the right place, but they shifted on my slightly. I did not account for just how flexible a flat sheet of acrylic is (the front in this case), so they were able to move more than I thought they would. The movement caused some bubbles in the center bubble trap divider, but the joint is water tight and very secure. Just not perfect.

3) Attaching the bottom was a bit scary. It was being glued to both sides, both ends, two of the three bubble trap dividers and to one additional divider. All at the same time. There were a couple of areas were I had some bubbles in the joint one area were I thought I needed to go ahead and put a bead of #16 down later to make SURE that no water could work it's way around a close spaced series of bubbles and cause a very slow leak.

4) When I attached the top, I FINALLY figured out what I had done wrong on the bottom: I had the pins spaced too far apart. This allowed the acrylic to push together ever so slightly and prevented sufficient solvent from getting into the joint. Of course, I figured this out when I was about half way through applying solvent to the joint, so I couldn't stop and add more pins! Needless to say, I ended up with a couple of places with some bubbles in the acrylic. The top is on VERY securely and I really don't think I will have any leaks, even if I DID run the water level all the way to the very top! But it doesn't loop perfect all the way around, so it irritates me. At least 95% of the joint IS perfectly clear with no bubbles, so I can take some solace in that!

5) I used a 1/8" solid carbide spiral up-cut bit to remove the bulk of the waste from the opening in the top before I went back with pattern bit and trimmed the top to perfection. Using the 1/8" bit to remove most of the waste increased the size of the waste piece by over 1" in each direction AND it helped keep the amount of acrylic "flakes" (aka: dust) down in my shop because I did not machine away nearly as much acrylic as I would have.

All in all, I am willing to call this pretty much a 100% success. I'll never be COMPLETELY happy until each and every joint is absolutely perfect, but 99% of the people that look at it now will never see the bubbles. Until I point them out!

Thanks for all the great ideas and suggestions in this thread and some of the other acrylic threads. I KNOW I would not have done nearly as good a job with out that advise.

Oh, on last thing. I have seen some comments on reusing the acupuncture needles. In my case, I have already reused these pins several times. After I use them, I let the acrylic on them set up completely and then pinch the needle between the nail on my thumb and fore finger and then pull the needle through my nails. It quickly and cleanly strips off any remaining acrylic and other waste and leaves the needle ready for the next use. I stuff them back into their plastic tubes and store them later.


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Old 09/30/2007, 02:10 PM   #527
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Oh! I also left out one of the most important things I learned! The solid carbide spiral up-cut/down-cut bits do a VERY good job of sizing the acrylic to final size and the joint is very close to perfect. Because the spiral bits are continuously cutting (instead of chopping very quickly) they produce a much smoother, more consistent finished surface than a regular straight bladed router bit can produce. They are more expensive, but they are definitely worth the cost!


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Old 10/03/2007, 10:30 AM   #528
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I just broke a part ( the lip that hangs on the tank) of my overflow. How can I fix it, what's the best way and can I use a different material to fix it with?

rev


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Current Tank Info: One day I'll get it right. 55 Gallon, reef, softies, gorgorians, ricordia, EVENTUALLY!
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Old 10/03/2007, 10:30 AM   #529
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I just broke a part ( the lip that hangs on the tank) of my overflow. How can I fix it, what's the best way and can I use a different material to fix it with?

rev


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Current Tank Info: One day I'll get it right. 55 Gallon, reef, softies, gorgorians, ricordia, EVENTUALLY!
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Old 10/03/2007, 10:37 AM   #530
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great info I will be starting my build soon, so hopefully this will help.


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Old 10/03/2007, 01:03 PM   #531
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Quote:
Originally posted by revclyburn
I just broke a part ( the lip that hangs on the tank) of my overflow. How can I fix it, what's the best way and can I use a different material to fix it with?

rev
Can you post a picture of the broken area? Are both the lip and the tank made of acrylic?


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Old 10/07/2007, 11:06 PM   #532
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Sorry if this has been asked: how to avoid the glue clogging the syringe? or it is innevitable?

Thanks,


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Old 10/07/2007, 11:16 PM   #533
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To unclog it, I hold a match under the needle to 'pop' the solvent out. No squeezing necessary.

You can only do this a few times (7 or 8) before you have to use a new tip.


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Old 10/08/2007, 11:07 AM   #534
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Also, if you drag the needle rather than push it along the joint the acrylic wont get shoved inside.
I always squirt a bit of solvent out of the needle when finished to make sure its clean too.
I have filled the applicator bottle with solvent and left the needle inside overnight, but Marcs trick works fine too


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Old 10/08/2007, 12:13 PM   #535
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I use a hand held propane torch to clear the needle. It is the instant on type, so it only takes a press of the button to turn it on and the hotter, more concentrated heat from the torch appears to clean the tip almost instantly without doing ANY damage to the plastic base. The base of the applicator needle doesn't even get warm, let along hot and the torch is only brushed across the tip of the needle for a fraction of a second.

Plus, it is MUCH faster to grab my torch and clear the tip while I am in the middle of applying solvent to a seam than it is to stop, get a match, light the match, THEN clean the tip.


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Old 10/08/2007, 12:15 PM   #536
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I'd bet if the solvent ignited it'd clear more than the needle tip


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Old 10/08/2007, 03:11 PM   #537
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I've done the torch thing as well. And I've also had a lit candle nearby just to unclog it as it occurs.

Whatever is easiest and doesn't kill ya, right?


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Old 10/08/2007, 05:11 PM   #538
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I always drag my needle the opposite way or at a 45 angle, with a squirt at the end, and havent clogged a needle in 10 yrs
I have plenty of other opportunities to hurt myself


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Old 10/30/2007, 01:35 PM   #539
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Is WeldOn 3 or 4 sufficient to bond 1/2" acrylic? Will the pin method also work if using WeldOn 16 as well?


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Old 10/30/2007, 02:23 PM   #540
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Quote:
Originally posted by chriscobb
Is WeldOn 3 or 4 sufficient to bond 1/2" acrylic? Will the pin method also work if using WeldOn 16 as well?
Yes, no.

3 or 4 is fine for 1/2". #16 doesn't flow nearly well enough to use the pins method. I only use 16 for sloppy repairs or joining unlike materials (PVC to acrylic).


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Old 10/30/2007, 05:47 PM   #541
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What solvent would you recommend for 3/4" acrylic?


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Old 10/30/2007, 06:56 PM   #542
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Same solvent you'd use for any other thickness

James


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Old 10/31/2007, 05:14 AM   #543
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Is there some type of formula to determine what thickness of material is needed for a project? I want to build a holding tank 48"Lx24"Hx48"W


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Old 10/31/2007, 06:15 AM   #544
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Quote:
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Is there some type of formula to determine what thickness of material is needed for a project? I want to build a holding tank 48"Lx24"Hx48"W
There is but it's got it's shortcomings; www.cyro.com and search for "aquarium thickness calculator"
For most all tanks, thickness will depend on the dimensiond of the tank and your tolerance for bracing. For this tank (IMO):
1/2" material with 3" perimeter flange (aka eurobrace) and (2) 6" crossbraces in a criss-cross pattern, leaving (4) 18 x 18" openings
3/4" material with 6" perimeter flange and no crossbracing
1" material with 3" perimeter flange and no crossbracing

HTH,
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Old 11/01/2007, 12:39 AM   #545
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acrylics!
what do you use or what is best to clean bonding surfaces before solvent application?
thanks for reply


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Old 11/01/2007, 07:07 AM   #546
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denatured alcohol (shellac thinner)

IMO,
James


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Old 11/01/2007, 08:57 AM   #547
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hey thanks for tip! thats what i have been using, but i was wondering if it was a good practice!
thanks again james!


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Old 11/01/2007, 04:59 PM   #548
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I needed some suggestions on what material i should build my sump/fuge out of??? Either acrylic which i heard is quite expensive. Or pexiglass that is thicker?? Which of the two?? I was thinking of using 1/2" thick pexiglass for it so it would be on the cheaper side since i am on a tight budget. Would that work or no???? Any suggestions and more info would help alot! Thanks


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Old 11/01/2007, 05:03 PM   #549
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What size sump? If it is for you 120g reef, 1/4" to 3/8" is fine. I use AcryLite FF. You can use AcryLite GP (cast acrylic) if you prefer. PlexiGlass is a name brand, I believe.

1/2" is way overkill. My own sump is 3/8" acrylic, and it is 60" x 36" x 16".


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Old 11/03/2007, 05:28 AM   #550
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I'm tossing around ideas or sizes for a cube tank, I'm under the impression that height of the panel dictates thickness of material???? Would 3/4" cast acrylic be more than enough to handle a tank 60"Lx30"Hx48"W? I do understand that it would need to be eurobraced as well.....any help would be greatly appreciated......


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