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#21 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 12:02 PM

Try some composite deck material. (polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based products or other non-wood decking material)
These should not expand or absorb water, and working with them is similar to wood.


I was thinking about that... I think it is a great idea... I am going to go to home depot today and see if they have any "plastic lumber"... I have used it for trim work before... but haven't seen any "1 by" material that I can remember... decking would be good, but I wonder if they keep it in stock where I could just buy one piece?

... to be continued...
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#22 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 04:58 PM

D'oh! This should have occurred to me sooner! You can buy PVC "lumber". It's made to be used as exterior trim on houses. It comes in a couple 1x sizes. It's kind of pricey, but should last forever. Look around if you can't find the size you want, because some places carry a bigger selection than others.

#23 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 06:37 PM

D'oh! This should have occurred to me sooner! You can buy PVC "lumber". It's made to be used as exterior trim on houses. It comes in a couple 1x sizes. It's kind of pricey, but should last forever. Look around if you can't find the size you want, because some places carry a bigger selection than others.


Got one today! Yeah, not really cheap, I had to pay $20 for a 1 x 8... but I got 8 feet (the only length they had)... which means I could probably make 4 of these... but first things first... I will have to try to make another one (just like the first) but this time with the PVC lumber. Too bad it is Sunday night and I have a real job that I have to go to during the week.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#24 Guest_bflowers_*

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 04:35 AM

Got one today! Yeah, not really cheap, I had to pay $20 for a 1 x 8... but I got 8 feet (the only length they had)... which means I could probably make 4 of these... but first things first... I will have to try to make another one (just like the first) but this time with the PVC lumber. Too bad it is Sunday night and I have a real job that I have to go to during the week.


Don't know if you will have this problem or not, but I have had problems with silicone holding to acrylic or plastic. Be interested ot see how it comes out.

Bill F.

#25 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 08:21 PM

Speaking of the sealing concept of this photo tank and bigger plywood tanks. I was wondering if you could use Line-X. Would it leak any chemicals into the tank? I dont know how cost effective it would be, but I know Line-X seals wood (along with truck beds). I'm not sure what the charge would be to spray a small photo tank, if you caught the right person, on the right day...they may spray it for free if they were already doing another job. Just a thought.

#26 Guest_djramsey_*

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 10:02 AM

Try some composite deck material. (polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based products or other non-wood decking material)
These should not expand or absorb water, and working with them is similar to wood.

Michael, this is a wonderful idea. The last 2 photo tanks I made I broke before I even put them in the car. I wonder if some of that hard plastic fake fencing would work instead of the wood? Oh the brain is flipping out. I got to try that. Thanks for giving be an alternative to try after so many failed attempts.
David Ramsey

#27 Guest_nativeplanter_*

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 12:27 PM

A regular untreated 1 by X wooden board would be less expensive than PVC, no? I understand the attraction to the already finished surface. But since you are using a paddle, the color wouldn't matter much anyway, right? A couple coats of polyurethane would make it waterproof, too. One might even have this items as scrap around the house. Not sure how well silicone would stick to wood, though.

#28 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 12:53 PM

Dave, most of the fencing stuff I have seen is hollow... so might not be that easy to work with as compared to this facia and soffett material that is solid 1 by 8.

Laura, I agree and that is where I started. But some of my reading led me to believe that coating the wood (everywhere!) was one of the "easy to imagine but difficult to accomplish in practice" things that would reduce the durability of the tank (photo or otherwise). And since I am planning on this being a field item, it will get wet on the outside as well as the inside... so that's why I decided to try this.

Should have some time this weekend (spent last weekend snorkeling... see other thread) to get it assembled and sealed... will let everyone know how it goes.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#29 Guest_nativeplanter_*

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:20 PM

I see. Does silicone not stick well to polyurethane? I imagine you'd still be screwing the wood parts together, but keeping the glass attached would be tricky if that were the case.

#30 Guest_mdwalt1_*

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:34 PM

There are a lot of great suggestions pertaining to the construction materials and sealing of the box. However, I can't get past the use of glass.
Seems to me that the advantage of plexiglas is that it won't shatter the first time I accidentally drop it. Just a thought.

#31 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 04:20 PM

Photo Tank 2 - PVC Board

OK, so I got the PVC Board home and began to work with it. It was very easy to cut (almost too soft, I had to be careful to keep the cuts square). It was perfect for drilling and countersinking the screw holes.
Attached File  new pt1.jpg   122.25KB   1 downloads
I assembled with regular PVC cement (which is supposed to be water tight for plumbing and must be relatively non-toxic... I mean we drink out of it) and sheet rock screws. Everything went together rather easily. I did notice that the sheet rock screws would aggressively bury themselves, so I have to be careful to not drive them too hard.
Attached File  new pt2.jpg   122.21KB   2 downloads
I added some extra PVC cement (solvent really) to the inside corners, figuring that it would help seal them.
Attached File  new pt3.jpg   95.51KB   0 downloads
As before I applied the silicone to the front of the finishes box (being careful this time to favor the inside edge), put the glass on and weighed it down while the silicone cured. Here is the finished product.
Attached File  new pt4.jpg   108.2KB   1 downloads
And here are some quick photos I took with it this afternoon.

rainbow shiner (edited out the background)
Attached File  rainbow shiner 20090823.jpg   262.27KB   2 downloads

Jordonella au naturale
Attached File  florida flag fish 20090823.jpg   766.42KB   2 downloads

Bluespot Sunfish (based on my note taking, I think I have had this fish for five years from the SC Convention)
Attached File  bluespot sunfish 20090823.jpg   627.54KB   2 downloads
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#32 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 04:23 PM

Oh, by the way... the photo tank worked perfectly... no leaks, no problems... I think I like working with the material and the general sturdiness of the tank is just what I was looking for when I started this project...
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#33 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:08 PM

It looks great! Thanks for posting the pictures.

#34 Guest_BTDarters_*

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:06 AM

I agree, it does look great! Thanks for posting! Please keep us appraised of how it holds up!

Brian

#35 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:07 PM

I am curious how your photo tank system has held up and developed since this last posting? 3 years ago!
I just outfitted a small aquarium with a 2 sided, matte grey and matte black, "squeeze" panel and binder clips for some controlled shots tomorrow.
Is your front panel glass? I think so at least in regards to your last posting about weighing the "glass" down.
And what of using matte glass to reduce glare?
No interest in matte acrylic? Too scratchy?

I really like your use of PVC for the body. Most sign shops have scraps of 1/2" material around... but not 1" thick so common... but might.

#36 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:00 PM

1) I am still enjoying my phototank... even built a second one... both are going very well... sturdy, durable, etc.
2) Yes, the front is glass. I have not tried matte glass, but it is a good idea. My front glass is actually some rather think stuff that I cut from an old aquarium topper. I do get a little more glare than some of the other acrylic set ups I have seen, but not too back if I just position myself correctly. I did try acrylic... but the silicone does not stick to it and the acrylic front popped off on about the second use (fortunately I was at home and just about to put fish in it from emptying the ponds). So the design as is does not really work with acrylic.
3) I got plenty of leftover 3/4 inch "board" and seeing as how you are my big buddy, I could just make you one, without the glass. I think you would like to get your own glass anyway... maybe try the matte idea... or at least get some nicer glass that what I might have. Email me if you are interested and I can tell you what I can do and what size and such.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#37 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:24 PM

Cool...
I am working with a frame maker currently and i bet he could provide me a piece of non glare matte glass cut to the size you call for.
Let's give it a try and i will make a trade for coffee beans, pinto beans, diamonds or such.

#38 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:23 AM

Re non-glare glass, I bought a 8" square piece from a picture framing shop for exactly this purpose, and got an unpleasant surprise: It turns out non-glare glass is transparent only when an object is pressed up right against it. Move the object back from the glass more than a 1/2 inch and the image is blurry, like shower door glass. Maybe there are other types of non-glare glass, but the piece I got was useless for fish photography, except maybe ventral view of a hogchoker or clingfish.

Re acrylic front, could you drill and screw it to the box? That way the silicone would only have to seal it, not hold the pressure. Or use Goop or Shoe-Goo which bonds well on many plastics.

#39 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
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  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 01 July 2012 - 02:17 PM

Re acrylic front, could you drill and screw it to the box? That way the silicone would only have to seal it, not hold the pressure. Or use Goop or Shoe-Goo which bonds well on many plastics.


I thought about that, but never tried it... would still have the issue of the tendancy for acrylic to scratch... the glass (at this thickness anyway) has been very durable... I would have never thought that one of these boxes was three years old...
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin




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