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DIY Project 120cm cabinet DIY

jamiepearson

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20 Feb 2021
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71
Location
Edinburgh
Moving tanks, from a 100cm /180l Jewel tank with cabinet to a 120cm / 280l from APS means that I need to built a cabinet. I've never done the like before, so trawled the threads here for designs. As well as 18mm MDF, I've gone for a 34mm batons internal frame to allay my concerns of the weight, while retaining the ADA look.
Learning StetchUp basics was useful for being certain about cuts dimensions, fixing each piece, and ensuring sufficient space for equipment. [StetchUp model here] Will be fixed with glue and MDF screws


120.png


Parts and cost so far:
18mm MDF sheet £42
34mm timber *4 £22.80 (£64.80)
Wood filler £5.19 (£69.99)
Wood glue £8.19 (£78.18)
45mm MDF screws £9.89 (£88.07)
 
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jamiepearson

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No car so no access to B&Q's cutting service. Wrangling with and cutting 2440mm sheet with a handsaw has been challenging, but I've managed with being only ~1mm out here and there, which was easy to bring back. Top and bottom baton frame plus vertical front batons and two inner dividing supports = much stronger than I'd feared. Lots of sanding next
20211218_091418.jpg
 

dino21

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17 Mar 2020
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Derbyshire
Looking good, though having a belt and braces approach would fit 4 internal upright corner pieces of timber as mdf can bow over time.
When sanding the MDF please do wear a face mask as its not good for your lungs!
Also make sure you seal the MDF well, particularly the cut edges as any water getting in can 'blow' it out
For the top, if you can find some, would almost be tempted to use a piece of kitchen worktop, usually a lot flatter, stronger and waterproof than mdf.
 

kayjo

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3 Nov 2021
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New England, US
Nice work.

As dino21 said, "Also make sure you seal the MDF well". Seal ALL SURFACES very, very well. MDF holds up poorly around moisture. Once it absorbs moisture it deforms and stays that way. Mack sure to seal the seams on the inside where the bottom and the inside walls meet so no water can get in. Flip it over and seal the bottom.

Do not use MDF for the top. IMO it's just too vulnerable to water or physical damage even if sealed and painted.

If you go the kitchen worktop approach and use a laminate counter top product, be sure to seal all exposed MDF.

Would love to see the finished product when your done.
 

Ehcosbie

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24 Mar 2021
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48
Location
Cornwall
I would advise to think that the MDF should be a non structural element. Could the timber frame stably hold the tank without the MDF? If the answer is no, then maybe the frame should be improved. When framing, make sure the load is going through the timber and not reliant on screws to take the load.

Just my opinion.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Cambridgeshire
Looking good, though having a belt and braces approach would fit 4 internal upright corner pieces of timber as mdf can bow over time.

With @dino21 on the design. Corner support is a necessity. It is also easy to implement at this stage.

Could the timber frame stably hold the tank without the MDF? If the answer is no, then maybe the frame should be improved.

Precisely.
 

jamiepearson

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20 Feb 2021
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Edinburgh
Interested to hear unanimous opinion that it's not strong enough. I over built it relative to many designs on here and on google. [Paulus' 120 cabinet] was the inspiration, which has middle batons. The two pics below.
My vertical load sits on a baton frame, has middle batons and middle sheets. I'll have a think about adding the further corner supports (front ones would need to be inset 70-80mm to allow for the Blum hinges).
ADA_120-P_PlanV2.jpg
IMG_20210522_172912.jpg


There was a new youtube this morning showing Steven Wongs 120cm tank, where I saw his cabinet is open on all four sides, has just six vertical struts, and the cabinet top isn't even sat on the corner supports to spread the load. This did surprise me
Screenshot_20211219-085026_YouTube.jpg
 

Maf 2500

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5 Jan 2021
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Slade Dingle
I was just thinking, it's surprising how all other cabinets I've seen look under built. My current 100cm Juwel one is 12mm particle board
Yes, but I wouldn't risk most of the commercial cabinets I have seen in my house.
My vertical load sits on a baton frame, has middle batons and middle sheets. I'll have a think about adding the further corner supports (front ones would need to be inset 70-80mm to allow for the Blum hinges).
It is a good design in many respects - as you rightly point out the dividing sheets and front battens will help massively with the strength and rigidity. However, as has been mentioned above, the strength of MDF is severely compromised if it is ever water damaged, and the extra peace of mind from having corner battens glued and screwed in would be well worth it considering the extra expense will be low and the extra work will be minimal. It wouldn't matter if the front corner supports were set back 80mm, especially considering there are the other 2 front battens.

I tend to overbuild things = feelings of peace of mind.

(Several coats of waterproof paint inside and out would be recommended also, but I am sure you have considered this already.)
 

jamiepearson

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An update after a Christmas pause, if anyone's interested. I decided on corner, vertical supports. The front two are offset from the front to allow for the cabinet hinges, and I went for thin, rectangular board rather than square battens - I had the idea of utilising the (otherwise wasted space) for a shelf for the doser and the fert bottles. I also cut pipe/cable holes. And had some old weatherproof, paintable sealant so did the inside edges. Here's a pic of the right-hand cupboard showing the battens, shelf and the doser offered up for size. Oh, I added the MDF front panel and (not in shot) top.
69mm timber £6 (£94.07)
34mm timber £4.50 (£98.57)
Holesaw bit £8.99 and arber £4.42 (£107.98)
20220108_152258.jpg
 

jamiepearson

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20 Feb 2021
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A benefit of me sitting the cabinet on a batten frame (rather than a base board) is I can use adjustable feet (old tenement with wonky floorboards). I used 8, 4 along front and 4 back / 4 each corner and 4 spaced equally towards the middle. Rated at 175kg each.
Loads of coats just with old generic silk paint.
Added the 80mm desk grommets.
Grommets * 6 £6 (£113.98)
Feet * 8 £13.28 (£127.26)
20211216_140325.jpg

20220109_111355.jpg
 

jamiepearson

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First doing a mock-up in SketchUp allowed me to design the inner dimensions of the three compartments of the cabinet to fit the under-tank gubbins. To facilitate cleaning the Biomaster pre-filter, I included a pull out shelf (a la the Oase tray) by bottom mounting the runners. The runners pull out fully and lock when pushed in. Cable tidy clips tidy the fert pipes. Battery led helps when fiddling in the back. I hope this gives other DIYers some ideas 👍
LED £2 (£129.26)
Drawer runners £4.99 (£134.25)
Clips £2 (£136.25)
Pics of everything in its place:
20220109_115248.jpg

20220109_114550.jpg
The filter's pull out shelf:
20220109_114631.jpg

Tidied fert pipes:
20220109_114647.jpg
 

alnitak

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9 Feb 2022
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Location
France - Essonne
Hello ! Very nice cabinet ! congrats for this nice job !
One question concerning the pullout shelf for the filter, because I intend to do the same with horizontal runners. When you pull the filter out, does the runner bend or not ? The weight of the filter (mine is oase 850 thermo) is almost 20 kg, and I'm affraid about that because this kind of runner does generally work on a vertical wall. How did you attach the runners on the bottom pannel ? only by standard wood screws, or did you drill the pannel and attach the runners with screws/bolts ?

Thank you very much :)
 
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