ADA Mini M - DIY cabinet - IKEA lighting

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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This will be a big project for a small tank. I’m using an ADA MINI Aquarium, but I’m building a custom stand and light for it.

This is a basic plan of what the system will look like:
1.jpg

Pardon my poor drawing skills, but I hope it will make things clearer. The cabinet will be 50cm wide and 80cm tall, with 50cm being used for storage space. All the cables and tubes will we routed directly through the top part of the cabinet. I’m using oak panels to construct everything.

The light is an IKEA VÄXER plant light, which is normally used for growing your own vegetables indoors:
2.jpg


To improve the looks of this light, I will sandwich it between 2 wooden pieces. I have access to an X-Carve CNC machine, which I'm using to cut out the wooden parts of the light. This is the top part being carved:
3.jpg


Test fit of the top part:
4.jpg

The hole on the right side is for a 12mm threaded rod, which will be used to suspend the light.

Cutting of the bottom part:
5.jpg


All the parts so far:
6.jpg


Fitted everything together, ready for sanding and oiling:
7.jpg


If you haven’t noticed so far, I’m a big IKEA fan. Even the oil and brush I’m using is from IKEA:
8.jpg



Next up: the cabinet!
 

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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For the cabinet I want all the cables and tubing to go through the top panel. To get a clean look every hole would need to be drilled very precise, which is why I used the CNC machine again:
cuttingTopPart.jpg

On the left side I drilled holes for the filter tubes, a hole to mount the light, and a small hole to pass the cable of the light. On the right side there is only a hole for the CO2 tubing. The holes on the top are backup in case the IKEA light does not work out, so I can pass cables for a different light, like the ONF Flat Nano, or ADA Aquasky.

With the top panel done, I laid out all the pieces:
TestFit.jpg


After checking that everything would fit together, I drilled some pocket holes and screwed the cabinet together:
ScrewedTogether.jpg

For the back panel I used a scrap piece, which is why it has some holes in it. I still need to sand the cabinet and oil it, which is why it has a different colour than the light.

Next up: adding a door to the cabinet!
 

Dan OB

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9 Jun 2017
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Slimbridge
Looks great so far! I would love to be able to do something like this for my flexi mini M but I have 0 DIY skills! Look forward to seeing the end result!

Sent from my SM-N976B using Tapatalk
 

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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Thanks for the kind comments everyone!

It's actually not that hard to do... I'm quite an amateur myself...
You can just ask the store where you buy the wood to cut it to size, and then you just need a pocket hole jig, some clamps, a drill and some screws to put it all together. :)
 

Janci

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4 Sep 2019
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Dubai
Nice start and project.
It still takes a little more than a couple of tools to get this square and assembled. Lol.

Which wood did you use for the stand?
 
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Andrew Butler

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What sort of wood?
It's Oak and a kitchen worktop that much I'm confident of - I'm quite sure it's not the thicker 38mm and I'm only guessing when I say it's 20-25mm.
Anyone looking to have a go will notice the thicker stuff is about the same price as the thinner.
It still takes a little more than a couple of tools to get this square and assembled
I would love to be able to do something like this for my flexi mini M but I have 0 DIY skills!
It really doesn't and is easy enough - it's an easy enough DIY project which doesn't take much more than a circular saw, a straight edge and you can buy a simple tapered pellet/plug cutter paired with a flat bit to hide the screws. There's a few simple tricks like scoring the wood with a sharp stanley knife to stop it splitting out too which make things look that little better.
CNC will always make it easier, cleaner and neater but drilling holes you can also do accurate easily enough; a sharp flat drill bit will always make things easier and to ensure it starts dead on your mark you can always drill a small hole (2-3mm) in a short way to start your flat bit on the mark easier.

Even the oil and brush I’m using is from IKEA
Looks good Jens, have you thought about re-oiling which will need doing over time? Maybe consider a varnish instead and if you have already oiled then just make sure it's oil based and all should be well.
 

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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I'm using 18mm oak wood panels. They are indeed similar to kitchen countertops, but these are sold specifically for projects like this in my local supply center. I bought them as 40 by 200 cm boards, but the people there were kind enough to cut them to the correct size. (even though they made a mistake with mine, so I had to correct it -.-')

It still takes a little more than a couple of tools to get this square and assembled. Lol.
The trick I used to get everything square is to start with the back panel. If that is cut squarely and you attach everything to that, the entire cabinet will be square as well. :)

Looks good Jens, have you thought about re-oiling which will need doing over time? Maybe consider a varnish instead and if you have already oiled then just make sure it's oil based and all should be well.
The supply center did indeed recommend a varnish, but I didn't like the look of it. I haven't thought about the need of re-oiling it, but I don't think it will be a problem. :)
 

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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It took some time, but I finally managed to complete the cabinet! :D

cabinetDoneFull.jpg
cabinetDoneTop.jpg


I've fitted some glass lily pipes and a co2 diffuser to see how it looks, I'll likely change these for better fitting ones.

The light appears quite strong to me, so I'm quite confident it will grow plants well. If it doesn't I can always lower it.

Next steps:
Deciding what I'll put inside. :p
For fish I would like a school of Boraras brigittae and/or a betta fish, so I was thinking about going for a "jungle" scape with some emersed growth, similar to this one: https://simonsaquascapeblog.com/post/140931961928/aquarium44-beautiful-planted-tank-for-a-betta
There is a big aquarium trade show not that far from me this weekend (https://www.vivariumbeurs.nl), so I hope to get some inspiration there!
 
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The holes for the pipes are bellissimo!

I've just thought (this would be a nightmare to do now, but possibly for another project), that it would look amazing if the rectangle the tank is sitting on was routed out. That way you don't see the bottom pane of glass. It would be easier to use two sheets of timber, one with a rectangle cut out. So in theory, you could add this on top.

Beautiful work Jens.
 

Mike Moran

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12 Aug 2019
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Brighton
Looks really cool. Love it! Ive used a couple of these ikea fittings to grow terrariums for about 6 months now and they're actually pretty good. The plants always stay green and healthy looking and they don’t run too hot being aluminium bodied. Congratulations on your project.
 

Jens B

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15 Aug 2015
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Thanks For the kind words! :happy:

I've just thought (this would be a nightmare to do now, but possibly for another project), that it would look amazing if the rectangle the tank is sitting on was routed out. That way you don't see the bottom pane of glass. It would be easier to use two sheets of timber, one with a rectangle cut out. So in theory, you could add this on top.
This is also something I though of. However, I kind of like the look of the glass rim, certainly so if it’s nicely finished like on an ADA tank. So I would have cut a recess, but only enough so the foam mat would be hidden and the glass tank would sit flush with the wood. :)
 
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