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DIY Acrylic Light stand..

zozo

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Joined
16 Apr 2015
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7,632
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Netherlands
Which lights you put in there is debatable, i did it with simple ridgid aloy shelled led strip. :)

But today i finished my DIY light stand.. I wanted a stand which is simply straight foreward, nothing fancy just functional. One thats not to distracting to the open view and one i can slide over the top of the tank back and fort to make room when cleaning or what so ever. Most stands are fastened with clamps to the side of the tank, actualy i do not see any benefit in that. First i made a small one like that out of wood, and it worked like i expected, good! Im not going in to much detail regaring the work, because there are already so many tutorials like that to find. It’s more to share the simple construction idea.

PoLMNt3.jpg


Because it stays an open tank i thought making one out of acrylic is the best option to go with. Its least distractive and gives a clear view from all sides. So got me some acrylic sheet material, 3 pieces. 1 x 60.5 cm x 10 cm and 2 x 10 x 10 cm. I have 3 x 50 cm ridgid aloy LED strips fastened with stainles steel clamps. In the near future there will be 5 strips, this to cover some shady spots in the scape.

Anyway this is what i needed
2g1BzJw.jpg


And a drill, thats obvious.

Drilled some holes,
ciOwymS.jpg


taped some M3 thread..
Kh1hnAW.jpg


Now the fun part is coming, that is i found it funny and laughed loud about it. The cement to weld the acrylic like Weldon *. Here main land Europe, there seems to be something rather mysterious about that stuff. Nowhere to find, where ever you go they try to send you home with a tube of UHUH or something. I asked the acrylic provider and they said “We don’t sell that, dangerous stuff. Via internet only could find supliers selling it only by the gallon. Contacted an UK suplier, they said, we can sell it to you but!? Dangerous stuff, it has to be shipped in a seperate container, the shipping costs will be huge and much more than the product. So i thought what’s in that darn stuff, why is it so difficult to get. I found the Weldon Data Sheet and it said “80% Dichloromethane, 10% Trichloromethane and 10% monomers for the strongest bond. All supossed to be very unhealthy disolvers X rated cant be shipped over seas they say. Safety regulations! You might think? Now i'm kinda hardheaded and a strange figure but, i did some researching for alternatives and lo and behold.. I found the same darn stuff in an other branche. LOL! In the beautyshop where little blond girls play together with their lovely shiny acrylic nails. If you want to sell it as a form of industrial cement you’re bound to strickt safety regulations and when you sell it to little girls as beauty product its OK..(???) And they ship it to you for free from China, for half the price than a canister of Weldon..

Anyway it’s this stuff
VYzh8u6.jpg

Acrylic nail Brush cleaner: content 100% Dichloromethane
Acrylic Liquid: Content 100% Monomers
Forget the Trichloromethane, thats Chloroform, these 10% you dont realy need for bonds like this. And you will not fall a sleep during the work.

Now aint that funny? Or just plain stuppid! Regulations??

What so ever mixed 10 % monomers to the Dichloromethane (this is to get a stronger molecular bond) , welded the whole together and it stands like a rock in minutes.

xG5o8pJ.jpg

NVk1Yzv.jpg


Unfortunately i didn’t take pictures of the procedure routing the slots with the dremel tool and router table to make it slide and not fall off the tank. Did this a few weeks ago and (fortunately for you) didn’t know UKAPS back then.

G4SpynV.jpg


The end product looks pretty straight foreward as expected. Nothing fancy just a simple lightstand you can rock back and fort. It was my first time working with acrylic.. There are some minor flaws in it and working acrylic is a bit more difficult as all youtube tutorials make you believe. But still it isnt rocket science.

pBQz8Kv.jpg


Eet5qtA.jpg

Still got to hang that electronic stuff to the wall later on..
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I hope this maybe is an inspiration for you as well, to make you something nice, functional and not at all that expensive. It was less then € 20 Acrylic, € 10 beautyshop and some elbowe grease.

Actualy i would like to hang it on cables so i can slide it side ways, away from the tank. But made it anyway because had the material in the house. The Light hanger will be the next project. This was a nice piece to practice on.

Cheers

Marcel..
 
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OllieNZ

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11 Nov 2009
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994
Location
Witney, UK
Nice work. I'd be a bit nervous about the psu sat next to the tank though.....
 

zozo

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Thanx :) indeed that stuff will move very soon, i'm almost done figuring out what to put where. But i'm carefull not to spill any water on it. Not my work side of the tank anyway. But you're right, that's actualy the worst place to put it.. :)
 

Rahms

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19 Oct 2013
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310
looks good, I'll probably combine this style of bracket with the drilled/polished DIY setup I saw someone else do, but I can't find the thread now.... If anyone can help with a link that'd be good! The other guy routed holes through the perspex and mounted the LEDs inside, then stuck heatsinks on the back of the stars. Wasn't even long ago not sure why I can't see it!
 

zozo

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:) Thanks.. I've seen that topic too, bigger tank.. :) It's in the DIY section titlled as ADA style light stand or something if i remember correctly. He did a realy nice job with the round shaped supports made out of MDF ore something. I was thinking at first about making some with the high powered 1-3 watt leds. But indeed you need heatsinks because these things get so darn hot. The other issue which i think of as a disadvantage is the power setup. Depending on the amount of high power leds you put in serial connection, accordingly need a more powerfull high amp PSU which also tend to get hoter as well. You could run a few on an old ATX PSU as i'm using with this, till the amount which excels the 12 volts range. But also the high power programable controlers are still very expensive and sensitve for error. The high amps and heat is the issue with these things.

Thats why i choose to go experiment with the lower power input range, beter livespan, much cheaper, easier to handle and control.

The issue with the lower powered LEDs is the hight of the tank and the hight you hang the lights. Now i'm using 3 x 7 watt SMD 5050 - 600 lum strips on this one, which are well enough for a low tech setup. But now i started to firt, Co2 and such i see they are pretty close but just not quite enough for an open tank with a higher stand. I'll expand this setup with 2 more strips, 12 watt SMD 7020 - 900 to 1000 lum and see how it develops. Still could go for all 5 strips in SMD 7020 - 900 lum.

The led industry is developing fast and it won't be that long anymore till they come with a low power input and high power out put led. :)

My future goal is a shallow acrylic tank, one i'm going to build myself. not higher than 8 inches.. And i first wanted to experiment on a litlle cheap standard size before i make me an expensive and weeks work dissaster
 
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Rahms

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19 Oct 2013
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hah, sounds good! My summer project is a nice TMC signature sat on my bed at my parents house... Its 60x45cm footprint so needs good spread, tempted to try suspending a £30 ebay floodlight. But if that fails I'll try some DIY and hopefully have something to show for it :D
 

zozo

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You perhaps might want to take a look at satisled.com. :)
 

markk

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25 Jan 2015
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:) Thanks.. I've seen that topic too, bigger tank.. :) It's in the DIY section titlled as ADA style light stand or something if i remember correctly. He did a realy nice job with the round shaped supports made out of MDF ore something. I was thinking at first about making some with the high powered 1-3 watt leds. But indeed you need heatsinks because these things get so darn hot. The other issue which i think of as a disadvantage is the power setup. Depending on the amount of high power leds you put in serial connection, accordingly need a more powerfull high amp PSU which also tend to get hoter as well. You could run a few on an old ATX PSU as i'm using with this, till the amount which excels the 12 volts range. But also the high power programable controlers are still very expensive and sensitve for error. The high amps and heat is the issue with these things.

Thats why i choose to go experiment with the lower power input range, beter livespan, much cheaper, easier to handle and control.

It's worth remembering though that even low power led strips can, and do, overheat. They're less efficient than the higher powered versions - meaning more heat generated per watt of power consumed. Running multiple strips in close proximity in an enclosed space with no aluminium strip would be an interesting experiment:)

The issue with the lower powered LEDs is the hight of the tank and the hight you hang the lights. Now i'm using 3 x 7 watt SMD 5050 - 600 lum strips on this one, which are well enough for a low tech setup. But now i started to firt, Co2 and such i see they are pretty close but just not quite enough for an open tank with a higher stand. I'll expand this setup with 2 more strips, 12 watt SMD 7020 - 900 to 1000 lum and see how it develops. Still could go for all 5 strips in SMD 7020 - 900 lum.

The led industry is developing fast and it won't be that long anymore till they come with a low power input and high power out put led. :)

I used these recently for my kitchen:-

http://www.ledhut.co.uk/led-strip-l...h-power-led-chips-per-metre-5-metre-roll.html

and seriously considered them for my own build (http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/diy-cree-led-retrofit-to-old-hood.36983/). As you say, they make for a very easy build with readily available components. In the end however I decided to go for the high power LEDs for the efficiency. The strips I linked above max out at about 75 lumens per watt whereas the Cree's max out at over 150 lumens per watt (in theory - practice will be less). Personally that was just too much of a difference.

Out of interest, how much light 'spill' do you get with your new setup? It's just the sort of fixture I was planning to upgrade to at some point - but I really don't want to light up the whole room:)

regards

Mark
 

zozo

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Hi Mark, i already was folowing your topic about your build with interest. :) Always love experiments like that. I started with tropical aqaurium when i was about 7 years old and did till i was about in my early 20's. So i started 42 years ago. At that time Eheim was by far the only thing available in my suroundings.. And still back then i thought it all was crap what they make and sell for to much money, i just always thought i can't give my fish what the realy need with this. And now 42 years later i like to start again, go to the shops and i was amazed by the lack of development, much more brands but still the same simple crap as back then for even much more money. Eheim eat your heart out! What did you do with all our money all those years? Unbelievable, status quo!? DIY and you can get far better for less. At the end maybe for the same price as buying theirs because of all the experiments, but finaly it will pay off, and the tank and for the most the inhabitants benefit. And we do too, we learn..

I did excactly the same setup for the same size aquarium of my friends daughter, it's a low tech tank with a hood, with the lights less than 2 inches over the water. And that little tank is realy booming and doing much better now. There was 1 TL above it at first, didn't even bother to look at the specs just trew it away. In my current setup as an open thank with the lights 5 inches over the water i clearly see its not enough for higher performance setup like this. Plants still do ok but could do better. My gut tells me i do not need so much more. Off course it's always better to have more then you need, but it's not nessecary enough is enough and i think 300 lum more with the 7020 type led could be just that bit i need.. We shall see.

For the temperature, i got aloy cased strips and they do not realy go much hotter than around the 45 C at 100%.. The german LumLight.de supplier of aquarium led lights makes them with 3 strips in a closed shell with cooling tubes and aquarium water running trough. It's a nice concept heating your aquarium with the led lights. I'm planning to do the same thing and use that temperature when i'm ready for it. Allready got a DIY idea how, i'll come back to that latter. My focus now first goes to a DIY programmable inline heater.. :)

For the light spill, i do not have realy. :) I try to mimic mother nature as much as possible i control the leds to steadily increas the light to mid day and decrease again to the evening. So when it's getting darker outside the aquarium is dimming as well. That's also a point when using high powered cree leds. If you like to do this with these leds you need a fairly expensive unreliable controller to do that automated for now. These leds not realy made for that purpose yet.
 
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