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Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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So what the hell is it!?!? Well it’s a fixture that moves up and down on an actuator and the fixture holds another actuator. It has a purpose obviously... can you guess what it is yet? These next few photos might explain it before this bit is finished...
 

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Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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This is where I’m up to now. The white thing is a bit of 10mm polycarbonate, now with a bunch of slots.

Next job is to cut up an Ikea chopping board on the bandsaw. Ikea chopping boards, like most chopping boards, are made from polyethylene. Polyethylene is one of the lowest friction plastics and Ikea sell these things for about £2.

So That’s my useless tip for the day, should you ever find yourself in the need of a low priced purveyor of low friction plastic, you now know where to go.
 

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Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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The only hardware on display will be the inlet/outlet pipes. They’re 316 stainless and quite possibly the hardest bits of pipework on the planet to work with. Due to stainless being nearly impossible to bend cleanly, I had to get the right tool for the job.

Since I’ve made nearly everything so far from bits I already have, I could justify £195 on a stainless tube bender to make a couple of bends...

Does look good though.
 

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noodlesuk

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Very tidy bends, something about neat pipework that is very pleasing. How are you doing the inlet outlet restrictions, slots holes, sieve etc?
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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Very tidy bends, something about neat pipework that is very pleasing. How are you doing the inlet outlet restrictions, slots holes, sieve etc?

I have a jig made up to do slots. I was going to do holes but 316 stainless is not easy to drill through and get a nice consistent finish. Probably next week I will have the slots done. I have a nice little bit designed to go with the outflow. Also yet to do, it’s just another one of the many little jobs.
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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Some more done. This part is nearly finished. I will explain it all when this part's completed. Might even put a video up if I can find a blank vhs for my camcorder.

You may notice there are some strips on the platform. That’s the Ikea chopping board.

The fixture I’ve welded up is painted just for the sake of rust and giving it a bit of uniformity. The left/right actuator has up down and lateral adjustment with a fixing to lock it in place, all adjustable and easily removed from the face on the inside of the stand. The up/down actuator is also easily removed with one bolt and one pin. All this adjustment is to dial it in with all adjustments being accessible from the front and for the actuators to be removed easily should they burn out or need replacement/servicing.
 

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Last edited:

Andrew Butler

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I was going to do holes but 316 stainless is not easy to drill through and get a nice consistent finish
I found by putting a bed with a fence onto a pillar drill base, then on a separate piece of 'sliding wood' used some quality pipe clips secured properly to another piece of wood that I'd centred using the pillar drill that this enabled me to move the piece of plastic/metal and keep the pipe centred and rigid in the clips - I hope this makes sense?
In essence it's just a simple jig.

A sharp drill was needed for the SS and a little rasping out from the inside which would likely be a problem on a long piece but I was able to reach the 150mm (ish) inside for the intakes.

Look forward to the slots and the big reveal :)
 

noodlesuk

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21 Jul 2020
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I have a jig made up to do slots. I was going to do holes but 316 stainless is not easy to drill through and get a nice consistent finish. Probably next week I will have the slots done. I have a nice little bit designed to go with the outflow. Also yet to do, it’s just another one of the many little jobs.
Yes, always snags in thin material, especially in tube. Might help if you can get a Mandel in there and go up in 0.2 or so increments, or if you can do it with a centre drill, instead of a twist drill. Much more rigid. Sounds like you're slotting now anyway. Look forward to seeing the finished article.
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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Thanks for the tips. I may still do holes if slots don’t work out. Was thinking that laser cutting would probably get the best finish and might be the way forward if the other ideas don’t work out.

Done a little more this evening. Those two actuators need to be controlled by something, so sorted out the wiring with some simple circuits and a 12v car battery.
 

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noodlesuk

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The plot thickens! Is that some sort of timer based control system? Does it move the lights to simulate the change on the horizon? Can't wait for the big reveal!
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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The plot thickens! Is that some sort of timer based control system? Does it move the lights to simulate the change on the horizon? Can't wait for the big reveal!

Getting close. I have a design for the lighting, which will be a departure from normal aquarium light fixtures, it will essentially just be a light at the end of the day but will be different.

There’s three sets of timers there and a bunch of relays.

One is a clock timer with a relay switch, that goes to one actuator.

The other is two timed relays, which also go to another relay and the actuator.

I’m using timers and relays as they’re cheap, do the job really well, versatile, reliable, run off a solar charged car battery so won’t crash or be affected by a power cut, don’t require being plugged in to a computer or anything. I could control the actuators with an arduino but they introduce a whole load of other factors I don’t need or want to have to consider.

So I’m keeping this bit simple; just a basic bunch of switches all wired together and easily controllable.


So yes, it’s timer controlled but not for the lighting.
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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45
Is it to move the outlet pipe up and down? Down for photoperiod, and up to create some surface agitation after lights out?

Give that man a prize! Yes, that is exactly it. Well part of it.

As part of not wanting to have equipment in the tank, I didn’t want to have an air stone so the other option is to move the outlet pipe up to agitate the water. I can’t honestly say I would remember to do this everyday and I’m often out and about. So automating it in some way was the only option here.

I had a few ideas for this, the first idea was to have the pipe tilt upwards but due to the angle, it would need to pivot very close to the top of the tank. This would introduce more visible stuff, which is against what I’m aiming for.

So moving the pipe up directly was the best option. Again, a bunch of different ideas tried out and settled on 2 rails with 4 linear bearings with a fixture to hold things in place.

As this is to slide up and down, everything has to be rigid and precise, therefore over engineered for rigidity and adjustability to make sure it can be adjusted for smooth movement with no snagging.

It has a timer running from a car battery which will be solar charged. Therefore removing any problems caused by a power cut. The timer will switch on the actuator to lift it up at lights out. When lights go on again, the timer has been wired to a relay so that it will switch the polarity and therefore the actuator will drop it down. The white timer and relay are pictured in the photo above.

So that's one half of this bit. There’s something else it does.
 

noodlesuk

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21 Jul 2020
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Give that man a prize! Yes, that is exactly it. Well part of it.

As part of not wanting to have equipment in the tank, I didn’t want to have an air stone so the other option is to move the outlet pipe up to agitate the water. I can’t honestly say I would remember to do this everyday and I’m often out and about. So automating it in some way was the only option here.
Wow I would have never guessed that, didn't appreciate the benefits of surface vs below surface agitation at specific times, but makes sense now.

Would 2 outlets( one near surface, one below) on a solenoid valve done the same job? Guess that is extra stuff in the tank then?

Intrigued to see what other function the actuators perform.
 

rebel

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4 Aug 2015
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In the ADA gallery, the minions move the outlet pipes up and down on a daily basis. This is the way.
 

Dogtemple

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22 Nov 2011
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45
Wow I would have never guessed that, didn't appreciate the benefits of surface vs below surface agitation at specific times, but makes sense now.

Would 2 outlets( one near surface, one below) on a solenoid valve done the same job? Guess that is extra stuff in the tank then?

Intrigued to see what other function the actuators perform.

thats an idea yeah, you could do that with a third pipe or valve at the end of the pipe I suppose, but as you say it would introduce more stuff instead of reduce it. I'm trying to reduce everything down to the bare minimum visually and make it as functional as possible at the same time.

thats not to say it wouldn't work for someone else though. plenty of tanks seem to have visible plumbing and other bits and pieces on show.
 

dcurzon

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4 Jul 2020
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Essex
Give that man a prize! Yes, that is exactly it. Well part of it.

As part of not wanting to have equipment in the tank, I didn’t want to have an air stone so the other option is to move the outlet pipe up to agitate the water. I can’t honestly say I would remember to do this everyday and I’m often out and about. So automating it in some way was the only option here.
Only drew that conclusion as it was something I'd considered doing myself, before realising that I wouldn't have the foggiest idea of how to go about it :/
 
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