My knock-down/flat packable aquarium stand

the_deeb

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I thought I'd start a build journal for my new stand. The stand is going to be for my new custom 150g wide tank and I had a couple of specific requirements for the build, which mean that this is going to be a little different from the typical chunky 2x4 construction of most builds on this forum.

Firstly, this setup is going to be the centerpiece of our apartment, so I want the finished stand to look like a nice piece of furniture.

Next, the aquarium itself is going to be quite shallow, so I wanted the stand to be quite tall to visually compensate for this. The dimensions of the stand are around 5ft X 3ft X 3ft, which is too wide to fit through the hallway/door for our apartment, so I decided to build it so I could easily disassemble it and flat pack it for moving. I put a lot of thought into how best to do this while still having a strong supporting structure, and I came up with a solution involving some sturdy joinery and some interesting bits of connecting hardware.

Another feature that is a little different about this stand is that I wanted it to have legs rather than sitting with its full length on the floor. I think this is more aesthetically pleasing and will make it easier to shim the stand and clean up potential spills in the future.

The final major limitation of this build is that I live in a small apartment and don't have any power tools (except for an electric drill), so I'm going to be building the entire thing using only hand tools. I'm only an amateur woodworker, and my tools and skills limit the kinds of cuts and joints I can reliably make.

Ok, with that background out of the way let's move on to the build!
 

the_deeb

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First of a quick shot of my "work shop" :) That's my dining room table with my trusty folding dozuki. It's a wonderful saw that cuts through lumber like butter leaving a paper thin kerf and a really smooth finish that requires little sanding. I built a little DIY miter box to assist with making good square cuts.

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the_deeb

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I'm building the stand primarily out of poplar 1x4s that I picked up from a local lumber yard. It's good quality wood with nice square corners and minimal warping and was relatively affordable. Doubling up these boards results in a board that's much nicer and stronger than a typically pine 2x4. The legs of the stand will consist of two or three of these boards laminated together. Here are the first set of boards cut to size...

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and glued together.

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the_deeb

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A lot of the joinery in this build will involve long 90mm bolts running through several pieces of wood so it was important to accurately drill straight holes and have everything line up. A drill press would have made this easier, but I don't own one, so I made do with a nice little drill guide from Lee Valley tools. This was easy to use and gave pretty nice results.

Here's the guide:

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You start out by using a punch to mark the location of the hole

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and then add a 3/16" bushing over that and use it to fit the guide in place and secure it

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The you pull out the bushing and replace it with a new bushing sized to the drill bit that you're going to use (1/4" in my case). Using a high quality brad point drill bit also make it easier to get clean accurate holes.

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the_deeb

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The end result of all that drilling was a bunch of nice straight holes. This is one of two strips of plywood that will eventually be used to attach the top to the sides. It has holes for 4 connector bolts.

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Here they are attached to the top and base of the stand using pocket hole screws.

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I carefully lined up the holes in those pieces to make matching sets of holes through the plywood sides and into some 4 x 1.5 pine screw strips. These screw strips are a central part of the build - all the other parts of the tank will attach together using these strips. To provide an attachment point for the top and base to the sides, I'm using some threaded insert nuts.

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I drilled and glued these into the screw strips using Gorilla Glue

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I then drilled pairs of holes in the ends of the screw strips to accommodate cross dowel/barrel nuts.

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the_deeb

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I then attached the screw strips and the legs to the plywood sides. Here's a completed side panel:

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You can see the "mortise" holes in the legs to allow for the long cross pieces to attach. I didn't have the skills or tools to cut out true mortises, so you can see I just accomplished this by leaving spaces in the center board when I laminated the legs together.

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Pharaoh

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Great start. I'm anxious to see this progress. I had all kinds of ideas run through my head when I read the title. Keep it up.
 

the_deeb

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I made the cross pieces by doubling up the 1x4 poplar boards to allow for bridle joints/lap joints with the legs. Here's a shot of a test fit of the cross pieces and legs for the front frame:

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and here's the assembly sequence for the stand.

The cross pieces fit into the holes in the sides:

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Then a 90mm connector bolt gets driven through the lined up holes in all the pieces and into the cross dowel in the screw strip

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Here you can see an inside edge of the leg with the supporting strip for the base

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The middle legs screw into a cross pieces that are also fitted with cross dowel barrel bolts.

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These are the holes in the side panels which lead to the insert nuts in the screw strips

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The lid get's dropped into place and then connector bolts are driven through into the side screw strips

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and here's the (almost) complete stand structure. You'll notice the base isn't currently in place. Ordinarily the base would be fitted in before the top, but due to some minor alignment issues with the holes I needed to make some slight modifications so it's not included in this shot.

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guano

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For some reason I can't get all the pictures to load, but for what I can see it looks great! Love your threads deeb, you do quality work. Looking forward to more updates :popcorn:
 

the_deeb

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Thanks. Yeah, I'm noticing the same problem with the pictures. I could have sworn they were there when I first posted them. Unfortunately it won't let me go back and re-edit the post so I'm not sure what to do about that.

Hmm... at least for me, even if the embedded pictures aren't showing up if I click on the link it brings up the pictures so you might want to try that. Is anyone else having problems with the pics?
 
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