Built my first Tank!

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Luca Brazzi

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Oct 12, 2002
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In order to work up to building a custom 75 gallon acrylic tank, I thought I should practice. So this weekend I built an 8" x 8" Acrylic tank for a friends betta. It came out great! The only difficulties I encountered was getting a clean edge on the cuts. I was using a tablesaw with a blade meant for wood, and it cut but it left rough edges. I smoothed these out somewhat with a scraping tool I got from the local plastic shop. The tool works but there must be a better, more precise way to do this.

oes anyone know of a better way to put a smooth, level, square edge on acrylic?

Anyway... the tank is holding water.... I added some gravel, ornaments, fake plants, bubblewand, and a betta.

Next, its on to the biotower and sump!
 

Luca Brazzi

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I used a router on the assembled tank to flush the edges... But do you mean I should use a router on the pieces before I assemble them? How could I do this without the router getting away and gouging the edge?
 

Luca Brazzi

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I guess I could but shouldnt I use a router table? All I have at the present is a handheld RYOBI. I went out and purchased a 150 tooth blade for the tablesaw to use instead of the one I was using, I know this should give me a much cleaner edge but I havent tried it yet.
 

latazyo

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Sep 17, 2002
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well, you COULD do it with teh ryobi, but you might not get a very straight cut, unless you lined it up well with somethign like a countertop (note the "LIKE", I'm not implying that you cut it on the countertop, the wife might not approve of that, hehe)
 

7Speed

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when I was cutting acrylic for something I was building last year, I used a wet saw that you can buy for cutting tile. cheap at home depot or lowes it was like $90. it works great. The problem with cutting plastic is that it melts. if the plastic is less than 1/4" you can score and break it off clean. That is what the guy did for me when I bought the 4x8 sheet (i didn't have my truck at the time)
 

DIYMatt

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Oct 8, 2001
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Luca-

I have cut acrylic with a fine table saw blade, it cuts smooth enough for me on the "gluing" edges. No edge chipping at all as long as I didn't go too fast. The glue seeps into to the dull edges and clears them up. For the exposed edges, do you have a propane torch? I have taken the torch and quickly and slightly melted the edges till they smooth out. This can be a delicate operation so practice first. I would only do this on the exposed edges because you want those gluing edges perfectly square.

Email me if you want more info on the torch thing.
 

Luca Brazzi

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I think I read somewhere that the smoother the gluing edge the less bubbling you get in the joint. I dont know if bubbling will affect the strength of the joint though. I guess as long as there are no large ones, I should be ok.
 

Fishster

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Jun 12, 2001
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Have you tried heating and bending the acrylic? I was thinking that you could make the tank out of two peices, one for the bottom and one for both sides and ends. This way you would only have one corner with rough edges which would be at the back and the other three joints would be very strong. I think that with a good heat gun you could bend it over a straight edge. Might be easier said than done though but just a thought.
 
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