In this instructable, I will show you how to build your own cage for hamster (or for another animal if you want).
Here is a list of the tools that I am going to use :
- a jigsaw
- a hand drill
- a hammer
- a screwdriver
- a stapler
And, here is a list of the "building material" :
- 1m² of linoleum (30,5 x 30,5 cm) to protect planks from urine, and it's so much easier to clean this than wood.
- 2 planks of MDF/Medium Density Fibreboard (80 x 60 cm). You can choose another type of wood of course; I chose this one because it's cheaper than natural wood, and as resistant.
- 3 wooden sticks of 2m50 (3 x 3 cm). I chose to take some pine for those; but if you're not taking this kind of wood make sure you're not buying a toxic one.
- 3 wooden sticks of 2m (3 x 1 cm), made of pine.
- 2 reinforced corners of 2m50 (2,5 x 2,5 cm), made of pine.
- 2 reinforced corners of 2m (2 x 2 cm), made of beech. They are going to reinforce the structure and protect the wooden sticks from every attacks. Indeed, your hamster is probably trying to eat the pine so I chose a harder wood for the corners : beech (not toxic either).
- 5m x 50 cm of steel wine mesh . Make sure you're taking one without paint and close enough that your hamster can't go through but can use it to climb (1 x 1 cm).
Now that I've tools and materials, I'm going to start with the woodwork !
Step 1: The woodwork.
Cut the other one, with the jigsaw, into :
- 2 planks of 54 x 30 cm,
- 4 planks of 32 x 3 cm and,
- 2 other planks of 54 x 10 cm
(If it's not really clear in your mind, step 3 is going to clarify the question).
Stick up the linoleum on the planks, cut it if you need to.
The structure of the cage is made with wooden sticks/batons wood (3 x 3 cm). Cut them, with the jigsaw too, because we need :
- 4 sticks of 50 cm,
- 4 sticks of 47 cm,
- 2 sticks of 74 cm, and,
- 2 sticks of 54 cm.
Then, cut the wooden sticks (3 x 1) into :
- 2 sticks of 80 cm, and,
- 2 sticks of 60 cm.
Those ones will be to make a sort of barrier to prevent overflowing of litter.
Cut the reinforced corners in pine of 2m50 (2,5 x 2,5 cm) into :
- 4 reinforced corners of 47 cm,
- 2 reinforced corners of 80 cm, and,
- 2 reinforced corners of 60 cm.
They will add the finishing touches to the cage.
Cut the reinforced corners in beech of 2m (2 x 2 cm) into :
- 6 reinforced corners of 30 cm, and,
- 6 reinforced corners of 15 cm.
These ones will protect the wooden sticks inside the cage.
Step 2: The structure.
So, I'm going to need the big plank of MDF (80 x 60 cm) as you can see on the first image. I made some 3D models with Google Sketchup to show you, step by step, the evolution of the cage.
To fix the batons wood of 50 cm on the corners of the plank, I have to drill through the plank before any other action. So, take your hand drill and drill through the plank at each corner, it will be easier to screw on after that. When it's done, just put them on and screw on the plank with a screwdriver. At the end of this, your work should look like the second model.
To fix the batons wood of 47 cm, I need to measure 26 cm from a baton wood in a corner. Do this on the both lenghts, then when it's done I can dril through the plank again, where I made the marks. Put the batons wood and screw them on the plank. The third model represents your work now.
To this end, I just need to do one more thing : the upper frame. For that drill twice through both of the batons wood that you put on the corners, about 1,5 cm from the top of it. Put the batons wood of 74 cm long where they belong to, and do the same with the batons wood of 54 cm. Then, screw them on. Check on the fourth model to be sure you've done everything.
The structure has been made, so let's go to the inside of the cage.
Step 3: Put the floors.
For this step, I need 4 planks of 32 x 3 cm and 2 other planks of 54 x 10 cm.
Measure 15 cm high on 4 batons wood (left or right, it doesn't really matter), then take a plank of 32 x 3 cm, put it on those measures and screw it on. Do the same think on the otherside,
Do it again on the 4 others batons wood (left or right, it depends on where you did it the first time) but make sure you measure 30 cm high. Take the rest of the planks of 32 x 3 cm, put them on and screw it on.
In the next time, take 2 planks of 54 x 10 cm and screw them on each side. This plank rests on the other planks I made just before. But first you may want to drill through the batons wood to make this work easier.
Now your cage looks like the first and the second model.
There is only one more thing to do before the next step : put the planks of 54 x 30 cm where they belong to. The cage has two floors now, as on the third and fourth model.
Step 4: Put the steel wire mesh.
Put the steel wire mesh on both sides. Make sure you tighten it enough before stapling, and take care that there's anything passing (staples or steel wire mesh pieces) inside the cage because your pet can hurt itself with it.
Put as many staples as you think you need to.
Let's go to the finishing touches...
Step 5: How to reinforce the corners.
To reinforce the inside of the cage, take the reinforced corners in beech.
Nail down the 6 reinforced corners of 15 cm below the first floor. To do this, take 2 reinforced corners and nail them down on the wooden sticks placed on the corner. The other are going to go on the 2 others wooden sticks but make sure to put 2 reinforced corners on each one, your stick will be completely protected.
Do the same operation than this one with the reinforced corners of 30 cm, below the other floor.
To add a finishing touch to the structure, take 2 reinforced corners of 80 cm and nail them down on the frame of the structure. They belong to the lengths obviously. Then do the same with the reinforced corners of 60 cm but put them on the widths.
The others reinforced corners of 47 cm are going to be nailed down on each side of the cage. Nail them down on each wooden sticks, on the corners.
The structure is reinforced, but also has a good-looking now.
To finish, let's make some barriers to prevent for overflowing of litter. For that, you're going to need the rest of the batons wood (3 x 1 cm). Take the 2 batons of 80 cm and nail them down on the basis of the cage, on the lengths. Do the same thing with the 2 batons of 60 cm, on the widths.
Now, you can put down your hammer and just take a deep breath. Your work is almost finish ...
Step 6: The new cage is almost ready...
For that, I advise to put some vegetal litter on the floor of your cage. Vegetal litter, as hemp, is biodegradable and without any dust. You can also put some dust bath for the furry, it's totally natural (mineral) et has special absorbent and degreasing properties.
Fit out the cage with a wheel, a ladder, pipes and tunnels, and of course a house, to have a nap from time to time. Don't forget to put some water and some food, because exercise can starve anyone.
I hope you and your little pet will enjoy this cage. Do not hesitate to add some comments if you have any idea to improve the cage;