Introduction: Computer Gerbil Cage
NOTE: The camera that I have taken all of my pictures on is very old and we did not have the cable or the software to put it on our computer. We just went to the store and bought the right cable to find that our computer does not have the port for the cable to plug into. I have managed to take some pictures on my dad's newer digital camera and have posted those. All the others will be up as soon as I can get the correct port.
For now I have tried to explain everything as best I can without pictures
My parents have been saving dead computers, speakers, monitors, and lots of other useless junk in our basement for a long time from past business needs. Until now, they have just been taking up space so I decided to make use of at least one old computer workstation by converting it into an gerbil cage! Complete with a monitor, computer tower, and speakers as a tunnel between the two.
This cage is pretty lightweight, and can easily be picked up by two people.
Step 1: You Will Need
A GOOD understanding of how to safely disassemble a CRT monitor (can be found here: http://www.highdisplay.com/how-to-take-apart-a-computer-monitor/ and here https://www.instructables.com/id/How_to_safely_disassemble_a_CRT_monitor/)
1 tower computer
At least one computer speaker
A Philips screwdriver
A Flathead Screwdriver
1/16" thick Plexiglas or Acrylic sheets (needs to be big enough to cover side of computer and front of monitor)
Sandpaper (320 grit - 220 would be fine)
A plexiglas scoring blade
Hot glue gun
General Purpose Hot Glue Sticks
Something to fill in your cage with for example: sand, pine, hay, etc
A Tape Measure
Power or cordless Drill
A coping saw or 1-3/4" hole saw for drill
Hand-held vacuum or vacuum with hose (for cleanup)
Optional: 3mm Sintra or 1/8" thick polystyrene (a plastic thick sheet)
Step 2: The Monitor (ahh! Danger)
TAKING APART A CRT MONITOR CAN GIVE YOU AN ELECTRICAL SHOCK EVEN WHEN THE MONITOR IS NOT PLUGGED IN!!
First, read these articles again http://www.highdisplay.com/how-to-take-apart-a-computer-monitor/ and https://www.instructables.com/id/How_to_safely_disassemble_a_CRT_monitor/.
Unscrew the side speakers if your monitor has them, and put them aside. Look on the back and bottom of the monitor for any screws and unscrew them.
Open the monitor by lifting the back half of the case. This may take some prying and snapping but its ok. I found lifting the back case and hitting the top seam with my hand released the front and back halves of the case.
Unscrew the four screws in each corner on the inside of the front of the monitor case that holds the screen in. Unsnap any metal snaps that might be on the sides.
Take out the monitor screen and any electronics so that you are left with just the casing. You should be able to just pick the whole thing up and pull it out. DO NOT touch the wire or rubber booth connected to the monitor. MAKE SURE you have read the articles about disassembling the monitor.
You should now be left with just the plastic casing. Take out any foam, plastic, or rubber pieces that may be stuck to the casing.
Use the drill and circle cutter to make a hole near the bottom of the monitor so the gerbil can crawl out. Sand both sides and vacuum up the mess.
Cut a piece of plexi 1/2" larger than the size of the screen opening. Hot glue it to the inside of the case
Cut another small piece of plexi that will cover the holes where the cords in the back used to come out. Hot glue that on the back. *see picture
Fill the case with the stuffing, and screw the case back together.
Step 3: The Speakers
Begin opening the speakers by looking for any screws, most likely on the back or on the bottom of the speaker. Unscrew these and take out everything that is inside the speaker. If this is the control speaker with the volume and the power button on it, remove those from the chip they are secured to and keep them.
Hot glue those buttons that you took off the chip to their original spot.
Cut a piece of Sintra or polystyrene to the width and depth of the Speaker to make a platform for the gerbil to stand on.
Use the clippers to round the corners of the sintra if your speaker is rounded like mine, and then Hot glue it in your speaker. (use a piece of cardboard to make a template to get it just right)
MEASURE MEASURE MEASURE! I can not stress this enough.
If you measure everything correctly you will not even need the cardboard to heighten things so the holes line up.
Now put your speaker back together with the screws.
If you marked the speaker in the monitor section, use the hole saw to cut a hole in the speaker . If not measure the distance from the table to the hole in the monitor and transfer that measurement to the speaker. Draw out your circle. Cut your hole in the speaker.
Use the vacuum to suck up any scraps.
Open the speaker again and sand paper both sides of the hole and the edges, we don't want the little guy getting cut on sharp edges.
The hole on the other side of the speaker might need to be higher if the hole in your computer tower is higher to miss the framing pieces of the case.
If it is then you will need to cut another piece of sintra for the ramp, so that the gerbil can get from the bottom hole to the top on. Also remember to measure!
Step 4: The Computer
First take off the case covers. Unscrew the screws holding in the motherboard, power supply, and any hard drives or CD drives.
Take off the front cover of the computer and take out all the USB ports and other things like that.
Measure out the sides of the computer and mark them on your plexiglas. Use the t-square. Put it along the markings on the plexi, and cut it with the scoring blade.
Don't try and cut it in one cut, make 3-5 cuts or until it can easily snap apart.
Lay the plexiglas on the bottom and sides of the computer frame. It should be a tight fit, if any are to big trim them. If any sheets are bending or falling out of place hot glue them to the frame.
There should be a hole in the frame underneath where the cd drives go, you need to make a ramp going from the bottom to hole with the sintra and hot glue it into place.
Now you need to make a hole for the gerbil to go from the computer to the speaker so measure the case against the speaker's hole and the hole in the frame and mark where the hole in the case should go.
The easiest way to do this is to put the speaker right next to the computer and put your marker through the whole and trace around the circle on the computer case so when you take off the speaker you know where to cut the case
Use the drill and the circle cutter to cut a circle in it. This may take awhile since the casing is metal but you will get there. Use the vacuum to suck up any scraps from the cutting.
Once again sand it. put the case back on and also snap on the front plastic part.
You can now glue the Speaker to the computer case and add your stuffing. If you holes do not line up, then use layers of cardboard to make them as close as possible.
You should now have a computer tower connected to a speaker(s) with only two ways in, through where the CD drives normally go, and the hole on the side of the speaker.
Step 5: Finished!
Glue the last speaker hole to the monitor hole and let dry.
Put in water and food trays then let your gerbil at it!
Have Fun with this easy and cool project and maybe somebody with a whole office of old computers can make a computer gerbil cage hotel!
Participated in the
Dead Computer Contest