Introduction: Giant Litter Box

Sometimes your pet just needs a giant litterbox. This box will work for cats, dogs, small pigs, tapirs, and really any pet that's smaller than 30 pounds or so.

This monster box is 30"x20" of usable pooping space with a flat base that won't collect pools of urine beyond the reach of your scoop. The project shouldn't take more than an hour (unless you choose to spraypaint), and only requires a saw or cutting wheel to get through the polypropylene. If you have a cat capable of leaping, you can just buy the bin and be done with it. Otherwise, I'll show you how to cut the plastic and cover it so your pet's tummy doesn't get caught on the raw plastic edge. 

A litterbox should be unobtrusive, easy to maintain, and easy to use. This one is all of the above, and I added a spray-painted stripe across the front to indicate to the puppy where the box began. (You can skip that if your pet is a chewer and you're afraid it'll suffer from munching on spray paint.) The clear edge was confusing to my dog, so I added some contrast. Dogs can't really discern red, but differentiating between concrete and the box was apparently tough when the box was the same color as the ground. The red stripe is just a boundary indicator, and it's totally optional. So optional, in fact, that I didn't document it.

Step 1: Supplies

You really just need a large plastic bin with a flat bottom. (Contoured bottoms are a pain to scoop and even worse to clean.)

I chose the Ikea Samla 31x22.5x7" clear under-bed storage box. It's big enough for a tiger cub or 30 pound dog. It's squarish shape allows for numerous spins and sniffs prior to use, the walls are high enough to retain litter and prevent animals from squatting over the side, and it's a departure from the narrow under-bed options from Rubbermaid and many other bin brands.

You'll also potentially need:

Step 2: Measure

Cat litter needs to be at least three inches deep, but an unathletic eliminator needs to be able to easily leap into the box in the event of an emergency evacuation.

I left three and a half inches of litter-retaining plastic beneath the opening. I elected not to flare it at the top to make the cuts as simple as possible. It's a pain to cut plastic like this, and right angles make things easy. You can get as fancy as you like, but I found that my dog only cared about the width of the opening and height of the jump.

Step 3: Cut

A rotary tool must be dialed in to avoid melting the plastic. I started with a Dremel 4200 (borrowed from the office) on medium-high speed, melted the plastic into lumpy, discolored slag, and even bound up the cutting wheel thereby destroying MC Langer's cutting disc in the process. (Sorry, buddy.) Turns out that the power jump up from my usual cordless to a monster like the 4200 is significant. Should have started low and worked my way up.

To avoid binding the disc in the plastic lip as I did, I recommend a hack saw for the vertical cuts and a Dremel for the long horizontal cut. It'll save you some trouble, as the cutting disc of the Dremel doesn't like the folded lip of the container whereas the hacksaw doesn't really like to make 90 degree turns.

You can use either to cut the cord organizer.

Step 4: Finish the Edges

Freshly cut plastic can be sharp. We'll use this length of cord cover to hide the sharp edge of the box, and the epoxy putty will hold it in place. The cord cover should look a bit like the letter D when viewed end-on, and there should be a convenient channel for slipping wires into it. It should easily snap over the horizontal box entrance, and you could stop there if it feels sturdy enough for your pet's needs. I put the flat side on the interior of the box with the idea that I didn't want to accidentally pull it off if I got to scooping too vigorously in the future.

To epoxy the cord cover in place: Start by roughing up the area to be epoxied with sandpaper or a file or rasp. Then apply putty to the inside of the cord channel and snap it over the plastic edge. Voilá. Now you just need to wait.

To paint: I freehanded it without a guard to get that blended overspray look on the sides. I used several coats for even coverage.

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V