Welcome to my fish tank stand tutorial! When I was designing this i had a few basic requirements that needed to be met.
- Closed storage for the electronics, tank accessories and food.
- Light source inside the cupboard area.
- Stable enough to be used on a carpet.
I wanted something classy and simple so that it could be placed anywhere in the house. As with many of my projects I decided to use 25x25 square tubing. Because its cheap, easy to cut, welds good and is light for the strength. The rest of the project will be explained in the tutorial! Enjoy!
Step 1: Cutting the Frame Tubing
Every piece is measured and then a standard cut-off saw is used for cutting all the frame tubing.
Step 2: Welding the Frame
I have developed my own style of welding frames. Normally the first piece to get welded is the top section. This is my base. It should be welded as flat and square as possible as the rest of the frame will be based around it. Once this is done I then weld the legs. After which I add the remaining the support sections that add strength and rigidity to the stand.
Step 3: Cleaning and Painting
Once all the welding has been completed all the edges that need to be flat for the wood paneling needs to be ground down with a grinder. This will also get rid of most of the splatter left behind by welding. Before we paint the frame it will need to be stripped of any dirt, oil and rust. This will ensure we have good adhesion with the primer. The frame is painted with a etch primer as we are painting straight onto bare metal. Then the final layer of black paint is sprayed on and left to dry.
Step 4: Adding the Light
Now for something a little more fun! We are about 1/3 of the way through and the stand is starting to look like something at this point. I used an old bed side lamp and a micro roller switch for the lights. i stripped the light and used some car speaker wire. When the doors are closed the micro switch disconnects the light, once the doors open the switch closes the circuit and the lights turn on automatically. To keep the doors closed I also added a small magnetic latch to the bottom of the doors.
Step 5: Inside Storage Panel
Unfortunately I do not have pictures of my cutting or painting the panel but it is fairly straight forward. At each point where screws will be put the wood was drilled to the size of the screws and self steel tapping screws were used. this saved me the hassle of drilling the steel and its a very strong hold.
Step 6: Adding Panels
To keep with the classy look and fish theme I decided to use a bamboo ply. Knowing how strong bamboo was it seemed like a good idea at the time. And although it looks stunning once finished, the hassle to cut and work with just isn't worth the effort. The panel was no thick enough and it was a single direction grain. This made it very weak in one direction. Some of my panels snapped during the fitting process and needed to be re-glued. But once the panel were cut and fit they turned out okay!
Step 7: Epoxy Coating the Panels
Another addition before the epoxy process begun was drilling the large hole seen on the top left corner of the back panel. This would be for all the fish tank electronics that would be powered from the inside of the cupboard. Just like wood needs to be protected with varnish or paint so does bamboo panel. Especially because this is a single way grain and is weak. I used a two part 30min epoxy and thinned it down with mentholated spirits with a 50/50 ratio. This makes it easy to simply use a small craft paint roller to apply the mixture. Once applied and left over night the panels now have a hard shell coating that protect and strengthen the bamboo. And it brings out a beautiful dark finish.
Step 8: The Finished Product
Here is was the finished fish tank stand looks like! The light works perfectly and there is plenty of room for all the food, accessories and electronics! Hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as I did making it!