This is my large triple stack mouse cage. Please ignore the bare look in the middle i only just built it so will add toys and climbing pegs later. It will take around two hours to make using a knife or about 30 minutes using a drill. This instructable was done after the build so not all pictures are available. Due to the size it can house multiple mice but obviously you need to know the gender and what can live with what before rushing out to buy some. The main prices approximately without the tools are.
3 x 62L really useful boxes from argos £27
10m 30ft of 10mm paracord on ebay £13
40mm pond hose 10m on ebay £25
You can get a smaller triple level empty wood cage for £60 on line or for £65 you get this with ropes and tubes.
All feedback or suggestions are very welcome
Step 1: Parts You Will Need.
The above pictures do not include all the items as they were taken after the build. Sorry.
Clear boxes that can stack. I choose REALLY USEFUL 62L x 3 from argos £27
10mm or thicker paracord £7 for 30ft on amazon
A quantity of screws shorter than 1cm
A piece of cardboard or a bottle lid or a metal washer
A pair of wire cutters
A Sharp knife
A Permanent marker
A drill and 50mm flat wood drill blade or hole saw (If you do not have a drill or bits read below)
A drill bit slightly thicker than the small screws
A Drill bit slightly wider than the paracord
A length of 32mm pond hose about £10 for 30ft on ebay
A lighter, candle or stove/blowtorch
If you do not have a drill or blade you can use a hot knife to cut the bigger holes and the blade tip to do the smaller ones as explained later on.
Step 2: Climbing Holes
These are the holes that will let your mouse go between levels. Decide which corner you want the cord to hang in carefully as this will affect the layout of everything else. The cord is mounted so that to split the boxes to clean you can pull the rope straight out then lift the boxes onto the floor. You can then clean any empty box and transfer the mouse to that box finally restack and drop the rope through
- Place the corner of a box onto a piece of card or paper and draw around the corner
- Lift the box away and make a dot where you want the climbing hole to be keep in mind the hole will be 50mm wide so allow for that.
- Replace the crate onto the drawn line reach inside and mark where the dot is. Do the same for another crate.
- Re-stack the crates but leave the unmarked crate at the bottom and leave the lid off the top crate
- Using the 50mm hole saw or flat drill drill the base of the top box at the dot you marked keep going and it will also drill the lid of the box under it. Once through the base and lid remove the top box and lid beneath it
- Drill the next box down the same way.
- Re-stack the boxes and include the top lid. Looking down from above look at the holes you have cut and mark a dot on the lid above them it doesn't have to be exact.
- Using a drill bit a little bigger than the cord drill a hole at the dot. Remove the lid and then screw a piece of cardboard or bottle lid to the end of the paracord.
- Sit the box lid across the boxes so that the rope hangs down the outside of the boxes
- mark the rope just above the base of the bottom box so that when the cord is inside it does not touch the bottom. This will keep the cord hanging straight and make it easier to get it in
- Cut the cord at the mark and melt the frayed end using a lighter candle or stove.
A drill and hole saw or flat blade is not a requirement as you can use a sharp knife heated on a stove to cut the big holes however this will take longer and will require you to cut the bases and lids separately so doubling the work overall. If using this option draw round something first to get the hole cut the base then replace the box on the lid and use the cut hole to mark the lid beneath it. Beware of any fumes when melting plastic. To cut smaller holes you can use the knife tip. Always wear safety equipment
Step 3: Make Cord Bridges
Here i explain how to add climbing cord to a box. Thick paracord when twisted creates cool shapes. You should always melt any cut ends to stop fraying and to hold screws
- Melt the frayed end of the cord you have left.
- Pick a point very close to the bottom of the box and drill a hole through the side of the box
- Screw through the side into the rope fixing it in place. keep a small gap from the base of the box to make cleaning easier
- Run the rope up the side of the box to a point your happy with and screw it as explained above.
- Decide where you want the rope to go to ie along the side or across the box
- Twist the rope so it coils and if you are going along the side screw the rope to the side of the box where the coils touch it. If your going across the box then you just let it hang and screw it at the other end.
- When you get to where you want the rope to end cut it and melt the end then screw it on the end or side depending on how and where you want it to end.
- Add more rope how you like.
- (Optional) get some wood dowels and attach with screws and washers to make climbing posts
- Add some toys in the bottom and this level is done
Step 4: Make a Bottom Tunnel Box (optional)
Please ignore the cable ties i was originally intending on making it out of one piece and then cut holes however the tubing was impossible to cut side holes into due to the outer cord. To cut the tube cut the soft middle and then use the cutters to snip the harder outer cord
- Cut some lengths of tubing double the length of the box
- Cut some lengths double the width of the box
- Starting near the climbing cord lay two long lengths along the box
- Lay two shorter lengths across the box
- Repeat until you run out of space or hose.
- If you want the hose to be removable you can cable tie it together where two bits meets
You now have a tunnel box. To clean the tunnels fill the bottom box with hot water and a suitable mouse friendly cleaner and shake the tunnels in the water leave to soak and if need be rinse after. Shake and hang up to dry
Step 5: Final Notes
If your top lid locks don't lock it. Unlocking it will often wake the mouse when you might not want to.
If you have screwed the washer to the top of the drop rope then to clean the boxes simply remove the rope by pulling it out and lift the boxes apart placing each on the floor clean one then transfer the mouse to it and clean the others
Hopefully this Indestructible has been helpful. Halfway through installing the ropes i realized that when i twisted it i got great shapes that are solid and alot cheaper than buying shop bits and trying to mod them to fit a box. Once monster passes away we might add another 3 boxes and house a lot of female mice but if so it will need more houses and a second drop rope
Please feel free to ask and questions or give any feedback or suggestions. Sorry for the lack of build photos i only decided to put this up after i built it