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Above Tank Turtle Basking Platform | Using Acrylic & Aluminum

Jan 03, 2022
Hi my name is Alexis and I'm going to show you how I made this basket cover for my

turtle

tank

and it also includes a ramp and

platform

. I want to show you how I bend the plexiglass to make the ramp and how I made the framing to hold all the pieces of plexiglass along with some tips and techniques as well as some mistakes I learned along the way so before doing this I went online at site where I picked up my other sunbathing cover I bought. a couple years ago and they were charging 300 bucks for it and I honestly didn't think it was worth it because the one I got from them before has these gaps along the perimeter where food gets easily stuck and it's a pain to clean unless you remove the whole

tank

from the tank and my main reason is the ramps they make for these are a little too steep for my

turtle

the one in this video can climb it but my other turtle i'm making the new

basking

deck because she its much bigger than he and she h and difficulty trying to climb it when she was in this tank so i felt it was best to do it myself so the thickness of the plexiglass i used was about three thirty seconds of an inch and i tried cutting it first

using

a utility blade and it worked great after making a few passes over it then i lined up the cut with the edge of a piece of wood then put my ruler on that same line then pr I essioned gently so you can make a perfect split.
above tank turtle basking platform using acrylic aluminum
I would just say if you are going to use a utility blade make sure you go slow and careful with your cuts and make sure you have full control over where your blade is cutting because if you do that you will end up with a much bigger cleanup later when you take it off just from that two to three inch cut they ended up going past my cut line and then i had to use pliers and my blade to cut off that excess and then i ended up having to waste some of material here and there so if you can I would recommend a Sorak circular saw but the utility thinks they work just be careful how you are cutting it and make sure you don't cut yourself more importantly once the pieces of plexiglass, the length and width are also the

aluminum

angles that the frame of your deck is made to cut the

aluminum

angles.
above tank turtle basking platform using acrylic aluminum

More Interesting Facts About,

above tank turtle basking platform using acrylic aluminum...

I'm

using

a miter saw and luckily you can use the same blade you use for wood for aluminum so it won't damage your blade or anything for my turtle. tank specifically not sure if this applies to all tanks but mine has this lip on the inside of the tank top and i am cutting the plexiglass and aluminum frame to fit inside that lip and not directly over top and flush with the tank and my aluminum angles will support the plexiglass from both the outside and inside so when you figure out what the overall length of your sunbathing cover is be sure to factor in the thickness of the aluminum angles also for it is a tie the aluminum to the plexiglass i just used super high strength glue and just make sure whatever glue you are using can bond with metal and plastic also keep in mind that the plexiglass comes with a plastic film on both sides that protect it from scratches and so before adhering it to the aluminum make sure you remove that film on both sides or else you won't have a proper bond.
above tank turtle basking platform using acrylic aluminum
I first started by installing the aluminum angles on the outside first and then worked my way in just to reinforce everything first. I added aluminum angles on the other parts of the exposed plexiglass, so I used the flexible type of plexiglass, as you can see on the SAG here. I don't remember why I chose that over the rigid and they have the rigid type for the same thickness, maybe it was cheaper or maybe it wasn't available as using either is fine regardless because it's not going to take much weight as long as be strong enough to hold the Basking deck and the way the turtle should be fine as long as you have a proper joint with the aluminum brackets that will be attached to the bottom of the deck you shouldn't have a problem with regarding resistance, regardless of whether it is flexible or rigid, so here I am. attaching the aluminum angles to the base of the sundeck this is where the angles are going to take most of the weight of the sundeck and turtle so make sure you have enough clay to secure the angles properly until the glue dries afterward waiting for the glue to dry i tested the cover to see how much flex was left in it and it was mostly gone there was a little bit of flex left so i was still contemplating whether or not to add more angles to the top of the sun deck as I didn't think it was really necessary but I had enough left over to add to the longer sides of the sun deck but later ended up regretting not adding more to the other sides.
above tank turtle basking platform using acrylic aluminum
I'll see later in the video. or why the next part of the project is to make the deck and ramp for the sunbathing, for which I'm going to use 1/4 inch rigid plexiglass and this time I'm going to use a jigsaw to cut the plexiglass because the ramp is going to be part of the deck and then the ramp should be narrower than the deck itself because the deck will rest on the angled supports of the sun deck when you actually see it, it makes more sense and it's a little hard for me to explain so take my word for it from time to time, once you see it you will understand that the saw is going to leave a bit of melted plexi residue behind due to the heat generated by the blade and I used 80 grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the rougher edges produced from this residue, as well as removing any other sharp edges that may have been produced by cutting once the ramp has been cut, the next thing is to fold the plexiglass so that the ramp can be tilted up down so I used clamps to properly secure the Plexi glas and covered the parts I didn't want to heat up with plywood and left about an inch or two of plexi exposed so I had that part just bend and pass light using a blow torch propane which is normally used for soldering copper pipes and such something from what I picked up online these type of tortures tend to be a bit too hot to use or not normally used for bending plexiglass but since this is what I had by hand and what I picked up from my Home Center wasn't strong enough.
I ended up using this and only making very light passes. I would recommend using a test piece to test your torch before using it on your main piece just so you can gauge how strong the torch is and how your plexiglass bends in at the speed you are using and how close you are using a piece The plywood also serves as a weight to help bring down the plexiglass as it melts and also serves as protection so you don't have your hands in direct contact with the plexiglass I would also wear protective gloves if you never used the torch before once you the ramp has been done the next thing is to create the steps for the ramp i use the table saw to make the strips but if you only have a circular saw i recommend making the strips first before i'm done i cut out the entire piece of plexiglass so i have more surface area to work with before having to make the wall panels for the enclosure to attach the strips to the ramp.
I also used super glue. I also used a piece of plexiglass to act as a gap here so I have my steps evenly spaced and don't be silly like me and put the strips on the ramp like this I would have the ramp level instead of the deck being level because I ended up making a bit of a mess with the super glue, so keep that in mind. One thing I would recommend is sanding down the edges of the strip that will be exposed before attaching it to the ramp just to save yourself some cleanup and possibly avoid scratching the ramp when you're sanding. is w When attached this is what the deck looks like when inside the sunbathing area these sides rest on the angle supports as you can see here all I really have left to do is sand down these edges of these ladders.
I don't want your eternals to get scratched or cut. I would use 80 grit sandpaper on the outside edge, inside edges of these edges because sometimes my turtle will freak out it kept going here and just run and slide so you'll want to get cut somehow here so I dedicated some of time to sand her deck, so one concern I had when using the quarter inch thick sheets was that since my turtle is a little heavier, I was worried that when she is getting this down that this extreme would actually fly off or rise bit by bit due to its weight and also because this material is so much thinner the one I got at the store is about a half inch thick I chose to use t this because it is so much cheaper and about at half the price and what I did to address this hopefully was cut this to a size a little larger than the inside dimension and then trimmed it down little by little so it gets to a point where I can actually lift ar this and the rig won't fly at all like it looks a bit but it won't come off with the force of a turtle so I was able to tackle it like that but if you were to come to this point and let's say it's really loose here and it could end having that kind of problem you can fix it by using the thicker half inch material and make sure it is long enough for the weight to counteract her or his weight or if you use the thinner material you can use angle brackets like this and just put a small piece here and heavier maybe four inches or 3-4 inches so when it comes off that support will keep it from flying up as you can see here we have some cracks thes the cracks showed up because I left drop this while I was moving it.
I had to move it outside so I could clean out the garage and ended up dropping it. a little bit here in terms of structural stability, that's fine, but since this side wouldn't have top support, it was basically flexing a lot here, which is why I added this angle support on top. I have no more. I don't want to buy more material just to cover this up so I put this up here and there's no flexing as you can see there's no flexing there's no structural issues it's all starting so I'm not going to worry about these cracks because the mostly part will be covered.
I'm going to put this background here and here and here on these three sides. This will not be covered. Let's see the turtle from outside. see these cracks once it's covered with the background wall paper. I didn't do a good job with the paint. I forgot these glitters here on the inside are going to stick out more so you'll notice this I mean since I don't like how everything was done here. I'm actually going to cover the whole thing with some black Gorilla Tape really just so I can cover these edges and cover the inner support here from the outside.
I thought I would do a better job with the paint and I didn't. I'm going to cover everything here with tape just to make it look a little better because of the change in plans to use duct tape and I hadn't accounted for the thickness of the duct tape the fit of the cover was a bit a bit tighter than I would have liked but if still almost perfect but to be honest I would like how the duct tape looks since it's a gorilla tape it looked so much better and it's also waterproof I think which is also good for this kind of application and to be honest I think I would have used masking tape from the very beginning of this build if I hadn't known it would be tedious to spray paint all these aluminum angles while it was attached to the plexiglass though I guess that you can avoid it by painting the aluminum angles before joining them with the plexiglass just don't put paint on the side of the lumina mangle where it will meet the plexiglass or else you won't have a strong bond, but yes, all things considered, I still think this project is a success, even with that little contracted mishap with the plexiglass.
It will still serve its purpose. I still save a lot of money and my turtle is going to be a lot happier now so thanks for looking. I hope you enjoyed the video. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know below. I hope you have learned something. i know i did thanks again and take care

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