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Making An Acrylic Frag Tank

So me and my roommate are really trying to establish a lot of different parent colonies for fragging. Therefore, we are in the beginning stages of building our own frag tank. We know that we could make a real easy and makeshift tank out of a large plastic tub from Wal-mart, but we have been exploring the idea of making a 20-30 gallon acrylic tank and so I thought I would use some of you experts out there to see what you can tell me about it. Anyone built their own acrylic tank (of any size)? If so I'd like to know the ins and outs of the materials you used (type of silicone sealant, thickness of acrylic sheets, cutting the acrylic, other goodies you used), your process of actually assembling the tank itself, and all the other tips we would need to know before jumping in on the adventure. Hoping this can be a different topic here and an informative one for any who have considered taking on the task.

FragginFreak

Making a DIY tank isn't really that hard, but at 20 - 30 gallons, unless you need some sort of customization it would be cheaper to buy a 30g breeder. By no means should that discourage you though, just the satisfaction of DIY can be worth the added cost. My brother has gotten really good at building tanks, his 520g tank is really sweet. Here are some pointers I would give you:

[ol]
[li] acrylic tanks do not use silicone, silicone does not even stick to acrylic very well. You have to use a chemical bond. Depending on the size of the material you use different weldon products. The smaller the number of weldon the more watery it is. The size of tank your talking about weldon 4 will probably work fine.[/li]
[li] You have to have a smooth edge on the glueing surfaces. Usually a table saw works best for the initial cut, then a router to smooth the edges down. You can buy your acrylic precut, just make sure they finish the edges so you can glue them.[/li]
[li] Thickness of acrylic depends on the height of the tank. If you use too thin of material it will bow out and may burst the seams. Also, from experience :whistle: , if you use too thin of material and it bows out, when you empty the tank the release of the bowing pressure can also blow out the seams.[/li]
[li] Take your time!! Make sure you have a nice flat surface to work on and don't rush. Plan on glueing one panel and walking away until the next day. Give it time to set. Also if you rush you will spill the weldon on the acrylic. This will leave a permanent mark on the acrylic. Plus if you have bubbles in the joints it weakens the joints.[/li]
[/ol]

Check out this little [url=http://www.tapplastics.com/info/video_detail.php?vid=15&format=quicktime&]"how to" video by Tap Plastics[/url].

Wow some good info to know. I had used an older employee at Menard's (apparently his appearance was deceivingly wise) who said that silicone was the way to seal acrylic....so whoopsie this post is already paying off. And yes we have found that a 20-30 gallon breeder would be just as cheap, but as you stated its more about the satisfaction and its also an experiment to see if we can build an acrylic tank so that we could try and build a 200-300 gallon tank for ourselves. So what are some places where we could get the acrylic pre-cut? Would you suggest rimless or if it needs a rim how would you go about making some type of bracing?

Try looking in the yellow pages for plastics and you'll find several places. Remind you that the plastic is tied to the gas price and has taken a jump these past few months. :angry:

If you want to go rimless for a frag tank then you'll need at least 1/2" if not 3/4" to keep it from bowing. A euro brace is the way to go and then you can use thinner acrylic and it'll cost less. There are only a couple of "acrylic" types that you can use for building tanks and such, Plexi "G" and above are the only one's to use. No polycarb unless you want your tank bullet proof and not leak proof. You can get by with AcuriCast but remember it's made in Malaysia and it's metric.

I would suggest practicing before attempting a large DT. Plan all your cuts with waste factored in (the routed piece) and plan the assembly before you draw it out.

gl

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