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Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

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  • Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

    Hi guys, I recently have purchased my RTB. He is a handsome little guy that I named Atal'Hakkar. I have decided I want to do a custom build. Below is a copy and paste of some question I put in my introduction but was told here would be a much better place to find answers. I appreciate anything you have to say.

    My goal right now is to use some of the money I have saved up, as well as my tax return, which should be arriving soon, to custom build him a new environment within which he can call his home. It is a large undertaking, but I feel like this is a take no prisoners situation. I am entirely dedicated to raising this beautiful and majestic creature, and giving it a nice, and warm life.


    However, I do NEED tips of building this terrarium. What materials should I use? I was going to use wood up until I read that it would be unsuitable mostly due to the implication it can cause. I don't even want to try to think I can do this without asking for the proper advice first, and so I am asking you all this: What materials would YOU preferably use for your custom build? Is it an okay idea to build one that will be large enough for him to grow to his maximum size? And lastly, what measurements would you advise? I read the guide over and over, will 6' x 24" x 24" is good for his entire life, would you advise taking on a build like that right away to ensure his longevity and good health!?

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW, I am 150% dedicated to this. I feel I can invest roughly the same amount of money in a custom build as I would a bought tank/enclosure.


  • #2
    Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

    Where did you read that wood is no good??....ive used wood, mdf and plexi to make my cages...6x2x2 is big enough for the entire life of the boa but may be too large right now...mdf is the cheapest but heaviest, plexi is the most expensive but lightest, wood is somewhere in between...im in the process of building an oak cage right now...if you check the DIY section of this forum for my thread you can get some ideas...if you need any help dont hesitate to ask...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

      Hey Zak, welcome to RTB. I'm sure someone has already given you a link to the Ultimate Care Guide, but here it is again. http://www.redtailboas.com/f110/down...ion-3-a-31312/ Make sure you download it/print it or read the online version posted here on RTB. I call it the Boa Bible and still keep a copy in my snake room.

      As for your question, there are many many different ways you can go about building an enclosure for you new boa. You can build it as large as you want and have the room for. I don't believe you can ever have an enclosure to large but they can out grow smaller enclosures. Personally I believe a 4'x2'x2' enclosure to be adequate for an average adult boa.

      The simplest method for building an enclosure yourself would be to make it out of Melamine. You can buy a 4'x8' sheet at home depot or lowes for $35 or so. One sheet would build you one enclosure. You can watch videos on youtube about how to build one. Honestly, its not hard. You mark your sheet with all your panels and make the cuts. When I built one, I used wooden dowels instead of screws to put it together. You would then need to seal the inside with a aquatic safe silicone. I think the whole project ended up costing me no more than $250 completely finished with thermostat, heat, sliding glass doors etc. I don't build these anymore but do build my racks almost the same way. If you would like I can draw up plans a bit later for you.

      Some things to stay away from though are pine and aspen. Your boa should never be allowed to come in contact with the wood or saps of pine or aspen.
      You can seal use pine if it has been properly sealed however, you will need to let the sealant and paint (or whatever else you use) off gas. Many people forget or don't know that a liquid such as a sealant or paint may seam completely dry to us but will let off potentially harmful gasses until it FULLY cures.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

        "Many people forget or don't know that a liquid such as a sealant or paint may seam completely dry to us but will let off potentially harmful gasses until it FULLY cures."

        +1...that is the most important part to building a tank...i let my tanks cure for at least 3 weeks with the heating element at full blast..the heat may release gas as well depending on what you use to seal

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

          Originally posted by mrivera78 View Post
          Where did you read that wood is no good??....ive used wood, mdf and plexi to make my cages...6x2x2 is big enough for the entire life of the boa but may be too large right now...mdf is the cheapest but heaviest, plexi is the most expensive but lightest, wood is somewhere in between...im in the process of building an oak cage right now...if you check the DIY section of this forum for my thread you can get some ideas...if you need any help dont hesitate to ask...
          Well I suppose I shouldn't say "no good" but I read that if would becomes wet and warped, it could be potentially risky. However, I may still use it as long as I can make sure it's safe. But I am looking into Melamine right now. I will be taking a look at your thread in a few moments. The glass panes are my primary concern, I want them to be strong. You mention "Plexi", and am assuming you are talking about Plexi Glass?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

            Originally posted by mrivera78 View Post
            "Many people forget or don't know that a liquid such as a sealant or paint may seam completely dry to us but will let off potentially harmful gasses until it FULLY cures."

            +1...that is the most important part to building a tank...i let my tanks cure for at least 3 weeks with the heating element at full blast..the heat may release gas as well depending on what you use to seal
            Alright so a 3 week time to have paint dry? I didn't think I'd be painting it in the first place to be honest, I would prefer not to because as you said it can release harmful gasses and that I would not like to have around.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

              Originally posted by USMC32 View Post
              Hey Zak, welcome to RTB. I'm sure someone has already given you a link to the Ultimate Care Guide, but here it is again. DOWNLOAD - Ultimate Care Guide PDF Version 3 Make sure you download it/print it or read the online version posted here on RTB. I call it the Boa Bible and still keep a copy in my snake room.

              As for your question, there are many many different ways you can go about building an enclosure for you new boa. You can build it as large as you want and have the room for. I don't believe you can ever have an enclosure to large but they can out grow smaller enclosures. Personally I believe a 4'x2'x2' enclosure to be adequate for an average adult boa.

              The simplest method for building an enclosure yourself would be to make it out of Melamine. You can buy a 4'x8' sheet at home depot or lowes for $35 or so. One sheet would build you one enclosure. You can watch videos on youtube about how to build one. Honestly, its not hard. You mark your sheet with all your panels and make the cuts. When I built one, I used wooden dowels instead of screws to put it together. You would then need to seal the inside with a aquatic safe silicone. I think the whole project ended up costing me no more than $250 completely finished with thermostat, heat, sliding glass doors etc. I don't build these anymore but do build my racks almost the same way. If you would like I can draw up plans a bit later for you.

              Some things to stay away from though are pine and aspen. Your boa should never be allowed to come in contact with the wood or saps of pine or aspen.
              You can seal use pine if it has been properly sealed however, you will need to let the sealant and paint (or whatever else you use) off gas. Many people forget or don't know that a liquid such as a sealant or paint may seam completely dry to us but will let off potentially harmful gasses until it FULLY cures.
              Thank you so much for your help. I've read and heard good things regarding Melamine. I have a local Home Depot and Lowes, and for $35 I can get a sheet of it that would be suitable for an entire enclosure, that sounds like a great deal to be honest.

              With wooden dowels you're not worried about them slipping out if you ever move it? Would an epoxy be a suitable substitute to keep the dowels in place given the time to set properly? Like let's say a pool sealant (one used in repairing pool linings)?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                I just used elmers wood glue. Ill write up plans for you. May take me a bit though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                  Originally posted by mrivera78 View Post
                  Where did you read that wood is no good??
                  I was specifically trying to mention pine. The saps and oils in pine can be dangerous to many reptiles.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                    Originally posted by SerpentsEmbrace View Post
                    Well I suppose I shouldn't say "no good" but I read that if would becomes wet and warped, it could be potentially risky. However, I may still use it as long as I can make sure it's safe. But I am looking into Melamine right now. I will be taking a look at your thread in a few moments. The glass panes are my primary concern, I want them to be strong. You mention "Plexi", and am assuming you are talking about Plexi Glass?
                    There are downside to using melamine. If the particle board under the laminated surface becomes wet it could separate and make the enclosure unusable. Sealing the inside seams is very important. It is also very heavy.
                    Yes I meant plexi glass. I use 1/4" glass that I have cut form Mesko glass. Make sure to have the edges seemed and polished so they are not sharp. You should have a business around that can cut glass for you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                      Here is a quick pic of how to fit all your panels on one sheet of melamine.

                      need to do some editing. pic wont upload.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                        Originally posted by USMC32 View Post
                        I just used elmers wood glue. Ill write up plans for you. May take me a bit though.
                        okay, I appreciate that very much.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Custom Build Advice for a Newbie! All help appreciated!

                          I don't like melamine because it is really heavy, joints loosen easily, and the particle board can outgas formaldehyde. For that matter, joints for a good-sized plywood cage loosen easily unless the cage has a wooden frame.

                          Melamine resin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
                          Particle board - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                          I like a boa cage approximately 48x32x24 inches. Floor area is almost the same as a 6x2x2 foot cage.

                          And I've seen plexiglass floors warp from a combination of heat and the3 snake's weight.

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