Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

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MuayThaipan
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Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by MuayThaipan » December 8th, 2011, 6:03 pm

Okay so I'm planning on building a rack system, which is something I've never done before, any tips or tricks would be helpful. Plans or blueprints would be amazing. Also concerning flexwatt heat tape how safe is this stuff if properly hooked into a rheostat/thermometer. This rack will be for Sand boas and blood pythons my 7 year old niece saw the Eryx species in the new reptiles mag and wants me to teach her to breed snakes and I've been wanting back in anyway, any help is appreciated.

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » December 8th, 2011, 6:55 pm

I bought some 36x24" plastic shelves from Lowes, and then bolted some masonite to the bottom sides, and cut down the corner posts. The shelves fit CB70 tubs well. The way I have the flexwatt it plugs into the shelf below, so the shelf can be easily disassembled if need be. I will see if I can get some pictures for you if you are interested

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Judson
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Judson » December 8th, 2011, 6:55 pm

MuayThaipan wrote:Okay so I'm planning on building a rack system, which is something I've never done before, any tips or tricks would be helpful. Plans or blueprints would be amazing. Also concerning flexwatt heat tape how safe is this stuff if properly hooked into a rheostat/thermometer. This rack will be for Sand boas and blood pythons my 7 year old niece saw the Eryx species in the new reptiles mag and wants me to teach her to breed snakes and I've been wanting back in anyway, any help is appreciated.
http://www.americanmadeexotics.com/41-quart-rack.html

I built this and it works fine for housing some Pine and bull snakes. I used 11" flexwatt instead of the 4" and the 4 2x4's taht are cut to 5-7/8 for spacing, I cut them a tad shorter because I didnt like the larger gap. I happy with it and the cost was under $300 for everything.

as for your question about flexxwatt, you pretty much answered it on your own. "if properly hooked" if properly done, just like most things, it is awesome stuff.

-I

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Sam Bacchini
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Sam Bacchini » December 9th, 2011, 9:30 am

psyon wrote:I bought some 36x24" plastic shelves from Lowes, and then bolted some masonite to the bottom sides, and cut down the corner posts. The shelves fit CB70 tubs well. The way I have the flexwatt it plugs into the shelf below, so the shelf can be easily disassembled if need be. I will see if I can get some pictures for you if you are interested
I would be interested in seeing that.

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » December 9th, 2011, 10:28 am

Here is the underside of one of the shelves that I use just for storage. The ribbed structure of these shelves makes them ideal. The masonite is bolted to the outer ribs. There are no bolts on the side that the tubs slide in from.
Image

I had Lowes cut the masonite down to 35.5" by 23.5" sheets. I made them narrower than the shelves to avoid them sticking out. After that, I just had to notch the corners. I used a hand saw, but it would probably look nicer if you used a power tool.

Image

The Flexwatt is wrapped under the shelf and hidden under (above) the masonite. I had the flexwatt cut already for use on these shelves before I modified it for lidless tubs. Had I cut it for these shelves specifically, I could have made it a bit shorter to make the wires easily feed down into the holds in the shelf. Each piece of flexwatt is wired using a cheap extension cord that is cut and clamped to the bus. The male end of the cord feeds back out the bottom to reach down to the shelf below, and the female part of the cord feeds back up through the shelf to make it available to the shelf above. I tuck the extra cord down into the shelf.

Image

Here you can see the cords plugged in better. Also, those rear bolts have some extra washers on them to make them hang lower. They stop the tubs from sliding out the back side.

Image

And here are a couple shots of the filled rack
Image

You can see my vision rack next to it here
Image

I left the very bottom shelf full height to use for storage. I currently have it holding 6 tubs, but I could split the bottom shelf to make room for 2 more, and could add one more to the top and have it only be the height of the vision rack which holds 11 tubs total. The shelves I used cost $45, and I believe come with 5 shelves (would hold 4 tubs). A sheet masonite will make you 4 cover boards and costs $14. The bolts were a couple bucks as well. I used 18 inches of flexwatt per shelf. I bought CB70 tubs with lids before this was a lidless system, so they cost me a bit more. You can order the cb70 tubs from vision though, for like $11 a piece I think, but you will need to put air holes in them unless you drill vent holes into the masonite.

So, to make a 4 tub rack
Tubs = $45
Shelves = $45
Masonite = $15
Flexwatt = $15
Wire clips = $15
Cords = $5

Rough Total = $140 or so.

I am sure there are cheaper ways to do this, but working with the masonite and plastic shelving was easy, and all I used was a power drill and a handsaw with a miter box. As I said, the way the shelves are made, they can be pulled appart and put together at different heights very easily.

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » December 9th, 2011, 10:34 am

Wow, just realized Animal Plastics sells a 4 tub rack for $260 without tubs... so this is cheaper than I thought :P

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » December 9th, 2011, 11:09 am

Oh also, Those shelves will hold two V35 tubs side by side as well if you want smaller. Also, I forgot thermostat in the price, but that varies on what ever you want to buy. I have had no issue with flexwatt so far, but I have only been using it for about a year.

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Judson
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Judson » December 9th, 2011, 4:25 pm

psyon, that is nice. If I add more snakes I'll probably build yours. The one I built is heavy, so If it has to be moved that would be the only downside.

-I

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justinm
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by justinm » December 10th, 2011, 4:53 pm

I use Flexwatt and it's been good to me, but I control it with a Herpstat II.

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beanie
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by beanie » December 22nd, 2011, 7:30 pm

I build custom enclosures all the time. Heres a few pics of what we do with flex watt.

Back heat for my hognose rack
Image

Belly heat for a customers ball collection
Image

For our single cages I put it into the floor and cover with a bead of silicon and plexi
Image

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Scott Waters
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Scott Waters » December 23rd, 2011, 12:43 am

I'd rather save up and spend $500-$800 (depending on new or used) and get a professionally manufactured rack. I've built many racks, and they all worked fine, but they were always a pain in the ass to move and never held up as near as long as the pro-built models. That Vision next to your home made models looks pretty sweet, psyon! :)

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

scott

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jayder85
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by jayder85 » January 3rd, 2012, 7:13 pm

Pyson, did you have to cut the pipes and adjust the height of each shelf or how did you ensure a tight fit of the shelf to the top of the tub?

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » January 3rd, 2012, 9:25 pm

jayder85 wrote:Pyson, did you have to cut the pipes and adjust the height of each shelf or how did you ensure a tight fit of the shelf to the top of the tub?
I measured how long I needed the posts to be, then cut 4 as a test then cut the rest to the same length

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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Jimi » January 7th, 2012, 11:15 am

Hope this doesn't violate any forum rules or cultural leanings, but "the other site" (KS) has a ton of forums and sub-forums with some great rack-build posts. Surely some of the specialist forums (garters.com or whatever) also would have such info posted there.

Incidentally I just read in another thread ("tricks"?), someone's fundamental objection to racks & tubs - they offer a gateway or slippery slope to animal hoarding. I think most of us could accept that there's some truth to that.

I like racks best for growing rodents (i.e., a sideshow, not the main event). Just sharing a personal preference, not chucking rocks by any means. I've had my snake racks (indeed still have a couple good PVC ones for starting the odd litter of neos), just don't use 'em much any more. "Less is more" for me these days. The thought of keeping dozens (or more...) of adult snakes for their whole lives in little tubs is increasingly repugnant to me. Again, just sharing, not chucking.

Good luck Muay.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Scott Waters
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Scott Waters » January 10th, 2012, 2:06 am

After doing the math (which includes time to build it, supplies, etc), I'd still rather get a pro-built rack. Yes, I am sponsored by Vision, but they know I'd say otherwise if I felt differently. I'm older now, so maybe that is it......I'd rather spend the money and just have it sent to me, ready to go!

On top of that, moving a Vision Rack is far easier than any custom. I didn't see any mention of wheels being installed on those homemade ones, so I assume they would have to lifted? Most homemade ones are also heavy as hell, too! Visions can be rolled out, with animals in them if you want. Easy, and worth the extra 30% in cost (or so), compared to building and dealing with that stuff long-term.

Just my 2 cents. :) Do what works for you, that is what is most important when it comes to this stuff!

scott

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Don Becker
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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Don Becker » January 10th, 2012, 6:07 am

Scott, if I had the budget for it, I would go with a pro-built rack just to avoid the work of having to actually build one. I tried to build a wooden rack for small tubs out of an old book shelf we were getting rid of, and after I got it all screwed together, I realized all the shelf board were warped :(

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Re: Questions about building a rack and heat tape.

Post by Paul White » January 10th, 2012, 9:42 am

Not all tubs are little :) I hate seeing a big kingsnake in a 28 quart tub but say, like a rack with CB110s (39x19x8)? That doesn't bother me. I'm actually looking at getting a freedom breeder with the 33x17--not the CB 70s, they narrow a lot at the bottom and wind up with a base of 33x14. I've actually looked for a rack of the CB110s but haven't seen one--anyone know a manufacturor?

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