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Finished Stand and Canopy - *PICS*
Posted By: Mr. Leadfoot <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, 14 October 2003, at 3:49 a.m.
Here's the completed stand and canopy. Stand facing, cabinet doors and sides are 3/8 inch 9-ply baltic birch plywood, and the canopy top surface is 1/2 inch 9-ply baltic brich plywood. The "rails", or large trim pieces, are 13/16 inch red oak. The door trim and corner molding on the stand are also red oak. I will probably also place red oak corner molding on the four corners of the tank to "ties-in" the top and bottom of the unit (just like the corner molding you can barely make out on the corners of the cabinet. I'm not sure yet, though.
Notice that the front of the canopy is completely open when the top is up. This makes for complete accessibility into the tank without having to reach over the front of the canopy like you do with all other canopies. Pretty nice design, I must admit, for easy maintenance. The hinge is a also a special piano hinge that wraps around the back piece. Propably overkill, but because the front of the canopy and top are one piece I was afraid the weight of the top when open would put too much stress on a regular piano hinge.
As you can see, I painted the insides of the top, sides, front and back using a semi-gloss white latex paint to provide good reflection for the lights, which I learned makes a BIG difference when I built the top for my 29 gallon tank. The rest of the wood is covered with MinWax Polycrylic.
The two rails spanning the length of the hood are the mounting rails that hold my 4 compact flourescents. The rails are 1 inch strips of the same x 13/16 red oak boards I used for the outside trim. The bottom of the light reflectors sit 1/2 inch above the tank glass top, and there's also a 1/2 inch space between the reflectors and the light rails they're mounted to. These spaces, along with the thinness of the rails were designed to provide as much open space inside the canopy for air to flow, and thus reduce heat. Note that the light rails are not mounted, they "float" on the edges of the white pieces on either end of the canopy. These pieces are also where the canopy sits on the top of the tank frame.
Although you can't really see them, on the back side of the light rails are wire clips that I'll use to hold the wires for the lights. There are also wire clips for the fan wires on the back of the canopy.
There's a 3-inch fan on each side of the back of the canopy. One blows in, the other blows out. Notice that I had to cut the hinge flange to make the fans fit, because I forgot to take into consideration that flange in my measurements! The good part of such an error is that the total height of the canopy above the top of the tank is only 4.25 inches, which keeps the canopy more low-profile, compared to other canopies I've seen which are so tall they detract from the tank, and make the whole setup look top heavy. I guess you can say I lucked out making the measurement mistake! :-). Of course the total height of the trim rails are 6 inches, because they overhang 1.75 inches down the tank to cover the top frame of the tank.
Here's a side view of how I fastened the top to the front piece of the canopy.
I'm still thinking about creating some kind of rod for holding the top up, so far I'm thihnking it'll be something like a rod that holds up the hood of a car. I really wanted hydraulic struts, but there's not quite enough room inside for them when the top is closed.
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