Saturday, June 30, 2012

DIY Acrylic Frag Tank

The day is finally here!  Kris, Justin, and I put together the 4 walls and the bottom of the frag tank today, and I'm going to show you step by step how we did it.


Acrylic Weld-on.  This stuff actually melts the acrylic edges together to form a seal.  There are a bunch of different numbers.  This particular type (Weld-on 4) doesn't require the usual "pins" to help separate the pieces and get the glue in there and is rather fast acting.

An applicator bottle with a syringe tip.  Pretty expensive bottle, but well worth the trouble it saves.

PAPER TOWELS to wipe excess glue before it sets, you will ruin your acrylic if you do not.

A square.  This serves as our "jig" to make sure pieces are exactly where we want them.

The back of a knife or back of a razor blade.  This is used to smooth the edges of the acrylic from cutting with a table saw.  (I got my pieces cut for me from the place I bought it from.  Paid a little more, your choice)

Masking tape.  To hold things in place, what else?


First step is peeling back the coating on each side of the edges to be glued.  I don't recommend taking off the entire coating as if you scratch the acrylic, this post will not help you buff it out.

Then you line up the edges as perfect as you can to the eye and place three pieces of tape on the back to hold it on.  

Next, you place the square right against both edges to make your corner.  Tape this on the top and the bottom, and it should hold in place without your help.  This is now your "jig" and creates your corner.

Now comes the gluing of the pieces.  If you have the same materials I have, this is incredibly easy.  I can't speak for other methods.  It's really as simple as turning the bottle upside down and running the needle on the seam.  Don't squeeze the applicator bottle while doing this.  You don't need to. 

With my type of Weld-on, it literally was sucked right in to the seam through "osmosis".  (we had an interesting conversation as to whether this was osmosis or capillary action.  We couldn't decide)  I didn't take a picture while I was doing this but I took a picture with the tip on so it didn't spill.

Now you have to wait per the instructions on your glue.  For me, this was about 20 min between each seam.  

The next side can be a bit tricky, but here's how we figured it out.  We put the pieces to be glued on the edge of the table and taped the square to the outside of our two pieces to be glued.  This squared them up. We had someone also hold the square for the 2 minute set time the glue needed just in case.  There's no pictures of this because... well, I was holding the square.

Here's the completed 4 sides

The next step is fairly self explanatory.  Set the box you have created onto your bottom piece, tape it in place, and glue it all the way around.  Making sure to wipe up excess glue.

So here we are.  Now we're going to wait 48 hours for the glue to set to put the top rim around the tank and put an overflow into the back corner.  Stay tuned for the final steps of making your own frag tank!

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