lexi: (pets: dragon's kiss)
[personal profile] lexi posting in [community profile] beardies
First I would like to say that this site was put together to give better directions to people thinking on building their own bearded dragon enclosure or for any other reptile.  The plans were designed by Russ from Crossfire Dragons and he helped me Drew Van Driesen known as dvandriesen on alot of forums out on the whole entire thing because he had all of the tools we needed.   Here is what the cage looks like when your done following all the steps below.  This is for a 4'x2'x2' enclosure.

 




 Total Cost of everything was about 130 dollars that is a rough estimate it was not over 150 dollars prices may be different in your area.

Supplies:
4x8 Foot sheet of 3/4 Melamine(Home Depot)
Vents 8"x16" with screen behind to keep crickets and roaches in(Lowes)
3" Circle Vents(Lowes)
Liquid Nails(Either Place)
36" Flourescent Strip Fixture(Home Depot)
Caulk(Either)
Plexi-Glass 24x48 .236 Thick roughly 1/4 inch(Home Depot)
White Iron On Melamine Edging Tape(Home Depot)
Finishing Nails 1 1/2" (Either)
2 Extension Cords the cheapest ones you can find(Either)
Stanley 6' Sliding Panel Track( These are very hard to find check Home Depot they usually carried them if not check online)

If you cant find them they are the last product on the bottom of this site http://www.outwatercatalogs.com/2006_Master/lg_display.cfm?page_number=70&catalog=otm

 

For the Basking light we got this in the  electrical section they are used for outdoor spot light fixtures (Home Depot) Just match to the pictures we have below of the basking light fixture

Tools:

Jigsaw

Table Saw

Screw Gun

Hammer or Gun

Hole Saw Bit

3/8 Spade Bit

 

First we decided what size enclosure we were going with and we decided to go 4'x2'bx2'

So cut a top and a bottom to 24"x48"
And the two sides to 24"x24"

Once the sides are cut to the right measurements you want to mark the spots for where your 8"x16" vents will go on the sides.
Pull your tape horizontally across from the side and mark 4" and 19" as pictured below.
From the top 4" and 10" this will give you the placement and the right size for the 8"x16" vents. 
Look at pictures for better understanding.





Both the Vents we put high on both the sides.
Now you need to drill a pilot hole big enough to fit your jigsaw blade through.  Careful: when drilling with Melamine you always need to drill half way then turn over and drill the rest of the way so you dont crack the melamine bad.

Now just put your jigsaw in the hole and start cutting the vents you just need to cut along the lines we discussed earlier.  Picture below on this

 

You should have this now

Now once your 2 sides are cut out for the vents your ready to nail the top to the 2 sides.  Before nailing anything into the melamine you need to make sure you pre-drill every hole so pre dill the top piece so you can nail it down to the 2 sides.  Then nail down the top to the 2 side peices. Make sure you leave the 2 side peices out just a little bit so the Melamine tape will sit flush when taped down this is done later after all together.   Pics Below

Before you worry about cutting the back piece you nail the bottom of the enclosure down just like you did the top.  Again make sure that you predrill before nailing down the bottom.

Now that you have all 4 sides put together top bottom and the 2 sides nailed together your ready to put the back in.  The back peice for a 4'x2' needs to be cut 46 1/2 by 24" this allows for the back to fit in between the 2 sides and the top and bottom snug.  If your making it a different size just measure from inside to inside. Again make sure you pre drill the top piece and the sides so you can nail to the back later. Picture Below

Now once you have this cut and all your holes pre-drilled your ready to put the 3" vents on the back.  They come in a pack of 6 we used all of them however you can do whatever you would like we thought the 6 would look good so we did it but you need at least 3 vents.  These need to be placed high also and you can space them however you would like.  You need to get your hole saw bit that is 3 inches and drill half way through one side flip over and drill the rest of the way from the other side.  Pics

Once the holes are cut you may need to file the holes a little to fit the vents in just be careful so you dont kink the vents You can use a piece of wood that is bigger then the vents and tap the wood with a hammer till their flush. Finished Pic Below

We placed formica on top of the melamine for extra looks.

Put the back piece into place and since you already pre-drilled you just nail the back into place nailing it to the sides the top and the bottom. Pics Below 

Now your ready for installing the front parts where the plastic runners will sit.  You will need to make 4 total cuts.  For determining the length of these peices measure inside to inside. Picture

Ok now that you know the distance from inside to inside the height of the bottom is going to be 2" for the one piece that the track will sit on and the other one will be 2 1/4".  You need to pre-drill these also from the outside just like have done before to attach them.  Do this for both the pieces.  Make sure you nail the top and bottom pieces flush to the outside.

 

Now for the top 2 pieces you cut the one to 1 3/4" which the track sits on and the back pieces is 2 1/4"

Just like you did all around pre-drill all th spots and nail both the pices down to the top and nail the bottom.

The smaller of the track is the bottom one and the deeper of the 2 is the top one this allows you to push the plexi-glass into the top and get over the bottom one so you can take the plexi-glass in and out. 

Ok now your ready to iron on the melamine tape you gotta make sure you dont put the tracks in before putting the melamine tape on other wise your going to melt the runners when installing the tape. All you need is a hot iron and your ready to put the tape on all you do is cut the melamine tape as long as it needs to be a little over is usually best then press the iron on the melamine and it melts to the melamine. Pictures

Now that you have the sides melamine taped your ready to cut the wood peices that your going to put over the front.  We like the oak look so we went oak you can use any kind of wood for your front its your choice.  Cut the oak for the top and bottom 48" x 3" for the tops and bottom.  Once these are cut take the liquid nails and put some on the front and bottom then put the 2 pieces to them top and bottom.  Then nail them down.  Picture

Now that you have the top and bottom peices of oak nailed and liquid nailed down your ready for the 2 side peices. 

The 2 side peices we used were 1 1/2" thick and we just measured from the inside to inside of the oak.  Ours was about 19 1/2" yours might be a little different just measure and see.  Picture

Now your ready to melamine the top and bottom peices of melamine with the tape.  Again make sure you dont put the tracks in or you will melt them.  Also you only need to melamine the back peice on the top and bottom and shown in the picture below because the front piece will have the track on it. 

Ok now your ready for putting your tracks in make sure that you put the smaller one on the bottom.  You need to cut the tracks the same distance that you cut the back peice which was 46 1/2".  All you need to do is put the liquid nails down and then put the tracks in the opening slots that you have. 

Now your ready for the wireing.  First you need to take the 2 extension cords that you bought and cut the ends off that you would plug another one into which is known as the female piece.  Picture

You want the wires to come out the basking side so you need to drill a 3/8 hole at the top of the side you want as a basking spot.  Remember to drill one side then goto the other side so you don't chunk the melamine.

Now you want to place the light fixture and basking spot where you think you will be putting it and pre-drill the spots where the screws go on the fixture and take them out  Remember you dont have to put the fixtures were we have put them we like to make 2 different basking spots thats why our fixtures are up so high you can get creative and put them where you want.  Pictures

Now for the wireing of both the fixtures you need to take the cut extension cords and figure out what is positive and negative. The black wire is always the negative wire.  You need to attach the positive of the extension cord then use a wire crimper and crimp that together then take the black wire and attach to the negative of the other part of the extension cord. See Picture Below

Now you should have power to both the fixtures if you did this correct. You can test this by just plugging it in if the light lights up you did it right. 

Now your ready to cut the plexi-glass their are directions on the runners package when you buy them for what size to cut the plexi-glass i will try to explain here however because some of you may not be able to find the runners. 

Installation Instructions:

1. Position track at desired location and fasten to cabinet. Note: To facilitate fastening track, predrill track with a 3/32" drill bit before nailing track into position. Tracks may be recessed or flush mounted.  You dont need to do this fastening because you did with the liqued nails

2. For correct width of panels, divide total width of opening by 2 and add 1/2".  This provides sufficient panel over lap.

3. For correct height of panels, cut panels 3/8" less than opening height.

4. Center plus 1" in fromside edge of each panel as shown. Drill 3/4" diameter holes using a drill with a 3/4" holesaw or spade bit. Note: When drilling holes, place a peice of wood behind each panel to prevent splintering. 

5. Starting with the back panel, insert into the top of the panel on the top track.  Raise the panel and insert into the bottom track. Repeat for the front track

Picture of Drilling holes.

If you want to fill any of the nail holes you can use white putty, caulk or even drywall compound aka spackle.

After all of this has been done you want to caulk all of the seems so no moisture can get to the melamine and cause cracking in the long run so where ever their is a seam caulk that for the top and the bottom. 

And now what it should look like. 

Voilia and many thanks goes out to Crossfire Dragons Everyone better check out their amaizng dragons.  www.crossfiredragons.com



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The Dragon's Lair

February 2010

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