Anyone ever tried making their own acrylic lid?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Ibn, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Wondering to see if anyone has attempted to do so. Pricing out a 40"x24" piece of acrylic, to fit the top of my tank, it comes out to be $126 worth of acrylic. That's not too bad of a price considering how much it would cost for an Octolid or Artfully Acrylic lid. Too bad I don't have a router.
  2. daddio

    daddio Supporting Member

    I have a router (and bits) that you can use
  3. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    I took my 1/4” one off because it kept warping. It wasn’t horrible and was still functional but it didn’t look great. I wouldn’t do it over your tank unless you went with like 1/2” or switch to polycarbonate if you still wanted to do it out of 1/4”. The only reason I used the acrylic was because I had it laying around.

    With using the router you’ll want to plan out all the cuts and make a template first (typically out of MDF since it’s cheap and machines well)
  4. Chromis

    Chromis Supporting Member

    I have wondered if it is possible to attach clear plastic netting to an acrylic frame instead of using the aluminum window frame. Following!
  5. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    My Artfully Acrylic lid does just that. Looks like they probably just used a router to put a slot in there for the spline.

    Chromis likes this.
  6. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    Artfully acrylic lids are actually not made of acrylic. They are made of polycarbonate specifically because of the warping/water absorption issue.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Flagg37 likes this.
  7. Yep. You actually don't want an acrylic lid. They warp.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    +1 on polycarbonate
  9. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    I routed an 1/8” groove into the side of my 1/4” acrylic to lay the spline into instead of on the top to make it look cleaner. It was a bit more work but it looked nicer. I don’t think I’ve got any pictures of it though.

    EDIT: These are the best pics I could find.
    4BB60AED-252F-43AE-876F-56204931F56F.jpeg 54FA6046-05EB-4BBD-85D5-0597BC919F58.jpeg
  10. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    @Flagg37 Did you notice any warping of the lid over time?

    Just looked at the same size thickness polycarbonate and the cost difference is $7. $133 in materials. Can it be worked the same as acrylic?

    Also, AA lids used to be acrylic made until Octolids came out. AA then copied Octolids material specs.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Would putting an acrylic spline in an acrylic (not polycarbonate) lid really make any difference? Since it fuses to become the same thickness of acrylic, or does the layering give it plywood like strength in any way?

    Plus lid versus cover makes a huge difference. Either way, polycarbonate, although I do have some scrap 1" thick acrylic laying around :D
  12. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit BOD

    I have made my covers from acrylic. Using a router table, I routed an appropriate sized groove using a veining bit for the spline material. My covers are going on 3 years and have not noticed warping.

    I can shoot some pics when I get back into town.
  13. coral4me

    coral4me Supporting Member

    Polycarb is much more dangerous to route. Polycarb tends to grab the bit and jerk the router. Definitely much harder to work with. Best cut with a CNC machine where the material is clamped or vacuumed to the table.
  14. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit BOD

    Yes, Polycarbonate can be worked the same as acrylic. But, I always clean up the edges on a jointer
  15. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit BOD

    Or take very shallow passes to get to the desired depth if you don’t have a CNC.
  16. rygh

    rygh BOD

    I have done several. Not hard.
    Yes, they warp unless braced properly.

    One fun way I have found:
    The large flat top itself should be made out of thin 1/8 acrylic.
    Then glue several 1/4 x 1" braces above it, both ways, around edges and a few in the center, to stiffen it and create a solid structure.
    The thin stuff will not really warp, and is cheaper, and passes light a little better.
    The braces are up away from tank, so not subject to moisture, so no warping.
    It also makes the whole thing lighter, and they can get surprisingly heavy.

    Warning: Solid tops do reduce oxygen exchange if too well sealed, so remember that.
  17. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster

    even if they have sump?
  18. rygh

    rygh BOD

    DT usually has more surface area and very good surface flow.

    Sump generally has poor surface flow.
    Sump does not have overflows, so can have oils on the surface.
    Sumps are often in a partially sealed cabinet.
    Skimmers help of course, but are only part of the exchange.
    And key - you are limited by return pumps for any gas exchange in sump.

    I have a solid lid over my main DT. But I do have a bathroom fan pulling air from one side, and venting outside.
  19. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Wonder how much O2 really gets used up over a tank. I mean it's not like it's air tight, if you were somehow put in the tank (sans water) you more likely than not would be able to breathe just fine simply because there would be some air holes. So why does a lid reduce oxygen exchange?
  20. muhli

    muhli Guest

    Would be highly interested in one if anyone was to make me one.. please PM me for pricing

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