• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Pimp My Cabinet, plus DIY Light Screen! (Project DIWhy)

Epiphyte

Member
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
I've got a "45p" Iwagumi (it's a Superfish tank, don't tell the diehards!) setup on a stand I built for myself. I tend to build my own aquarium cabinets these days as I was so unimpressed with the ADA stand I have and thought I could do a better job for 1/10th of the price. This has largely been the case, apart from the paint finish, which I'll admit is lovely on the ADA and far beyond anything I could do with my own hands and a paintbrush.

Made from 18mm ply, my home brew cabinet is so over the top in strength, but when it's holding 50-60kg of water, rocks, glass and Celestial Pearl Danios in my living room I'm more than happy for it to be overkill. I'm very happy with the stand as it is, it's strong, looks neat and tidy, but as I like to complicate almost everything I do with my DIY I've decided to turn it from a plywood box to something a little more interesting, complete with lights, magnets and 3d printing!

Here is the stand today, pre-modding:

_DSC8787.jpg


The goal here is to build a fully enclosed stand, with everything hidden out of the way apart from the filter. I would actually love to box the filter in too and hard plumb it with pipes and connectors, but despite my love of pointless engineering, this would just cause me issues with my weekly maintenance. With this in mind, the only thing that'll be on show in the cabinet will be stuff I actually need to access, or that looks cool. In addition, there will be motion detected lighting to make it easier to work on, plus it'll look neat when you open the door. I'm also going to add a DIY light screen on the tank too, more on that later.

I've got a load of smaller offcuts of 18mm ply hanging around after building this stand which I'm going to design and build an internal structure to house everything. I could easily make this whole thing with 9mm ply, maybe even 6mm, but with the current price of wood I'm going to use what I've got lying around. I've gone for an L shaped design to hide things away as stated, yet it provides an elevated platform for the Oase Filtosmart 100 Thermo to sit on. Not everything will be hidden, the things I want to have on show are:
  • Ferts bottle
  • Dosing Pump
  • Motion Detector
  • Light Controller
  • Extra 3 pin socket
  • Light screen switch
I plan to use a VOSS water bottle for my ferts. As bottled water goes, VOSS is a joke, it's expensive and doesn't taste that great (all hail Highland Spring!), but the bottles are lovely, clear and glass. They're 800ml in volume too, which means plenty of volume to fill up for around 200 days of ferts for the tank. The bottle annoyingly is printed with their logo, but that's nothing a little but of wet and dry (used wet) can't burn through. It's dulled the glass a little but I'll buff the glass up before I finish it.

Dosing pump is a D+D pump, I use them in all my tanks and they do a fine job. The motion detector is the one that comes with the amazon cheapy chinese LED strips. I'm using the standard LED light controller that everyone does on my Twinstar 450S light.

The additional 3 pin socket will be a simple extension lead leading to the front of the cabinet structure. This is because the extension lead will be tucked away and for water changes it'll be nice to have an easy access plug. Additionally the light screen will have a switch to turn it on and off too.

Lots more to come!
 
Last edited:

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
The whole idea of this so far, as mentioned above, is to provide a really clean looking interior for the cabinet, just to close the door and be unable to see it of course. If I were to make the stand again I would build this into the actual structure of the stand, but as it's already made I've decided to have it be able to "slide" into the base of the cabinet itself. It's effectively a shelf with a divider, one enclosed for the electronics, one open for the filter. A bit like this:

Screenshot 2022-01-31 171210.jpg

So I dug out the track saw to cut the panels needed, then marked the locations on the panel where I want the bits to be shown and got to work.

First panel cut, marked and corners of cutouts being prepped for drilling:
20220131_143834.jpg

Sections cut with the jigsaw (I hate using a jigsaw but I was too lazy to get a router out and jig the whole thing up), then I square the edges off with my trusty Narex chisels
20220131_145253.jpg

With all of the sections cut out it was now time to design some other parts. First off ferts bottle holder. As mentioned above I'm using a VOSS water bottle. I have designed and 3D printed a "shell" for this to sit in. Integrated into it will be sections for LED strips and associated wiring.

Screenshot 2022-01-31 121925.jpg Screenshot 2022-01-31 123552.jpg _DSC8794.jpg 20220131_160751.jpg

3D printing isn't a quick process and this is around an 8hr print and is still going as I type this. Tall narrow and thin walled objects are an absolute nightmare to print as they either wobble with the machine, or the tiny amount of friction in the extruding plastic "drags" the thin walls as it prints. I'm not looking for a mass production finish here as it's going to be mostly hidden. For those out there who are 3D printing nerds like me, I'm using a customised BLV MGN Cube printer with a E3D Hemera hot end. Printing Sunlu White PETG at 100mm/s with 0.28mm layer heights, 4 walls with 15% infill, sliced in Cura.

I've also thrown together a little housing for the D+D Dosing Pump. I lost the CAD design of this when my computer decided to restart instead of just sleep overnight (thanks Windows updates) and I forgot to save it. I thankfully still have the .gcode files to make more if needed. Here's a screenshot of the design in Cura though, the program that converts a 3D design into layered file for the printer. These programs are known as slicers, for somewhat obvious reasons
Screenshot 2022-01-31 172349.jpg
This took around 5 hours or so to print last night and is ready to be installed. I'll upload more pics a little later when I get around to it.

Next up was the LED lighting controller. I'm using the usual generic controller, which will be inset into the plywood. To get around the fact that the controller is 10mm thick and the wood is 18mm thick, I've designed a mounting plate that I'll attach to the controller, then screw in from the back of the wood. It's super simple but should be effective. Again, it's in the 3D printer queue.
Screenshot 2022-01-31 170715.jpg

The other thing I'm going to be doing is using a motion detecting LED strip light from Amazon. This comes as a rechargeable unit with an internal 18650 cell. I don't really want to faff with a charging so I decided to modify this by adding a DC/DC voltage regulator that I'll run from the same power supply as the light screen.

This is the motion sensor and battery unit
20220131_154553.jpg

Inside is the 18650 cell and circuit
20220131_154617.jpg 20220131_154645.jpg 20220131_154650.jpg

Off comes the battery
20220131_160201.jpg

And here we have a buck converter, which will drop the 5v from my PSU to a voltage that simulates the battery. I'm sure this circuit has some voltage step up and regulating circuitry in it as the LED's require 5v, yet the 18650 cell is 3.7v nominal, so I'm just going to regulate the voltage to 4v as I'm not good enough with circuit design to see what does what on the motion sensors board.
20220131_160429.jpg 20220131_160607.jpg

I then squeeze it all into the unit again, solder a 2 pin JST-XH connector to the input of the buck converter and do it all back up again. This means I can just run a plug into the base of the unit and never have to worry about charging again.
20220131_165113.jpg 20220131_165127.jpg

And that's where I am for now, more updates in due course.
 

arcturus

Member
Joined
6 May 2021
Messages
444
Location
DE
Given the level of effort and dedication you are putting into this project, I am eager to hear about your DIY light screen :) Watching with interest! Cheers!
 

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
Given the level of effort and dedication you are putting into this project, I am eager to hear about your DIY light screen :) Watching with interest! Cheers!

Thanks! I've actually had the light screen made for a long time now, I've just never bothered programming it to work. I found an easy solution last night to avoid learning to code so when it's all together I will put it on for the big switch on!
 

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
One of the features I wanted on the enclosure was a 3 pin socket to plug in the pump I use for water changes. I could just access the extension lead via the door the cabinet will have but that's a simple solution that could easily be made more complex. So what I did was nip to screwfix, buy a single gang plug and 25mm back box to mount to the unit. This in turn will be wired to a 3 pin plug which will plug into the extension lead.

I wanted to use a plastic back box, not a galvanised one, so I had to glue some bits of scrap ply around the back to screw it in. All in all I think this will be a really useful addition to the mods I'm doing. I also bought a plug with USB sockets in it, you never know when they might come in handy.

20220131_175554.jpg 20220131_175606.jpg

Here is the aforementioned cubby hole for the D+D Dosing Pump. This in turn sits in a hole cut in the plywood.

20220131_175638.jpg 20220131_175650.jpg 20220131_175741.jpg

And finally the printer finished the ferts bottle holder. I'm really not happy with the finish of this, it's rough and if it were a smaller part that was going to be on show I'd re-print it. That said, it took forever to print and it's going to be entirely hidden, so I'm not worries. I will however sand it a little as I've got to adhere some LED strips in there which need a relatively flat surface to stick to.

20220131_182805.jpg 20220131_182913.jpg 20220131_183010.jpg 20220131_183022.jpg 20220131_183148.jpg

Next up will be the LED controller (usefully the lights will be going out in an hour so I can remove it whilst I work on it). This will take a little more effort as I messed up the cut out and it's more of a squiggle than a rectangle, but nothing a rasp and some patience wont fix.

Then I can get wiring!

Also, apologies for my numerous posts, I'm updating as I do this and not everything gets done in a logical order as I'm often waiting for the printer to print out my parts.
 
Last edited:

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
Whilst progress stalls a little due to needing to do some woodwork (I am no fan of sawdust in the house), I thought I'd show a little about the light screen I've made. Again, it's very much DIY, compared to commercial offerings I am sure it's not going to be anywhere near as high quality. With that said, I enjoy doing this sort of thing, learning and building is half of the fun to me.

My tank measure 450x320x320, so to make life easy I just ordered cut to size perspex online. For the back panel I decided a matte white would be nice and for the front I chose Perspex Opal Cast Acrylic. The two sheets, with delivery, cost me £32. The LED's I'm choosing to use are WS2812b LED strips. I chose these as they're fully addressable RGB LED strips. What does this mean? Well each pixel can be individually addressed in any colour imaginable. Some light screens are just white, some are white with a blue fade, but this one can literally be any colour you want it to be. Want to have a sunrise followed by daylight then sunset to go in time with your photo period? No problem. Want to have twinkling stars at night? Sure, that's completely possible.

This does mean it's a little more complex than just plugging a 5v source into one end of the LED strip and getting light out of it. It requires a 5v, a ground and a third wire for the data line. This all needs to be plugged into a computer of some sort to control it, by itself it's effectively useless. I did originally go down the route of an Arduino Uno using FastLED software, but I only know the most basic of coding and don't have the time to learn javascript for fun. I have since found a great piece of software called WLED, which uses a commonly available ESP32 microcontroller and even comes with an app or web interface.

Before I go into that, here's some photos of the construction:

Here are the WS2812b LEDs. You can clearly see the third (central) data line which controls each LED entirely separate to the others.
20220131_214446.jpg

And here are over 200 WS2812b's... I don't know how many LED's the average commercial light screen has, but this seemed a convenient amount to use given the space constraints I have.
20220131_214440.jpg

To control it all, here's the ESP32 microcontroller.
20220131_214527.jpg

Obviously you don't want individual LED's to show through the light screen, so you need a diffusion layer. I've used 3mm Opal Perspex as mentioned above. The other way to get good light diffusion is via distance, the further between you and your light source, the more diffused the light is. I didn't want the light screen to be crazy thick (again, I have no reference of commercial units) so through experimentation I decided with the 3mm perspex I'm using, a thickness of 25mm worked. I 3D printed some corner brackets in white PETG with some inset nuts to tie it all together. These were glued to the front panel with 5 minute epoxy glue.
20220131_215054.jpg 20220131_215113.jpg

LED's consume a surprisingly high amount of power. A common misconception is LED's are low power, and they certainly are compared to older light bulbs, however to get them bright they can actually draw some fairly significant current. Each LED (comprised of a red LED, green LED and blue LED) at full power can draw 50mA. That's not a lot, but with 200 of them that's 10 amps, or 50 watts! With over 200 LED's there is no way I'll be using full brightness, but it's worth getting a power supply that can feed those hungry diodes! I chose to use a Meanwell LRS 100-5. This is hugely over the top but I am confident in Meanwell PSUs and I've got plenty of headroom. This PSU will also be powering the cabinet LEDs, which means the extra capacity is well worth it.
20220131_202610.jpg

These PSU's mount with two M3 bolts in the rear, so I quickly designed and printed a bracket that I can use some wood screws to screw into the cabinet out of the way.
PSUBracket.jpg

I'm currently wiring the LED strip to the processor. It's going to be pretty heath robinson in it's execution, but I'll share more images as I go.
 

pat1cp

Member
Joined
6 Oct 2021
Messages
243
Location
Ballater, Aberdeenshire
Despite having an engineering background, I really wish I had the wherewithal to take on something like this. Well done !!
 

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
Despite having an engineering background, I really wish I had the wherewithal to take on something like this. Well done !!
Thanks Pat! I'm no engineer, I'm entirely self taught but I enjoy the process of coming up with solutions to problems that don't exist and implementing them. My job isn't particularly taxing on the mind and over the last few years I really found using my brain and creating in my free time does wonders for me mentally.

I don't understand most of what you said but it looks very cool! 😅
Magic goes in, magic goes out, light happens and more algae shall grow!

Wow. Amazing work! Looking forward to see more.
Thanks! I'll be keeping this thread up to date with every step.


I've done a little more this morning, some more stuff printing, the Twinstar light box has been mounted, but I've got myself completely side tracked looking at automated stepper motor drivers to open and close access doors.

Why do I do this to myself?
 

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
Automated access doors o_O? I guess maintenance will not be an issue in this tank because you will have robots trimming the plants and cleaning up algae...
I could but dream 🤣

Basically the whole idea started with working out a way of accessing behind the enclosure. I've just got some magnet latches right now which will work just fine, but I got thinking, is there a way that if I slide out the filter tray (the filter will be sitting on draw sliders for ease of access) that the access door to the enclosure would also open? Again, all a bit in my head right now in regards to ideas.

This then expanded to wonder if I could use some spare stepper motors I have lying around (a standard every day sentence of course...) to automate it all at the press of a button.

This is a little way down the line however.

With this in mind, here's some progress for this morning:

I got the cutout for the LED controller completed, it just gets held in with 4 wood screws. It works well so far.

20220201_105114.jpg 20220201_105134.jpg 20220201_105204.jpg

Next up was to design a new cap for the Voss bottle. I figured the thread must be somewhat standard so I drew up a new cap with a M39x4 (I think) thread. It's not perfect, 3D printed threads are a pain, but it works and fits well.

There is a 6mm hole in the top for the tube to drop in, and a little 1.5mm hole as a breather to let air in when the ferts come out!

20220201_124455.jpg 20220201_124540.jpg
20220201_124603.jpg
20220201_124632.jpg
20220201_124637.jpg

If anyone is wondering why I am working on a manky towel, that's because I'm building this in my kitchen and my landlord wouldn't be a fan of glue on the worktops!!
 

Attachments

  • 20220201_105200.jpg
    20220201_105200.jpg
    1 MB · Views: 56

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
One of my least favourite things in life is using epoxy glue. I hate it, I hate the smell, I hate the consistency, I hate the idea you have to mix it and I hate that if you don't mix it 100% right first time you end up with this horrible nasty gloopy mess that won't set. So when I went to glue in the 3D printed parts you can imagine my delight that I had no epoxy in the house! Yessss!

However I was just delaying the inevitable. I needed some screen wash so I headed to Halfrauds this morning and got some along with some 5 minute Gorilla epoxy.

Currently everything is clamped up and drying. I'll give it an hour then it's sanding time.

20220202_114803.jpg 20220202_142212.jpg

I guess one plus of waiting for glue to dry is right next to where I'm working I can indulge in one of my other hobbies....

IMG-20220202-WA0002.jpeg IMG-20220202-WA0005.jpeg

Maybe if I drink enough to start shaking it'll make sanding faster?
 
Last edited:

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
So with the 3D printed parts all glued and set, I joined the base of the unit in to place and did a preliminary sand with 80 and 120 grit.

20220202_161039.jpg 20220202_161049.jpg

So with the basic construction finished I decided to give it a test fit. To my delight, it's millimetre perfect!
20220202_161730.jpg

Sadly to my displeasure however, Oase cannot seem to make a filter that doesn't significantly leak when you disconnect it and I now have a wet plywood stand
20220202_162034.jpg

The other part I had forgotten was that there needed to be a section at the back for some wires to go through. I could make this really small (it only needs to pass 2x 8mm cables through) but for ease of every day use I just decided to get the hole saw out and make a semi-circular cut-out at the rear.
20220202_162509.jpg

Last component of the main "frame" is the door of the internal structure. I've got lots of weird and wacky ideas of how I can do this but for the mean time I'm using magnetic cabinet latches. I've orientated them so the top latch is what holds the door in, yet the bottom ones are orientated to keep the door located but easy to remove.
20220202_165224.jpg

Sadly the screws provided are too long (who makes cabinets with thicker than 18mm board?!) so I'll have to find suitable replacements. Even more so as when screwing them in one head literally just sheered off. I've never had this happen before, they're just that poor quality.
20220202_163657.jpg 20220202_165145.jpg

And by this point the ply had mostly dried so time to get the filler out.
20220202_170439.jpg

This leaves me with a final sand tomorrow maybe to 240 grit, prime then paint.
 

Attachments

  • 20220202_170439.jpg
    20220202_170439.jpg
    920.3 KB · Views: 67

Epiphyte

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Dec 2020
Messages
158
Location
Hemel Hempstead
This is probably the most delightful piece of over-engineering I’ve ever seen 😊

and it’s going to look fabulous me thinks.

If you ever decide to set up ‘pimp my cabinet’ for a living, you’ll have a queue. 👍

Thank you! I'm only a DIYist with too many tools and even more terrible ideas. If I were to have a more reliable build space (rather than my driveway) and a table saw to make accurate repeatable cuts, I would consider maybe selling some stands, but for now I just make them for myself, plus a one off for @Courtneybst 's latest saltwater project.

I find the lack of reasonable priced and nice looking stands in this hobby quite frustrating, so who knows, maybe in the future I'll look into it.

Wow, this is great. Very inspiring.
Thanks, really appreciate it! Lots more to come.

Day off from this project today, more to come on Friday when I get it painted.
 

swyftfeet

Member
Joined
29 Oct 2021
Messages
153
Location
WNY
its a very safe idea to predrill any manufactured wood products such as ply or MDF. If its higher quality ply the glues and the opposite stranding and wood hardness add resistance, were you hand or using an impact? if its lower quality and youre near an edge it can de-laminate and split.. Cabinet fasteners can vary in grade quite widely. That looks like really high quality ply and cheapish screws..
 
Top