Duplex Terrarium - Enclosure Plans - 2
How To Build A Duplex Terrarium - 2
Firstly, the corner profiles are cut at 45 degree angles on each end and the edges smoothed with a metal file:
45 Degree Angle
Then we need 4 corner profiles cut straight across for the vertical connections:
Then we put the polycarbonate sheets on the workbench/horse and mark the cut lines on the protective plastic sheeting.
And cut with the Jigsaw. Be sure to wear protective glasses and ear protection!
Also the sawing creates little hot plastic pieces that fly off in all directions, so it’s worth attaching the vacuum to the saw; or vacuuming after every cut.
Since the polycarbonate sheets can expand if the weather is warm, you want to leave some play. We cut the sheets to these dimensions:
2x 191.7 x 66.0 cm (for floor and ceiling)
1x 195.2 x 69.4 cm (for back wall)
2x 69.4 x 66.2 cm (for the two side walls)
1x 195.2 x 15.5 cm (for the front wall bottom)
1x 195.2 x 9.2 cm (for the front wall top)
Now we can begin to stick it all together:
First, remove the protective plastic from both sides. Vacuum the open sides to remove any plastic “saw dust” from the cutting.
The sheets have a UV-protected opaque side and a transparent side. For a greenhouse, you should have the opaque side facing out. If you don’t have to worry about UV exposure from outside, you can decide what you prefer.
The sheets fit snugly into the aluminum profiles, so you may need to use a rubber hammer to get them in.
Next, the back wall:
The Back Wall
Then the side walls.
The Side Wall
The corner profiles above are added: And the ceiling slid in. This is easier if you put the closed (not cut) edge to the back. Finally the corner profile in front is stuck on.
Next the front (half walls) are added. The top wall may not hold by itself, you can add a little silicone to the inside of the aluminum profile to help it stick (Be sure it doesn’t ooze out!)
We spray painted the originally white ventilation hole covers with silver paint. For each ventilation hole you need 2 covers, one inside the terrarium and one outside.
The number of ventilation holes will depend on the climate you want in the terrarium. Since we wanted a humid, tropical terrarium, we made very few. There is a good air-flow if you put holes on the bottom front and on the top sides.
Now we will prepare the openings with the Hole Saw.
Along the side of our terrarium, we put the holes more towards the front, because the wall the terrarium is placed against has our house thermostat and we didn’t want it to be affected by the warmth coming from the terrarium. Otherwise we would have placed the holes further back.
The ventilation covers are glued on with 2 part epoxy (again be careful not to use too much, so that it doesn’t ooze out when you push it over the hole.)
Up till now, the terrarium has only been stuck together and it stays relatively stable. However, when you close the glass doors, there is movement of the walls within the aluminum profiles, so we have added a (pre-drilled*) L-profile (2x2cm) cut to 70 cm to each vertical edge. We glued it on with 2 part epoxy (for metal) and then fixed each corner with the little rust free tin screws.
* The screws are easier to attach if you pre-drill the holes with a 3mm bit. Then glue the edge on AND THEN drill the rest with a 2mm bit! If you drill through both with the 3mm, the screws won't hold.
Now we come to the glass door profiles. In order to attach these, we first have to cover the front wall edges with a U- profile. These we cut to 195.5 cm. On each end we cut 1cm off of the two side edges (see pic!) This way, the profile fits nicely into the corner profiles.
Use silicone to fix the aluminum profiles. It looks like this:
Do the same with the upper edge. Until the silicone holds, you have to either turn the terrarium upside-down or use screw (vice) clamps.
Sliding glass door profiles/tracks come in two depths: deeper for the upper track and less deep for the lower track, so that the glass doors can be easily inserted and easily removed for cleaning, etc.
Cut the sliding door tracks and glue them on with 2 part epoxy.
Author: Martin & Andrea Dannegger
Images - © Martin & Andrea Dannegger