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Double Door Night Box

Tom

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As the years have gone by and I build more of these boxes, I learn more and more each time. This one is the latest and I incorporated everything I've learned over the years. I also tried to take lots of pics so I can explain in more detail some of what is going on. It will take multiple posts to show all the pics.

This box will house my two 16 inch 2010 South African Leopard tortoise males. They had to be separated for aggression years ago and they cannot live together. Their enclosures are side by side and share a common wall, so this box will straddle the dividing line. Each tortoise will have its own 4x4' section with a removable divider in the middle, but I only have to run one heater.

I start by screwing the 2x4s that make the lip that keeps rain out to the top. The top is a full, uncut, 4x8' sheet of thin plywood. I started using thinner plywood because the 1.5" rigid foam insulation inside keeps the heat in and thinner plywood weighs less. Accordingly, since I have to lift the top open to clean, I want things as light as possible, so I make the frame inside the lid out of 2x2s to save weight on the lid. I use 2x3s and 2x4 everywhere else.

Here is the floor. I make it so that it fits inside the lid. I end up having to cut some off of the full 4x8' sheet of plywood to allow room for the top to fit over the bottom and keep out the rain. You can see that I have framed around the outside and middle. The insulation fits inside this frame and the floor rests on top of this framing so the weight of the tortoises doesn't squash my foam insulation. You can see the completed lid in the background. Also notice the cut outs for the doors.
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Here is the insulation cut to size:
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And dropped into place:
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I've installed the floor on top of the insulation and frame here. I seal all the way around the frame and then again between the floor and frame with plain silicone sealant:
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Next I attach the sides and back and begin framing:
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Then I put the front on.
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Inside view of the front, not all framed yet. I will frame the inside, cut and fit insulation, run a bead of silicone all the way around, and then put the inside plywood wall on.:
IMG_3320.JPG


Too many pics for one post, so on to the next...
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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I make these little portals over my doors to keep rain ou on the rare occasion that we get rain here:
IMG_3325.JPG

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Here is the inside front and side all framed up and with insulation in place. Next I run a silicone bead put the walls up and screw them to the framing all around:
IMG_3343.JPG


Here the sides, front and back are all sealed and buttoned up. I've added the little walled area that will keep the torts from touching the heater and you can see the removable divider in the middle. Next summer I plan to mix the males and females. When that finally happens I will probably remove the divider and let them all move back and forth between the pens as needed. This will give me the option of separating the male if he becomes too aggressive, and I can also close one door, remove the divider and make them all live on one side while I grow stuff to graze on one side or the other. Options. This box gives me lots of options.
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I hate power cords sitting out exposed. They get weathered, tripped on, and I don't want the torts to have access to them.
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Here is what I came up with for this situation. I ran the cord through this pipe into the ground and buried the remainder.
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Same thing on the side where it plugs in:
IMG_3497.JPG


Here it is all done and plugged in. No cord! :) :
IMG_3517 copy.JPG



One more post and we will be done...
 

Tom

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Here is my usual box that I screw to the side to keep all my cords and electrical stuff contained and out of reach of the tortoises. Notice the weather stripping too. This is an important step in containing your warm air on a cold night.
IMG_3499.JPG


I learned this trick from Joe, @Dizisdalife . These little computer fans circulate your warm air and humidity when the lid is all closed up at night. Keeps things more evenly heated all around.
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I attach the heater to the floor with chain and screws. If this box flipped over in a giant earthquake, the heater wouldn't move.
IMG_3502.JPG



I don't have all the tubs cut out yet, but you can see the shelves where the water tubs will sit. I use these tubs to give the interior of the box a little humidity. My climate is VERY dry year round, and I've found that keeping the warm night boxes humidified helps keep the growth going smoother once they all move outside.
IMG_3507.JPG


Here is the finished product in place, up and running:
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And finally the wide shot:
IMG_3517.JPG
 

Odin's Gma

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I have been looking for a small computer or similar type fan for the peak of my indoor greenhouse enclosure to circulate the warm air downward. How is yours wired?
 

Tom

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I have been looking for a small computer or similar type fan for the peak of my indoor greenhouse enclosure to circulate the warm air downward. How is yours wired?
Its a plug in type. You just plug it in and set the dial for the speed you want. You can find lots of them on Amazon. I plug mine into the thermostat. If the heater is on, the fan is on.
 

Odin's Gma

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Its a plug in type. You just plug it in and set the dial for the speed you want. You can find lots of them on Amazon. I plug mine into the thermostat. If the heater is on, the fan is on.
Awesome, thanks! I don't know how I missed them, all the ones I came across were USB or direct wire. Guess I have some more shopping to do. :)
 

Tom

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Awesome, thanks! I don't know how I missed them, all the ones I came across were USB or direct wire. Guess I have some more shopping to do. :)
Your not alone. I had to have some help getting my first couple too.
 

Dizisdalife

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Nice box you have built there @Tom.

I have used a couple of different sizes and speed ranges of these 115vac case fans. The trade off is noise versus air flow. The first one I got had the quietest rating, but didn't seem to push enough air to do what I wanted. My night box is 6' x 4', so the smaller fan just didn't cut it. I think the size was an 80mm x 38 mm low speed version. Since then I have installed a 120mm x 38mm high speed fan. It moves some air. When the box is too hot I turn it on and have it move the hot air out to help cool down the box for the night (like tonight). Be sure to order a speed controller when you order the fan. With the larger sizes and higher speeds I have found it necessary to be able to turn down the fan.

Here is a link to where I have purchased them. http://www.acinfinity.com/120mm-fans/
 

Odin's Gma

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Nice box you have built there @Tom.

I have used a couple of different sizes and speed ranges of these 115vac case fans. The trade off is noise versus air flow. The first one I got had the quietest rating, but didn't seem to push enough air to do what I wanted. My night box is 6' x 4', so the smaller fan just didn't cut it. I think the size was an 80mm x 38 mm low speed version. Since then I have installed a 120mm x 38mm high speed fan. It moves some air. When the box is too hot I turn it on and have it move the hot air out to help cool down the box for the night (like tonight). Be sure to order a speed controller when you order the fan. With the larger sizes and higher speeds I have found it necessary to be able to turn down the fan.

Here is a link to where I have purchased them. http://www.acinfinity.com/120mm-fans/
Our greenhouse is 6'x3', my concern is that the peak is over 4 feet above soil level. We are in Minnesota and the room the enclosure is in is a lower level room, half underground, and stays very cool, generally in the 60's. Maintaining and directing the heat is going to be our challenge, cooling will not be an issue.
That said, I am looking for something low speed enough to avoid cooling the air much, just enough to gently circulate the warmer stuff downward. More of a lazy ceiling fan movement than a whizzing computer fan movement.
In your opinion (both yours and @Tom ) with having used these before, do you have any recommendations for my situation?
Right now I am looking at this one (one of the same ones in your link!) but I am worried it will be too big:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009OXTWZI/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

Dizisdalife

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Our greenhouse is 6'x3', my concern is that the peak is over 4 feet above soil level. We are in Minnesota and the room the enclosure is in is a lower level room, half underground, and stays very cool, generally in the 60's. Maintaining and directing the heat is going to be our challenge, cooling will not be an issue.
That said, I am looking for something low speed enough to avoid cooling the air much, just enough to gently circulate the warmer stuff downward. More of a lazy ceiling fan movement than a whizzing computer fan movement.
In your opinion (both yours and @Tom ) with having used these before, do you have any recommendations for my situation?
Right now I am looking at this one (one of the same ones in your link!) but I am worried it will be too big:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009OXTWZI/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
That is the fan I first used. Didn't seem to move enough air to evenly distribute the heat, but that might give the lazy ceiling fan effect that you are looking for. The one I am using now is a 120mm x 38 mm low speed. It moves twice as much air as the one in your link and is only slightly louder. Firm mounting helps minimize the noise.

Here is the model I have used for the last year, or so.
http://www.acinfinity.com/115v-ac-fans/120-mm-fans/115v-ac-cooltron-fan-120mm-x-38mm-low-speed/
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
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Messages
47,125
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Our greenhouse is 6'x3', my concern is that the peak is over 4 feet above soil level. We are in Minnesota and the room the enclosure is in is a lower level room, half underground, and stays very cool, generally in the 60's. Maintaining and directing the heat is going to be our challenge, cooling will not be an issue.
That said, I am looking for something low speed enough to avoid cooling the air much, just enough to gently circulate the warmer stuff downward. More of a lazy ceiling fan movement than a whizzing computer fan movement.
In your opinion (both yours and @Tom ) with having used these before, do you have any recommendations for my situation?
Right now I am looking at this one (one of the same ones in your link!) but I am worried it will be too big:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009OXTWZI/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
I'd get the 120mm model and make sure you get the in-line speed controller. Its basically a dial type rheostat. You can use the bigger fan, but turn it down to get the level of air movement you want.
 

Odin's Gma

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I'd get the 120mm model and make sure you get the in-line speed controller. Its basically a dial type rheostat. You can use the bigger fan, but turn it down to get the level of air movement you want.
Something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009DLW9RO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

Firm mounting helps minimize the noise.
It also includes mounting hardware that I believe I can make work with little modification on the wood light fixture holder I built inside the greenhouse. Do you think adding some sort of rubber washers or something between the mount and the wood will also help with the noise and vibration?
 

Dizisdalife

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Something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009DLW9RO/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20


It also includes mounting hardware that I believe I can make work with little modification on the wood light fixture holder I built inside the greenhouse. Do you think adding some sort of rubber washers or something between the mount and the wood will also help with the noise and vibration?
Yes. That should work fine. I didn't use rubber in the mounting.
 

wellington

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Thanks for the help, it has been ordered and should be here by Tuesday!
Have you considered using a regular ceiling fan? Placed on a dimmer switch you can slow it down lower then the lowest setting. Switch it from summer to winter also works nice to help cool. They also have ceiling heater fans which would disperse the heat downward in a more even fashion. The little more expensive ones, maybe all of them, you can use with or without heat. I use a regular ceiling fan with an oil filled portable heater and it works great for my 20x8 shed. I would think the computer fans would be good for smaller boxes buy too small for a room size?
 

Odin's Gma

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
USDA Zone 4a+
Have you considered using a regular ceiling fan? Placed on a dimmer switch you can slow it down lower then the lowest setting. Switch it from summer to winter also works nice to help cool. They also have ceiling heater fans which would disperse the heat downward in a more even fashion. The little more expensive ones, maybe all of them, you can use with or without heat. I use a regular ceiling fan with an oil filled portable heater and it works great for my 20x8 shed. I would think the computer fans would be good for smaller boxes buy too small for a room size?
I don't need it for the whole room, just the greenhouse.
 

Checo Valdez

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Sep 10, 2015
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Hi Tom,

I'm as new at tortoise as I am at building stuff, so I have a couple of questions:

For the frame on the first picture, are you using a 2x2 or did you cut it to match the 1 1/2" of the insulation? What happen if there is the 1/2" between the plywood and foam?

When you refer to thinner plywood, are you talking about 1/2" or 1/4"? Is this only for the roof or walls also?

Thanks in advance for your response!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
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Messages
47,125
Location (City and/or State)
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Hi Tom,

I'm as new at tortoise as I am at building stuff, so I have a couple of questions:

For the frame on the first picture, are you using a 2x2 or did you cut it to match the 1 1/2" of the insulation? What happen if there is the 1/2" between the plywood and foam?

When you refer to thinner plywood, are you talking about 1/2" or 1/4"? Is this only for the roof or walls also?

Thanks in advance for your response!
1. 2x2, 2x3, and 2x4, is all 1.5" thick when you lay it on its side. This fits with the 1.5" rigid foam perfectly. I use 2x2 in the lid to save weight and either 2x3 or 2x4 everywhere else.

2. I believe the plywood is 11/32". Its the stuff that is $15 and change per sheet at Home Depot. I use the same thickness of plywood for the whole box.

I'm happy that my box inspired you, so please ask as many questions as you like.
 

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