Cage Plans for Adult Chondros
There is no perfect cage design, or building material. All have certain advantages and disadvantages, and the keeper must evaluate these and make decisions that are best suited for his or her situation. The plans on this page are for building the enclosures I use to house my adult chondros. They have been designed with my own preferences and requirements in mind, and have evolved through making and using many different kinds of chondro cages over the years. They will last for many years if built and used correctly, and the animals seem to like them very much.
My cages are stacked and side by side, so I have no need for a finished exterior except the cage fronts. I make mine from a material called MDF (medium density fiberboard) with pine fronts and waterproof contact paper interiors. If you desire a finished cage exterior, such as when building only one cage for a display, you can use melamine, which comes in different colors as well as wood grains. I like the natural pine fronts of my cages, but you could stain the pine if desired. Do not stain or paint the exterior of MDF as the solvents can cause the contact paper on the interior to bubble.
Building these cages requires some skill and tools. For those who have both of these, the cages are not difficult to make. Persons who lack the ability or facilities to make cages can print these plans out and have a local craftsman build them. The vents, glass door pulls, and glass tracks I use are best located by shopping specialty woodworking stores, better hardware stores, web sites, or catalogs. Tips for buying them are included below, under the Cut List. (I buy materials from a wholesale cabinet making supplier who does not sell to the public. I do not supply cage hardware.)
I hope that if you decide to build these cages for yourself, you will enjoy making and using them. Feel free to e-mail me with any clarifications of these plans or instructions, and send me a photo of your finished product.
Note: Due to the heavy graphics content of these plans, I've broken them up into several sections so you can load and view them separately. This will save time over waiting for an entire page of many photos to open up.
Materials and cut list
Mill work and face frame assembly
Applying the interior contact paper
Table saw (recommended) or power saw and straight edge
Dado blade (for table saw) or router for making rabbets for backs
Router and 1/4" rounding-over bit (routing face frame edges)
Drill and assorted bits
Jig saw (for cutting out vent holes)
Compressor and brad nailer with 5/8" and 1 1/4" brads (optional but recommended)
Calking gun (matched to glue and silicone tube size)
Air or electric finishing sander and 120 grit silicone carbide paper
Biscuit joiner, dowel jig, or pocket screw jig
Bar clamps at least 30" long
Two metal straight edges 24" long
Utility knife with new blade
Car washing type sponge
Materials and Cut List (One 30" X 24" X 24" cage)
(1) sheet 4' X 8' X 5/8" MDF (medium density fiberboard) OR (1) sheet 4' X 8' X 3/4" melamine in selected color
(1) sheet 4' X 8' X 1/4" MDF OR melamine in white
(1) roll of iron-on edge banding IF using melamine (You will also need a trimmer for the edging)
(1) 1 X 4 X 12' white pine # 2 grade (will net 3 1/2" wide X 3/4" thick, make sure it's flat and straight with no major defects) NOTE: You won't need this item if building the cage in melamine.
(1) roll hunter green contact paper (make sure it's waterproof; I use Con-Tact brand.)
(1) tube Liquid Nails
(1) tube clear 100% silicone (Avoid latex kinds. The best brand is GE-2, that's General Electric roman numeral II.)
If screwing the cage together, use 1 1/4" phillips bugle headed drywall screws. Short paneling nails can be used for attaching the backs.
(6) each # 14 size hooks and screw eyes (I like National brand.)
(2) 30" K-V sliding glass tracks for 1/8" glass (see part number in next item below)
(2) 18" K-V tracks I cut all the tracks from one 72" set, these are sold in sets of a top track and a bottom track. Order Knape & Vogt item # P-2413, tan, 72" from True Value hardware stores. You can also get them from www.courterco.com. You can also check out this link on glass track sources from the ChondroForum.
(2) vents Any vent of appropriate size will do. I use plastic vents made by Bainbridge, order them from www.courterco.com Item Number 1970
(2) double strength glass, 17 3/8" X 13"
(2) translucent glass door pulls (Try wood working supply stores or mail order catalogs.)
This cut list is for cages built using the MDF. For those using melamine, substitute 3/4" for 5/8" thickness, and melamine for the pine parts.
(2) 24" X 30" X 5/8" (top and bottom)
(2) 24" X 22 1/4" X 5/8" (sides)
(1) 23 1/8" X 29 5/8" X 1/4" (back)
(1) 3 1/4" X 30" X 3/4" pine (bottom frame member)
(1) 2 1/2" X 30" X 3/4" pine (top frame member)
(2) 2 1/2" X 17 7/8" pine (side frame members)
(1) 3/4" X 5/8" X 30" pine (top spacer)
(2) 3/4" X 5/8" X 30" MDF (top spacers)
Sources for Cage Hardware
Fine GTPs does not supply cage hardware or components. However, all these are available with a bit of digging. The links and information listed below should help a lot.
Contact Paper: Here is the link to the contact paper I use. I buy mine at a large chain department store called Meijers. If you can't find it locally, contact the company for a source nearest you.
Plastic glass tracks: These are sold by Knape & Vogt (K-V), product # P2413 TAN, for 1/8" thick doors. Contact your local Ace or True Value hardware store to order sets. You can also get them from www.courterco.com You can also check out this link on glass track sources from the ChondroForum.
Vents: The vents I use are not available through retail outlets. However, many companies sell small vents that could be utilized. Mine are sold for cooling computer or stereo cabinets, and are available from www.courterco.com
Hook and Eye Hardware: These are for hanging the branches, and are available at any good hardware store. I use National brand.
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