Background help...[Enclosure backgrounds]

Background help...[Enclosure backgrounds]

Postby Iggy » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:11 am

I'm looking at using insulating foam to create a background - do we have "great stuff" here, or is there another non-toxic brand which is the preferred option in SA? And does it have to be coated with anything such as a sealant (obviously it will be painted "rock" colours). Can it be shaped once it has set, or does all the shaping have to happen while still fluid? And lastly, can it be used in molds, and if so what sort of release agent would need to be used? (we have latex rock impressions that we could also use to push into it to texture it, would these need a release agent too or simply wash it off quickly after use?). Any help appreciated! Oh, and I remember somewhere a post on "egg crate", but can't seem to find the post - does egg crate have a different name here? Thanks! Oh, and also coco-bedding, is it available here in shredded form, to press into the background as an alternative to painting?
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Postby damiensharjah » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:04 am

Most polyurithane foams can be used with no hassles. People get all freaked out by the fact that they have a percentage of cyanide in the solvent, but once set, the stuff becomes benign. Yes you can mould it. Ask any taxidermist, as the resin form of this is what is used for the forms on which stuffed animals are based. The best releasing agents are the wax you buy for fiberglass moulds. You rub it on and allow it to set. Other than that, a taxidermist friend of mine used clear shoe polish too. I've never tried that though. You can shape it after it sets, but the stuff forms a shiny skin over a porous interior, so the effect will look like an Aero-chocolate bar. You can play around with it a various periods during its setting and will find that the consistancy changes a lot as it sets. If you are happy with the way it looks before it sets, then spray water over it, otherwise it won't stop expanding until it has completely set.

I would put releasing agent on both sudes of those rubber molds just in case and possibly do a few molds on a flat surface (covered in releasing agent) and then use them as tiles in the backdrop of your cage, cementing them together with more foam.

Good luck :D .
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Postby Iggy » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:34 am

many thanks! was thinking of spraying it into eggcrate cut to size and then just slotting into place...might give it more strength too?
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Postby DmD » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:51 pm

Cheaper to buy on.
JUST DO IT
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Postby damiensharjah » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:55 pm

Never tried the eggcrate idea. should work fine.

I forgot to mention that the stuff works brilliantly with polysteirene. I've done quite a few displays here by stacking the (cheap) polysteirene into the tank and cutting it roughly to the shape I want it. Then I add the foam on top. The addition of the foam makes it reasonably strong and durable, but I still prefer to give it a coating of fiberglass resin, so it can be scrubbed.

Oh and the releasing agen I use is called Maguair's Mirror Glaze. It comes in a flattish tin like car wax and is sold mostly for fiberglass, but works on just about everything.
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Postby Deon » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:11 pm

The easiest and cheapest is to use the same method used in aquariums....

Get a couple of sheets of polysteirene and glue them together if you can't get thick enough blocks.

Then cut out your background using scrapers, file, heat gun etc. to get the caves, hollows etc. you want. Paint with "child safe" paint and use... If you want to be fancy you can coat with a tissue layer of fiber matting and then use Isophalic Resin. Once dry, finish with Top coat containing the pigment you want. (Cut cost - thin layer of resin over paint, no fiber matt or Top coat)

Once completed silicon to the back of your cage.
Hope this helps.
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Postby Iggy » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:30 am

DmD, might be cheaper to buy one, but we need 14 with different appearances :), Deon thanks for the ideas as well!
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Postby Kthula » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:19 am

i used the polysteirene method ,but i used grout to cover it ,put on a couple layers of grout and then seal it with grout seal. The grout can also be shaped while it is busy drying ,but for most part i just used the polysteirene to shape the background.
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Postby DmD » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:28 am

See your point
JUST DO IT
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Beardie enclosure! HELP!!

Postby gr8whiteuno » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:09 pm

I have this friend in JHB that is buying his first beardie. He already has 2 sand geckos. But this is a new venture.

Please help out. I have been reading this forum.... For him of course... And seen many nice enclosures. Many different opinions on alot of things though.

He will be using a 900mm fish tank for a few weeks. Beardie is 2 months old.

But soon will be making a nice big (2000mm x 600mm) wooden enclosure. I would love to do that rock display like that guy did on http://www.sareptiles.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9282 That is AMAZING!!! But I couldnt do something like that. Does anyone know of a place in JHB (or CPT) that can build something like that?? Or anyone have any cool ideas??

Merged
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Postby gr8whiteuno » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:59 am

Where can one buy backgrounds etc like this in cape town?
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Postby Kthula » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:50 pm

I made a rock background for my beardie cage using polysteirene and grout ,it is very easy to do and comes out great ,i will find some pics and post them for you ,let me know if you want more info.
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Postby gr8whiteuno » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:35 pm

Yes please!!!! I have seen some pictures like that. But I am in no way artistic enough to do that myself!! Hahaha. But I will give it a shot!

This friend of mine is getting his beardie on Saturday. He is really excited! Hahaha
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Postby Kthula » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:23 pm

Very easy ,measure the back of the tank ,cut out a piece of polysteirene the same size ,then cut out pieces of polysteirene to form caves and rock outcrops ,stick these pieces to the back piece ,mix some grout (coulour of your choice ) with water ,make the mixture quite loose ,then cover the polysteirene with this mix ,let it dry and then mix a batch of grout with a bit less water so it`s more stiff ,once again cover the board and let it dry. Once it is dry you can take sandpaper to smooth out the grout a bit and then paint a layer of grout sealant over ,seals the grout and stops the grout from chipping off.
Done
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Postby gr8whiteuno » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:24 pm

And that is going to be hard enough not to break if the beardie climbs onto it??

Whats the time frame of waiting for it to dry?? Could i do this in a day?? Weekend??
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