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Author Topic: Magnetic Frag Shelves  (Read 291 times)

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Offline guynamedfleck

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Magnetic Frag Shelves
« on: February 04, 2018, 17:37:11 »
Well I failed in my attempt to source some shelf rock, but this will still be a happy post to show how I turned this piece of rubble rock...


Into an infinite* supply of really cool, magnetic reef shelves!
 


This all started after the Cincy Reef Swap when I picked up a few too many new frags. Having no space left int he current tank, I knocked together a quick makeshift magnetic frag rack.


This wouldn't do long term, so I upgraded with a couple of Oceans Wonders magnetic frag racks.


These were nice, but it got me thinking that i could make something better/cheaper/custom.

So as any good DIYer, I gathered some resources and got started.  Using sculpy, I created my own shelf, textured by stamping it with the piece of dead rock shown above and knocked together a quick mold. 24 hours later we were ready to rock... literally.

 
I picked up a stack of plastic-coated neodymium (this will keep the magnets from interacting with the saltwater) and some smooth-cast 325 (food safe and tintable). As I was just playing around with the concept, I suspended the a magnet in the plastic cast using an altoid tin, to keep it flush with the surface.

 
For the first cast out of the mold, I mixed up a little red and splashed it around the mold, then back filled with purple.


I am still playing around with colors, but these were all done with various mixes of red and purple, or just purple dye. A quick pass on the belt sander and the back surface is perfectly smooth.


I still want to play around with the color, but the nice thing about plastic over clay is that the color is in the material and not just painted on. This keeps everything food safe and allows the shelf to be drilled, carved, or shaped without the need to repaint anything.

Since I have not found the perfect color recipe yet, I thought i could kill two birds with one stone with the first run.  I pulled the more aggressive spreading corals off the rock work and installed them on there own little floating isolation areas.  Started with some GSP and xenia. They will quickly spread over the entire shelf and hide it completely, while adding some fun movement to the back wall of the tank.


I'm thing of playing around a bit more with color and maybe a few more sculpts to add some variety. All in all, I'm very happy with the results!

Offline jjoos99

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 21:24:11 »
those look really nice.  What are they made of?  Adds a lot to a boring back wall.
Jeff

Offline Heinbaughb

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 21:39:56 »
Those look awesome. Hopefully they hold up over time. What would you say was the total cost to make?

Offline guynamedfleck

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2018, 17:47:05 »
those look really nice.  What are they made of?  Adds a lot to a boring back wall.
Jeff

I used Smooth-cast 325. It is a urethane resin.

Offline guynamedfleck

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 18:01:23 »
Those look awesome. Hopefully they hold up over time. What would you say was the total cost to make?

Thank you, i'm excited about the prospect. The polyurethane is practically indestructible once cured. its actually what most, non-clay aquarium decorations are made from.

Total cost can be a bit tricky, as your mold is a high upfront cost, but is one time.  Below is a general breakdown of the expense so far:

-RTV silicone (mold) - $60
-Smooth-cast 325 - $30 (enough for x5 casts)
-resin tint - $28 (went for a 9 pack of colors, but so far only used 2 and have enough for 100s of casts)
-Magnets - $29.90 for x10 (cheaper in bulk)

So not accounting for my time, if you consider the all in for just the 5 I have made so far, you are looking at about $30 a piece. Take out the tint cost and its closer to $24 a piece.

Moving forward - since the mold now exists - your looking at $11.98 a piece or less for materials. If I am careful, maybe another 50 or so pulls from the mold.


 

Offline Heinbaughb

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 21:53:11 »
You could sell these at swaps


120 gallon mixed reef.

Offline guynamedfleck

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Re: Magnetic Frag Shelves
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 05:32:41 »
You could sell these at swaps


120 gallon mixed reef.
The thought had crossed my mind.  Just need to figure out that perfect color.

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