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Old 08-28-2020, 02:31 AM   #1
Ithuviel
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Default DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Hello everyone.

I haven't been so active because i am now an admin in my country hamster community.

Some of you may know my dwarf hybrid from this post 2 litters at the same time (help with info pls)

She was originally kept in a very unsuitable cage with the male. At one point one of my hamsters died so she wat upgraded to Alaska from the Ikea samla bin. I don;t know why but she started bar biting fairly early from the move. I tried everything i could think of from ignoring to giving attention and nothing seemed to work so i decided to upgrade to the german standard without bars.

I made a 100x50x50 cm cage using PAL and plexi.

Total cost about 50 euros and a tired husband. (this includes wheels and screws) I also included the sketches and design sheets. The fact that i added the wheels was great. I only had acces to a powerdrill. There is a shop in my country that cuts plexi and PAL if you buy the materials there.










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Old 08-28-2020, 03:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Looks great, I am intrigued to how did you do the hinge on the front left hand side plexi glass part, that is so good to have a front opening.
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Old 08-28-2020, 04:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

It's fantastic. Thank you so much for showing us your design - it makes it much easier when you know what size to cut things I don't think there is a hinge Luna - it looks like the top plexi door sits in some brackets at the bottom and lifts out, and is held up at the top by ?magnets - like on kitchen cupboard doors?

I can see the advantage of that kind of cage in many ways, apart from the size - there aren't the fall risks you can have in a cage, and plenty of floor space for enrichment.

Has your dwarfie settled ok? I am not sure why she was bar biting in the Alaska - there could be lots of reasons - but a cage move can create stress - it can take two weeks for them to settle into a new cage - usual recommendation is move everything over to the new cage without cleaning anything first and set it up in a similar way to before - house and wheel in same location eg - and then don't clean out for two weeks or move things around. It helps them settle much quicker. You probably know all that already.

But it may have been that she just didn't like the Alaska! It is also a fairly tall cage for a dwarf hamster and the extra height might have freaked her along with the openness of the bars.

The other cage you have sitting on top of the diy cage - is that for a dwarf hamster as well or is that just a comparison? I think that one does have a few fall risks due to height but it's hard to tell from the photo.

But absolutely love the diy cage. Very clever putting it on wheels as well. And much cheaper than an Eco Habitat! How did you fix the corners together of the board and plexi please? Brackets or glue?
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Old 08-28-2020, 05:51 AM   #4
Ithuviel
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

So to answer

THe door has hinges and yes it is held by magnets.

I didn't clean the houses etc. I did actually switch everything because i wanted to be able to see the hamster when she is sleeping under the platform. She is now sleeping in a house.

The cage above is a bird-cage and it is housing my budgie.

I made holes in the plexyglass and i was able to mount hinges.

I was thinking that she was barbiting because of her past...maybe alaska reminded her somehow of the small cage she came with her pups. She was clearly stressed.

I made this cage taller because i plan on using it for a syrian at some point and 50cm is good. I also can add a mesh lid

Bellow you see how alaska was set.


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Old 08-28-2020, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

It was a lovely set up in the Alaska - such a shame she did the bar biting. But your new cage is amazing. Thank you for explaining about the hinges. And the budgie! I didn't know budgies had sputniks as well ha ha.

The new cage is perfect for any species of hamster and nice to know it can be made for around 50 euros! My other question was how you fixed the side panels together and the plexi to the panels - whether it was brackets or glue/aquarium sealant or something. That is the bit I would find difficult I think.
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Old 08-28-2020, 10:17 AM   #6
Ria P
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

That is a beautiful habitat and so was the Alaska set up!
I love the natural look and darkish wood colour. Must feel very cosy and secure for a hamster.

Funny though that now you've made her this fantastic habitat she won't reward your efforts by sleeping under the platform but moved into a house!
Typical hamster, always out to outwit us humble humans.
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Old 08-28-2020, 10:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
My other question was how you fixed the side panels together and the plexi to the panels - whether it was brackets or glue/aquarium sealant or something. That is the bit I would find difficult I think.
While I can't speak for the exact cage's creation, I can say that silicon sealant(aquarium sealant) absolutely cannot be relied upon to hold acrylic to anything. When used with acrylic the only purpose silicon sealant could serve would be to prevent urine and other moisture from getting out. This is because silicon is physically incapable of forming any sort of bond to acrylic, so any cage construction that relied on silicon to attach acrylic would inevitably fail!

There is one concern with the cage involved and that is a very serious one unfortunately. There's at least one exposed bit of an MDF type material that could easily be accessed by any hamster housed in it which would be completely unsafe if chewed, so that will need covering right away and the same would apply to any other similar areas inside the cage. It's also something that could soak up urine and other moisture which is very bad with these types of wood composites since that will make them fall apart very easily.

ETA regarding silicon sealant and the same products sold as aquarium sealant, those must be cured outside for a minimum of 48 hours before ever being used with pets. Silicon once fully cured does not produce any fumes, but during the curing phase it does produce toxic fumes and as such should never be used in the house and always needs to be cured outside well away from any pets!
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Old 08-30-2020, 01:07 AM   #8
Ithuviel
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Fixing plexi to PAL is easy i just used screws. The pointy type that can be added with a power drill. Also making holes in plexi can be done with a hated metal or with the powerdrill itself. Also you should make the holes in the plexi before adding the final screws.

Now plexi on plexi... I just used a general glue and a corner type of plank. You can buy them for about 5 euros 2.5 meters long. This was done for reinforcement of the plexi because its only 2mm. The screws in the PAL are what is holding it together.

I like the fact that now she is sleeping in one of the houses rather then unddr the bidge like a homless person because she has 3 of them

I will try to adddress the open pal bit in the enclosure. I was thinking about that. Anyway after about 2 weeks i feel that the calmed down. She is finally gaining some weight from 45g to 50g. I like her at 50g
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Old 08-30-2020, 05:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Thank you so much for explaining that. Screws sound the best way and glue is fine once it is dried and the odours dispersed. And I am sure you will have done it carefully so there is no exposed glue to nibble. I use non toxic wood glue in wood houses when sticking legs on. I think the exposed edges of chipboard are just around the top where not accessible - easy enough to just stick a strip of melamine over them - I think you can actually buy the strips.

Glad she has gained some weight
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Old 08-30-2020, 05:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: DIY Upgrade from Alaska

Serendipity, there are definitely exposed edges inside the cage. If it were just around the top it wouldn't be a huge issue other than potentially having the material wear down over time which then risks having some fall into the cage(unsafe obviously). With the exposed edges inside the cage, those absolutely must be covered for hamster safety as well as to keep the cage structurally sound as mentioned.
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