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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I did have a better written out intro and I hit a button and the post was devoured by interweb grimlins *shake fist*

Anyway I'm building a wire cage and thought I would share a step by step process on the whole thing. I'm picking up supplies tomorrow!

I estimate i can create a cage large enough for 7 rats for just $70-$80! I'm only holding 3 and KEEPING IT AT THREE! Or at least I keep telling myself that lol. But seriously three rats is a good number for me and I would like it to stay that way but I want them to have PLENTY of room. I also wanted the cage to be easy to use and clean. So I looked at the ferret nation double layer design and came up with this very badly done blueprint:



So it will practically be like two cages on top of eachother with a connecting hole I imagine I could cover if I need two cages that hold 3 rats. I hope I don't have any intro problems, my two weeks are up and I havn't so far but Bert has only met Sabastian. I plan on him remeeting Sabastian tomorrow and also Odin. Any tips on this is very appreciated as well! Odin can act like an old fat grouch at times lol but he really is a nice fellow. I'm hopeing Bert's abundant energy will rub off on him and not annoy him severly.

But back to the cage. I am useing wire shelfing that is 8'x16" cut in two feet segments. I believe Lowes will cut the shelves for me so I'm going to have everything written out for tomorrow. I need 3 pieces of 8ft shelving cut into two foot increments and 2 pieces of 6 foot cut into 4 32" pieces. This leaves a little bit extra I could use for a base for ladders if needed. The cost of this is $57.58, by far the most expensive part of this project.

Now what do I line the wire shelves or make the trays with? I was thinking of useing the left over wire for at least one, covered in coroplast. I am purchasing at least 4 sheets of 20x30" coroplast from work at $3.76/sheet (yay discount!) I am going to cut the coroplast into two tray shapes as well as liners for the shelves and possibly ladders. I'm hopeing 4 will be enough this leads to a cost of $15.04 for the coroplast.

And I found zip ties at the dollar store yay! $1 cost there!

So yeah looking at it further it' sgoing to be more like $80-$90 but it will be custom for ME which I find important.

So far the cost is $73.62, not including tax. I still might have to have more shelving, or some more coroplast and I also want to switch to fabric bedding and add tunnels but that may come later. Most important right now is the cage itself.

Any thoughts of ideas? Here is the material I am useing for the wire frame:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=50043-362-4736&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=50093-362-4735&lpage=none

I shall update and take pictures as the steps progress. Estimated time of completion is Sunday! EEEEEee!
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

you can also buy a wooden bird ladder and cut it in half or thirds, they are like $5 for one. it's wood, so it will get chewed on, etc, but it depends on how much your rats chew wood, since it's a very nice ladder. :D

what are you doing for the bottom? i know that martin's cages will sell you just the bottom pan for their cages (so the sizes are standardized) but it might be useful to have that tray on the bottom that you can just slide out or whatnot.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Oohh, very ncie plans! I'm eager to see how this turns out, though I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to cost more than you think ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

OnlyOno said:
you can also buy a wooden bird ladder and cut it in half or thirds, they are like $5 for one. it's wood, so it will get chewed on, etc, but it depends on how much your rats chew wood, since it's a very nice ladder. :D

what are you doing for the bottom? i know that martin's cages will sell you just the bottom pan for their cages (so the sizes are standardized) but it might be useful to have that tray on the bottom that you can just slide out or whatnot.
there will be wire on the top middle and bottom, the trays will slide in *nods*

It's not the huge size of a Martins so I don't think the trays will fit, hence why I'm purchasing coroplast.

And yeah Night it might, geuss I'll find out. I've done caculations on prices like a billion times so I don't think it could cost TOO much more.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Wow, can't wait to see how the cage turns out :D. I loved my homemade cage, but now that I've had rats longer I know if I was to ever use it again I would have alot of modifications to be done.

Martin's trays are crazy expensive as well, you're better off making your own out of coroplast. I've never used it myself, but a friend had her buns in a cube cage with that as the tray and swears by the stuff!

You should take pictures throughout the process of making it so we can see how it's done and cheer you on ;).
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

reachthestars said:
You should take pictures throughout the process of making it so we can see how it's done and cheer you on ;).
Yes, that'd be good to see :)
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Good luck! Please do keep us updated on your progress, as I'm also curious as to what you'll have to go through while building. I'm also interested in using that shelving in the future.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Martin's trays are crazy expensive as well.
mhmm, they have an 18" by 30" tray for $15, so they're not too expensive. but of course, this doesn't exactly match the dimensions you had set, so nevermind anyway! just thought i'd clear the price thing up in case someone was looking to get one for some other reason. :D
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

i double posted there, sorry about that. :D sometimes my comp freaks out. it's those gremlins, i swear.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

yes, but they want close to $15 for shipping on top of that. Much cheaper to just use choroplast (especially where it works just as well, and she can make it the exact size she needs).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Yes, I just purchased 5 sheets of coroplast at work! I went with one extra just in case. The cost was $20 for the five sheets that are 20x30. I will have to figure out how to heat weld them or I can also duct tape maybe?

I also found some LARGE space wire frames in the dumpster I think I might use for shelf support for the inners. Cut those to shape, make sure there aren't sharp edges and cover with coroplast.

I also nabbed some left over border from work that is called 'rainbow gel' to decorate the edges of the trays! It's very pretty and it will help tie in the mulit colored zip ties I purchased at good will. I might have to laminate it if I want it to last, but I may just use it as a throw away accessory I donno. We laminate for dirt CHEAP at work and I may even be able to do it for free!

I've also been wondering, do you think 16" is deep enough? The reason I'm not at the hardware store right now is because I'm rethinking my design. Will it be top heavy? Will it not support itself? Will it not be enough room? The cage caculator claims any dimension over 11" for depth is alright but I donno... So I'm wondering if I just make it 24"x32"x32" if that will be better? Thoughts or ideas?
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

The bigger, the better, in terms of space for ratties! I'd say go ahead and make it the bigger depth. Give 'em more room to run and play in.

Not sure if it would be top heavy at 16", I'm not so good at that kind of stuff. But again, if you just go bigger, there shouldn't be a problem. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Change of plans!

The dimensions are 24x32x32 now with 24 being the depth. It will be 16" increments, cut in half for a 16" full level and quite possibly a couple of half levels.

This is more economic and gives them more wide room, which I think they will appreciate. If I wish to expand another level it will be easy and only cost $10 XD But right now I think it's important to keep the wire part as inexpensive as possible seeing as I want to buy lots more toys and hammocks to put into the fun cage >w<

Bert wants to add he's very excited and happy to be moving to the new home! He's been wagging his tail >_> I think that alone deserves it's own thread.

New dimensions cost $44.66 XD
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Alright, I went with the intention of buying the parts but came into a problem... wire spaceing. It seems the cheaper cage parts I had my eye on have a wire spaceing of 1"x5 3/4" D: YIKES! This seems to far apart for my rats, maybe not Odin or Sabastian who are large rats but Bert is quite small and may remain so, I have no idea whether he will grow larger or not, he's about half the size of Bastian and Odin D:

But, there is a silver lineing! There was some wire shelves that had a TIGHT mesh of under .5"x 5 3/4"!! This is MUCH tighter and seems safer but it is also more expensive. Where the larger mesh would cost me $30-$40 this will cost me $60-$70! I figure I don't need this smaller mesh for the middle or bottom of the cage as it will be covered at all times but I do need it for the outside of the cage.

So we are comming to $56 for 4 pieces of 6'x16" mesh (at nearly $14 a piece) and then maybe use one of the 6' by 12" sections with the larger mesh for the middle and bottom since it will be covered. That's around $65, adding on the coroplast I just spent makes this a total of $85 >_> But it will be a cage large enough to house 7 rats, not that I will but you can't find one that large and that easy to clean for that price, and this WILL be nice and large and easy to clean.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building

Alright pictures! I just started and I'm nearly done with teh wire part and have to do ALL of the coroplast part still. I ran out of zip ties and Goodwill is closed so completion date might be tomorrow.

We had the guy cut all our pieces in two foot increments, purchased 4 6'x16" pieces cut into 2' increments and 1 6'x12" piece cut into 2' increments. It only cost us 25 cents to get the whole thing cut XD

So we brought the pieces home and got started. We found we needed to sand the edges down. We also could of purchased plastic paint and painted over the edges if you REALLY want to be perfect on the details. Since there was only black and glow in the dark paints we decided against that. Here are the cut edges:


If sanding make sure you wear safety gear XD

the one in the front is unsanded and the one behind is sanded. Sand until it's smooth to touch, we could of possibly sanded more but I felt it was enough. I am keeping the unpainted edges towards the back during assembly so you only see the nice capped edges in the front.

Assembly was completed with zip ties. You need a BILLION of these. I had brought 3 packs and went through them all and I'm sure I could use another couple at least.

There are little overhangs you need to be aware of. I found alternating these instead of pileing them on top of eachother helped. Some might even go so far as to cut these off. I found in some parts of the cage these edges helped and others it hindered. You really just have to see for yourself what's best.



Chris had to cut the nubs off the bottom and middle trays completely for them to fit as well as cut the doors. I found I wanted 1' doors instead of one 2' door when I got home, so he cut them for me. Best man EVER!



and while he was doing that, I was assembeling like mad. At one point my cat came up and decided that this was a CAT cage, not a RAT cage. That or she's there waiting for me to put the rats in >_> really though she's a good cat and great around my small animals. Might be because she was practically raised by ferrets. They always beat her up.



Yay and here I am now. I had some pieces left over so I used a 12" and a 16" wide shelf. Remember to cut a square in the bottom of the middle somewhere not too close to the edge:





It is very heavy, something you should be aware of. I know I can always seperate the top from the bottom when going to deep clean but it's still very heavy. Also I find the zip ties have broken apart during moving, but these are cheap so it's no huge deal just a small annoyance. Also the door slides down and then won't shut cause of the upper lip D: But really I'm happy with how it turned out so far and can't wait to finish.

Once I do, I will be all over this process again to expand the ferret cage>_> I'm feeling a tad bit guilty as this cage is larger than my ferrets, maybe not a HUGE amount larger but large enough. Expanding the ferrets wont' be as pricey seeing as I can use the large spaced bars and it's just an expansion not a whole cage but it's going to have to wait a paycheck or two.
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building~ STARTED! P

Thats looking great! What kind of zip ties are you using? When I build a cage, I use the heavy duty kind. Those are very VERY hard to break!
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building~ STARTED! P

Urr... the cheap kind from Goodwill >_> The green ones are very flimsy and most of the package is them, the yellow ones are pretty good and the red ones are really good and tough, but the package didn't come with many. Perhaps I should just go to the hardware store and get the heavy duty kind D:
 

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Re: Adventures in wire shelf style cage building~ STARTED! P

Oh wow, definitely coming along! Awesome job! I can't wait to see the finished product :)
 
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