Monday, October 18, 2010

Expanding Hampture Mk.II

I went looking for clear plastic tubes some time ago for adding rooms to Hampture. This website will sell you them in a wide variety of diameters, 'wall thickness' and length.I'll have to do precise measurements of the habitat but offhand I think a 2 inch diameter tube would give the hamster plenty of room to crawl through (he's perhaps one inch wide) and it wouldn't exceed the dimensions of the habitat wall.

My current plan is to trace the outline of the tube, pressed up against the habitat wall. Then I'll drill a pilot hole, then use bigger drill bits to gradually widen it. From there I'll use a dremel to eat away at the plastic until I've completely cleared out the interior of the traced circle with as much precision as possible. Perhaps leaving a slight "rim" near the back so the tube has something to be mounted against. Then comes the gorilla glue for a firm hold, and the marine sealant around the edge.

I think I can afford the tubes, but I'll need a dremel tool and set of appropriate tips. I'm pretty confident this will work perfectly, and before long we'll have a multi-enclosure habitat.


  1. As a 3rd year engineering student at northwestern U, may I be so bold as to suggest flange-mounting these pipes? Structurally, it will be *much* stronger, and you can water proof it much easier using a gasket (thin layer of rubber pressed between flange and enclosure). You'd want something like this:

    It would require a bit of extra work, like drilling the four bolt holes and pvc-gluing the pipe to the flange, but at the end of the day it'll save you time because you don't need to be as precise with your pipe hole, plus it will be 10x stronger and watertight. Double plus it'll add a bit of an industrial/riveted feel to the project. Can't be an industrialist hamster without an industrialized home, right?

    p.s. this is the only blog that i've ever found interesting enough to follow, keep up the awesome work


    Here's a quick diagram of my suggestion

  3. The gasket would inevitably be silicone as that's the preferred material for watertight seals. So if I'm going to be sealing it with silicone anyway, a gasket would be redundant, and that design would require me to drill more holes in the enclosure than I'm comfortable with. It'd also add opaque bits to what I'd prefer to be a completely transparent colony.

    If I run into trouble with my method however you can bet I'll come back to this suggestion and use it instead.

  4. Perfectly reasonable. Another option to consider would be to use "bulkhead fittings" which won't require you to drill any extra holes. They look like this:

    You can buy them cheap (~$7-$8) in opaque colors. But I was thinking you could improvise a mostly clear one by using a clear male adapter (expensive, ~$22) and a reducer bushing as a "nut"

    I've been taught/learned the hard way many times not to trust any chemical for mechanical support, again just something to think about if the silicone/gorilla glue doesn't work out.

    If you are going to go with a chemical, I'd point out the existence of clear 2-part epoxy. It's made with applications like this in mind

    My last 2 cents, viva le hampture, godspeed

    You may want to check out that link if you ever wanted to run electrical wires to the enclosure, or if you just want a way to make the enclosure completely detachable from a life support buoy for easy setup and upgrades. You probably won't need metal fittings since PVC or ABS would more than likely work just fine for depths up to about 30 feet.

  6. Splitting your funding between two projects will slow them down immensly, perhaps youu should focus on project Earth Rover since you made a sucessful underwater enclosure. I'm not saying don't add on, but perhaps put it off. I'm rather intrigued as to how Earth Rover will come out.