My first heated night box for leopards

Jtort

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
122
Location (City and/or State)
So Cal
Sooo..... I've built my first heated night box for my leopards (with my husbands help :)). It was our first time building anything really. It wasn't too bad thanks to Tom and Heather's threads. There were a few mistakes we made but somehow made them work out. I'll point them out in this thread in case they can help anyone else avoid them.

My box is 4 x 4 x 2 with a 12"(H) x 18"(W) door.

Materials:
  • 4 - 4'x8' sheets of plywood
  • 2 - 4'x8' sheets of 1.5" foam insulation
  • 7 - 8 feet long 2"x4"s (not including any to be used as stilts)
  • 3 - 8 feet long 2"x2"s
  • 3 hinges for the lid
  • 2 hinges for the door
  • sliding lock for the door
  • screws
  • silicone
  • vinyl
  • weatherstrip
  • vinyl tiles
  • primer
  • paint

This is how we started. We started with a 48"x48" piece of plywood and screwed the 2x4s along the edges. One edge has part 2x4 part 2x2 (not completely screwed in in the picture). The 2x2 is where the door will be.

This was the first mistake we made. The 2x4 along the right side of the picture should have come all the way to the edge of the right wall. We made it so the 2x2 touches the right wall. This left a gap above the 2x2 that we had to fix later.

Once we had the 2x4s and the 2x2 screwed into the bottom plywood, we started screwing in the walls, the vertical supporting 2x4s, finally the top horizontal 2x4s.

photo-3_1.jpg


Here is the insulation inside the walls. You can see the little gap at the bottom right corner from our mistake :oops:

We added the floor insulation and plywood for the floor before screwing in the inside walls.

In the picture below you can see that for some of the vertical edges there is no 2x4 available to screw the inside wall down. So we screwed the inside walls in this order: left, front (door), right and back. This way the left inside wall is held in place by the screws along the horizontal 2x4s and also by the front and back inside walls. Hope this makes sense...

IMG_4461.jpg


Another mistake we made was not buying a jig saw. It would have made our door opening a lot "cleaner." Since this was literally the first of anything we've ever built, we had to buy a circular saw. We didn't think of buying a jig saw until after we had already cut the plywood for the wall with the door opening...

IMG_4465.jpg


IMG_4466.jpg


For the lid, we used 2x2s to go between the 2 plywoods and around the insulation board:

IMG_4467.jpg


Another mistake we made was that we cut the 2x4s 48", after adding the walls the width was actually 49" Since the plywood is only 48" wide, our lid is too small by half an inch on each side. We're going to use roof flashing on these sides.


IMG_4532.jpg


That extra inch also created a gap at the back of the lid. I don't think this will be a big problem to keep the cold out since the lid does fit well over the house and will sit on weather strip all around (not shown in the pictures).

IMG_4533.jpg



The floor has vinyl tile and I used clear silicone to seal between all the joins and edges. I put 6" of the vinyl tile on the walls. I started using white silicone sealing all the gaps/corners but when I ran out, I used the clear silicone. I liked the white over the clear because it was easier to see what I had already sealed and if there was anything I missed.

IMG_4627.jpg


Primered and painted the outside:

IMG_4633.jpg


I am waiting to get the mini oil filled radiator heater I ordered to make a little compartment for it. I had ordered from TechCrazy but they were out of stock, so I ordered one from Best Buy.

I also added vinyl flaps for the doorway and handles on the sides to make moving it easier (if we ever need to move it).

Feel free to add any suggestions that could have made it better or ask any questions :)
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
40,543
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I think you did a great job for your first ever build. My only suggestion, is to put some dirt or coconut coir over the floor. That floor will be slippery for them and could cause their legs to not developed properly or cause them some walking issues down the road. Other then that, good job.
Love your outdoor grill kitchen too
 

Jtort

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
122
Location (City and/or State)
So Cal
I think you did a great job for your first ever build. My only suggestion, is to put some dirt or coconut coir over the floor. That floor will be slippery for them and could cause their legs to not developed properly or cause them some walking issues down the road. Other then that, good job.
Love your outdoor grill kitchen too

Thanks Barb. I'm copying Heather and adding coco coir.
 
Top