Sunday, February 19, 2012

DIY Rabbit Cage Rack :: tutorial

I waited months to put together a rack to hold rabbit cages and dropping pans stacked one on top of the other. If you've ever looked at rabbit cages (not the small pet cages), you would know that there are generally two types. The kind where the wire sides some down to form legs and the dropping pan can slide in and out like "drawer". And the kind that has no such drawer function and you're left wondering how the hell to balance a wire cube on top of a pan with 3" tall sides. All of the 30"x36" wire cages I saw that were big enough for my breed were of that second type.

Now, what do you do with a cage and a pan with no apparent method of putting them together? You could buy a stacking leg kit with a pan holder for $25 each. Or you could get crazy with some PVC pipe. I chose the latter.

These two racks are each capable of holding three cages and dropping pans giving me space for six cages now!

Here is how you can make your own:
**The following measurements are for "Pet Lodge" brand 30"x36" wire rabbit cages and the corresponding dropping pan. I have in no way been paid or otherwise compensated for using or writing about this brand... but that would be great wouldn't it?**

First collect your supplies:
You may need to cut the PVC to the appropriate lengths listed. All PVC pipe used in this project is 3/4 inch size. This tutorial is to build ONE rack that holds THREE cages. In the pictures I built two of these.
(Number Needed) Description --Part Label
(2) 20 3/4" PVC lengths --stableizers
(4) 11" PVC lengths --tops
(8) 21" PVC lengths --verticals
(6) 37" PVC lengths --horizontals
(4) 6" PVC lengths --legs
(12) 'T' PVC connectors
(4) Elbow PVC connectors
(6) 24" lengths of aluminum or steel 'L' angled metal; preferably with pre-drilled holes
(12) 1/4" threaded bolts, 2" long
(12) metal washers
(12) locking nuts for threaded bolts
(2 oz.) PVC pipe glue/cement

Assemble and glue (4) lengths: 21" vertical, 'T' connector, 6" leg.

Add to the top of that and glue in place: 'T' connector, 21" vertical. Be sure all of your 'T' connectors are facing the exact same direction and lined up.
(Not pictured): add to top of each pole a 'T' connector and 11" tops. Glue in place.

First measure that your 37" horizontals leave at least 36 1/4" between 21" verticals. This measurement may include the 'T' connector. Mark a line where the 'T' and the PVC meet so when you glue the horizontals into place, you are leaving enough space for the cage to fit in.
Glue 37" horizontals across and into both sides at the 'T' connectors. Repeat for second set. (Not pictured): don't forget that third set of 'T' connectors and 11" tops connected to the top from the last step. You should have (3) horizontals glued in place now for each set of legs.

Measure 3" from the bottom of each 'T' connector and mark a visible line. This should be a little more than the height of your dropping pan. Hold the metal angle so that the corner of the 'L' shape is just above your line. Mark a dot through one of the holes in your metal angle so that it is in the exact inside of the PVC pipe. Drill a hole all of the way through with a 5/16 drill bit. This is one bit bigger than your 1/4" bolts and they should pass through fine.

If you bought a long length of metal angle and then cut it into pieces you may end up with a cut hole at one of your ends like this. It's okay, truck on. Just use the next closest complete hole. Attach the metal angle from one set of legs to the other using a bolt, washer, and locking nut on each side of the metal angle. These metal angles will be holding your dropping pan allowing it to slide out for easy cleaning.

Repeat connecting the metal angle from one set of legs to the other set using bolt, washer, nut for the remaining (5) metal angles. The rack should look like this so far. A total of (6) metal angles connecting the two sets of legs from under the 'T' connectors.
Your sequence of parts should go like this from top to bottom: 11" tops, 'T' connector to 37" horizontal, metal angle attached to 21" vertical, 'T' connector to 37" horizontal, metal angle attached to 21" vertical, 'T' connector to 37" horizontal, metal angle attached to 6" leg.

Last, but not least, glue PVC elbows onto the top pieces facing each other as pictured. Glue one side of the 20 3/4" stabilizer piece into each PVC elbow parallel to the metal angles.

Two finished racks side by side. Now just insert cages, dropping pans, and... Rabbits!

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