Author Topic: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)  (Read 3234 times)

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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"railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« on: December 27, 2006, 05:27:29 PM »
Hello, I'm putting together a new, bigger Martin's cage for my 4 boys (it's the 18x30" base, and 36" tall). A couple questions:

(1) Does anyone else recommend using zip ties instead of the metal rings for assembly?

(2) My boys like to sleep under big piles of tshirts and stuff. In the past, I've put a tshirt down on the balcony floor, but after a very short time they have knocked it off the balcony and it falls down to the base, where it gets full of bedding. I've also put boxes down, but of course they knock those off the balcony in short order. I would like to add some kind of "railing" to the balcony so that I can put boxes, plastic bins, and so on, without getting knocked off. If I put a plastic bin on a balcony, I can fill it with tshirts and they will have a nice pile to burrow into. My first thought to make a "railing" was to take the "ridge" which is already present on a Martin's balcony (which is bent downward) and bend it upward instead. I will also have to make one cut, where the ridge joins the ramp.

I don't like the idea of doing this, however, because I have to make that cut, and it will weaken the ridge. Also I just don't want to mangle the beautiful Martin's cage.

My second thought was to put some mini binder clips at the edge of the balcony. I'm not sure if I can get it to work out exactly, but if I can clip around one of the floor wires near the edge and leave the clips "handles" sticking up, maybe it will function as a railing.

Any other ideas?

Mike
« Last Edit: December 28, 2006, 03:09:14 AM by JohannSebastianRat »

Offline JR1030

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 08:35:20 PM »
I'm about to put together the exact same cage!  I got some zip ties (instead of C-rings), although I couldn't find black, so I got white. :doh:

I have the same problem with the stuff falling off the balconies, boxes and such.  I think if you find a plastic rubbermaid kind of thing (or dollar store), and then zip tie it to the side, you'll be able to fill it with t-shirts or whatever, and it will stay in place.  Or, for that matter, just make a couple holes in a cardboard box and zip tie that to the side.  Hmmm.  I think I'll do that, too!
~Rebecca

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 08:42:55 PM »
I'm about to put together the exact same cage!  I got some zip ties (instead of C-rings), although I couldn't find black, so I got white. :doh:

I have the same problem with the stuff falling off the balconies, boxes and such.  I think if you find a plastic rubbermaid kind of thing (or dollar store), and then zip tie it to the side, you'll be able to fill it with t-shirts or whatever, and it will stay in place.  Or, for that matter, just make a couple holes in a cardboard box and zip tie that to the side.  Hmmm.  I think I'll do that, too!

Thanks for the ideas, but there's a problem with zip tying things to the side: it's harder to remove them. The problem is that I need to remove the plastic bin or box frequently for cleaning/replacement. I have fibromyalgia and any kind of awkward reaching is painful. For example, to clean the plastic bin, it will be much easier to remove it and carry it to the kitchen sink, rather than try to clean it in place. Un-zip-tying and re-zip-tying will probably be awkward, because I don't have a lot of room around the cage, so it tends to require awkward reaching.

Also, my boys have instantly gone to work chewing zip ties, when I tried to zip-tie a box in place, in the past. I hope they don't gnaw on the zip-ties that I used to assemble the cage. My basic strategy is to pull them very tight so they are hardly noticable (don't stick out much).

Let me know how your plans work out.

Mike


Offline JR1030

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 08:45:43 PM »
Ooh, I just bought some things that are sort of like zip ties, but they are velcro.  You could velcro the bins or boxes to the side, and then just undo the velcro to clean them.  Your boys might chew the velcro, but it would stay put for a while.
~Rebecca

Offline DolciLady

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 09:06:43 PM »
if you can put a hole or two in whatever it is you want to stay in place, what about using S hooks to try and keep them attached to the cage?  Or a metal shower curtain hook?  Something that is easy enough to remove and that they can't chew up.

Good luck.
Robin
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Offline Bratratbeds

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2006, 09:16:18 PM »
As for the rail you can call Martin's tell them what you want and they will make it for you, not sure what it will cost but it couldn't be much..  As to hooking things to the cage.  I put two holes right next to each other on the box or bin put the zip tie on it then put a split ring (like what is used for keys) through the space left by the closed zip tie, and a small lanyard hook on the split ring so that all I have to do is clip the lanyard to the side of the cage.  Comes off real easy too, I also have used big safety pin if I am too lazy to go upstairs to get one. As for putting the cage together with zip ties I didn't like that I could not get the cage sturdy enough for my liking, like I could with the c-rings so I used the C-rings.  But I think that's just a personal preference.
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Offline Phalaeo

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 11:01:39 PM »
My suggestion would be to get quilting safety pins from a craft store.  They're the same as normal safety pins, but huge, like on steroids.  They come up to 4" long.
Use those straight through the t-shirts and right on to the cage- you can reach behind the cage to un-hook them instead of reaching up intot he cage.
I have costochondritis, an arthritic-like condition in my sternum which also inhibits reaching- I've found that this is ok, and then I just unhook the stuff and throw it in the washer once a week.
Hope that helps somewhat.  :balloon:
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Pittsburgh, PA

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2006, 03:03:43 AM »
As for putting the cage together with zip ties I didn't like that I could not get the cage sturdy enough for my liking, like I could with the c-rings so I used the C-rings.  But I think that's just a personal preference.

I discovered something interesting about the zip ties. I started assembling my cage with zip-ties, and it was plenty tight and sturdy. I didn't even know why you would say the cage was not sturdy. Then I ran out of zip-ties and went to buy more, and I bought a different brand. Guess what? The new zip ties were loose, because they couldn't be pulled into a loop as small.

The brand that is tight enough is Catamount/Thomas-Betts "Multi-purpose Tie" 8". The brand that can't be tightened enough is Gardner/Bender Assorted Cable Ties 8".

Mike

Offline Bratratbeds

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2006, 09:00:11 AM »
I discovered something interesting about the zip ties. I started assembling my cage with zip-ties, and it was plenty tight and sturdy. I didn't even know why you would say the cage was not sturdy. Then I ran out of zip-ties and went to buy more, and I bought a different brand. Guess what? The new zip ties were loose, because they couldn't be pulled into a loop as small.

The brand that is tight enough is Catamount/Thomas-Betts "Multi-purpose Tie" 8". The brand that can't be tightened enough is Gardner/Bender Assorted Cable Ties 8".

Mike


It might have been the brand but most likely it's just me being to picky LOL!  R-O-T has the c-rings clamped down so tight the cage is like a rock...nothing moves.  I didn't use them also because at the time Greta (who has since passed) was like a rat possessed when zip ties entered the cage and made it her mission to KILL KILL KILL that evil zip tie  ::) silly girl...
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Offline Dori

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2006, 09:26:18 AM »
I'm about to put together the exact same cage!  I got some zip ties (instead of C-rings), although I couldn't find black, so I got white. :doh:

I have the same problem with the stuff falling off the balconies, boxes and such.  I think if you find a plastic rubbermaid kind of thing (or dollar store), and then zip tie it to the side, you'll be able to fill it with t-shirts or whatever, and it will stay in place.  Or, for that matter, just make a couple holes in a cardboard box and zip tie that to the side.  Hmmm.  I think I'll do that, too!

The automotive section of Walmart has black zip ties!

Offline JR1030

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2006, 09:32:43 AM »
I'm about to put together the exact same cage!  I got some zip ties (instead of C-rings), although I couldn't find black, so I got white. :doh:


The automotive section of Walmart has black zip ties!

Ah!!  I was going to electronics stores.  Thanks! :thumbsup2:
~Rebecca

Offline Dearpie

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2006, 07:59:20 PM »
You can buy extra balconies from Martins and install them upside down.   They come with a lip that goes underneath the balcony, but you can just put that side up, and you have your outside railing/edge to hopefully hold items on the shelf.  Otherwise, some sort of clip/clamp/zip tie would be required.  Just pull the tshirt thru part of the cage and use a clothes pin or something to hold it in place, so it doesn't get pulled back thru into the cage.

Offline Vibrissa

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2007, 06:00:47 PM »
This is easy!  Just make two holes (small) with an ice pick or a drill) in the box, littlerbox, house, igloo, whatever, and use soft coated wire like some of the telephone wire or a bit thicker--run a small piece of that in one hole and out the other, back the object up to the cage bars and thread them through and twist them--very easy to remove for cleaning and yet holds the stuff where you want it!

Offline mandyk

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2007, 07:35:00 PM »
When I first got my Martin's cage, I originally started putting it together with the c-rings, but it was taking way too long so my dad gave me some zip ties.  Wa-la!  I was able to put it together much faster.  (They're all different colors & sizes, because my dad just "collects" them I guess, lol.  So my cage looks a bit silly, but oh well.)  Anyway, that was a couple years ago and my rats eventually all passed away, and I kept the cage in storage in the attic for a couple years until I got more rats just recently.  Unfortunately, the sections of the cage where I had used the c-rings had rusted and corroded horribly.  I don't know if there was something in my attic or what, but I spent HOURS removing the c-rings and replacing them with more zip ties.  Then I scrubbed and scrubbed to get the gunk off, the rust came off ok but there's still some white stuff that my dad says is corrosion.  :\   So I definitely recommend putting it together with zip ties, to avoid rust if anything, especially if you plan on storing it & then reusing it in the future...

Offline lindsay-poo

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2007, 07:50:39 PM »
You don't even really have to order more levels for the cage, just remove the ones you have and flip them over. It shouldn't be that difficult really.

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2007, 07:53:31 PM »
You don't even really have to order more levels for the cage, just remove the ones you have and flip them over. It shouldn't be that difficult really.

Well, it may not be difficult, or it may actually be difficult. Remember that the balconies come attached to the sides and ramps; all those will have to be removed. I don't feel like doing that. Has anyone removed those c-rings before? The previous poster seems to suggest it's hard.

Mike

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2007, 07:55:55 PM »
Note about assembling with zip ties:

I was able to get the cage REALLY tight, much tighter than when I used c-rings. For zip ties, I used "Catamount" brand by Tomas & Betts. They have small "heads" so you can pull them into a very small cross-section. Using the c-rings and those pliers was much harder for me to get the c-rings tight.

Also the zip ties are faster to assemble.

The only downside of the zip ties is that the rats can chew them off. I'm hoping my guys won't do that; and I've arranged all the zip ties so that the "head" is on the outside, hopefully giving the ratties no tempting things to bite on.

Mike

Offline mandyk

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2007, 08:14:50 PM »
I removed all the c-rings on mine.  I used a pair of pliers, and it was very time-consuming... I worked at it while watching a football game, so it took a couple of hours!  My dad was helping me, too...

They were too thick to cut, so I had to just grab it with the pliers, get a good grip, then twist it around until it could come off.  If that makes any sense >.<

Oh, and some of my old girls used to chew on the ties if they got bored.. but they wouldn't as long as they had other chew toys!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 08:16:53 PM by mandyk »

Offline Bratratbeds

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2007, 09:41:31 PM »
Well, it may not be difficult, or it may actually be difficult. Remember that the balconies come attached to the sides and ramps; all those will have to be removed. I don't feel like doing that. Has anyone removed those c-rings before? The previous poster seems to suggest it's hard.

Mike

When we moved I totally broke down my 695 to make packing my truck easier.  It took ROT about 15 mins. max to cut off all the  c-rings.  He used a pair of heavier wire cutters and pop pop pop they were all off.  When we got here to KY I flipped the middle floor so that the hole to go to the lower level was in the back of the cage.  But doing that meant I had to reattach all the ramps I got the c-rings on in the places where they needed to be then ROT went behind me and tightened them all up.   I guess it just matters what type of tool used to remove them decides how easy it is to put on or remove.
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Offline lilspaz68

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2007, 10:26:01 PM »
I have a special c-ring remover handtool made in the US that I had sent to me.
http://www.klubertanz.com/

I had to take all the c-rings off of my RUUD....ugh.   :-\  I love it and use it to remove zip ties easily as well.
There's usually just 2 rings per ramp to remove, so removing them and flipping the shelf upside down shouldn't be to difficult.

Offline Kimmiekins

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2007, 10:53:25 PM »
I didn't find removing the c-rings that hard, even though some were rusted (one of the reasons I hate those things!). If we were keeping our 2 R695's, I'd remove all the c-rings and replace with zip ties, even on the ramps. I've done some as-needed already. We've had 9 different boys in them at any given time with the zip ties and not a one has been chewed off.
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Offline lindsay-poo

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2007, 06:37:47 AM »
I've had my Martin's cage for 2 years. I put mine together with black zip ties and even with the most obsessive chewers I have only had 1 chewed off. Maybe try black ones.

Offline JohannSebastianRat

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2007, 08:42:04 AM »
I've had my Martin's cage for 2 years. I put mine together with black zip ties and even with the most obsessive chewers I have only had 1 chewed off. Maybe try black ones.

Oops! I used the bright multi-colored ones! Well, we'll see how the guys react. I'm putting them in the new cage in a couple days...

Mike

Offline crtjh

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Re: "railings" in Martin's cage (and assembling with zip ties)
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2007, 12:29:56 PM »
1) for the railing, you could use something like hardwire cloth. it is pretty easy to cut if you have some wire cutters. you could even attach it with or without zip ties. if you cut it so that the pokies are as long as possible instead of short and dulled, you could wrap those around the wire on the shelves. then you could fold the top over itself so that it is stronger and the top isnt sharp.

2) i have a cheap little carribeaner that i use to hang things. it makes everything alot easier. i have an old milk jug on it now. just cut a hole in the middle of it and take the lid off so it has another way to air out. after i cut the hole, i used a candle to keep it from being pokey.