Author Topic: My home-made metal shelving cage  (Read 7226 times)

Offline Lea

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My home-made metal shelving cage
« on: March 18, 2010, 08:54:11 PM »
I haven't seen any other cages like the one I made, so thought I would post it here in case it might give anyone interested some different ideas. My rats looooove it and so do I.  :rattysmiley:

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I bought a metal shelving unit from Lowe's (edsal  72"H x 48"W x 24"D Steel Freestanding Shelving Unit, Item #: 101933  |  Model #: CR4824).  It's 60" high but I only enclosed 42" of height, with a shelf above and below.

The back and the floor liner on the bottom section is FRP (plastic paneling).  The sides and doors are covered with 1/4" coated mesh.  The door frames were easy to make from do-it-yourself window screen frames.  A cabinet magnet at the top and bottom of each door holds them shut very securely.  The middle and top shelves are made from wire closet shelving, and lined with choroplast covered with fleece. 

The mesh sides are attached to the inside. It was more trouble but I thought it would be safer, to make sure they could never get between the mesh and the shelving frame:


Luckliy I found hinges with the same hole spacing as the frame, at Walmart:


Closeup up how FRP panel is attached to the back: 


The leftover piece of FRP after cutting it to size was used to cover the bottom shelf, which is one of the wooden shelves that came with the unit (painted, but never gets wet as it is protected).  It's very easy to clean, so I don't cover it with fleece.  If you buy this stuff, let it air out outside for a long time as it has a smell to it when new.  But I researched it and found that the material is not toxic. Still, I wouldn't want them to chew it so I made sure no edge is exposed by covering edges with plastic panelling trim.

Hope this gives you DIY-ers some ideas! :)

Offline petunia

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2010, 09:15:22 PM »
wow, that totally rocks! I love it!

unfortunately I'm not at all handy..... :P

about how much do you figure it cost to make that?

Offline RatAttack59

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2010, 09:41:33 PM »
That is possibly the NICEST home-made cage I've seen yet!  Not to downplay others, but you did a great job!
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Offline mccauleywent73005

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2010, 09:50:22 PM »
yes that is pretty awesome :) i am curious as to how much it cost myself!

Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010, 10:07:09 PM »
I didn't keep track of the exact cost, but it was definitely at least $150, maybe closer to $175.  I wanted the 24" X 48" floor space, which lets them really scamper around!  :rattysmiley: They do sell a smaller 18" X 36" unit, but it's not really that much cheaper, and the 24" wide hardware cloth works better with the 24" deep shelves anyway--no trimming needed!

Offline mccauleywent73005

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 10:18:01 PM »
so how is that in comparison to a CN? i think its bigger? im not sure as i have martins. it looks huge inside ;-) you can fit quite-a-many rat in there lol

Offline Stacy M

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 11:22:37 PM »
She put the height up in the first post at 42then24x48 so a CN is 36x24x50 so it is a little bigger than the CN. 

Also, I love it-it is very nice!  I can't imagine paying so much and still having to do all that work though lol but I gues that's just me.

Offline Pennytherat

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2010, 01:17:10 AM »
Very nice!! It looks like your rats love it.  :BlueDumboSmile:
I am ratless. Someday I will own rats again.

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Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2010, 02:07:30 PM »
She put the height up in the first post at 42then24x48 so a CN is 36x24x50 so it is a little bigger than the CN. 

Also, I love it-it is very nice!  I can't imagine paying so much and still having to do all that work though lol but I gues that's just me.

Yes, it's bigger than a double CN, a foot wider.  I considered getting a CN, but I read how they usually arrived bent up, and I wasn't sure I liked the shelves.  Plus I just like the challenge of designing and making stuff for some reason!  so I decided to make one even bigger than the CN.  Saving money wasn't really a factor in it even though it did cost less.  I would only recommend that people who enjoy DIY-ing do this, lol.  I made their previous cage, too:



Offline Wildfyre

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 11:24:20 AM »
Oooh.. I have one of those shelving units! I was going to let my husband use it in his shop.. but this would be so much fun to make. Fantastic idea Lea! Thank you for posting it  :BlueDumboSmile:
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Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 09:35:55 PM »
Oh, don't let him waste it by using it for its intended purpose!   :yelcutelaugh:  It was a fun project for me and my rats are so happy in it--a lot of space for 3 girls, lol.  Have fun, and if you don't like the result you still wind up with a nice storage unit.

BTW I noticed a couple of errors I made in my first post (I don't see a way to edit it): I used 1/2" mesh, not 1/4", and the total height of the unit is 72", not 60".

Offline Wildfyre

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2010, 12:19:01 PM »
Did you buy the mesh at Lowes? I was at Home Depot yesterday and couldn't find any coated mesh at all.

I got my husband to agree to using the shelves for a new rat cage, so after I gather the supplies I'm all good to go!
:lurk:

Offline mccauleywent73005

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 12:40:10 PM »
its at home depot only. it should be back by the fencing part its called "hardware cloth"

Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 07:22:53 PM »
In my town, even the Home Depot doesn't usually have it.  I got it at Ace Hardware. You can also find it at some Farm supply stores.  Unfortunately the only coated kind I can find locally is the green 1/2" squares in 2' X 5' rolls.  I needed 5 rolls for my cage, and had plenty leftover to make ramps.

Offline Wildfyre

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 07:25:23 PM »

its at home depot only. it should be back by the fencing part its called "hardware cloth"

Yeah, our Home Depot doesn't carry any of it that's coated- only bare metal. We even asked.

In my town, even the Home Depot doesn't usually have it.  I got it at Ace Hardware. You can also find it at some Farm supply stores.  Unfortunately the only coated kind I can find locally is the green 1/2" squares in 2' X 5' rolls.  I needed 5 rolls for my cage, and had plenty leftover to make ramps.

Awesome! We were planning to try Ace Hardware tonight :) If that doesn't work then I guess I'll call the feed stores tomorrow..
:lurk:

Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2010, 09:44:23 PM »
What are the dimensions of your shelving unit and how many ratties will go in it?  With the space I have, I'm thinking of adding a couple of boys (my girls are spayed). Still waiting for some to become available, but they are few and far between around here.

Offline Wildfyre

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2010, 10:48:15 PM »
The shelves are 24 by 48. I have two boys, Noah and Willow.

Where are you located? There aren't many breeders in my area so healthy rats are pretty hard to come by here too.

I found the wire mesh stuff tonight. I bought every last bit they had.. it should be just enough. Now to figure out what to do about the shelves.  :)
:lurk:

Offline Jaden

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2010, 01:35:49 AM »
Sure wish we had a 'like' button.  Cause I sure do 'like' that home made cage!!!  : P
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Offline PeaceLoveDreamer

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2010, 04:11:48 AM »
Wow that looks incredible! And honestly it sounds SO easy to make! Really great idea.
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Offline pinkie1205

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2010, 04:25:08 AM »
That is probably the best homemade cage I've ever seen.  I have seen some amazing cages but yours actually looks like it would be easy to clean and wouldn't get damaged too much from moisture. 


Homemade cages are awesome but I think a lot of them aren't practical.
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Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2010, 10:21:58 AM »
Wow that looks incredible! And honestly it sounds SO easy to make! Really great idea.

The hardest (and most fun) part was figuring out HOW to make it, looking at everything in the hardware stores.  It took me a long time to figure out how I would make the doors.  Finally I found the window screen hardware.  Also I had to go check out all the possible wire shelves for what would fit in there.  Actually making it, the hardest part was bending the sheets of mesh around the shelf supports--that was a real pain!, but I wanted it on the inside. 

Thanks to everyone for the compliments!  :-*

Offline Neerie

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2010, 12:16:58 PM »
Ohhh this is SO nice!

I've been dreaming of getting a double CN for a while now, but the cost of it, especially the shipping, to my area is just downward aweful! This sounds like something I could pull off, plus I actually enjoy DIY projects. I think I might go on a hunt for materials to try and figure out how much it would cost me, and if I could find everything needed.

This actually looks sooo fun to make  :hyper: Although little paranoid me would use something more secure than just magnets to close the doors, in addition to the magnets... just in case  :yelcutelaugh:

Offline Wildfyre

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2010, 12:55:37 PM »
This might help anyone who is planning on building this..
If you have any feed stores nearby - price the hardware cloth there first if you can. We bought ours at Ace and then two days later we were in a local feed store and saw the same 3' by 5' rolls of coated 1/2" mesh for $4 cheaper a roll! That would have saved us $12 :p Oh well, live and learn :)

Lea, where did you find the paneling you used for the floor? I've been stumped on what to use. I'm worried about making sure it's relatively safe and non-toxic.
:lurk:

Offline Lea

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2010, 08:02:47 PM »
I used "FRP" paneling which stands for fiberglass-reinforced plastic.  I was paranoid about this too, the word fiberglass didn't sound good.  But I read the MSDS on it and it's not toxic, and the fiberglass is within the matrix of the plastic which gives it strength. However I made sure there is no exposed edge that they could get ahold of to possibly ever chew on--the edges on the back are behind the metal frame, and the edges on the floor piece are covered with plastic paneling trim.  Also, I let this sit out for a couple of weeks until the "fresh" smell that it had was completely gone. 

But there is no need to use FRP.  Use one of the wooden shelves for the floor, paint it first to seal it, then cover it with linoleum or floor tiles.  You could cover a regular piece of paneling with lino for the back as well.  Really, this would probably be easier than what I did and just as effective.  You could also put mesh on the back instead of paneling.

Offline Bella416

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Re: My home-made metal shelving cage
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2010, 11:50:09 PM »
I made one out of that shelf thing too





Thats so cool, i havent seen someone else use one!