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Old 02/08/2010, 11:49 PM   #1
xcelprintingcom
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Talking My DIY Styrofoam Faux Rock Wall

Size: 72"x24"x8"
Cost: $15 vs. $450+ for going the eggcrate method.
Tools: a fork
Experience Level: suuuppper easy


Originaly I was going to go the eggcrate method, zip tying the rock, then the pond foam and epoxy, but the cost for that was over $450: 150lbs dry rock @$1.85lb=$277, 10 cans Touch N Foam $65, egg crate $22, epoxy $50+, sand to sprinkle for rock-like texture of pond foam $30.

The pictures do not do it justice, actually I almost didn't even post this after looking at the pictures, you really have to see it in person, it is riddled with holes and crevices, I made over 5 caves and holes with swim thru's large enough I was able to fit my arm through some and my entire hand in others, and several over hangs...plenty of places for fish to hide at night, but none of this really shows well on the pictures.

With some extra foam I made a cave-like arch to attach to the front of the wall, still have 2 more larger ones that I will make.

Without further a due, here are the pictures, many are repeated without flash so you can see the depth/dimension better...enjoy, and let me hear your feedback.

http://picasaweb.google.com/abcogrou...ofoamRockWall#

I should also mention this was the most fun DIY, even my 4yr old went to town on the foam with a fork, then he threw all the foam that was on the floor in the air as if it were snow, he had a blast.

Next: give it 3 coats of white portland cement type I, 1st coat watered down, coats 2 and 3 thicker to create a solid structure....and for those wondering yes I am going to have around 100lbs of live rock as well, this was just intended for the back as I don't like blue or black backs.



Last edited by xcelprintingcom; 02/09/2010 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 02/09/2010, 12:40 AM   #2
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Looks cool.

If you stare at the overview picture too long it looks like a mural of faces.


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Old 02/09/2010, 01:36 AM   #3
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That an awesome project. I can't wait to see it all done. Great Job!


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Old 02/09/2010, 04:27 AM   #4
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Yes indeed! No epoxy, just the cement?

How are you going to keep that sucka from floating?


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Old 02/09/2010, 06:04 AM   #5
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I think you really should consider a job in the aquatic field. Great job, Jon. The pics came out nice.
P.S.
Don't forget to make holes for the close loop and overflow before you start to coat the foam.
The waiting to see the final set up is too much!


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Old 02/09/2010, 08:27 AM   #6
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Very cool.
How thick is the Styrofoam? How will you attach it to the tank? Is this for your acrylic 180?


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Old 02/09/2010, 08:31 AM   #7
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I have done this before on a couple of cichlid tanks, it looks great when done. You can also color the cement when you are painting it on. Yours looks awesome, looking forward to seeing it done. I attached mine with silicone, is that how you are doing yours?


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Old 02/09/2010, 08:59 AM   #8
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I wonder with all the projects Jon does, does he ever find time to sleep?


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Old 02/09/2010, 10:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schudini View Post
Looks cool.

If you stare at the overview picture too long it looks like a mural of faces.
Thanks, yes those holes in the upper right corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboGuru View Post
That an awesome project. I can't wait to see it all done. Great Job!
Thanks, me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcress View Post
How are you going to keep that sucka from floating?
Silicone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot727 View Post
I think you really should consider a job in the aquatic field. Great job, Jon. The pics came out nice.
P.S.
Don't forget to make holes for the close loop and overflow before you start to coat the foam.
The waiting to see the final set up is too much!
Thanks, Yeah I need to cut those out with the hot foam cutter, hopefully none will be where I made holes/swim thru's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salty joe View Post
Very cool.
How thick is the Styrofoam? How will you attach it to the tank? Is this for your acrylic 180?
I used 2 sheets of 4'x8'x2", cut them down to 2'x6', that gave me 4 slabs for a total of 8", and the left over is 4 2'x2' squares for 8" which I used a small piece to make that cave, going to make 2 larger caves with the remaining foam. Yes it's for the 180 acrylic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishoutawater View Post
I have done this before on a couple of cichlid tanks, it looks great when done. You can also color the cement when you are painting it on. Yours looks awesome, looking forward to seeing it done. I attached mine with silicone, is that how you are doing yours?
I'm going to stay away from coloring the cement, it will look like white base rock, but not for long as I'm going to use a couple of methods for speeding the purple coraline algea. Yes attaching with silicone.

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I wonder with all the projects Jon does, does he ever find time to sleep?
The excitement and anticipation give me the energy to stay up.


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Old 02/09/2010, 12:02 PM   #10
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Looks great man! I was thinking at first that it may be easier to carve out the foam like a mold and then apply the cement to the inside. I think it would be much harder to get the level of detail you have though if you did it that way.


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Old 02/09/2010, 12:22 PM   #11
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Looks great man! I was thinking at first that it may be easier to carve out the foam like a mold and then apply the cement to the inside. I think it would be much harder to get the level of detail you have though if you did it that way.
Thanks, Yes it would be substantially difficult as you would have to carve a "negative" to use as a mold, and then you would end up with a super heavy structure, where as this one i don't even think it weighs 2lbs, and this was way easy.

Can't wait to start on the cement tonight.


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Old 02/09/2010, 03:19 PM   #12
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They use Styrofoam to hold up concrete covered boat docks. Are you sure the Styrofoam is not just going to rip off of any silicone you try to adhere it with?

Here's why: 72" x 24" x 8" = 13,824 cubic inches.

That equals 59 gallons of displacement.

59 gallons of displacement delivers 491 lbs of buoyancy.

I have a hard time accepting that you could put 500 lbs of pull on Styrofoam without the face just ripping off. It's normally used in compression. Gluing it down puts it in tension. It's rather like concrete in that it's very, very good, in compression and lousy in tension.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diss your plan. I want it to work as I dislike the whole foam/epoxy method as kludgy, messy, and fraught with gotchas. I would love to see Styrofoam work out as I have to do something soon myself.


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Old 02/09/2010, 04:18 PM   #13
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They use Styrofoam to hold up concrete covered boat docks. Are you sure the Styrofoam is not just going to rip off of any silicone you try to adhere it with?

Here's why: 72" x 24" x 8" = 13,824 cubic inches.

That equals 59 gallons of displacement.

59 gallons of displacement delivers 491 lbs of buoyancy.

I have a hard time accepting that you could put 500 lbs of pull on Styrofoam without the face just ripping off. It's normally used in compression. Gluing it down puts it in tension. It's rather like concrete in that it's very, very good, in compression and lousy in tension.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diss your plan. I want it to work as I dislike the whole foam/epoxy method as kludgy, messy, and fraught with gotchas. I would love to see Styrofoam work out as I have to do something soon myself.
Positive, this is exaclty what others have done as well on even grander scales with success....it won't go anywhere.


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Old 02/09/2010, 04:20 PM   #14
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You're leaving all the foam in there? I thought the foam came out after the cement dried?


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Old 02/09/2010, 04:26 PM   #15
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Jon , That looks great . I can't wait to see it after it gets some age on it . (color and stuff growing on it . ) I did a faux rock wall on the back , and one end of my tank . I also used some foam , but only to secure the wall to the tank . I did my wall , because I hated cleaning the back of my tank . I guess you can say I did it because I'm lazy , but I do like the way it looks . Ted


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Old 02/09/2010, 06:07 PM   #16
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You're leaving all the foam in there? I thought the foam came out after the cement dried?
Yes the foam stays, originally i was going to coat in epoxy and and create a shell then melt the foam away with acetone and just have a shell, but epoxy was going to set me back 50+, and I already had some portland cement laying around.


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Old 02/09/2010, 06:10 PM   #17
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Jon , That looks great . I can't wait to see it after it gets some age on it . (color and stuff growing on it . ) I did a faux rock wall on the back , and one end of my tank . I also used some foam , but only to secure the wall to the tank . I did my wall , because I hated cleaning the back of my tank . I guess you can say I did it because I'm lazy , but I do like the way it looks . Ted
Ted,
Thanks, I just started to cut the holes for the returns and closed loop, what a pain, and cutting it into 3 or 4 sections to place in the tank.

Played around with a small corner applying cement.

It's gonna be a late night for me.


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Old 02/09/2010, 06:36 PM   #18
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Jon , What are you mixing with the portland cement ? I used White Portland , sand , shells , and fine rock salt . I got the idea to do my faux rock wall from sunkool . I saw his tank , and thought no more cleaning the back wall , great . He also told me how he made his mixture . If you let the cement air cure for 21 days you won't need to cure it in water for so long . Ted


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Old 02/09/2010, 08:42 PM   #19
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Jon , What are you mixing with the portland cement ? I used White Portland , sand , shells , and fine rock salt . I got the idea to do my faux rock wall from sunkool . I saw his tank , and thought no more cleaning the back wall , great . He also told me how he made his mixture . If you let the cement air cure for 21 days you won't need to cure it in water for so long . Ted
Because it's styrofoam and it breaks up tiny particles very easily even while brushing the cement on, I'm just doing cement by itself.

I just now finished cutting and trimming all the pieces to fit inside the tank, and going to start applying the cemnt....only one problem, the cement which I bought as white portland cement which is what I used to make my DIY rock, I mixed some in a red Solo cup with water to a milkshake consistency and applied some over an hour ago to a small area, and its still pasty with a very light hue of green, not white as I recall it. I remember when I did my DIY rock it dried white and any tools that were left dirty dried rather quickly, now I'm baffled.


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Old 02/10/2010, 05:46 AM   #20
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When you made your rock , what did you mix with the portland ?


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Old 02/10/2010, 10:41 AM   #21
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When you made your rock , what did you mix with the portland ?
Crushed oyster shell and rock salt.


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Old 02/10/2010, 12:00 PM   #22
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When you mix other things in with the cement it drys quicker . How is it doing now ?


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Old 02/10/2010, 12:13 PM   #23
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When you mix other things in with the cement it drys quicker . How is it doing now ?
Last night i didn't get to apply cement, spent most of my time cutting into sections and shaving off the top to fit into the tank, however this morning the solo cup I had left with some cement mix in it was rock solid, but the small area I applied cement to you could scrape it off, was chalky, not sure if Imixed it well enough....in anycase today I get to apply cemnt so we'll see.

I thought maybe the cement I had left over inthe bg went bad, the bag had been left partially open (cement doest go bad does it?)


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Old 02/10/2010, 12:31 PM   #24
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You have a Pm


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Old 02/10/2010, 03:59 PM   #25
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reefrubble why are you taking this private? How can we learn from that?


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